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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 04-11-25
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.226/04 25.11.04
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Turkey-EU Troika hold joint press conference in The HagueIstanbul NTV television (24.11.04) broadcast that in a joint press conference staged at the end of the EU-Turkey Ministerial Troika meeting in The Hague, Dutch Foreign Minister, Mr Bernard Bot, pointed out that there are still some shortcomings Turkey should overcome before the negotiations begin. "There are still problems with regard to the enactment and implementation of six basic laws", Bot explained. He noted that there are certain complaints concerning the rights of non-Muslim religious minorities in Turkey. Bot expressed the hope that the problem concerning the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus will be solved before 17 December, and failing that, he stressed the importance of overcoming this problem before the negotiations actually begin.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in turn, expressed the belief that a decision will be made during the 17 December summit in an objective manner and in adherence to previous signatures on the subject. Gul added that the solution of the Cyprus issue does not depend on the Turkish side alone.
On the same issue Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.11.04) reported from The Hague that speaking during the press conference Gul noted that Turkey expressed its views about many issues during the meeting, and they discussed not only Turkey-EU relations, but also developments regarding Iraq, Iran and the Caucasus.
Views expressed during this meeting would shed light to the European Council due on December 17th, and contribute to decisions to be taken that day, Gul pointed out.
Answering a question on religious freedom, Gul said that many churches had existed in Turkey throughout history, and new churches were being opened.
Gul noted that granting religious freedom and enabling places of worship was the main right of members of different religions living in one country.
Stating that there were no problems with non-Muslim population in Turkey, Gul said that they had solved some problems that occurred in the past.
Replying to a question on the Cyprus issue, Gul said that he was sorry that the problem could not have been resolved yet, and noted that a serious opportunity was missed as the Greek Cypriots voted "no" to the Annan plan.
Gul underlined that finding a solution to the Cyprus issue was not only linked to Turkey.
On the other hand, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said that the decision to be made on Turkey on December 17th would be in line of the progress report prepared by the European Commission.
Noting that Turkey had made serious progress, Bot said that today's meeting was fruitful because they listened to the views of Turkey.
Stating that they expected Turkey to complete the legal work on six matters, Bot pointed to the importance of those laws for opening of negotiations with Turkey.
Bot hoped that the matter regarding Turkey's non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus could be solved before full membership negotiations were started.
Stressing the importance of implementation of the reforms in Turkey, Bot said that the European Commission would be very careful when negotiations with Turkey continued and evaluate the implementation in detail.
Meanwhile, European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn said that if the EU leaders decide to open negotiations with Turkey on December 17th, they are ready to start the monitoring process without delay.
Rehn noted that this was the first time he attended a formal meeting regarding Turkey, and said that the new European Commission headed by Barosso attached great importance to relations with Turkey. Gul later left the Netherlands for Italy.
 The Chairman of the Socialist Group in the EP met Erdogan in AnkaraAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.11.04) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Wednesday Martin Schulz, the Chairman of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament (EP).
Sources said that Erdogan's meeting with Schulz was very fruitful, and quoted Schulz as saying in the meeting that they considered the start of membership negotiations with Turkey as a requirement of credibility and mutual confidence.
In the meeting, Schulz told Erdogan that European Union (EU) member states should abide by the principle set during the Helsinki and Copenhagen summits that negotiations with Turkey should be opened without delay if the European Commission's report was positive.
Schulz said: ''We talked to Mr. Verheugen before he visited Turkey, and received detailed information. We consider that the climate is favourable to open negotiations with Turkey. Negotiations should have a single target, and it is Turkey's full membership. What we should do is to express our will at the beginning. Turkey's membership will be an example, showing that EU values can also be valid in a country, the population of which is overwhelmingly Muslim. To this end, we attach importance to Turkey's EU membership. As the Socialist Group, we naturally prefer to discuss Turkey's EU membership with a socialist prime minister, but we support your efforts on the road to EU till the very end.''
On the other hand, Erdogan told Schulz that Turkey's EU membership would increase the strategic importance of the EU, and make it a stronger and more effective power in the world.
Erdogan said: ''Turkey's membership is important regarding the formation of a joint platform against terrorism.''
In the meeting, Schulz also stated that reforms regarding the Code of Criminal Procedure and appellate courts should be made as soon as possible, and stressed that such reforms were obligatory to convince circles within the EP who were against Turkey's membership.
