Under the title The hope for solution was born, Kibris reports in its first page that the result of the election held in the Republic of Cyprus was evaluated as positive in Turkey, Greece and the UK. The paper writes that after Papadopoulos defeat, a new dynamic exists in the island, no matter who is going to win in the second round of the elections and a window of hope for a solution was opened in the island.
Afrika, which writes in its first page that the child (implying the occupation regime) is protecting Turkey, reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Soyer, stated that the new Greek Cypriot leadership must not treat Turkey as occupying force and added that he does not want Turkey to be accused. According to Soyer, during the election campaign, both Kasoulides and Christofias blamed Papadopoulos of following a policy of removing Turkey from the accused chair and they promised to put Turkey again in this position. Soyer called on the new Greek Cypriot leadership to abandon this and said: The politics of supporting the argument that Turkey must be placed on the chair of the accused, is not right.
Mr Soyer said that if the new Greek Cypriot leadership continues to accuse Turkey, he will bring in the agenda issues like the ten thousand Greek soldiers who came into the island after 1963 and the fascist coup d etat which was held in 1974.
Mr Soyer, commenting further on the election result stated that it is a turning point and added that it does not matter who is going to win and that the Turkish Cypriots are offering a hand of peace.
Commenting on this issue, Afrikas columnist, Sener Levent, writes in his daily column, Point of view, the following:
The side that does not want solution in Cyprus is the Turkish side. No solution at all Neither a federal state Nor a separate state Not even the TRNC Because solution means that Turkeys dominance in the island will be ended It can be any kind of a solution, Turkeys dominance will be ended Turkeys army will leave from here... And a large number of Turkish origin populations will also leave Turkey does not want this and it is not ready for this.
Mr Sener goes on and writes that the Turkish side does not really want the Annan Plan to come back and notes that they are afraid that this plan may come to the negotiation table. As he said, they announced many times that they said yes to the plan, so that the Greek Cypriots say no and stresses: That is to say that the Turkish yes was a false yes. Sener goes on and comments on Soyers call to the new Greek Cypriot leadership not to call Turkey occupying force and not to put it into the position of the accused and concludes his article as follows: Very well. How does Soyer demand from the Greek Cypriots to treat Turkey? To call it, like we do, a savior?
Afrika also writes that the chairman of the Social Democrat Party, Mehmet Cakici, commenting on the election result stated that it is very important that Papadopoulos was eliminated in the first round and that Kasoulides and Christofias are the two candidates who passed to the second round of the elections. As he said, Papadopoulos, like Rauf Denktas, took his place between the history book pages. Mr Cakici who said that it is very important that the two candidates who are closer to the solution than Papadopoulos passed to the second round, alleged that this is a very positive step and that a new window of opportunity opened in Cyprus.
Afrika writes that evaluating the elections results, the general secretary of the Democratic Party, Ertugrul Hasipoglu stated that nothing is going to change. According to me there is not going to be any change. What is important is the decision of the National Council, he stated. He went on and said that most probably a coalition will be formed and therefore the decision that the new government will take will be no different than before.
Volkan reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) issued a statement for the elections result and noted that there is no difference between Kasoulides, Christofias and Papadopoulos. According to the statement, Christofias and AKEL supported Papadopoulos to become president in the first place and AKELs leader, who uses the slogans One people, one country, describes as illogical and dangerous the two states solution. As regards Kasoulides he wants to lay down Turkey and his aim is to safeguard that not a single Turkish soldier will remain in the island.
Under the title The TRNC fear ate Papadopoulos, Halki Sesi reports in its first page that the Greek Cypriots did not vote for Papadopoulos because of the many openings which took place recently regarding the TRNC, like the launching of the ferry services between occupied Famagusta and Latakia and because of Papadopoulos intransigent behavior towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.
President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said Monday that Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos' elimination in the first round of the presidential elections held in the Greek Cypriot side raised hopes that the deadlock in the negotiations process could be overcome.
Releasing a written statement on the results of the elections held in the Greek Cypriot side on Sunday, Talat said, We regard the elections on the Greek Cypriot side with a view on whether or not they will give rise to new prospects for solution.
Talat said Papadopoulos was unfortunately not interested in the solution of the Cyprus problem.
However, the positions put forward by the two candidates, who will be competing for presidency in the second round, indicate that they are more interested in the solution of the problem, he said.
It will be clear in the near future whether this interest will be enough to bring us to a comprehensive solution. However, the sheer existence of such a desire will lead to the intensification of efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, he added.
Talat also said that TRNC carried out a policy of solution and it hoped that the change of leadership in the Greek Cypriot side would facilitate such policy in leading to positive results.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (19.02.08) reports that Rasit Pertev, the chairman of the Peoples Party, stated that the declaration of Kosovos independence and the result of the first round of elections are two important developments that affect the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.02.08) writes that the chairman of the Social Democrat Party, Mehmet Cakici, stated that the declaration of Kosovos independence must not be associated with Cyprus. Mr Cakici stated, inter alia, that there are differences between Kosovo and Cyprus, like the geographic position, the international law and the UN parameters.
