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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-10-15

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. 197/08 15.10.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat to go to Istanbul today
  • [02] Warning to the Greek Cypriot administration from the Turkish side
  • [03] Statements of Turkish Cypriot political leaders after Talats briefing on ongoing negotiations process
  • [04] Soyer briefed Lapithos inhabitants on the Cyprus problem
  • [05] The United Cyprus Party stated that putting forward the confederation based on two separate states is not possible for a solution to be reached
  • [06] KTOS calls on Talat to free himself from Turkeys influence
  • [07] The occupation regime to attend the 1st Trabzon silk road businessmens summit
  • [08] The Third Generation technology was introduced to occupied Cyprus
  • [09] Illegal regime to participate under the TRNC flag in international sports event
  • [10] Pacific and African countries extended support to Turkeys UNSC candidacy
  • [11] Turkish Parliament Speaker met with a French Senate official in Ankara
  • [12] Turkish Airlines to buy 105 airplanes by 2023
  • [13] Turkey announces budget deficit figures Turkish Minister briefed about his contacts with IMF
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] Cyprus 'under Europeans' radar' Statements by Lord Hannay and others
  • [15] Cypriot reunification will take courage, vision and patience
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 14 October 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat to go to Istanbul today

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.10.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, is going to Istanbul today in order to have various contacts. According to Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Talat will meet with a group of Turkish businessmen, in the framework of the Business Class meeting which is organized by Milliyet newspaper. Mr Talat, who will also participate in a conference tomorrow at the Galatasaray University, will return to occupied Cyprus the same day.

    (CS)

    [02] Warning to the Greek Cypriot administration from the Turkish side

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.10.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, stated that despite the decision taken not to make statements regarding what is said inside the negotiations, there is a serious leak to the Greek Cypriot press and noted that this makes the Turkish Cypriot side feeling uneasy. Mr Ercakica evaluated the process of the negotiations during his weekly briefing to the press yesterday.

    Mr Ercakica stated that the Turkish side, which was the side that wanted the process to be speeded up, is very pleased with the decision taken for the two leaders to meet once a week. Mr Ercakica stated that there was much room for speculation when the process moved slowly and added that this led to exchanges of statements which were unnecessary and served to distract the process from its true goal.

    Mr Ercakica informed that the two leaders discussed the Governance and Power sharing at the Friday and Monday meetings and added that the two leaders will continue to discuss this issue on their next meeting to be held on Wednesday.

    The spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader said that the representatives of the two leaders, Nami and Iakovou, together with some experts will make some efforts to increase the productivity of the talks.

    Alleging that what is said at the negotiations is leaked to the Greek Cypriot pres, he stated that especially the Phileleftheros newspaper published various information about Mondays and Fridays meetings. He said that he cannot confirm or deny the information published, because this will be a violation of the decision for the press blackout. Noting that the Turkish Cypriot side feels uneasy with this situation, he stated that it warned the Greek Cypriot side during Mondays meeting about the leaks.

    On the issue of the EU participation in the negotiations, he said such an official initiative did not take place and added that the Turkish Cypriot side thinks that at this point, apart from assistance on technical issues, this help is not needed.

    Finally, referring to the cancellation of the Nikiforos and Toros Military exercises, Mr Ercakica said that this development will have a positive effect on the negotiation process.

    (CS)

    [03] Statements of Turkish Cypriot political leaders after Talats briefing on ongoing negotiations process

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat briefed the political parties represented in the TRNC Parliament today on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem.

    Speaking to the BRT after the meeting, the leader of the Democrat Party (DP) who earlier accused the President of being passive at the talks said that they had reached common ground with the President.

    Explaining that he had conveyed his partys concerns and sensitivities at todays meeting; Serdar Denktas underlined the importance of establishing the reality in the talks that there are two democracies and two peoples on the island.

    Pointing out that there were many obstacles in the way for a solution despite President Talats optimism, the DP leader said that the Greek Cypriot sides demands were unacceptable, something, he added, the President himself knew well.

