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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-10-30

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.209/06 28-29-30.10.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Republic and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus celebrate the establishment of the modern Turkish Republic.
  • [02] Statements by Hasan Ercakica.
  • [03] Pegasus Airlines has inaugurated its passenger flights between Turkeys Black Sea town of Trabzon and Tymbou airport in the occupied area.
  • [04] The illegal Turkish Embassy is to provide 1.5 million new Turkish Lira for the restoration of the Apostolos Andreas Monastery.
  • [05] Olli Rehn: An effective proposal on Cyprus by the end of the year.
  • [06] The progress report will not cover Turkey´s EU obligations.
  • [07] Pertev and Moller to meet today.
  • [08] The EU Commission releases aid for the areas of Cyprus under the occupation of 40,000 Turkish troops.
  • [09] Soyer brands as success the financial aid to the areas of Cyprus being under the occupation of 40,000 Turkish troops.
  • [10] The Turkish Foreign Ministry continues to speak of EU obligations towards its subordinate regime in occupied Cyprus.
  • [11] A royal tomb has been found in occupied Famagusta.
  • [12] Chief of Staff Gen Buyukanit to visit Greece 1- 4 November.
  • [13] Cyprus among the issues of tomorrow´s meeting of the Turkish National Security Council.
  • [14] Gul´s interview with RADIKAL newspaper.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [15] Impact of Turkish domestic policy on foreign policy.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Republic and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus celebrate the establishment of the modern Turkish Republic

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.10.06) broadcast that ceremonies are being held throughout the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus alongside Turkey to mark the 83rd anniversary of the declaration of the Modern Turkish Republic by Kemal Ataturk.

    The illegal Turkish Ambassador to occupied Lefkosia Aydan Karahan received well wishers at 9.00 this morning.

    The first ceremony in occupied Lefkosia began at 9.30 in front of the Ataturk Monument where wreaths were laid and a minute of silence observed and the flags rose to the National Anthem.

    The main ceremony was held at the Doctor Fazil Kucuk Boulevar in occupied Lefkosia.

    Following the inspection of ceremonial units self-styled President Mehmet Ali Talat and an officer from the Turkish Occupation Forces in Cyprus delivered a speech highlighting the significance of the day.

    The ceremony at the Doctor Fazil Kucuk Boulevard came to an end with a military parade by the Turkish occupation forces.

    Ceremonies were also held in four other main cities in the occupied areas.

    Within the framework of the celebrations, a reception will take place in the illegal Near East University at 18.30 and there will be a concert by the occupation Forces band.

    Speaking during the ceremony at the Doctor Fazil Kucuk Boulevar in occupied Lefkosia Mr Mehmet Ali Talat said that the steps towards peace taken by Ataturk and Venizelos should be taken as a model also in Cyprus.

    Pointing to the harmony between Turkish and the Turkish Cypriots aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot side will continue to extend peace hand and sustain the process of uniting the occupied areas with the European Union.

    Explaining that the Cyprus problem could only be solved within the framework of the United Nations, Mr Talat said that it would be a waste of time if the Cyprus problem had not been taken up as a whole.

    In his speech, Mr Talat also called on the international community to respect the existence and the rights of the Turkish Cypriot People and to help to remove its isolation.

    Messages have also been issued by many political parties, societies and civilian organizations to mark the significance of the day.

    In his message, the Leader of the Freedom and Reform Party, self-styled Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said that the existence of Turkey strengthens the Turkish Cypriot People as it is their guarantee, hope and pride.

    The Leader of the main opposition National Unity Party Huseyin Ozgurgun, in his message stated that the Turkish Cypriot People would not be deceived by foreign powers to annihilate them by osmosis.

    Stating that Turkeys support to the TRNC is vital, Mr Ozgurgun said that Turkey has guaranteed Turkish Cypriot Peoples security and the existence of the state which Turkish Cypriots established by using their self-determination right.

    In its own message, the Democrat Party, stated that the Turkish Cypriot Side is in favour of a realistic and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem but to achieve this it should be understood that the Turkish Cypriot People is one of the two politically equal sides on the island.

