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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-01-04

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.03/07 04.01.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkey is taking measures to prevent the Cypriot airplanes from using the Turkish airspace
  • [02] The bridge built in the area of Ledra Street will be transferred elsewhere in Nicosia
  • [03] Statements by Soyer in occupied Karpass peninsula
  • [04] Akinci reiterates that the Turkish Cypriots must demand their rights in the Republic of Cyprus
  • [05] Tahsin Ertugruloglu insists on the existence of a sovereign state
  • [06] Data on the imports and exports of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [07] The police of the breakaway regime arrested 301 illegal migrants in 2006
  • [08] Intensive traffic at illegal Tymbou airport for the holidays
  • [09] AKP is reportedly asking for the help of Turkish Cypriot columnists in the election campaign
  • [10] Survey shows the majority of Turks to object to a compromise on Cyprus
  • [11] ZAMAN daily newspaper interviewed the Turkish Foreign Minister
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [12] Turkish foreign and security policy analysis

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkey is taking measures to prevent the Cypriot airplanes from using the Turkish airspace

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (04.01.07) reports that Turkey is creating an air shield against the Greek Cypriots who tried three times in 2005 to pierce Turkeys airspace without informing the Turkish authorities and exert pressure on the EU for Turkeys opening its ports and airports.

    Turkeys General Directorate of Administrating State Airfields is putting into practice the SMART project which is prepared in order to put an end to the existing violations and make the airspace safer, notes the paper. It adds that one of the most important innovations which the project will bring is securing the air traffic control services from a single centre which will be established in Ankara by turning the airspace of Turkey into one and undivided airspace (the FIRs of Ankara and Istanbul) as of the altitude of 24.500 feet.

    The cost of the project will be 87 million euros. Within the framework of the project a building for the Ankara Area Control Centre and Air Traffic Control Complex will be constructed.

    The SMART project will be carried out by SELEX and ICTAS, an Italian Turkish Consortium. The intermediate modernization phase is expected to be concluded in September 2007. The target is for the second phase, by which the new air control centre is intended to operate in Ankara, to be ready in the end of 2009.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] The bridge built in the area of Ledra Street will be transferred elsewhere in Nicosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (04.01.07) reports that the director of the Information Office, Huseyin Ozel has stated that as from today the works for lifting the bridge, which the breakaway regime built one year ago, will be obvious when someone looks from the border. It is planned that the bridge is used at the area of Okullar in the occupied area of Nicosia.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (04.01.07) reports that the Greek Cypriot demand regarding the lifting of the Turkish and TRNC flags and the withdrawal of the Turkish army from the area so that the crossing point may be opened has caused the reaction of the tradesmen of Arasta area.

    According to the paper the tradesmen were furious and said: These conditions cannot be fulfilled. We do not want such opening of the doors and making trade. The Young Businessmens Association (GIAD) issued a statement yesterday alleging that the Greek Cypriots should put forth constructive ideas instead of trying to create artificial conditions.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Statements by Soyer in occupied Karpass peninsula

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (04.01.07) reports that the self-styled Prime Minister, Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer visited yesterday villages in the occupied area of Karpass peninsula.

    Hasan Hasturer, columnist of KIBRIS, visited the area together with Mr Soyer and reports that the prime minister said that there are serious investments in the field of tourism in the area, that there are courses for training young people to work in these installations and that priority for employment there will be given to young people coming from the Karpass peninsula.

    Mr Soyer informed the people on their efforts for solving the water problem. He said: The work for increasing the capacity of the line which brings water from Filia from 16 thousand tons to 24 thousands will begin and be completed soon. In the end of May, when this work will be completed, Nicosia and Famagusta will be able to take more water. With an arrangement to be made on Karkotis stream, about eight million cubic meters of water will be acquired. This water will be transferred to Trikomo village through Kythrea. The benefit of the villages in the area of Vokolida will be considered, if need be, from the installation of acquiring fresh water from the sea.

    Referring to the issue of illegal migrants, Soyer reiterated that soon a radar system will get into operation at Kantara with which they will be able to monitor the entire northern coast.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Akinci reiterates that the Turkish Cypriots must demand their rights in the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (04.01.07) reports that Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (BDH) has argued that they should struggle so that a solution is reached in Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots acquire their rights in the Republic of Cyprus.

    He said that we should not be pessimistic on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem in 2007, but at the same time we should be realistic. Mr Akinci noted that the isolation and the direct flights are related to the Cyprus problem and that he sincerely wishes the start of direct flights, but we should not give much hope.

