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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-05-30

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.100/05 28-29-30.05.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] HURRIYET: Here is the Cyprus Plan.
  • [02] Gul: Let us remove the restrictions simultaneously.
  • [03] Gul said that the US Congressmen's visit to occupied Cyprus is important.
  • [04]Talats interview in NTV television.
  • [05] The Co-Chairman of Turkey EU Joint Parliamentary Committee accuses the Greek Cypriots, President Papadopoulos and the EU for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem.
  • [06] Egemen Bagis says the illegal visit of US congressmen to the occupied areas of Cyprus is an important step for the lifting of the so-called embargo.
  • [07] Norwegian Ambassador in Ankara met with the representative of the Turkish Cypriots.
  • [08] War against the Greek Cypriots from the businessmen.
  • [09] Russian tourist agents in occupied Cyprus to search for tourism potentials.
  • [10] The so-called minister of education and culture to participate in the 22nd meeting of the Permanent Council of Culture Ministers of the Turkish Speaking Countries.
  • [11] A report lists amendments made to Turkish Penal Code.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] HURRIYET: Here is the Cyprus Plan

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (30.05.05), reports under the above title a five-point Cyprus plan which was outlined by the Turkish foreign Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul. The full text of the plan is as follows:

    Gul, drew the general outline of the new proposals which was proposed by Turkey. Gul said that the proposed plan should be implemented as a whole;

    1: To provide free movement of people, goods and services, between North and South Cyprus and the TRNC.

    2: All the restrictions, including direct flights, imposed on the ports and airports should be removed.

    3: Restrictions imposed on citizens of third countries should be removed.

    4: With a special arrangement, north Cyprus, should be included in the EU Customs Union as an economic unit, and as such it should get all the benefits.

    5: The obstacles erected before the Turkish Cypriots regarding sportive, cultural and similar international activities should be removed.

    Subtitle: Let them to revote again

    Saying that both Turkey and the TRNC took a right position, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul noted: We will continue to take initiative for securing lasting peace in the island. The Turkish Cypriots as well are ready. We will be pleased if the Annan Plan, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot section, is put to referendum again. We are ready for this. If there are changes, I have my proposals as well.

    [02] Gul: Let us remove the restrictions simultaneously

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (30.05.05) quoting Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gulīs statement to Turkish Daily News newspaper reports that Gul suggested: Let us simultaneously remove the restrictions imposed on both sides in Cyprus, by interested parties.

    Gul further said that they will convey the new plan to UN Secretary-General: Turkey is ready for peace, Gul declared.

    HURRIYET goes on and reports that final touches will be made to the new Cyprus plan, in Ankara, when Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the so-called Prime Minister of the pseudostate Ferdi Sabit Soyer meet Gul. We are ready for a lasting peace. We will tell this to the Secretary-General, Gul declared.

    He went on and claimed that until now the Turkish side with a view to removing these restrictions took important steps to this end. He said that the concrete example of these steps are facilities provided by Turkey to the Greek Cypriot citizens traveling to Turkey and the unilateral decision of the TRNC authorities to remove travel restriction to south on 23 April 2003. Gul claimed that as the Turkish side they were doing all the reasonable proposals and taking all the reasonable steps.

    [03] Gul said that the US Congressmen's visit to occupied Cyprus is important

    NTV television (29.05.05) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who went to Bahrain on an official visit, asked to comment on the US Congressmen's delegation's upcoming visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus, said: This is a very important and meaningful development. We are happy to see that our friends are heeding our call.

    Mr Gul alleged that the Turkish side did its share in connection with a solution in Cyprus, and that it is happy that the international circles are witnessing the negative attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.

    [04] Talats interview in NTV television

    NTV television (27.05.05) broadcast the following interview of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat by Isin Elcin:

    Question: Mr Talat, let us begin with the toughest issue by considering the hottest one, the economic aspect. That topic concerns the lawsuits filed by the Greek Cypriots for land they claim to be theirs, plus the arrest order issued against those using this land. How far might this business go? What are you planning to do?

