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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-04-22

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. 73/09 22.04.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] User of the Church of occupied Trimithi as ceramics factory: We are very well aware of the fact that it is a holy place for Christians but there are hundreds of churches around North Cyprus being used as animal barns
  • [02] The 26th Christofias-Talat meeting ends
  • [03] Cyprus among the issues discussed in the Turkey-EU Troika meeting. The chapters of Social Policy and Employment and Taxation to be opened
  • [04] Eroglu said that he could form a single-party government and that information about migration is being destroyed in the interior ministry
  • [05] Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the illegal elections
  • [06] The Turkish President congratulates Eroglu and expresses support to the ongoing negotiations
  • [07] Turkish politicians evaluate the result of the illegal parliamentary elections that took place in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [08] The Central Executive Committee of CTP has resigned
  • [09] Britons who own property in the territories of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops are politically active in favour of the illegal regime
  • [10] The financial aid of 815 million TL from Turkey to the occupied areas came into effect
  • [11] Todays Zaman: Turkey needs to prepare itself to cope with rapidly aging population
  • [12] Kurd Mayors of two south-eastern cities of Turkey were sentenced for PKK propaganda
  • [13] Turkish newspapers editor on trial for revealing classified documents concerning national security
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 21 April 2009
  • [15] Niyazi Kizilyurek assesses the messages from the visit of President Obama to Turkey for a Turkish Cypriot newspaper

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] User of the Church of occupied Trimithi as ceramics factory: We are very well aware of the fact that it is a holy place for Christians but there are hundreds of churches around North Cyprus being used as animal barns

    Under the title Black flag after church oven row hots up again Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today (18-24/04/09) publishes the following by Ulas Baris:

    A two-year quarrel over the use of an abandoned Edremit [occupied Trimithi] church as a base for the Cyprus Turkish Ceramic Art Association has fired up again.

    Aktan Hizir, who owns the Hello Basket Shop in the village, put up black flags outside his premises in protest at the continuing use of the church to make ceramics. It followed a recent workshop there as part of a national festival.

    He has also started a petition urging the Ceramic Art Association to quit the church and has put up posters and signs against its use.

    Mr Hizir, who also sells ceramics at his shop, is concerned about the potential damage being caused to the church, out of use since the Turkish intervention in 1974.

    He said: They are using a big oven, which is killing the church inside and uses large gas tubes.

    I dont think the necessary precautions are in place if something unexpected happens.

    Mr Hizir said he could not understand how the Ceramic Art Association had secured permission to use the church as a studio.

    He said: This is holy place but they use it as a studio. I know many tourists have come around to try to visit it but the doors are locked.

    He admitted arguments had broken out between him and Ceramic Art Association members after he crossed land owned by the church to reach the muhtars office to vote in a recent election. The incidents had led to police being called and the possibility of court action, he added.

    Semral Oztan, a ceramic artist and former president of the Ceramic Art Association, labelled Mr Hizir rude.

    Mrs Oztan claimed Mr Hizir had contacted the Greek Cypriot authorities to complain about the churchs use, an allegation not denied by the businessman.

    She said: Our members, who include many expats, enjoyed a beautiful day there recently. We produced plenty of art. But what did this guy do? He called the police to try and stop us.

    We gained full permission from the Ancient Monuments Department to use the church.

    We are trying to keep it as it is. We are very well aware of the fact that it is a holy place for Christians, but there are hundreds of churches around North Cyprus, which are being used as animal barns.

    This man is not acting in the interests of the church he cares about his ceramic business. But we are not selling anything.

    [02] The 26th Christofias-Talat meeting ends

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.04.09) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun said about the general elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on April 19, in which resulted in success of the National Unity Party (UBP), that the UN did not envisage any problem in the Cyprus negotiation process. TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias met in the buffer zone and began discussing economy-related issues under the negotiations aiming at finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue. Following the meeting, Zerihoun told reporters that Cypriot leaders would meet on May 5 since both UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Alexander Downer and he would leave for New York next week to hold a series of talks.

    Cyprus talks were resumed on September 11, 2008. The two leaders have so far completed discussions on the issues of administration and share of power, property and the EU affairs.