    Also speaking to reporters, the leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Tahsin Ertugruloglu said that they too conveyed their views and concerns regarding the ongoing negotiations process.

    Complaining that the Greek Cypriot Side, in reality, did not want a solution to the Cyprus Problem, Ertugruloglu warned that the Turkish Cypriot side should be careful in the face of Greek Cypriot attempts to achieve osmosis.

    We should not accept concessions that will lead to the assimilation of the Turkish Cypriot people just for the sake of a settlement, he added.

    ORP Leader-Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Turgay Avci for his part said that his party supported the ongoing process on the island.He said it was important to achieve a settlement acceptable by the Turkish Cypriot people, one that will safeguard their political equality as well as Turkeys effective guarantee.

    Also speaking, the leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici said that they supported President Talats efforts to find a political settlement.

    Reaffirming his partys support to the ongoing process, Cakici said that it was too early to comment on the process, which he added was moving forward, even though it was at a slow pace.

    Representing the main ruling Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the partys Secretary General Omer Kalyoncu said it was impossible for the two sides to agree 100% on all the outstanding issues; Kalyoncu said that the process will eventually reach a stage where both sides will need outside assistance.

    [04] Soyer briefed Lapithos inhabitants on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily Star Kibris newspaper (15.10.08) under the title Let us support Talat reports on the statements of the self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer while addressing a gathering at occupied Lapithos last night about the Cyprus problem and other domestic issues. Briefing the inhabitants of Lapithos, Mr Soyer asked from the villagers to support the Turkish Cypriot leader in his efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The self-styled Prime Minister Soyer, underlined also the need to show to the international community that the Turkish Cypriots were ready to integrate with the rest of the world, with their political, administrative and legal institutions as well as their economy, all of which were created after 1974.This is the importance a political settlement on the island carries for us, he added.

    Touching upon political and economic developments within the country, Soyer drew attention to the fact that the the Turkish Cypriot state, as he called the occupation regime, is in a very good position in the fields of economy and investments.

    (A.K.)

    [05] The United Cyprus Party stated that putting forward the confederation based on two separate states is not possible for a solution to be reached

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.10.08) reports that Abdullah Korkmazhan, the member of the executive committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) stated that putting forward the confederation based on two separate states, is not possible for a solution to be reached. He also said that the CTP administration, is acting as a provincial organization of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Cyprus. Mr Korkmazhan said that both Mehmet Ali Talat and the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), support federation only in words.

    (CS)

    [06] KTOS calls on Talat to free himself from Turkeys influence

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    As talks to find a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus continue, the Cyprus Turkish Teachers Union (KTOS) has criticised the two leaders on the island.

    Accusing the two leaders of being insincere, the trade union has called on the two leaders to work towards a settlement that will safeguard the interests of the two peoples.

    In a written statement issued today, Secretary General of the Cyprus Turkish Teachers Union Sener Elcil called on President Mehmet Ali Talat to free himself from Turkeys influence and to work towards safeguarding the interests of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Claiming that Turkey has schismatic and con-federal proposals for Cyprus, the KTOS head said that nothing could be achieved with such proposals.

    He said that the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias too should take concrete steps demonstrating that Turkish Cypriots have an equal right of existence on this island.

    Pointing out that an important stage has been reached in efforts aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem, the KTOS Secretary General said that ruining the current process will not only result in the disappointment of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots but will also render the division on the island permanent.

    If Talat was truly sincere about the negotiations process he would not have put Turkeys schismatic proposals on the table. What is understood for all this is that preparations are being made by Turkey to block the ongoing negotiations process and to reinforce the current division on the island, all part of its wider plans since 1950 to partition the island, he claimed.

    Also accusing the Greek Cypriot leader of being dishonest, Elcil said that if Christofias had been sincere about the ongoing process, he would have taken steps allowing Turkish Cypriots to benefit from their rights stemming from the 1960 Cyprus Republic.

