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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-11

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.8/08 11.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Britain: Opening port to Greek Cyprus will strengthen Turkeys hand
  • [02] Ryan to meet in Istanbul British Ambassadors to Ankara, Athens and Lefkosia
  • [03] Talat flies to Istanbul for contacts with Media Representatives
  • [04] North Cyprus Tourism Office to be opened in South Korea
  • [05] Abdullah Gul and Ban Ki-moon met in New York; Cyprus on top of the agenda
  • [06] Pertev establishes a new political party in occupied Cyprus
  • [07] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce publishes figures on the trade under the Green Line Regulation
  • [08] Turkey´s Prime Minister to meet European leaders
  • [09] Erdogan announces his governments action plan; Reference to Cyprus
  • [10] Turkish, Iraqi, Syrian ministers convene over water issues
  • [11] OIC General Secretary discussed regional and global issues with the current EU presidency
  • [12] Soyer and Avci to attend the fast-breaking dinner offered by Erdogan to Alevis
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Commentary in Radikal: Britain: The time works against reunification of Cyprus
  • [14] Miscalculations, image hit tourism in Northern Cyprus
  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 10 January 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Britain: Opening port to Greek Cyprus will strengthen Turkeys hand

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (11.01.08) reports the following:

    Britain, a guarantor power of Cypriot sovereignty, has apparently accelerated efforts to revive negotiations on the Cyprus issue under the roof of the United Nations.

    Joan Ryan, the British government's special representative for Cyprus, held talks this week with senior Turkish officials in Ankara and suggested that opening a port to Greek Cypriot shipping would serve as a factor strengthening Turkey's hand in the upcoming process concerning the Cyprus issue.

    Ryan had talks with members of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission led by Murat Mercan, a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), on Wednesday. During the meeting Ryan said Britain could also participate as a party in a new round of talks on Cyprus issue under the UN roof.

    Talks on resolving the Cyprus problem have largely stalled since 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected an UN-drafted proposal to reunify the island, a plan that was backed by most Turkish Cypriot voters. In May 2004, the Greek Cypriot government joined the European Union as the official representative of the entire island, although EU legislation is not implemented in the northern part of the island, governed by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).

    Ryan, who was appointed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to her current position in July of last year, voiced her country's expectation that a new round of negotiations on Cyprus could start following the presidential elections scheduled to be held in the southern part of the island in February. She stressed that both Britain and the EU would exert pressure on the Greek Cypriot administration to participate in a new process -- via first of all sitting around the same table with Turkish Cypriots.

    For his part, Mercan said the solution to the Cyprus issue could be found under the roof of the UN, but not under the EU's roof. "The party which needs to be persuaded first is the Greek Cypriot side. The absence of a resolution stems from the Greek Cypriot stance," Mercan told Ryan.

    [02] Ryan to meet in Istanbul British Ambassadors to Ankara, Athens and Lefkosia

    Turkish daily Radikal newspaper (10.01.08) reports in a commentary by Murat Yetkin that tomorrow (11.01.08) Ryan will meet in Istanbul with the British Ambassadors to Ankara, to Athens and then to Lefkosia [British High Commissioner] to discuss on how possible it is to warm up a new Cyprus initiative.

    (EA)

    [03] Talat flies to Istanbul for contacts with Media Representatives

    Illegal Bayrak television (10.01.08) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat is on his way to Istanbul for contacts with media representatives.

    The President will evaluate the latest developments on the Cyprus issue during various programs he will be attending.

    Completing his contacts in Istanbul, President Mehmet Ali Talat will return to the Republic tomorrow night.

    Before leaving for Istanbul, Mr Talat received a delegation from the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces in the afternoon within the framework of a series of meetings with political parties to inform them about his latest contacts in the Turkish capital Ankara.

    Earlier in the week, the President had met with representatives from the National Unity Party, Democrat Party, Freedom and Reform Party and Communal Democracy Party.

    [04] North Cyprus Tourism Office to be opened in South Korea

    Illegal Bayrak television (10.01.08) broadcast the following:

    A North Cyprus tourism office is to be opened in the South Korean capital, Seoul, the TRNC Ministry of Economy and Tourism has announced.

