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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-01-08

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.05/06 06-07-08.01.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Talat in Ankara and upon his return to the occupied areas.
  • [02] Statement by the Turkish General Staff on the issue of the bridge at Ledra Street.
  • [03] Reactions on the issue of the bridge in the area of Ledra Street continue.
  • [04] How MILLIYET newspaper covered the developments regarding the Ledra street footbridge.
  • [05] Soyer on the demolition of the bridge at the Ledra Street.
  • [06] Ertugruloglu will meet Talat today.
  • [07] Statements by Akinci and Izcan on the issue of the opening of the Ledra Street checkpoint.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Columnists say that the stance of the Turkish army on the issue of the bridge in the area of Ledra Street confirms that it controls the northern part of Cyprus.
  • [09] The Chief of the General Staff Buyukanit talked to Milliyets Fikret Bila on the issue of the Ledra Street checkpoint.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Talat in Ankara and upon his return to the occupied areas

    Istanbul NTV television (06.01.07) broadcast from Ankara that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, met with Chief of Staff Gen Yasar Buyukanit and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Ankara. In talks for the opening of the Ledra Street Barricade gate. Talat announced that the footbridge was going to be demolished. News from the General Staff Headquarters indicate that the army approves the decision to demolish the bridge.

    After speaking with Chief of Staff Yasar Buyukanit in Ankara Mr Mehmet Ali Talat issued a statement announcing that following talks the decision to demolish the bridge had been finalized.

    It had been asserted that the Ledra Street Barricade gate, planned to be opened to the Greek Cypriot side, had caused Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and the Turkish army to fall out. Talat wanted the bridge, which he cited as the reason for not opening the crossing, to be demolished. Talat also denies there being any tension between himself and the Commander of the Turkish occupation force Lt Gen Hayri Kivrikoglu.

    On Mr Talat“s meeting, illegal Bayrak television (05.01.07) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat met with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit in Ankara today.

    The Cyprus issue was the main topic discussed at the meetings.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of his meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister, President Talat said that there is no change in the Turkish Cypriot Sides policies on the Cyprus issue.

    The President also made it clear that there is no difference of opinion between him and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff about the removal of the footbridge at Lokmaci.

    The meeting between President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit lasted about three hours but no statement was issued after the meeting.

    Later, the President met with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, the President said that there is no change in the Turkish Cypriot Sides policies on Cyprus and that it is still in support of a solution to the Cyprus problem under the aegis of the United Nations and wants the European Union not to intervene in the issue except from encouraging the Greek Cypriot Administration for a settlement on the island.

    The President said that he paid a courtesy visit to General Buyukanit as part of his visit to Ankara and made it clear that there are no differences of opinion between him and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff on the removal of the bridge at Lokmaci.

    Asked to comment on Greek Cypriot press reports that the Turkish Cypriot Side is preparing to propose the demilitarization of Lefkosia, the President said that the main objective should be to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem to demilitarize the whole island and not just Lefkosia.

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.01.07) broadcast the following:

    Speaking upon his arrival at Tymbou Airport on Friday evening, the President gave a firm reassurance that it was out of the question to negotiate the Greek Cypriot Sides demands of demilitirizing the area and for removing symbols.

    He said: Our flags and symbols are our property and the Greek Cypriot Administration has no right to comment on them. The police presence and customs boxes stationed there are our business.

    Asked whether or not this approach will preclude the Greek Cypriot Side from cooperating on the opening the crossing, President Talat said that he wasnt sure of that, but added that it was convinced that the Greek Cypriot Administration did have the genuine intention of seeing the crossing point opened.

    Responding to another question, the president said that the idea of opening a crossing point in the area was nothing new but that it would be naļve to think that removing the footbridge will automatically remove all obstacles in the way of opening a `border“ gate.

    Meanwhile the Turkish General Staff issued a written statement yesterday concerning Fridays meeting between the Chief of Turkish General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit and President Mehmet Ali Talat.

    The statement said that the Lokmaci footbridge was the main topic of the meeting held between President Mehmet Ali Talat, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and the Turkish General Staff Yasar Buyukanit

    It continued to state that the Turkish General Staff had previously notified government officials on its views concerning the issue and had conveyed these same views to President Mehmet Ali Talat during their meeting held on Friday.

