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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-05-15

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 <>



  • [01] Mehmet Ali Birand interviewed President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas for CNN Turk television.
  • [02] How the Turkish Cypriot newspapers covered the UN Secretary-General's arrival in Cyprus.
  • [03] Annan in Cyprus to salvage direct talks process.


    [01] Mehmet Ali Birand interviewed President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas for CNN Turk television

    CNN TURK (14.05.02) broadcast interviews with President Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas by Mehmet Ali Birand.

    The interview with President Clerides was broadcast first as follows: Birand: Mr. President, we are confused. My impression and that of quite a number of people in Turkey is that Denktas is making overtures, new proposals one after another and you are not responding accordingly. As you know that full membership is there, you are not doing anything. We are confused. Where are we standing now?

    Clerides: Well, as you know, the Secretary-General has asked us to observe a moratorium on what actually is going on in the negotiations. Therefore, I cannot reveal the positions of either side. It is a fact, however, that we have a very big difference in our concept ... . Mr Denktas called it our visions, respective visions for the solution of the Cyprus problem. In general terms, Mr Denktas sees that the solution must be based on two sovereign states ... there will be some powers and functions to a central authority, which in the beginning be called umbrella, later on an institution, and that these sovereign states will retain their sovereignty minus what they will give to the central authority. Our position is that we want a new constitution which will provide for two self-administered states or cantons. Each one will have its own executive, legislative and judicial organs for its civil service and that the central authority will not have the right to interfere with their affairs. We have been discussing the two visions since the beginning of the talks. My position was that we should not start discussing these visions because I predicted that we will not reach anywhere, that we should take the core issues and find practical solutions in a spirit of give and take. Mr Denktas insisted that we must first have a common vision. And that's where we are at the present moment.

    Birand: Your approach is "leave aside the present Turkish state", that Turks should join the Greek Cypriot administration ...

    Clerides: No...

    Birand: With small amendments on the 1960 agreement.

    Clerides: That is not true. We have proposed that the 1960 agreements no longer reflect the new state of affairs and that the 1960 constitution should be abrogated. And that a new constitution should be created which will reflect the new situation. That is to say, a situation whereby there will be a state of Cyprus and within that state there will be two self-administered cantons, states. And we have made clear that the relation of the two sides within the central authority would not be one of majority and minority. In other words, political equality.

    Birand: Equal political equality?

    Clerides: Political equality as included in the Security Council resolutions. In other words, not numerical equality but political equality.

    Birand: But how will the Turks say "no" to a decision of the central government?

    Clerides: This is the question of effective participation. No decisions will be able to be taken by the Greek majority unless they have a number of Turkish votes, so that we don't impose our will on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Birand: Are they going to have a veto power?

    Clerides: No, they will have the veto that unless they vote with us on some or all the issues, a certain percentage of the votes, there will be no decision.

    Birand: So, for instance, let's say 20 more votes from the Turkish side will prevent the decision. Is this the logic?

    Clerides: If we mean the executive, it will be a number of votes different to that in the legislative.

    Birand: We are so confused! As far as the central government is concerned, its powers, are they going to be broad powers?

    Clerides: The necessary powers, which will be needed for Cyprus to join the EU.

    Birand: So, foreign affairs ...

    Clerides: We haven't yet enumerated ....

    Birand: But your vision is a strong central government?

    Clerides: We want a central government which will be able to represent Cyprus abroad and in particular in the EU. Because the EU made it absolutely clear that it will not accept two states. Therefore, the central government must have the power which is necessary to implement decisions of the EU.

    Birand: I see. So, in a way, who is going to represent Cyprus? Is the Greek Cypriot side going to represent Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot or is it going to be divided, or rotate?

    Clerides: The central government will represent Cyprus. In the central government both sides will participate. Therefore, their decisions, which they will convey, to the EU will be decisions which will have been reached by the central government in which both communities will participate, and in order to reach a decision there must be a certain amount of Turkish votes. Thereafter, regarding the implementation, whatever decision the EU takes we will be obliged to implement it. And the EU will hold the Cyprus government responsible for not implementing it. So we must have the power to implement it.

    Birand: Are we going to have equality? You are saying that political equality ...

    Clerides: Not numerical equality, political equality. In other words, we can take no decision unless we have some support from the Turkish side. The Turkish side cannot take any decision unless it has political support from us.

    Birand: OK, both sides are going to have their own elections ...

    Clerides: For their own component parts.