    A protocol was signed today at the Ministry of Economy and Tourism with the Parados Europe Company operating in South Korea to facilitate the opening of the North Cyprus Tourism office.

    According to the protocol, the Parados Europe Company will be in charge of running the tourism office which aims to promote the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Economy and Tourism Erdogan Sanlidag said that the tourism office to be opened in the South Korean capital will work towards promoting the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    For his part, the President of the Parados Europe Company, Lee Chung Hooh, said that the protocol was the first step in establishing close relations between the two countries and for attracting South Korean tourists to North Cyprus.

    [05] Abdullah Gul and Ban Ki-moon met in New York; Cyprus on top of the agenda

    The main issue in todays Turkish newspapers is the meeting of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. The two had a special dinner meeting, which was hosted at the residence of Turkeys UN Permanent Representative, Mr Baki Ilkin. Following are the reports by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot newspapers on what was discussed:

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (11.01.08) under the title, At the meal they talked about Cyprus and Iraq; President Gul had his first meeting in New York with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the paper reports on the Ban Ki-moonAbdullah Gul meeting in New York. Mr Gul at the meal with Mr Ban Ki-moon gave emphasis on the importance that Turkey attaches to the integrity of Iraq and he stated that they expected the UN to intervene once more in Cyprus. The paper continues: The UN, after the referendum and because of the experience of the defunct Annan Plan, refrained from taking a new initiative in Cyprus until conditions were proper and the sides ready.

    From the information given, Mr Ban Ki-moon will decide whether to begin or not a new process after the Presidential elections in February in South Cyprus, by seeing the approach of the new government on the solution. Turkey with the stance of a new partnership, underlines that the present negotiations between the two sides must lead to a solution.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Bugun newspaper (11.01.08) under the title, New initiative for Cyprus is essential, the paper reports on the meeting of the Turkish President, Mr Abdullah Gul, with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, in New York as part of his contacts in the USA. At the meeting they touched on Cyprus and Mr Gul conveyed to Mr Ban Ki-moon that they expect from the UN to intervene with a new initiative in Cyprus, the paper writes.

    The paper continues under the subtitle, We must prepare everyone mentally and reports that, responding to the questions of reporters at his hotel after the dinner that was closed to the press, Mr Gul stated that with the UN Secretary-General, they discussed about Cyprus and that from now on they will continue the contacts on the issue. Mr Gul called attention on the upcoming Presidential elections of the Greek Cypriot side and that they [the elections] will play a major role in the solution process of the Cyprus problem by saying: What we should do is to work, exert efforts and explain our position to everybody. Everyone should be prepared mentally.

    In addition, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (11.01.08) under the title, The solution in Cyprus will wait for the spring, the paper reports that the most important issue on the agenda of the dinner of the Turkish President, Mr Abdullah Gul, and the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, at the residence of Turkey´s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, was Cyprus. Mr Gul asked from the UN to start mobility for a comprehensive solution, according to the outcome of the Greek Cypriot sides election in spring, the paper writes. The UN Secretary-General supported this idea, as well. Furthermore, Mr Gul demanded from the UN to take action in the Cyprus problem and expressed the view that the UN are in wait for taking action after the elections in the Greek Cypriot side. Mr Gul added: The UN will make efforts after the elections. Our responsibility is to explain to everyone. To prepare everyone mentally.

    Furthermore, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (11.01.08) under the title, We must prepare the minds, the paper reports on the GulBan Ki-moon dinner meeting in New York where the Turkish President and the UN Secretary-General discussed about Cyprus. Mr Gul stated that from now on they will continue the meetings on this subject.

    Pointing out that the forthcoming Greek Cypriot Presidential election will play a significant role in the process of settlement in Cyprus, the Turkish President underlined the need for working towards a solution. Our responsibility is to work, exert efforts and explain [our position] to everybody. Everyone should be prepared mentally, Mr Gul said.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.01.08) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that the forthcoming presidential elections in the Greek Cypriot side will play an important role in the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to reports in his hotel, after having a working dinner with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at the residence of Turkeys UN permanent representative, Mr. Gul said that he has conveyed to the UN chief his views as regards the Cyprus problem. Gul said that he has stated these views earlier. What we have to do is to work, to spend efforts and explain to everybody. We have to prepare them mentally, Mr. Gul declared.

