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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-01-11
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.08/07 11.01.07
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Erdogan: We were not informed: Talat acted in hasteIstanbul SABAH newspaper (10.01.07) publishes the following report by Ergun Aksoy under the title: "'He acted in haste'":
``As controversy over the crisis related to the Lokmaci [Ledra Street] footbridge [in Nicosia] continues, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed with his remarks that the government expressed support for KKTC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] President Mehmet Ali Talat only reluctantly, in order not to put him in a difficult position, when the latter insisted on the dismantling of the overpass and the government really opposed it. Commenting on the Lokmaci crisis, Erdogan rebuked Talat by saying: "We did not know about it. He acted in haste. He moved too soon." The "Lokmaci crisis," which caused a dispute between Talat and Chief of the General Staff Gen Yasar Buyukanit, was discussed at the AKP's [Justice and Development Party] meeting held two days ago led by Prime Minister Erdogan.
Subtitle: 'We did not know'
Erdogan rebuked Talat for insisting on the dismantling of the overpass and not informing his government by saying: "We were not informed. Talat acted in haste. He moved too soon. However, we had to respect him because he is president."
Erdogan also recounted his meeting with Talat over the bayram break as follows: "He visited me during the bayram. He said that a decision to this effect related to the Lokmaci overpass was taken at the Cyprus Coordination Council and that he is complying with the requirements of the decision. I told him to take [Foreign Minister] Abdullah Gul with him and explain this to the Chief of the General Staff."
Foreign Minister Gul also commented on this issue at the Council of Ministers meeting held two days ago. Gul's views on this issue reportedly agree with those of the military and that he said that a different position cannot be taken simply because Talat is a president. Gul also reportedly said that the General Staff's position on the crisis is entirely of an advisory nature. When some ministers queried Gul about "what Turkey will gain in return for dismantling this overpass," the minister replied: "This is an entirely well-intentioned step."
Subtitle: 'KKTC's decision'
Answering questions on the Lokmaci crisis in the National Assembly yesterday, Erdogan said: "The KKTC is a state that we recognize. It has a president and a government. They make the final decisions. They made a decision after holding all the necessary talks. It is incumbent upon us to support and to respect that decision. We wish them the best." ´´
 HURRIYET columnist argues that behind the Ledra Street footbridge crisis are the speculators who want to develop land in the military zonesColumnist Yalcin Bayer writes under the title Great game in the TRNC in the Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (10.01.07) and argues that the footbridge crisis is intended to release land under military restriction for development purposes.
After strongly attacking the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and saying that the Ledra Street crisis under the pretext of democratization is an open attack against the Turkish Army by Talat, Mr Bayer cites examples of how Mr Talat used every occasion to attack the Turkish armys presence in the occupied area. Referring to the recent crisis between Mr Talat and the Turkish Chief of the General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit, Yalcin Bayer inter alia said: At the end, in order not to harm the TRNCs independence and Talats prestige the (army) announced that they are of the same view with Talat. However, here Talat won two things; one was before his public that in the struggle with the Army I won and the other is: Unless the presence of the army is reduced in the TRNC there will be no democratization.
Following is the full text of the excerpt of the article under the subtitle: There was a building boom but..., where Mr Bayer argues that land is the final aim of the crisis:
There is a very sensitive point.A building boom is going on in the TRNC for the last four years. The military installations, which in the past were away from the inhabited areas, are among the villas or building plots now. In the TRNC there are forty thousand Turkish troops and the island is very smallthat is, what remained behind is the most beautiful land which is being held by the army in an economy that is based on the sale of land and villas. The British and the Israelis are heading the list that buy plots of land in the TRNC.
Prior to the referendum on the Annan Plan the land developers and the contractors were bargaining with the government on how to share the money of the land, which will remain if the Turkish Army withdraws. The contracting Firms in the TRNC are the major source of income of the government As a result of this the contractors impose their will and they can get what they want to The Annan Plan did not pass. The Army did not withdraw. And there was no land to portion for tourism. The fact is that democratization is not the underlying reason behind demands of reducing the military prohibited areas but the American Dollar and the British Sterling Pound.
 A crime against history and nature is reportedly being committed in occupied Akanthou areaTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11.01.07) reports that a crime against history and nature is being committed during the construction of the northern coastal road which is continuing in occupied Akanthou villages Ciftlikduzu area.
The company, which won the tender, uprooted many trees with huge bulldozers, entered into archaeological sites and leveled them to the ground.