    You cannot achieve anything with empty words and promises of political equality he added.

    [07] The occupation regime to attend the 1st Trabzon silk road businessmens summit

    Turkish Cypriot Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.10.08) reports that the self-styled minister of economy and tourism Erdogan Sanlidag will fly to the Turkish city of Trabzon in order to participate in the 1st Summit of Trabzon Silk Road Businessmen, which will be held between 16-19 October. As the paper notes, high officials representing 21 countries and businessmen are expected to take part in the Summit. During his stay in Turkey, Mr. Sanlidag will also hold contacts with the Turkish Minister of Economy, Kursad Tuzmen and the Turkish Minister of State, Said Yazicioglu.

    The Summit is organized within the framework of activities of the Foreign Trade Week which is under the auspices of the Turkish minister of economy, Kursad Tuzmen.

    On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    The First Trabzon Silk Road Businessmen's Summit will take place in the north-eastern province of Trabzon between October 16 and 19, 2008.

    Hosted by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), the summit will bring together businessmen from 22 countries that were a part of the ancient Silk Road: Turkey, Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Georgia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Macedonia [FYROM], Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

    Meetings between the businessmen, speeches and discussions on new projects in the region will take place at the summit intended to revive the old Silk Road.

    (ML)

    [08] The Third Generation technology was introduced to occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (15.10.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, stated that the introduction of the 3G technology (third generation technology) in the occupied areas of Cyprus is very important towards the lifting of the isolation on the communication field and the competition with the Greek Cypriots after the solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr Talat made these statements yesterday speaking at the ceremony for the introduction of the third Generation technology to occupied Cyprus at the Vouni Palace Hotel.

    Speaking also at the ceremony, Daghan Fellahoglu, the general director of the North Cyprus Turkcell, the firm which brought this new technology in the occupied areas, stated, inter alia, that North Cyprus Turkcell made a 32 million New Turkish Lira investment for this project.

    (CS)

    [09] Illegal regime to participate under the TRNC flag in international sports event

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (15.10.08) reports in its sport pages that the illegal regime will participate under the flag of the pseudo-state in the Easykart World Championships, which will take place in the Italian city of Venice between 18-19 October. As the paper notes, the flag of the pseudo-state has taken its place in the Easykart World Championships internet site.

    (ML)

    [10] Pacific and African countries extended support to Turkeys UNSC candidacy

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.08) reported the following from New York:

    Pacific and African countries extended support on Monday to Turkey's candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met permanent representatives of Pacific and African countries to the UN in New York to lobby for Turkey's candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the term 2009-2010, diplomatic sources said.

    The permanent representatives said they learned more about Turkey and Turkish people thanks to the African Union summit and Pacific countries summit held in Turkey in 2008.

    They said that they felt themselves close to Turkey and they thought Turkey could understand them well, and pledged to support Turkey in the voting. Babacan is expected to meet representatives of Asian, Latin American and Caribbean countries on Tuesday.

    The UN General Assembly will hold the voting for the non-permanent seats on Wednesday.192 countries will join the voting.

    Turkey, competing in the Western European and Others Group, has to win votes of 128 votes (or votes of two-thirds of countries joining the voting) to secure a seat at the UN Security Council. Austria and Iceland are the other candidates in this group. Only two countries can become a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period of 2009-2010.

    The United Nations Security Council is the branch of the UN charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization for military action.

    The council has five permanent members, including France, China, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States.

    Ten other members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The members are chosen by regional groups and confirmed by the United Nations General Assembly. The African bloc chooses three members; the Latin America and the Caribbean, Asian, and Western European and Others blocs choose two members each; and the Eastern European bloc chooses one member. Also, one of these members is an Arab country, alternately from the Asian or African bloc.

    Austria was a member of the Security Council twice, including the periods 1973-1974 and 1991-1992, however Iceland has never joined the Council. Turkey was a member of the council in 1951-1952, 1954-1955 and 1961.