    Answer: One thing must be known well here. The property issue on Cyprus is a political issue. You have to realize this and in fact it appears that there are many who do realize this. That is how it is perceived within both the EU and the UN. However, the Greek Cypriots are making good use of the fact that they are EU members and the sole representative at the UN, and are taking legal action. They are doing this to grab the Turkish Cypriots by the throat, to tighten their grip, to gain more concessions and to prune back the Turkish Cypriots' right a little more. That is the aim and purpose of this. They have other multi-dimensional goals as well, of course, but it appears to me that neither side is going to make any gains out of this stalemate. This is clear, anyway. It is the Greek Cypriots that need to comprehend this. We are making it clear to them: If you want to settle the property issue then please take a seat. Let us solve the Cyprus problem in its entirety thus solving the property issue at the same time. If you will not take a seat then your intentions are not good. That is our current position.

    Question: You are right. What you are saying about a final settlement is true, but it is not clear when that might be. What might happen in the short run? You wrote to both the EU and the United States, for instance. What did that letter say?

    Answer: The letter was not of course an initiative aimed at a settlement. And it has to be said that if the Cyprus problem is not solved in its entirety then the property issue will not get resolved. Nothing we can do today can bring about a settlement. The property issue will not get resolved. The way to do this is for a complete settlement.

    Question: This is creating problems for the people. The EU did have a proposal: Direct trade with the EU in return for suspending investment in Greek Cypriot property, and allowing joint use of Famagusta port in return for Varosha. We heard that Papadopoulos also liked this proposal. Does it seem sensible to you?

    Answer: Of course not because we would get let us say $10 million from trading directly with the EU, no more. This is because we have $50-60 million in exports, annually, and $10 million of this could be done with the EU. This is a tiny sum. A moratorium, that is not doing anything to Greek Cypriot property, would be impossible both from a legal standpoint and because it would condemn the economy to total collapse. This is why we have no choice but to settle everything at once. Look, we cannot fix the property problem as a stepping stone towards a full settlement. If we are going to suffer material losses in the property area then we should be able to make gains elsewhere. In other words, if you look at new Cyprus as an entire package then property is just one part of the settlement. Another part is the sharing of the country's resources. Let running the country be shared. Running the State should be shared. If not, then what are you going to gain by imposing a moratorium on property alone, by halting the sale of property, by bringing the construction sector to a halt, by not investing, for example by not building tourist resorts? You will only bring about the collapse of the Turkish Cypriot economy.

    Question: Fine, but in the short term at least might not the Turkish Cypriots file similar lawsuits for their property in the south? Why are not similar cases being filed?

    Answer: You are talking about retaliation. More correctly against the Greek Cypriots because the solution to this problem is not a legal one but a domestic one. Yes, we are doing this. As individuals our people are grasping this and acting accordingly. We too, by that I mean the government and the State, are making preparations with this understanding. There was the contradiction created by not issuing arrest warrants for Greek Cypriots when warrants were being issued for Turkish Cypriots, for example, and there is also the matter of Turkish Cypriot property in the south. All of this occupies our agenda, of course, and we are going to take it further. In the south there is a guardianship law whereby Turkish Cypriot property is maintained either by a foundation or by a trustee under the guardianship law. They allow Anatolian Greek migrants to use them. If a Turk wants his property back he absolutely cannot get it back. As a result, the method practiced in the north is of course to do with property but at least it enables the true owners in the south to use their property. Consequently, when you compare them and additionally if necessary put them before the world's courts you have to explain that the solution to this problem is not legal but political. This is what we are trying to do.

    Question: Hopes, no matter how weak, have arisen that the talks process may start up again. Papadopoulos has informed Annan of what bothers him in the Annan Plan and has made his proposals. Kofi Annan's representative Prendergast is coming to the island. You too are going to give an exact date. I am not sure. What do you say? Can you give me a date?

    Answer: If I am not mistaken he is coming over on 31 May. He is meeting me on 1 June. We will meet at around midday and talk into the afternoon. We have a lunch date. He will come over at 0600 GMT the next morning. In other words, we will talk over two days, 1 and 2 June. Afterwards, he is going on to Turkey and Greece as far as I know.

    Question: Are the Greek Cypriot demands acceptable to the Turkish Cypriots?

    Answer: I would not know.

    Question: But could you give a reply based on what has been seen in the Greek and Turkish Cypriot press?

