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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-12-20

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.246/06 20.12.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Gul comments on recent Blairs remarks
  • [02] Erdogan met with the new UN Secretary-General
  • [03] Korean businessmen visit the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] Independent MP joins the ORP
  • [05] Turkish Minister reiterates that the AKP government made no concessions in Cyprus
  • [06] Onur Oymen: Cyprus has great strategic importance for the region
  • [07] New generator arrives in the occupied areas
  • [08] Poland objects to EU decision to limit talks with Turkey
  • [09] Bahceli calls for early elections
  • [10] A Turkish deputy will resign to push early elections
  • [11] A new Turkish political party was established
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] Columnist in Hurriyet assesses the outcome of secret meetings held in Ankara by U.S Assistant Secretary of Defence Peter Rodman

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Gul comments on recent Blairs remarks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19/12/06) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, holding a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, said: "(British PM Tony) Blair's remarks (that Britain can launch direct flights to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus if there is not any legal obstacle) is important. We hope that these flights will be launched soon and he added that this will be an important development like ending isolation of TRNC (Tr. Note: Illegal regime established by Turkey in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus) when the passenger potential is taken into consideration.

    Gul stated that Turkey has some theses about this matter, and shared them with Britain. But, they will make the final decision, he added. "The thing that matters is cooperation to preserve the interests of our country," said Gul.

    "Turkey will continue to fulfil issues which it considers as appropriate for itself, and continue to meet its responsibilities in EU process," said Gul.

    When asked whether the EU considers the Cyprus issue as its own problem, Gul said: "This issue will be solved in the UN. I believe the EU would not be trapped by this issue anymore and prefer to find a comprehensive solution in the UN platform. This will be for the interest of all parties. The EU, even if it wants, cannot be neutral in this issue. It has started to understand this."

    "The EU, finally, will understand that it made a wrong decision by accepting membership of a country which did not solve its border and domestic problems. Thus, the EU exerted all its energy to the Cyprus issue," he noted.

    Gul said: While Turkey focused on important issues like Iraq, Lebanon and terrorism, the EU spent its hours and discussed how it could put pressure on Turkey regarding the Cyprus issue. This disturbs Turkey."

    Noting that he believes the confusion in Europe is temporary, Gul said that one day Europe will realize the importance of Turkey.

    [02] Erdogan met with the new UN Secretary-General

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19/12/06) reported that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his successor Ban Ki-Moon.

    Kemal Dervis, the head of UN Development Programme (UNDP) and former Turkish State Minister, also attended the meeting that took place in the office of Kofi Annan in the UN headquarters in NYC. The meeting was closed to the press and lasted half an hour.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (20/12/06) reported that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to the press corps after his meeting with former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, rejected any "communication problems" between Turkey and the US.

    Asked if a recent US report on Iraq, which included the deployment of American troops in northern Iraq, came up during the meeting, Erdogan said: "Holbrooke told me that northern Iraq is a secure place. And I told him that the region is insecure. On the contrary, northern Iraq is an insecure place. How can a region be secure if a terrorist organization is currently there?"

    Reiterating Turkey's persistent calls for finding a solution to the Cyprus issue under the United Nation's auspices, Erdogan said: "The political dimension of the issue lies with the UN. A fair and comprehensive solution can be crafted only in the UN. Otherwise, the European Union cannot produce such a solution.

    Noting that he met the new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Erdogan said that Ban Ki-Moon has knowledge regarding Cyprus and Turkey's EU process.

    Meanwhile, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan had separate meetings with former U.S. state secretary Henry Kissinger and representatives of the Jewish organizations in New York yesterday.

    "We have a continuous cooperation with Turkey," said Malcolm Hoenlein, the Executive Vice Chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations after their meeting with PM Erdogan. "And, we are of the same opinion about many issues, and sharing similar concerns," he added.

    Erdogan later left NYC for Istanbul.

