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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-10-21

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. 201/08 21.10.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat said that the negotiation process is imbalanced
  • [02] British High Commissioners interview in the Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper
  • [03] Soyer asked Christofias to focus on the negotiation process
  • [04] ATAA continues its contacts in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [05] Details on the contacts of the mayor of Munich with Ferdi Sabit Soyer
  • [06] Mehmet Harmanci stressed the need for the enlightening on the Ergenekon case
  • [07] Babacan and Avci criticize the Government of Cyprus for its reaction on Turkey-s election to the UNSC
  • [08] Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials criticise Obamas statements on Cyprus problem
  • [09] The self-styled finance minister to attend OICs meeting in Ankara
  • [10] TMT celebrates its 50th anniversary of establishment
  • [11] Turkish Cypriot Wheelchair Basketball Team to participate in an international sports event in Italy in March 2009
  • [12] Ergenekon case has been adjourned to October 23
  • [13] Full EU support from Spain to Ankara
  • [14] Rifat Hisarciklioglu has been re-elected to the executive board of Eurochambres
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [15] Commentator in TDN newspaper sees Turkeys election at the UNSC in relation to the Cyprus issue. Allegations on Talats health
  • [16] Security Council membership to reinforce Turkey's moderate position
  • [17] From the Turkish Press of 20 October 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat said that the negotiation process is imbalanced

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.10.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, addressed the opening of the academic year 2008-2009 of the illegal Girne American University (GAU) and said that the universities carry a great importance because they contribute to the establishment of bonds between the world and the Turkish Cypriots, who are under isolation.

    Commenting on the ongoing negotiation process, Talat said that they aim to a solution that will safeguard the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and added: For this, we are putting every effort, but negotiations and agreement is an issue that involves two sides. The other side must also show a positive approach in the same way. When we see the other side, however, we are face to face with a side that has all the kind of connections to the world, which is recognized in the international arena, which is an EU member and for this reason its motivation for a solution is very limited. So we carry out an imbalanced negotiation process unseen in the world. Noting that because the sides are not in the same condition of equality the negotiations are extremely difficult.

    Talat said that in case of the continuation of these conditions the Turkish Cypriot side may fall in a condition of disadvantage before the Greek Cypriot side whether there is an agreement or not.

    (DPs)

    [02] British High Commissioners interview in the Turkish Cypriot KIBRIS newspaper

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.10.08) reports that the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Millet, visited yesterday the KIBRIS newspaper and made important statements regarding the Cyprus problem. Millet replied to questions of KIBRIS editor-in-chief Basaran Duzgun, News director Ali Baturay and KIBRIS TV director Huseyin Ekmekci. Peter Millet said that he is hopeful that the new process that started on the Cyprus problem will unite again Cyprus by reaching to a success and will bring to the island peace, security, prosperity and stability. Noting that the two leaders in the island have a longstanding friendship relation, Millet said that it is seen as a window opportunity to the Cyprus problem. Noting that no one underestimates that the negotiation will be difficult and that there are different stances, Millet said: We see two leaders who have political will power, courage and commitment and for this reason, there is need for the two leaders to take support from their communities in order to reach to a successful solution. Mr Millet further said: We are ready to play the role that falls upon the United Kingdom; we are a guarantor country and we take very serious our role as an EU country member and an UN Security Council permanent member. We have rooted relations with both communities and we want to see this problem to reach a successful end.

    Millet also said: It is accepted that one of the main chapters of the negotiation is the political equality of the two communities and it will be a federation that the Turkish Cypriots will play a direct role. Both the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots will gain, but in the current situation the two communities are losing due to the division of the island. Referring to other benefits that a Cyprus settlement will obtain to the Turkish Cypriots, Millet said that the solution will bring economic gains, the island will become a tourism-destination centre and the uncertainness on the issues of property will be removed. The Turkish Cypriots as a community will participate in the EU and will take part in sporting, economic, social and other activities. Millet added that an important role falls on the media and political leaders to explain to the people the gains and benefits of the solution.

