Hasan Ercakica, presidential spokesman of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said Tuesday that Turkish Cypriot side was not getting ready to recognize Kosovo's independence.
When asked if President Talat's recent remarks welcoming Kosovo's independence was a sign that TRNC was getting ready to recognize Kosovo, Ercakica said: While we are seeking an extensive solution to the Cyprus issue, and the first round results of the presidential election in the Greek Cypriot side have flourished our hopes, it is out of the question for us to get involved in such attractions. We have no such preparations, said Ercakica. Ercakica said the lesson to be drawn from the developments in Kosovo was that no nation could be forced to live under the rule of another one.
Under the title The TRNC is not recognizing Kosovo, Afrika reports in its first page that while the recognition of Kosovos independence by the world states creates excitement to those who wish the recognition of the TRNC, the presidential palace made surprise statements. Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, speaking at his weekly briefing to the press, stated that the occupation regime is not planning for the time being to recognize Kosovos independence.
Mr Ercakica stated that the statements of the Mr Talat, who has yesterday welcomed Kosovos independence, did not include any other meaning than a salute to the independence of a people.
Kibris reports that Mr Ercakica, referring to the result of the election held in the Republic of Cyprus last Sunday, stated that the result will affect positively a new initiative by the United Nations for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr Ercakica said that the result indicated that the Greek Cypriots, who were concerned with the consequences saying no to the Annan Plan, wanted to elect a new leader who will follow a policy which will be supported by the international community. He went on and added that the Turkish Cypriot side will continue to work towards establishing a new partnership state, based on the political equality of the two peoples in Cyprus as well as the equal status of two constituent states.
Afrika also writes that the National Unity Party (UBP) called on the self-styled government to recognize Kosovos independence. The party noted that the declaration of Kosovos independence will have an important effect on the Cyprus problem and added that Kosovos declaration of independence can be compared to the TRNCs declaration.
Kibris reports that the UBP called on the TRNC officials to take the historic opportunity and recognize KOSOVO.
Afrika writes that on his part, the general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party, Omer Kalyoncu, stated that there is no comparison between Kosovo and Cyprus.
Kibris writes that Mr Kayoncu also commented on the result of the election in the Republic of Cyprus and stated, inter alia, that one of the main reasons which led to this result was the serious, consistent and right policy pursued by the presidency and the government. He went on and said that irrespective of the result of the second round, the Turkish Cypriot side will continue to be the side which wants solution.
Commenting on this issue, Afrikas columnist, Sener Levent, writes in his daily column, Point of view, inter alia, that the main obstacle towards a solution in Cyprus is of course Turkey and notes that now a great opportunity came to our hands for everybody to understand this fact. I wrote it yesterday as well. What does the solution in Cyprus mean? It means the end of the dominance of Turkey in the island. Any kind of a solution, writes Mr Sener and adds that until now everyone was blaming the Cypriot leaders for the non-solution, but the one to blame was Turkey. The Turkish side understood it. The Greek Cypriot side will also understand it, writes Sener who notes that when Denktas was changed from his position everyone thought that things will be changed. But nothing has changed, notes Sener who stressed that after Denktas left, another package with the same content appeared in front of the Turkish Cypriot community.
He went on and said that those who thought that after Denktas, Papadopoulos was the main obstacle for peace, and say that after the result of the election a new chance for solution was born, may see their hopes to be vanished soon. As he notes, very soon Talat, Ercakica and Soyer will say that the new Greek Cypriot leader has no difference from Papadopoulos. As he notes, the Turkish Cypriot side can be in favor of neither Christofias nor Kasoulides. It would only like a Greek Cypriot leader who will not demand the withdrawal of the settlers, who will not ask for the return of Famagusta before the solution, who will not complain for the booty of the Greek Cypriot properties and who will accept the lifting of the isolation prior to the solution of the Cyprus problem. Is Christofias or Kasoulides like this?, writes Levent.
In the Afrikadan Mektup (Letter from Afrika) column, the paper also comments on the announcement by Mr Ercakica that the occupation regime will not recognize Kosovo and notes that for those who follow Ankaras policy on Cyprus, this development came as no surprise. As the paper writes: It is Ankara that does not want the TRNC to recognize Kosovo, because in this case the Kurdish problem will be like a fuse of a bomb for Turkey. And the paper concludes: Turkey deliberately recognized Kosovos independence because it had no other choice.
A group of demonstrators threw stones at the Turkish embassy building in Belgrade during a protest march on Tuesday, Serbian ambassador in Ankara said in a written statement to the A.A.
