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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-11-20

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.221/02 20.11.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Bulent Arınc elected as the new parliamentary speaker in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
  • [02] Denktas sends letter to Annan asks for 'Flexibility' on Cyprus plan.
  • [03] Ferdi Sabit Soyer called the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders to go to New York if Denktas cannot return.
  • [04] Cyprus: Eroglu-led NUP finds Annan plan no basis for negotiations.
  • [05] The platform of "This is Our Country" will organize a demonstration.
  • [06] Weston meets Foreign Ministry's Ziyal, notes US support for Annan plan.
  • [07] Outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit tries to torpedo Annan plan.
  • [08] The Turkish President Sezer said will ask Bush for support over EU, ESDP, Cyprus at Prague.
  • [09] Valuable religious items were stolen from Ayia Triada church.
  • [10] Turkish Prime Minister Gul affirms NATO, EU ties.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Mehmet Ali Birand: "Erdogan has surprised Athens".
  • [12] Turkish column criticizes JDP's Erdogan for ignorance on foreign policy issues.
  • [13] Turkish Cypriot columnist supports that Turkey should not be given a date in Copenhagen even if it accepts the Anan plan for Cyprus.
  • [14] Turkish Cypriot columnist says Ankara and Denktas could not contribute to the negotiation procedure in Cyprus.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Bulent Arınc elected as the new parliamentary speaker in the Turkish Grand National Assembly

    NTV television (19.10.02) reported that Bulent Arınc of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) has been voted in as the new speaker in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

    Arınc collected 369 votes, two more than required in the first round ballot, to be elected to this post. His only opponent, Onder Sav, of the Republican People's Party (RPP) obtained 173 of the 546 votes cast.

    In his first address to the parliament after the results of the ballot were announced, Arınc thanked those who had given him their vote and trust, spoke of the historic importance of the position of speaker and praised Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and of the parliament.

    [02] Denktas sends letter to Annan asks for 'Flexibility' on Cyprus plan

    According to VATAN newspaper (20.11.02), Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas whose medical treatment in New York continues, sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday and ask for flexibility regarding the Cyprus plan.

    According to the statement made by Denktas´ advisor Ergun Olgun, the letter which was prepared in New York in line with the instructions of Denktas was sent to Annan last night.

    Olgun said that TRNC President Denktas has asked for ``flexibility`` in his letter to Annan saying that the necessary consultations were not carried out both in Turkey and in the occupied area due to Denktas' health problems, and due to the on-going studies of the new government in Turkey.

    Noting that they are in contact with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative to Cyprus Alvaro De Soto and with U.N. Deputy Secretary General Sir Kieran Prendergast, Olgun said that Denktas continued to have telephone contacts with state and government officials in Turkey and the occupied areas.

    Regarding the medical condition of Denktas, Olgun said: ``He responds to the antibiotic treatment. He will be checked and only then it can be possible to say when Denktas will be discharged from hospital. The time, when Denktas can travel will be determined later. ``

    [03] Ferdi Sabit Soyer called the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders to go to New York if Denktas cannot return

    According to YENIDUZEN newspaper (20.11.02), the enlarged party assembly of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) convened last night to evaluate the UN plan.

    The General Secretary of RTP, Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, who was chairing the meeting, due to the absence of party leader Mehmet Ali Talat abroad, said that they must go though this important process and make a good use of this opportunity.

    Soyer has even proposed that in case the Turkish Cypriot leader cannot return to the occupied area due to his health problem, the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties must go to New York in order to evaluate the UN plan. He also added that the Turkish Cypriot side is in a position to make an urgent evaluation of the plan.

    [04] Cyprus: Eroglu-led NUP finds Annan plan no basis for negotiations

    According to Illegal Bayrak Radio (20.11.02) the National Unity Party [NUP] has announced that it does not accept the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations. It said, however, that it is in favour of going on with the direct Cyprus talks.

    The NUP convened its party assembly last night and assessed the Annan plan. In a statement after the meeting, Dervis Eroglu, party chairman and so-called prime minister, said that for a new partnership to be lasting and just, the Turkish Cypriot side insists on certain basic points that must be included in the framework agreement. These are the recognition of the pseudostate, the confirmation of the political equality of the two founding states at all levels, the continuation of bi-zonality without changes, and the continuation of Turkey's effective and active guarantees, he said, adding: "We observe that the UN document foresees a formula that is far from satisfying the `TRNC´ in terms of these points."