    (EA/ MHY)

    [06] Pertev establishes a new political party in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot Afrika newspaper (11.01.08) reports that the former advisor to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, Rasit Pertev, formed a new party The Peoples Party. The paper writes that Mr. Pertev will officially register his party today. When asked to give more details about his party Mr. Pertev said that he will do so at a later stage during a press conference.

    (MHY)

    [07] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce publishes figures on the trade under the Green Line Regulation

    Illegal Bayrak television (10.01.08) broadcast the following:

    It has been reported that the amount of exports from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to South Cyprus within the framework of the Green Line Regulation has increased over the past year.

    According to latest figures released by the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce, 2 million and 773 thousand Cyprus pounds of goods were exported to South in 2007.

    As in previous years export of vegetables has the biggest share of trade with South Cyprus. Woodworks, furniture and stoneware are on top of the goods and products lists being traded to South Cyprus.

    The Green Line Regulation, prepared by the European Union, regulates flow of commercial goods and services between North Cyprus and South Cyprus. The regulation took effect on August the 23rd, 2004.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (11.01.08) reports that a poll carried out by the Turkish Cypriot KADEM company showed that the Turkish Cypriots prefer to do their shopping in the shops and super markets in the free areas of Cyprus because of the quality and variety of the products. The other reasons are less expensive prices and large parking areas as well as finding alternative products in the same place.

    (MHY)

    [08] Turkey´s Prime Minister to meet European leaders

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.08) reports from Ankara that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will leave for Spain on January 13th as the guest of his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

    Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and Industry & Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan will accompany Erdogan.

    During his visit, Erdogan will hold meetings with King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Zapatero and Spanish Senate President Javier Rojo.

    Erdogan and Zapatero will discuss political, economic and cultural relations as well as Turkey's EU membership talks and regional and international matters. Erdogan will deliver speeches in a business council meeting (of Turkish and Spanish businessmen), at breakfast to be hosted by Europa Press, and luncheon to be hosted by Nueva Economica Forum.

    Erdogan will also speak at the inauguration of the 1st Alliance of Civilizations Forum. He will hold bilateral talks with several leaders who will be in Madrid to attend the forum.

    Erdogan's visit to Spain will end on January 16th.

    On the Turkish Premier´s contacts, Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (11.01.08) reports that Erdogan announcing the details of the government´s new action plan also noted that he will have a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who do not favour Turkey´s full membership in the EU, in the months ahead. I will meet them in Germany, he added.

    [09] Erdogan announces his governments action plan; Reference to Cyprus

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.01.08, internet version) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday announced the details of his governments new action plan, which encompasses a number of changes that will transform Turkey socially and economically by greatly improving key policy areas such as education, employment, health, fiscal policy and human rights.

    According to the paper, the plan introduces major changes such as opening new universities in nine provinces this year. A sustainable development project that Turkey has failed to complete since 1997 will be finished within the next five years. At least 10 more diplomatic missions are to be opened in African countries, and the Central Bank of Turkey will be moved from the capital to Istanbul.

    The action plan, which the prime minister called a social restoration project, comprises 145 chapters. A large portion of the project concerns social welfare, with 10 chapters on legal and democratic reforms, 13 on economy, 32 on strengthening the social structure, eight on improving unemployment, 18 on structural reforms, five on individual and result-oriented administration policies, 17 on improving the quality of life, two on culture and energy, 34 on energy competition and eight on defence and foreign policy.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.01.08) reports that during the same press conference, Mr Erdogan referred also to Cyprus and said that they will continue their dynamic Cyprus policy supporting the TRNC with the same determination and the understanding of a national cause. The paper publishes the information under the title The support for the TRNC will continue with the same determination.

    [10] Turkish, Iraqi, Syrian ministers convene over water issues

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (11.01.08) reports that Ministers from Turkey and neighbouring Syria and Iraq met yesterday in the Syrian capital to discuss water resources, nearly 20 years after the three suspended cooperation on water issues.