    Birand: Who is going to run? Who will be on top of the central government?

    Clerides: That will depend on the system. It we take a presidential system, the president. We propose that the president should be elected on a common vote, by both sides.

    Birand: With what votes should the chambers elect the President?

    Clerides: On a common vote from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. To become president, whether it will be a Greek Cypriot or a Turkish Cypriot, he must have votes from the other side and this is the way you will get reasonable people from both sides coming into power because each one will have to take into consideration what votes he will get from the other side.

    Birand: So, in a way you don't fancy the rotating presidency approach.

    Clerides: Well, rotational presidency will have to have a different system. You have to have a president like you have in Greece or in Turkey. A constitutional president has no executive power.

    Birand: Do you say no to that?

    Clerides: We have not discussed it.

    Birand: As far as the security arrangements are concerned, I am told that your views are not too far apart.

    Clerides: We had a proposal that there should be an international force stationed in Cyprus. We prefer that there should be a new mandate for the peace-keeping force. We have not discussed yet what this mandate will be about. Both sides accepted that Cyprus must be demilitarized.

    Birand: There is in a way a kind of rapproachment?

    Clerides: It's the only chapter on which some progress has been made.

    Birand: As far as the land, 29% or 25% ...

    Clerides: We have not discussed in extent, what the Secretary-General calls the territorial aspect. We have not discussed it now. During the time we had the proximity talks some ideas were put forward in a non-paper but since we began these direct talks no discussion has taken place on any of the core issues.

    Birand: Have you proposed anything about the refugees?

    Clerides: We have not entered into those subjects yet. We have verbally said that we must also discuss territory, property, human rights etc. but we have not gone into the discussion because the Turkish side insisted that we must first agree on the vision of the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Birand: From your side, when you look at what Mr. Denktas proposed, is it loose federation, confederation, how do you qualify it?

    Clerides: We have not used terminologies at this stage.

    Birand: What do you expect from the Secretary-General?

    Clerides: I understood that the Secretary General will come here to be briefed that no progress has been made so far. We must have in mind that, I suppose, he will have to make a report of his good offices to the Security Council.

    CNN TURK subsequently broadcast the interview with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Rauf Denktas, as follows:

    Birand: Now, when we look at what Clerides says, what comes out is the kind of federation we have been talking about in the past. Does it not seem like this?

    Denktas: In fact it could be similar to what we say now as well, but then what was their complaint? Then we wanted our rights to be founded on the sovereignty and they were still complaining that Denktas is constantly talking about confederation. Our basic problem is the rights we have built upon our sovereignty. We do not want those rights to be taken away from us. If they grant us this and accept our sovereignty, it is easy to reach an agreement on the other issues. Believing that this would happen, I wanted face-to-face talks. However, I did not know that Clerides would come to me with the 1989 proposals and consequently the EU would not do the step I wanted and expected and repeatedly say 'come, the door is open for you even if you do not reach an agreement, you are my best candidate'. According to others, Clerides has made a lot of steps. Our biggest step is stop saying that 'I will not meet with you before you accept my state, we will not join the EU without Turkey, we shall join the EU on condition that the rights of Turkey are recognized, with Turkey's consent and when our status is accepted '. We have made the biggest offer to them. .They have no will. If you look at the documents they have given, including the things they are telling you today, this view is very well supported.

    Birand: Let us take things one by one now.

    Denktas: Let us do it.

    Birand: They have proposals regarding the central government. What are the proposals responding to them? A government the powers of which are very few. It has been always known that we wanted two independent states, small states or cantons.

    Denktas: Provided that this state is a state, a sovereign state. They do not accept this. The cantons in Switzerland are sovereign. They do not even recognize to us as much sovereignty rights as the cantons in Switzerland have. Why? Because they could not seize by violence the rights witch are built on sovereignty. However, look at the things they want in this central government.

    Birand: What do we want?

    Denktas: We want equality in the central government.

    Birand: When you say equality.

    Denktas: We want rotating presidency, we want rotation on some important issues: on the parliament, the representation of the parliament, the presidency of the parliament etc. Why? Because we do not want this equality to stay on the paper. However, where do they lead us? They want us to have a common list in order to elect a President who will represent the whole of Cyprus. We cannot accept anything less than our 1960 Agreements rights.

    Birand: Does this take us backwards?

    Denktas: It takes us backwards. They water down to a great extent our right to elect our own candidates as a separate people. Now, our proposal is very simple.

    Birand: What do we want?