    Eroglu charged that as it stands today, the UN document is far from being compatible with the proposals defended by the occupied areas. He stressed that it was very wrong on the UN secretary general's part to include maps at this stage. He claimed: "It is very obvious that we cannot set off with such a map which foresees the displacement of some 60,000 to 65,000 of our citizens at a time when we have not reached an agreement on the foundation, structuring, or operation of the partnership that is to be set up." Eroglu alleged that the maps ignored the Turkish Cypriots´ rights and interests.

    [05] The platform of "This is Our Country" will organize a demonstration

    A demonstration for "Peace and Democracy" will be held on 27 November by the platform "This is Our Country", YENIDUZEN (20.11.02) reports.

    The Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Public Servant Union, Mr Ali Seylani, in a short statement yesterday, said that the aim of the demonstration is to cry once more

    that they want "solution, peace, democracy and to join EU".

    [06] Weston meets Foreign Ministry's Ziyal, notes US support for Annan plan

    According to KIBRIS newspaper (20.11.02) US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston said yesterday that they wanted the sides to work hard, and in a planned and serious way.

    Weston, who is on a sounding out trip to Ankara regarding United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan on Cyprus, met with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal.

    Following the meeting, Weston told reporters that the United States thought that the U.N. plan was a basis for negotiations and to this end, it strongly supported the plan.

    Weston said that the relevant sides continued evaluations on the plan and that many sides accepted that the plan was a basis for negotiations.

    Now, it was time to solve that long term problem, Weston noted and stated that they had to work hard for success.

    When he was reminded that the time that Annan gave to the relevant sides to make their first response to the report ended on Monday, Weston said that they did not like such terminology. Noting that there was a schedule in the plan, Weston said that they were not in favour of talking about a ``deadline. ``

    Weston pointed out that they wanted the sides to work more and evaluate the plan seriously.

    These things could take some time, Weston said. But, he noted, they wanted the sides to finish this job as soon as possible.

    When he was reminded that the Turkish side was not pleased with the map in the plan, Weston said that there were parts in the plan which did not satisfy either of the sides.

    Weston drew attention to the fact that the sides had to make reciprocal concessions. Responding to a question about the new Turkish government, Weston said that they were pleased with the current course of the developments and hoped this would be reflected on the Cyprus question.

    [07] Outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit tries to torpedo Annan plan

    According to MILLIYET (20.11.02), correspondent Fikret Bila, the outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit who ordered Cyprus´ invasion in 1974, while handing over his post to the newly appointed prime minister Abdullah Gul cautioned Gul that he should be very careful with the Annan Plan and its traps. Ecevit suggested that especially the Karpass peninsula should not be returned to the Greek Cypriots because it carries vital strategic importance for Turkey and its security. He said that the peninsula's importance will increase further once the Baku-Ceyhan pipe line is opened. Ecevit further suggested that the map that leaves Karpass peninsula to the Greek Cypriots envisages displacement of 50-60 thousand Turks from their villages was also unacceptable for the Turkish side. Ecevit repeated his known allegation that accepting this plan will endanger the security of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, as well.

    [08] The Turkish President Sezer said he will ask Bush for support over EU, ESDP, and Cyprus at Prague

    RADIKAL newspaper (17.11.02), reports that the NATO Summit which will take place between 21-22 November, 2002 and which will be the scene for US President George W. Bush to drum up support for his Iraq campaign will also see him hold bilateral talks with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. During his last telephone conversation with President Bush, President Sezer had asked for a meeting in Prague and was told "with pleasure". Bush's expectations from Ankara over Iraq are reportedly at least as important as Sezer's expectations over the EU and Cyprus. Ankara has taken the decision to the US initiative at getting a decision on Iraq taken at the NATO Summit.

    The meeting to be held with Bush is said to be of historical importance. This meeting will see the decision made to further advance the strategic relationship and will also see Bush put forward his demands on Iraq and Sezer his demands on EU membership and the UN plan for Cyprus.

    RADIKAL reports that Ankara will use Sezer to seek Bush's support over Cyprus. Sezer will emphasize those parts of the UN plan that bother Turkey and will ask Washington to use its influence over Greece and the UN to have them amended.