    Commenting on the fact that there is a general view that the negotiations between the two leaders go from bad to worse, Millet said: Until now, they have met four times. It is the beginning of the negotiations and I think that we must not give an early verdict in the issue whether the negotiations go well or bad. The leaders meet in a systematic way and they came to an agreement where they want to reach. It presents the best possibility for this solution.

    Replying to a question regarding the British bases in the island, Millet said: The bases are important for the United Kingdom. We want to continue our military operations here and for this reason we want stability, security and prosperity on the island. This is also one of the reasons why we will help to solve this problem in the island. The guarantorship issue and the bases issue are two different issues.

    Asked to evaluate the demand of the Greek Cypriot side to cancel the guarantorship and President Christofias statement that the foreign powers should leave the island and a solution for the Cyprus problem will be found from the Cypriots for all the Cypriots, Millet said: I dont think that they think exactly like this. Christofias emphasizes that the two leaders negotiate on the ground of political equality. The UN is an organ that guarantees the negotiations, but the international community and especially the guarantor countries must extend their support. I believe this is the framework in which the negotiations are taking place. I dont think he means that they do not want any foreign help there. At some stage, how the security will be in the future will be in the issues of the negotiations. At this moment there is UN peace force. If we reach the situation where a solution has been agreed, then the security issue will come into the agenda and how this agreement will be applied. The help of an international organization may be needed. The UN can evaluate how they can help on the security issue in a short or in a transition period.

    Replying to a question whether he is hopeful or not on the new process, Millet said: Yes, I have to be hopeful. This is the best opportunity which appeared in front of us in the last three years. There is a relation between the two leaders and there is an opportunity. We need to see this speedy development and momentum continuing.

    (DPs)

    [03] Soyer asked Christofias to focus on the negotiation process

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.10.08), the so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer, called on President Demetris Christofias, instead of hurling out remarks to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, he should better focus his attention on the negotiation process. Mr. Soyer went on and urged President Christofias not to forget that the word comrade to which he demonstrated sensitivity, has the meaning of equality of peoples, peace, disarming, distancing from the conflict culture, democracy, justice and human rights. In his written statement Mr. Soyer accused the President of side-stepping the overcoming of the problems of the Cyprus issue and engaging in plumping out remarks to Mr. Talat. I urge Esteemed Christofias to give up surfing tactics on the artificial waves that he had created, Mr. Soyer said.

    Mr. Soyer was also critical of the statements made by the President of the House of Representatives and DIKO leader Marios Garoyan regarding breaking the negotiation process in case the process is unfruitful.

    (MHY)

    [04] ATAA continues its contacts in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.10.08) reports that a delegation from the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, which is currently in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus, continued its contacts with political leaders and so-called government officials. The delegation met yesterday with the so-called TRNC Assembly speaker Fatma Ekenoglu. During their meeting, Ekenoglu said that they are in need of these associations which are founded by Turks who live abroad, to work in order to help them to lift the isolations.

    The delegation met also with the so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. Noting that the Turkish Cypriots suffer great unfairness with the isolations, Soyer said that extreme disinformation campaign is going on regarding the Turkish Cypriots in the US community. Noting that it is really important for them that Turkey became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Soyer also added that he believes that this will contribute to the solution of problems in the area.

    The delegation from the Assembly of Turkish American Associations also met yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat but no statement was made.

    The Chairman of the delegation from the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), Nurten Ural, during their meeting with the leader of Social Democrat Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici, said that one of the reasons of the founding of the association was to support the Turkish Cypriots and explained that the ATAA is the biggest association in the USA with 150 thousand members of different places of the USA. Ural said that ATAA prepared a dossier with views and information on several issues regarding their activities and submitted this dossier to Cakici. She said that they participate in different seminars and inform regarding the Cyprus problem. The Chairman of ATAA for the next period, Gunay Evinch, said that the Cyprus problem is very important to them and added that their first target is an independent TRNC, and their second a bi-communal, bi-zonal confederation. He also added that there is no logic to the isolations and that Turkeys guarantorship is necessary.

