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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-11-07

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.211/03 07.11.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The EU ambassador in Cyprus says that a clear political message has been given to Turkey with the recently announced progress report
  • [02] The foreign observers say they could visit the occupied areas during the ^”elections^‘ as well
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot newspapers comment on the Verso-Sam^“s poll
  • [04] EU Commission's Envoy to Turkey comments on the Progress Report and the Cyprus problem
  • [05] Prime Minister Erdogan comments on the Cyprus problem and the Turkish-EU relations
  • [06]. EU's Cox: Cyprus Solution to Improve Political Atmosphere for Turkey's Accession
  • [07] Mainland Turkish Press reaction regarding the EU Progress report on Turkey
  • [08] Various reactions regarding the EU progress report for Turkey
  • [09] Our Party abandons the alliance of the Nationalist Peace Party
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] "Solution without Denktas seems highly unlikely", supports columnist in Turkish mainland ^”Radikal^‘ newspaper, commenting on the results of Verso-Sam^“s poll

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The EU ambassador in Cyprus says that a clear political message has been given to Turkey with the recently announced progress report

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (07.11.03) publishes an interview with the EU ambassador to Nicosia, Andrian van der Meer, who noted that reference to the Cyprus problem in the recently announced progress report for Turkey, is a clear message to Turkey.

    The EU ambassador reminded that ten new countries will be joining the EU on 1 May 2004 and added that the relation between the Cyprus problem and Turkey^“s EU accession course was not a new development. However, he added, this time a more clear and political message has been now given to Turkey. Mr Andrian van der Meer noted also that reaching a solution until May 2004 is still possible and pointed out to the key role of the United Nations on this issue.

    [02] The foreign observers say they could visit the occupied areas during the ^”elections^‘ as well

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (07.11.03) reports that the foreign observers who are visiting the occupied areas in order to meet with political party leaders in view of the so-called December ^”elections^‘, said yesterday that they might come again to occupied Cyprus in order to observe the ^”elections^‘.

    The spokesman of the observers, David Carroll told KIBRIS that during their staying in occupied Cyprus they had carried out some conducts in order to find out what the Turkish Cypriots think about the presence of the observers during the ^”elections^‘. Mr Carroll told the paper that they do not know yet whether or not they will be returning to occupied Cyprus for the ^”elections^‘

    Noting that they met with the leaders of some of the major parties which will be participating in the ^”elections^‘, Mr Carroll said: ^”The political party leaders and the officials of the parties responsible for the elections, told us that they were pleased by our presence here and this has encouraged us^‘.

    KIBRIS reports that today the observers will be leaving the occupied areas.

    [03] Turkish Cypriot newspapers comment on the Verso-Sam^“s poll

    Turkish Cypriot AFRIKA and VOLKAN newspapers (07.11.03) comment on the public opinion poll conducted by Verso-Strategic Research Center (Verso-Sam) about the forthcoming ^”elections^‘ in the occupied areas.

    AFRIKA publishes the results of the poll on its front page, noting that the latest poll regarding the ^”elections^‘ has been published in Turkey before being published in the occupied areas. The paper points out that 53.8 percent of the participants in the poll said they do not want the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas to withdraw from the post of negotiator of the Turkish side at the Cyprus talks. It also underlines that 17.5 percent of the respondents, who said they would vote for the Republican Turkish Party replied that they wanted to see Denktas as the negotiator. Another point stressed by the paper is that 62.9 percent of the participants in the poll said that Turkey^“s policy in Cyprus was right, while only 25.8 percent said that it was wrong. On its front page AFRIKA refers to the part of the poll regarding the Annan plan. Finally it notes that 22 percent of the voters have not decided yet what they will be voting for.

    VOLKAN newspaper publishes the results of the poll under the banner headlines ^”This job is over^‘ and argues: ^”The Turkish Cypriot people, who are resisting to all the interferences of the Greek Cypriots, the USE, the British and the EU in favour of the parties-collaborators, have decided^‘.

    [04] EU Commission's Envoy to Turkey comments on the Progress Report and the Cyprus problem

    Anatolia News Agency (06.11.03) reported from Ankara that Hansjorg Kretschmer, the Head of European Union (EU) Commission Representation to Turkey, described the Commission's Regular Progress Report for Turkey as "objective and fair". Kretschmer noted that settlement of the Cyprus problem was not a part of the political criteria.

    Kretschmer held a press conference after the Progress Report and the Continuing Enlargement Strategy Paper were released by the EU Commission.

    Referring to the part in the Continuing Enlargement Strategy Paper about the Cyprus problem, Kretschmer said that settlement of this problem was not a pre-condition for opening of accession talks between Turkey and the EU, adding that Turkey's contributions to efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem would have a positive impact in its EU process.