    [09] Valuable religious items were stolen from Ayia Triada church

    KIBRIS (20.11.02) reports that the so-called police of the pseudostate arrested yesterday three persons in relation to a robbery that took place on the 3rd of November, at the Ayia Triada church, in the occupied Karpass peninsula.

    According to the paper, unknown persons entered the church and stole valuable religious items from it. Among the stolen religious items were a silver holy communion chalice and its spoon, a golden emboss a New Testament, an incense pot, two silver candlesticks, and an Icon of Jesus Christ.

    Police named the three persons who were arrested as: Adnan Kop, Isef Kirmizigil and Tekin Seyitoglu. The so-called court gave three days of remand order to the three men.

    [10] Turkish Prime Minister Gul affirms NATO, EU ties

    Turkish Daily News (20.11.02) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul used his first major foreign policy speech on Tuesday to reassure Western allies that his new government, rooted in political Islam, saw no changes to Turkey's Western outlook. Gul was formally installed as head of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government on Monday. The party was formed by moderates from a now-banned Islamist party and says it is pro-western and pro-free market.

    "During my tenure, Turkey will maintain its focus on both its strategic partnership with the U.S. and its candidacy for EU membership," Gul, speaking English, told a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul.

    Turkey, a U.S. ally with borders on Iraq, is almost certain to be called on for support by Washington if it opts to attack Iraq.

    Gul's government has made winning a date to start EU membership negotiations at a December EU summit its first foreign policy priority. Success hinges on a range of issues, including pressing talks to settle the division of the island of Cyprus.

    "Turkey awaits a clear and concrete perspective for its membership. At the Copenhagen summit meeting of the EU we rightfully expect a date for the start of accession negotiations," Gul said.

    He also reiterated Turkey's support for a new system that would allow an EU rapid reaction force to make use of NATO resources.

    Negotiations to hammer out a deal on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) have dragged on but diplomats say a deal is close.

    "We believe that the establishment of a NATO-EU strategic partnership and the development of the European Security and Defence Policy are vital," Gul said.

    "If the European Union wishes to be a credible actor in the new security environment its security and defence policy should include...non-EU NATO countries like Turkey," he said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Mehmet Ali Birand: "Erdogan has surprised Athens"

    Mehmet Ali Birand, in his daily column OPINION in the Turkish Daily News (20.11.02) publishes the following commentary:

    As in many other European countries, the public in Greece had defined Erdogan as an Islamist leader. They had expected an inward-looking leader who looked at those around him with suspicion. Probably because the Greek TV channels showed scenes from Erdogan's election campaign, footage showing him with an Ottoman military band, the Islamic motif had been pushed to the foreground.

    Tayyip Erdogan's statements have surprised the Greeks.

    He has not strolled around the "slogans". He has not repeated the age-old formulas. In a crystal clear manner he has said what he could do and what he would not be able to do. He stressed that the Kofi Annan plan can be negotiated:

    1. He established a link between a Cyprus solution and the starting date of the accession talks between the European Union and Turkey. He said that if the EU gave Turkey a specific "date" that would facilitate resolution of the Cyprus issue.

    2. Stressing that there is very little time left, that the EU's Copenhagen summit will take place on Dec. 12, 2002, he suggested that the EU should postpone until its Thessalonica summit in June 2003 both Cyprus's full membership and the giving to Turkey of a "date".

    3. He suggested that the EU start accession talks with Turkey some time during the first half of 2003, that is, during the time Greece will serve as the EU's term president.

    Subtitle: Athens in a difficult position

    Following the meeting, I had a talk -- which lasted for a long time -- with Greek Foreign Minister Papandreou. The impression I have is that the Greeks are hopeful.

    The Simitis-Papandreou duo clearly wants the EU to give Turkey a "date" since that would guarantee Cyprus's full membership in the EU and bring about stability in the Aegean. The problem stems not from them. The problem still stems from some other countries. Those others still cannot come to terms with the need to give Turkey a specific "date". They have still not been able to take a decision on this issue.

    Though Athens is dying for it, Athens cannot accept the Turkish proposal, the suggestion that all these decisions cannot be made until the EU's June 2003 summit meeting in Thessalonica. The Greek public has been so strongly conditioned into expecting the EU's Copenhagen summit to give Cyprus full membership status that even a six-month postponement would cause Simitis to come under serious strain in the realm of domestic politics.

