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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-02

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. 228/09 02.12.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat evacuated the situation in view of the EU Summit and Erdogans visit to the US during meetings in Ankara
  • [02] Gul stated that their wish is for the negotiations to reach to a result soon
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot press refers to new proposals to be put forward by the Turkish side; In statements after meeting with President Christofias, Talat criticized Britain for its stance on the guarantees
  • [04] Chris Bryant said Turkey should conform to the Ankara protocol
  • [05] Ozgurgun argues that the Republic of Cyprus is not powerful enough to block Turkeys EU accession course
  • [06] A delegation from the so-called assembly to hold talks on Cyprus with Turkish high level officials in Ankara
  • [07] Self-styled minister addressed a meeting at the House of Lords
  • [08] KITSAB will reportedly become a full member of UFTAA
  • [09] Cooperation between occupied Keryneia and the German town of Weilburg
  • [10] Data on the decisions of the so-called Property Compensation Commission
  • [11] Turkeys Gazi University to open a medical school in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [12] Egemen Bagis cites what Europeans should take into consideration when evaluating Turkeys EU obligations
  • [13] Davutoglus meetings within the scope of his visit to the OSCE meeting in Athens
  • [14] The Turkish Foreign Ministry expresses 'disappointment' over Swiss minaret referendum
  • [15] Demonstrations by Kurds in Turkish cities as the Kurdish initiative seems to have subsided
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [16] Columnist argues that Talats sudden visit to Ankara signals the unveiling of compromise offers to the Greek Cypriot side before Erdogans visit to the US
  • [17] From the Turkish Press of 01 December 2009

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat evacuated the situation in view of the EU Summit and Erdogans visit to the US during meetings in Ankara

    Under the title A more dynamic process, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the decision taken during the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talats contacts in Ankara was to give a more dynamic advancement to the negotiating process in Cyprus. In statements yesterday at the illegal Tymvou airport during his return from Ankara, Mr Talat said they have exchanged views regarding the recent developments and they evaluated the situation before the EU Summit in December and the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister to the USA. The determination as Turkish Cypriot side to continue without interruption the active efforts towards the solution was confirmed during all the meetings, noted Mr Talat, who visited Ankara upon an official invitation of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu.

    Mr Talat said also that during the meetings he held with Mr Davutoglu, Mr Erdogan and President Gul they elaborated on their strategies for the future, but this does not mean that a new strategy was determined. He added that they agreed on the necessity to push more actively and dynamically for a solution and reiterated that their target is to push for a solution with intensive negotiations in the beginning of 2010.

    Asked to comment on an allegation published yesterday in the Turkish press according to which the Greek Cypriot side taps the conversations he holds with his mobile telephone, Mr Talat said he would not comment on this and alleged that it is not a secret that the telephone conversations are tapped in the Greek Cypriot side. He noted that he did not think his telephone is tapped because he is not using a telephone connected with the Greek Cypriot network.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Gul stated that their wish is for the negotiations to reach to a result soon

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul said yesterday that they wish for a result to be achieved soon in the ongoing negotiations held for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. Before his departure to Jordan, Mr. Gul, who held a 45-minute meeting yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot leader and the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Huseyin Ozgurgun, was asked at Eseboga Airport whether Turkey and the breakaway regime will reach together to a solution at the Cyprus negotiations in view of the pressures of the Greek Cypriot administration. He replied that Mr Talat visited Turkey within the framework of the consultations he holds on the negotiations and added that the Turkish Cypriot leader briefed them on the latest developments. Our wish is for the negotiations to reach to a result soon, he said.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (02.12.09), under the title, The negotiation process was discussed, reports on the 24-hour Ankara visit of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. As the paper writes, Mr Talat held his first meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and, according to information, the ongoing negotiation process was discussed in detail. Mr Davutoglu and Mr Talat evaluated every chapter of convergence until today, every chapter of divergence and the possibilities of convergence over them. In addition, they saw what the Turkish side said on which chapters, and what stance the Greek Cypriot side maintains on which chapter. Before leaving Ankara, Mr Talat held a 45-minute meeting with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in the presence of the self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, and a 35-minute meeting with the Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    (I/Ts-EA)