    Answer: What has been seen in the press appears to be ideas that will prune the rights of all the Turkish Cypriots. However, just how logical and sensible they are will only be seen once they are put in writing and finally presented. That is why it is best not to be judgmental. We do not know yet. Not just us, but the UN does not know yet either, because the proposals have not been given to them. Although, as you know, the UN Secretary-General told the Greek Cypriots in the report he submitted to the Security Council immediately after the referenda that they must clearly and definitively make their proposals for changes known. He made such a call. The Greek Cypriots did not reply. Later at a press conference in London the Secretary General said in reply to a question: My position remains unchanged. Give me in writing a clear and definitive list of your proposals. As a result the Greek Cypriots yielded and Papadopoulos sent his political under secretary Tassos to New York. They talked at great length and he made their position clear. But, as far as I understand, according to what we have learned, the Secretary-General was not satisfied with this.

    Question: But he is still sending Prendergast to the island.

    Answer: He was already going to send him. In fact, in order to prevent Prendergast coming to the island the Greek Cypriots tried sending a representative to New York. But, the Secretary-General, and of course it was also my initiative. I said, This business should not end with Tassos or any other representative going there. The Secretary-General should send a representative there to conduct research in situ. Indeed, the Secretary-General did accept a Greek Cypriot envoy going to New York as long as it did not stop his own envoy from going to Cyprus. They spoke. He spoke personally with Mr Prendergast, I mean. And he sent Prendergast to Cyprus.

    Question: Take for example the demand seen in the press for unilateral guarantor rights to be abolished. How do you stand on that?

    Answer: The guarantor agreements are international agreements. To change international agreements requires consensus by all parties. Only when all three guarantor countries agree can changes be made to the agreements; Turkey, the United Kingdom and Greece. Looking at it from the Turkish Cypriot perspective if mainland Turkey's right of intervention is abolished then the guarantor agreement becomes unworkable, and unacceptable. In other words, no Cypriot would accept such an arrangement. It sees Turkey's guarantorship as a key point, and an assurance of security. Of course, many new points are going to arise on new Cyprus. There is the EU dimension, but despite all of these new aspects Turkey's guarantor status is something the Turkish Cypriots cannot do without.

    Question: There is another point being seen in the Greek Cypriot press. There were always rumours that the United States wanted to set up a base in the north. What do you think about this? Has any concrete proposal been made? Is it being discussed, taken up?

    Answer: There is no such proposal. Nor do I think there will be. I think those allegations are just fabrication. The Greek Cypriot press has made it a tradition to publish such fabrications. Therefore, I do not even see the need to discuss it. The United States has already rejected the idea out of hand, anyway.

    Question: What is Papadopoulos trying to do?

    Answer: Papadopoulos is trying to do this: There used to be a Republic of Cyprus back in 1960. If we look at that republic by taking into account its half-baked so-called bi-communal character governed by a Greek Cypriot heavy administration, then what he is trying to do as popular level is recreate that State in the south today. In other words, he is trying to create a Republic of Cyprus where Papadopoulos and his team are in charge, and where the Turkish Cypriots will only be citizens but without any administrative powers. The conditions are conducive to this. It is a state that is recognized by the UN. It is an EU country. Unfortunately, as a result of our bad policies it entered the EU representing all of Cyprus. As a result it is trying to create the model I just spoke of using all these advantages. In other words, the Turkish Cypriots do not exist in his book. The Turkish Cypriots have been shut out, are being shut out. The Republic of Cyprus under his rule must take its place in the world only by shunting the Turkish Cypriots entirely to one side. That is Papadopoulos' policy.

    Question: What do you say about the EU's failure to lift the isolation?

    Answer: The reason for the EU not taking steps to remove the isolation is that Papadopoulos' southern Cyprus became a member of the EU by itself. All the obstacles stem from there and block everything.

    Question: He can do this all by himself.

    Answer: He can because he has right of veto, power of veto. He says, I will even veto Turkey. You know the score. Turkey has already suffered much here. Of course, there is the notion that the EU will not listen to Papadopoulos if it has interests in Turkey being such a large country and all. But do not forget that the EU's founding pillar is made up of international agreements and treaties, the EU acquis. According to these acquis the Cypriot government has the right to speak on behalf of the entire island.

    Question: The date 3 October is drawing near. Turkey, will sign the Ankara Agreement including Cyprus, the Customs Union. Will this signature not tie your hands? How might it affect the talks?

    Answer: There is no way Turkey cannot sign the agreement. It will sign it. Turkey has already pledged to do so, and in writing. Turkey is going to sign it. This recognition does not mean that it recognizes the Republic of Cyprus as it stands now represented by only the Greek Cypriots. Turkey would never recognize such a Republic of Cyprus. I am not saying it cannot recognize the Republic, it will not. It is just not possible. As a result this will happen, but it is the subsequent developments that will be important.