    Still, this is a possibility. From the officials I talked to, I obtained moderate reactions. In other words, I have the impression that this is not altogether impossible.

    If Turkey immediately complies with the remaining part of the Copenhagen criteria and makes a few gestures of goodwill involving the Cyprus issue, I think this will lessen Athens' resistance.

    Subtitle: EU truly pushed into a corner

    Would the Greek Cypriots simply watch on without doing anything when Turkey links the resolution of the Cyprus issue to the "obtaining a 'date' from the EU" issue? No. They have started saying, "Make us a full member of the EU. Then we would make a bigger contribution to the resolution of the Cyprus issue." In other words, they are indicating that they will not enter into a Cyprus negotiation process without obtaining from the EU a full membership decision.

    In other words, the EU has come under strain in all aspects.

    On one hand they want to delay some more time the task of giving Turkey a "date". On the other hand they come under pressure both from the Turks and the Greeks. It seems that while trying to solve the problem by admitting Cyprus as a full member, they have fallen into the trap of their own making and that they now find themselves in an even more difficult situation.

    Subtitle: The mood of the Greek press has not changed

    There is a generally-held conviction to the effect that Tayyip Erdogan is trying to do something but that the army and the Foreign Ministry are resisting these efforts. They make that assessment on the basis of two developments.

    They point out that on the day Erdogan visited Athens, Turkish jets flew over the Aegean, entering the 10-mile air space the Greeks have declared. Also, they say that no Foreign Ministry bureaucrat was permitted to attend Erdogan's tête-à-tête with Simitis. The only person accompanying Erdogan was Yasar Yakis.

    However, the general tendency is that Erdogan has entered into a fight against the conservative circles. This is an erroneous assessment but no one heeds that.

    Indeed, the routine Turkish Air Force flights over the Aegean islands, the flights staged in order to show that the Turkish side does not recognize the 10-mile air space declared unilaterally by the Greeks, could have been postponed for a few days. That had been hardly essential."

    Everybody knows that the most critical three weeks have been entered into. The only thing that is not known is how this knot will be untied.

    [12] Turkish column criticizes JDP's Erdogan for ignorance on foreign policy issues

    According to STAR newspaper (18.11.02) columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on Justice and Development Party (JDP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan's intensive marathon in order to receive a date from the EU for the commencement of the negotiations.

    Europe expected the leader of the party that will establish the government in Turkey to adopt a "definite stand" with regard to Turkey's EU membership and to personally promise to realize reforms.

    Erdogan's short visit to the "TRNC" showed that there is a danger however:

    This is the JDP leader's lack of experience with regard to foreign policy issues.

    Erdogan conducted his first visit to Italy.

    Here his interlocutor was Silvio Berlusconi who is also not very experienced in state affairs. Erdogan and Berlusconi transmitted in the same frequency. They talked without entering the deep and sometimes dark corridors of foreign policy issues.

    Erdogan said: "We want to become EU members and we will realize all the necessary reforms to this end." Berlusconi, in turn, referred to the leaders of the leading EU countries with their first names. He implied that "he is very good friends with all these leaders" and promised to extend support.

    Everything was great up to this point.

    The bells of danger began tolling during Erdogan's visit in the "TRNC", however.

    The press conference that was held immediately after Erdogan landed proved that the JDP leader is not well informed on Cyprus, a "vital" issue in terms of Turkey.

    When answering the questions, Erdogan constantly faltered and made gaffes. This might have stemmed from his lack of experience, from the fact that he is not properly informed on the issues, from the fact that he was exhausted due to the recent intensive tempo, or from the fact that he had been fasting for many hours. Fortunately, the JDP officials took control and the gaffe was corrected within several hours with a new press conference that was held in the "TRNC".

    The "TRNC" visit did not end with a single gaffe, however.

    Without thoroughly examining the solution plan that was submitted by the UN secretary general regarding Cyprus, the JDP leader declared that it is "negotiable." He did this despite of the fact that former Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel held a press conference that ran counter to political ethics in order to warn Turkey that `certain parts of the proposal are not worth negotiating.´

    Erdogan must have been very angry at Gurel because he immediately displayed his `Kasimpasa [a neighbourhood in Istanbul famous for its bullies] ´ attitude and said: `We are not afraid of negotiations.´

    When making this remark, he unconsciously acted just like Sukru Gurel.