    [03] Korean businessmen visit the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.12.06) reports that Lee Song-Jin, director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Korea and Kim Hyun-Mim, member of the administrative council of the same chamber arrived last night in the occupied areas of Cyprus upon invitation by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC).

    According to a statement issued by the TCCC, the Korean delegation will examine the possibilities of conducting business between Korea and Cyprus. Today the Korean businessmen are expected to meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, the chairman of the State Planning Organization, Isilay Yilmaz and businessmen from occupied Famagusta. The Koreans will depart from the occupied areas on 21 December.

    KIBRIS reports also that the TCCC participated in the Second World Businesswomen Forum in Malaysia. The TCCC was represented by Sengul Kirmizi, who addressing the forum referred to the problems of the Turkish Cypriots because of the isolation of the TRNC. She called on the Islamic countries to use their influence for ending this isolation and open the financial resources of their banks for the northern part of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts)

    [04] Independent MP joins the ORP

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.12.06) reports that the independent MP from Famagusta area, Erden Ozaskin has joined the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP). The number of the seats of the ORP in the assembly reached four.

    Turgay Avci, chairman of the party, self-styled deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, gave yesterday the emblem of the party to Mr Ozaskin. The number of the MPs of the other parties in the assembly is: Republican Turkish Party 25, National Unity Party 13, Democratic Party 6, Peace and Democracy Movement 1, Independent 1.

    (I/Ts)

    [05] Turkish Minister reiterates that the AKP government made no concessions in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.12.06) reports that addressing the Turkish Grand National Assembly the day before yesterday Besir Atalay, Turkish Minister of State, said that the AKP government did not and will not make the slightest concession regarding the TRNC and Cyprus.

    He argued that by signing the supplementary protocol they did not recognise the Greek Cypriot administration, as he described the Republic of Cyprus. We are trying to proceed in spite of the Greek Cypriots, he said and added that they are determined to do this by protecting the interests of the TRNC. He noted that the TRNC is in a better position in comparison to four years ago.

    (I/Ts)

    [06] Onur Oymen: Cyprus has great strategic importance for the region

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES newspaper (20/12/06) reports that speaking yesterday at Gaziomanpasa University, Mr Onur Oymen, deputy chairman of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP), said that Cyprus has great strategic importance for the region and added: The Russians say that Cyprus is like an unsinkable aircraft carrier. If you dominate Cyprus, it means that you dominate that region, the oil beds of the region and the routes for reaching the oil. Four thousand oil tankers pass every month from the waters of Cyprus. Britain has withdrawn from all its bases in the world, but it does not withdraw from Cyprus and Gibraltar. Cyprus is important for this reason and because their bases are neighbouring to the Greek Cypriot sector they have to get on well with the Greek Cypriots. He argued that the EU will not open its door for Turkey, even if Ankara sacrifices Cyprus.

    Moreover, Turkish daily THE NEW ANATOLIAN newspaper (20/12/06) under the title Oymen: Turkey should develop a 'plan B' on EU published the following interview of Oymen by Ayhan Simsek:

    Turkey has to start developing a "plan B" in case its European Union membership process comes to a dead end in the near future, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy head Onur Oymen told The New Anatolian yesterday.

    "It is more than clear for us today that Europe's Turkey-sceptic leaders will not change their minds even if Ankara makes big concessions on Cyprus, which is totally unacceptable for us," Oymen said. "The Cyprus problem is just a pretext for these leaders."

    While favouring making alternative plans for future possible scenarios of a rejection of Turkey's EU membership, Oymen dismissed the idea of Ankara's unilateral move for the time being to stop the accession process. "Turkey should continue progress in technical fields, areas where reforms will introduce European standards here," Oymen said. But he urged the Turkish government not to meet EU's expectations in chapters that were suspended by a decision by the 25-member bloc. The CHP deputy head also called on the government to turn down all EU demands that include "unjust" and "political" impositions such as opening ports to the Greek Cypriot administration.