    The statement added that news reports on the issue that came out on the 6th of Janurary 2006 were distorted and were far from reflecting the truth on the issue.

    Finally, Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.01.07) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat denied reports that he has a disagreement with [Turkish] military authorities over the dismantling of the footbridge at Lokmaci Gate [Ledra Street] or that he is on the verge of resigning. Talat said: "Why would I resign? The Turkish Cypriot people elected me. If I have any dispute with any authority, resignation would not be the way to resolve it. Resignation would be a sign of weakness."

    In a statement at Ercan [occupied Tymbou] Airport on his return from Ankara, President Talat said that reports that have appeared in the press about recent developments are not correct and that he has no disagreements or disputes with Turkey. He said that "the dismantling of the Lokmaci bridge remains on the agenda in principle," that "the removal of certain symbols as demanded by the Greek Cypriots is not on the agenda," and that "the Greek Cypriots have no say on these issues." Commenting on whether the dismantling of the bridge would be sufficient to open the gate, Talat said: "I am not sure."

    Talat said that the Greek Cypriot administration began exploiting papers it issues to Turkish Cypriots, such as passports, identity cards, birth certificates, as well as services it provides to them such as hospital care when the Turkish Cypriot side escalated its offensive to bring its isolation to an end. He said that he feels revolted when he hears [Greek Cypriots] stating in all documents that they are helping the Turkish Cypriots with these papers and services.

    Talat said that the current state of the Cyprus problem was discussed together with Turkey's EU process at the assessment meeting he attended at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara today. He said that he was in Istanbul to accompany his wife who attended a meeting there and that he had a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan while in Istanbul. Stating that he traveled to Ankara yesterday evening, Talat said that he also had a meeting with Chief of the General Staff Gen Yasar Buyukanit in the capital to discuss developments related to the Cyprus problem.

    Talat said: "I believe that we need to have such consultations on a continual basis. Indeed, we have been doing that for a long time. This work will also light the way for the steps we will take in the future." He added that his undersecretary and the KKTC ambassador in Ankara also attended his meetings.

    Talat said that the process that was started by UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari in Cyprus was also discussed at the meeting and that he had the opportunity to discuss briefly confidence building measures during his meeting at the Office of the Chief of the General Staff.

    Talat said that reports have appeared in the press about views that have emerged from various discussions and debates, but that these are not true. He continued: "Any disagreement or dispute with Turkey over this issue is out of the question. There was no such thing. We only had evaluation or consultation meetings. Consequently, reports to the effect that there are some disagreements with Turkey, the Peace Forces, or the military authorities are not true. They do not echo the truth."

    Answering questions, Talat said that the decision to open the Lokmaci Gate was taken in 2005, that various alternatives were discussed with respect to the implementation of the decision, and that an overpass was built. He noted that the bridge was built to make crossings easier but that it was turned into a symbol that is equivalent to the wall. He added that, after consultations, the Turkish Cypriot side announced that it will dismantle the bridge and that this was communicated to the UN Secretary General in writing.

    Talat said that both the building and the dismantling of the bridge was his own decision and that "the opening of this gate remains on the agenda in principle."

    Stating that Greek Cypriot demands for the removal of certain symbols is not on his agenda, Talat said that he does not have to discuss any entity on the territory of the KKTC with the Greek Cypriots. He continued: "Our flags belong to us. The Greek Cypriot side has no right to say anything about our flags. The police and customs booths we have installed in our region are also our business. I do not think that we need to negotiate over these in any way." Talat said that he believes that, by dismantling the bridge, conditions may be created to force the Greek Cypriot side to remove its walls. He added that this issue was also discussed during his visit to Ankara but that the decision was taken in Cyprus and not in Ankara.

    Talat also said that work on the dismantling of the bridge, which was interrupted until after the holidays, will resume immediately.

    When Talat was reminded of columns published in a newspaper speculating that he might resign if the Lokmaci bridge is not dismantled, he replied:

    "Why would I resign? The Turkish Cypriot people elected me to this office. It did not elect me so that I resign. It elected me so that I perform the duties it assigned to me. Consequently, such a thing is out of the question. I think that, even if I have any disagreement with any authority, resignation would not be the way to resolve the dispute. Resigning would only be a sign of weakness. Such a thing is definitely out of the question."