    He said that efforts will be exerted for a solution in Cyprus in 2007, but Turkey does not seem like making easily any step because of the two important elections which are expected in the country this year. He also reminded that election will take place in the Republic of Cyprus in 2008 and argued that for this reason the solution of the Cyprus problem is extremely difficult.

    Akinci argued: We must continuously and without getting tired bring onto the agenda our rights in the Republic of Cyprus which are unjustly usurped by the Greek Cypriot administration for many years. It seems more possible for us to achieve a federal solution in Cyprus by going through that ground. .

    Mr Akinci alleged that the occupied port of Famagusta must open for exports of products produced in the occupied part of Cyprus to European countries without tariffs under the Direct trade Regulation.

    Noting that he does not expect miracles in January when the issue will be discussed in the EU, he said: The port of Famagusta will not open without a step to be made in return. Such a thing is not possible. Unfortunately all the ways are closed. Efforts will be exerted in order to overcome this congestion. It does not seem as if these difficulties will be overcome unless a solution to the Cyprus problem is reached. For this reason, let us not forget the main issue of the agenda.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Tahsin Ertugruloglu insists on the existence of a sovereign state

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES newspaper (04.01.07) reports that in statements to the illegal TAK news agency, the newly elected leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), Tahsin Ertugruoglu said yesterday that their main difference from the Republican Turkish Party and the other so-called left-wing parties is not in the approach of federal confederal solution, but on the issue of the existence of the state.

    Federation and confederation does not exclude each other. The issue of the basic difference, the red line is the state, he said.

    Mr Ertugruloglu argued: The federal structure and the confederal structure does not exclude each other, they are not formulas contrary to each other, provided that two different sovereign entities are accepted. The basic difference is on this point. Therefore, talking with slogans is not right. It is not possible to say only that we want solution. The important thing is the inside of it, filling up what we say.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Data on the imports and exports of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper (04.01.07) reports that the exports of the breakaway regime were decreased by 3 % in the period January-September 2006 in comparison with the same period of 2005. In the same period the imports increased by 4 %. While the exports in the first nine months of 2005 had been 56 million 107 thousand and 906 dollars, in the same period of 2006 they decreased to 54 million 605 thousand and 717 dollars.

    The imports in the first nine months of 2005 had been 871 million 925 thousand and 167 dollars, while in the same period of 2006 they increased to 910 million 673 thousand and 921 dollars. 46.3 % of the exports of the breakaway regime during the first nine months of 2006 were conducted to Turkey and 53.7 % to third countries.

    During the same period of 2005 the exports to Turkey had been 50.8 % and to third countries 49.2 %. 69.2 % of the imports were conducted from Turkey during the first nine months of 2006, 19.6 % from EU member countries, 6.5% from Far East countries, 1.4 % from other European countries and the rest from Middle East and other countries.

    The paper writes also that during the first ten months of 2006 three thousand and 913 new vehicles went into circulation in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] The police of the breakaway regime arrested 301 illegal migrants in 2006

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (04.01.07) reports that 301 illegal migrants were arrested by the police in 2006 in the occupied areas of Cyprus. These persons came from eleven countries. 238 came from Syria, 31 from Georgia and 8 from Iran.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Intensive traffic at illegal Tymbou airport for the holidays

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (04.01.07) reports that the air traffic was very intensive yesterday at the illegal airport of Tymbou, because of the departure of the majority of those who visited the occupied part of the island for the holidays and the arrival of those who spent the holidays abroad.

    The paper notes that 60 flights were realized in one day. Around five thousand persons left the island and another five thousand came through Tymbou.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] AKP is reportedly asking for the help of Turkish Cypriot columnists in the election campaign

    Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (04.01.07) reports that the secret issue of the agenda in the election campaign in Turkey is the Cyprus problem.

    Those who want to prevent Recep Tayyip Erdogan from being elected President of the Republic are bringing the issue of Cyprus onto the agenda, while the supporters of the Prime Minister are preparing to use the Cyprus tramp card.

    According to CUMHURIYET, national newspapers close to AKP have contacted some intellectuals in the occupied areas of the island, who seem to be independent and proposed to them to open the columns of their newspapers to Turkish Cypriot columnists.

    In the e-mails sent to the Turkish Cypriot columnists, it is asked from them to write articles criticizing the past and money is suggested in return for their articles.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Survey shows the majority of Turks to object to a compromise on Cyprus

    Turkish daily M0LLIYET newspaper (04.01.07) publishes a survey performed by the A&G. On the question: Shall we open our ports and airports?(Tr. Note: to the Greek Cypriot vessels) a total of 55.5% replied that Turkey shall never make a compromise on Cyprus. A total of 20.9% support that Turkey should open one seaport or one airport in order for the isolation to be lifted, while a total of 6.3% replied that Turkey must open its ports to the Greek Cypriot section. A total of 17.2% did not reply to the question.

