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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-18
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 240/09 18.12.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce called on the EU Commission to intervene for the difficulties of the Green Line RegulationTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.12.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) met yesterday with the Head of the Task Force for the Turkish Cypriot community at the European Commission in Brussels, Mr Andrew Rasbash.
The Chairman of KTTO, Mr Gunay Cerkez, in a statement after the meeting, said that they discussed the difficulties that they experience with the Green Line Regulation as well as the Financial Aid. Mr Cerkez called on the EU Commission to intervene at high level in order to find a solution to their problems. He alleged that many people are victimized due to arbitrary and inconsistent practices of the Green Line Regulation. Mr Cerkez also gave to Mr Rasbash a report that was prepared by experts of KTTO regarding the problems stemming from the Regulation.
 The Turkish Municipality of Lefkosia hosted a reception for the foreign diplomats in CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.12.09) reports that within the framework of the celebration of the new year the Turkish Municipality of Lefkosia (LTB) hosted a reception for the foreign diplomats in Cyprus. The illegal Turkish Ambassador Sakir Fakili, the Slovak Ambassador Anna Turenicova, the German Ambassador Gottfried Zeitz, the Czech Ambassador Jan Bondy as well as US Consul Andrew Ellisa attended the reception. Officers from the U.S Embassy, the French Embassy and the EU Bureau were also in the reception.
 Row over the period of leasing Greek Cypriot properties to Turks and IsraelisTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (18.12.09), in its front page under the title For Turks 49 years, for Israelis 99 years, reports that while the occupation regime leases land in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus for the Turkish Cypriots and the Turks for 49 years, it leases the land for the Israelis for 99 years.
According to the paper, an area in the occupied villages of Vokolida and Trikomo has been leased to fifteen Turkish Cypriots and Turkish businessmen for 49 years for investments of one billion five million dollars. An Israeli company is trying to lease 237 acres of land in the area of Peninsular Heights in the occupied village of Aegialousa for 99 years for an investment of 200 million dollars.
Businesswoman Sidika Atalay, adviser of the foreign company headed by the Israeli businessman David Lewis, announced that in the area they will construct a marina and two hotels. She also added that 49 year-lease is not enough for their project.
 The Union of Turkish Cypriots living abroad handed over a report to DownerTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.12.09) reports that the representative of the Union of Turkish Cypriots living abroad Kerem Hasan met yesterday with the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer, and handed over to him a report on the Cyprus problem.
The report refers to issues like the effects of the isolation on the Turkish Cypriots, the results of the Annan plan referendum, the socioeconomic situation of the Turkish Cypriots who live abroad, as well as proposals on these issues.
Mr Hasan briefed Mr Downer regarding their organization noting that they have representatives in the U.S.A, Australia, Britain and Germany. He also added that they represent a large number of Turkish Cypriots who live in different places. Finally, Mr Hasan said that they want political equality, their own state and lifting of the isolation.
 Azeri delegation visited the director of illegal BRTIllegal Bayrak television (17.12.09) broadcast the following:
A delegation consisting of owners and journalists of some Azeri newspapers has visited the Director of the Bayrak Radio Television Corporation. Ways to improve relations between the two countries were discussed during the visit.
During the reception, the BRT Director Ozer Kanli explained that the Cyprus Turkish People waged an existence struggle against attacks by Greek-Greek Cypriot duo in 1963 and complained the TRNC which was established at the end of this struggle is not recognized by various countries, except from Motherland Turkey, because such a move will not serve their interests.
Emphasizing his determination to improve relations between the two countries, Mr Kanl1 said cooperation between Azeri state television and BRT will be strengthened through the protocol signed between the two institutions.
For his part, the Head of the Azeri Journalists Union Elcin S1kl1 who is the owner and general director of Ayna newspaper pointed out that Azerbaijan took its place in the international community at the end of a struggle but added that the Upper Karabakh problem is still continuing.
Mr S1kl1 noted that Azerbaijan will launch a campaign for the recognition of the TRNC soon after solving the Upper Karabakh problem.
 Efforts for indirect recognition through FIFA employeeUnder the title MTG applied to FIFA, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (18.12.2009) reports that the president of the Turkish Cypriot football team Magusa Turk Gucu (MTG), Halil Falyali, sent a CD of the soccer game between the Turkish Cypriot football teams of Kioneli and MTG to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) asking for their judgment regarding a penalty that was not given in favor of the MTG football team. According to the paper, Mr Halil Falyali asked FIFAs opinion by sending a CD of the match through a closed friend of his who is a FIFA employee.
