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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-09-24

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.184/04 24.09.04

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan met with Verheugen in Brussels
  • [02] The Turkish Minister of Justice alleges that the EU only wants to take from Turkey
  • [03] Gul continues his contacts in New York. He discussed the Cyprus problem with Solana
  • [04] The President of the Supreme Court follows directions from the army
  • [05] The trial of Journalist Bila started inAnkara
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] Commentary in Turkish Daily News argues that Mr. Erdogan created the adultery tension intentionally to avoid EU pressure on Turkey's violation of human rights in Cyprus, the Kurds and the Ecumenical Partiarchate

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan met with Verheugen in Brussels

    The Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met in Brussels yesterday with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Mr. Gunter Verheugen.

    In statements after the meeting Mr. Erdogan appeared optimistic that his country will get a date for accession negotiations soon although it continues to occupy Cyprus, an EU member state, and violate all the basic human rights of EU citizens.

    Turkey also continues to maintain a casus belli threat against EU member and NATO ally Greece.

    Following are Mr. Erdogan's and Mr. Verheugen's statements as broadcast by Istanbul NTV television (23.09.04):

    Erdogan: "We have just completed another friendly dialogue, another friendly conversation with my friend Verheugen, who is the EU Commissioner in charge of enlargement. I would like to mention that I am very happy as a result of this meeting, which has resulted in a very productive way. I believe that this meeting is going to prepare a very positive foundation for the Progress Report of Turkey which will be issued on the 6th of October. As a matter of fact, we have worked together for the last two years and achieved a lot together. We have made decisions, which can be called reforms, in Turkey as per Turkey's integration with the EU. And, our administration has continued on these efforts without delaying till now. We have taken important steps on reforms and we are following them with important steps on implementation. And, we are very much determined on these and we are implementing all the reform laws seriously. Mr. Verheugen has given us important support throughout this process. Therefore, I would like to thank him for his support. As far as the Republic of Turkey is concerned, our parliament has passed the necessary articles on three different legal packages; one on the intermediary courts, second on the legal procedures code, and thirdly on the penal code. There are two more codes that will follow them to fulfill the judicial reform in Turkey. One of them is the legal procedures code. The first is the criminal legal procedures and the second one is the execution code. And those two packages are now at the subcommittee. We are very much serious in passing these two packages as well and we are reviewing our calendar to pass them as soon as possible, and we are very very resolute on this. And I thank Mr. Verheugen once again for all his support on this, and I am hoping that these steps we are taking will be for the benefit of all humanity."

    Verheugen: "It was again a very constructive meeting. And we have been able to find solutions for the remaining outstanding problems. It was possible because our relationship is built on friendship and trust, and confident that we know we can trust each other. The assurances I got today from my friend Prime Minister Erdogan will allow me to make a very clear recommendation. You might remember that during my visit in Turkey four days ago, I have identified some areas of concern. There was the problem of the penal code and I made it very clear that the adoption of the penal code is a very important element for the final assessment whether the political criteria are met or not. The second element that I have mentioned in Turkey about the fight against torture; I am very pleased to say that the experts, which we have sent to Turkey to examine the problems again, came back with a clear message that it is not justified to accuse Turkey of conducting systematic torture. They will be discussed and explained in our Regular Report. So, my conclusion today is that there are no more obstacles on the table now. From my point of view, there are no further conditions, which Turkey must fulfill in order to allow the Commission to make the recommendation. I would like to express my admiration for the strong leadership, which Prime Minster Erdogan has shown during the last two years. And, I would like to thank him very much for the cooperation that we have developed and the fact that they have been able to change; together with our joint efforts that they have been able to change the strategic situation in that part of the world and to bring Turkey closer to the EU."

    [02] The Turkish Minister of Justice alleges that the EU only wants to take from Turkey

    Istanbul Star newspaper (internet version) (22.09.04) publishes statements by the Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek to Metin Ozer and Kiymet Sezer; under the title: "EU trying to take without giving in return".

    The report in Star from where it can be seen that the adultery issue was created intentionally just before Verheugen's visit to Ankara, is as follows:

    "Justice Minister Cemil Cicek received Star Ankara representative Metin Ozer and Star correspondent Kiymet Sezer and made clarifying comments on the developments and discussions related to the TCK [Turkish Penal Code] Bill. Cicek made the following assessments:

    Verheugen knew it

    Cicek: When EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen came to Turkey, the matter in question had been discussed in Turkey for about a week. In fact, he knew that a few days before he came, the issue had already become the topic of a fiery debate in which the participants were asking questions such as "Is the state going to peep into our bedrooms? Are prosecutors going to do this or that?" etc. Both our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister talked to him about this issue. We were told that he [Verheugen] had said that in light of the information presented to him, the issue [of adultery] would not constitute a problem from the standpoint of the EU Progress Report to be released on 6 October but that it could be used as an excuse by those in Europe opposed to Turkey's accession to the EU.