    [03] Turkish Cypriot press refers to new proposals to be put forward by the Turkish side; In statements after meeting with President Christofias, Talat criticized Britain for its stance on the guarantees

    Under the title Intensified negotiations, referendum in February columnist Huseyin Ekmekci reports in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.12.09) that Mr Talat and Mr Ozgurgun departed from Ankara with A plan for 2010. The five party conference, which Mr Erdogan brought onto the agenda on every occasion, has been turned into intensified negotiations in January and referendum in February, notes Mr Ekmekci adding that the Turkish side will go to the negotiating table with the proposal for intensified negotiations in January and a referendum in the middle of February. It is noted that this proposal will be put forward also by the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to the USA.

    It is known that when President Mehmet Ali Talat was going to Ankara had this formula in his pocket and that he often suggests this to the Greek Cypriot leader Christofias, writes Mr Ekmekci and adds, inter alia, the following:

    The Cyprus problem is coming to a point slowly-slowly. Either the Greek Cypriot side will say yes to a federation where the equality of the Turkish Cypriots will be included or a velvet separation will come up here. There is nothing beyond this. In the statement Gul made after the meeting, said: We want the Cyprus problem to reach to a result soon. Laying on the table the proposal for intensified negotiations and referendum will definitely be a step taken for reaching to a result soon. The will of 24 April shown by the Turkish Cypriots is still there. ....

    Furthermore, Mr Ekmekci writes that the proposal for intensified negotiations in January and referendum in February is being discussed in the political backstage in the occupied areas of Cyprus and it is known that some circles are exerting pressure for a coalition government between the two major right wing parties, the National Unity Party and the Democratic Party, so that the broadest cooperation between the right wing may exist in a possible referendum.

    Moreover, under the title New proposals are on the agenda, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the meetings in Ankara could change the direction of the negotiating process. The paper writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader, who held a two-hour meeting with President Christofias immediately after his return from Ankara, stated that in the Turkish capital they shared and evaluated many issues regarding the negotiations and as a result of these evaluations they could submit some proposals in the forthcoming days.

    In statements after the meeting with President Christofias, Mr Talat said that he will visit London on 4 December and meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The issue of the guarantees might come onto the agenda, he said. He alleged that Britain is not on a correct line on the issue of guarantees and pointed out that the guarantees are not an issue of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots only. If Great Britain does not want to constitute an obstacle in the direction of the solution of this issue, it should maintain a clear attitude on this, he said. Mr Talat noted that the British Minister for Europe, Chris Bryant pointed out that the guarantees are necessary and they should continue. Mr Talat alleged that had Britain said this from the very beginning, the Greek Cypriot side would not have the stance it is maintaining today in a very annoying manner on the issue of the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance. He claimed that Britain has committed a serious mistake on this issue.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Chris Bryant said Turkey should conform to the Ankara protocol

    Under the title Ideal opportunity, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the British Minister for Europe, Chris Bryant has said that an ideal opportunity was created for bringing a lasting solution in Cyprus, with the two communities on the island, Ankara, Athens and London. In statements to Star Kibris newspaper and Ada Television, Mr Bryant said he is optimistic about the peace talks in Cyprus, but he is also realist.

    He noted: There are some who say no before knowing the final package. They should not reject the chance that came until this point. There are two leaders and two communities who work and want to do work. They should use this chance.

    When asked by the journalist to comment on the accusations by President Christofias against Turkey, Mr Bryant said: I am taking no ones side. Turkey should conform to the Ankara protocol. However, sometimes what is said is different from what is discussed in the private conversations.

    Asked on the meeting of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat with British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Mr Bryant replied that Mr Brown wants to see Mr Talat, but he does not know when this will take place.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Ozgurgun argues that the Republic of Cyprus is not powerful enough to block Turkeys EU accession course

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.12.09) broadcast the following:

    Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun has said that the possibility of granting international recognition of the TRNC could be the best formula to encourage the Greek Cypriot Side to reach a settlement on the Cyprus issue.