 Statements by Swedens ambassador to Turkey on the latest COREPER decisionHurriyet Daily News.com (17.12.09) publishes the following from Ankara:
While Turkey expresses on every occasion its determination to press ahead with EU talks, it is also frustrated with Greek Cypriot attempts to hijack the accession negotiations. EU diplomats urge Ankara not to be provoked and concentrate on the opening of the environment chapter next Monday
The Greek Cypriot threat to veto six chapters in Turkeys EU accession negotiations should not be treated as a provocation, diplomats say, urging Ankara to concentrate on the environmental policy area.
The environment chapter is expected to be opened at an intergovernmental conference next Monday.
A senior EU diplomat in Ankara said the Greek Cypriot demand did not figure on the agenda of the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Dec. 8.
'There was no discussion of that demand. It is a unilateral statement Cyprus made when the EU foreign ministers discussed the enlargement package', Swedish Ambassador to Turkey Christer Asp told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
Asked if that was an EU decision, Asp stressed: 'No, not at all. It is a position by Cyprus, not by any other EU country'.
Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said after the EU meeting last Tuesday that Greek Cyprus intends to set conditions for the opening of six future chapters in Turkeys EU entry talks, drawing ire from Ankara.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin, in a counter-statement, slammed the Greek Cypriots intentions and said any attempt to carry problems in bilateral relations to an EU platform through biased approaches would not bring any benefit.
Britain tries hard to keep Turkish-EU talks alive
The Greek Cypriot attempt to hijack Turkeys EU talks also drew criticism from Britain, a strong advocate of Turkish membership. Diplomatic sources said Britain was expected to make a declaration either Thursday, after the EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels, or next Monday in order to maintain the momentum in the Turkish-EU talks.
According to some press reports, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband walked out of the December 8 summit of EU foreign ministers in protest of the Greek Cypriot threat. Diplomatic sources, however, told the Daily News that there was 'no dramatic walkout' or similar event due to the Greek Cypriots, and explained that Miliband had to leave the meeting in question early because he had another appointment the same day.
The British declaration is expected to highlight the countrys long-term position encouraging the opening of more chapters in the Turkish-EU talks.
'We are reaching a very sensitive phase in various negotiations, be it Cyprus talks or Turkeys accession negotiations', said a diplomatic source who requested anonymity. 'Whats important is to keep as calm as possible. Turkey should try not to see last weeks unilateral action by the Cypriots as a provocation to them. That would not be in anybodys interest'.
The diplomatic source also welcomed a recent statement made by Turkeys chief negotiator for EU talks, Egemen Bag1s, as 'very measured' and 'sensible'.
While in Washington last week, Bag1s referred to the EU declaration of regret over Ankara s failure to open its ports to Greek Cyprus, saying. 'Although the pressure of one EU member state made this decision include certain elements we are not content with, the statement reaffirms Turkeys accession bid and prevents the negotiating process from coming across any obstacles'.
Eyes on opening environment chapter
Turkish diplomats say efforts are now underway for the expected opening of the environment chapter at the intergovernmental conference. On Saturday, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will convene a ministerial body, the Reform Watch Group, in Ankara to supervise the implementation of EU-inspired reforms.
'We are concentrating on opening the environment chapter, which will be very significant and a step forward in the accession negotiation. We hope to open it Monday', said Ambassador Asp, whose country currently holds the EU term presidency.
Asp highlighted that the momentum in Turkish-EU talks was alive and said the opening of the environment chapter would be the most significant of all to date because it was one of the most comprehensive chapters in any accession negotiation.
'That will show that accession negotiations are on track', the ambassador said, adding, 'Of course, unilateral statements made by Cyprus are binding only Cyprus'.
 Estonian Foreign Minister due to Turkey. The Cyprus problem among the matters of discussion during his meeting with DavutogluTodays Zaman newspaper (18.12.09) reports the following:
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet will pay an official visit to Turkey today to discuss Turkish-Estonian bilateral relations as well as Turkeys bid to join the European Union with Turkish officials, the Foreign Ministry has announced in a statement.
Paet is expected to have talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss the growing bilateral relations between two countries, the statement, released on Wednesday, said. The two foreign ministers are also expected to discuss Turkeys EU membership process, NATO-EU cooperation, the Cyprus problem and global and regional issues.