    Answering another question, Talat said that differences of opinion occur every day. He continued: "These are very natural. What matters is resolving them or finding a middle way. Sometimes I have Ankara's full support. Sometimes this support may not be full support, but they may back us out of respect for a decision we have made. These happen. They always happen. Sometimes we take a similar approach to a stand taken by Ankara."

    One reporter asked Talat about Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos's pledge "to tear down the wall at Lokmaci within 24 hours if the gate is demilitarized and [Turkish] symbols are removed." Talat replied that these are actions taken on the territory of the KKTC and that the Greek Cypriots have no say over them and have no right to make any demands about them. He said: "As far as we are concerned these are not subject to negotiation."

    Talat said that a bridge that was built as a uniting element was portrayed as a dividing structure and that it was decided to dismantle it because it was realized that the world was also misinterpreting it. He added: "We will not negotiate in any way the symbols and practices we use in the KKTC."

    In response to a question on whether "the dismantling of the Lokmaci bridge will be sufficient" and whether he expects "to see any reciprocal steps from the other side," Talat said: "I am not sure, because I know that the real intention of the Greek Cypriot side is not to open this gate." Talat said that he believes that what the Greek Cypriot side will do will depend on the reaction of the international community and recalled that the Lokmaci Gate was included as a customs port in the [EU's] Green Line Regulation. Noting that Greek Cypriot demands over symbols are pointless when one considers the status of the other crossing points, Talat said that [nevertheless] the world believes the Greek Cypriot propaganda machine.

    Answering a question on his remarks urging the return of "Republic of Cyprus" passports, Talat said in brief: "I did not say 'this is the Turkish Cypriots' right.' You cannot find such a statement. I said 'it is a need.' [The passports] are obtained because of that need. It was another president who said that 'it is their right.' I have a different opinion on this issue. The Greek Cypriot side insists that it is helping us by issuing us passports, identity cards, and birth certificates, to show that there is no isolation. Consequently, the Greek Cypriot side exploits for political purposes these documents that Turkish Cypriots obtain out of need. I said that, if NGOs could organize a reaction to this, this could have consequences. However, I did not express this as an appeal as it was reported in the press. This is something that my people and the NGOs have to decide."

    Noting that the Greek Cypriot side uses the passports issued to Turkish Cypriots as a means of propaganda in all the documents it distributes across the world, Talat said: "In their propaganda, they use this as evidence that they are helping the Turkish Cypriots. I feel revolted at that."

    Talat said that, when the Turkish Cypriot side started an offensive for the lifting of its isolation and when this was received sympathetically around the world, the Greek Cypriot side began issuing passports, identity cards, and birth certificates to Turkish Cypriots; saying that it allows them to use its hospitals and provides electricity to them for free even though it gets paid for these services; and portraying the money paid to Turkish Cypriots working in south Cyprus as assistance.

    [02] Statement by the Turkish General Staff on the issue of the bridge at Ledra Street

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.01.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    General Staff earlier conveyed its views concerning Lokmaci Gate which was under control of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in accordance with provisional Article 10 of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Constitution to the government and TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat was also informed on these views in detail yesterday, the General Staff noted.

    Releasing a statement, the staff said that Talat and (Turkish) Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul visited the General Staff on January 5th, 2007, indicating that Talat was informed on the views during his visit to the General Staff between 9.30 and 11.20 a.m. on Friday.

    It added that several news reports on Lokmaci Gate published in media on January 6th, 2007 were wrong.

    [03] Reactions on the issue of the bridge in the area of Ledra Street continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.01.07), under the title What will happen with the bridge? reports that it is not clear yet when the dismantling works of the bridge, which the breakaway regime has built in the area of the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) in the occupied part of Nicosia, will start.

    The paper reports that the future of the bridge, the dismantling works of which were expected to start today, is not known. The evaluations of the situation by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who held intensive telephone diplomacy all day long yesterday with Turkish government officials, will continue today. In case the green light is given for the dismantling of the bridge, the work will last for 3-4 days and the bridge will be transferred elsewhere in the occupied part of Nicosia, according to KIBRIS.