    Syrian Irrigation Minister Nader al-Bunni hosted Turkish Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu and Iraqi Minister of Water Resources Abdul-Latif Jamal Rasheed in Damascus. The meeting was expected to last two days. The next water conference will be held in Istanbul in March 2009, Eroglu said.

    The three ministers also met with Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari, having talks on water sources, dam construction, land reform, water sharing and modern irrigation methods, according to the Syrian official news agency SANA.

    Eroglu and Rasheed emphasized the importance of cooperation among the three countries to resolve water issues and to use water sources efficiently, SANA noted.

    Syria, Iraq and Turkey suspended water-sharing meetings two decades ago amid political and economic disputes. In the 1980s and 1990s, Turkey accused Syria of harbouring Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). But relations improved after 1998, when Syria -- bowing to Turkish pressure -- expelled Ocalan. He was later captured and is imprisoned in Turkey.

    At the time Syria and Iraq also accused Turkey of restricting water flow with a series of dams along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. A 1987 water-sharing agreement requires Turkey to give Syria 500 cubic meters of Euphrates water per second from Ataturk Dam.

    Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Dardari, during a visit to Turkey last week, expressed Damascus' eagerness to have more of a share of water from the Euphrates River, pointing to the drought that hampered wheat production in the country throughout last year.

    The Tigris and the Euphrates originate in Turkey and flow south through Syria and Iraq. In the summer of 2007, Iraq, for which the Tigris and Euphrates is its main water source, called for a water treaty with neighbours that share the rivers, saying a deal was needed to avoid a crisis, Todays Zaman concludes.

    [11] OIC General Secretary discussed regional and global issues with the current EU presidency

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.08) reports the following from Beirut:

    Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), paid a visit to Slovenia on Thursday.

    Ihsanoglu attended a ceremony held on the occasion of Slovenia's undertaking the rotating EU term presidency in Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Ihsanoglu held talks with Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek, PM Janez Jansa and FM Dimitrij Rupel.

    Ihsanoglu exchanged views with his hosts on regional and global issues and expressed his wish for good relations between EU member states and OIC members.

    [12] Soyer and Avci to attend the fast-breaking dinner offered by Erdogan to Alevis

    Under the title: Erdogan ready to attend Alevi iftar, a first in republic´s history Today´s Zaman newspaper (11.01.08) reports the following:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ready to attend an Alevi fast-breaking dinner tonight at Hotel Bilkent in Ankara in efforts to reconcile long-standing animosities between the state and Turkey's Alevi community, though most major Alevi organizations have announced they will not participate in the dinner because they do not believe the government is sincere.

    Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy and renowned writer of Alevi origin Reha Camuroglu has been leading efforts to introduce reforms, but drew criticism from Alevi organizations instead.

    Fermani Altun, the president of the World Ahlul Bayt Foundation based in Istanbul, has expressed dislike about the way the rapprochement has been presented even though he is a pro-AK Party Alevi leader. He noted that when Camuroglu was a parliamentary candidate from Istanbul, he never set foot in the foundation and was not interested in consulting with Alevis.

    "We don't accept Camuroglu's invitation," said Altun, adding, "This is a month of mourning and not suitable for a large iftar."

    Muharram is the first month of the Hijri year and is a time of mourning and fasting for Alevis. Together with the Shiites of the Muslim world, Turkish Alevis mourn the slaughter of Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Huseyin, during this month in 680.

    Professor Izzettin Dogan, president of the Istanbul-based Cem Foundation, says the government has "refused" to work with Alevi organizations for a long time.

    "We did not refuse to attend the dinner right away. We first wanted the prime minister to make a public statement embracing the Alevis. But he did not make it," Dogan said, asking: "Why does the prime minister of Turkey remain so distant to such a large community? Is this understandable?"

    Dogan said no Alevi organizations of long standing would attend tonight's iftar.

    AK Party deputy of Alevi origin Ibrahim Yigit says the recently established Cemevi Association Federation, known to have close relations with Camuroglu and the Abdal Musa Foundation, which is the sponsor of the dinner, will attend tonight's iftar.

    Yigit also said any reform package is going to take shape only after discussions with Alevi leaders and intellectuals, emphasizing that major Alevi organizations would be consulted.