    Cakici said that the Turkish Cypriots live very difficult moments and that the Turkish Cypriot is the least guilty but pays the price the most. Noting that the politicians in Europe and in the USA do not know very well the issue, Cakici said: I think that you must inform them correctly and you can show to the world the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.

    (DPs)

    [05] Details on the contacts of the mayor of Munich with Ferdi Sabit Soyer

    All of todays local Turkish Cypriot papers extensively cover the contacts of Christian Ude, Mayor of the city of Munich, Germany, in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus.

    According to Yeni Duzen, Mr. Ude, who is paying an illegal visit to occupied Cyprus, met yesterday with the so-called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer to whom he expressed his satisfaction for visiting the occupied areas for the second time in a year and his joy for the developments he had observed in the region.

    Referring to the Alevi community, Mr. Ude noted that the German government is closely observing the way Alevi sect is living in Turkey and the TRNC, stressing that the respect towards Alevi sect will create a positive sympathy in the European Union in favor of North Cyprus.

    On Christian Udes statements, Bakis paper reports that the mayor of Munich also referred to the economic development in the occupied areas which is observed in the sector of tourism and universities.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, the mayor of Munich noted that the local authorities should contribute to the solution, emphasizing on the need for the two sides to spend great efforts regardless of the fact that problems do continue to be experienced.

    Touching upon the issue of his arrival in occupied Cyprus using the illegal airport of occupied Tympou, Volkan writes that Mr. Ude said that his arrival in northern Cyprus through that airport has been criticized as illegal, yet, this event belongs to the past and therefore there is nothing to be added.

    On his part, Ferdi Sabit Soyer stated that even a weather forecast prepared together with the Greek Cypriots will make the Turkish Cypriots happy, yet, the Greek Cypriot side is not willing to agree into any kind of cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Yesterday, Christian Ude also held contacts with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the mayor of occupied Lefkosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari. Christian Ude is paying an illegal visit to occupied Cyprus upon an invitation addressed to him by Cemal Bulutoglulari.

    (ML)

    [06] Mehmet Harmanci stressed the need for the enlightening on the Ergenekon case

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (21.10.08) in its front page, reports on the statements of Mehmet Harmanci, the deputy General Secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) regarding the Ergenekon case. Mehmet Harmanci said that a lot of records connected with the Ergenekon case were found in North Cyprus and remained in the dark. The enlightening on this case is essential Harmanci said. He then referred to several events which took place in Cyprus in the past, such as the murder of Kutlu Adali, the bomb attack against the house of Mehmet Ali Talat in Keryneia and against the prime ministry building during the period that Eroglu was in power, and other events, and said that light should be shed to all these. Lets meet face to face with the realities, if we do not share these realities, this poison will be like a cancer, it will destroy our being and it will demolish the community he added.

    (A.K.)

    [07] Babacan and Avci criticize the Government of Cyprus for its reaction on Turkeys election to the UNSC

    Illegal Bayrak television (21.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Evaluating Turkeys non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council on Turkish news channel NTV, Babacan stressed that there was no change to Turkeys positions on foreign policy issues.

    Reminded about that the Greek Cypriot Administration did not welcome Turkeys membership, Babacan ruled out any changes on Ankaras policy on the Cyprus Issue.

    Whatever we have said on the Cyprus Problem we shall continue to say once we become a member of the Security Council, he said, adding that Turkey will maintain its principled attitude on the Cyprus Problem.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister said that countries which voted for Turkey expected Ankara to preserve its unique perspective and approach on foreign policy issues.

    We are a country which takes on initiatives and which produces positive approaches on many issues. No one should expect a change in our foreign policy, Babacan said.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (21.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has called as irresponsible and unacceptable the Greek Cypriot Administration Leaderships reaction to the election of Turkey as a non- permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    In a written statement, Mr. Avci said that the Greek Cypriot leaderships statements are reflecting its indigestion of the move.

    He added that these statements once again showed the Greek Cypriot sides non-endurance towards the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey.

