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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot Press and Other Media, 01-02-14

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. 31/01 -- 14.2.01

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Mehmet Ali Talat met Mr. Chiarini
  • [02] Investigations under way for embezzlement in the so-called Post Offices of the occupied areas
  • [03] Turkish Foreign Minister to meet his US Counterpart
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [04] Turkey is on the wrong path
  • [06] Turkish Lawyer on Minority rights in Turkey
  • [08] Mehmet Ali Birand: Cyprus Warnings rising

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Mehmet Ali Talat met Mr. Chiarini

    According to KIBRIS (14.02.01) a delegation from the Republican Turkish Party, RTP, headed by the party/s chairman, Mehmet Ali Talat, crossed to the free areas the other day and had a meeting with the head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Cyprus Mr. Chiarini.

    During the meeting the Cyprus-EU relations were discussed.

    [02] Investigations under way for embezzlement in the so-called Post Offices of the occupied areas

    According to KIBRIS (14.02.01) an enquiry has started regarding embezzlement in the so-called Post Offices in the occupied area which has reached unprecidented levels.

    The so-called Minister of Works and Transportation Salih Miroglu, confirmed the reports about the embezzlement he said that investigation is going on and urged people who know something about the embezzlement and usurption to come forward and speak openly.

    According to the paper, "the Minister branded the issue "incredible" and added that for the time being five people in the occupied Nicosia district post offices were involved in the issue. The embezzlement figure until now has reached 76 billion 585 million TL.

    [03] Turkish Foreign Minister to meet his US Counterpart

    According to CUMHURIYET (11.02.01) the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Ismail Cem, on the eve of his meeting with his US counterpart Mr. Colin Powell, has sent him a two-page letter in which he explains Turkey/s position regarding the European Security and Defence identity.

    According to the paper Mr. Ismail Cem, who will meet Mr. Powell in Brussels on 27 February 2001, will refrain from making any concessions regarding the issue.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [04] Turkey is on the wrong path

    With the above title and subtitle "While Turkey/s protests of the enactment of the Armenian genocide bill in the French Parliament have been less than effective, the fact that the bill has come up in Parliaments of other countries indicates that Turkey will have to wage war on a wide front", Yalcin Sismek writing in Turkish Daily News newspaper (12.2.01) refers to the reaction in Turkey against France stressing that the fact that President Chirac approved the Bill and other countries started to take steps in the same direction raises the question of exactly where Turkey was making a mistake.

    In the article views are expressed by Professor Dogu Ergil, Journalist Etyen Mahcupyan and Professor Erol Manisali.

    Professor Erol Ergil says that Turkey/s reactions to the approval of the Armenian genocide bill by France is irrational and compares Turkey to an athlete who shot his own foot and participated in a competition afterwards. Ergil said: "Turks may have many enemies, but they are their own worst enemy. They act against themselves in such primitive ways. Turkey embarrasses itself.."

    On his part Journalist Etyen Mahcupyan said that there are political, economic and social groups in Turkey which do not want the EU membership as well as groups which will benefit from the EU and that the groups against took advantage of the Armenian problem. Noting that Turkey preferred to over compensate for its incomplete and faulty aspects with rude nationalistic behaviour instead of common-sense discussion, he added:

    "A target and an objective are necessary for this rude nationalistic behaviour to be used. In this context, it is difficult to treat Western countries as enemies. It is known that we purchased arms from the West even during the War of Independence. There is not a very threatening situation in the Middle East. This is why psychological enemies have been created since the establishment of the Turkish Republic. There are three minorities, there identities that are used for this nationalism and which were inherited from the Ottoman Empire. These minorities are sometimes the Greeks, sometimes the Armenians and at other times, the Kurds."

