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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-05-21

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 PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 94/02 21.05.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] MEHMET ALI BAYAR TAKES OVER AS CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC TURKEY PARTY
  • [02] Denktas briefs the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders on the developments regarding the Cyprus problem
  • [03] Rauf Denktas's advisor assesses Kofi Annan's visit to Cyprus in an interview with Selim Sayari of NTV
  • [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

  • [04] MEHMET ALI BIRAND: CYPRUS AS IMPORTANT AS ECEVIT'S HEALTH

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] MEHMET ALI BAYAR TAKES OVER AS CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC TURKEY PARTY

    Turkish Daily News (20.05.02) reports that looking firm and calm, young Mehmet Ali Bayar took the helm of the Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) from former Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin, without a hitch.

    The party delegates elected Bayar, who resigned from his post at the Turkish embassy in Washington, as their new leader, seeing him as the opportunity for transition.

    With their new leader, the DTP, a small center-right party, aims to become one of the country's leading parties, amid rumors that Turkey will go for snap polls before the end of this year.

    According to public opinion polls, Turkey's two main center-right parties, junior coalition partner the Motherland Party (ANAP) and the True Path Party (DYP), have been witnessing a decrease in their vote capacity.

    Political observers have commented that the results of the April 1999 elections revealed that ANAP and the DYP have begun to lose the support of their grassroots. Since then, ANAP's vote capacity has rapidly decreased, and it may fail to pass the 10 percent national threshold necessary for a party to enter Parliament. Meanwhile, according to a public opinion poll conducted by the Sonar Company, the DYP would obtain 14.45 percent of the votes if the elections were held today.

    In this atmosphere, Bayar is expected to become the choice of the classical center-right grassroots. However, his lack of experience in active political life, the years spent in the United States while the balances in Turkey were changing rapidly due to the economic crisis, may hinder Bayar's chances of coming to power.

    The Sonar poll revealed that the Turkish people do not recognize Bayar, over 61 percent of those surveyed, in fact. Some 24.6 percent believe that Bayar will be successful, while 4.8 percent have confidence in him.

    Addressing delegates at a congress on Saturday, Bayar promised to stay away from the populist policies favored by generations of Turkish politicians and which, analysts believe, are partly to blame for Turkey's deep crisis, which shrunk the economy by more than 9 percent last year.

    "I will never promise things that I cannot deliver, I will never lie," he said.

    Sezgin and others formed the party in 1997 after splitting from former Premier Tansu Ciller's True Path Party. The party has no seats in parliament.

    Bayar is no stranger to politics. He was once a foreign policy adviser to former president Suleyman Demirel, while his father, Nuri Bayar, was one the statesman's closest associates.

    [02] Denktas briefs the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders on the developments regarding the Cyprus problem

    KIBRIS (21.05.02) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas briefed yesterday the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders on the recent developments regarding the Cyprus problem.

    Before the meeting Mr Denktas claimed that the Turkish side is not running away from the talks and the agreement. The Turkish Cypriot leader alleged that those who say that the Greek Cypriot side made some steps do not take into consideration that in exchange to these steps the Greek Cypriots want the Turkish Cypriots to give up their "sovereignty".

    Furthermore, Huseyin Angolemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP) described as "right method" the fact that the UN Secretary - General asked the two sides to give up the terminology they have been using until now. He argued that the Greek Cypriot side must abandon its demand regarding the return of all the Greek Cypriots refugees to their homes, whereas the Turkish Cypriot side must not insist on the terminology especially on the issues of the status and the sovereignty, but it has to begin discussing the content of these.

    On the other hand, Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), said that despite the fact that Mr Denktas alleges that he achieved to extend the date for finding a solution from June to December, the situation is not as the Turkish Cypriot leader describes it. Mr Talat expressed the opinion that there will be "a great loss of time", because June was not a date defined by chance, but during this month the EU accession talks of Cyprus will be concluded. Mr Talat noted that the talks between Cyprus and the EU will conclude in June, that it could be said that an intermediate protocol could be added to the agreement with the EU in case a solution was reached, but the Turkish side made no preparations towards this direction.

    [03] Rauf Denktas's advisor assesses Kofi Annan's visit to Cyprus in an interview with Selim Sayari of NTV

    The Turkish Cypriot leader's advisor, Prof. Mumtaz Soysal on 16.05.02 gave the following interview to Selim Sayari of NTV television:

    SAYARI: Mr professor how does the Turkish side evaluate the visit of Mr Kofi Annan?