    When called by Today's Zaman yesterday, the Abdal Musa Foundation's Ertugrul Arslan said a team of people were busy trying to manage a long list of Alevi names who want to attend tonight's iftar. He said the number of people who hoped to participate in the dinner had reached 10,000, but because of limited space, they have to be selective.

    "We are the hosts of the dinner, and we could not invite the prime minister on condition that he first makes a statement. We invited him and he accepted. He will have a platform at the dinner to say something. This is not a dinner to find solutions to the problems of the Alevis. This is an iftar, and we as the organizers invited those who see Alevism as part of Islam," Arslan said.

    The prime minister will attend the dinner with his wife, Emine Erdogan. Arslan said 15 Cabinet ministers will be there in addition to several deputies. Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Turgay Avci have confirmed their attendance, too. Several political party leaders have been invited to the dinner as well.

    Meanwhile, 12 Alevi organizations in a joint statement released Thursday evening declared that those attending the iftar dinner would be shunned by the Alevi community.

    At a press conference yesterday, Republican People's Party (CHP) group deputy leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu questioned the motives behind the dinner and said a large iftar in Muharram is not an appropriate gathering for the Alevi faith.

    Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam in Turkey, and Alevis say they have been persecuted for their beliefs and cultural values for centuries. The Alevi faith is considered to be a belief system in Islam by some Alevis but is interpreted as distinct from Islam by others.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] Commentary in Radikal: Britain: The time works against reunification of Cyprus

    Turkish daily Radikal newspaper (10.01.08) publishes the following commentary by Murat Yetkin under the title, Britain: The time works against reunification of Cyprus:

    While President Abdullah Gul was discussing with the UN Secretary-General about Cyprus, the British Special Cyprus Representative was in Ankara.

    Gul repeated to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the opening made by the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat last week, during his official visit [to Ankara].

    The main lines of this opening were that a solution in Cyprus could be reached on the basis of two founding states with the participation of Greece and within the framework of the security of the Eastern Mediterranean. Since the Anan Plan was put aside, both Gul and Talat were thinking that the new talks, which will start under the aegis of the UN, will lead to conclusion if they start on the political equality basis.

    The timing of this opening was important. Firstly, at the end of February there are Presidential elections in the Greek Cypriot Republic. Recent framework proposal, by the Greek Cypriot Tassos Papadopoulos, for the resumption of the talks was not envisaging political equality with the Turks and it was aimed at, even if indirectly, involving the EU to the process. Secondly, the declaration about settling of the differences in the frequency between Talat and Ankara, which was not done away even with the election of Talat as President, was overcome. It was understood that the position Talat adopted was removing to a great extend the objections raised by the Chief of the General Staff.

    Thirdly, the opening was made by Gul prior his trip to the USA. Gul announced that he would discuss this issue with both, the US President, Mr George Bush, and the UN Secretary-General. How much time, how much interest was allocated to Cyprus during the meeting with Bush, whose mind was set on Iraq and the Middle East? It is impossible to count it. But at the [Ban] Ki-moon meeting it is understood that Cyprus, together with Iraq, was one of the main issues.

    We will see together the results. Of course it seems that the solution in Cyprus is neither easy nor imminent. It is difficult to convince the Greek Cypriot Administration for a solution, especially after the Republic of Cyprus became an EU member. Britain, which is a guarantor country with Turkey and Greece from the founding day of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, is aware of the complex and difficult situation.

    However, British Prime Minister Gordon Browns Special Cyprus Envoy, Mrs Joan Ryan, at the meetings held yesterday in the [Turkish] Parliament, said that her country wants to see the starting of a new UN process in Cyprus, as soon as possible. We found Ryan at a discussion meal she had with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the TGNA [Turkish Grand National Assembly] and the EU Harmonization Commission, where she said: While time passes, a possibility for a united Cyprus becomes more difficult. But at the same time, Britain knows that the possibility of a new solution should be with the contribution of both communities. Under these conditions it becomes difficult to give meaning to expressions such as: We are firm on the target of the unification of Cyprus. Britain is not opposing the notion of the Political equality. But most probably what is understood of the political equality is different from what Ankara thinks. While Ankara gives significance to the symbolization of this notion, London confronts it as an administrative-technical issue; like who will sit on which chair

    Even if the Turkish side accepts an initiative on the basis of the political equality, who and how will one force the Greek Cypriot side to accept this? How possible is it for the Turkish side to make difficult a solution that she does not want by intimidating with lists explaining the advantages of the unification and with efforts in vain like otherwise they will become richer and you will stay poor?