    Question: Yes, because we can already see Papadopoulos' current standpoint. He is going to want to use this. Angela Merkel is quite likely going to be Germany's new Chancellor. She has already started putting pressure on saying work on Turkey by 3 October.

    Answer: I would not know what information the Germans or other international actors have on Cyprus, naturally. As she has not come to power yet, she is a politician who is unaware of certain facts. But, Turkey has already done all it can to get a settlement before 3 October. Today too it is saying it is ready to do this. As a result the onus lies not with the Turkish side. The problem or responsibility for the settlement of the Cyprus issue lies now with the Greek Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey itself have said time and time again they are ready to solve this. From this perspective, if she forms a government tomorrow then she will see the facts. But the important point here is this: When Turkey accepts Cyprus into the

    Customs Union this will lead to more leverage being exerted on Turkey. They are

    going to try and make Turkey open its ports to Greek Cypriot flagged ships, open its airports for Greek Cypriot aircraft. This is where the pressure is going to be applied. It is going to say that the ports must be open for the sake of the Customs Union, so that goods can be traded without customs tariffs. Turkey is resisting this now and will resist it in the future. It has to. Either the Cyprus problem will be solved or all of Cyprus will see free trade, so that then Turkey can open its ports. But even if Turkey resists, and it will, it will still be under a lot of pressure. This pressure might perhaps be aimed at wearing Turkey down and trying to alter Turkey's perspective. I am concerned about this. However, it is completely wrong to say that Turkey recognizes the Republic of Cyprus from the moment it signs that protocol.

    Question: A settlement does not look likely in the short term. Papadopoulos is digging his heels in. If your will and Turkey's will is not enough for a settlement how might the Turkish Cypriot's political preferences be influenced?

    Answer: It is not possible to know that very well at this time. It is not easy to guess but I can say this: Lack of hope leads to anger. Nor is it possible to predict where this anger might lead people. Should hope in the EU be lost then EU hatred could arise again. This would not be a good development because Turkey has a vision of the EU. Such a development could adversely affect Turkey's vision of the EU. From this perspective we must not let the Turkish Cypriots lose their vision of the EU. The Turkish Cypriots may get mad at the world, but that is only to be expected.

    Question: What would you do, then, as the representative of the Turkish Cypriots?

    Answer: I do not think that what was lost over 30 years can be regained in one year, and I say this. But, to be honest I had hoped for a little more progress. I wanted this and thought it could happen. From a morale standpoint there have been important developments that reduce the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. I mean, more tourists are coming to the north. More investment is needed. Improvements are being seen in the economy. These are facts. The reason for this is that the Turkish Cypriots have a vision of a solution. They have proved they are not separatist. They are being applauded by the world. As well as these steps towards reducing isolation our key expectation as you know is direct flights to Cyprus Airport and to be able to trade directly with the EU. We have not yet been able to achieve this.

    Question: Are you hopeful, though? Over how long?

    Answer: It is not easy to put a time frame to this.

    Question: This is because if things go on like this then there is the chance that you will be in charge of a status similar to the status quo you spent years fighting.

    Answer: That will never happen. Do you know why? The new situation that has arisen is absolutely not a lasting one. To be correct one should say: Today's situation is not sustainable. It is not possible. We have already announced and emphasized that the status quo will collapse, that the status quo is not lasting, not sustainable. Neither is today's situation lasting or sustainable because you are a state with a function to perform. You have all kinds of function from the courts to the security forces. You have a government, a parliament, courts. You have everything except recognition. Does failure to be recognized mean you are no longer a state? No. But, come and look. You will see that a state without recognition cannot do all the work of a state, it cannot do everything, cannot make everything happen. Looking at it this way the current situation cannot last, it needs to be made lasting. What is this condition that will make it lasting? As long as Turkey's vision is the EU, as long as our vision is the EU and a settlement then in connection with this vision it does not seem possible that a new status quo can develop, or for this status quo to be regressive and conservative.

    Question: There is talk of a series of meetings being held in Ankara next week. Can you enlighten us?

    Answer: After speaking with Prendergast on the 2nd of the month we are going to fly at midday to Ankara. I will be travelling with the prime minister and deputy prime minister. We are going to speak with the uppermost level of the Turkish government, either with the prime minister, or with the deputy prime minister, the foreign minister.