    Stating that the hostile statements of the Christofias regime which were also supported by other Greek Cypriot political parties are the proof of the continuation of the fanatical Greek Cypriot mentality, Mr. Avci said that current leadership in South Cyprus is carrying the same policy of former Papadopoulos administration.

    [08] Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials criticise Obamas statements on Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (21.10.08) reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democrat Party (DP), in a written statement yesterday, responded to the US candidate for the Presidency, Mr. Barack Obama for his latest statements on the Cyprus problem. Serdar Denktas accused Obama who has said that the solution of the Cyprus problem through negotiations would end the Turkish invasion in Cyprus and described the above statements as unlucky and beyond reality. Serdar Denktas pointed out that it is wrong to call the Turkish army as occupation force due to the fact that during the 20 July 1974 Peace Operation in Cyprus, the Turkish army brought the peace not only to the Turkish Cypriots but also to the Greek Cypriots. Serdar Denktas went further and said that Barack Obamas statement is nothing else but an effort to satisfy the Greek lobby in the US.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot Gunes newspaper (21.10.08) reports on the statements of the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan who has returned to Turkey from New York after his country won a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr. Babacan has said that the candidate for US Presidency, Mr. Barack Obama will change his stance on the Cyprus problem, in case that he wins the elections. Mr. Babacan expressed the hope that the new government in the US will be a government which will consider strengthening the relations between Turkey and the US. We are ready to work together with the new government of the US, whichever this would be, Babacan declared.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (20.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Head of the Turkish Committee for EU Harmonization of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Yasar Yakis has responded to the US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, saying Mr Obama will experience some distress if he wins the elections, because of his latest statements on the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking to the Anatolian News Agency on the issue, Mr Yakis said the US politicians experience their weakest and tenderness times when the presidential elections approach.

    Greek Cypriots and Armenians are very well organized during the elections period. They know the presidential candidate needs their votes and so, Greek Cypriot, Armenian and Jewish societies write letters to the candidates to deliver their own views and make them speak of these views like they are their own. I think this is what happened for Mr Obama too, Yakis said.

    Mr Obama was quoted as saying that the solution of the Cyprus problem via negotiations would end the so-called Turkish invasion in Cyprus.

    Yakis stated that who ever wins the US presidential elections will find out why Turkey is in Cyprus once the documents are put in front of him and will be saying I was wrong in saying that.

    Pointing out that the US elections period will not affect Turkeys EU membership process, Mr Yakis said it is the US unchanging policy to support Turkeys membership.

    [09] The self-styled Finance minister to attend OICs meeting in Ankara

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Minister of Economy and Tourism Erdogan Sanlidag will attend the 24th meeting of the Permanent Committee of the Economic and Commercial Cooperation (ISEDAK) of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul.

    Mr Sanlidag will participate in the Ministers Session, which will take place on Thursday the 23rd, while bureaucrats from the TRNC delegation will already be attending the High Level Experts session, which starts today.

    ISEDAK meetings start today and will continue until Friday the 24th. ISEDAK is one of the three permanent committees of the OIC, which has 57 Islamic countries as its members.

    The TRNC has been attending the OIC meetings under an observer status.

    [10] TMT celebrates its 50th anniversary of establishment

    Illegal Bayrak television (20.10.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    The Turkish National Defense Organization (TMT) continues celebrating its 50th anniversary of establishment.

    An international symposium kicked off today under the title the Turkish Cypriot national struggle and TMTs role in it at the Near East University in Lefkosia.

    Apart from TRNC representatives, representatives from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kosovo and Tatarstan are attending the symposium.

    In an opening speech, the Deputy Rector of the Near East University Prof. Dr. Senol Bektas said the TMT has an undeniable role in the Turkish Cypriot struggle for existence.

    Yilmaz Bora, the Head of TMTs 50th Anniversary Committee, for his part stressed that the major goal in establishing TMT was to protect innocent Turkish Cypriots from the Greek Cypriot EOKA attacks.

    And, the coordinator of the symposium Mr Ismail Bozkurt, added that TMT is the most important one among the factors preventing the unification of Cyprus with Greece through the Greek Cypriot ENOSIS plan.