    When asked what was the attitude of the EU toward the solution of the Cyprus problem, Kretschmer said that its attitude was similar to Turkey's attitude to a great extent and stated that Cyprus was not a part of political criteria.

    Noting that on the other side, reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem was of great importance for the EU, Kretschmer said that the Union expressed many times its wish that a solution should be found to Cyprus issue before May 2004 when the Cyprus would become a full member of the EU.

    Asked what would happen unless a solution was found to the Cyprus issue before May 2004 and why suggestions on finding a solution to the issue were presented only to the Turkish side, Kretschmer said that finding a solution to the issue was first for the benefits of the Turkish Cypriot side and stated that after the accession the Turkish Cypriots would start benefiting from the advantages of the EU membership.

    Kretschmer said that the link between the Cyprus problem and Turkey's EU membership was a "situation assessment" and said that this advice was not scientific or mathematical, but a political decision. Kretschmer added that because a political assessment would be made on Turkey's membership in the summit in December 2004.

    Asked if the EU interfered in the ^”elections^‘ to be held in December in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Kretschmer said that this was out of the question and added that they hoped that the ^”elections^‘ would be held fairly.

    Kretschmer said that the Cyprus issue was not a formal criterion to start negotiations and stated that Cyprus would be a part of EU in May 2004 and EU wanted to see a united Cyprus. Stating that a solution should be found on the issue, Kretschmer said that Cyprus's being a member of the Union would bring advantages to the island. Kretschmer said that Cyprus was a political fact and reality and added that if Turkey found a solution to the issue by its own efforts, it would be to its benefit.

    [05] Prime Minister Erdogan comments on the Cyprus problem and the Turkish-EU relations

    Anatolia News Agency (06.11.03) reported form Ankara that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik held a joint press conference yesterday after presiding meetings between Turkish and Norwegian delegations.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr Erdogan said that there was not any criterion called ^”Cyprus^‘ in Copenhagen political criteria and added that it should not be confounded with current implementations. He alleged that they would continue to assume their positive attitude, which they assumed so far until May 1.

    When a reporter said, "Turkey's EU membership was connected with Cyprus question in the progress report which was announced on Wednesday although it was also said that it was not a political criterion. You will go to Cyprus on November 15. What kind of a road map is foreseen for solution of the issue till May 1?" Erdogan said that Turkey was appreciated on adjustment laws in the report and stated that the government has started to take steps on implementation of those laws. He added that the government would develop and take those steps with determination till December 2004.

    Arguing that a link with Cyprus issue was tried to be established, Erdogan alleged: "We are in an effort to fulfil our commitments. Because there is not such a criterion in Copenhagen criteria, we should not confound our implementations with this issue. We continue to display our positive attitude. Besides, the EU countries know very clearly our thoughts and attitude on the issue. We will carry on our struggle in favour of a fair and lasting solution till the very end."

    [06]. EU's Cox: Cyprus Solution to Improve Political Atmosphere for Turkey's Accession

    According to TRT-2 Television (06.11.03), European Parliament President Pat Cox said that the expression in the EU Strategy Paper that establishes a link between Cyprus and Turkey's accession is not tantamount to a precondition.

    Cox stated that the Progress Report and the Strategy Paper are generally positive, and the steps taken by Turkey are appreciated. Cox also answered questions pertaining to the remarks on Cyprus in the document.

    When asked to comment on the fact that ^”the Strategy Paper clearly states that Cyprus could constitute a serious obstacle to Turkey's expectations^‘, Cox replied: You must interpret this remark as the expression of a political reality. Otherwise, this does not constitute a new precondition for Turkey. Turkey is undergoing a reform process. Its commitments vis-ŗ-vis the EU are evident. Turkey will be assessed within this framework, and it has a right to this. That is certain. The Cyprus issue is a different matter, but in politics, people assess issues in a more comprehensive manner. The political reality consists of the fact that the tension that has existed in the region for years has prevented a solution. What I now have to say to my friends, to candidate-country Turkey is important: Please, let both sides, not only Turkey, do everything in their power to attain a solution. Please exert efforts to reach a solution. If this problem is resolved, the atmosphere in many capitals will change in terms of Turkish-EU relations. In my opinion, this is a good, friendly, and political piece of advice. However, please do not confuse the two. This is not a new condition. Turkey and Cyprus must be assessed separately, in their own rights. If, however, a solution can be found to this difficult problem, it will naturally be wonderful for all concerned.^‘