    I am also going to meet the President and it is highly likely that we will have other contacts the next day. I mean, if there are any problems with the program then we shall have talks with the Chief of Staff. I mean it has been a long time, a month in fact, since I got elected. We have been concentrating on our preparations. Suddenly, these lawsuits came out of nowhere, you know. They are going to continue but we have now made the necessary arrangements and put things back on track. As a result they will not affect us much. I mean, they will not work to our detriment very much. We are going to continue working.

    Question: You had expectations of the Americans. Have they disappointed you at all?

    Answer: Honestly, the Americans are doing much better than the EU. I mean we had no expectations of trade with the Americans because there was no problem concerning trade with America. We are able to export our goods to America. Our problem with America is that it is such a long way away and the lack of areas where we can pull our weight commercially. I mean, there is no much chance of many trading partners, with the United States.

    Question: Is there anything more than the symbolic visit this week?

    Answer: The political aspect of this visit is important. This is the first time a direct flight has been made to the TRNC since 1980. In other words a new era is coming when contacts are being resumed after all manner of contact was severed with the declaration of the TRNC in 1983. Politically and of course economically speaking this is extremely important for us. America is sending a signal. It is telling the Greek Cypriots that the status quo cannot last. This status quo is not our status quo. This can be sustained as Cyprus' overall status quo, is not what they are saying. This is the signal they are sending. As far as signals sent by superpowers go, this is extremely important.

    Question: You came to office opposing Mr Denktas. Now, sitting in his place do you ever think I was wrong about him at times; I did not do a good think by criticizing him?

    Answer: I was never wrong about him. In fact, I spoke very little and made few assessments. When I came to office only then did I see this clearly and in depth. I am so upset by the years and opportunities that we missed. I mean, for example, if we had reached today's point just one year earlier both Cyprus and Turkey would be very different today. Therefore, no I never felt such things.

    [05] The Co-Chairman of Turkey EU Joint Parliamentary Committee accuses the Greek Cypriots, President Papadopoulos and the EU for the non-solution of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Cyprus Times newspaper (30.05.05) writes that the Co-Chairman of the Turkey EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, Mr Joost Lagendijk has prepared a report in the light of his visit to Cyprus a month ago.

    According to the paper, in the report Mr Lagendijk accuses President Papadopoulos of being responsible for the failure of the efforts towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem and the continuation of the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Mr Lagendijk alleges that President Papadopoulos distances the Greek Cypriots from a settlement to the Cyprus problem and uses the EU membership of the Republic of Cyprus to prevent all efforts towards lifting the so-called embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots. Accusing the Greek Cypriot leader of trying to bring the 1960 spirit back to the island, he (Mr Lagendijk) said that the main objective of Mr Papadopoulos is not to solve the Cyprus problem but to assure his reelection in 2008, writes the paper.

    Mr Lagendijk has also accused the EU of loosing its control on the Cyprus problem and of being responsible for the current deadlock in Cyprus.

    [06] Egemen Bagis says the illegal visit of US congressmen to the occupied areas of Cyprus is an important step for the lifting of the so-called embargo

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.05.05) reports that the Justice and Development Party MP and Co-Chairman of Turkeys Friendship Group with the US Congress, Mr Egemen Bagis, the man who organized the visit of the American congressmen to the occupied part of Cyprus through the illegal Tymbou airport, has said that the visit is an important step for the lifting of the so-called embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots.

    In statements to KIBRIS, Mr Bagis noted: Such a visit at the political level is realized for the first time since 1974. This visit is a sign in the direction of the lifting of the unjust embargo applied on the Turkish Cypriots after 1974. Mr Bagis argued that the American Congressmen will visit Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, not as a leader of the community, but as President at his office and that they will also meet so-called prime minister Soyer and deputy prime minister Serdar Denktas.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (28.05.05) reports that the US congressman, Mr Ed Whitfield, who will be heading the delegation, has stated that their visit to the occupied area through illegal Tymbou is encouraged by President Bush. The paper argues that there is a new American policy for Cyprus.

    [07] Norwegian Ambassador in Ankara met with the representative of the Turkish Cypriots

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.05.05) reports from Ankara that the Norwegian Ambassador to Turkey Hans Wilhelm Longva met the Representative of the Turkish Cypriots at the so-called TRNC Embassy in Ankara on Friday, paying the first ever visit by an European country to the TRNC Embassy.