    [03] Cyprus among the issues discussed in the Turkey-EU Troika meeting. The chapters of Social Policy and Employment and Taxation to be opened

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.04.09) reported the following from Prague:

    The Turkey-EU Troika foreign ministers' meeting has ended in EU president Czech Republic's capital city of Prague on Tuesday. Turkey has told EU officials not to block its entry negotiations with political issues that are irrelevant to the negotiations process.

    Diplomatic sources said that the Cyprus problem was discussed in details in Tuesday's meeting. Turkey has informed the EU authorities that Turkey's guarantorship in Cyprus will continue and that Turkey supports a bi-zonal partnership based on political equality.

    EU officials have told Turkish authorities that they are pleased to see improvement in relations between Turkey and Armenia. EU leaders expressed that "opening of the Turkish-Armenian border will help the solution of a problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia". Pointing out to Karabakh, EU authorities said that they understand Azerbaijan's sensitivity.

    In Tuesday's talks, it was decided to open the chapters on Social Policy and Employment and Taxation to negotiations during the EU presidency of the Czech Republic.

    [04] Eroglu said that he could form a single-party government and that information about migration is being destroyed in the interior ministry

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (22.04.09) reports that Dervis Eroglu, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), has said that the UBP could establish a government alone because it elected 26 MPs in the 50-membered parliament, but the party could evaluate different alternatives in case such alternatives are submitted to its organs.

    In statements to illegal TAK news agency, Mr Eroglu said yesterday that a government with 26 MPs might be problematic, not risky, but he trusts his colleagues. He noted that on Thursday the party will take the necessary decisions on this issue. He said he did not meet with any party leader yet and reminded that the MPs will take over their duties after ten days. He also reminded that the president assigns the duty of establishing a government to someone after meeting with all the party leaders.

    Mr Eroglu stated that economy will be the first issue with which they will be dealing as government and they will benefit from the views of experts in their effort to take measures and decisions to solve the economic problems.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, he said that they are not considering to remove the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat from his duties as negotiator, but he reiterated his view that a person from the government should be together with Mr Talat at the negotiations. Mr Eroglu reminded that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas was escorted by someone from the government during the negotiations and added that a person who will be securing a dialogue between Mr Talat and the government should be accepted naturally.

    Mr Eroglu also said that they are receiving some warnings that documents are being burned in some ministries and some information is being deleted from the computers and transferred elsewhere. Expressing his sorrow about this, Mr Eroglu said that this is happening especially in the interior ministry regarding the information about the migration.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the illegal elections

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (22.04.09) reports that Turkeys Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that they are satisfied about the fact that the early general elections in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus were held in a mature democracy, with a transparency and in atmosphere of peace.

    The Ministry, in the statement, argued that the elections reflected the will of the Turkish Cypriots and confirmed once more that the democratic structure of the TRNC and its legal system has been established. Moreover, the announcement reports: Turkey will continue to provide support to Turkish Cypriots in all fields with sensitivity and carry out its responsibilities as a motherland and one of the guarantor powers.

    (DPs)

    [06] The Turkish President congratulates Eroglu and expresses support to the ongoing negotiations

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.04.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul congratulated National Unity Party (UBP) leader Dervis Eroglu for his success in the general elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and expressed his appreciation to the TRNC authorities for holding the elections in a democratic atmosphere.

    President Gul called on President Mehmet Ali Talat of TRNC, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and UBP leader Eroglu on the phone after the elections. He said that the election showed the maturity and high standards reached by TRNC democracy. President Gul also reiterated his support to the ongoing negotiation process aiming to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (21.04.09) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul has voiced his strong support to the Cyprus negotiation process and President Mehmet Ali Talat who represents the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus at the talks.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with the Lebanese President Michael Suleyman, the Turkish President said `democracy is functioning well in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the people decided on their own without influence.

    He stated that the existence of two separate realities on the island should be taken into consideration in the efforts of a solution, adding that the negotiation process in Cyprus was continuing. `The President is representing the Turkish Cypriot People at the negotiations`, he said, reminding that an opportunity was missed in 2004 when the Greek Cypriots rejected a UN Peace Plan, which was also supported by the European Union also. `These negotiations are new. Turkey, as Motherland, strongly supports the talks and Mr Talat. I hope the negotiations will be concluded with an agreement`, he said.