    The TMT symposium will continue at the same university tomorrow and will then be continued at the Eastern Mediterranean University on Wednesday and Girne American University on Thursday, which will be the closing day of the international symposium.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (21.10.08) reports that although the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the so-called Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and so-called ministers of the coalition government CTP-ORP were invited to the symposium none of them attended it.

    [11] Turkish Cypriot Wheelchair Basketball Team to participate in an international sports event in Italy in March 2009

    In its sports pages Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (21.10.08) reports that the Wheelchair Basketball Team of the Turkish Cypriot Lefkosia Municipality will participate in the 2nd Willy Brinkman Cup, organized by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), after an invitation addressed to them by the Federation. The Turkish Cypriot team is listed in the D Group and will give matches against the participating teams of Italy, Spain, Russia and Israel between 13-15 March 2009. The matches of D Group will be hosted in the island of Sardinia, Italy. Other countries participating in the event are Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Turkey.

    (ML)

    [12] Ergenekon case has been adjourned to October 23

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.10.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    The High Criminal Court led by Judge Koksal Sengun on Monday has adjourned hearing the Ergenekon case to October 23 to examine the requests of the lawyers and defendants.

    On Monday's hearing, the Istanbul Criminal Court decided to continue hearing the "Ergenekon" case at a court house built inside the Silivri prison complex.

    The 86 defendants including retired Gen. Veli Kucuk, Labor Party (IP) Chairman Dogu Perincek, journalist Ilhan Selcuk and former rector of Istanbul University Kemal Yalcin Alemdaroglu are accused of attempting to remove the Turkish government by force. 46 of the defendants are under arrest.

    Defendants Selcuk and IP Deputy Chairman Ferit Ilsever did not attend the hearing due to health problems.

    Tight security measures were taken in and around the building in the Silivri Prison.

    An alleged criminal network that came to be known as "Ergenekon" was revealed after police seized 27 grenades, TNT explosives and fuses in a shanty house in Istanbul on June 12, 2007 and Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into weapons. Police waged operations in several provinces and detained a number of people, including retired senior army officers, journalists and businessmen, for their alleged involvement in the network. So far, 68 people were arrested in the probe. 46 of them are standing trial now. The remaining will appear in the court later.

    The 2,455-page indictment regarding the Ergenekon probe carried out by prosecutors Zekeriya Oz, Mehmet Ali Pekguzel and Nihat Taskin indicts 86 people on charges of attempting to overthrow Turkish government.

    Prosecutors demanded life-imprisonment for some suspects including Kucuk, Perincek and Alemdaroglu on charges of attempting to overthrow Turkish government by force and inciting murder.

    [13] Full EU support from Spain to Ankara

    Under the above title Turkish daily Hurriyet (21.10.08) writes that the Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, met yesterday with his Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan in Ankara, upon the latters invitation to visit Turkey. In statements Mr Babacan said: The EU membership is a strategic target for Turkey.

    On his part Mr Moratinos said: Be sure, Turkeys EU membership is our strategic target as well. When Spain will take over the EU presidency for the year 2010, Turkish full membership will enter a road without return. We are building the EU again. Turkey will certainly take its place in this.

    (CS)

    [14] Rifat Hisarciklioglu has been re-elected to the executive board of Eurochambres

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (21.10.08) reports the following:

    The president of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Rifat Hisarciklioglu, was elected for a fifth term to the executive board of the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Eurochambres).

    In a written statement on Monday, TOBB said its president managed to gain a spot on Eurochambres' management once again at the 104th General Assembly that took place in Brussels on October 15.

    After the election, Hisarciklioglu addressed delegates and said Turkey should speed up the process to join the European Union. TOBB has been working with its partners in EU member states for Turkey-EU dialogue, Hisarciklioglu noted.