    (M/L)

    [11] ZAMAN daily newspaper interviewed the Turkish Foreign Minister

    Turkish daily ZAMAN newspaper (31.12-01.01.07) published the following interview with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul by Mustafa Unal and Suleyman Kurt:

    Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Gul was the first guest in our series of interviews intended to take up many issues from the presidential election to the private lives of politicians in the warmth of the religious festival. Gul, who is anxious that the controversy over the Office of the President should not turn 2007 into a lost year, does not give credence to rumours that the opposition will take to the streets. "This would weaken their own position. Neither the prime minister, nor the president, nor anyone military or civilian could do anything outside the law," Gul said before he went on to make references to those who expect an interim regime with: "They live on dreams."

    Foreign Minister Gul also made various warnings about the developments in the Middle East. He emphasized the need for the East not to be dragged into internal conflicts. Pointing out that "there are efforts to create a Shiite-Sunni dichotomy," he said, "This would be a major mistake for the Islamic world. If the East were to run into such a dilemma, neither people nor God would forgive it. Because we sense it coming already, we are making efforts to prevent it."

    Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul responded to Zamans Ankara Representative Mustafa Unal and its diplomatic correspondent Suleyman Kurt's questions about political developments at home and abroad.

    Question: What is the AKP's [Justice and Development Party] action plan? Does it have a plan A, plan B, plan C?

    Answer: You should not give any thought to such categorical subjects. The year 2007 is an important year. There will be two elections. We will come to power once again as a single-party government in the elections at the end of the year. We will win a large parliamentary majority. For this reason, we do not intend to make things difficult for ourselves then. We will not cause 2007 to become a lost year. We will not spend it engaging in election activities. We will definitely not be a party and government that talks only about elections. This includes the presidential election. Why should we talk about these subjects around the clock? There is a saying popular in the provinces: "If you want to prevent a man doing his job, keep him talking." You get it? Why should we let anyone prevent us from doing our job? Everything is clear: we are going to work harder so that we will have a good track record before the country goes to the ballot box in 2007. What are we supposed to talk about now? If we did not have such a solid majority and if there were a coalition government, it would possibly be regarded as reasonable [to talk about such matters]. Turkey is an open society. Everybody is expressing their views. Nice views are being voiced along with some good advice. We are following it all. Our entire strategy is based on keeping this business as restricted as possible. Why? Because Turkey's interests require it that way.

    Question: There is a presidential election in April.

    Answer: When is the election? In April, right? Everything will become clear a reasonable time before the election. However, if we had not acted as we are acting now, we would have entered the atmosphere of the presidential election last year and there would be a single subject being discussed today: how is the presidential election going to unfold? However, this would have prevented us from attending to other tasks.

    Question: Could the opposition toughen the conditions of politics in Turkey?

    Answer: Turkey is an open society. There could be opposition inside or outside Parliament. All sorts of views can be expressed as long as they are consistent with the law. This is what I have to say about this subject whether you like it or not: the prime minister has said it all very clearly. I do not want to add anything to what he said because what he said represents our common approach.

    Question: What if the opposition gets tough, tries to do illegal things, and takes to the streets.

    Answer: It will weaken its own position if it takes to the streets. Who could do anything illegal? Nobody could do anything. As for "illegal," that is another thing. Nobody would be capable of that. What does illegal mean anyway? I could not do anything illegal. Neither the prime minister, nor the president, nor anybody military or civilian could do it. Nobody could do anything illegal. It is out of the question.

    Question: There could be those looking forward to an interim regime.

    Answer: Yes, there could be such people. They live on dreams.

    Question: How do you view the possibility that the opposition will get tough?

    Answer: It is their problem. They will do harm to themselves if they get tough.

    Question: Do you see any possibility of provocations before the presidential election?

    Answer: It is always possible in Turkey. Actually I believe that Turkey is more normal in this respect compared with the past. There is no sense in keeping such abnormal issues and marginal ideas on the front burner. If you do, 2007 will be a lost year. We will never fall into the traps of counter strategies.

    Question: Germany is taking over as Term President of the EU on 1 January. What are Turkey's expectations from Germany?

    Answer: As a founder member of the EU, Germany is behind many of the EU's resolutions. For this reason, it will want to keep a strong profile. Bilateral relations between Turkey and Germany are multidimensional and very complex. Such a country will be much more careful in conducting EU business with Turkey. It will act more responsibly because it is more versed in EU matters. Although [Chancellor] Ms Merkel's party has different views and she is expressing them, she is also saying that they will be loyal to the agreements signed by the German state. She knows very well what we think. Germany will show its loyalty and honour its signatures. We have no doubt about that. There is a coalition government in Germany. The other wing of the coalition is represented by Steinmeier, who is following [former Chancellor] Schroeder's policies exactly.