    Denktas: Look my friend. Let us start from the point where we are today and take the way towards unification. Where are we today? For 39 years we live separately. For so many years we have two separate states. Let us start from here. I have my parliament, and everything. You do too. Come to the joint administration. These things exist. They will stay there. They should either elect the people, who will be in these positions or they make their elections simultaneously with ours. Thus the matter will be closed. This is the way things happen all over the world. Let us easily solve this issue in this way. Of course we shall also make a constitution. We shall make a broad constitution. .An environment has been created more complicated than the 1960 Constitution.

    Birand: Then we want two separate states. We want both numerical and political equality on the top.

    Denktas: Two separate states. They will stop being fully sovereign, because a part of their sovereignty..

    Birand: A small part.

    Denktas: It is not a small part. There are a lot of things: Foreign Affairs, relations with the EU, defense, economy, finance, and monetary issues. The coordination of the other powers is a great and hard thing. In fact, if we join the EU, the EU will in a way undertake the administration of a lot of things. Therefore, we thought that the need of these people is to lead one and only Cyprus to the EU. Consequently, the condition we would put for the unification would not offend them. However, how do we understand the aim of the application they made to the EU on their own? It was to drag us (translator's note: into the EU) without recognizing our status and secondly to abolish Turkey's rights. The rights it has since 1960. We now see that while they negotiate with us, they insist on these. These are the points they are being concentrated on. However, because of their proposals and the good offer they made to us, the world, which does not know our sensitivities on these issues, thinks that they are just and generous people.

    Birand: Yes, when you listen to Clerides he seems reasonable.

    Denktas: Yes, yes.

    Birand: But, what comes out of what you have said? May I make a summary of it? We want two sovereign states that is our confederation proposal is still there and we support an agreement in case our equality on the top, both political and numerical, is accepted.

    Denktas: We are ready to negotiate a part of these things, provided they accept the basis of sovereignty. Look, I am telling you this openly.

    Birand: We want sovereignty.

    Denktas: We want sovereignty because any other kind of right is not a right. It is something Ataturk said. The sovereignty, which is not built on the sovereignty and justice, is neither sovereignty nor a right or justice. We have tried. They tore the paper on which the agreement was written and threw it away. The whole world knows what they made us suffer for 39 years. Will I reach an agreement on the paper with the same man and say to my people 'it is over'? Let me tell you something. I have not discussed the territory. .

    Birand: I was about to ask you this. Has the territorial aspect been discussed?

    Denktas: Of course it has. We said: 'There are criteria I made with Makarios: the productivity, adequacy etc. If you accept to discuss these and that the territory left to us will be sovereign, then I will discuss. If the territory is not mine, then what do you want from me?'.

    Birand: That is, you have asked the acceptance of your sovereignty before discussing everything.

    Denktas: Yes, we are discussing comfortably. Yes, the other says that we have not discussed these. I was surprised. He refers to the right of the refugees to return and he says: 'this has been stressed and accepted by the European Court of Human Rights, I cannot even discuss it with you, but if you give a lot of territory, a few refugees will return to you. We shall make all the propaganda we can so that even these refugees not do return.' Who will make this? The Church will send all of these to me, saying that those who do not return will go to hell. Can this thing happen?

    Birand: I see that those who come from the UN as well accuse the Turkish side. That is the Greek Cypriots have made everything, which could be done in the public relations field.

    Denktas: Mr Mehmet Ali, this situation has been not created just now. The whole world supported the Greek Cypriots right after 1964 when Makarios was regarded as the legitimate government and was treated as such. For this reason we were not able to solve this since then. Of course, the Secretary-General, De Soto and the Security Council feel uncomfortable because we do not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration, which they recognize as the legitimate government. And they try to assemble us in this in a soft way. We say that we are not the side which is to be assembled. They have thrown us away. We have established our own organization, our own state. If this is not recognized, this is a different story. We speak openly. Turkey has rights over Cyprus. We talk about the equilibrium between Turkey and Greece. Our rights and powers and our wishes are covered with the rights and the powers of Turkey. Please, think about these two things together and carefully and do not separate them. Tell the Greek Cypriots to stop walking on this dangerous road saying Cyprus is joining the EU. If they say to the Greek Cypriots: 'first you will reach an agreement and then you will join the EU/, you will see that the agreement will be reached very easily. However, as long as they tell them that they are the best candidates, they do absolutely nothing and talk sweetly. I would do the same if I were in their shoes.