    [07] Turkish politicians evaluate the result of the illegal parliamentary elections that took place in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (22.04.09) reports on the statements of Deniz Baykal, chairman of the Republican Peoples Party (CHP). Referring to the general elections, he said the following: The AKP meddled in the political life of Cyprus illegally. Similar efforts have been exhibited during the last elections. However, Turkey should show respect to the maturity of democracy in Cyprus. Meddling in this process should be avoided. The most effective way to protect Cyprus law is to respect especially the political will in Cyprus and to appreciate it. In this sense, I congratulate the leader of the UBP who won the elections. The future of Cyprus will be materialized by supporting with determination our rights, not by relying on the one or the other, and by taking the right decisions and supporting these decisions not with the promises of the one and the other. I hope, in this new period, a fait accompli in Cyprus which will happen with instructions coming from above, is not ignored.

    Moreover, Hurriyet paper under the title The political trade in Cyprus came to an end reports on the statements of Devlet Bahceli, chairman of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). Addressing the parliamentary group of his party yesterday, Mr. Bahceli referred to the result of the general elections which took place in the occupied areas of Cyprus and said: This result is the end of the political trade which came to power by following the Greek Cypriots around and by promising fictitious heavens. Moreover, according to the paper, Mr. Bahceli evaluated the elections as satisfactory.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.04.09) reports that the leader of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), Mr Devlet Bahceli, addressing the parliamentary group of MHP, alleged that the unfair embargoes in the fields of tourism, economy, transportation and sports are continuing to be imposed on the Turkish Cypriots and added: EU ignored the Turkish Cypriots and recognized as a single representative of Cyprus the Greek Cypriot administration. Commenting on the so-called parliamentary elections, Mr Bahceli said that the elections were an examination of democratic and political maturity for the Turkish Cypriots.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.04.09) reports that the chief adviser of the leader of Democratic Left Party (DSP) in Turkey, Mr Huseyin Pazarci, in a written statement, said that the National Unity Party (UBP) won the elections in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, because the people expressed their dissatisfaction with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP).

    (DPs/AK)

    [08] The Central Executive Committee of CTP has resigned

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.04.09), under the title It is time for account in CTP, reports that the Central Executive Committee of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the party General Secretary decided to resign after the meeting that was held last night in order to make an evaluation of the so-called parliamentary election results. Only the so-called prime minister and chairman of the party Ferdi Sabit Soyer has not resigned.

    The CTP General Secretary, Mr Omer Kalyoncu, said that the party assembly will want to appoint a new Central Executive Committee. He also added that the party congress may be set sooner than November, period for which it was scheduled before. Mr Kalyoncu concluded that they will be in the opposition and they will perform as a wise and responsible opposition.

    (DPs)

    [09] Britons who own property in the territories of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish troops are politically active in favour of the illegal regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Cyprus Times newspaper (17.04.09) publishes the following under the title BRS call on Britain to end embargoes:

    The British Residents Society, an association established by Britons living in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), made a call on the United Kingdom Government to end all embargoes placed on the TRNC, permit direct flights between the TRNC and Britain, open the ports of the TRNC to free trade and keep promises made to the Turkish Cypriots prior to the referendum in the island.

    The new board of directors of the British Residents Society were elected and several political decisions were made on Tuesday. The spokesperson of the TRNC based association British Residents Society, Hakan Caydamli, said that Morton Coles was elected the new president while Stephen Day was elected the vice-president.

    The association also demanded that the UK Government put pressure on the Greek Cypriots so that they do not object to Britain and EUs loyalty to their promises to Turkish Cypriots.

    [10] The financial aid of 815 million TL from Turkey to the occupied areas came into effect

    Under the front page title Financial aid of 815 million TL for investments from motherland Turkey to the TRNC in 2009, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (22.04.09) writes that Turkey is planning to provide aid of 815 million 69 thousand TL (Turkish Lira) to the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus in 2009. The economic protocol was signed in occupied Cyprus on March 27, 2009 between Turkeys State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Cemil Cicek and the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    According to the paper, the aid will be allocated for the implementation of 345 infrastructure and 92 real sector projects of 225 million 166 thousand TL and 88 million TL worth respectively in 2009.

