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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-08-20

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.157/02 20.08.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish Grand National Assembly Deputy Speaker calls on Turkey to ask the U.S. to recognize the pseudostate in bargains over an operation against Iraq
  • [02] Mesut Yilmaz left for Denmark
  • [03] Written reply by Ali Erel to Rauf Denktas regarding the Common Vision declared by the 86 organizations
  • [04] Dervis and Baykal met yesterday; Erbakan will be independent candidate in the elections
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] Columnist in Hurriyet alleges that incidents similar to the ones that prompted Turkey to invade and occupy Cyprus are taking place in Kirkuk

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish Grand National Assembly Deputy Speaker calls on Turkey to ask the U.S. to recognize the pseudostate in bargains over an operation against Iraq

    Turkish Daily News (19/08/02) publishes an interview with Murat Sokmenoglu, Nationalist Action Party (NAP) deputy, and Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

    Following are the replies by Mr. Sokmenoglu to questions on Cyprus: Question:

    Following the elections, there will be tough issues on the agenda, like the Iraq operation and regional war dangers and the membership negotiations with the EU. This situation necessitates very experienced and well-informed political staff. Do you thing that the parties will be more careful in selecting candidates?

    Answer:

    I definitely believe in this. Staff that will solve the problems of the 21st century are required. However, we should not forget that it is not adequate to pass laws solely. We passed 385 laws in this period but we had to amend most of them a couple of times. We have seen that it is wrong to pass daily laws without making 10-year or 20-year projections. Parliament should choose a new vision and mission in the new period. I am sure that parties will be very careful on this issue. After the elections, the Cyprus issue will come to the agenda more frequently. The Cyprus issue is very important for Turkey. U.S. President Bush has some plans for Iraq.

    Question:

    Can Turkey make the recognition of Northern Cyprus as a bargaining issue in an Iraq operation? Can the U.S. help the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus be recognized by the world in return for Turkey's support in an Iraq operation?

    Answer: Recognition of Cyprus by the U.S. should come to the agenda. The EU countries should also see this fact. I believe that unlikable events that may emerge after the accession of Southern Cyprus to the EU will also bother the EU.

    [02] Mesut Yilmaz left for Denmark

    NTV Television (19/08/02) broadcast that in a statement issued before he departed for Copenhagen on Monday, Mesut Y?lmaz, who is also the State Minister Responsible for EU Relations, said he would be meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller on Tuesday. Denmark currently holds the EU's presidency.

    In his statement he said that he aimed to present information during his visit on Turkey's progress in implementing reforms required to meet the EU's membership criteria.

    "Rasmussen earlier paid a visit to Ankara in April. At that time, he told us that those reforms should be adopted immediately, otherwise it was impossible to record progress and set a starting date for accession negotiations at the Copenhagen Summit in December," Y?lmaz said in his statement.

    "Turkey has taken the necessary steps. Now, Turkey expects the EU to set a date for opening of accession negotiations at the Copenhagen Summit. So the aim of my visit is to inform the EU Term President Denmark of these reforms and convey the Turkish government's expectations from the Copenhagen Summit," Mr. Yilmaz added.

    [03] Written reply by Ali Erel to Rauf Denktas regarding the Common Vision declared by the 86 organizations

    KIBRIS (20/08/02) reports that Ali Erel, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, sent yesterday a written reply to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas regarding the "Common Vision" declared by 86 Turkish Cypriot civilian organizations, which expressed their support to the solution of the Cyprus problem and the accession of Cyprus to the EU.

    In his reply Mr Erel noted that the number of the organizations, which have expressed their support to the "Common Vision" increased to 90 and added that 90 % of the Turkish Cypriots share their views, which are not expressed for the first time on 8 August, when the "Common Vision" was announced.

    Referring to the written statement of Mr Denktas regarding the vision, Mr Erel noted: "If the aim of your replying letter was to inform the Turkish Cypriot public opinion, we, the 86 organizations, are the public opinion. If your aim was to address the public opinion of Turkey, our need too is the discussion of the non-solution of the Cyprus problem within the public opinion in Turkey. We believe that 'The solution in Cyprus and the accession to the EU' will benefit the people of Turkey".

    Mr Erel adds also that their views do not weaken the negotiator, but on the contrary they strengthen him because these are "the wishes of the community he represents and these wishes are expressed by a very large section of the society". Mr Erel reiterated the position that the guarantees of Turkey must continue in case a solution to the Cyprus problem is found.

    Referring to the economy of the pseudostate, Mr Erel says that the Chamber of Commerce is one of the organizations, which for more than a year, exerts efforts to improve the economic situation of the Turkish Cypriots and submitted a report with suggestions on the issue to the pseudogovernment, but they received no answer. Mr Erel repeated that the economic crisis in the occupied areas has created an unbearable situation, as no foreign or Turkish investors go there and thousands of Turkish Cypriots go the free areas to earn their living. These problems could be overcome by opening the economy to the outside world, that is, by "the solution of the Cyprus problem and the accession to the EU", continues the Turkish Cypriot businessman.