 Belgian Foreign Minister to visit TurkeyAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.11.04) reported from Brussels that Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht will pay an official visit to Turkey between December 3rd and 4th, it was reported on Wednesday.
Belgian sources said Turkish-EU relations and full membership negotiations would be the main topics during Karel De Gucht's visit to Turkey.
The same sources said this visit was very important as it would take place two weeks before the December 17th Summit.
 Mehmet Ali Talat alleges that Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus is not logicalTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (25.11.04) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, so called prime minister of the occupation regime, has alleged that no reasonable and logical country can ask Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus prior to the solution of the Cyprus problem and claimed that this would not be a logical demand.
Entering yesterday the meeting of his so-called council of ministers, Mr Talat said he guessed that the information regarding demands towards Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and that the United States will be recognizing the illegal Turkish Cypriot "state" was only speculation.
When reminded about his contacts with Turkey and asked if he knew anything on the information that the recognition of Cyprus from Ankara will take place before 17 December, Mr Talat said: "There is no need to talk and ask about it, because we constantly discuss these issues. We hold talks in a bid to bring our policies closer together and to avoid any contradictions".
Mr Talat said that it is out of the question for Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus soon after 17 December and added that he did not have any concrete information on the reports to the effect that the United States and Europe are pressuring Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus.
"Especially the US to suggest such a thing is unthinkable. The EU also has no such tendency. During my contacts with the EU I have not felt any sign that such a suggestion would be made to Turkey", he said.
Alleging that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have not played a role in and are not responsible for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem, Mr Talat claimed that, therefore, pressuring the Turkish side was not logical.
 Turkish Cypriot politician calls on Mr Gul to stop speaking on behalf of the Turkish CypriotsTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (25.11.04) reports that Mr Izzet Izcan, the General Secretary of the United Cyprus Party (UCP) stated yesterday that the Turkish Cypriots said 'yes' in the 24 April Referendum not in order to pay a dept to anyone.
Mr Izcan said this as a response to statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister Mr Abdullah Gul as regards this issue. Mr Gul said inter alia that the Annan Plan is finished as regards Turkey and that the Turkish Cypriots paid their dept to Turkey by saying 'yes' to the Plan.
The General Secretary of the UCP said that the Turkish Cypriots said 'yes' to the referendum in order to give an end to the status quo which annihilates their existence and identity as Turkish Cypriots. He also said that with Mr Gul's statements it was revealed that the positive approach of the Government of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey was an issue of tactics. He also said that with these statements Mr Gul made the 'yes' of the Turkish Cypriot "worthless" and distorted the will of the Turkish Cypriot community. "The Turkish Foreign Minister has no right to speak on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots and say that the Annan Plan is finished", said Mr Izcan.
 Luxembourgian ambassador Karthieser says the priority of his country will be the approval of the "Direct Trade Regulation"Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (25.11.04) reports that the ambassador of Luxembourg to Athens, Fernand Karthieser, who is also accredited to Nicosia, has said that the priority of his country during its EU presidency would be the approval of the "Direct Trade Regulation" with the Turkish Cypriots.
In statements yesterday after a meeting with the chairman of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM), Mustafa Akinci, Mr Karthieser promised that Luxemburg would do anything possible in order to increase the prosperity of the Turkish Cypriots and to ensure the application of the acquis communautaire in the northern part of Cyprus. He said that he visited Mr Akinci in order to convey to him the message that Luxemburg is closely concerned with the future of the Turkish Cypriots.
In his statements Mr Akinci said that the meeting was very important because it took place during a period right before the 17 December Summit where the decision will be taken on Turkey getting a date to start its accession talks with the EU.
Mr Akinci expressed the belief that "the Turkish Cypriots will become Europeans", that "things will not remain as they are today" and that "we are living a transition period". He said that he expected Turkey to get a date on 17 December and added that after this the solution of the Cyprus problem must come onto the agenda.
"The Turkish Cypriots will not permit the Cyprus problem to be put in the freezer", he noted and argued that the problem should be preferably solved before 2006, on the basis of the Annan Plan after conducting "limited negotiations".
 Mr Kalyoncu is optimistic that the direct flights to the occupied area of Cyprus will start sooner or laterTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (25.11.04) reports that the so-called Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Omer Kalyoncu participated yesterday morning in a program on SIM Radio.