    (ML)

    [11] Todays Zaman: Turkey needs to prepare itself to cope with rapidly aging population

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (22.04.09) reports the following:

    A five-year project to map aging in Turkey is nearing completion, with researchers from Akdeniz Universitys gerontology department predicting that senior citizens will account for 30 percent of the Turkish population in just 40 years.

    The department plans to publish an atlas of aging in Turkey in 10 volumes next year. According to their work so far, by 2050 30 million of Turkeys projected population of 101 million in 2050 will be over the age of 60, meaning that if precautions are not taken now, physicians and society will be caught unprepared, leaving these people in a sorry state.

    Gerontology department head Dr. Ismail Tufan told the Anatolia news agency in a statement that the five-year project has been supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUB0TAK) and is almost complete. The project focused on 35,000 people in seven regions of Turkey, with control groups selected for each region; the people in these groups had their quality of life evaluated twice a year.

    The findings so far suggest that Turks residing in the Aegean and Black Sea regions live longer. This is not valid for coastal areas, but for inland regions near the sea. In these regions we see advanced age, but we see earlier deaths in inland Anatolia, Tufan explained.

    Subtitle: Quickly greying population a cause for concern

    Noting that Turkey has one of the earliest retirement ages in the world, Tufan said: Were among the nations with the fastest-aging populations after [leader] South Korea. We are a country that is growing older silently but quickly. As birth rates fall in our country, medical advances are extending life spans and the population is aging. There are 9.8 million Turks over the age of 60 -- and we are talking about 2.5 million senior citizens without social security. Of the 18 million senior citizens weve determined will live in Turkey in 2020, 13 million will be uninsured.

    Tufan warned that the care of multitudes of elderly patients suffering with chronic illness is a reality that needs to be prepared for, and prevented where possible. If preventative measures arent taken now, 14 million of the 30 million elderly in Turkey in 2050 will suffer from chronic illness and require the care of others. Who will care for these people? These data all point to the fact that Turkey has a problem vis--vis its aging population. Weve sent a summary of this to the Prime Ministry and Parliament, the gerontologist said.

    Subtitle: Aydin, Nazilli hotspots for healthy senior citizens

    Tufan also noted that their research had found that the oldest and healthiest Turks were found in Aydin, particularly its Nazilli district. According to the doctor there are 48,000 people in Turkey over the age of 100, and the location with the highest concentration is in and around Nazilli -- and most of them are surprisingly healthy despite their old age. He says that as part of their project they teamed up with Nazillis Governors Office to establish a centre in the region to discover the districts secret to long life.

    The team finding any sort of magic formula for old age is unlikely, but 100-year-old Nazilli resident Kubra Girgin, who says shes easily able to scale the two flights of steps to visit her daughters home across the street, shared her philosophy of life and age: I had five children; three of them are still alive. I have seen my grandchildrens grandchildren. My life philosophy is that I may lose my husband but I wont lose my spirit. I never lose it; I dont stress myself. I dont tell lies, and when I say things, Ill say them to your face.

    [12] Kurd Mayors of two south-eastern cities of Turkey were sentenced for PKK propaganda

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (22.04.09) reports the following:

    The mayors of the south-eastern cities of Diyarbakir and Batman have both been sentenced to 10 months in prison for disseminating propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

    Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir and Batman Mayor Nejdet Atalay were elected in the local elections on March 29 as candidates for the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). They were represented by their attorneys at the hearing of the Diyarbakir 4th High Criminal Court, where neither of the two were present.

    Baydemir and Atalay were being tried on charges of promoting the PKKs terrorist propaganda by calling its militants guerrilla fighters in speeches they delivered on February 25, 2008, following a cross-border operation by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in northern Iraq, where the PKK has bases it uses to launch attacks on Turkish territory, against both security personnel and civilians. DTP Diyarbakir Provincial Chairman Ali Simsek has also been found guilty of spreading PKK propaganda in a speech he delivered after a PKK militants funeral. Simsek was sentenced to one year in prison by the Diyarbakir 5th High Criminal Court.

    Simsek attended the funeral of a PKK militant code named Zilan Amed, who was killed during a clash between the PKK and the Turkish Armed Forces. The two other defendants in the case, Mehmet Nesip Gultekin and Turki Gultekin, were acquitted.