    Mr Ozgurguns comments came during an interview to the TRT Television.Tonight, Mr Ozgurgun will deliver a speech at the House of Lords in London.

    Mr Ozgurgun told the TRT that the Greek Cypriot Administration was not powerful enough to block Turkeys EU Accession. He, however, complained that some EU member countries were using the Greek Cypriot Side as a proxy to exercise their own policies in that direction.

    Stressing that there was an easy formula to bring the Greek Cypriots to an agreement on the Cyprus problem, he said the possibility of granting diplomatic recognition to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus could push the Greek Cypriot Side to work towards a settlement.

    [06] A delegation from the so-called assembly to hold talks on Cyprus with Turkish high level officials in Ankara

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.12.09) broadcast the following:

    A delegation from the TRNC Parliament will leave for Ankara tomorrow for a series of high level official contacts.

    The delegation will visit Ankara as guest of the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mehmet Ali Sahin.

    During the three day visit, members of the Parliamentary Presidency - headed by the Speaker of the Parliament Hasan Bozer - will meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, the Speaker of the Parliament Mehmet Ali Sahin, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Minister of State in charge of Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek and leaders of political parties.

    Talks will also be held between the delegations of the two countries.

    Speaking prior to the visit, Mr Bozer said bilateral relations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey are very meaningful at the point reached at the negotiation process.

    [07] Self-styled minister addressed a meeting at the House of Lords

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun could not visit London yesterday because the airplanes could not depart on time due to fog. Instead of Mr Ozgurgun, the self-styled minister of public works and transport, Hasan Tacoy addressed the All Party Parliamentary Group for the TRNC at the House of Lords. Mr Tacoy referred to the Annan Plan and reiterated that the Turkish Cypriots said yes to the plan, but the promises given to them are not fulfilled, in spite of the fact that five years passed since then. Mr Tacoy referred to the history of Cyprus and pointed out that the breakaway regime has built a monument for the British citizens killed by EOKA during the 1950s.

    Lord Monson, Lord Ahmedi, Lord Harrison, Lord Laird, the MP with the Liberal Democrat Party Jos Wilson, the members of municipal council Harvey Marshall and Michael Stephen, Professor Clement Dodd, Donald Crawford, Sir Michael Graydon, John Martin, David Lewis, the Consul General of Turkey in London, Bahadir Kaleli, the self-styled representative of the breakaway regime in London Kemal Korpulu and representatives of NGOs participated in the meeting, which was presided over by Lord Magginis.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] KITSAB will reportedly become a full member of UFTAA

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.12.09) reports that Necati Ozkan, honorary chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Tourism and Travel Agents (KITSAB) has said that the initiatives undertaken by KITSAB since 1974 to become a full member of the United Federation of Travel Agents' Associations (UFTAA) have reached their final point. KITSAB was represented in UFTAAs congress in Nepals capital Kathmandu organized between 20 and 24 November. Mr Ozkan participated as observer in UFTAAs 43rd World Congress and General Assembly. Mr Ozkan said they met with the President of UFTAA, its Senior Advisor and its CEO, but added that he did not want to reveal anything before there is a result, because of the efforts of the Greek Cypriot side to prevent these initiatives.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Cooperation between occupied Keryneia and the German town of Weilburg

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the so-called mayor of occupied Keryneia, Sumer Aygin is carrying out contacts in Germany as official guest of the Mayor of Weilburg, Hans Peter Shick. According to a statement issued by the Keryneia municipality, the two towns decided to cooperate and work closely for friendship, technical support, municipal issues, tourism, education, town development, art and culture. The paper also reports that the so-called municipality of Keryneia has started works for establishing an office in Weilburg town in order to promote Northern Cyprus.