According to the Beta Agency, unfortunately a group of demonstrators stepped out from the line and threw stones on Turkish Embassy in Belgrade, and we strongly condemn such acts of hooligans, Ambassador Vladimir Curgus said.
The ambassador also said he was recalled to Belgrade by the decision of Serbian Foreign Ministry after Turkey said Monday that it recognized Kosovo's independence. Declaration on independence does not contribute to the stability of the region and its recognition by Turkey is not an asset for bilateral relations between Serbia and Turkey, Curgus said.
Yesterday Mr Avci met with Australias Special Representative for Cyprus, Jim Short in his office. Following his meeting with Mr Short he went to the state of Victoria parliament and held contacts there. He also met with Mr Justin Madden, the Planning Minister of the state of Victoria. The meeting took place at the parliaments building in which Mr Avci met with Turkish origin MPs, mayors of the municipalities and members of the municipal council. During his contacts Mr Avci gave information about the Turkish sides positions in the Cyprus problem.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah al-Bashir will pay a visit to Turkey in February 22nd and 23rd upon an invitation from Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Regional matters like Middle East Peace Process, Lebanon and Iraq as well as bilateral relations will be discussed during the visit, according to a MFA statement. The two parties are also expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding establishment of political consultation mechanism during the visit.
Turkey assumed the rotating presidency of the United Nations-sponsored annual Geneva Disarmament Conference for four weeks, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The conference on disarmament is the world's sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations. The first public plenary of its 2008 session is held between January 23-March 28.
"We reviewed developments concerning Africa. We had an exchange of views on Turkey's efforts to have closer ties with Africa," Gul said at a joint press conference with Wade, praising the Senegalese president as one of the most respected leaders of Africa. "I hope this visit will begin a new era between our countries, particularly in the economic area," Gul added.
Wade said it was unfortunate that the trade volume between Turkey and Senegal was low and invited the Turkish private sector to invest in his country. He said Senegal, a stable country distanced from the internal conflict besetting many countries in Africa, would be a basis for Turkish companies eager to expand business in other parts of the continent. Several countries, mostly Gulf countries, are establishing businesses in Senegal to open up to other parts of Africa, he said, inviting Turkish businessmen to do the same.
The visit by the Senegalese president comes as Ankara steps up effort to forge closer ties with Africa. Turkish officials have recently told Today's Zaman that there are plans to open new consulates in Africa in 2008 in Mali, Chad, Niger, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Mozambique, Cameroon and Tanzania. More consulates in other African countries are planned for 2009. Later this month Gul is expected to pay an official visit to Tanzania, the current chair of the African Union.
Gul and Wade also discussed an upcoming summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that will be hosted in the Senegalese capital of Dakar next month. Gul will visit Senegal to attend the OIC meeting on March 13-14. Wade is expected to visit Istanbul today to speak at the private Yeditepe University before departing Turkey.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.02.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said that his visit to Turkey is the symbol of the friendship between the two countries.
Speaking at the luncheon which was hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul in his honor, Wade said that after Senegal declared its independence, Turkey was among the leading countries which opened a representation in his country. He said that they support Turkey --which is located on intersection point of western and eastern world-- as a member of Islamic world and as an EU candidate country.
Wade expressed pleasure over the quality of bilateral relations between Turkey and Senegal as well as the agreements which two countries have signed. Wade said that he gave assurance to Gul to further develop political and economic relations between Turkey and Senegal.
Noting that Senegal is a very dynamic country, Wade said that many infrastructure activities are under way in his country, and he called Turkish private sector to invest in Senegal.
Wade also extended support to Alliance of Civilizations initiative.
a) Presidential Election in Cyprus: In an article entitled "Kosovo Factor in Cyprus," Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen says that Greek Cypriot voters showed in the first round of the presidential election that they no longer want incumbent President Tassos Papadopoulos because they realized that policies followed by him ended in a fiasco. He says: "Greek Cypriots were manipulated into saying 'no' in the referendum held in 2004 based on the conclusion that Turkish Cypriots would eventually be forced to give up. But, events subsequently witnessed did not coincide with their expectations. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus enhanced its relations with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriots lost their hopes that a solution aimed at uniting the island would be found and regarded living in their own region ruled by their own government as the only option. This trend did not go unnoticed by many Greek Cypriot politicians and intellectuals." Kohen concludes by saying that a model which will reunite the island and enable the two communities living together as equal partners may be discussed after the election of a moderate leader who is in favor of reaching a settlement in the Greek Cypriot side.