    Birand: Will you now explain all these to the Secretary-General? You will explain them in this way to the Secretary-General. What do you expect from the Secretary-General? The Secretary-General is coming for you. This is what was said: 'Go to soften Rauf Denktas for an agreement'.

    Denktas: I do not know whether he is coming to soften me, or to say some things to Clerides. He will do both. He will listen to both sides. This is what I understand. However, we have to explain to him very well what is the sovereignty basis to us and we shall do this. Now, a new state is not created. Then what are we in the old state? I ask Clerides this. He tells me: 'you are one of the two communities'. This is not the answer I want. Birand: Somewhere.

    Denktas: I repeat on the issue of the refugees returning back, the Secretary-General must understand very well that if they do not want to create a new Palestine, this issue must be withdrawn from the agenda and the ownership rights must be satisfied by the exchange of properties and compensations. Otherwise, the Greek Cypriots will come and say 'get out of my house, this is mine'. Will the Turk get out? They have no place to go. What will happen? There will be a fight. For this reason the Cyprus question exists for 39 years. Every aspect of it is known. Why were the two people separated? Because one of them wanted to seize all Cyprus. It could not and the separation was created. I think that trying to solve the Cyprus problem, by pretending that this separation did never happen, by not examining these thorny issues and by saying 'the Republic of Cyprus exists, let them reach an agreement and be unified', is not a sign of good will.

    Birand: Now, what is being discussed the most, is that Rauf Denktas created a lot of expectation to us, he made everybody hopeful, but now we are disappointed because we are returning back to the old confederation position.

    Denktas: We have returned nowhere.

    Birand: Confederation, sovereign .

    Denktas: We are trying to establish a proper partnership state. We shall name it afterwards. The name must not scare anyone. I have not made everyone optimistic. I have not made a step to create hope. I saw that the issue has entered a dangerous road. Especially after we saw the boiling caldron among us, as a result of behaviors such as 'Turkey is bluffing, do not worry, you come, you are the best candidate come with or without an agreement', I wanted to understand whether the Greek Cypriots have really the intention to make an agreement with us in equal terms and in equal sovereign conditions. I wanted to see Clerides more reasonable and more understanding. Today, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry etc made a statement: 'We want transparency, no more secrecy', they say. This is right. I also agree with it. However, what do they say: they want the existence of our state, the continuation of the guarantees, and a new partnership based on our equality. This is what the people want. This is the reasonable thing. We leave the door open. Let us establish a state or a government from the point we are now. Afterwards, let the door open for these people to see how they will unify.

    [02] How the Turkish Cypriot newspapers covered the UN Secretary-General's arrival in Cyprus

    The Turkish Cypriot newspapers (15.05.02) cover UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan's arrival to Cyprus under the following banner headlines:

    KIBRIS: "An encouragement from Kofi Annan for a reconciliation". UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived yesterday to Cyprus for contributing to the ongoing direct talks.

    AFRIKA: " Annan arrived to Cyprus and said: June". The paper also reports that everybody, who is interested in Cyprus problem, is turning towards Annan's visit.

    BIRLIK: "Annan: I would like to underline the responsibility of both sides."

    HALKIN SESI: "Annan said: June"

    VATAN: "Rain of warnings"

    ORTAM: "Annan: June is an appropriate date"

    VOLKAN: "A historic visit"

    YENI DEMOKRAT: "Historic meeting"

    KIBRISLI: "Annan insists" and with the subtitle "Confidential sources claim that the fate of the direct talks will be known during the dinner."

    YENIDUZEN: "A historic meeting, Annan, Clerides and Denktas meeting".

    [03] Annan in Cyprus to salvage direct talks process

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (15.5.02) reports the following: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Cyprus on Tuesday in an effort to rescue floundering peace talks and spare the European Union the daunting prospect of taking in a divided island in 2004.

    In separate talks and over dinner with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides, Annan, the first U.N. secretary-general to visit Cyprus since a 1979 trip to the island by Kurt Waldheim, will underline that he wants a breakthrough in the peace talks by June.

    "I have come to the island to highlight the great responsibility the two leaders have; to urge them to forge ahead with a shared sense of urgency and a willingness to compromise in earnest," Annan told reporters on his arrival to Cyprus.

    Annan said he would stress to the two leaders that they have a great responsibility in seizing a historic opportunity and that the June target date was feasible.

    Annan said he would tell the two leaders they needed to make a major breakthrough by the end of June, a deadline Clerides and Denktas had set themselves for making progress.