Dr. Muge Sevketoglu, associate professor at the Archaeology and History of Art Department of the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University and head of the excavations in the area of Akanthou stated that a massacre against history and nature is being committed in the above mentioned area.
The Director of the so-called Department for the Environment, Hulya Altan said that they were informed about the issue and that permission should be secured from their department. Permission might have been secured form the Forests Department, but at the moment the construction of the road has stopped. We will make an examination there, said Mrs Altan.
 The new electricity power plant is planned to be completed by April 2007Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (11.01.07) reports that the new electricity power plant units are is now at the Teknecik area (Kerynia). The paper describes this as the most important step which will solve the electricity problem in the occupied part of Cyprus.
The main units of the power plant are a machine which weights 285 tons and a generator which weights 75 tons. The target is for the new power plant to be completed until April, notes the paper.
The new units were transported yesterday by long trailers after strict measures along the road.
 The village guesthouse project for Karpass peninsula is being implemented with the aid of TurkeyTurkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (11.01.07) reports that the village guesthouse project which the Ministry of Economy and Tourism has prepared with the contribution of Turkeys Aid Delegation is being materialized and it aims at meeting the tourism bed needs in Karpass peninsula area and creating the opportunity for the people of the area to establish their own business.
The applications have been evaluated and the appropriate places have been established in 17 settlements. Eleven buildings will be restored and ten new guesthouses will be built within the framework of the project.
The restored buildings for which credits were approved by the Development Bank are expected to be opened in the summer, while the new guesthouses by the end of the year. The 21 guesthouses will have the capacity of 192 beds.
A meeting was realized yesterday on the issue at occupied Komi Kepir village with the participation of Enver Ozturk, Minister of Economy and Tourism, Mehmet Ilhan, coordinator of Turkeys Aid Delegation, some MPs and others.
 Reactions against the article 10 continue in the occupied areas of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (11.01.07) reports that the reactions of the Turkish Cypriot political parties against article 10 of the constitution of the breakaway regime continued yesterday. Mehmet Cakici, general secretary of the Peace and Democracy Movement (BDH), said that the interference of the Turkish head of the General Staff, General Buyukanit in the developments in the TRNC is a clear expression of being administered according to a military system.
Mr Cakici noted that article 10 must be reinterpreted and wondered why the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which has 25 MPs in the assembly and speaks about democratization, does not do this.
After coming to power, the CTP follows a policy which camouflages the status quo, he said.
Furthermore, the paper reports that Mr Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) said that there is a status quo which violates the will of the Turkish Cypriot community and has been turned into humiliation.
He noted that they were deeply hurt from the statements of General Buyukanit, the fact that Mr Talat hid the realities and the fact that the developments were turned into humiliation afterwards.
Meanwhile, Mr Alpay Durduran, Foreign Relations Secretary of new Cyprus Party (YKP) said that the existing structure is an obstacle for the Cypriots to defend their own destiny and use the right of determining their future. He noted that article 10 came onto the agenda only when the bridge was built and removed. He added that it should be accepted that the rules regarding the above-mentioned article have ceased to exist.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11.01.07) reports that in statements to KIBRIS TV, Huseyin Angolemli, leader of the Communal Liberation Party (TKP) said that with the removal of the bridge we returned to the point we had been a year ago and noted that they supported the demolition of the wall last year, but with the construction of the bridge a step backwards was made.
If the bridge had not been built last year, the Lokmaci gate would have been opened since a long time, argued Mr Angolemli.
 Soyer comments on the information that the Turkish Cypriot application for direct flights to Britain has been rejectedTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11.01.07) reports that in statements before entering into the meeting of the council of ministers yesterday, the self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that they will announce the developments regarding the application submitted by the Turkish Cypriot Airlines for direct flights to Britain.
Commending on information published in the Greek Cypriot press that the application was rejected, Mr Soyer said that they will issue an official statement within the next few days. He reminded that they had noted that they would launch a legal struggle after the official application and added: Therefore, this development was not a surprise for us.
 Soyer on the opening of the Ledra Street crossing pointTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11.01.07) reports that the self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has argued that the removal of the wall of shame in the Greek Cypriot side of the ceasefire lines in Ledra Street area is a duty of both the EU and the UN and called on these organizations to do their duty.
In statements yesterday during one of his meetings, Mr Soyer said: If Cyprus is a member of the EU, the EU must have this wall, which tries to preserve the status quo, demolished. The paper reports that the area of Lokmaci (the occupied part of Ledra Street in Nicosia) is quiet and that the tradesmen are satisfied.