In an article entitled "A great chance for Cyprus," Sabah columnist Erdal Safak says that Greek Cypriot voters have changed the status quo on their side by eliminating Tassos Papadopoulos in the first round of the presidential election. Safak notes that the majority of Greek Cypriot voters realized that Papadopoulos was ready to opt for a permanent division of the island rather than accepting bi-zonal and bi-communal model and that the EU would not ostracize northern Cyprus and would even admit it as a separate state despite efforts made by Papadopoulos. Safak concludes by saying: "Considering that leaders who are in favor of preserving the status quo have been liquidated in both sides, we can think that Cyprus is closer to unification under the umbrella of a loose federation."
In an article entitled "Either a settlement or Kosovo," Sabah columnist Nazli Ilicak says that elimination of Papadopoulos in the presidential election in Cyprus has relieved anxieties in both Turkey as well as the EU which is in favor of a settlement on the island, adding that the TRNC might have declared its independence like Kosovo if Papadopoulos had been reelected. Ilicak also says that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat believes that the possibility of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem would be higher if Ioannis Kasoulides wins the election because he supported a plan put forward by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. She says: "A new period begins in Cyprus. There will either be a solution which will also satisfy the TRNC or the Kosovo formula will be used."
In an article entitled "The 'legend' is back," Radikal columnist Erdal Guven says that Papadhopoulos has been eliminated in the first round of the presidential election because he could not keep his promise to integrate Turkish Cypriots with Greek Cypriots by reducing them to a minority. Noting that Papadhopoulos's intransigent attitude strengthened the possibility of a permanent division of the island which is regarded as a nightmare by Greek Cypriots, Guven adds that the outcome of the first round of the presidential election revived hopes for a settlement.
In an article entitled "Elimination of Papadopoulos who caused stalemate," Cumhuriyet columnist Oral Calislar predicts that the elimination of Papadopoulos will have significant consequences which will affect Cyprus's future as well as Turkish-EU relations in a positive manner. He says: "By giving a message which will turn hopelessness into hope, Greek Cypriots showed to the rest of the world that they had gone through a transformation."
In an article entitled "Ray of hope in Cyprus," Turkish Daily News columnist Yusuf Kanli analyzes the outcome of the first round of the presidential election in Cyprus and says: "We have two finalists who both want talks on reuniting the divided island and pledge a more conciliatory approach towards Turkish Cypriots in the north. There is a ray of hope for the resolution of the Cyprus issue."
b) Kosovo's Independence: In an article entitled "Freedom for Kosovo?" Radikal columnist Nuray Mert argues that assuming a role in the Balkans, Caucasia and the Middle East based on the Ottoman heritage in those regions without taking prevailing conditions would only be tantamount to assuming a role as an extra in the United States' policy aimed at penetrating into those regions and consolidating its influence. Commenting on Kosovo's declaration of independence which, she argues, should give rise to concerns rather than celebrations, Mert says: "The world is not a rose garden and nobody would recognize the independence or liberation of another country without any plausible reason at a time when a fierce struggle for sharing the world is going on. The independence declared by Kosovo on Sunday is such a kind of 'liberation.' Thus, people who declared their independence demonstrated their dependence on their new masters by waving US flags because they were aware of the actual meaning of being liberated from the sphere of influence of Russia, Serbia and former Yugoslavia."
In an article entitled "A disturbing article that breaks the Mold", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that Kosovo's declaration of independence marks the beginning of a "new Cold War" that will shape the 21st century and "new conflicts" that will have implications for other independence seekers in Chechnya, Abkhazia and Cyprus. He claims that the perception that the West is applying "double standards" in supporting independence projects that are consistent with its regional interests yet preventing "enemies" from pressing ahead with their own independence plans will deepen the "global conflict" fuelled by the September 11 attacks, adding that that there will be louder objections from now on to the United States, Europe, and NATO's efforts to redesign the world.
In an article entitled "AKP and Talat are under a cloud", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal argues that Kosovo could be compared not to southeast Turkey or to Nagorno Karabakh but to the TRNC because just like the former Yugoslavia, Cyprus used to be a "partnership state" before Turkey's military intervention in 1974 led to the emergence of two separate states on the island. Unal accuses the United States and "its allies" of "hypocrisy" in supporting Kosovo's declaration of independence yet not recognizing the TRNC as a separate state. He also claims that Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is set to go down in history as the first president who does not want his own state recognized as an independent entity.