President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said Monday he salutes independence of Kosovo on behalf of Turkish Cypriot people, adding that the will of people of Kosovo should be respected and the new state should be assisted.
I hope that Kosovo's independence will have a positive influence on security and cooperation in the Balkans, which is of utmost importance for the stability of the world, Talat said in his message on Kosovo's declaration of independence.
I ask that those, who object to the independence of Kosovo, take into consideration that no people can be forced to live under the rule of another people, and make the necessary contribution so that the problems that may arise can be solved through cooperation, he stated.
With the knowledge that many countries will recognize the independence of Kosovo, I hope that especially the European Union will act with a high conception of its responsibilities. With the belief that the European Union will not repeat the mistakes, which we still suffer from in the Cyprus problem, I'd like to express that making use of enlargement as an instrument to solve this difficult and complex problem would be very appropriate, he said.
I salute the success of the Kosovo leadership, which, through policies that won the sympathy and support of the world in the process leading to independence, gained an international respectability. On behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people, who have preserved their identity, went through a lot of pain to live in freedom and who are still continuing with their struggle, I sincerely congratulate Kosovo and the people of Kosovo and wish that Kosovo's membership in the world's family of nations contributes to humanity and world peace, Talat added.
Middle East Technical University (METU) Rector Prof. Dr. Ural Akbulut said Monday that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) may become a country that exports science and technology.
METU's TRNC Campus Science and Technology Center has been inaugurated on Monday.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, METU-TRNC Campus Rector Prof. Dr. Turgut Tumer indicated that countries that can not turn knowledge into economic benefits are destined to fall behind in the global competition.
According to Akbulut, efforts are being made to make the METU-TRNC Campus identical to the one in Turkey's capital of Ankara.
Turkey and the TRNC need science and technology museums in order to develop themselves, Akbulut noted. The METU-TRNC Campus Science and Technology Center has been a dream of mine for the past three decades, Akbulut also said.
Turkey has decided to recognize the independence of the Republic of Kosovo.
Turkish Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator for the EU talks Ali Babacan released a written statement and recalled that the Assembly of Kosovo had declared independence of Kosovo on February 17th, 2008 and made an appeal to all countries of the world for the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo.
Babacan said, the Republic of Turkey has welcomed the content and elements of the declaration of independence, and with this understanding, has decided to recognize the independence of the Republic of Kosovo. Securing peace and stability in the Balkans is one of Turkey's foreign policy priorities. Turkey believes it is important that the understanding of lasting peace prevails in the Balkans which has suffered immensely in recent years. Turkey hopes that the independence of Kosovo will present an opportunity for the enhancement of stability and confidence among the countries in the region.
In the statement, Babacan said, Serbia has a significant role and responsibility in the future of the Balkans. Turkey attaches importance to improving its relations and cooperation with Serbia, both at bilateral and regional levels. Turkey believes that rule of law and the universal values of human rights, democracy and pluralism should be promoted in Kosovo. Turkey is also of the opinion that creating an atmosphere of mutual confidence and cooperation between Kosovo and her neighbors is essential. Turkey believes that its long-established historical, cultural and human ties with Kosovo will be further strengthened. Turkey will continue its assistance and contributions for the development of Kosovo.
Despite differences over recognition, the EU members agreed on Saturday to send some 2,000 police, justice and civil administrators to supervise Kosovo and help build institutions. The EU has also approved a civilian high representative for Kosovo, Dutchman Pieter Feith, who will oversee the police and justice mission and the implementation by Kosovo's government of standards protecting the province's Serb minority. The EU mission will take 120 days to complete deployment and take over from the U.N. mission, once a start date is agreed.
Sources close to the matter said Turkey and the EU are holding talks in order to prevent a potential crisis. According to the EU decision, all EU members, except Malta, as well as Turkey, Croatia and the US will send support to the mission. This means Turkey and the Greek Cypriots, who are not recognized by Ankara, will work under the same umbrella.
The EU aims to use the NATO capabilities deployed in Kosovo. However Ankara informed the EU that it will veto such a decision in NATO.
A similar situation occurred last year when the EU has sent police mission including Greek Cypriots to Afghanistan. Turkey vetoed a decision to let the EU mission to use NATO capabilities. The problem was solved when the US intervened the situation with a formula of de-facto arrangement. Under this formula the EU mission directly contacts the NATO commander in Afghanistan when it needed NATO capabilities, so that the situation is overcome on the military level.
However, the sources said, Turkey opposes such de-facto settlement and waits for the results of the general elections in Greek Cyprus.
Kosovo's declaration of independence was an important development both for the Balkans and the world but its sovereignty would remain limited, analysts with a Turkish think-tank said Monday.