    Together with the dismantling of the bridge the UN will be asked to launch a dialogue with the sides for the demolition of the dangerous buildings, the repair of the ground and to determine the rules for the start of the crossings, notes the paper reminding that the EU had announced that it would provide 100 thousand euros which are needed for the opening of the crossing point so that it is safe for the citizens. The paper reminds also that the UN, the EU, the US and Britain had welcomed the decision of the breakaway regime for lifting the bridge.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (08.01.07) publishes a statement by General Yasar Buyukanit, chief of the Turkish General Staff, who commenting on the issue argued that the steps regarding the opening of the above-mentioned crossing point should be made simultaneously by the sides and alleged that simultaneousness is not on the agenda today.

    Buyukanit said: Making such steps which will facilitate the life for both people is also in the national program. There is no problem from this point of view, but these steps must be simultaneous.

    The Turkish General noted that the area where the bridge is built is a military and forbidden area and reminded that according to article 10 of the constitution of the TRNC the Turkish Armed Forces are responsible for the above-mentioned area.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (08.01.07) refers to a statement issued by the Cyprus Turkish Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), which in the light of the recent developments at the Ledra Street barricade called on Mr Talat to put on his boots, lead the people and demolish the bridge together.

    KTOS noted that the will of the Turkish Cypriots is in Nicosia and added that it should not be sought after in Ankara. The paper reports that the stance of Talat on the issue of the lifting of the bridge has been evaluated as powerlessness by the community and it has not been approved. It also writes that the annulment of article 10 of the constitution is demanded.

    AFRIKA publishes also a statement by the leader of the Democratic Party, Serdar Denktas, who argued that even if the bridge is lifted the Greek Cypriots will not demolish their wall and the gate will not be opened. Mr Denktas asked for the annulment of the decision for lifting the bridge. Alleging that a safety gap will be created in the area in case the bridge is demolished, Mr Denktas wondered whether or not they will build a new wall when the bridge is lifted.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily ORTAM newspaper (08.01.07) reports that Mehmet Davulcu, general secretary of Communal Liberation Party (TKP), issued a statement yesterday on the issue of the Lokmaci crisis (Ledra Street area) and the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Davulcu argued that the policy of the lifting of the isolations which the CTP government follows is proved to be ineffective. He said that the Turkish Cypriots have an alternative and this is to put into effect the constitution of the Turkish Cypriot State and ask for the annulment of the decisions 541 and 550 of the UN Security Council.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (08.01.07) publishes statements by Mr Mumtaz Soysal, advisor of former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, who argued that in case the bridge is demolished, some other things will be also demolished. The TRNC government will also be demolished, the AKP government will also be demolished from this shake, Soysal told the Turkish HaberTurk Television.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] How MILLIYET newspaper covered the developments regarding the Ledra street footbridge

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (08.01.07) writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat stated that the issue of the Ledra street was not included on the agenda during his meeting with the Turkish Chief of the General Staff, General Yasar Buyukan1t. On his part, General Buyukan1t claimed exactly the opposite. According to the paper, this denial was followed by a statement made by the so-called Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercak1ca. The President , has made this statement in order not to harm the image of unity between Turkey and the TRNC .

    The paper however, refers to the Ledra street checkpoint as a gate crisis in the TRNC. According to the paper, sources close to the Turkish government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, evaluated Talats decision of pulling down of the Ledra street foodbridge as follows:

    This step will create the opporunity to the Turkish side of demonstrating to the new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon that the Turkish side, as it has been until now, will continue to be constructive and in favour of a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    In case the UN, the USA, the EU, and other international forces extend support to the removal of the foodbridge, then the pressures towards the Greek Cypriot leader Papadopoulos for opening the Ledra street gate will increase. It is envisaged that the constructive stance of the Turkish side will affect the EU term Presidency Germany, which is preparing to start its attempts at the end of this month for putting into force the direct trade regulation between the EU and the TRNC.

    The newly elected Greek Cypriot Mayor of of Greek Cypriot part of Lefkosia as well favours the opening of the gate. With her suggestions, if Papadopoulos is convinced, then by the opening of the gate the Turkish Cypriot shopkeepers will benefit from the revitalising of the business.