    To another question whether ^”this remark not constitute a reversal of the Helsinki decisions^‘, he said: ^”No, in my opinion, it is just the opposite. What can be the point of not including in the Strategy Paper a fact that we discuss between ourselves? Is it not just the right time to say that it would be wonderful to reach a solution on the basis of the Annan plan and that the current dynamic should be preserved? This is possible before 1 May 2004.In this way, a united Cyprus can join a united Europe. This opportunity still exists. This is a subject we always discuss with Turkish officials, with Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gul. It is a subject that has been on the agenda for years. This cannot be considered a surprise. Why should we act as though there is no problem? This is a very honest political assessment. Moreover, it is an important demand in terms of the political environment. The political atmosphere, however, does not constitute the EU acquis, or a Copenhagen criterion. These are separate issues, but the political atmosphere is important. If a solution is reached, it will positively affect the political atmosphere.^‘

    [07] Mainland Turkish Press reaction regarding the EU Progress report on Turkey

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (06/11/03) columnist Emin Colasan in his column strongly criticizes those in Turkey that blindly support Turkey^“s entry into the EU. He says that now the EU wants Cyprus then the Aegean issue will be raised and they will demand from Turkey to give up its rights in the Aegean, ^”after this most probably will follow the demand regarding the Southeast^‘, Colasan claims.

    Colasan considers this indifference a very dangerous situation and brands it as ^”Lack of honor and hireling^‘

    A similar criticism is launched by Oktay Eksi in HURRIYET (07/11/03) against the EU. In his criticism Eksi attacks Gunter Verheugen, the EU enlargement Commissioner and accuses him of interfering in the domestic affairs of Turkey.

    In the same issue of the same newspaper the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul commenting on the progress report and the publishing of the paragraph regarding Cyprus `despite the efforts by Turkish side to have the paragraph on Cyprus in the Strategy Document to be removed, has expressed his dislike and said that it was because of the enlargement Commissioner Verheugen the Cyprus condition was not changed .Gul accused Verheugen of rendering a solution in Cyprus more difficult He said: ^”It is not possible to continue with Verheugen^‘

    Mainland daily MILLIYET newspaper (07/11/03) columnist Fikret Bila under the title ^”Government^“s Cyprus Mistake^‘ writes that the paragraph on Cyprus in the Strategy Document is a clear ^”condition^‘ for Turkey and says that this is due to the mistakes committed by the Erdogan government

    [08] Various reactions regarding the EU progress report for Turkey

    The Turkish Cypriot newspapers refer to various reactions regarding the EU progress report for Turkey.

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (07.11.03) reports that the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) said that the EU report for Turkey is a six month road map for Turkey. TUSIAD also pointed out that the as soon as possible beginning, of a solution process in Cyprus on the basis of the Annan Plan, will open the way for Turkey to begin its EU accession negotiations.

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (07.11.03) reports that the Independence Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD), stated that the EU did not behave in a generous manner regarding the evaluation of Turkey^“s harmonization efforts. MUSIAD also stressed that the pressure that the EU exerts regarding Cyprus cannot be accepted.

    In addition, as VATAN reports Mr Dervis Eroglu, so-called Prime Minister of the pseudostate commented on the same issue and stated that EU must follow a proper policy towards the ^”realities in Cyprus^‘ and added that the Cyprus problem must not be put in front of Turkey as a political condition.

    Moreover, as Turkish Cypriot daily HALIKIN SESI newspaper (07.11.03) reports Mr Mehmet Agar, chairman of the True Path Party stated that the Cyprus problem could not be accepted as a condition for Turkey^“s membership to the EU.

    [09] Our Party abandons the alliance of the Nationalist Peace Party

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (07.11.03) reports that Our Party (OP) abandoned the political alliance which it was formed for the forthcoming December ^”elections^‘ of the pseudostate. This alliance was formed under the name Nationalist Peace Party and it was established by OP, the Justice and Peace Party, the Nationalist Justice Party and the National Revival Party.

    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] "Solution without Denktas seems highly unlikely", supports columnist in Turkish mainland ^”Radikal^‘ newspaper, commenting on the results of Verso-Sam^“s poll

    Under the title "Solution without Denktas seems highly unlikely", Murat Yetkin writes in his column in Turkish mainland ^”RADIKAL^‘ newspaper (06.11.03), the following commenting on the results of the public opinion poll conducted by Verso-Strategic Research Center (Verso-Sam) about the forthcoming ^”elections^‘ in the occupied areas:

    ^”A survey conducted by Verso, a polling company, in the ^—TRNC^“ for a group of businessmen, who plan to make investments in Turkey, has yielded interesting results about the possibility of finding a solution to the Cyprus question.