    (Tr. Note: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the illegal regime the Turkish Republic has set up in the occupied areas of the Repubilc of Cyprus through the force of arms of 40,000 Turkish troops. The presence of 40,000 Turkish troops which killed 1% of the Greek Cypriot population, the forced eviction of 200,000 Greek Cypriots who survived the massacre to the free areas and the massive colonization of the homes and properties of the evicted Greek Cypriots by mainland settlers keep the Greek Cypriots victims of the Turkish army isolated from their properties and all their fundamental human rights flagrantly violated).

    [02] Statements by Hasan Ercakica

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.10.06) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has accused the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos of distorting many issues concerning the Cyprus problem to form the public opinion in the direction of his own attitude.

    In a written statement today, the Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica stated that there is no scheduled meeting and an agenda between Mr Pertev and Mr Tzionis and reminded that the views put forward by the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative Michael Moller towards moving the 8th of July process forward had been replied in a written form immediately and had a positive approach, however, the Greek Cypriot Side did not.

    Earlier, Mr Papadopoulos stated besides many other things that the process which was agreed on the 8th of July has not been frozen and the meetings between the Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev and the Representative of his Administration Tasos Tzionis would be resumed tomorrow.

    Mr Ercakica noted that the Greek Cypriot Side is trying to defuse the process aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem under the UN umbrella adding that it is continuing its efforts to get advantages by using its EU membership.

    [03] Pegasus Airlines has inaugurated its passenger flights between Turkeys Black Sea town of Trabzon and Tymbou airport in the occupied area

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.10.06) reports that the Pegasus Airlines has inaugurated its passenger flights between Turkeys Black Sea town of Trabzon and Tymbou airport in the occupied area. The general director of the company Zeki Ziya, said that more surprises are to come.

    (MHY)

    [04] The illegal Turkish Embassy is to provide 1.5 million new Turkish Lira for the restoration of the Apostolos Andreas Monastery

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.10.06) reports that the so-called Aid Delegation Chairmanship of the Turkish Envoy in the occupied area has announced that it is ready to provide 1.5 million new Turkish Lira financial aid for restoration and rearrangement of the surroundings and the annexes of the Apostolos Andreas Monastery for promoting religious tourism in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The Chairman of the Aid Delegation Mehmet Ilhan, said that the 60-room annexes around the Monastery is in a dilapidating state and they want to renovate and turn it into a 120-room hotel in the service of the religious tourism which will provide extra income to the region. He said that in order to start implementing the project they need the approval of the Vakif and the illegal municipality.

    (MHY)

    [05] Olli Rehn: An effective proposal on Cyprus by the end of the year

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.10.06) broadcast the following:

    The EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn has said that the EU term Presidency Finland has a chance to present an effective proposal on Cyprus by the end of the year.

    Mr Rehn was speaking on a Finnish State TV Channel where he evaluated the Finnish proposal on Cyprus and Turkeys EU membership.

    Regarding the Cyprus problem, Olli Rehn reiterated that all the sides concerned intend to negotiate the proposals and added that Finlands effort only aims at reuniting Cyprus.

    He also said that the next few weeks will show whether we got results or not in avoiding a traffic accident between the European Union and Turkey.

    Expressing his belief that the process will take long, Mr Rehn said that at the first stage the deadlock in the commercial and economic cooperation should be passed over.

    On Turkeys EU membership the EU Commissioner for Enlargement said that the block has offered Turkey a full membership in case of carrying out EU criteria, however many European politicians are still discussing Turkeys appropriateness to the membership.

    [06] The progress report will not cover Turkey´s EU obligations

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (29.10.06) publishes the following report:

    Ankara may have been relieved upon hearing European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn suggesting a delay in the commission's verdict on the Turkish refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus, but it is still bracing for an impact when the bloc releases its progress report on November 8 over the pace of its political reforms, if no progress is made by then.

    EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has already given a taste of the reaction Turkey is likely to get in the progress report over reforms when he said, with sorrow, that things are going badly with respect to the Turkish reform progress.

    We are at a critical moment. The reforms in Turkey are proceeding very slowly and today, I don't see the progress I would have hoped for, he said in remarks published this week in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

    The EU criticism focuses, most notably, on Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which criminalizes insulting Turkishness. Prosecutors have brought charges against dozens of intellectuals under this article and although most of them have been cleared of charges, some were not, such as Turkish/Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who has received a six-month suspended imprisonment for remarks relating to the alleged Armenian genocide.

    Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Rene van der Linden was the latest European official to warn Ankara that it must tackle the issue of reforms and particularly that of freedom of expression. According to sources close to his talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül on Thursday, he even implied that the dispute over Cyprus could be contained if Turkey takes sufficient steps to improve free speech.

    The Parliament is completing a reform package due to be adopted before release of the progress report, but a law on property rights of non-Muslim foundations has been watered down during parliamentary debates and there is no sign of plans to change the Article 301 in line with the EU demands.

    Turkish-EU relations have been expected to hit a stumbling block over Cyprus ever since the EU leaders pledged to review Turkey's progress over opening of its ports and airports to traffic from member Greek Cyprus by the end of the year in a statement they made in September 2005.

    Tension has risen gradually, with Rehn warning of a train crash if Turkey fails to fulfill its obligations towards the EU and Turkish leaders responding with equally tough statements urging the EU to fulfill its responsibilities towards the Turkish Cypriots by taking measures to ease their isolation as it promised in 2004.

    But with Finland, the term president of the EU, trying to craft a deal to resolve the dispute, and EU states not willing to see Turkey's accession talks with the bloc coming to a halt weighing in, the EU Commission is apparently willing to give the initiative more time, rather than issuing a final assessment in the progress report that will largely guide a decision of the leaders on the fate of accession talks with Turkey at a summit in mid-December.

    Rehn, in remarks published on Friday, said the progress report itself might be updated in line with developments that could happen regarding the Cyprus ports dispute, emphasizing that the issue would remain on the table until the summit of EU leaders in December.

    In its current form, the progress report is expected to say that Turkey refuses to fulfill its obligations towards Greek Cyprus by not opening its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes and underline that recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration is a necessary component of membership, assertions that are likely to please the Greek Cypriots.

    But the report is also reportedly referring to Turkey's action plan, which proposes simultaneous lifting of restrictions in Cyprus, meaning that Turkey's opening of its ports and airports would come in return for the EU allowing direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots.

    Finland is trying to unblock the disagreement over the Greek Cypriot access to Turkish ports and airports by offering the handover of the control of the uninhabited city of Varosha to the United Nations in exchange for the opening of one Turkish Cypriot port to trade under international supervision. The exchange is intertwined with Turkey's opening a limited number of its ports to traffic from Greek Cyprus.

    The Finnish initiative to bring at least a temporary solution to the Cyprus row is seen likely to remain on the table, until at least the end of the Finnish presidency of the EU at the end of December. A substantial step on the part of the Turkish government in the area of freedom of expression by then, such as changes to the Article 301, may significantly help improve the atmosphere in Turkish-EU ties and may even delay a showdown on Cyprus further, observers say.

    [07] Pertev and Moller to meet today

    Illegal Bayrak television (29.10.06) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev is coming together with the UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus Michael Moller tomorrow.

    The details of the 8th of July set of principles will be taken up during the meeting which will take place at the buffer zone.

    [08] The EU Commission releases aid for the areas of Cyprus under the occupation of 40,000 Turkish troops

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.10.06) reports the following from Brussels:

    The European Commission has released the first tranche of the financial assistance for `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´), which said "yes" to the Annan plan in 2004, a statement indicated. The financial aid package totals 259 million Euros, and the Commission has released 38.1 million Euro as the first tranche.

    A statement by the Commission said that the financial aid will be used to develop the infrastructure, promote economic and social development and bring Turkish Cypriot community closer to the EU.

    Following the announcement of the decision, European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn stated: "I welcome today's decision that enables us to realize concrete projects bringing the Turkish Cypriot Community closer to Europe. It is another step by the EU towards putting an end to the isolation of this community and thus facilitating the reunification of Cyprus."

    "I also encourage the member states to take the next step and abide by the Commission's proposal dated 2004 on direct trade between the EU and Turkish Cypriot Community," he added.

    With the 38.1 million Euro, the following six projects will be supported:

    1- Solid waste program for the Turkish Cypriot community

    2- Feasibility study for the rehabilitation of the Lefke (occupied Lefka) mining area

    3- Upgrading the management of the energy sector

    4- Upgrading of urban and local infrastructure

    5- Supporting private sector development within the Turkish Cypriot community

    6- Information on the European Union political and legal structure.

    The second part of the financial assistance would be released before the end of 2006.