    Here is what Onur Oymen, a former ambassador had to tell us:

    TNA: How do you evaluate the current Cyprus deadlock in EU-Turkey relations?

    OYMEN: The EU is going through a difficult time and unfortunately we lack farsighted leaders. When we look at the Turkey-sceptic leaders like Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy and others, their opposition to Turkey's membership is not due to the Cyprus problem. It is clear that they will not change their minds, even if Turkey makes big concessions on Cyprus, which is totally unacceptable for us. The Cyprus problem is just a pretext for these leaders. They are hiding behind the Cyprus problem. Without disclosing their ideas against Turkey's EU membership, they are using the Cyprus problem as a tool to block Turkey's EU accession process.

    TNA: What would be the CHP's policy if it were the ruling party in Turkey now?

    OYMEN: First of all, we wouldn't have made the big mistakes of the Justice and Development (AK) Party. We wouldn't have accepted approaches linking Turkey's EU membership process to the Cyprus issue and we wouldn't have given commitments in line with that. If we were in power today, we would have had high-level, open and frank discussions with the European leaders. We would have told them, "Let's not waste our time, if you don't want our membership, tell us this openly now." It is not possible for us to accept something short of membership after completing a decade-long difficult accession talks. Turkey is a big, serious power. We can't wait in the EU's waiting room forever. The EU made a big mistake on the Cyprus problem by admitting the Greek Cypriots before a solution on the island. This violates international law. The founding treaties of the Cypriot state openly say that it can't become a member of any international organization unless both of the guarantor states of Turkey and Greece are members. It is unfair for the EU now to couple Turkey's membership process with the Cyprus problem. After all, following a high-level and open discussion with European leaders, if our bid to join the EU is turned down, Turkey is not without options. As former Turkish president and Commander Ismet Inonu once said, a new world will emerge and Turkey will find a new position there. We are an important power and we have many other choices.

    TNA: So would you suggest that the Turkish government now unilaterally suspend EU accession talks, or a timeout as suggested by the Austrian foreign minister?

    OYMEN: In our opinion, Turkey should continue progress in technical fields, areas where reforms will introduce European standards here. These are for the well-being of the Turkish people, no matter if they are demanded by the EU or not, no matter if we have the EU accession process or not. As you may well know we are also strongly supporting reforms which are also demanded by the EU, such as restricting the immunity of deputies, strengthening the independence of the judiciary, and many others. But Turkey should make a response to the EU's decision of partially suspending talks. This should be done at least by refusing to meet EU's expectations on the chapters suspended by the EU. And Turkish government should also turn down without a second thought the unfair and political impositions of the EU, such as opening our ports to the Greek Cypriot administration.

    A timeout in relations is something different, and should be avoided. What I suggest is something different. Looking at the current situation of the EU and approaches of the European leaders towards Turkey, I strongly urge the Turkish government to start developing a plan B. Turkey should be ready in case we will come to a dead end in our EU bid in near future. And also the EU should understand one thing: Turkey will either become a member or a serious rival to the EU. There is no option like making use of Turkey's opportunities in the Customs Union and security but excluding it from decision-making.

    (I/Ts)

    [07] New generator arrives in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (20.12.06) reports that the first generator which will be used in four power plants of 17.5 MW which are being built in Kerynia (Teknecik) area will arrive today in the occupied areas.

    The weight of the generator is 75 tons and its height 5.5 meters. The other three generators, which will be brought from Finland, are expected in the occupied areas next week. The responsible of KIB-TEK for the power plants, Mehmet Sahin Gurkan said that the generator will arrive today in the occupied port of Kerynia.

    (I/Ts)

    [08] Poland objects to EU decision to limit talks with Turkey

    Under the above title, Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (20/12/06) reports that Poland's Parliament speaker yesterday expressed his country's opposition to the European Union's decision to limit talks with Turkey, crying foul at the citation of a political justification not included in the Copenhagen criteria.