    SOYSAL: Things here are slowly slowly entering a new rut. Instead of trying to achieve a just, viable and peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, the issue is being turned into a game of achieving the quick and final decision for the accession of the Greek Cypriot side to the EU. I think that before us there is the desire to get organized and come to our goal post with tricky passes and score a goal against us. Before this organized play we are trying to kick the ball away and avoid a goal. As you have certainly realized, the issue has been turned into a 'June or end of the year' question. It is demanded from us to reach an agreement on the core issues by the end of June. Why is there such a hurry? Because the point is approaching when the EU will decide for the full accession of the Greek Cypriot side. Therefore, by pressing us hard they are telling us to hastily reach an agreement. Of course Mr Denktas has said this many times. This is not something, which can be done very easily. Of course we support a solution, but we also support that this is a serious effort and that the talks should continue until the end of the year. This is the situation.

    SAYARI: Sir, there is an expression, which Kofi Annan used during his press conference. He said: 'Progress can be achieved until June but this does not mean that an agreement will be signed in June'. Could we say at this point that the time pressure has been eased and that the goal of December could be set?

    SOYSAL: Of course, the Turkish side objected to the issue's being put in this way. Do not press, we said. Let us reach an agreement on the principles whenever this could be done. We say that it is wrong to set as target the end June, something that could not be done. We shall see what happens by the end of June. However, we think that this is not something, which could be easily realized, because the behaviours, the general approaches are very different. Overcoming these problems depends on the flexibility of the other side on a number of issues. As long as this does not happen, we could not retreat from the main issues. Therefore, we are facing a difficult problem. This is not something, which could be solved within a few weeks or one and a half months.

    SAYARI: Mr Soysal, before the UN Secretary - General Kofi Annan came to the island the UN Security Council issued a statement criticizing the Turkish side and accused Denktas of not cooperating enough. This of course created the impression that the Secretary-General would come to the island in order to exert pressure. What happened? Did he come to exert pressure? Did anything happen towards the Turkish side? What is the climate?

    SOYSAL: This may have been the wish of those who wanted him to come here. However, his visit here was very useful from our point of view, because we think that he reached some conclusions by assessing first hand the positions here. He learned here that things are not exactly the way they are telling him and that some other opinions are being put. As far as we are concerned this has been a good visit. A second benefit from this is that Mr Annan's becoming more familiar with the issue has been possible. From now on he will look with critical eye on everything they tell him on this issue. However, of course he should have referred to a date by which the problem should be solved. This has been asked from him. Despite that he was told that this was not realistic, during his departure at the airport he talked about both June and the end of the year. He tried to satisfy both sides in a typical way. However, he did not give the impression of accusing or exerting pressure on the Turkish side and really the impression we have until now - and I wish we are not proved wrong - is that this Secretary - General shows towards us a much warmer approach than the other Secretary - Generals. He has a more human approach and as he is a man coming from a Third World country, he tries to understand the position of a side, which is oppressed. Our sympathy towards him increased. I wish that we shall not be disappointed. SAYARI: Sir, from what you said it seems that the Turkish side is satisfied. I would like to ask the following on this point. You had the opportunity to explain in details the Turkish positions to the Secretary - General. There was a two hours meeting. Is there any opinion, which he has adopted and accepted as a parameter?

    SOYSAL: No, he does not want to seem as if he has accepted the positions of the one side as such a parameter. Of course he looked with sympathy and understanding at some of our approaches. And this has satisfied us. SAYARI: Even today there are some points, which attracted our attention during the press conference of Kofi Annan. Whereas before they were referring to constitutional arrangements, now the Secretary - General said 'I talk about the core issues, the administration'. He talked about sovereign lands. He used the expression territory (Tr. note: territory as spelled). When you add all these up what result do you get? For example, could we say that the UN, by trying to keep equal distance between the two sides, are giving the message to the sides: 'reach an agreement and we will respect it'?

    SOYSAL: No, at the end of a certain period of time, a rather long period, they may think that they too have to do something to push a little the two sides towards a result. From this point of view they wanted to try a path, that is they wanted to say: We wonder, if we brought a solution package or something like this, would this be of any assistance to you? This is the point we are concerned with. That is, it seems to us that it would be wrong and tantamount to interpreting differently the mission of good offices, if the UN puts solutions before us and officially brings these onto the table before the two sides as suggestions. That is why we were not enthusiastic about this. And the Secretary -General most probably could reach the conclusion that, if this will be done, it could be done in a special manner. From this point of view, if he was thinking to undertake such an initiative, it could not be said that this was successful.


    [B] COMMENTS AND EDITORIALS

    [04] MEHMET ALI BIRAND: CYPRUS AS IMPORTANT AS ECEVIT'S HEALTH

    Writing in his regular column "Opinion" of Turkish Daily News (21.05.02) Mehmet Ali Birand calls on the Turkish leaders to hurry for a solution to the Cyprus problem. The full text of the commentary is as follows:

    "Prime Minister Ecevit's illness has abruptly changed the country's political agenda. No one has eyes for anything else. Nothing gets discussed other than political gossip, an early election and the leadership scenarios. One cannot imagine a more unfortunate development. The country has been left without a captain. The other coalition leaders keep saying that nothing will change, but they cannot convince anyone.