    Furthermore, Sefa Karahasan, MILLIYETs correspondent in occupied Lefkosia reports that in relation with the statement of Mehmet Ali Talat that the issue of the Ledra street was not on the agenda during the meeting of his with General Buyukan1t, Mr Ercak1ca stated that the purspose of this statement was not to harm the image of unity of the Turkish side. Speaking to MILLIYET newspaper, Mr Ercak1ca claimed that Talat had a good intention while making this statement. It is wrong to look for a bad intention here. We give importance to the image of unity, Hasan Ercak1ca stated.

    The paper also writes that the so-called Presidency announced that the works regarding the demolishing of the footbridge will restart today.

    On his part, Deniz Baykal, the Chairman of CHP (Republican Peoples Party), stated that grave developments in Cyprus are experienced because of the tension regarding the Ledra street gate. Answering to a question put to him by the ATV, Mr Baykal said: The Office of the Chief of the General Staff had made a serious statement. That is, at this level misunderstandings and wrong expressions are unbecoming of Turkey. Under these (Tr.Note: statements) lay serious indecisions and uncertainity. That is, there is a government in Turkey that wants the Office of the General Staff to come face to face with the government in Cyprus as though it says- you solve this problem between you. This is not right. These should be overcome.

    (ML/MHY)

    [05] Soyer on the demolition of the bridge at the Ledra Street

    Illegal BAYRAK television (05.01.07) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has referred to the wall on the Greek Cypriot Side at the end of the Ledra Street as `Wall of Shame` and underlined the need to show to the whole world that the wall is dividing the island and is the symbol of the Greek Cypriot Administrations domineering attitude.

    The Premier said the debate that has been going on about the footbridge at Lokmaci is just supporting the campaign of the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos aimed at hiding the wall of shame in the South.

    He stated that the bridge at Lokmaci could be dismantled in just one day but added that the important thing is to do this within a framework of complete mutual understanding.

    Mr Soyer was answering reporters question about the removal of the footbridge at Lokmaci after signing the condolence book opened at the US office in the TRNC in memory of former President of the United States Gerald Ford.

    Stressing that `sovereignty belongs unconditionally to the people`, the Premier said it is unacceptable that leaders of some political parties, who are boycotting the Republics Assembly, are trying to shake the authority of President Mehmet Ali Talat who was elected with the free will of the people.

    The Premier explained that a common position was adopted about the demolition of the bridge at Lokmaci at a meeting at the Presidential Palace attended by him, the Commanders of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus and the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces, the Foreign Minister and that President Talat acted in line with this common understanding.

    Mr Soyer said Mr Papadopoulos demands for the removal of, what he called as, `symbols` at the point have caused some hesitations, adding that the President has been trying to remove all these through dialogue.

    He underlined the need for all the institutions within the State to act in cooperate for the sake of the state.

    Mr Soyer said the Lokmaci Barricade is the symbol of intercommunal fighting which was sparked and fed by ideals of ENOSIS - the union of Cyprus to Greece in 1956 and is the point where the island came to a point of division.

    `The point turned to a barricade in 1963 because of ENOSIS and a wall dividing the two sides after the coup in 1974` he said, adding that the debate that has been going on about the bridge is just hiding this reality behind a haze.

    Responding to a question when the bridge will be removed, he stated that the bridge at Lokmaci could be dismantled in just one day but added that the important thing is to do this within a framework of complete mutual understanding.

    Referring to his meeting with the Speaker of the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives-AKEL Secretary General Dimitris Christofias on Monday, the Premier said he will ask Mr Christofias cooperation in the efforts aimed at restarting comprehensive negotiations at the end of March.

    Mr Soyer stated that he will bring the letter sent by the UN Undersecretary General for Political Issues Ibrahim Gambari to the two sides into the agenda of his meeting with Mr Christofias.

    The letter calls for the setting up of technical committees and working experts groups and the resumption of talks between the two leaders of the island at the end of March.

    Underlining the need for the two parties to work together towards brining about a solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr Soyer said that during the meeting, he will ask Mr Christofias support for the implementation of the timetable drawn up by Mr Gambari.

    Mr Soyer noted that he will also discuss with the AKEL leader the need to remove the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people and to bring about an immediate solution to the Cyprus problem, adding that he will also express his opposition to a statement issues by Mr Christofias that talks on the Cyprus issue will start in the year 2008.

    [06] Ertugruloglu will meet Talat today

    Turkish Cypriot daily GUNES newspaper (08.01.07) reports that the leader of the National Unity Party, Tahsin Ertugruloglu will meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat today at 16.00.