    These three court rulings are expected to intensify discussions over the possible closure of the DTP. More than 100 people, nearly half of them DTP members, were arrested last week in several police raids across the country. Officials said the raids were the culmination of a year-long investigation into the urban extensions of the PKK. The DTP is frequently accused of being a front for the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. The party is currently facing a closure case at the Constitutional Court over alleged ties to terrorists. Although DTP officials have interpreted the arrests as a political trick by the government, several intellectuals and analysts say the arrests were not carried out to strengthen the hand of prosecutors in the closure case and that the operations were free of any political motives.

    [13] Turkish newspapers editor on trial for revealing classified documents concerning national security

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (22.04.09) reports the following:

    The Taraf daily's editor responsible for legal affairs, Adnan Demir, appeared before a court yesterday on charges of revealing classified documents concerning national security in the daily's coverage of a terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attack on October 3 last year.

    Taraf had claimed, while also publishing aerial images, that serious security flaws were to blame for making the attack possible. Seventeen Turkish soldiers died in the attack.

    Demir faces up to five years in prison. He defended himself in court yesterday, saying that freedom of the press was guaranteed by the Constitution.

    Aerial infrared images of the Aktutun area in Hakkari -- the province bordering northern Iraq where the attacked military outpost is located, published in the Taraf daily on October 14, 2008 -- clearly showed figures approaching the area through the northern Iraqi border. Images from October 3, taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), showed a group of individuals laying mines at around 9:35 a.m. local time, about three-and-a-half hours before the attack. The group increased in size in the following images as more and more of these individuals -- who eventually attack the outpost -- took up their positions on hilltops in preparation for the attack. The UAV camera then switched to the Aktutun military outpost, where the attack occurred. According to Taraf's report, the terrorist raid, which killed 17 soldiers, was broadcast live on General Staff monitors. Taraf said this is concrete evidence that the military was informed about every move made by the PKK terrorists. The military had denied there was any truth in the story, saying the infrared images were not pictures of the Aktutun outpost but of the Kandil Mountains.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] From the Turkish Press of 21 April 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 21 April 2009:

    a) Kurdish Problem

    In an article entitled "Strange developments are taking place in the Southeast," Vatan columnist Rusen Cakir criticizes the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Government for failing to take advantage of the "optimistic atmosphere" that was created in south-eastern Turkey thanks to the "harmony" between the government and the military. Cakir asserts that the Democratic Society Party, DTP, won a "strategic victory" in the local elections because of an inappropriate strategy pursued by Prime Minister Erdogan. Stressing that "a new mistake was made on 14 April," he criticizes the "timing" of the PKK operation that was carried out in 12 different provinces. He says that the start of the PKK operation immediately after.

    b) On the illegal elections in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    In a commentary in Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Kanli evaluates the election results in Turkey and occupied Cyprus and asks: "...will the Turkish Cypriot elections have a 'butterfly effect' on Turkish politics? Will there be a return to patriotic and nationalist domination in the Turkish Parliament and in elections scheduled for 2011? Or has the change already started but impacts of it are seen more vividly in northern occupied Cyprus?"

    A column by Temel Iskit of Taraf says that the UBP "unsurprisingly" emerged as the leading party in the illegal elections in occupied Cyprus. According to the columnist, the reason behind the CTP's election defeat is its failure to solve the economic problems and meet the people's expectations related to a settlement on the island. Iskit expresses concern that the reunification talks between the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and President Christofias might "reach an impasse" because of the UBP leader's insistence on a solution based on a "bizonal and bicommunal federation." Describing Turkey as "the most important actor" in the talks, the columnist adds: "None of the administrations in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus can pursue a line that conflicts with Ankara." Speculating about the AKP Administration's Cyprus policy, he notes that Erdogan will either "maintain his current pro-solution approach" or withdraw his support from Talat and leave the final decision to the Turkish Armed Forces.

    In an article entitled "Balances change in Cyprus", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru discusses the question of how political balances in Cyprus could be affected by the election victory of the National Unity Party, UBP, led by Dervis Eroglu in the occupied areas of Cyprus. After describing Eroglu as a politician known for his opposition to solution efforts in Cyprus based on the Annan Plan, Koru claims that the UBP's victory could have the effect of harming Turkey's "already strained" relations with the EU.