    [11] Turkish Parliament Speaker met with a French Senate official in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said on Tuesday that Turkey would have the right to become a European Union (EU) member after fulfilling the reforms.

    Speaking at a meeting with Josselin de Rohan, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee of the French Senate, Toptan said trade volume between Turkey and France stayed around 10 billion USD because of some problems.

    Referring to relations between Turkey and Armenia, Toptan said, we request our French friends not to intervene in Turkish-Armenian relations. Any intervention will damage relations between Turkey and Armenia.

    In response, French official said France did not have any intention to intervene in Turkish-Armenian relations or dialogue between them. He described Turkish President Abdullah Gul's visit to Armenia as important, noting that the parties should look at the future.

    De Rohan said "Turkish Season Year" would be celebrated in France next year, noting that this would have a positive impact on cultural, economic and political relations.

    De Rohan said his country attached importance to visits between the parliaments, and invited Toptan to France.

    Commenting on Turkey-EU relations, De Rohan said the parties should have good will and be patient, adding that the quicker Turkey fulfills the reforms, the quicker impediments would be removed.

    [12] Turkish Airlines to buy 105 airplanes by 2023

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (14.10.08) reported the following:

    Turkey's flag carrier, Turkish Airlines (THY), launched a tender to buy 105 planes, including options for 30, by 2023 and invited American Boeing as well as European Airbus to submit bids.

    THY, a member of Star Alliance, said in a statement the tender would include 35 long-haul with an option for 10 aircraft and 70 short and medium-haul with an option for 20.

    The THY administration attached utmost importance to the timing of this tender. THY is entering the global crisis and the approaching recession in a strong position both commercially and financially, the company added in the statement.

    It also said THY is looking at Airbus A350, A330, A320 and Boeing 787, 777, 737.

    The delivery timetable, expected to start in the second quarter of 2010, would be an important criteria alongside the price in the evaluation of the companies' bids, the statement said.

    Turkey's fast-growing flag carrying had increased its passenger number at an average rate of around 20 percent in recent years.

    The Istanbul-based carrier, along with its Middle East-based peers, sees the current turmoil as an opportunity to expand globally as rival airlines in other regions, particularly the United States and Europe, suffer.

    In August THY said it expected to beat a 2008 sales target of $4.5 billion. First-half sales rose 23 percent to 2.61 billion lira, while net profit rose to 255.14 million lira in the January-June period versus 89.27 million the previous year.

    The tender is part of an ambitious, already announced 2009-2023 program by THY to sharply expand its fleet and the number of destinations it flies to. It currently has 115 aircraft.

    It is also seeking to expand through acquisitions. THY submitted the higher bid for the Bosnian Muslim-Coat federation flag carrier BH Airlines, a government source said last week.

    The Turkish economy is growing fast and we expect that market to grow briskly in the next 20 years, at about 2 to 2.5 times the average for Europe, Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Vice President or Marketing, told Reuters.

    There is both strong tourism and good business traffic, and the Turkish market is expanding for good fundamental reasons, he added at an aerospace market briefing in Paris.

    Despite short-term pressure on air travel from a weak economy and high oil prices, Boeing sees average annual traffic growth in Europe of 4.1 percent between 2008 and 2027, including 3.5 percent for flights contained within the region.

    [13] Turkey announces budget deficit figures Turkish Minister briefed about his contacts with IMF

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey announced on Tuesday the budget deficit for September around 9.4 billion new Turkish liras. (One USD is equal to 1.3800 YTL)

    Turkey's finance ministry made public budget performance for September and for the first nine months of 2008.

    Accordingly, Turkey's budget deficit was 9.4 billion YTL in September and 4.8 billion YTL between January and September 2008.

    The ministry announced the nine-month primary surplus as 36.5 billion YTL. It was 19.4 percent up in the first nine months of 2008 over the same period of 2007.

    This figure indicated that Turkey had reached 96.1 percent of its year-end primary surplus target, which was 38.3 billion YTL.