    "I want to discuss with them how they can move forward more effectively so as to resolve the main issues by the end of June," he said.

    Annan said he was concerned "by the slow progress, as are members of the Security Council. Decisive progress is needed in the coming period."

    A source familiar with consultations said if the June target was missed, it would prompt a shift in the U.N. role at the Nicosia peace talks from that of largely behind-the-scenes facilitator to something more substantive.

    Neither side could dismiss the prospect of confronting a U.N. peace plan if their own efforts failed, one analyst said.

    In an interview with the Turkish CNN-Turk private TV station hours after Annan's arrival to Cyprus, Clerides insisted on his "cantonal federation" proposal and accused Denktas of demanding recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state and insisting on a two-state confederation.

    Clerides stressed that in his cantonal federation settlement plans there would be a central government with limited powers. He said the two cantons would have vast autonomy and the central government will not be able to intervene in domestic affairs of either two cantons.

    Furthermore, Clerides underlines that Denktas not only objects this cantonal federation proposal, but he also rejects a demand for abrogation of the 1960 treaty of guarantee and of alliance, which together with Britain gave Turkey guarantor status with right to unilateral intervention.

    Turkish Cypriot Denktas, on the other hand, has been accusing Clerides of trying to make Turkish Cypriots a "minority" and of trying to solve the four-decade-old problem on the island by making some "cosmetic changes" in the 1960 Constitution.

    "This is not a constitutional exercise," he underlined recently.

    Denktas has been calling creation of a new "Partnership State" on Cyprus with a weak central government with international identity and two sovereign states. Denktas also has been calling for up to 15 years transition period before the so-called three freedoms -- the rights to own property, movement, and settlement-- could be freely exercised.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader has also been stressing that the Cyprus settlement must include a clause for "zeroing of property rights" either through exchange or compensation and objects return into northern Turkish Cypriot territory any substantial number of Greek Cypriots that could hurt the "bi-zonal and bi-communal" nature of the settlement.

    Clerides infuriorated Denktas last month by making a 24 percent land offer and a demand to resettle some 100,000 of the estimated 160,000 Greek Cypriot refugees in northern Turkish Cypriot territory.

    According to diplomatic sources in separate talks with the two leaders and at a dinner he would host for the two on Wednesday evening, Annan is anticipated to pressure the two leaders to adopt a more flexible attitude in the talks and speed up the process to meet a June deadline they had pledged at the Jan. 16 meeting to produce a framework accord.

    The visit of Annan to the island also coincides with a heated debate among the coalition partners in Ankara over Cyprus.

    The latest dispute in the coalition surfaced when at a dinner hosted by an Istanbul businessmen earlier this month, the coalition's junior partner Motherland Party (MP) chairman Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz came up with a statement demanding Denktas to be more forthcoming in the Cyprus talks.

    While Denktas responded to the statement of Yilmaz saying the deputy prime minister "who apparently has not read carefully enough the latest Turkish Cypriot proposals" must communicate either directly or through the Turkish Foreign Ministry what flexibility he expected from the Turkish Cypriot side the coalition's senior partner Nationalist Movement Party (NMP) leader Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli, without naming Yilmaz, said some EU-membership aspirants were making comments without knowing what they were indeed talking about, and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Denktas did every possible flexibility, made substantive offers but the Greek Cypriot side has not replied to any of them and if that continued the two peoples of Cyprus would part ways.

    In the latest episode of this heated discussion in the coalition, Yilmaz, commenting to a group of foreign reporters accredited to the Geneva office of the U.N., said he was concerned Cypriot membership without a settlement would damage candidate Turkey's relations with the EU. "That could heat up the situation in Cyprus, which has been at peace for many years."

    He repeated his suggestion that Denktas could do more. "He has made a big opening, but it is not sufficient. It is a fact that the Greek Cypriot side has not responded. But Denktas should therefore be more forthcoming. That is the only way to make the Europeans more balanced and fair; if, without waiting for the Greek Cypriots to respond, we have made more balanced offers, that would be recognized by the EU," he said.

    The concern of Yilmaz, according to many domestic political observers in Ankara, stem from a consideration that if Turkey "missed the European Union train" this year and failed to undertake few more reforms and put Cyprus on a track of resolution and thus convince the EU to declare a date for the start of accession talks with Ankara, Turkey may find itself in the cold and wait another fifty years for a suitable conjecture.

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