    The opinion poll was conducted by interviewing a total of 2,060 respondents in Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Morfou and Trikomo on 13-19 October. The respondents were also asked to disclose the name of the political party they intended to vote for in the general election scheduled for 14 December.

    According to the results of the poll, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu's National Unity Party (NUP), which polled 40.4 percent in the election held in 1998, still leads the other parties with 26.2 percent in terms of popular support, albeit it represents a substantial decrease as compared with its 1998 showing (floating voters were not distributed among the political parties). The NUP is Rauf Denktas' biggest supporter. Mehmet Ali Talat's Republican Turkish Party (RTP), which is expected to almost double its votes compared with 1998, ranks second with 24.1 percent. It is followed by Serdar Denktas' Democratic Party (DP) with 16.7 percent. The poll showed that Mustafa Akinci's Peace and Democracy Party (PDM) and the Solution and EU Party (SEUP) will poll 8.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. It seems that the remaining political parties will get less votes.

    Of course, actual election returns could be somewhat higher than those percentages if the floating voters and the respondents declining to disclose their preferences, who together represent 12 percent of the electorate, cast their votes in the election.

    The fact that Serdar Denktas' DP was the only serious alternative expressed by the respondents shows that voter preferences seem to be hardening one and a half months before the election.

    The poll has yielded other significant results. For example, almost half of the respondents (46.7 percent) said that they would take their future into consideration while casting their votes. It was followed by those according priority to independence with 29 percent while joining the EU ranked third with 7.7 percent.

    Thirty-nine percent of the respondents expressed the view that Denktas should withdraw from the negotiation process as against 53.8 percent, who said that he should not. Even 17.5 percent of the respondents, who said they would vote for the CTP, which leads the anti-Denktas front, replied that they wanted to see Denktas as the negotiator.

    Twenty-one point nine percent of the respondents said that they were positive about Annan plan while 30.6 percent said that it was negotiable. Forty-two point six percent said they were against it.

    Now, let us take a look at what the TRNC electorate think about Turkey's policy vis-a-vis Cyprus.

    Twenty-five point eight percent of the respondents expressed the view that Turkey's policy was miscalculated as against 62.9 percent, who said that Turkey was pursuing the right policy. The opinion that Turkey was following a prudent policy was also shared by 61.9 percent of the RTP's supporters, which was close to the percentage of the total number of respondents expressing favourable opinions.

    The following conclusions may be drawn from the results of the opinion poll:

    1. It seems that none of the political parties will be able to achieve a landslide victory, which means that the opposition parties will not have enough majority in Parliament to amend the Constitution. In other words, Denktas will continue to serve as the negotiator even if the opposition parties win more seats than their rivals. Therefore, if a solution is to be found, Denktas must be involved in the process.

    2. DP Chairman Serdar Denktas, the second member of the Denktas family actively involved in Turkish Cypriot politics, holds the key to formation of a possible coalition government. Therefore, any political party intending to form a coalition except for an NUP-RTP alliance would have to approach Denktas Jr. The recent increase in Serdar Denktas' popularity is ascribed to his slogan urging the voters not to vote for the political parties, which he accuses of trying to conceal their financial irregularities by rejecting a solution or of taking a submissive stand using the possibility of finding a solution as an excuse.

    3. The Turkish Cypriot voters are concerned about their future and they are divided on Annan plan. Nevertheless, they continue to lend an ear to Ankara and they want to get a clear response.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's decision to attend the ceremonies to be held in the TRNC on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of its foundation is considered significant in that he made that decision following internal debates about the matter. Erdogan was initially inclined not to go to the island in order to avoid possible criticism that he lent support to Denktas ahead of the election to be held on 14 December. He subsequently changed his decision after coming to the conclusion that the United States and the EU overtly interfered in the election process in the ^—TRNC^“ in favour of the opposition parties. Erdogan will repeat in Nicosia that Turkey was in favour of a solution. It seems, however, that finding a solution excluding Denktas' involvement seems unlikely. After reading the statement he made yesterday, you may ask whether Denktas' involvement could facilitate a settlement. Nobody could predict when Denktas, one of the most experienced politicians in the region, will pull a rabbit out of the hat. He would not obstruct a solution if Turkey advises him not to oppose it.

    As for the Government's reaction to the EU Commission's report, which establishes a link between Turkey's accession and the peace process in Cyprus, Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of the General Staff Hilmi Ozkok have already said that Turkey's accession to the EU would contribute to efforts aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Now the EU is building the other part of the equation.

    We are moving closer to a formula found acceptable by everybody, who have taken a realistic approach to the matter: Turkey's accession to the EU and a possible solution in Cyprus are two separate equations with two unknowns. They must be resolved together and simultaneously^‘.


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