    Tomorrow Ryan will meet in Istanbul with the British Ambassadors to Ankara, to Athens and then to Lefkosia [British High Commissioner] to discuss on how possible it is to warm up a new Cyprus initiative. However, will she accept that every effort is in vain as long as the Greek Cypriot side does not stop from seeing the Turks as a minority? This is the real question.

    (EA)

    [14] Miscalculations, image hit tourism in Northern Cyprus

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News newspaper (10.01.08) publishes the following commentary by Ismail Yanmaz:

    Investments in new hotels, which have been booming in Turkish Cyprus for the last three years in the hope that the United Nations mediated plan to find a lasting peace on the divided island will be accepted, are facing serious trouble.

    The tourism sector in Turkish Cyprus is in serious crisis with 24 hotels closed and 50 more on the brink of shutting down. The rejection by the Greek Cypriots of the U.N. mediated peace plan is not the only reason behind the optimistic expectations for the tourism sector not materializing. The continuation of the isolation of the island despite promises from the European Union that sanctions will be eased, coupled with insufficient marketing are also considered reasons for the crisis.

    Around 2,000 people were laid off, as occupancy rates did not even reach 30 percent, last summer. Tourism suffered a lot due to many mistakes made one after another. And the sector will collapse unless a new strategy is developed leaving aside gambling, said Turhan Beydagli, chairman of northern Cyprus Hoteliers Association. Gambling is legal in northern Cyprus.

    When Turkish Cyprus voted in favour of the United Nation's plan called the Annan Plan the construction and tourism sectors experienced a boom. Yet, they have been going through troubled times lately. The buildings initially planned for sale to the British remain unsold. The hopes for direct flights between Ercan Airport and destinations in the U.K. have faded away. Although the total number of beds rose sharply, the occupancy rate is only 44 percent for hotels with casinos and 30 percent for those without.

    Beydagli said problems in the construction sector also affected the tourism sector. Tourism regions are filled with incomplete hotel constructions. Such a sight does not befit a tourism centre. The south of the island receives three million tourists annually and the average accommodation period is 11 days. We receive 300,000 people, who visit only the casinos on weekends. There are new facilities. But they shared a piece of the current pie in the market rather than creating a new market.

    Beydagli also criticized the fact that the hotels appear in the tabloid press. It was thought that having some artists over at the hotels as a promotion would help the business. We became a derogatory topic in the tabloid press. Mafia settling in the casinos badly hit another source of income the universities as well as tourism. Families do not send their children because of the bad image and costliness. Even the universities now lack students.

    Subtitle: Gamblers instead of tourists

    Turkish Cyprus Chamber of Commerce Chairman Hasan Ince said the worst mistake was made in the marketing strategy. Unqualified staff was used in expensive and poor quality services. Ince said instead of normal tourists the marketing strategy had gamblers as a target audience, adding, A normal tourist cannot get a one-week reservation. Weekdays are not sold, because gamblers book for the weekends. This led to a bad image. Gambling is not a priority for Cyprus tourism. It is time we started marketing Cypriot history, nature and culture. We can hold promotion campaigns in Turkey's busiest airports on the Aegean and Mediterranean coastline for foreign tourists. The primary obstacle before tourism is transport which should be subsidized by the state.

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 10 January 2008

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 10 January 2008 on issues high on the Ankara political agenda:

    President Gul´s visit to the U.S.: Radikal quotes an unnamed "senior American official" from the White House as telling reporters over a videoconference on the Gul-Bush meeting that political measures besides the military ones should also be applied for the solution of the PKK issue, including for the south-eastern problem, even though no specific discussion of overtures to the Kurds took place during the Gul-Bush meeting. This official has also said that the United States is urging Turkey to enter into a long-term dialogue with the Iraqi Kurds. President Abdullah Gul, speaking at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, reacted harshly to such statements emanating from the White House, declaring that he did not discuss any political solution to the PKK problem with President Bush and pointing out that just as no one in the West is considering finding a political solution to the Al-Qaeda attacks, so no one can ask Turkey to find a political solution to the PKK problem. Gul adds that while fighting armed men with arms, Turkey is also exerting great effort to develop the southeast economically. The report next adds that Iran was another major issue of discussion between Turkey and the United States, and quotes Gul as saying in the same address that Turkey's good-neighbourly ties with Iran go as far back as 1636, which is older than the American history.