    [09] Soyer brands as success the financial aid to the areas of Cyprus being under the occupation of 40,000 Turkish troops

    Illegal Bayrak television (28.10.06) broadcast the following:

    In his first reaction to the release of the 38.1 million euros worth of aid as part of the EU Financial Assistance Regulation, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has called it as a success of the Turkish Cypriot Sides positive approach.

    Mr Soyer reminded that President Mehmet Ali Talat and his government had opposed to the calls for the rejection of the EUs financial aid after the separation of the two regulations prepared by the European Commission and had continued their contacts with EU officials.

    He said `this success was the result of the contacts made`.

    Speaking before entering todays meeting of the Council of Ministers, Mr Soyer said the Turkish Cypriot Side explained to EU officials that it was necessity to open an EU office in North Cyprus, to channel the aid directly to the Turkish Cypriot people and to decide on the projects to be realised in coordination with Turkish Cypriot authorities and institutions.

    Prime Minister Soyer said that the aim of the Turkish Cypriot Side was not just to get financial aid, but is to establishing good relations with the EU, adding that the release of the aid will contribute to the realisation of this goal.

    Reminding that the Greek Cypriot Administration had made statements claiming that it was not against the implementation of the Financial Aid Regulation, the Prime Minister pointed out that the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece were among the four countries which voted against the approval of the Regulation.

    He added that the Ministry of Finance will coordinate the use of the financial aid released and stated that the work will continue to put projects which will bring benefits to the Turkish Cypriot people into practice.

    Referring to the Finnish proposals on Cyprus, Mr Soyer stressed that they should also be considered under this framework.

    He said although the Finnish proposals remain to be insufficient, the Turkish Cypriot Side will not pursue a rejectionist policy towards the proposals and will maintain its determined position.

    [10] The Turkish Foreign Ministry continues to speak of EU obligations towards its subordinate regime in occupied Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.10.06) reports the following from Ankara:

    "Making the same calls continuously to Turkey without remembering their own responsibilities is not fair and just," said in a briefing Namik Tan, the spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regarding Turkey's EU membership process.

    Tan recalled that the EU also has serious obligations as regards full membership negotiations with Turkey.

    "It is not possible to agree with Barroso", added Tan when commenting on European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's remarks that "Turkey has slowed down its reforms and negotiations may be interrupted."

    Tan stated that the screening process in 35 chapter headings have been completed, and de facto negotiations on one chapter has been opened and closed, recalling that the Turkish parliament was called for extraordinary sessions to pass the ninth reform package.

    "You will see that we are making great progress. Our government is resolute. But as we want to speed up this process and overcome problems rapidly, the EU should also fulfil its own obligations," he emphasized. On EU's commitments to extend financial assistance to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Tan said: "Two regulations had been seriously distorted upon initiatives of the Greek Cypriot administration, and the EU had to yield to the oppressive stance of the Greek Cypriot administration."

    "We have told the Finnish Presidency and other concerned parties that we are ready to contribute to these initiatives," said Tan when talking about the Finland's initiative regarding Cyprus.

    "We are assuming a constructive approach. It will be possible to overcome these problems in case the other party shows a similar approach," he emphasized.

    Tan added that Maras (occupied Famagusta) can be a part of a comprehensive solution package.

    Commenting on Mr Tan´s statements, Mehmet Levent writes the following in AFRIKA (30.10.06) regarding Turkey´s attitude: If its (EU) attitude is merciless and unfair, yours (Turkeys) is merciful and fair. This attitude cannot be defended from any aspect. Besides, has the EU, by closing its eyes to your occupation of this place not awarded you with the highest prize? What else do you want?

    Moreover, Turkish daily SABAH newspaper (29.10.06) reports that the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Gul, stated that the issue of including the Greek Cypriot section to the Additional protocol is not on the agenda of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Mr Gul made this statement because of various criticisms about Cyprus that are presented in the rough draft of the EU Progress Report of Turkey, which will be announced on the 8th of November. Mr Gul stated that from the Turkish point of view the EU declaration has absolutely no validity.

    (C/S)

    [11] A royal tomb has been found in occupied Famagusta

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.10.06) reports that a royal tomb, the 11th in number, has been uncovered in the occupied Salamis area, close to the Park Hotel after excavations performed by the so-called Antiquities and Museums Department.