    During the meeting, Mr Longva said that they supported the European Commission's proposals to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, and therefore he was visiting the embassy.

    I am paying this visit despite international isolation, Mr Longva said. Mr Longva stated that the isolation decision of the European Court of Justice did not bind Norway, which was not a European Union (EU) member, and noted that Norway had to abide by the liabilities of the European Economic Zone.

    Pointing out that he was considering the TRNC Embassy in Ankara as the representative of Turkish Cypriot community and he was visiting this embassy in this regard, Mr Longva said that his country was committed to the UN Security Council resolution 550 (which reaffirms the call upon all States not to recognize the purported state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus set up by secessionist acts and calls upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist this the aforesaid secessionist entity) and there was no change in their policies. Mr Longva added that they also supported UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's initiatives aiming at a lasting solution of the Cyprus problem.

    On the other hand, Mr Gazioglu said that he welcomed this approach of Mr Longva (considering TRNC Embassy in Ankara as the representative of Turkish Cypriot community) since no agreement had been reached on Cyprus.

    Mr Gazioglu noted that they favoured improvement of economic, cultural, commercial and social relations with Norway and other European countries. After the Annan plan had been rejected by the Greek Cypriots, Mr Annan presented a report to the UN Security Council demanding the end of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, Mr Gazioglu also expressed pleasure that Norway was supporting two regulations of the European Commission, aiming at lifting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    [08] War against the Greek Cypriots from the businessmen

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (28.05.05) reports that an organization under the name International Council for North Cyprus (ICNC) has been established aiming at declaring a war against the Republic of Cyprus.

    The paper writes that the aim of the Council is using the international institutions and the press, develop the international relations of the Turkish Cypriots, protect and strengthen the economy of northern Cyprus.

    In its front page, HALKIN SESI notes, inter alia the following: The business circles which launched an international struggle against the Greek Cypriots have reached an agreement with EUPRO Limited (North Cyprus Property Owners Association) the headquarters of which are in London, in order to conduct their lobby activities and legal struggle in Europe. The director of North Cyprus properties (NCP) company Osman Ozter, who is one of those who played a role in launching the attack, said that their aim was to be activated against the attacks of the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots.

    [09] Russian tourist agents in occupied Cyprus to search for tourism potentials

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.05.05) reports that the Western Travel and Tourism Company which is active in occupied Famagusta brought to occupied Cyprus a group of 29 Russians. Among them there are 26 tourist Agents.

    As the paper writes, the Western Travel and Tourism Company, which invited the group to the occupied areas of Cyprus, managed to bring the Russians without the mediation of a company of Turkey or south Cyprus and this happens for the first time.

    The Russian group arrived in occupied Cyprus on Sunday evening at 22.05 through Istanbul. Speaking to KIBRIS, Mr Hakki Alpsoy, the manager of the Western Travel and Tourism Company, stated that the aim is to bring tourists from Russia to occupied Cyprus with direct flights to the illegal Tymbou airport.

    The Russians will be toured around occupied Cyprus and they will be informed about the tourist infrastructure of occupied Cyprus. As Mr Alpsoy said, they will stay for the first two days of their visit at Salamis Bay Conti Hotel, then they will stay at Bilfer Palm beach Hotel for two days, and later in the Merit Cyprus Gardens Hotel.

    Asked for the reason they are visiting occupied Cyprus, Mr Andrei Sidorin, the owner of the Aquarius Tourism agency, stated that the nature in occupied Cyprus is unspoilt and the work perspectives are very wide.

    [10] The so-called minister of education and culture to participate in the 22nd meeting of the Permanent Council of Culture Ministers of the Turkish Speaking Countries

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.05.05) reports that the so-called minister of education and culture of the occupation regime, Mrs Canan Oztoprak, will participate in the 22nd meeting of the Permanent Council of Culture Ministers of the Turkish Speaking Countries.

    The meeting, which is organised by TURKSOY (Joint Administration of Turkish Culture and Art) will be held in the city of Kazan which is the capital of Tataristan, between 30 May and 2 June.

    [11] A report lists amendments made to Turkish Penal Code

    Turkish daily Radikal newspaper (28.05.05) reports that the new Turkish Penal Code (TPC) has been drawn up without taking into account the objections raised by civil society organizations, but along the lines of the sensitivities of the police organization and the Islamic rank-and-file. The law will go into effect as of 1 June.