    Furthermore, Mr Erel notes that the non-solution cannot be a solution in Cyprus and that the solution must be found by the end of 2002. "Otherwise, both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots will pay a very heavy price", he goes on adding that Turkey wishes and expects the Turkish Cypriots "to open the way towards the future" by finding a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem without putting into danger their existence.

    Mr Erel also states that equality could be ensured with political equality in the central state, the separate majority in the issues concerning both sides and the right of veto to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot heads of the states in taking decisions in the central state. Mr Erel notes also that they agree with Mr Denktas' views on the issue of sovereignty.

    Explaining his views on the territorial issue and the exchange of properties, Mr Erel said that the territorial issue can be solved through barter and compensation, adding that the details should be determined following the work to be conducted by technocrats.

    [04] Dervis and Baykal met yesterday; Erbakan will be independent candidate in the elections

    Turkish mainland CUMHURIYET (20/08/02) reports that former Minister responsible for the Economy Kemal Dervis met yesterday with the leader of the Republican Peoples' Party (RPP), Deniz Baykal at RPP headquarters in Ankara.

    According to the paper, during the meeting Dervis bargained with Baykal on the issue of uniting the Turkish left for the 3 November elections. No decision was announced after the meeting.

    Meanwhile, Turkish mainland SABAH (19/08/02) reports that former leader of the pro-Islamic Prosperity Party (PP), Necmettin Erbakan described as "soap lather" Racep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Justice and Development Party (JDP), which seems to be the most powerful party in Turkey, according to some public opinion polls. Mr Erbakan accused also Kemal Dervis of following a "Nasrettin Hoca" policy. (It is noted that Nasrettin Hoca is a famous hero in some Turkish anecdotes).

    According to SABAH, Mr Erbakan will participate in the 3 November elections as an independent candidate.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] Columnist in Hurriyet alleges that incidents similar to the ones that prompted Turkey to invade and occupy Cyprus are taking place in Kirkuk

    Hurriyet newspaper (18/08/02) publishes the following commentary by Murat Bardakci under the title: "We became aware of Kirkuk 80 years after we lost Iraq":

    "Ankara for the first time reacted strongly with regard to Kirkuk more than 80 years after it lost Iraq. Ankara warned Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) Leader Mesut Barzani, who declared Kirkuk as a Kurdish city, "that he would stand to suffer" because of this. Kirkuk, which is only a couple of hours' distance from our borders and where up to one million Turks live, was felt as if it is "the furthermost city in a far country" for over 80 years. Moreover, this city has earlier become the scene of bitter experiences and massacres. Well, this was the short story of the past of the Turks living in Kirkuk after we lost Iraq...

    Thus, Ankara displayed a tough reaction to Mesut Barzani's endeavour to declare Kirkuk as a "Kurdish city." Reacting to the incident, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned: "Turkey will absolutely oppose the idea of placing Musul and Kirkuk under Kurdish control. Barzani, who has begun to create tension with Turkey, stands to suffer because of this." With this statement, Turkey for the first time displayed this kind of an urgent reaction with regard to Kirkuk over 80 years after it lost Iraq. This was the first time that Turkey raised its voice regarding the issue. Kirkuk and its vicinity, where more than one million Turks live, has always appeared as the furthermost city in a far country for us. The word "Kirkuk" bears a different meaning for us when it is spelled together with Musul, that is, when it is expressed through "Musul and Kirkuk."

    We used to feel sad every time we used to remember the lost territories after uttering the expression "Musul and Kirkuk." This sadness stems from the fact that we lost control over the oil beds found in those territories and that we do not possess the riches found there any more. However, the word "Kirkuk" alone did not usually remind us of anything. Well, Kirkuk, which is only a couple of hours' distance from our borders in the southeast and where more than a million Turks live, has appeared very far from us, but has only been the scene of bitter experiences and suffering. Incidents whereby numerous lives have been lost have followed one another and Kirkuk has been turned into poison for the Turks for over 80 years. The incidents that have taken place in Kirkuk have become more tragic than the incidents that took place in Cyprus in the sixties.

    Ever since its monarchy era, Iraq implemented a long term "Arabization" policy in Kirkuk. This policy became tougher when the Ba'th regime became dominant in Baghdad. Arab settlement centres were set up in Turkish regions and Turks were gradually banned from buying and selling property. The districts affiliated with Kirkuk were linked to other provinces, thus reducing the city's area by 50 percent. The Turkish population was subjected to a phased migration and was forced to migrate to the country's southern regions and in the vicinity of Basra where only Arabs live. Meanwhile, Saddam Huseyin changed Kirkuk's name to "al-Ta'mim."

    Meanwhile, the population proportions were also falsified. Although the Turks constitute 10 percent of Iraq's population, the Iraqi authorities claim that the Turks constitute only two percent of the population. Thus, given that they claim that only 400,000 Turks live in Iraq, whose total population stands at 20 million, the correct number of the Turks living in Iraq should be about one million.