During the program, Mr Kalyoncu, referred to the direct flights to the occupied area of Cyprus and said that they will start sooner or later and added: "If we continue our policies in a proper manner, if we continue our course to the EU as a true community and support the unification of Cyprus, then these planes will arrive here".
Mr Kalyoncu also noted that for the first time this year the number of tourists coming from Europe exceeded the number of tourists coming from Turkey.
My Kalyoncu also stated that the British and American officials, who made several inspections at the occupied airport of Tymbou, found that the equipment used and the works carried out were excellent.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in TDN says that Turkey recognizing the Republic of Cyprus is inevitableUnder the title "Reality may hurt, but it can't be ignored", Yusuf Kanli wirtes in his daily column in Turkish Daily News (25.11.04) the following:
"Whenever the European Union issue pops up on the agenda, we stress that Turkey's membership road will be a rather difficult one and will require substantive compromises on what have been Turkey's 'fundamental positions' over the past decades.
We are not trying to be an EU-skeptic, sharing as we do the firm belief that sooner or later this country will complete the accession process and will itself decide in a referendum whether or not to join the EU, rather than the decision being made by the French, the Dutch or someone else in the EU, who justifiably have some worries either because of the religion or the culture of Turkey or because of the size of the country and the like.
The discussion in Europe on the identity of the old continent has already started, and we have to admit that this discussion was in part triggered by Turkey approaching the last phase of its more than 200-year-long European vocation.
Europe will have to decide itself whether it is a club of Christian nations or a multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religion union based on universal norms headed by democracy, supremacy of law and individual rights and liberties. We have nothing to say in that debate, since we should not be expected to change our religion for the sake of EU membership. That's a problem that should be faced and resolved by the Europeans. If they eventually decide they want to stay a Christian club, what can we say other than wish them good luck and continue on our own way and opt for some other alternatives?
But, if they say 'Turkey is welcome but should meet this and that condition' for accession, then this country must be able to deliver those compromises, of course, after some bargaining regarding the overall shape and timing of such moves and after preparing Turkish society. We have to understand that it's Turkey who wants to join the EU, not the EU wanting to join Turkey.
Thus, to put it in the style of Donald Rumsfeld, there are legal matters that might be immoral, legitimate matters that are illegal and moral matters that are neither legitimate nor legal. But in international relations it is the interests of the countries that shape what is legal, moral and legitimate rather than international law, which in and of itself has lately fallen victim to the influence of the powerful.
The Greek Cypriot state has no moral or legitimate right to claim that it is the sole government on Cyprus, but according to international law -- the March 1964 Security Council resolution dispatching U.N. peacekeepers for the first time to the island -- it is the 'sole legitimate government' of the Republic of Cyprus and the sole internationally recognized state on the eastern Mediterranean island.
According to the founding treaties of the Cyprus Republic, which was established in 1960, Cyprus 'cannot join in part or in whole' any political, economic, or military establishment unless Turkey and Greece are already members. Greece is a member of the EU, Turkey is not, but still Cyprus has become a member of the Union in contravention of its founding treaties. It's illegal, but it has become legitimate under international law because although illegal and immoral, southern Cyprus is recognized by the United Nations as the government of Cyprus.
Since the April referendum on the U.N. plan, we have been saying that efforts to ease the international isolation of northern Cyprus -- in a bid to reward the overwhelming Turkish Cypriot 'yes' vote and punish the Greek Cypriots because of their massive 'no' vote, which killed the settlement opportunity -- are doomed to fail unless a new reality that constitutes the basis of a new legal situation on the island is created.
What can this be? Recognition of northern Cyprus or de-recognition of the Greek Cypriots as the "sole legitimate government" on the island.
As long as this situation remains unchanged, the international isolation of northern Cyprus cannot be ended nor can Turkey escape from recognizing -- sooner or later -- the Greek Cypriot side as the Government of Cyprus. Reality may be painful, but it can't be ignored.
Now Turkey is coming under pressure to recognize the Greek Cypriots immediately after getting a date on December 17 for the start of accession talks. Can Turkey say, 'I will never do it,' and continue the accession talks with the Union if the Greek Cypriot side is a full-fledged member of that club?
Let's be realistic. We can't. That's what Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was trying to say at a press conference following his meeting with the EU Troika: 'This is a matter of process'."