    Yet, extremely important decisions have to be made in the next few weeks and months. The country is at an historic turning point. As we take this turn, we must focus our entire attention and energy on the Cyprus issue. If we failed to do that we would be missing an opportunity which would be hard to get once again in the future.

    We would be doing our country an injustice.

    Rather than losing time with conspiracy theories, leadership struggles and early election scenarios, it is a must for us to debate Cyprus. I feel like grabbing all the politicians in Ankara by their throats and telling them, "Come on, it is high time you woke up!" I feel like knocking on the doors of all the big guns in the media, the editors-in-chief, the TV executives, and shake them, saying, "For Heaven's Sake, make a move. The boat is about to leave. Take charge of the developments."

    Those harping on the "homeland and nation and patriotism" theme, those making nationalistic speeches, may not be aware of the fact that by remaining silent on this issue, by remaining indifferent, they are doing this country the greatest harm.

    In the future they will regret it bitterly when it is too late. Sadly, the same people will, in the future, be stoning the wrong devil.

    A few courageous steps to be taken by Denktas and Clerides alike, would rid Turkey of this major problem.

    The differences between the two sides are not as big as they seem to be

    Besides, in reality, the differences between Denktas and Clerides are not as big as they seem to be when viewed from afar.

    In Cyprus, Denktas wants a new state to be founded by two sovereign parties in what amounts to a confederation. In other words, he wants the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' ("TRNC") sovereignty to be acknowledged. He wants the "TRNC" to have "constituent state" status. He envisages a system under which these two constituent, sovereign states would content themselves with ceding to the central government only limited powers, while they would each govern themselves. In the future, the two sides would intensify the cooperation between them should they desire it.

    Denktas' insistence on this point is based on the following argument: "If one day a fight breaks out once again, the "TRNC" would declare its independence and move out. Unlike today, it would be able to live without any international embargo being imposed on it."

    He does not accept the argument that in a Cyprus that would join the European Union, no fresh fight would be likely to break out from now on. Clerides, on the other hand, believes that rather than founding a new Cyprus state, this effort should be limited to making some structural alterations to the state established in 1960. He is suggesting that the "TRNC" be a partner in the central government with limited powers, that the Turkish side be granted political equality and that the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot cantons exercise their sovereignty on a domestic basis in what amounts to a federation. Both the United Nations and the EU share this idea.

    A compromise can be reached between these two positions. New formulas can be devised, creating the kind of solutions that would allay the Turkish Cypriots' and the Greek Cypriots' worries.

    But the Cyprus issue cannot be left unsolved with only one step away from the "finale."

    If Ankara continues to be so confused and so distracted, one cannot find a way out. Cyprus would sink on its own and the lack of a solution would become permanent.

    That would do us more harm than anybody else.

    We would pay a much higher price in the future

    Over the next few months Turkey will be holding in its hand major bargaining chips. Cyprus is on the verge of becoming a full member of the EU and it does not want to lose that chance. To achieve that, it is taking important steps -- and there are further steps it can take. The point is, the card Turkey currently holds in its hand will not retain its current value forever. The moment Cyprus gets admitted into the EU as a full member at the end of the current year, Turkey's chips will lose their value considerably since there will be few things left to bargain for.

    What would happen after that?

    If Turkey wants to close the door to Turkey's full membership in the EU, in addition to having the Cyprus problem unsolved, that is something else. If, on the other hand, Turkey will still have EU full membership as a target, that is, if Turkey will be knocking on the EU's door one day, Turkey will see on that day that a change has taken place. Turkey will see that this time it is the Greek Cypriot side that has gathered the valuable bargaining chips in its hands. Since the Greek Cypriots would be in a more powerful position they will attempt to make the Turkish side a much higher price than they would today.

    A lack of a solution in Cyprus has the potential to cast a shadow on Turkey in the 2000s. Once the Greek Cypriots become a full member of the EU, it would be a pipe dream for the "TRNC" to gain an independent state status. In the eyes of the international community, the "TRNC" would continue to have the "Cypriot territory under Turkey's occupation" status. Since they would become consistently impoverished, the people of "TRNC" would start to migrate. Ankara would have to pay billions of lira from its own pocket to keep 200,000 people alive.

    After a while, both the Turkish public and the Turkish Cypriot public would start to resent that hurtful situation.

    We all must see the realities. Let us not deceive ourselves. If we do we will be sorry in the future."

    KV/X.CHR.


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