    Arguing that Turkey was unaware of the changes in its own milieu and was prone to follow Cold War policies, Mahcupyan said: "We go through a similar situation every day. The world is not changing as far as Turkey is concerned. Turkey has resisted change in Cyprus for two decades and to no avail. Some people want to draw political capital from this state of affairs, and there is a very widespread psychology across society where people are not curious and do not want to discuss this issue. In general, our society does not know how to come to terms with reality. We regard silence and look at forgetting as a solution. We ignore the political aspect of things. Many things are retained only in the subconscious."

    Finally, Professor Erol Manisali described the Armenian genocide issue a game of the EU and said that similar laws will be enacted in all EU countries, and went on: "The Armenian issue will be part of the official ideology of Europe. The demand for land by the Armenians will also come up in 2010. When the /genocide` bill did not pass in the U.S. Senate, the EU took the lead. The bill was not enacted in the United States because they did not want to antagonize Turkey. Turkey cannot follow in the footsteps of either the United States or the EU. These countries do not want a strong Turkey. They are against an independent Turkey with a national policy. Both Brussels and Washington want a Turkey that will do what they say. The Greek and Kurdish issues and the Armenian issue is used by these countries."

    Noting that the balances had changed after 1995 and a bipolar world had been replaced by a multipolar one, Manisali said: "France, Japan and Russia, after Putin, started to react against a world with only one center. This is why Turkey does not have to follow the policies of the United States or the EU. Turkey must be in a position where it can act independently and follow a national policy. There are steps in this direction such as the project for the Black Sea Defense Force. The military rather than the government is taking steps in this direction. Despite the government, some groups are trying to save Turkey from one-sided relations with the West."

    [76] Turkish Lawyer on Minority rights in Turkey

    Turkish Daily News newspaper of 9 and 10 February 2001 publishes an interview with Murat Cano, a lawyer and expert on minority rights who is known for his work on the legal status of minorities in Turkey, laws or practices requiring amendment and their adaptation to universal norms. He has prepared numerous reports and presented them to different governments and ministers. He has also worked in a project for the Helsinki Citizens/ Association. He answers to questions about the history of minority rights, the enactment of the Armenian genocide law, individual and institutional rights of minorities, and the link between reform on the status of minorities and Turkey/s bid for membership in the European Union.

    In the first part of his interview the Turkish Lawyer approaches the issue from the theoretical, legal, historical and geopolitical point of view and says that the practices on minority foundations were against the definition of a citizen in the Turkish Republic and notes: "A racist and fundamentalist approach, which is also primitive, is still in force."

    About the Armenian genocide, Lawyer Cano says that if the Turks had given the Armenians back their rights the problem may still have cropped up because of political strategies but it would have been less damaging.

    In the second part of his interview Lawyer Cano covers the policies of Turkey regarding minorities and, inter alia, says: "I do not know the underlying political causes, but judging from the policies on minorities since the 1930/s, I can say that the Turkish Republic did sign the Treaty of Lausanne, which acknowledged minority rights and promised to implement them. Nevertheless, in the 1930/s a security unit consisting of representatives from the Foundations General Directorate, the Ministry of Interior, the Intelligence Office Undersecretary and the Foreign Ministry was established. Its only function was to follow the situations and activities of minorities, especially the Greeks and Armenians, and was to establish state policies ranging from the control of how much property minorities could own to delegating the supervision of their commercial transactions within the state.

    Following are the questions and Lawyer Cano/s answers on Turkey/s EU accession course in relation to the issue of minority rights and on Turkey/s Cyprus policy.

    Question: The issue of minority rights is one of the most important handicaps for Turkey/s bid for EU membership. Although Turkey accepted the Accession Partnership Document (APD), we still don/t have the slightest clue as to how its National Program (NP) will look. And it is as though the mood of not entering the EU is prevailing. What do you suggest that Turkey should do in order to bring its laws up to universal standards and ward off issues like the Armenian genocide law?

    Answer: I believe that there are people who are trying to prevent Turkey from being an EU member and that they have supporters both in Turkey and abroad. But I don/t believe that they can succeed, for history has taught us that life always goes forward. Things may be delayed or postponed, but there is always progress in the end.