    Commenting on Gul's statement that he did not discuss any political solution to the PKK problem but only mentioned the government's socio-economic reform plans for the southeast, Tayfun Devecioglu says in his report in Vatan that the United States will nevertheless ask with growing persistence for non-military measures, like an effective amnesty.

    Cevdet Askin declares in his column for Referans under the title: "Bush Opened the 2nd Curtain: The Turn Has Come for the Political Overture" that Bush and Gul made no statements after the meeting not to disturb the Turkish public opinion, but American pressure for a political solution to the Kurdish problem is palpable, adding that while in his 5 November meeting with the Turkish prime minister Bush opened the door for military operations against northern Iraq, in his 8 January meeting with Gul the American president pushed the button for a political solution to the Kurdish problem.

    Writing in pro-government Star newspaper, Mustafa Karaalioglu argues in his column that the energy issue, not the PKK, dominated the Bush-Gul talks, adding that the United States wants to transform Turkey into an "energy power" and that Bush's desire to know Gul's views on the Middle East is a harbinger of closer ties between the two countries.

    Economic commentator Erdal Saglam also believes in his column in Hurriyet that the cooperation in the energy sector was the most important item in Gul's talks in the United States, adding that if Turkey plays this energy game correctly it would secure important advantages. He says the cooperation against the PKK is only a part of the wider cooperation on energy, pointing out that Turkey can act on behalf of the United States in Iraq and Iran to secure energy sources for the Americans.

    Also believing that the United States has improved its ties with Turkey so that after the US withdrawal from Iraq Turkey could act as America's partner for the exploitation of the Iraqi oil and gas, Necati Dogu says in his Vatan column that the Americans are unreliable, they can again change position, so he advises the Kurds to abandon the PKK and the "imperialists" and join forces with Turks in defending their common interests.

    Commenting on the invitation extended to Gul to visit Washington, Ismail Kucukkaya in Aksam says that either the Americans want to engage in public diplomacy to win over the Turkish public on the PKK issue or they are trying to create an administrative dichotomy in Turkey between Gul and Erdogan so as to exploit the rivalry between the two men during a possible attack on Syria and Iran.

    In his column for Radikal, Hasan Celal Guzel declares Gul's visit a success, hoping that the improved ties with the United States would heighten Turkey's role in the Middle East.

    Cuneyt Arcayurek says in his column in Cumhuriyet that the United States no more sees Turkey as a secular country but a moderate Islamic country playing the role of a bridge between the East and West, adding that the AKP is sacrificing secularism for the sake of good ties with United States. And Mustafa Balbay says in his column in Cumhuriyet that Gul went before Bush like an ambassador submitting his credentials to shore up his personal worth in the eyes of the superpower.

    In his column for Milliyet, Semih Idiz believes the most important aspect of the Gul-Bush meeting was America's strong support for Turkey's EU membership because of the global importance of that membership, adding that in return for this support the United States would expects democratic reforms in Turkey.

    Mehmet Ali Birand says in his column in Hurriyet that Gul achieved the result it wanted from the Washington visit: The visit strengthened Turkey's hands against the PKK, revived the strategic cooperation between the two countries, and gave Turkey the opportunity to seek American support for a new initiative on Cyprus and EU membership. Commenting on Gul's statement that Bush asked nothing in return, Birand says Americans ask for things indirectly, like when White House spokesman Dana Perino said before the meeting that Bush will ask Gul to work with Iraqi officials to find a long-term political solution to the PKK problem. Birand then goes on to list what he believes are American expectations from Turkey: Talk to Talabani and launch dialogue with Barzani, introduce legal measures to lure the PKK members back into society, open the border with Armenia, and amend Article 301. Birand says if Turkey does not see these demands as concessions and meets them it will relieve itself of these burdens and further improve ties with the United States.