    The TOBB president represents 19 countries that are not members of the EU. The statement from TOBB also noted that the Belgian meeting heavily dwelled on a number of hot topics such as the ongoing global financial crisis, its implications for the economies of Europe and the measures taken by European nations to mitigate the worst effects of the crisis.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] Commentator in TDN newspaper sees Turkeys election at the UNSC in relation to the Cyprus issue. Allegations on Talats health

    Turkish Daily News (TDN) newspaper (20.10.08) publishes the following commentary by Ariana Ferentinou:

    The election of Turkey as a non-permanent member of the Security Council has suddenly changed the political climate in Turkey. It shifted the attention from the increasingly pessimistic course of domestic politics and filled everybody from the hard core secularists to the devout Islamists with a generous dose of self gratification. Suddenly, everybody realized that Turkey was upgraded, to the "club of decision-making nations" which controls the fate of the planet and from that position, they say, it can influence international players in favor of Turkish interests.

    To what extent such an optimism will be justified in practice "it remains to be seen," to use a well-known journalists' jargon. But what is already apparent among Turkey's neighbors and interlocutors is that this twist in the diplomatic fortunes of Turkey has at best alarmed and at worst annoyed the Greek Cypriots as it occurred right in the middle of a "not-so-smoothly-going" negotiation process for the future of Cyprus.

    First and foremost worry seems to be the real possibility that the presence of Turkey on the Security Council, albeit as a non-permanent member, means that it may block the adoption of any statements or communiques by the Presidency of Cyprus, which Ankara would disagree with, as that would require a unanimous decision by the members. Equally, from her new position as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Turkey has become a country for other U.N. members, whose support would be sought in pushing through the Council statements and communiques that is in their foreign policy interests.

    Subtitle: Christofias camp

    Demetris Christofias, already not happy with the way the negotiations on the Cyprus issue are proceeding, expressed his frustration on the election of Turkey in an uncharacteristically harsh comment: Turkey, who violates international law and the human rights of the Cypriot people, was elected as a member of the Security Council. Of course, this is a development that does not make me happy. But his frustration was followed by political pragmatism: But Turkey has been elected and this is a reality. That is why we should have to see how and to what extent we will be able to intervene towards various directions so that Turkey does not become an obstacle for any correct decisions, based on the principles of the Security Council or any decisions by the United Nations, he said.

    He admitted that his government had pointed out to various circles that Turkey should not become a member of the Security Council. Now that Turkey has been elected as a member, he said, We may have to face Turkish methodological tricks. However, Christofias also had a soothing remark commenting that since Turkey is now part of the Security Council it might be more difficult for her to "harden up" on the Cyprus process.

    The members of the Security Council, especially the permanent ones may demand from Ankara to honor her obligations (vis--vis Cyprus) under her new capacity, he said.

    Underneath these carefully balanced statements by the Greek Cypriot president one can feel that his side feels quite apprehensive about what Turkey's new role may mean for the Cyprus process as the Security Council has traditionally been a platform where over 60 resolutions were voted on the Cyprus issue among them the Resolutions of July and August 1974 disapproving the military action against the Republic of Cyprus and the resolution of 1983 against the validity of the unilateral declaration of the Independence of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus.

    Other Greek Cypriot politicians were more openly critical, calling the election of Turkey a negative development and a symptom of the world crisis and world hypocrisy ... when a country which systematically violates the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly is being awarded.

    In spite of the public proclamations of optimism, about the course of the recent Cyprus talks, there are reasons to believe that some high-standing officials within the Christofias camp who are not happy with the way things are going. Of course they all agree that the personal close relationship between Christofias and Talat is a key factor to the continuation of the effort. Characteristically, a well informed Greek Cypriot academic told me that if Christofias cannot solve the Cyprus issue, nobody can.

    Subtitle: Rumors about Talat's health

    As the negotiations are continuing, the difficulties of a solution become more real. On the negotiating table a fundamental problem of "substance" is gradually becoming the main obstacle for lack of real progress. This is whether the Greek Cypriots are willing to accept the Turkish Cypriots as their equal partners or as their minority partners, in other words will the resulting state be a loose federal state of two equal entities or a more integrated federal state where majority vote prevails?