    No more conditions

    Cicek: That all this is true is obvious from next day's newspapers which used headlines like, "No More Conditions." This means that Turkey has met all the conditions [EU candidates are required to fulfil]. From now on, one could only talk about problems concerning implementation. Actually, this issue [implementation] was debated, too and questions of whether there is systematic torture in Turkey, whether mistakes are being made in implementing [adaptation bills], etc were discussed. This must have been the impression created by the statements issued seeing that even the daily that turns the spotlight on this issue most frequently used the headline, "No More Conditions." This shows that there was nothing wrong with the way we perceived things.

    Where Does Cyprus Come in?

    Cicek: He [Verheugen] then went to Diyarbakir, Istanbul, and Izmir. It is possible that during his visits, certain organizations, NGO groups, and certain domestic and foreign quarters gave him different information and forwarded different complaints to him and presented the issue to him in a different way. While leaving the country afterward, he spoke in terms different from his initial statements or statements cited in newspapers, saying that there are four conditions that Turkey has yet to fulfil or problems it must address, namely systematic torture, the issue of adultery, and the Cyprus issue. When one looks at all this, one wonders whether it is not according to the Copenhagen political criteria that EU candidates are admitted or not admitted to membership. Where does Cyprus come in?

    Cases Concluded

    Cicek: We can understand the issue of torture. Obviously it has to do with rights and freedoms. Turkey has adopted very strict and radical measures against torture and enacted them. For example, adaptation packages applied retrospectively included amendments extending negative prescription from 10 to 15 years. Laws were passed preventing those convicted under articles on torture from benefiting from sentence reductions.

    There used to be legal cases that always caused eyebrows to be raised about Turkey abroad. All these cases have taken shape and those convicted in these cases are serving their sentences. For this reason, I can understand it.

    EU failed to keep its pledge

    Cicek: Cyprus obviously can be raised as a political issue between Turkey and EU member-states yet it is not possible and not right to make the issue of setting a date for negotiations subject to developments concerning Cyprus. Turkey took the necessary steps in Cyprus and adopted the necessary attitude. It is EU states that did not honor their pledge. Were they not supposed to extend a 259 million euro aid package to (occupied) Cyprus?

    They are dragging their feet

    Cicek: We are always being asked to do certain things. Yet when it is others' turn to do something for us, they are always dragging their feet. Turkey should not fail to take notice of this fact. We have passed very important legal and constitutional arrangements for this purpose. Yet if you ask me whether the EU has carried out its pledges in return, I should say that there are very few persons who could say yes to this question.

    Demands via EU

    Cicek: Would I say looking at Verheugen's statements that certain circles at home have been denouncing us to him? Well, I would not use that term. Yet, there is something that I have been saying for quite a long time. Certain demands from Turkey have started to be made through the European Union. Many delegations are coming to Turkey. They are issuing press releases and reports as well as statements about the Progress Report. When we look at their reports, we see that EU countries themselves are doing things similar or even identical to practices in Turkey that are regarded as our shortcomings and give rise to observations like, "you should go about it this way." And when we tell them, "Look, you regard these practices as our failings but the same defect and the same practices are present in this or that European country. Why are practices, that are not considered as imperfections in their case, placed before us as flaws that have to be corrected?" we get the following response: "These are your own domestic demands. They are internally voiced demands that we are conveying to you."

    Patriarch joins in with the rest

    Cicek: As you know, the Patriarch has joined in with the rest. He too is trying to place certain demands before Turkey via the EU. Certain organizations are making a special effort to put pressure on Turkey in this way. They are trying to solve problems through the channel of the EU. This is what is wrong.

    EU gets it wrong

    Cicek: This could be a documented truth. I mean the fact that certain internal demands have been presented to us as a sort of precondition. Now, some ten countries have joined the EU. Two more candidates will be joining in 2007. What we are asking is that what is wanted from them be wanted from us, no more, no less. We are being asked to give more than others though. Yet before the EU has given us a date even, it has started to say, "maybe three years or maybe five years later." If you look at the dates given, you see that different people are pronouncing dates like 2014, 2020, and 2015. Without having obtained a date for negotiations, we are talking about a matter in 2004 which will be corrected in 2015.

    They did a favor but.