    They are expected to discuss daily issues and exchange views on them. The Cyprus problem and the developments in the internal politics of the Turkish Cypriots will be the main topic on their agenda, according to GUNES.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Statements by Akinci and Izcan on the issue of the opening of the Ledra Street checkpoint

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.01.06) broadcast the following on the issue of the of the opening of the Ledra Street checkpoint:

    Another comment on the bridge at Lokmaci came from the Leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement- Mustafa Akinci who said that the objective should be to achieve positive results and not to cause further problems.

    Another comment was also made by the Leader of the United Cyprus Party- Izzet Izcan who stated that there are lessons to be learned from the latest developments on the issue.

    In a written statement today, the Leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement- Mustafa Akinci stated that the best way to solve the problem over Lokmaci is to take the necessary de-confrontation measures in the area as happened around Ledra Palace in 1989. Mr Akinci said that there will not be any need for a footbridge at the point in such a case.

    Meanwhile, the Leader of the United Cyprus Party- Izzet Izcan has said that there are lessons to be taken from the latest developments on the island. He said that the latest developments prove the need for democratization in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Columnists say that the stance of the Turkish army on the issue of the bridge in the area of Ledra Street confirms that it controls the northern part of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (08.01.07), under the title Even if the bridge is demolished its repercussions will remain! publishes an article by Turkish RADIKALs columnist Erdal Guven who argued, inter alia, the following:

    Talat has been humiliated before the Greek Cypriots and Papadopoulos was inadvertently helped. That Papadopoulos who keeps on defending that his actual interlocutor is not the TRNC, but Turkey, that the TRNC is an occupation state and that Talat will not be able to make any step without taking the approval of the Turkish army. Talat remained in an extremely difficult situation. As the head of the civilian authority in the TRNC, he has come to a situation of not being able to make the army in his country to do what he says. For many years Turkey argues in front of the world that the TRNC is an independent country. Very well, what kind of an independent state is the TRNC and its President cannot make the army in his country to do what he says regarding a political initiative to lift a bridge and he is forced to come to Ankara and take permission from the army?

    Furthermore, Cenk Mutluyakali, editor-in-chief of YENI DUZEN, under the title Why do we get angry at Papadopoulos? reports that the Turkish General Staff announces that the Greek Cypriot side is right when it says that the northern part of Cyprus is controlled by the Turkish army.

    Mr Mutluyakali writes, inter alia, the following:

    Look, the Turkish General Staff says the same things openly. It announces the rightness of the Greek Cypriot administration. The civilian authorities of Turkey sit and watch like we do.

    What does the General say: The right of having a say belongs to us! The control in Cyprus belongs to the Turkish Armed Forces. We take the decision! The country is yours, but the right of having a say is temporarily ours. Apart from the safety aspect of the issue, we determine that it is necessary for the barricade to be opened simultaneously, that is, we determine the politics of the issue.

    The most horrible is that even if the General says the lifting of the bridge is dangerous from the point of view of the safety, you may or may not believe him, but at least you think that he is right! However, he says, we also want the opening of the barricade! That is, there is no safety problem!

    The problem derives from the simultaneousness. That is, in the politics of the issue. That is, he says that the say belongs to us. Does what the General said not mean this exactly? Have I misunderstood them? E, then!

    In fact Papadopoulos says absolutely the same thing! Does the man not say that the army administers the northern part of Cyprus? Here is the General Staff confirming this. After raising hell about a bridge of a few meters, from now on who will discuss with you the issue of Varosha the value of which is tantamount to one million bridges?

    Come on, let me see you persuading Europe, the United Nations, America, the world! I left aside everybody, let me see you persuading the Turkish Cypriots that we administer the northern part of Cyprus.

    Furthermore, Basaran Duzgun, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.01.07), refers to the issue of the bridge at the Ledra Street area and to the statement by General Buyukanit and writes, inter alia, the following:

    Those who made the constitution in an environment where cease fire conditions existed considered that it was appropriate to transfer to the army a part of the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriots. They did this in 1985, in the conditions of that time.

    Now is year 2007 and the conditions of the year 1985 have undoubtedly changed a lot. The solution of the Cyprus problem is discussed now and the Turkish Cypriots gave the duty and the authority on this issue to the TRNC Republican Assembly, the government which came out of this assembly and the President of the Republic.