    Polish Parliament Speaker Marek Jurek also expressed his country's continued support to Turkey's bid to join the 25-nation bloc during a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Bulent Arinc.

    Stressing that the Cyprus problem should not affect Turkey's talks with the Union, Jurek conveyed to Arinc Polish support to efforts to find a solution to the dispute under the United Nations auspices and taking into consideration the political, cultural and economic equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots living on the island.

    [09] Bahceli calls for early elections

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (20/12/06) reports that the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday urged the premier to call for early elections and let a new Parliament elect the next president.

    "If the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party assumes power once again, there will be no legitimacy debate over the election of the president," he told reporters at a meeting.

    Bahceli also warned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that if he assumes the post of president they may consider amending the definition of treason in the Constitution to unseat him through democratic means.

    "The Constitution clearly defines conditions to try the president, but doesn't give details on the crime of treason," he explained.

    The president is deemed free from responsibility under the Constitution and he can only be charged with treason.

    Bahceli claimed that the AK Party is accustomed to ruling the country through a tension strategy, which is also being applied to its approach on the presidential election set for next May.

    "The AK Party has the power to elect the new president but it will fail to stop the controversy. So it should dissolve Parliament and go to early elections to cease the debates over the highest post in country," Bahceli said, adding that the controversy is highly likely to lead to instability and the holding of general elections threatened the democratic regime. He also branded the AK Party majority in Parliament "virtual."

    "Whatever the outcome, a president elected by Parliament deserves respect," he added and said general elections should be held in March at the latest.

    He also called upon the premier to reveal his thoughts, referring to his recent remark that he will make public whether to run for the post after the legal election process is begun.

    Bahceli cited claims against the premier to deprive him of his legislative immunity on charges of embezzlement, forging documents, misconduct in office, saying that the prime minister should first be cleared of charges against him to be a candidate. He also urged the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to focus on the claims against the premier.

    Citing his recent meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer after the MHP's general congress last month, Bahceli said that the president also shares the same view with the MHP about early elections.

    After his remarks over the two approaching critical elections, MHP leader Bahceli touched on a range of issues and expressed his party's views. Bahceli's remarks were in brief as follows:

    Secularism: Secularism should be advocated by all in line with its definition in the Constitution, which says secularism is a fundamental principle of the republic. The headscarf issue should also be considered under the freedoms of religion and conscience. We should find a solution for the problem to remove it from the country's "urgent list."

    It's no good to use the headscarf issue as a tool to strengthen one's hand in the presidential election debate. Remarks (by Erdogan) focusing on the headscarf aspect of the debate are not appropriate.

    If you bring the MHP to power alone, you'll see how it resolves the headscarf problem.

    Deputy transfers: The MHP's doors are wide open to all, be they deputies or not, sharing the same views with the party. But we are ethically against deputy transfers to change the composition of Parliament for ulterior motives. Rather than tricky moves to spark debates in Parliament, early elections will be the best cure.

    Cyprus: The Cyprus problem shouldn't be used as a criterion before Turkey's European Union membership. The Cyprus problem is a national cause for the MHP, whose EU policy aims at full membership. We have to leave aside the argument that European norms, apart from those prescribed in the Copenhagen criteria, should be adopted by Turkey.

    Mr Premier should explain to the Turkish people what he literally told Finland.

    [10] A Turkish deputy will resign to push early elections

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (20/12/06) reports that after calls for an immediate dissolution of Parliament to force the government to call for early elections, an independent deputy yesterday announced that he will resign after Parliament completes its budget debates.

    Independent Mersin Deputy Ersoy Bulut, at a press conference in Parliament, made public his intention to resign as of January 1, when budget debates are expected to come to an end, claiming that the current composition of Parliament doesn't represent the people's will.

    The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party holds about two-thirds of Parliament after winning about one-third of the votes in the fall 2002 election, due to Turkey's election threshold keeping small parties from winning any seats.