    Turkey accepts the recognition of minority rights which are part of the Copenhagen criteria. The problem is that the conception of minority of the EU and of Turkey are different. Turkey only acknowledges non-Muslims as minorities, who are the Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and Jews.

    According to the state, no other group, including the Kurds, constitutes a minority. But when I asked members of the European Parliament Joint Commission whom they regarded as a minority and what they understood from their rights, the unanimous response was the Kurds.

    The process of destroying the non-Muslim minorities in Turkey has ended. Resolving 4-5 issues would be sufficient. You open a seminary, you define the legal status of the patriarchs, the metropolitan and the chief rabbi, you draw the boundaries of their rights but do so without hurting their theocratic authority. You draw up a cabinet decree and announce it to the world. In addition, you return property that was taken from the foundations and proclaim it to the world. You open a theological faculty affiliated with a university and educate religious staff. This would mean a great leap in the Turkish and international platform. This would change Turkey/s image dramatically and would not imply any loss.

    Question: At this point, I have to touch on Turkey/s Cyprus policy. The policies that were followed for two decades bore no fruit. Furthermore, the Cyprus issue and the Armenian law do not seem so different. Do you see a parallelism between Turkey/s policies vis-a-vis the minorities and in Cyprus?

    Answer: Turkey/s strategy in Cyprus can be debated from a military and geographical perspective. From a broad geostrategic perspective, it can even be seen as correct. But let me say first of all that I am not of the opinion that the accession of Cyprus to the EU would be to Turkey/s disadvantage. I don/t believe either that the Cypriots of Turkish origin will suffer economically or culturally in this process. To the contrary, their standard of living may go up and they may acquire rights all over Europe such as the right to travel, to settle down and to work.

    Another point is that regardless of whether you have a federation or confederation in Cyprus, the equal rights of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds are guaranteed by law in the EU. There is no problem from this perspective. Independence and national sovereignty are also under EU protection.

    Let me say one final thing, an intelligent Greek politician would see that it would be more dangerous for Turkey to be excluded from the EU than to be a member. Turkey has two options; it will move either toward Paris or to the Gulf. The second choice implies militarism, racism and extreme conservatism. Some people want to push Turkey in this direction but we can say that history will not justify them. This is why sensible statesmen should do whatever they can in order not to miss this chance.

    [181] Mehmet Ali Birand: Cyprus Warnings rising

    Writing in the column OPINION of the Turkish Daily News newspaper (13/2/01), Mehmet Ali Birand says that Turkey is constantly receiving warnings from the European Union, the U.S. and Britain that Cyprus will become a full member of the EU but Ankara does not take these warnings seriously.

    Mr. Birand says that he is ringing the bells of alarm for Turkey over the Cyprus problem through the press because warnings and briefings behind closed doors are ignored.

    Referring to the proximity talks on Cyprus, Birand says that the U.N. Secretary-General came up with a series of proposals at the latest proximity talks which run counter to the position of the Turkish side and upon this Rauf Denktash left the negotiating table saying he will not return until a new method was found.

    Birand then writes that Cyprus will become full member of the EU by 2004 because Germany wants the enlargement and Greece will veto this if Cyprus is not in the next enlargement.

    "The EU has even been living the panic of the pause in the negotiating process. Messages are being sent to Ankara one after the other", Birand goes on, but Turkey is resisting maintaining the approach that the EU cannot risk taking Cyprus to the EU without the occupied part.

    Mr. Birand then sites a dialogue he had with the EU Enlargemnt Commissioner, Mr. Verheugen, in Brussels last week who told him that the abandonment of the proximity talks would only cause harm to Turkey and that if Turks do not want to enter, let the Greek Cypriots be a member.

    And Mr. Birand concludes: "Will Turkey leave its efforts to enter the EU at the cost of not sitting around the negotiating table in Cyprus? Nobody says: "Give Cyprus for the EU membership". We want to play the game properly.

    Is there anybody who hears the bells of alarm in Ankara?"


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


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