    An article in Turkish Daily News says: "President Abdullah Gul's first appearance at the White House Tuesday demonstrated a thaw in the troubled relations of two long-time NATO allies, leading many to call it a 'new spring' or 'honeymoon.' However, analysts are rather cautious while defining the current course of Turkish-American relations although they admit to the start of a new momentum as of November when the Turkish prime minister managed to attract U.S. interest in Turkey's fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)."

    In an editorial for Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli says, "The remarks of Gul and Bush, as well as assessments of analysts, and of course the body language revealed by the Turkish and U.S. presidents in the White House garden and in the Oval Office, indicated the start of a 'new spring' or a 'honeymoon' in bilateral relations. Such comments, unfortunately, are premature and can lead to some wrong imminent expectations which we are afraid can do more harm than good in the period ahead. What we can say with full confidence, however, is the fact that Turkish-American relations that were seriously hurt with a very severe crisis over the past four years are starting to come out of the crisis and both two countries are sparing no effort to patch up and to renovate them."

    In a column for The New Anatolian, Ilnur Cevik says, "So as expected it was a successful visit where Bush who was about to set off on a trip to the Middle East discussed regional issues with a country like Turkey which can offer a viable course on the peace process. Turkey has done what no other country could do bringing together President Shimon Peres of Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. All this shows that at the end of his term President Bush has made amends warming up ties with Turkey and thus rebuffing the pro-Kurdish lobby at the Pentagon."

    In an article entitled "Washington caught red-handed by Ankara", Yeni Safak columnist Tamer Korkmaz accuses certain Turkish writers of acting like "embedded journalists" carrying out US propaganda and trying to improve the US public image in Turkey in representing the US provision of actionable intelligence against the PKK in such a way as to create the impression that Turkey is powerless to do anything without US help and approval in this region and that Washington has improved its relations with Ankara by supporting the latest Turkish operations. Korkmaz claims that if the United States is giving "limited support" to Turkey's military incursions, it is only because Ankara has forced Washington to do so by presenting it with concrete evidence of the US military's support for the PKK and by conveying Turkey's "determination" to take military action against the PKK.

    In an article entitled "Gul's Visit to the US, Bush's Visit to the Middle East", Vakit columnist Ahmet Varol criticizes the manner in which the latest cross-border military strikes against the PKK have been presented as Turkish-US cooperation against terrorism. He claims that it is highly possible that the United States deliberately created the conditions that produced the need for such cooperation, adding that the recent "detention campaign" started in a number of provinces in Turkey against Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah suspects "who have nothing to do with these organizations" could be a "gift package" for President Bush. He also relates the story of how the King David Hotel, where he says President Bush will be staying in "Palestine," was "blown up" by "Zionist terrorists"

    In an article entitled "Authorization bill chapter closed, 2008 a Year of Opportunities in Turkish-American Relations", Zaman's Washington correspondent Ali H. Alan asserts that the fate of Turkish-US relations in 2008 will depend on the question of what happens in Iraq. He claims that Washington will continue to perform balancing acts between Turkey and "its greatest ally in Iraq, namely Kurdish groups."

    In an article entitled "America understands and so should you", Today's Zaman columnist Huseyin Gulerce refers to the Bush-Gul meeting as a "turning-point" in Turkish-US relations signifying that Washington "now knows who to speak to in Turkey and who will speak to it from Turkey."

    Under the headline, "Do not act like a proxy," Milli Gazete publishes a front-page report which quotes Temel Karamollaoglu, Deputy Chairman of the Felicity Party, SP, as saying that Turkey and the United States cannot be strategic partners and that Washington wants to take advantage of Turkey's close relations with Iran and Pakistan to further its own interests.

    In an article entitled "Back to square one", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asserts that President Gul's remarks during his visit to Washington announcing that Turkey would be prepared to give Iraq ten times as much support as it is currently providing if the Kurdish authority were to eject the PKK from Iraq, show that the "politburo" of the ruling AKP is ready to recognize an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Unal warns that for Ankara to allow a "puppet" Kurdish state to be established in the region would cause Turkey to turn into a federation and be divided into individual "states."

    EG/


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