    Question: The statutes concerning North Cyprus will be discussed at the foreign ministers meeting to be held on 22 January. What is your expectation?

    Answer: I want to see the details of their decisions and I want to see detailed proof that they will fulfil their responsibilities toward the Turkish Cypriots.

    Question: Will Turkey open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels if your expectations are met?

    Answer: We said it long ago: If you put an end to the injustices done to the Turkish Cypriots, we will apply the Customs Union agreement to the Greek Cypriots more extensively. We will do it. For a few Greek Cypriot ships to come to Turkey would not be important at all. The Turkish economy would invade the Greek Cypriot side in any trade activity the Greek Cypriots might conduct with Turkey.

    Question: Would it amount to recognizing them?

    Answer: There is no such thing as recognition. I wish it were valid because then the Turkish Cypriots would be recognized when Turkish Cypriot vessels went to Piraeus. And the problem would be solved radically.

    Question: In order to have the PKK presence in northern Iraq ended, Turkey said in June, "We are running out of patience." The possibility of a cross-border operation was mentioned. You told US Special Envoy for Countering Terrorism General Ralston "not to stall us." Is Turkey running out of patience again?

    Answer: The fight on terrorism is a long-term business. If it could be done in one fell swoop, Turkey would not have had to deal with it for 20 years. Until now, Turkey has not received any help from its friends and had had to rely on its own resources in fighting terrorism. Fighting terrorism is our number-one responsibility. We could not refer this struggle to any other country. Obviously, while we are combating terror with all our might, our allies and friends must help us and cooperate with us. We are trying to make this happen as much as possible.

    Question: Have your expectations been met?

    Answer: No doubt, we have many expectations. While certain things are being done, they are below our expectations. The United States itself has begun to perceive it. This is important. Getting them to realize it is an important thing to do. We will have to work harder on this.

    Question: Prime Minister Erdogan issued a statement following British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit to Ankara. Turkey objected to an early election in Palestine. This surprised everybody. Is there a difference of opinion?

    Answer: We are following policies based on our own perceptions and original ideas. We are neither acting as proxy for anyone nor doing anything at the urging of others. We are sharing our views with everybody. We are sharing them more with our neighbours and allies. The United States' active involvement is of paramount importance from the standpoint of the settlement of the Mideast dispute. We are realistic enough to see that a peace plan in which the United States did not take an active role could not be successful. We are sharing all our efforts and views with everybody. Blair listened to us, too. I am sure, he benefited from it, too. We are a country that is in touch with the past, history, and sensitivities of the region. Our assessments are more healthy and correct than those of some other countries. They cannot admit it at first, but they eventually come to perceive how valid our views are.

    Question: What is Ankara doing to prevent the clashes?

    Answer: I held phone conversations with [Palestinian Prime Minister] Haniyah and [Palestinian President] Abbas. I openly gave them advice. Conflict is the last thing we would want to see. We are all apprehensive about an Eastern-Western tension, a clash of civilizations, a confrontation between the East and the West once again. While we are concentrating on these issues and looking into adopting measures to prevent such possibilities, we see that the East is sliding into internal conflicts, leading to a breaking point. This is happening in our own region. Early measures need to be adopted to prevent it. If the East were to run into such a dilemma, neither people nor God would forgive it because in the final analysis it is generally taking place within the Islamic world. And then there are the developments in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine and their ramifications for the entire region. There are efforts to create a Shiite-Sunni dichotomy. This would be a major mistake for the East or the Islamic world. It would be a major nightmare if regional politicians and rulers were to fall into such a trap. Because we sense it coming already, we are making efforts to prevent the Islamic world from getting into such a dilemma.

    Question: There is talk about the danger of a Shiite belt and a Shiite-Sunni conflict.

    Answer: It is necessary to be careful what terms one uses here. Such polarization would result in a picture of which the Islamic world and the entire region would be ashamed. Nobody should become a party to such polarization. Maybe, smaller politicians and rulers could act with sectarian anger in the field. It would be necessary to quell it immediately. We are truly worried by it. We will work really hard to prevent it.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] Turkish foreign and security policy analysis

    Under the above title, Turkish daily THE NEW ANATOLIAN newspaper (04.01.07) publishes the following commentary by Huseyin Bagci:

    In the second part of last year there was a big expectation that a "train crash" was imminent in Turkish-European Union relations since Turkey was accused of failing to do its best to carry on the reform process in the first part.