    Because the Annan Plan has not entered into force, the bargain continues.

    The question that should be asked is the following: According to the transitional article 10 of the constitution, will the army as well be in every kind of bargain, or the president of the Republic will conduct this through the assembly and the government?

    If the army says that the word belongs to me, it will come and put the name of the regime of today according to the international law. It will conduct the bargain with the United Nations, the European Union and the other elements. If its opinion is not this, it will keep its responsibility at technical level. I think that it must keep it at technical level. Because otherwise, will the Turkish Cypriots not wonder: What is the value of the vote I gave?.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The Chief of the General Staff Buyukanit talked to Milliyets Fikret Bila on the issue of the Ledra Street checkpoint

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (07.01.06) publishes the following commentary by Fikret Bila under the title: "General Buyukanit: Steps should be taken simultaneously":

    The written statement issued yesterday by the Office of the Chief of the General Staff has created a "difficult" situation from the standpoint of KKTC ["Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"] President Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Talat, who had made a sudden visit to Ankara and visited General Staff Chief General Yasar Buyukanit together with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, said that the issue of "dismantling the Lokmaci overpass" had not come onto the agenda.

    Yet it was declared in the statement issued by the Office of the Chief of the General Staff yesterday that the topic of the Lokmaci crossover had indeed come up, and that the view of the General Staff, which had earlier been conveyed to the government, had been laid out in detail to Talat as well.

    The "problem" has two aspects:

    The statement that the issue that Talat had said "did not come up" had indeed come up, and

    The understanding that the General Staff is opposed to unilateral, unreciprocated steps by the Turkish side on Cyprus.

    Subtitle: "We had informed the Government"

    General Staff Chief General Yasar Buyukanit, in answering my questions on the issue yesterday, brought clarity to the situation.

    General Buyukanit made the following comment in terms of the opening of the "Lokmaci Crossing": "The opening of the Lokmaci Crossing is not a problem from our standpoint. But steps of this type should be taken simultaneously. Steps of this sort, which would make the lives of the two peoples easier, are also included in the national program. From this standpoint, there is no problem, but these steps should be simultaneous. But today, there is no question of simultaneity. When our opinion was asked on this earlier, we conveyed our view to the officials of the government in this same way. This view was also conveyed again during the visit made to the General Staff the day before yesterday."

    Subtitle: "Then why was the visit made?"

    General Buyukanit said that, although the topic had come up in this way during the visit by Gul and Talat, when it was reported yesterday in the press that "it did not come up, and there were no differences of view," he felt the need to make a statement, and continued as follows:

    "The request for a visit came to me via our government. I said "of course, let them come." If this topic did not come up, then why was this visit made? On what issue was our view sought? But when the topic was reflected in the press the way it was, the need arose to make the statement that was made yesterday."

    Subtitle: "Responsibility lies with armed forces"

    General Staff Chief Buyukanit, in answering my question about the controversy over the "authority and responsibility" aspect of the Lokmaci Crossing area, also provided the following information:

    "That area is a military restricted zone. And in accordance with temporary article 10 of the KKTC Constitution, responsibility for this area lies with the Armed Forces. The Constitution has placed it under the responsibility of the military. From that standpoint, there should be no controversy in terms of authority. As I said, there is no objection in terms of the opening of the crossing, but the steps should be simultaneous and reciprocal."

    Subtitle: Second commentary

    General Buyukanit's comments on the Lokmaci Crossing amount to the second commentary that he has made regarding Cyprus. The General Staff Chief had earlier said that he had learned of the proposal to open one of Turkey's ports and one of its airports to Greek Cypriot ships and aircraft from the television, and explaining that the opinion of the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] had not been asked on this, and had thus registered one commentary on the Cyprus issue.

    General Buyukanit has thus, with his statement regarding the Lokmaci Crossing, registered another commentary involving Cyprus.

    Ground Forces Commander General Ilker Basbug, in taking up his position, had also said that, in the period ahead, the TSK were going to express their views on appropriate constitutional and legal platforms, and that, when deeming it necessary, they would also share these views with the public.

    The remarks of General Buyukanit, as well as the written statements issued by the General Staff, indicate that this decision is being implemented.

    /SK


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