    Cicek: When the EU set the date of December 2004, it did not believe that Turkey would be able to pass these reforms by then. The EU obviously got it wrong. This is what I believe. They did such a favor because of a mistaken notion that Turkey would not be able to do in two years or 20 months what it could not do in 40 years. We are going to do this in December 2004. Yet Turkey surprised everyone as always. This Government surprised everyone more than anyone else.

    TCK not a prerequisite

    Cicek: In all sincerity, most adaptation packages passed by this government, I should say even a single article in a single adaptation package passed by our administration pertains to issues that other parties and governments in the past three or four years were unable to solve. When Europe did such a favor and said "let us allow them to join in 2004" so to speak, Turkey carried out all requirements expected of it. Turkey has fulfilled all legal obligations. The penal code is not a prerequisite.

    Legal Issue made the subject of accusation

    Cicek: Now the issue of penal code was placed on Turkey's agenda on 14 September. The bill was withdrawn on 17 September. When did the controversy on adultery start? On 26 or 27 August. This means that this issue was discussed in a most heated manner at least for 19 days until the bill was withdrawn. Moreover, a legal matter was made the subject of accusations against the government. And infidelity was represented as a modern attitude.

    [03] Gul continues his contacts in New York. He discussed the Cyprus problem with Solana

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.09.04) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly Session, is continuing his contacts.

    He met with the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa in New York and signed an agreement for establishment of a consultative mechanism between Turkey and the Arab League. Following the meeting, Moussa expressed his pleasure over signing such an agreement with Turkey, and said that he appreciated the successful efforts of the Turkish government.

    "Meanwhile, Gul said on his part: "Turkey has deep cultural, historical and traditional relations with the Arab world and the Middle Eastern countries. We want the region to acquire a fair, comprehensive and lasting atmosphere of peace soon." Highlighting the importance of the relations between Turkey and the Arab League, Gul said that the agreement would create a concrete ground for close dialogue and consultations.

    Later Mr. Gul met with Javier Solana, the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for common foreign and security policy. AA reports that Solana said: 'We have reached the most important and critical minutes. Utmost care should be shown in the last minutes. Last minutes always pass in difficulty.' Solana further said he has heard very positive developments from the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen regarding Turkey's reforms.

    Solana told reporters after the meeting: "We had a fruitful meeting with my friend Gul. We exchanged views on all important issues happening in the world, as well as Turkey-EU relations. We also discussed the results of the meeting of the quartet seeking to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem."

    On his part, Gul, who replied to questions, pointed out that they also discussed the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). "Everything that has been done for EU membership has been reviewed," Gul said, noting that, "Solana said everybody expected a positive result. Fulfillment of EU's commitments regarding Cyprus was also on the table," and noted that Solana told him however that "EU is now focussed on the start of full membership negotiations (with Turkey). Let us reach this target. The latter (the Cyprus question) can be discussed afterwards."

    Diplomatic sources said Gul briefed Solana about Cyprus. Gul stressed: "The Turkish Cypriots wait for their isolation to end and embargoes be removed. They wait for the related regulations to be issued and enacted soon." Solana, in reply, told Gul: "You are right. Efforts are underway on this issue. But give us time." Solana also asked Gul for Turkey's views on Iraq, and the parties exchanged views on this issuee. Gul also mentioned his meeting with Israeli and Palestinian ministers and stated that Turkey could help to solve the Middle East problem. Solana said: "There have been several problems on Middle East Road Map. We should take serious steps. I think the efforts will be accelerated following (presidential) elections in the United States."

    Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Gul called on countries to pass the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) from their parliaments and to bring it into force.

    If 130 countries approve CTBT, the treaty will be put into force. However, approval of 12 countries is needed at the moment.

    Continuing his bilateral meetings Mr. Gul met the Kazakh Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev and informed him about the European Union (EU)-the Organization for Islamic Conference (OIC) Forum and invited him to the meeting.

    Asking for support regarding the Cyprus issue, Gul alleged that many leaders of the Western world met the occupation regime's Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas, and Kazakhstan can also hold meeting with Denktas, adding that this would not mean recognition.

    Gul said that Turkey will support Kazakhstan's membership to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Gul also met Guinean Foreign Minister Mamady Conde and thanked him for his support to Turkey's OIC Secretariat General.

    Conde said that they are expecting the assistance of Turkey to police training and equipment, security and many other areas.

    Gul said: ''Turkey earlier proposed cooperation and assistance mechanism to Guinea. We attribute very much importance to Africa. We want to develop our political, economic and cultural relations with Africa and strengthen them with concrete projects.''