    According to Hasan Tekel, in charge of the occupied Famagusta District Office of the Antiquities and Museums Department, the tomb which was found belongs to the first Archaic period, that is 800 B.C.

    Among the funeral gifts found in the tomb were two amphora, one earthenware jar for wine, one oil lamp, two bowls, one piece of earthenware decorated with flower designs and several broken pieces of ceramics.

    (M/L)

    [12] Chief of Staff Gen Buyukanit to visit Greece 1- 4 November

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.10.06) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish General Staff Chief Gen. Yasar Buyukanit will pay a formal visit to Greece next week.

    Gen. Buyukanit will pay a visit to Greece from November 1st to 4th upon invitation of Greek General Staff Chief Admiral Panayiotis Chinofotis.

    During the visit, Gen. Buyukanit and Admiral Chinofotis will exchange views on several issues concerning both countries.

    Gen. Buyukanit is expected to return to Turkey on November 4th.

    [13] Cyprus among the issues of tomorrow´s meeting of the Turkish National Security Council

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (28.10.06) publishes the following report by Evren Deger under the title: "MGK to meet on Tuesday":

    The National Security Council (MGK) will convene on Tuesday [ 31 October] to discuss recent developments in the fight against both the fundamentalist threat and terrorism, relations with the European Union and the premier's recent visit to the U.S.

    It's also expected that the possible names for the next general secretary will be discussed, since the council's current civilian Secretary General Yigit Alpogan's term in office has expired and he has been appointed Turkey's ambassador to London.

    Osman Koruturk, ambassador to France, Duray Polat, ambassador to Latvia, and Ecvet Tezcan, ambassador to Poland, have been named possible candidates for this post.

    According to officials, the MGK will convene on Tuesday at the Cankaya Presidential Palace.

    One of main topics of the council meeting will be the fundamentalist threat, which was stressed in speeches by force commanders at war colleges earlier this month, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer at the opening ceremony of the new legislative year at Parliament and Chief of General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit at War Colleges Command.

    The military wing is expected to submit a report on the deficiencies in the fight against fundamentalism and the serious attacks leveled against the principle of secularism.

    The fight against terrorism will also be discussed at the meeting, following the reports on the issue which will be submitted by the National Intelligence Agency (MIT), Interior Ministry and General Staff, the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) recent cease-fire call and the effects of this will be discussed.

    It will be underlined at the meeting that Turkey will never negotiate with the terrorist group and messages to be conveyed to special envoys for the fight against terrorism recently appointed by Iraq, the U.S. and Turkey.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will tell the council members about their official meetings at the U.S. and the United Nations.

    The MGK members will also discuss the recent situation on the Cyprus issue and Turkey's European Union membership process.

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug and Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner will for the first time attend the council meeting in their new posts. Gen. Buyukanit as land forces commander and Gen. Basbug as MGK secretary general had attended previous MGK meetings. Gen. Kosaner will attend the council meeting for the first time. Since some members of the council were changed, reporters are expected to be allowed to take pictures before the council meeting begins.

    It's also expected that possible names for the next secretary general will be discussed.

    Among possible candidates for this post, Koruturk served as ambassador to Tehran and Bonn and was Turkey's first special envoy to Iraq. Duran served as Greece-Cyprus Department head at the Foreign Ministry and has vast experience in the field of international law. The other possible candidate, Ecvet Tezcan, worked as ambassador to Baku and director of the Research Department at the Foreign Ministry.

    [14] Gul´s interview with RADIKAL newspaper

    Istanbul daily RADIKAL newspaper (29.10.06) publishes the following interview with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul by Murat Yetkin under the title: "There are European countries that want to deter Turkey":

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that he is aware of the existence of some European leaders who would like Turkey to withdraw from the EU accession talks on its own but that Turkey will not fall into that trap. Stating that "these days it is fashionable to criticize Turkey in European politics," Gul said: "Nonetheless, we will stay on this course. Turkey has earned this right and these laws In addition, this is our responsibility to the Turkish people."

    Below are Gul's answers to RADIKAL's questions on the latest developments.

    Question: The EU has leaked the draft of the Progress Report [on Turkey]. The report criticizes [Turkey's stance on] Cyprus and the slow pace of reforms. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said for the first time that bilateral relations may be hurt. How do you see the process?