    As the leader of the party that will establish the government in Turkey, he issued a `binding´ statement even before Rauf Denktas, the main interlocutor of the Cyprus issue, adopted a definite stand on `whether or not the UN plan is negotiable.´

    This must stem from the fact that he is not quite familiar with the rules of diplomacy because, when making these remarks, he was not even aware that the fact that he accepted the UN plan as `basis for negotiation´ might damage the interests of the Turkish side.

    These are very serious indicators because Erdogan has a very intensive schedule this week.

    Erdogan will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, a `hard-boiled´ politician who is very experienced in Greece's domestic and foreign affairs.

    There is no doubt that the Cyprus issue and the relations between Turkey and Greece will constitute the main items on the agenda of the meeting. In other words, we are talking about very critical issues. Even experienced diplomats, who are highly skilled in negotiations, are very careful in order to avoid making mistakes about such issues. They make utmost efforts to avoid making any commitments that might not serve Turkey's interests, where such issues are concerned.

    And even if Simitis or the Greek officials adopt a cautious stand toward Erdogan, there is no doubt that the Greek press will not be very courteous with him. Similar to the way they have always behaved with Turkish officials, the Greek press members will try to confuse Erdogan and they will try to make him issue a statement that might bind Turkey in the future.

    Later, Erdogan will visit Britain. In his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, two very problematic issues will appear on the agenda: The Cyprus issue and the European Security and Defence Policy.

    Both are very technical issues.

    And if Erdogan displays the performance that he displayed in the "TRNC" in London, Madrid, Dublin, or Brussels, Turkey will face many problems.

    Let us see what tomorrow will bring.

    Maybe, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul who has been appointed by Erdogan will be the one to correct the `binding´ statements issued by the JDP leader.

    [13] Turkish Cypriot columnist supports that Turkey should not be given a date in Copenhagen even if it accepts the Anan plan for Cyprus

    In his regular column "Opinion", Sener Levent of AFRIKA (20.11.02) supports that the European Union should not give Turkey a date for beginning its accession negotiations. On the contrary, he adds, it must give it a "history lesson". Noting that those who demand a date for Turkey ignore the violation of the human rights in this country, Mr Levent says, inter alia, the following:

    ".They have not asked the rights of Leyla Zana, who had been taken from the MP post and remains behind bars for eight years. They exerted no effort for her release. And now those, who have not fulfilled their human debt and failed a grade because of this, are asking a date from Europe without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Europe will not give Turkey a date. As a matter of fact, it would be a historic mistake on the behalf of Europe if it gave a date before the innocent political prisoners, who are suffering for years in jail, are released and before all political bans are lifted. Let this not happen even if Turkey accepts the Anan plan in Cyprus.

    .The fact that a corruption champion like Jet Fadil is in the Parliament and a defender of the human rights like Leyla Zana is in prison is a shame for the Turkish intellectuals. Before this shame is done away no one can ask a date from Europe. Only a history lesson and not a date must at the most be given to them. .".

    [14] Turkish Cypriot columnist says Ankara and Denktas could not contribute to the negotiation procedure in Cyprus

    Commenting on the first statements of the newly appointed Turkish government on Cyprus, Mehmet Levent of AFRIKA (20.11.02) supports that Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas could not contribute in the negotiations procedure in Cyprus and describes the demand for simultaneous accession of Turkey and Cyprus to the European Union as "unexpected and impossible to be accepted".

    Mr Levent writes, inter alia, the following:

    " . When the new government was announced, Justice and Development Party's policy on Cyprus was also declared. JDP wants the accession negotiations conducted until today to be considered invalid and new accession negotiations to start from the beginning with the new Cyprus state! What else does it want? It wants Turkey to begin its accession negotiations simultaneously with Cyprus! As you see the new Ankara government have started to create difficulties as soon as it took over! And it is causing difficulties by putting unexpected demands, which are impossible to accept! The behaviour of Ankara and Denktas towards the Anan plan and the EU could in no way contribute to the new negotiations procedure expected to begin. Therefore, it would have no benefit to postpone, particularly Cyprus' accession and the EU enlargement in general. Because a postponement decision will not soften their intransigent behaviour, but on the contrary it will harden it. .".


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