    On this, no real progress has come out of the latest serious round of negotiations and neither of the parties seems to have crystallized their vision of their new reunited Cyprus. And there is additional reason for the Greek side to worry for the future. The presidential elections in the North in 2010 may not necessarily bring back Talat in power if there is no real solution by then, they say. Also, what if the rumors about the health of Talat are true?

    Putting aside the personal rapport between the two Cypriot leaders, the media support and the external pressure, it is very hard to see any concrete step taken during the Christofias-Talat talks to clear the confusion over their vision for the future of Cyprus. Perhaps, the added reality of the presence of Turkey in the Security Council may give an extra kick to the bilateral talks, as the two sides might realize that it may be better to try and solve their problems soon, before the intervention of international organizations that usually muddle them up!

    [16] Security Council membership to reinforce Turkey's moderate position

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News newspaper (20.10.08) publishes the following commentary by Mustafa Oguz:

    Turkey's foreign policy in the last five years has revolved around maintaining zero problems with its neighbors and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

    This has usually meant promoting diplomatic negotiation on international disputes with Iraq and Iran, sometimes to the ire of its allies, the United States and Israel, or taking the first step toward resolving long-standing disputes, namely the Cyprus issue.

    Turkey's foreign policymakers bear a greater responsibility now, after the country was elected Friday as a non-permanent member on the U.N. Security Council, or UNSC, for 2009-2010, after 48 years of absence. Turkey previously held a seat on the Security Council in 1951-52, 1954-55 and 1961, and will now retake its seat in January 2009.

    Instead of being forced to take sides on the Security Council, experts say Turkey will lean even more toward its tendency to find a middle path between contending parties, especially in the Iran nuclear row, one of the most pressing issues on the Security Council agenda.

    Turkey has been playing a positive role in the region and I think that this will reinforce Turkey's tendency to not to take sides in regional conflicts and act as a mediator looking for the best of all parties, said Hugh Pope, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, speaking to the Turkish Daily News yesterday.

    Retired Ambassador Inal Batu, who represented Turkey at the United Nations, said Turkey would not be forced to follow any particular path and would bring its own approach to regional tensions. If we were a European Union member, we would have to act accordingly. But we are not, and just like we did not say alright to everything the U.S. demanded on Iran, we can resume doing so in our position on the Security Council, Batu said.

    Fuat Keyman, a professor of International Relations at Koc University, struck a similar note. On Iran, Turkey may choose one of two choices. One is to assume a status quo stance, which would in fact negate any significance of its membership. But it can also give weight to diplomacy and promote dialogue. I think this is the vision of the government. That's one of the factors that won Turkey the seat in the first place, Keyman said.

    Likewise, tackling the Iranian crisis required a multilateral approach, bringing the EU rather than the United States to the forefront, Keyman noted.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also stressed that point upon his return to Turkey from New York yesterday. Turkey's efforts toward the peaceful resolution of disputes in many international and regional contexts have drawn the attention of world public opinion, Babacan said. The foreign minister also underlined that Turkey got 151 out of 192 votes, an accomplishment never seen since Sweden was elected by 157 votes in 1996.

    Austria was the second country elected to the council from the Western European and others group, with Iceland failing to secure enough votes to get in.

    The latest visible Turkish attempt to forge closer understanding on Iran came when it hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Istanbul last August for a working dinner. The merit of the visit was disputed, as the Iranian president gave no significant sign of a more conciliatory stance.

    Iran insists nuclear enrichment is its right, and refused to accept the latest incentive package of the UNSC permanent members plus Germany P5+1 last summer. Turkey defines its role in the crisis as a "facilitator."

    But Turkey was likely to resume this stance, Keyman noted. Turkey's moderate and reconciliatory stance on the Iranian issue will be reinforced by Security council membership, Keyman said, adding that the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, also had domestic considerations in following a moderate path.

    The AKP has a successful foreign policy record but its domestic policies have created tensions within the country. By increasing its international legitimacy with a moderate position, it will try to make up for the problems it faces in domestic politics, Keyman said.