    In the same period, budget expenditures were up 7.5 percent and reached 165.4 billion YTL.

    Turkey's budget deficit was 12.1 billion YTL between January and September 2007. This term's budget deficit was 60.4 percent down when compared with the same period of the last year.

    The budget revenues were up 13.3 percent in the first nine months of 2008, and climbed to 160.6 billion YTL.

    Turkey had set the year-end budget revenue target around 204.5 billion YTL. The first nine-month figure indicated that Turkey has achieved this target by 78.5 percent so far.

    Also, the ministry made public budget performances for September 2008 and said that the primary surplus was 4.4 billion YTL in this month.

    The ministry announced the budget expenditures as 23.2 billion YTL, and budget revenues as 13.7 billion YTL in September 2008.

    Moreover, Turkish Minister Mehmet Simsek said Tuesday in New York that the IMF delegation which would shortly visit Turkey might hold talks on post programme monitoring as well as possibility of a precautionary arrangement with Turkish authorities.

    Simsek who addressed representatives of international financial institutions at a conference, briefed participants on the recent economic developments and made projections about the future of the economy.

    Simsek told reporters after the meeting that technical studies regarding precautionary arrangement had started back in August, underlining that Turkey made no arrangements with IMF yet other than the post-programme monitoring which is still in effect.

    Simsek said Turkey would implement fiscal regulations aiming to enhance the credibility of the budget in line with its medium term fiscal goals, even if did not sign any other agreements with the IMF.

    Simsek represented Turkey at the annual meetings of IMF and World Bank in Washington D.C. on Monday before coming to New York.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] Cyprus 'under Europeans' radar' Statements by Lord Hannay and others

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (14.10.08) publishes the following commentary by Cinar Kiper:

    Europeans are weary about the latest round of Cyprus reunification talks, the last of several that have not reached a solution in over three decades. Yet, the lack of European interest does not prevent the Cyprus issue from remaining one of the greatest obstacles to Turkeys European Union accessionCyprus is not much on the radar of the average European, even though it is one of the most significant wedges between Turkey and the European Union, according to several prominent British officials.

    Two years ago, our executive board made a decision that the Turkey-European relationship was in danger and that Turkey and Europe were drifting apart, Hugh Pope, project director for Turkey/Cyprus at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, or ICG, told the Turkish Daily News. And if you are going to fix the relationship between Turkey and Europe, the Cyprus issue is the key to fixing it.

    Pope said Cyprus has become a critical wedge between Turkey and EU accession, pointing out that if Turkey could solve the Cyprus issue and relieve tension with Greek Cypriots then immediately blocks on half of the 35 chapters would be lifted.

    The ICG recognized back in October that Greek Cypriots were changing, noted Pope, adding that President Tassos Papadopoulos, who presided over four years of hard-line rule, was not working for the reunification process and was actually undermining Greek Cypriots' own goals.

    Regarding the recent round of reunification talks between Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Demetris Christofias, he said, Mr. Christofias represents that change in the Greek Cypriots.

    Subtitle: European indifference

    Yet, while diplomats in Brussels have been following the issue very closely, it has gone unnoticed by many European countries. Europeans are waiting for someone to solve Cyprus for them. I think Europeans should get much more involved in supporting Talat and Christofias and making sure that both sides understand that it cannot go on as it is, said Pope.

    Lord Hannay of Chiswick, a member of the British House of Lords and former U.K. special representative to Cyprus, did not blame Europeans for their lack of enthusiasm. I think the reunification talks' lack of public profile stems from a combination of them having just started, but more importantly because so many attempts before to get a solution to the Cyprus problem have failed before.

    So there is a certain degree of cynicism, a weariness about attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem, he added, pointing out that the situation itself was not an entirely unhealthy one.

    Hannay wished to reduce the drama around the topic altogether: It seems to me at least that these two leaders need a bit of time and a bit of space in which to develop their thinking and build the common ground they would need to build if there is to be a settlement.