    (DPs)

    [10] Data on the decisions of the so-called Property Compensation Commission

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (02.12.09) reports that the so-called Property Compensation Commission paid 38 million pounds sterling for compensation to Greek Cypriot refugees from March 2006 until 24 November 2009. According to data published on the webpage of the Commission, it received 437 applications, evaluated the 132 of them and paid 38 million pounds sterling. The 132 applications concerned 5.802.803 square meters of land. The Commission reached to agreement with 83 applicants for 3.352.369 square meters of land. The Commission decided to return 365.557 square meters of property to three Greek Cypriot refugees.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Turkeys Gazi University to open a medical school in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Under the title, Campus in North Cyprus, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (02.12.09) reports that Turkeys Gazi University is set to open a campus in the occupied areas of Cyprus, which will concentrate on health studies. In addition, a hospital will operate in the new campus. In his written statement Dr. Riza Ayhan, Rector of Gazi University, said he visited occupied Cyprus two months ago, where he held meetings with the self-styled president and prime minister regarding the construction of a new campus in the so-called TRNC. He also had meetings with officials in Turkey who looked positively towards the issue.

    (EA)

    [12] Egemen Bagis cites what Europeans should take into consideration when evaluating Turkeys EU obligations

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (02.12.09) reports on statements of the Turkish State Minister and chief EU negotiator, Mr Egemen Bagis, on board a plane as he was travelling to the Swedish capital of Stockholm, which will hold the rotating EU presidency until January. Inter alia, Mr Bagis referred to Cyprus and said: The EU summit will take place between December 10 and 11. Turkey supported the Annan Plan. Turkey supported the coming-together of Talat and Christofias. The promises towards the Turkish citizens of North Cyprus who gave a positive response to the calls of EU for the Annan Plan were not kept. An opportunity for resolution should be given until the end of [Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali] Talats term, that is in April.

    If the EU makes a decision that will exclude Turkey with a population of 70 million just to appease 600,000 Greek Cypriots, if it chooses to exclude the young population in Turkey, which transports 70 percent of [the EUs] energy demand, if it makes a decision that ignores its ally, which is the most important supporter of EUs fight against drugs and terrorism and which has the second-largest army in NATO, we will continue on our path without EU membership, Bagis said. EU is not a sine qua non for us, he added.

    (EA)

    [13] Davutoglus meetings within the scope of his visit to the OSCE meeting in Athens

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (02.12.09) reports about the meetings of the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu within the scope of his visit to the Greek capital of Athens to attend a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Greece holds the rotating presidency.

    According to the paper, Mr Davutoglu held meetings with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandyan, his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mamadyarov, Austrian, Lithuanian and Swedish Foreign Ministers. In addition, the Turkish FM met with the representative of the US Secretary of State Mrs Hilary Clinton, Mr James Steinberg where they discussed the details of the upcoming visit of the Turkish Prime Minister to Washington on December 7.

    Today, Mr Davutoglu will meet with the Greek Prime Minister and Foreign minister George Papandreou. During the meeting, Mr Papandreou will hand over to the Turkish FM his letter of reply to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish-Greek relations, Cyprus and Turkeys EU membership process are expected to be discussed.

    In the meantime, Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.12.09) reported the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will visit Brussels on December 3 and 4 to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Turkish Foreign Ministry stated on Tuesday that participants of the meeting would discuss the demands of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro to join membership action plan as well as missile defence, Afghanistan, NATO-Russia relations and preparations of NATO's new strategic concept. Davutoglu is expected to hold bilateral talks, and attend a dinner on December 3.

    (EA)

    [14] The Turkish Foreign Ministry expresses 'disappointment' over Swiss minaret referendum

    Ankara Anatolia (01.12.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Tuesday the referendum held in Switzerland on November 29 to ban the construction of minarets in this country caused disappointment.

    The MFA said in a statement issued Tuesday that both Turkey and the international community expected Switzerland to take steps to correct the situation (on minarets) that was not in line with the traditions of Switzerland.

    The decision is an unfortunate development against basic humanitarian values and freedoms. Cultural diversity, tolerance and respect for human rights carry high importance for societal tranquility and peace, the Turkish MFA stressed.As a co-chair of the United Nations (UN) Alliance of Civilizations initiative, Turkey received with deep sadness the decision of the Swiss people on minarets, the MFA also said.

    More than 100,000 Turks live in Switzerland.