    [04] The President of the Supreme Court follows directions from the army

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (24.09.04) reports that yesterday was the second day of the discussion of the 2005 "budget" of the occupation regime, where the Chairman of the relevant Committee, Mr Sonay Adem, made serious accusations against the President of the so-called Supreme Court, Mr Taner Erginel.

    Mr. Adem accused the so-called President of the Supreme Court of following instructions from the army. He said that Mr Erginel, despite a decision of a "court", prevented an order to vacate a building with the directions of the army. "Everyone must be very careful when they criticize, because they being watched", he added.

    [05] The trial of Journalist Bila started inAnkara

    Turkish Daily News (24.09.04) reports that the trial of journalist-author Fikret Bila and his publisher Umit Gurtuna, who were accused of making state secrets public in the book "The civilian coup attempt, and the Iraq Wars in Ankara," started at the Ankara 11th Criminal Court on Thursday.

    Chief Judge Sureyya Gonul said that their application to the Prime Ministry about the documents containing state secrets was yet to be answered, before postponing the proceedings to a later date.

    The book contained a text of a conversation between British Ambassador Peter Westmacott and European Union official Micheal Leigh, which was argued as very confidential by the prosecutors. They asked for at least 12.5-years imprisonment for Bila and Gurtuna.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] Commentary in Turkish Daily News argues that Mr. Erdogan created the adultery tension intentionally to avoid EU pressure on Turkey's violation of human rights in Cyprus, the Kurds and the Ecumenical Partiarchate

    Under the title: "Why all this tension, then?", and subtitle: 'We are Turks, this is Turkey, the EU cannot intervene in our internal affairs,' but if adequately 'motivated' we do see realities from time to time. That's a summary of the past two weeks in Turkish-EU ties", Turkish Daily News (24.9.04) publishes the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:

    "We applaud the joint statement of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Union Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen announcing the end of the so-called adultery row between Turkey and the EU, although we still have trouble understanding why there was a need for such tension at home and in our relations with Europe in the first place.

    Over the past few days, in an effort to share the blame for the tension with the main opposition Republican People's Party (RPP), the top echelons of the Justice and Development Party (JPP) have been complaining to newsmen that it was with the encouragement of the RPP that they considered inclusion of a clause making adultery a crime punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. They have been claiming to have been somehow cheated and pulled into a trap by the main opposition party.

    Turks are naive, and they can be fooled in any way considered appropriate by the ruling party. This is what such statements imply. This approach is as deplorable as breaking a promise to the nation and to the main opposition party by halting a key piece of legislation at the very last minute after realizing they would not be able to impose their agenda.

    Anyhow, this is Turkey and we are Turks. We love the Mehteran Band -- the oldest military band in the world, they say -- famous for its inspiring music as well as its marching style: Two steps forward, one step back.

    This time, however, Erdogan took one step back, but took many steps forward. It was perhaps Turkey's most spectacular U-turn in the course of many decades: The JDP government is loyal to its reform agenda; it will not legislate the Penal Code reforms without including the controversial adultery law but will as well act speedily to legislate further laws regarding trial procedures and the country's judicial system and thus accelerate implementation of the reforms achieved over the past two years.

    Though with some skepticism, what happened in Brussels on Thursday was indeed what we have been anticipating because no administration can turn a blind eye to the fundamental interests of the country just for the sake of satisfying some special groups, be they religious sheiks or whatever.

    Europe as well will continue to analyze this "adultery crisis," as it provided some insight into the character of the ruling party in Ankara, both regarding its identity as well as its speed and agility in maneuvering from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    According to one claim, the adultery crisis was intentionally created by the prime minister, reflecting his frustration with pressure from the EU Commission on Cyprus, Kurdish cultural rights and the Greek Orthodox seminary as well as the Armenian issue.

    Again, according to the same claim the crisis was resolved after Ankara was assured that the EU would not pressure Turkey to abandon the derogations it has been demanding in the U.N. settlement plan -- one of the reasons the Greek Cypriots have cited for their 76 percent rejection of the plan last April -- or recognize the Greek Cypriot administration as the "government of Cyprus"; or undertake a program to spread cultural rights for its Kurdish people through local administrations -- a move that could be considered a demand for autonomy; or reopen the Greek Orthodox seminary on Halki Island; or open the border with Armenia and apologize for the 1915 incidents.

    These appear to be elements of a farfetched plot scenario spread around in a face-saving bid. Anyhow, "We are Turks, this is Turkey, the EU cannot intervene in our internal affairs," but if adequately "motivated," we do see realities from time to time. That's a summary of the past two weeks in Turkish-EU ties."

    /X.Chr.


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