 Gul rejects Cyprus issue as obstacle before membership bidAnkara Anatolia news agency (10.01.07) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul pledged on Wednesday his country would go ahead with implementing the European Union reforms and dismissed the Cyprus issue as an obstacle before Turkey's membership bid.
"The decision the Union took on December 11th, 2006 did not even slightly shake the commitment on implementing the reforms that Turkey needs," he told a group of senior officials in charge of the country's relations with the EU before he went into a closed-doors meeting with them.
EU leaders endorsed a decision last month to freeze parts of Turkey's membership negotiations with the Union in response to Ankara's refusal to open up to trade with the EU member Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey has said that it would not open its harbours and airports to traffic for the Republic of Cyprus unless an international embargo on the Turkish Cypriots is lifted.
Gul rejected the Cyprus issue as an obstacle before Turkey's EU path: "It is impossible for us to accept this issue, which has no connection with the membership talks."
"EU members, who want to slow down and even halt our negotiation process with political polemics, can exert such efforts in every stage of our membership process. Even those who want to slow down the process are wrong; they may be successful from time to time. But we should not forget that there are also EU members who want us to proceed on this path rapidly and successfully," he said.
There may be ups and downs in this process, Gul said. "What is important is not to deviate from the reform spirit in difficult times, but to proceed on the road to the EU."
Foreign minister said Turkey would continue to make technical preparations regarding the 8 suspended policy areas or "chapters" of the entry talks.
"Turkey can open and close these chapters on its own if such a need arises," Gul added.
The EU has also said that the remaining 27 chapters could not be provisionally closed unless Turkey allowed Greek Cypriots ships and planes into its ports.
Gul also criticized EU sceptics in Turkey, saying "It is wrong to portray Turkey's reforms efforts as if they were concessions Turkey has been giving to the EU as if they were some EU coercions upon Turkey."
"These reforms aim at raising the living standards of Turkish people. No matter what happens in the membership negotiations, reforms process will continue on both the level of implementation and the level of legislation," Gul said.
Moreover, Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (online 11.01.07) writes that among the invited institutions to yesterdays meeting was the Office of the Chief of the General Staff. This is the first time the Turkish government is inviting the General Staff Office to such an event.
 German Ambassador: Cyprus issue is not a matter for EU, it is a matter for UNAnkara Anatolia news agency (10.01.07) reported from Ankara that Turkey's Secretary General for EU Oguz Demiralp stated that the negotiation process with EU continued, however "difficulties were created for future and the process would be slowed down".
Participating in a conference on Turkey-EU relations at Ankara University's European Communities Research and Practice Centre (ATAUM), Demiralp said: "The negotiation process will continue. However, it is obvious that the process will be slowed down and obstacles are created concerning the developments ahead".
Demiralp noted that they were planning to prepare a "road map" for the upcoming years throughout January and February as well.
Adding that Turkey would not change its stance on Cyprus issue, Demiralp stressed: "Cyprus issue is a created pretext and it is a point Turkey is right at".
Moreover, German Ambassador in Ankara Eckart Cuntz stated that Turkey had always been a part of the "European project" and added: It is not the question whether Turkey is European or not, it is the question I think whether Turkey really wants to be European".
Cuntz added that if Turkey continued with economic and political reforms, in some 10 years, people would say "this is the country we want".
Cuntz also underlined that Turkey was an important country for the EU and it was "a great step" to take Turkey into the union.
Commenting on the Cyprus issue as well, ambassador Cuntz said Turkey should implement the Ankara protocol and noted: "This (Cyprus issue) is not a matter for the EU, it is a matter for UN. So let us encourage the UN to revive the process".
On the other hand, representative of the European Commission to Turkey Mare Pierini also underscored that negotiations between Turkey and EU continued.
 The Italian President has reportedly replied positively to the Turkish demand for the lifting of the so-called isolation of the Turkish CypriotsTurkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (11.01.07) reports that the demand of the Turkish President Sezer to his Italian counterpart, Giorgio Napolitano regarding the lifting of the isolation of the TRNC found a positive response.
The meeting of the two Presidents lasted for about one and a half hour. The Cyprus problem came onto the agenda and according to the paper, Mr Sezer informed in details Mr Napolitano on the recent developments and pointed out to the importance of the lifting of the isolations within the framework of the EU. These words of President Sezer were met positively, notes the paper.