    He also said it was quite possible this last attempt at reunification talks might be the last opportunity and that failure would have far-reaching consequences. This could very well be the last occasion because if it succeeds, it will be the last. But if it fails, it could be disastrous for Turkey's hopes of accession. I think a lot of hope is riding on this negotiation.

    Pope admitted the important thing was engaging Cypriots in the umpteenth set of discussions, despite their weariness. He also warned about the risk of failure and the friction that would arise if the talks did break down and Greek Cyprus began wielding the EU against Turkey. He said it was necessary that Europeans do more to explain that they support the settlement.

    The British ambassador to Ankara, Nick Baird, is offering just that, telling the TDN that while the majority of the population was not particularly fixed on Cyprus, the U.K. government was hugely concerned with it, both on its own terms and in terms of Turkey's EU accession. Baird added, We are absolutely keen on support for the leaders on the island to reach a really good settlement and will help support in any way we possible can. Pope concluded: Cyprus is not a problem that's going to go away. It's going to be very hard for Turkey to accept the compromise when it does come down. But I think in the last four years, Turks have internalized the compromises of the U.N. body of work and I think the Greek Cypriots have come closer to digesting it as well.

    [15] Cypriot reunification will take courage, vision and patience

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (15.10.08) publishes the following by Amanda Akcakoca:

    There has been a lot of negative talk in the media recently over the sluggishness of the talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and their apparent unwillingness to find compromises.

    Indeed, these talks, which were launched in September to find a negotiated settlement to bring an end to Cyprus' 34-year-old division, have seemingly already been condemned to failure by some circles.

    I really wonder what people were expecting? That Talat and Christofias would sit and easily come to agreement on a set of issues that are extremely complicated and sensitive? Even with their long friendship, the trickiness of these talks can never be underestimated. Finding compromises that they will be able to justify and sell to their own constituencies is going to take time and courage. Neither leader wants to be responsible for a breakdown in the negotiations, nor bear responsibility for the failure of the entire process, which would have devastating consequences for the island. The media should stop this intense scrutiny of each meeting and allow Christofias and Talat some breathing space. This obsessive need to find negatives serves no useful purpose other then to sabotage the talks.

    Talat and Christofias have now met four times. Various commitments overseas meant there has been some disruption to the planned once a week schedule, but it seems this is now back on track. Keeping a regular pace and schedule will be key for maintaining momentum. Parallel to these meetings are those between the aides of the two leaders, Ozdil Nami and George Iacovou, which also serve as a good tool to drive forward the process. It seems so far the only issue discussed is how the proposed federation would be governed. Agreement here will form the backbone to a new united Cyprus. Therefore it is vital that they come up with something that is workable but yet take into careful consideration the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots. Given that the two leaders had very different ideas on this (Talat wanting a very loose central government and Christofias wanting something far stronger) it is hardly surprising it is taking time to nail down a compromise. For the most part, the two leaders are wisely keeping their lips sealed on their discussions, but according to UN special envoy to Cyprus Alexander Downer, some progress has been made and there is agreement on some issues.

    After this comes the need to deal with the extremely thorny issue of property, already a ticking time bomb, and looking ahead to the coming months, security issues, Turkey's security guarantor status in Turkish Cyprus, Turkish settlers and territory will be brought to the table. All of these issues will really test the flexibility and commitment to a settlement of all parties including, of course, Turkey, whose constructive input will be crucial to reaching a successful end result. Talk of a resolution before the end of this year would seem very unrealistic. A more realistic goal would probably be early summer 2009.

    At the same time, measures to build up trust between the two communities need to be pursued. Christofias should be congratulated for his decision to cancel "Nikiforos," the Greek Cypriot National Guard annual military exercise. The Turkish Cypriots and Turkey should follow suit and cancel its own military exercise, "Taurus." There has been enough gunfire and military showcasing in Cyprus for a lifetime.