You may declare your country independent but that would only remain on paper unless you get recognition, said Erhan Turbedar, an analyst from the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM).
Turbedar expected no positive outcome from a European Union meeting Monday over the recognition of Kosovo's independence citing the opposition of at least five EU members, including Greek Cypriot administration, Greece and Spain.
Turkey would eventually recognize Kosovo's independence but it would not be among the first group of countries to do that, he said.
We saw Kosovo's people waving Albanian, U.S., EU and Turkish flags during Sunday's celebrations and Kosovo definitely has an expectation from Turkey for recognition.
Mirzet Mijezinovic, another ASAM analyst on the Balkans, said Kosovo would not enjoy a full-fledged independent status.
Pretty much the same with what we see in Bosnia-Herzegovina's situation that an international supervising body would see to the Kosovo's state institutions, Mijezinovic said.
Mijezinovic opposed to the idea that Kosovo's situation would constitute a model for current problematic areas such as Cyprus. Kosovo is not an international problem. It is a remnant of the former Yugoslavia, he said.
Turkey should recognize Kosovo's independence but when doing that it must underline that the case should not considered as a model for other issues such as Cyprus, Mijezinovic said.
European Union (EU) foreign ministers approved Turkey's fourth Accession Partnership Document without debating it.
According to a statement issued by the European Council on Foreign Relations, priorities in the accession process, conditions and principles were reviewed in the document.
In the New Accession Partnership Document, demands are being made for Turkey to make reforms in the areas of democracy and the rule of law, human rights, citizenship and political rights, economic and social rights, minority rights, cultural rights, protection of minorities, regional and international obligations, economic criteria and harmonization with the EU acquis, in the next 3-4 years.
The document stresses that the goal of entry negotiations is full membership to the EU and asks Turkey to bring civilian-military relations to EU standards, to ensure that the Turkish parliament can have a say on military and defense policies, to limit the jurisdiction of military courts only to military personnel, to provide respect for freedom of religion and minority rights, to facilitate television programs in languages other than Turkish and to normalize relations with all EU members.
Turkey is now expected to submit a National Program to the EU on its reform plans.
Turkey has recently increased its importance in the Balkans and has lent its support to Kosovo, a province of Serbia that declared its independence on Sunday.
Turkey will be among the first states to recognize Kosovo's independence, thereby making its footprint in the region more prominent. Turkey has had warm relations in the past with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia [FYROM] and Croatia. Only Greece and Serbia are bothered by Turkey's ever-increasing influence in the region.
Increased diplomatic visits to Turkey by officials from Balkan countries shortly prior to Kosovo's declaration of independence is considered a sign that Turkey is deemed a key player in the eyes of the governments of these countries. Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Serbian President Boris Tadic recently visited Turkey to see what Turkey's possible stance would be in the face of recent developments. Tadic was the first Serbian president to visit Turkey, upon an invitation from President Abdullah Gul on January 16, and was briefed on Turkey's stance concerning Kosovo's independence. Many other high-ranking Serbian officials have also visited Turkey within the last six months.
It seems that Turkey's weight in the Balkan region will increase further in the future following a second meeting of the Balkan countries' chiefs of general staff in Turkey. This meeting is scheduled to be held in Antalya in June of this year and Kosovo will be discussed as a special agenda item. Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit will host the meeting, which will also serve as a platform to discuss the establishment of a fund for Balkan countries to be used for security issues and the training of military and other security forces. Turkey, having supplied troops to every peacekeeping force in the Balkans, is already training the military and police forces of the Balkan countries.
Turkey's interest in the Balkan countries was seen most saliently during the visit of Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski to Ankara. Officially invited by Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Elenovski's meeting with Buyukan1t was broadcast live. The live broadcast of this 25-minute-long meeting reportedly had important repercussions throughout Europe and the Balkan countries.
Turkey has been in command of a multinational force in the southern part of the region since May 2007. There are about 1,000 Turkish troops in the region. Turkish military sources say that Turkey has been negotiating with the Balkan countries in the event of possible conflicts in the region that may arise following Kosovo's declaration of independence. Given the possibility of conflict in the face of Serbia's harsh opposition to Kosovo's independence, Turkey is expected to keep its military bases in Kosovo for some time. Turkey will most likely provide training to Kosovo's army.
Professor Zeynep Dagi, an Ankara deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), spoke with Today's Zaman concerning the recent developments in the region. "The world is going through important changes. Kosovo is a symbol of an important transformation. However, this new process should be managed well so that a regional peace can be assured. With its democratic creditability and stability, Turkey has become a power player in the region, and it can play a decisive role in mitigating risks that may develop in the aftermath of Kosovo's independence. Turkey's relations with other countries in the Middle East and the Balkans are very important in the specific context of the Kosovo issue. Therefore, Turkey's role may be more constructive with respect to Greece and Russia in possible crises. This is because Turkey has significantly improved its relations with these countries, she said.