 US Squadron of F-16's lands at base for the first time in three yearsAnkara Anatolia news agency (10.01.07) reported from Adana that a US squadron of F-16 warplanes landed at the airbase in Incirlik, an area within the jurisdiction of Yuregir in the central district of Adana, for the first time in three years.
According to information obtained from the US Embassy in Ankara, AWACS, tanker, and cargo planes arrived in Incirlik together with the 16 F-16 aircraft in accordance with bilateral agreements between Turkey and the United States.
The warplanes will reportedly remain at the base for six to seven weeks to conduct training flights and return to their base in Germany at the end of their term of service.
[US] F-16 aircraft were deployed at the Incirlik Air Base in accordance with a Council of Ministers decision taken on 5 April 1991, after the first Gulf War. The planes left the base in March 2003, after the Northern Reconnaissance Force completed its mission.
Commenting on the squadron that has arrived at the Incirlik base, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan said that the reported activities are entirely training-related and that they are conducted periodically under the supervision of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Answering a question on the subject, Tan said that a NATO-assigned squadron affiliated with the US Air Force Command in Europe has landed at the Incirlik Air Base of the 10th Tanker Base Command for a stay of three weeks to conduct some training activities planned for 2007, similar to activities conducted in past years, within the framework of the Turkish-American Defence and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed on 29 March 1980.
The spokesman said: "The said activities are entirely training-related and are conducted periodically under the supervision of the Turkish Armed Forces."
 Erdogan warnings over KirkukHURRIYET newspaper (10.01.07) reports that in a speech to his ruling AKP group yesterday in Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered stern words on northern Iraq, saying "I am warning now on Kirkuk; the logic of 'We did it, so it's done now' which was used in Nagorno Karabag is now being used for Kirkuk.
We cannot stand back and watch this happen. By discounting neighboring countries...they will not bring stability to Iraq." Erdogan also used his speech to warn HAMAS and the Fatah Party in Palestine "Control yourselves."
Other parts of Erdogan's speech yesterday were as follows:
"It was not out of nowhere that I said Iraq had become more of a priority for Turkey than the EU. The recent developments forced me to say this. The execution of Saddam Hussein and the referendum in Kirkuk may spark some very dangerous developments in the region. This coming year will, in terms of Iraq, be a serious test and a turning point for all the regional and global actors involved."
On the subject of Kirkuk itself, Erdogan had this to say:
"There are serious attempts to change the demographics of Kirkuk at hand. We cannot stand back as spectators on this...."
 Talat and Soyer: Demilitarization out of the questionA report in SABAH (10.01.07) quotes Talat as deploring the fact that he was pilloried as a "liar" over the footbridge case. He says he acted with a sense of responsibility and denied discussing this issue with the military so as not to divulge differences existing between various institutions and present the Greek Cypriots with a trump card. Talat admits that the episode left him "in a difficult position and injured him." He also says the Turkish side is not going to take any additional steps, there will be no demilitarization of Nicosia, and the turn has now come for the Greek Cypriots to demolish their wall. Talat again advises the Turkish Cypriots to renounce their Cyprus passports, because Papadopoulos is using it to show that the Turkish Cypriots are not suffering isolation.
Another report in SABAH (10.01.07) quotes the sefl-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer as saying concerning the now dismantled footbridge: "The Greek Cypriot leader Papadhopoulos now owns the only wall that divides a European capital. This is his wall of shame. He must be pressured to demolish it." After noting that the footbridge was removed through "consensus" with the Turkish Army and that the demilitarization of Nicosia was out of question, Soyer denies any intention to change the constitution to divest the Turkish Army of security responsibilities along the Green Line, adding, however, that they are working on a new constitution that would civilianize life in occupied Cyprus.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press on the footbridge at the ceasefire line in occupied LefkosiaFollowing is a summary of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press of 10.01.07:
Under the headline, "At the end of the day, status quo loses," YENI SAFAK publishes a front-page report which asserts that the Turkish Cypriots have interpreted the demolition of the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) footbridge following a disagreement over this move between Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the Turkish military as meaning that "the status quo has lost in the end."
In an article entitled "Defiance in Cyprus" YENI SAFAK columnist Ali Bayramoglu asserts that the dispute between the Turkish military and Mehmet Ali Talat over the Ledra Street footbridge is of a sort to consolidate the Greek Cypriots' argument that the Turkish troops in North Cyprus are an occupation force. He also lauds Talat for pressing ahead with his decision to have the footbridge torn down despite opposition from the Turkish military and asserts that the dismantling of the footbridge is set to "strengthen Turkey and the KKTC's hand" to the extent that it indicates the existence of a free and independent political authority in the occupied areas and that "the democratization process is deepening on the island. ... This crisis is a benign one."