    We, for our part, did not make a single objection in this regard due to our economic concerns or due to our carelessness and ignored the matter by saying that all the events taking place in Kirkuk are Iraq's concern. Here is a short history of the tragedies that the Turks in Kirkuk encountered after Turkey lost its control over Iraq:

    1924, the Levi storming: This event took place on 4 May 1924. The Iraqi soldiers stormed the houses of Turks without any reason and killed more than 100 Turks.

    1946, the Gavurbagi incidents: A group of Turkish workers staged a strike in Kirkuk on 12 July 1946 demanding better working conditions. Soldiers marched against the strikers and opened fire at these workers with automatic weapons, killing a number of Turks.

    The 1959 Massacre: This event took place on 14 July 1959, the first anniversary of the toppling of the Iraqi monarchy and the declaring of a republic. This was the largest massacre of Turks in history that took place in Kirkuk. Molla Mustafa Barzani, Mesut Barzani's father, had returned from exile a couple of weeks earlier. Barzani's men stormed into a Turkish coffeehouse and killed a Turkish man.

    Following the growing of tension, armed units were dispatched to the city. A curfew was imposed and a siege was laid on Kirkuk from all sides. Storming the Turkish homes in a surprise move, Barzani's peshmergas and the Iraqi soldiers attacked the houses belonging to the Turks. A massacre was carried out in the city following orders issued by General 'Abd al-Karim Kasim, the Iraqi dictator in those days. Hundreds of Turks were killed and the workplaces belonging to Turks were plundered. This terror lasted for three days.

    The 1980 executions: The prominent Turkish intellectuals were executed en masse after being hastily tried in a secret operation in response to orders issued by Saddam Huseyin. The executions continued intermittently until the Gulf War in 1990.

    The 1991 Tuzhurmatu assault: The Gulf War had come to an end during this incident. The Kurds living in northern Iraq revolted against Iraq. Units affiliated with Saddam Huseyin coming from Baghdad first entered Tuzhurmatu town in Kirkuk and opened fire at a large number of civilians. Turkish archaeological structures hundreds of years old were grounded during this operation.

    Fire was opened at Turkish refugees migrating toward the Turkish borders in the north and immediately thereafter Kirkuk was fired on from helicopters. A massacre worse than that in Kirkuk took place in Altinkopru town, situated between Kirkuk and Erbil. Fire was opened at hundreds of Turks from Kirkuk from all ages on the grounds that the Turks revolted against the authorities.

    Well, the Turks in Kirkuk lived in this kind of a horror for a period of over 80 years. The nightmare is continuing. I am sure that a number of individuals will describe my writing as "chauvinism" and "illusion" and will make comments that are full of concepts such as "change," "globalisation," "geo-political balances," or "Middle East-Caucasus axis."

    However, let us not forget the following: These concepts are never uttered in our neighbouring countries, particularly in Iraq. Consequently, the venture of someone named Mesut Barzani to claim that Kirkuk is a "Kurdish town" means nothing but a "global annihilation" for the one million Turks living in the vicinity of Kirkuk.

    Subtitle: Let Us Not Forget the Following Three Articles

    The establishment of an autonomous or an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq and the raising once again of the future of Musul and Kirkuk on the agenda reminded me of the three Articles of a famous agreement regarding this issue, mainly, Articles 62, 63, and 64 of the Sevres Agreement about the establishment of an independent Kurdish state... I am mentioning these three Articles here just for your information:

    Article 62: A meeting will be held in Istanbul within a period of six months after putting in force the said agreement on the autonomy of the regions that will be determined in the future to the east of the eastern border with Armenia and to the north of the border between Turkey, on the one hand, and Syria and Iraq, on the other and where Kurds constitute the majority of the population. A three-member committee will thereafter be set up. Each of the three members of this committee will be appointed by the British, French, and Italian governments respectively. Should the committee fail to reach a solution with regard to a certain problem with unanimity of votes, each of the three members of the committee will refer the problem in question to his respective government...

    Article 63: The Turkish government agrees from now to accept and implement any decision made by this or that committee envisaged in Article 62 within a period of three months after this decision is conveyed to it.

    Article 64: Turkey agrees from now that should the Kurds living in the regions determined in Article 62, refer, a year after the said agreement is put into force, to the League of Nations asking for independence in the regions where the Kurds constitute a majority and should the League of Nations reach the conclusion that the Kurds are worthy of independence and advise Turkey to recognize the Kurds' independence, Turkey would heed to this advice and relinquish all its rights in these regions.

    The process whereby Turkey relinquishes its rights will become the subject of discussion during a special agreement that will be reached between the allied countries and Turkey. The allied countries will not oppose in any way the desire of the Kurds living in the Musul Province sector of Kurdistan to join the independent Kurdish state with their free will during the process whereby Turkey relinquishes its rights in these regions."


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