    Both sides should also be congratulated for their decision to revise school history books. Following the example of the Turkish Cypriots who have already gone some way to amending books in the north, last week the Greek Cypriot's vowed to follow this lead, which will help develop a culture of respect between the two communities and hopefully bolster support for reunification. Sadly, the nationalistic opposition and Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the powerful Greek Cyprus Orthodox condemned the move, but this was only to be expected and Christofias needs to stick to his guns and move forward. Other measures to boost confidence could include the total demilitarization of Nicosia and renewed efforts to open more crossing points, in particular the one at Limnitis (Yesilirmak).

    The Cyprus problem has dominated the life of Cypriots for over three decades and has been passed down from generation to generation. Talat and Christofias have a unique opportunity to open a new and exciting chapter in the history on this lovely island. To reach this end they will need continuing, unprecedented levels of political will and a serious readiness to make difficult compromises. Let us help them along, let us have patience; let us not crowd them; let us let them work in peace and without tension from the media. Let's give them a real chance of success.

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 14 October 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 14 October:

    a) Allegations of Torture:

    A report entitled "We have launched an investigation" in Hurriyet quotes Prof. Hasan Fendoglu, Head of the Human Rights Department in the Prime Minister's Office, as saying that they have launched a probe into allegations that Engin Ceber who was detained while distributing the copies of a left-wing magazine died as a result of torture in prison.

    A report entitled "Torture and extra-judicial Killings on the Rise in Turkey" in Radikal highlights a report issued by the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights which says that a total of 29 persons died in prison or detention centers in addition to 35 persons who were killed by unidentified assailants in the past 10 months which represents a significant increase as compared with previous years. The report includes a list of related incidents and victims' names.

    b) Kurdish issue:

    In an article entitled "Baghdad will open the door to Arbil," Milliyet columnist Serpil Yilmaz quotes sources close to President Mas'ud Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq as saying that they are averse to the idea of launching a joint operation against the PKK with Turkish troops because 25 similar operations carried out in the past could not ensure peace. She says: "Nevertheless, the PKK may be declared a terrorist organization because PKK attacks also cause harm to Kurdish people living in the region ruled by Barzani." Yilmaz also says that Turkish President Abdullah Gul may visit Iraq in order to attend the inauguration ceremony for a new airport built by a Turkish company in Arbil depending on the outcome of talks to be held between Mas'ud Barzani and Murat Ozcelik, Turkey's special envoy to Iraq, and Ahmet Davutoglu, chief adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister.

    A report entitled "Talabani extends invitation to Gul for Arbil airport" in Milliyet says that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani invited Gul to attend the inauguration ceremony of Arbil airport during their recent meeting in New York. According to the report, Gul responded that he would make a decision about the proposed visit which, Talabani, noted would be a turning point in relations between Turkey and the Kurdish region. The report also says that Ozcelik and Davutoglu will travel to Arbil after wrapping up their talks in Baghdad in order to convey Turkey's proposal to launch a joint military operation against the PKK to Kurdish officials.

    In an article entitled "Ankara's message to Barzani: you must actively take part in the campaign," Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila says that a series of high-level meetings held in Ankara resulted in a decision to hold talks with Barzani and to urge him to prevent the PKK from getting logistical support in northern Iraq and to join the military campaign against the organization.

    In an article entitled "What if the DTP [Democratic Society Party] is closed down?" Sabah columnist Nazli Ilicak calls on the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, to amend the Constitution in order to prevent the DTP from being banned by the Constitutional Court. She comments: "The DTP is a channel for dialogue and Turkish authorities should attempt to resolve the Kurdish question through discussions to be held with Kurdish leaders in Iraq and the DTP."

    In an article entitled "Why did the tribes stopped fighting against the organization?" Cumhuriyet columnist Cuneyt Arcayurek asserts that Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq have been refraining from fighting against PKK militants in northern Iraq since the conclusion of an agreement between Iraqi Kurdish leaders and the US government. Arcayurek also cautions that holding direct talks with the Kurdish government in northern Iraq could lead to its recognition as an independent state by Turkey.

    EG/


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