    [15] Demonstrations by Kurds in Turkish cities as the Kurdish initiative seems to have subsided

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (02.12.09) reports the following:

    The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is organizing illegal and violent demonstrations across the country under the pretext of protesting the new imprisonment conditions of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, but experts underline that the terrorist PKK fears losing its power due to the government's recently introduced democratization initiative.

    Ocalan is serving a life sentence on Imrali Island in the Sea of Marmara. He was the only inmate until recently, but eight other convicts have now been transferred to the island and he was placed in a different cell.

    Ocalan's lawyers claim his new cell is six-and-a-half square meters, compared to the old cell's 12 square meters. The new cell's window is reportedly high and cannot be looked through at regular height. Ocalan, in his latest meeting with his lawyers last week, warned that his new prison conditions are harming his health.

    In a written statement released on Monday, the PKK also depicted Ocalans new cell as a death hole and claimed that the aim of the new regulations is to kill him. The same statement also suggested that they consider Ocalans health as the health of the Kurdish nation.

    The attitude displayed towards him is reason enough for war or peace. We are now at the end of words. From now on, we are not responsible for possible developments, the statement threatened.

    The PKK also urged its sympathizers to protest Ocalans new prison conditions. But even before this statement was released, illegal and violent demonstrations began on November 27, the anniversary of the establishment of the PKK terrorist organization.

    Subtitle: Demonstrations across the country

    Shops have been closed for the past two days in Hakkaris Yuksekova and Semdinli districts while their streets are scene to skirmishes between security forces and demonstrators. The police station in Mersins Siteler neighborhood was attacked by demonstrators over the weekend. The demonstrators chanted slogans in favor of Ocalan and called on taking revenge on security forces. Several demonstrations also took place in Istanbuls Sultanbeyli, Kucukcekmece, Zeytinburnu, Esenyurt and Beyoglu districts. In Diyarbakir, demonstrators attacked several public buildings with Molotov cocktails.

    In Diyarbak1r, the Social Solidarity Services and Council Association (Sura-Der) was attacked over the Eid al-Adha holiday. In a written statement on Tuesday Sura-Der President Albulhakim Demir said the Quran and several other Islamic books were burned during the attacks. They are unable to tolerate the work of Islamic foundations and are cooperating with the deep state, the written statement said.

    Subtitle: PKK is fearful

    In addition to Sura-Der, prominent Kurdish intellectual Ibrahim Guclu thinks the events are an outcome of cooperation between the deep state and the deep PKK, both of which are against the governments democratization initiative.

    The government at the end of the summer launched an initiative to solve Turkeys decades-old Kurdish question and termed the process the democratization initiative.

    The government chose more freedom for everyone as the slogan of the initiative and it frequently underlined that it will never consider discussing the issue with the PKK, saying the only party with a voice in this process is the nation itself.

    According to Guclu, the process led the PKK to start feeling that it is no longer able to control the process and decided to use violence once more. He suggests that the PKK is using Ocalans health as a pretext.

    The PKK does not want improvements in the process, he told Today s Zaman.

    Sezgin Tanrikulu, a former chairman of the Diyarbak1r Bar Association, underlined that certain segments of the Turkish and Kurdish society do not want improvements in the process and that it is impossible to convince them to support the democratization initiative. The important thing is to pay utmost attention to not prepare a suitable ground and to not give any pretext to anyone looking for the opportunity to take to the streets, he told Todays Zaman.

    Pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) parliamentary group chairman Selahattin Demirtas warned that the country can be driven into worse tension if the government does no take immediate action to improve Ocalans condition. Either the government is not aware of the situation, or it deliberately worsened Ocalans conditions. But this is a dangerous process, and tension might increase further, Demirtas told Todays Zaman.

    He added that the DTP has yet to decide on its position, which will be clearer on Wednesday, when the partys decision-making organs convene for a meeting. I think we will urge the parliamentary Human Rights Commission to pay a visit to Imrali as soon as possible. The Ministry of Justice should reverse the conditions on Imrali, he said.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [16] Columnist argues that Talats sudden visit to Ankara signals the unveiling of compromise offers to the Greek Cypriot side before Erdogans visit to the US

    Under the title Crucial months for Cyprus Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.com (30.11.09) publishes the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:

    The Cyprus peacemaking process may take a dramatic turn this month. The period from now until mid-February will be decisive in seeing whether the U.N.-sponsored direct talks between Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias can lead to a resolution on the eastern Mediterranean island.