    Answer: We must be realistic. There are some concrete problems, such as Cyprus. Whether the problem is justified or not is a different issue, but this is a real problem. However, we also see a sense of exaggerated pessimism because of the political situation in Europe. Barroso's remarks are a little exaggerated. We called a special session of the National Assembly during the days they were saying that Turkey is not moving forward. We enacted very important laws on issues ranging from military judges to the institution of ombudsmanship. The law on Religious Foundations will be on the agenda when the Assembly convenes on 2 November. In other words, the government is fully determined and we will stay on this course. They also know this, but the European leaders are also ultimately politicians. These days it is fashionable to criticize Turkey in European politics. They are a little influenced by that.

    Question: What about Cyprus?

    Answer: As a member of the EU, the Greek Cypriot side obviously wants to block us. Some countries and leaders are hiding behind the Cyprus issue to block us.

    Question: Who are these?

    Answer: It would not be right for me to name them. However, we can sense among some European leaders an intent to make Turkey "to withdraw on its own." There are some who want that. However, Turkey will not fall into this trap. We will not abandon so many rights, laws, and agreements and say 'forget it." This is Turkey's right. We will of course meet our obligations, but we will not go where they want to pull us. We know the difficulties and we are not driven by fantasies.

    Question: Republican People's Party General Chairman Deniz Baykal has noted that support for the EU is declining and that references to a "train crash" have become more common. He has accused you of giving up everything that you are asked. What do you think?

    Answer: I ask Mr Baykal through you: What has the government given that Mr Baykal would want to take back? We gave the Turkish people the freedoms and reforms that politicians could not give in the past. Which of those would he want to take back?

    Question: He says that Turkey should not have signed the additional protocol on Cyprus.

    Answer: Mr Baykal should first look and see where the KKTC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] stood before the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government and where it stands now. It is in a much better position compared to the past in terms of recognition, the number of visiting international delegations, political incriminations, and economic performance. There is also the issue of ridding Turkey of the political bills it has paid for so many years. Cyprus is not just their problem; it concerns Turkey's 70 million people. Everyone must understand that Turkey has not given up anything it cannot take back.

    Question: There is talk that the accession talks with the EU may be suspended on several chapters because of Cyprus. In your opinion, where is the process going?

    Answer: We are not in a position to fool ourselves. We are realistic about the EU. We may no longer want to enter the EU at the end of the accession talks, but this process has been working as a modernization tool. We will stay on this course. One wishes that this progress could be accomplished with our own will, but we could not do it. We lost much because of Turkish propaganda for Turks for many years.

    Question: Will this process be completed on the EU path?

    Answer: We are celebrating the 83rd anniversary of the republic. Our goal is to complete Turkey's modernization transformation through this accession talk process. We want Turkey to become a "soft power." We want to be a strong democracy, a strong military power, and a strong economy, and we want to have more self-confidence. I sometimes hear that northern Iraq has become a center of attraction just because some construction is going on. Do you think Arbil can become a center of attraction when we have Istanbul? These are not right. Turkey is already a country that is viewed with envy in its region and it must go on to become a center of attraction.

    Question: There has not been any publicly reported concrete progress in your talks with the United States and Iraq in connection with the PKK's presence in Iraq. You convened the Supreme Council on Combating Terrorism only recently. There were also talks with Americans. Do you think this will produce any results?

    Answer: There has been progress. The Americans now realize how important this issue is for the state and the people in Turkey and how it can affect everything. Indeed, if [the Americans] had not included the PKK in their list of terrorist organizations in the past, it would be harder to convince other countries to do the same. We also know how Apo [PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan] was captured. Now the United States has resumed some of its steps. I hope that this will produce results.

    Question: At the same time, though, certain partition maps are published. Do you discuss these?

    Answer: We express our strong indignation at those. We ask them to remove them or to withdraw them. Those who build fantasies on such maps may lose what they have in their hands.

    Question: Do you mean the Iraqi Kurds?

    Answer: Naturally, I mean them. Who else would I mean? It is true that, when we query them about their remarks on such matters, they apologize immediately and they withdraw their comments. Nevertheless, I have to say this: They will lose what they have in their hands if they behave irresponsibly. They may lose what they have while trying to gain something bigger.