    In the new package of penal code provisions passed prior to the 17 December [2004] summit in order to get a [membership] negotiations date from the EU, steps that various sectors of society, as well as the EU, were expecting in terms of democratization were not taken. The ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP), which did not take into account the objections of civil society organizations, particularly the press and the bar associations, has made amendments in line with the desires of the police organization and its [i.e., the JDP's] Islamist base.

    Following the new Law on the Execution of Punishments and [Law on Judicial Procedures, the bill providing for changes in the TPC was passed into law yesterday in the National Assembly. In the general assembly the day before yesterday, the provision of the new TPC which called for pardon, under the heading "causing construction pollution", had been withdrawn to the Justice Committee when it became clear that it would not be able to get 330 votes. The Committee accepted this provision yesterday in the same form. The opposition Republican People's Party (RPP), which decided to protest the debates on the TPC because a change was made to the provision calling for reduced penalties for unregistered instructional institutions, did not take part in the meeting of the Committee yesterday morning.

    The report of the Constitutional Committee was taken up following the vote on amending the Constitution in the general assembly. In the debates, in which the RPP members did not take part, the proposal was passed into law with the votes of the JDP. 346 deputies took part in the open voting on the law as a whole. There were 343 votes to accept it and 3 in rejection. The amended provisions in the new TPC are as follows:

    Prison sentences for children between 12 and 15 years of age have been increased. Greater sentences may also be given to children who take part in honor killings or commit "snatch and run" crimes.

    In crimes of sexual assault and sexual exploitation of children, if the offence is committed more than once, more than one sentence will be possible to be imposed. Harassment within the school or the family has been included within the scope of "sexual harassment".

    The crime of incitement to suicide via the press is no longer grounds for an increased sentence. "Fabrication" has been removed from the scope of crime of defamation. The one-third increase in penalty for defamation committed via the press has been abandoned.

    If offences against the public order are committed via the press and publications, the penalty will be increased not "by one half" but rather "up to one half". Expressions of opinion intended as criticism will not constitute crimes.

    In order to be able to benefit from the provisions for active repentance in cases of defamation conducted via the press and publications, these [retractions] will have to be published in an identical form.

    Penalties of up to three years will be given for the offence of making oral or written declarations intended to influence investigations and court cases. The provision for increasing the penalty by half if the offence is committed via the press has been abandoned.

    The provision for increasing penalties by one-third for the crime of insulting the President if the offence is committed via the press has been removed from the text.

    The provision for increasing penalties up to one-third for the crime of incitement to war against the state if the offence is committed via the press has been eliminated.

    "Foreigners located in Turkey" have also been included within the scope of the crime of actions against fundamental national interests. The provision calling for an increase in penalty by one half in the event of benefits being received or promised in order to conduct propaganda via the press has been abandoned.

    The "threat to publicize matters that would damage an individual's reputation in order to secure gain" has been put into the scope of blackmail. Perpetrators will be imprisoned for from one to three years and also pay judicial fines of up to 5 thousand days.

    In cases of fraud against the "public", or committed by means of banks or credit institutions or via the opening of a credit that banks should not issue, the minimum sentence has been increased from two to three years.

    Imprisonment of from three to seven years and judicial fines of up to 10 thousand days will be given to those who generate false bank or credit cards by accessing the bank accounts of others.

    In the event of credit card crimes carried out against spouses, siblings, or first-degree relatives, in-laws, or adopted children, these individuals will not be punished.

    In cases of theft, penalty reductions or dismissal of penalty will be possible on the basis of "minimal value of the goods stolen" or "the form and characteristics of the theft".

    Those guilty of aiding and abetting will be able to benefit from the reduced penalties on the basis of active repentance.

    The provision of active repentance will not be applied to those who flee after being taken into custody.

    The penalty of two to five years imprisonment for those who provide permits or infrastructural services for illegal construction will not be applied to offences committed prior to 12 October 2004.

    The reference to "suitable" in the TPC article on "destroying the unity of the state and the integrity of the country" was removed as it could lead to a retrial of [Workers' Party of Kurdistan - PKK - leader Abdullah] Ocalan.

    Imprisonment of from three months to one year, or a judicial fine, will be given to those who open or operate instructional institutions in contravention of the law. In this way, those who teach in these courses have been saved from penalties, and the institutions themselves saved from closure. Since prison sentences of up to one year will be converted to fines, those who open illegal courses and instructional institutions will not go to prison.

    /SK


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