    Talat, accompanied by Foreign Minister Hüseyin Ozgurgun, arrived in Ankara on Monday for a one-day working visit. He is scheduled to hold talks with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The Turkish Cypriot president is then set to return to northern Cyprus on Tuesday afternoon, although it was unclear whether the scheduled meeting for that day between him and Christofias would take place.

    The sudden visit to Ankara by Talat and Ozgurgun indicates some extraordinary developments in the Cyprus peacemaking process. During this same time period, Erdogan is scheduled to make a trip to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama during which the Cyprus problem is expected to be discussed as well.

    Meanwhile, there is the upcoming December 10 and 11 meeting of European leaders, during which the progress in Turkeys EU-accession process and Turkeys compliance with its obligations including its so-far-unfulfilled pledge to open up its ports and airports to all new European Union members, including the Cyprus Republic will be discussed.

    For some time, there have been claims that some members of the Turkish Cypriot negotiation team were preparing in collaboration with executives from the Turkish Foreign Ministrys Cyprus Desk some illuminating proposals in the hopes of helping overcome the deadlock in the direct talks particularly in the discussions about power sharing and property.

    The fresh ideas concocted were expected to be unveiled by Talat at the talks ahead of the Erdogan-Obama meeting and the forthcoming EU Council meeting. These claims, however, could not be verified thus far.

    Yet there are strong signs including Talats sudden and unscheduled Ankara trip that the Turkish Cypriot side will unveil some last-ditch compromise offers to the Greek Cypriot side to reaffirm its strong political will for a bitter compromise settlement on the island before the Obama meeting and the EU Councils Brussels meeting.

    The Greek Cypriot side, however, continues playing to the gallery with the rhetoric that the aim of the process was not to create a new partnership federation of two constituent entities on the basis of political equality, bi-zonality and bi-communality, but to reformat the constitution of the existing Cyprus Republic with some federal components.

    Election gimmicks?

    It is obvious to any Cyprus watcher that the current talks have a natural deadline even though the Greek Cypriot side refuses to accept a timetable or a deadline for the process.

    Though the Turkish Cypriot parliament has not yet made a final decision on the date, northern Cyprus will likely go to presidential elections April 18. Current public-opinion polls indicate that hawkish Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu leads pro-settlement Talat by at least 9 percentage points. Though this writer strongly believes that Talat has a good chance of re-election, opinion polls thus indicate that the next Turkish Cypriot president might be a personality not as pro-settlement as Talat.

    Now there are claims as well that Christofias and Talat have agreed to an intensified negotiations schedule including at least four meetings a week starting in January even if they may not agree on a final settlement plan by the middle of February, when the process will be halted because of the elections, in order to prepare at least a general outline of the prospective settlement.

    Such a document would, of course, help Talat explain to his frustrated electorate his failure to live up to his 2005 election pledge to resolve the Cyprus problem within a year, regain some of his lost prestige and boost his chances of re-election. In a way, such a development would largely be an election gimmick.

    On the other hand, the expectation of a Cyprus opening has started to be created by Turkeys ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government. Yet there are claims from very credible sources that both in the power sharing and property headings, the sides may reach an almost agreement by mid-February and leave the guarantees, settlers and territorial headings until after the elections.

    With all my skepticism that there ever will be a federal Cyprus settlement, it appears the next few months will indeed be crucial for Cyprus.

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 01 December 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 01 December 2009:

    a) Cyprus issue:

    The contacts being held by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Ankara are important not only for the future of Cyprus but for the future of Turkish-EU relations, writes Murat Yetkin in an article in Radikal, enumerating the reasons why Ankara has given priority to the Cyprus issue at this stage: The Cyprus issue is on the agenda of the Erdogan-Obama meeting to be held in Washington on 7 December and Erdogan is expected to tell President Obama that Turkey believes that the issue will be on the path to a solution by March; the option of Erdogan raising the possibility of a two-state solution is not being considered; the date to be specified by Erdogan as the end of March has a significance because presidential elections are scheduled to be held in the occupied areas in April; the European Council, in its 10-11 December meeting, might discuss the issue of Turkey opening its ports to Cyprus registered vessels.