    Turkey's reform fatigue is a fact. After hard negotiations with the EU over the course of the last couple of years, the Turkish government concentrated on reducing anti-EU sentiments among the people in light of the sharp fall in public support for the EU bid, which was estimated late last year as 35 percent, a all-time low.

    The Turks distrusted EU decisions and considered the Union one-sided and against Turkey's national interests, which gave great strength to the country's anti-EU forces. EU politicians' statements concerning Turkey's membership in certain countries were met by great anger, and the government had to face accusations that it, for instance, gave unilateral compromises to the EU on political issues. So the screening process finished in October and state institutions found the opportunity to see their weaknesses and strengths in the course of negotiation process. It was beneficial for all as almost all delegates in Brussels during the screening process admitted that both the EU and Turkey recognized each other and that it's healthier for both sides to go on with this level of knowledge during the process.

    Another turning point was June 12, when the Greek Cypriot administration, together with Austria, tried to make life more difficult for Turkey during negotiations on the first chapter. The Turks considered this ''Chinese torture,'' and lost their confidence in the EU. Since then the reform process lost its allure for Turkey. In other words, the Turkish psyche saw a great change since June, which considerably disappointed the Turkish government. Probably without the initiative of British Ambassador to Ankara Peter Westmacott, the Turkish government wouldn't have stuck with the process. The EU was seen as having been taken "political hostage'' by Greek Cypriots, and more of this would do harm to Turkish-EU relations.

    The Turkish public showed another interesting reaction to the EU. Turks came to wonder why the EU shows little interest in elections system, trade unions and social policies but is fond of harping on a couple of political issues like the so-called Armenian genocide claims, the Cyprus issue and the Kurdish problem.

    EU policies were questioned in the second part of the year under the Finnish presidency in particular. In the last six months, there was a cat and mouse game with Turkey, and it was under strong political pressure. The case of novelist Elif Safak as well as Nobel winner author Orhan Pamuk caused ill winds between the EU and Turkey due to penal code Article 301. Both were acquitted, allegedly due to intense EU pressure. Pamuk's Nobel even didn't change the atmosphere in the country, and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer didn't congratulate Pamuk even though the government did.

    State policy somehow succeeded in staying pro-EU until it faced a nasty experience which rekindled debates between the government and the military in early October. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit criticized a report released by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) on civilian-military relations -- actually a purely academic paper -- as the report, funded by foreigners, pointed to the military's dominance of Turkish politics.

    In the EU's fall progress report, there was constructive criticism of Turkey's policies and it became clearer that the EU had no intention of totally breaking off the negotiation process. French and German pressure on Turkey to fulfil the additional protocol, which would lead to de jure recognition of Greek Cyprus, was rejected by Turkish government. Clearly the Greek Cypriots' and Greeks' concerted action against Turkey was partially successful, and the last-minute attempt by the Turkish government to open one harbour and one airport was rejected automatically.

    The final decision of the EU to prevent a train crash and freeze eight out of 35 chapters was a last-minute solution but a good one. It was a better alternative than canceling the whole process. Both sides won three extra years to reconsider their policies. At least for the first time in many years Turkey wasn't the main topic of an EU summit.

    What happens now? Turkey will remain a negotiating country and will also act together with the EU in several fields. Turkey's role in the Middle East after the execution of Saddam Hussein will be much important and the EU, as a global player, will need Turkey more in the coming years while Turkey will need Europe in order to continue its reform process.

    On Cyprus, there will probably not be a solution, as the Greek Cypriots want it. No Turkish government would see the Turks there as minority. So Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat will take a further initiative like the very last one to open another gate for civilians to the Greek Cypriot side. The EU will eventually lift the unjust isolation.

    The Turkish government's policy of finding a solution to the problem based on the UN framework means that there is no solution. This government under Erdogan was probably the first and last government to be so close to a solution. It's become clear that the Greek Cypriots aren't interested in a solution. This tactic, "no solution is the solution," will continue.

    The new members, Bulgaria and Romania, will enrich the EU but there will be other problems in the further enlargement process. It would be in Turkey's interest to support the enlargement of the EU to include the remaining Balkan countries even if Turkey's membership process takes longer. A more stable Balkans is in Turkey's interest.

    In the final analysis, except for the Cyprus issue, Turkish-EU relations were less fragile compared to the past. Turkey faces two elections in 2007, after which we will see how the next government handles Turkish-EU relations.

    Another fact remains, however: the general orientation remains EU membership and for the EU to anchor Turkey as much as possible to Europe. In other words, there's nothing new in the West except for some unwanted remarks from certain EU politicians.

    /SK


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