In a an article entitled "How we choked on a morsel" ZAMAN columnist Abdulhamit Bilici asserts that there is no doubt that Turkey's handling of the issue of dismantling the footbridge on Ledra Street in occupied Lefkosia has greatly delighted the Greek Cypriots, adding: "If anti-Turkish lobbies were to draw up comprehensive projects for the purpose, they would not be able to demonstrate more beautifully that there is no democracy in our country and no coordination between civilians and the military. If they spent all the money, they could not give as much harm to the KKTC and President Mehmet Ali Talat ... [as this disagreement over the removal of the footbridge has]. (The title includes a pun on "morsel," whose Turkish equivalent is "lokma.")
In an article entitled "It is going away bit by bit" MILLI GAZETE columnist Afet Ilgaz asserts that the demolition of the footbridge on Ledra Street is the beginning of an operation whereby LefkosIa will be turned into a Greek Cypriot area gradually. Ilgaz also argues that Turkish Cypriot leader Talat's insistence on dismantling the footbridge throws light on the meaning of his refusal to applaud a military parade during the official celebrations marking the 23rd anniversary of the foundation of the illegal regime some time ago.
In his commentary Oktay Eksi of HURRIYET notes that the self-styled constitution of the KKTC only "legitimizes" the presence of the Turkish troops in occupied Cyprus but does not grant them any specific right over the control of the crossings. Eksi believes that it was wrong for the Turkish General Staff to create a crisis over the gate, as it has seriously undermined the Turkish side's claims that the "KKTC is an independent state." Eksi also believes that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat himself made a mistake by denying at first that he discussed the issue with Turkish officials, and his "lie" offended the Turkish Army, damaged Turkey-"KKTC" relations, and dented the prestige of the "KKTC." Eksi adds that Talat, who caused so much trouble over a footbridge, cannot be expected to solve the Cyprus problem.
Emin Colasan, in his column for HURRIYET, notes the Turkish General Staff's opposition to the opening of the Lokmaci gate on Greek Cypriot terms, and condemns Talat and Turkish Cypriots for feeling more Cypriots than Turks and for trying to gain the favor of the EU by making concessions to the Greek Cypriots. Colasan also criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan for his statement that one has to respect Turkish Cypriots' decision on the gate, wondering whether Erdogan would also approve a decision by Turkish Cypriots to unite with Greek Cypriots in view of the fact that those who run the "KKTC" entertain such a desire with the backing of some quarters in Turkey.
After deploring the way the Turkish General Staff and the Turkish government handled the Ledra Street footbridge crisis, Hasan Cemal, in his column in MILLIYET, notes that by his intervention in a political decision that Talat should have been allowed to make on his own initiative, Gen Buyukanit simply strengthened Papadopoulos' assertion that Talat is a mere puppet in the hands of the Turkish military. Hasan Cemal notes that in the past the Army also opposed the Annan plan but its chief at the time, Hilmi Ozkok, deferred the decision to the government and thus prevented anti-EU forces from blocking Turkey's democracy and EU membership. Cemal says there are still forces in Turkey which continue manipulating the Cyprus problem to obstruct Turkey's democracy and EU course.
Cengiz Candar, in his column for Referans, says that by dismantling the strategically useless footbridge with the support of the Turkish government, Talat secured "political ascendancy" both over the Army and the Greek Cypriots. Talat thus undermined the Greek Cypriot claims that he is just "nobody" under the thumb of the Turkish Army and also enhanced the identity of the "KKTC" for the first time since 1983.
In his column in MILLIYET on the footbridge crisis, Metin Munir says Talat wants to mitigate "Turkey's heavy presence in Cyprus," and his attempts to reduce the role of the military are causing frictions with the Turkish army. Munir adds that the time has come to reduce Turkey's tutelage over the "KKTC," otherwise it will be difficult to achieve international recognition for the KKTC. Munir also believes the time has come for the "KKTC" to prove itself, like collecting revenues for its own budget, for it cannot play independence by relying one someone else's wallet.
In his editorial for the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli believes "Talat has consolidated his position against the Turkish military for a second time since he came to power and by continuing the dismantling of the footbridge despite the military's objections has demonstrated the existence of a sovereign administration in northern Cyprus."