    The first call came from centre-right Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu over the weekend, whose offer was immediately echoed by the left-wing Social Democrat People's Party (SHP). Both called on the main opposition party to join them in the quest to put pressure on the government to call for early elections, but the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), as reflected in a press statement by party's deputy group leader Kemal Anadol on Monday, urged common sense and patience.

    Bulut, who entered Parliament as a CHP deputy and then joined the SHP, said that the next president shouldn't be elected by this Parliament otherwise the country will be driven into chaos.

    "Now it's time to protect the secular republic entrusted to us by Ataturk himself," Bulut said, adding that the best thing this Parliament could do is to call for early elections before next May's presidential election.

    He also called on all deputies in Parliament to use common sense and resign after budget debates end.

    Resignation of a deputy is valid after it is approved by simple majority of deputies in Parliament under Article 84 of the Constitution.

    [11] A new Turkish political party was established

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (19/12/06), the 53rd political party in the Turkish political history was founded. The petition of the Participatory Democracy Party (KADEP) was submitted to the Interior Ministry.

    The party's founding leader Serafettin Elci, defended today that KADEP "is a secular, democratic and pluralist party that defends human rights and liberties and the rule of law".

    The Democratic Mass Party (DKP) which was founded by Elci on January 3rd, 1997 was closed down because the Constitutional Court on February 28th, 1999 ruled the party programme was against the unity of the state.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] Columnist in Hurriyet assesses the outcome of secret meetings held in Ankara by U.S Assistant Secretary of Defence Peter Rodman

    Istanbul Hurriyet newspaper (18.12.06) publishes the following commentary by Fatih Cekirge under the title "Shahab Map to the General Staff":

    A secret chain of meetings was held in Ankara on 12 and 13 December.

    The title of the meeting was as follows:

    -- The Turkey-US High-Level Defence Group Meeting...

    Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs who is one of the important names in the Pentagon headed the 18-member US group which also included special intelligence analysts. Deputy Chief of Staff General Ergin Saygun headed the Turkish group.

    Now let us talk about the most important titles of this critical meeting.

    The United States tried to put forth two important "threat centres" with the aim of persuading Turkey to side with it where these threats are concerned.

    Iran and Russia...

    And after providing lengthy intelligence information, a map was taken out.

    Subtitle: It hits London

    The US expert first said: "The nuclear program of the Iranian Administration raises serious concerns. We believe that the probability that it has nuclear weapon capacity is very high" and later he marked the map that was centred on Tehran.

    And he listed the capitals that the Shahab missiles whose range exceeds 1,500 kilometers are capable of hitting. He noted that a missile that will be launched from Tehran will even reach London.

    Making use of the map, he explained that the missiles in question will also hit Berlin and that they will even reach India from the south.

    And of course he focused on the technical details of the fact that these missiles may have chemical and other kinds of warheads. The day before yesterday I had a very important name confirm that this map was opened and that the "missile warnings" were issued.

    And I asked the following question:

    -- I wonder why they did not also point out that Turkey is also included in this "threat map."

    Answer:

    -- If they would, it would not be credible. Is it not meaningless to say that a missile that is capable of hitting London is also capable of hitting us? They tried to convey an indirect message.

    Yes, it is obvious that the United States will try to establish a "coalition force" similar to that of Iraq if it fails to have the United Nations adopt a resolution on Iran. Given their geographic locations, Turkey and Azerbaijan have strategic importance in the establishment of that force.

    That is why the "map of missiles and threats" was opened in Ankara.

    Subtitle: Russia and China

    Will Turkey join this force?

    I do not think so, but this is a question mark that is loaded with tension.

    The US delegation also describes Russia as a "threat in terms of energy control."

    Russia-Iran and China are important centres of this assessment. And of course Japan which purchases 20% of its oil consumption from Iran also takes place in these talks as a critical centre.

    Yes this is the picture.

    Given that they have begun to open these maps in Ankara, this means that "difficult days" are ahead of us.


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