    Gul also answered questions on why he has not yet expressed any indignation about Yimpas President Dursun Uyar even though he stood next to him at AKP Deputy Ilyas Arslan's funeral. He said:

    "Of course, you are a journalist and you try to attract the public's attention. However, I cannot have files about everyone who is wanted. If there is a search warrant about that person, how can he operate so comfortably there? He greeted me from inside the crowd, and I returned his greetings. How was I supposed to know? How were Abdullatif Sener or Mehmet Ali Sahin supposed to know? Nor are we that person's lawyers. We learned about the situation when the newspapers reported it."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] Impact of Turkish domestic policy on foreign policy

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (27.10.06) publishes the following column by Murat Yetkin under the title: "Friendly advice: Keep tempers under control":

    The Chairman of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Rene Van der Linden was actually scheduled to meet Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as part of his Ankara itinerary yesterday. "Because of his health we could not meet," he said. "But this gave us the opportunity to speak with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at great length."

    Following Prime Minister Erdogan's collapse last week, his extension of the holiday period plus his illness and the course of his recovery are topics of curiosity within the diplomatic community. Parliament did not convene yesterday. Neither did the Parliament Council. The comment in Ankara is: "The government did not prolong the official holiday because of the Feast of Ramadan, but the politicians just gave themselves extended breaks."

    Another topic of curiosity is why it was announced that the prime minister did not take any of his advisors with him on holiday but only took EU Chief Negotiator and Treasury Minister Ali Babacan from his political team. After spending the first day of the holiday holding meetings in Hungary, Babacan went to Marmaris that same evening and joined Erdogan who was on holiday with his family. He was still there yesterday evening.

    Babacan is one of the politicians closest to Gul within the Cabinet. In fact, even though nothing has been decided yet his name is closest in line for the Foreign Ministry if Erdogan is made President of the Republic in May 2007 and Gul becomes prime minister. Gul spent the holiday break in Ankara both resting his neck injury, which had taken him off work at the start of September, and working on a lot of EU dossiers. Only 10 days or so now before 8 November, the date on which the EU Progress Report is published, things are not looking rosy. Babacan says he has hopes for the Finland plan for Cyprus and that he is wishing for some progress, albeit limited, to be made by 8 November. However, no advances appear to be being made (unless they are being very well hidden). Another of the EU Commission's expectations involves getting corrections made to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. If a correction can be made to this article despite the ongoing salvoes being fired from CHP [Republican People's Party] Chairman Deniz Baykal, might Cyprus stop being a problem for the EU Summit of 14-15 December? This is a 10-point question. No answer as yet.

    However, the conclusion we can arrive at is that while two of the government's three key personalities are resting in Marmaris and the other one in Ankara, the dossiers they are all working on are the EU ones.

    Needless to say, when it comes to developments that will shape the year ahead in terms of both domestic and foreign policy we should factor in the AKP [Justice and Development Party] Second Congress, scheduled for 11 November just three days after the EU Progress Report is published. The steps that Erdogan is going to take on many issues ranging from reshaping his party to the presidential elections will be attempted to be made at this congress.

    The impact of domestic policy on foreign policy was discussed at lunch with Van der Linden in the home of Netherlands Ambassador Marcel Kurpershoek yesterday. At the same time the politician, who is both a member of the Christian Party and a member of the Senate, is known for his decisions to date in support of Turkey. For example, he is one of those opposed to banning from the elections candidates who refuse to acknowledge that an Armenian genocide took place. Even though he came to Ankara wearing his Council of Europe hat, he has not hidden the fact that he discussed EU related topics including Cyprus with Gul and other Turkish officials. He gave this interesting advice: "Do not take the harsh criticism as disrespect for your country. Do not take the surveys carried out in Turkey and Europe too seriously. When it comes to reforms, Turkey has come a long way in recent years. Keep it up. We still have 10-15 years ahead of us. At that point Turkey might not want to join the EU, but in that time both the EU and Turkey will change. Many people in Turkey and many people in the EU will find the opportunity to see Turkey in a changed state. In election years we politicians play to the electorate, and this is natural. That is why I believe that these topics will be treated differently in 2008. So, keep your temper in check and carry on down this road." Presumably it can be seen from there that we are going through a time where it is difficult to keep tempers in check, but necessary.

    /SK


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