    Subtitle: Implications for Cyprus uncertain

    Turkish foreign policy has been troubled for decades by the Cyprus issue, and many observers say the balance might change in favor of Turkey with its UNSC membership. Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias, said Turkey's election to the seat did not please him. Likewise, Greek Cypriot media pointed out that their country would have trouble passing UNSC resolutions favoring their position on the future of the island.

    Batu emphasized likewise that determining the agenda of the UNSC was an important element in itself. Following the rejection of the Annan Plan in 2004 by Greek Cypriots, a U.N. report praised Turkey's efforts to reach a solution on the island, even advising lifting the embargo imposed on the northern part of the island. That report was not even put on the Security Council's agenda. I believe fiascos like these will be prevented with our membership, Batu stated.

    Hugh Pope also drew attention to the benefits of UNSC membership for dealing with the Cyprus issue. Turkey will now have some confidence to counterbalance the fact that Cyprus has always claimed the monopoly on legitimacy as an international actor, Pope noted.

    He acknowledged, however, that UNSC membership was a double edged sword. On the one hand Turkey is certainly closer to the decision-making mechanism, but on the other hand it is less able to do what it wants. Turkey has committed itself to the latest talks on Cyprus. Everything it does it will have to gain an international consensus, Pope said.

    Keyman disagreed, however, stressing that the main determinant would be the two leaders on the island of Cyprus, along with attitudes of Turkey and Greece. It is wrong to assume that membership will make a difference in Turkey's power on negotiations. Topics like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus, within the context of the latest debate on the revival of the Cold War and energy security, will be the main issues surrounding Turkey on the Security Council, Keyman maintained.

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 20 October 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 20 October:

    a) Turkeys Non-permanent UNSC Membership:

    Turkey's election as a nonpermanent member to the UN Security Council, UNSC, with 151 votes is a "diplomatic victory," says Taha Akyol in an article in Milliyet, viewing this membership as "a confirmation of Turkey's increasing international effectiveness and of the 'strategic depth' of its foreign policy." Praising Turkey's numerous achievements in international relations, Akyol congratulates the government, the president, Turkey's permanent representative at the United Nations, and Prof Ahmet Davutoglu, whom he views as the architect of this 'strategic depth.'

    Also viewing Turkey's election to the UNSC as a great victory in an article in the same daily, Semih Idiz believes that one of the most pleasing aspects of this achievement is that Turkey has been elected as a nonpermanent member "in the name of the 'European group' and with the support of the EU." Pointing out that this membership will strengthen Turkey's position within Europe, Idiz writes: Ankara will now have to adopt a concrete position on sensitive global issues such as Iran's nuclear aspirations or the Darfur genocide. It will have to abandon its traditional approach of 'caution and moderation' and of being the country that is the last to speak up on such issues.

    b) Local Elections:

    According to a report in Milliyet, Democratic Left Party, DSP, leader Zeki Sezer has said that support will be extended to Social Democratic People's Party, SHP, leader Murat Karayalcin, who will be the candidate for the Republican People's Party, CHP, in Ankara in the local elections, provided he is an independent candidate. Asked whether the DSP will cooperate with the CHP in the local elections, Sezer is reported to have said that the 22 July election cooperation failed to yield the desired results and to have advised Karayalcin to participate in the local elections as an independent candidate in order to receive the support of the DSP.

    According to a report in Vatan, Prof Numan Kurtulmus, who is expected to be elected to the leadership of the Felicity Party, SP, at the party congress to be held on 26 October, is viewed as the intellectual rival of Prime Minister Erdogan. The report adds that Erdogan has invited Kurtulmus to join the AKP, a proposal which the latter has rejected claiming differences of views. Certain AKP officials who believe that the party has deviated from its "2001 establishment philosophy" might consider of drawing up a new road map in the aftermath of the change to take place within the SP, notes the report, adding that those representing the conservative wing of the AKP might choose to join the SP. The report continues: "According to backstage claims, close to 20 deputies, --a number that is sufficient to establish a parliamentary faction -, including Ordu Deputy Eyup Fatsa and Ankara Deputy Salih Kapusuz might join Kurtulmus in establishing a SP faction within the National Assembly."

    EG/


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