    Todays Zaman carries a "news analysis" entitled "Big questions await answers from UBP after KKTC poll victory," which asserts that the UBP victory in occupied Cyprus "raises concerns over the fate of the Cyprus reunification efforts ..."

    In an article entitled "Let the results of the KKTC elections be a lesson to supporters of the Annan Plan", Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan interprets the UBP's election victory in the "KKTC" as meaning that the Turkish Cypriots have realized how they have been "deceived" by promises of EU membership ever since the referendum on the Annan plan in 2004 and resumed their former stance on their disputes with the Greek Cypriots. Ozkan also calls on the supporters of the Annan Plan in Turkey and occupied Cyprus to make a reassessment of their Cyprus policies in the past few years that would enable them to see how they have damaged the illegal regimes interests by maintaining that the Turkish Cypriots should "get rid of the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas" for the sake of peace and EU membership.

    [15] Niyazi Kizilyurek assesses the messages from the visit of President Obama to Turkey for a Turkish Cypriot newspaper

    Turkish Cypriot newspaper Cyprus Observer (17-23/04/09) publishes the following column by Niyazi Kizilyurek under the title Turkey key to US Mid East plans and subtitle Obama sees it, but what about Greek Cypriots?:

    You know if you ever travelled with Cyprus Airways, there is something funny about the navigation maps shown during the flights of this airline. After a take-off from Larnaca, all the geographical names close to the flight route are displayed on the navigation map. That is normal; Egypt in the south, Rhodes in the west and so on. However, the giant land mass in the north remains anonymous. This giant land mass you see on the navigation map all the way to Greece, which does not have a name, is called Turkey. It says a lot about the state of mind of Greek Cypriots but I just want to mention the political aspect of this.

    Disregarding Turkey was one of the main mistakes the Greek Cyprus ministry has made in recent Cyprus history. During the 1950s, when Enosis and only Enosis policies were pursued, or in the 1960s it was assumed the Zurich and London treaties could be changed, the Turkey factor was either underestimated or disregarded. After 1974, Turkey was called only as The Occupation Force or for short Attila. That was it. Turkey was never properly assessed, neither as a country nor for her significant involvement in international politics. The portrait of Turkey was drawn only with little knowledge picked here and there or pictured with news and comments full of prejudice and unfortunately this portrait of Turkey was portrayed as Turkeys reality. The geopolitical position of Turkey or the countrys cultural-political aspect still remains an unknown.

    If you look north from the Five Finger Mountains on a beautiful day, you can see Turkey. In fact the famous Greek general Plastiras-Plasitiras [name as spelled], who was the Prime Minister of Greece in the early 1950s, was also famed for saying sit properly to Makarios implying the impossibility of Enosis. When he was at a friends house during a personal visit to Cyprus he said: You keep saying Enosis but you forget that you can see Turkey if you go on a higher hilltop. The ignorance of Greek Cypriot decision makers about Turkey gave way to a failure in their decision making processes. We have seen the examples of this in recent history. Most striking was when they acted on the idea that Turkey will not agree to arbitration while they were on the way to New York to see Secretary-General of UN Kofi Annan at the beginning of 2004. They took it as a shocking surprise when Turkey changed its attitude.

    The number of Greek Cypriots who were puzzled by the visit of Barack Hussein Obama to Turkey is not that few. Obviously, they fear that the importance attributed to Turkey may affect their interests in a negative way.

    Obamas first official visit to Turkey is clearly a very important development. There is no doubt that Turkish-American relations will accelerate after this visit. What took Obama to Turkey was the demand for her contribution to the new American administrations policies and the plans they want to pursue in the Caucasus and in the Middle East. Briefly, the USA is calculating new common interest areas with Turkey and broadening her horizons.

    The Greek Cypriot decision makers should learn a lesson from that. First of all Turkey is a country neighbouring Cyprus. Second, Turkey is occupying a very important place in world politics thanks to her geopolitical location and cultural atmosphere. Third, being on hostile terms with Turkey is not a smart move.

    What should be done here is to reverse the paradigm and look for a way to open up a new page with Turkey on the grounds of common interest. For this, including Greece there should be a kick off of a new period of collaboration on the Turkey, Greece and Cyprus triangle. The Eastern Mediterranean vision mentioned frequently by Abdullah Gul and specified as a close collaboration between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus must be taken seriously.

    EG/


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