    An unattributed editorial in Hurriyet Daily News notes that the Turkish signature on the 2004 protocol obligates Turkey to open its ports to Cyprus registered vessels, adding that, however, the deal was for the EU "to revive a version of the stillborn Annan Plan and an easing of the de facto economic blockade on Turkish Cyprus, perhaps even the occasional direct flight." The editorial reminds all that the EU has done nothing in this regards and that Cyprus "has become the locus of EU bungling and incompetence."

    b) Turkish-EU relations:

    Detailing the many problems between Turkey and the EU in an article in Radikal, Deniz Zeyrek argues that not all have their source in Europe. Viewing the postponement of the Reform Watch Group meeting, which was supposed to be held in Konya on 24 November, as meaningful, Zeyrek maintains that it will be very difficult for the government to have the Customs Union Protocol endorsed in parliament, adding: "Even if the government in Turkey manages to get Mehmet Ali Talat reelected as the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, KKTC, the stand of the Greek Cypriots and their insistence on the issue of ports will create problems. The government should stop linking the solution to Talat's future and should take creative steps." Recalling the pressure a group of European countries led by Greece are applying on Turkey, which they view as the "transit country" with regards to the problem of migration, Zeyrek notes that Turkey's inclination to use this issue as a trump card against Europe has further strained Turkish-EU relations. Declaring that the accession negotiations are not advancing as foreseen, the writer reminds his readers of the many chapters that have not been opened to discussion, showing the social policies chapter as an example of one that has not been opened because of Turkey's shortcoming, namely of having failed to endorse the Law on Labor Unions. In conclusion, Zeyrek writes that if Turkey throws in the towel with regards to its EU accession, Germany and the sector it leads will not be in mourning, but will, on the contrary, be rejoicing, adding that, however, the European stand should not be an obstacle to implementing reforms in Turkey.

    c) Turkey's Middle East leadership:

    Expressing his skepticism about Turkey's aspiration to become a regional leader in an article in Radikal, Turker Alkan writes that Egypt's similar aspirations in the past ended in failure. Enumerating the various conflicts in the region, Alkan questions if it is possible to be the leader of so many Arab countries that cannot even reach an agreement among themselves. Also questioning why the various religious and pro-Shari'a countries in the Middle East would accept a secular Turkey as their leader, Alkan refutes the belief that Turkey has emerged victorious from the Iraq war. Recalling Barzani's recent statement that the Kurds should establish their own army, Alkan adds: "With this statement, Barzani has clearly stated his intention to establish an independent state. This might mean that a civil war might break out in our neighbor Iraq. Iraqi Kurds are trying to get closer to Turkey because there are apprehensive about the reaction of the Arabs. The Middle East is on the verge of mayhem. It is difficult for us to emerge as the leader from this chaos."

    d) WAN-IFRA condemnation:

    Referring to the statement issued at the end of annual meeting of WAN-IFRA, the global organization of the world's newspapers and news publishers, held in India in an article in Vatan, Gungor Mengi writes that the government should be ashamed of being included in this communiqué. Noting that the WAN-IFRA statement expresses concern about the oppressive policies implemented against the freedom of the press in Turkey, China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Philippines, Mengi points out that the statement also notes that the fine imposed on the Dogan Group as well as the incarceration of journalists within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation are all politically motivated and aim at silencing the opposition. The AKP government that has promised a European democracy to the Turkish people, has in the end included our country among despotic administrations such as China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Philippines, writes Mengi. Explaining that the appeal made to the Turkish government at the end of the communiqué to renounce its intimidation of the media is wrong in that it appeals to a functioning democracy forgetting that the legislative organ is under the control of the prime minister, explains Mengi.

    EG/


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