The Estonian foreign ministers last visit to Turkey was in April of this year when he attended the opening ceremony of the Common Visa Representation Center, which accepts Schengen visa applications for Slovenia and Estonia, meaning Turkish citizens traveling to these countries no longer have to go to Ankara to obtain visas.
 Israeli Defense Minister to visit Turkey next monthTodays Zaman newspaper (18.12.09) reports the following:
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will visit Turkey next month for talks with his Turkish counterpart, Vecdi Gonul, an Israeli news report said on Thursday.
The report on the Web site of Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Turkish Ambassador to Israel Oguz Celikkol conveyed the invitation to Barak at a meeting on Thursday.
Baraks visit, if realized, will be the second ministerial visit from Israel to Turkey since relations deteriorated in the wake of an Israeli offensive in Gaza in January that left about 1,400 Palestinians dead. President Abdullah Gul had planned to visit Israel early this year, but the plans were canceled amid the crisis in ties. Israeli Minister for Industry, Trade and Labor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who became the first Israeli minister to visit Turkey following the Gaza crisis, invited Gul to visit Israel but was told by Turkish leaders that Israel should act to improve the tragic humanitarian conditions in Gaza first. Gul is expected to decide whether to visit Israel following a visit by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose trip date is yet to be set.
Barak said he views the visit as an important part of relations between Israel and Turkey. 'Turkey is a main factor in the region and an important axis between Israel and its neighbors', he was quoted as saying by Haaretz.
Haaretz also reported that Israeli and Turkish officials are working to get Israeli President Shimon Peres and Gul to meet on the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate summit. The behind-the-scenes efforts are a bid to take advantage of the leaders joint presence at the meeting aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, the report said. The leaders meeting is planned for Thursday or Friday morning.
 Turkey among the countries with high restrictions on religious freedom, a report showsTodays Zaman newspaper (18.12.09) reports the following:
Turkey is among 33 countries whose governments impose 'high' restrictions on religion, according to a report released by the US-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The report, titled 'Global Restrictions on Religion' and released Wednesday, finds that 64 nations -- about one-third of the countries in the world -- have 'high' or 'very high' restrictions on religion. But because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, nearly 70 percent of the world's 6.8 billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities. US allies Saudi Arabia and Egypt are among 10 mostly Muslim nations whose governments impose the most curbs on religion, according to the report.
Afghanistans government also ranked poorly, highlighting a potentially sensitive diplomatic flashpoint as President Barack Obama sends more US troops to the Central Asian country to quell a growing insurgency. Switzerland, which recently banned the construction of minarets, on the other hand, was listed among countries where there are 'low' restrictions on religious freedoms.
The report ranked countries by two measures: government restrictions on religion and restrictions from violence or intimidation by private individuals or groups. Saudi Arabia was the only country to rank 'very high' in both measures.
Both lists rank 198 countries worldwide and are based on scales of 0-10. The rankings fall under four categories: 'Very High', 'High', 'Moderate' and 'Low'. The first index ranked 10 mostly Muslim countries as having 'very high' restrictions on religion. It also included China and mostly Buddhist Myanmar. According to the same index, Turkey is ranked among 33 countries where government restrictions on religion are 'high'. Russia, Greece, Bulgaria and Belarus are also in the same group.
'But the list of countries with high restrictions also contains some that are widely seen as democratic, such as Turkey and Israel. Israels score is driven up by security policies that sometimes have the effect of limiting access to religious sites, and by its preferential treatment of Orthodox Jews. The government recognizes only Orthodox Jewish religious authorities in some personal status matters [such as marriage] concerning Jews and devotes the bulk of state funds provided for religion to Orthodox Jews, even though they make up only a small portion of all Jews in Israel. Among the factors in Turkeys score is that millions of Alevi Muslims, a minority whose beliefs and practices differ in significant ways from Sunni Islam, are required to receive Sunni Muslim religious instruction in state schools. During the period studied, Alevis had numerous court cases pending against the Ministry of Education regarding forced religious instruction', the Pew Forum said in its analysis of the Government Restrictions Index (GRI).
The GRI is based on 20 questions used by the Pew Forum to assess state curbs on religion at the national, provincial and local levels.
'Is public preaching by religious groups limited by any level of government? ' and 'Taken together, how do the constitution/basic law and other national laws and policies affect religious freedom?' are among the questions asked.
By region, the Middle East and North Africa were the most restrictive, while the Americas were the least. The governments of sub-Saharan Africa were ranked less restrictive than those of Europe, the report said.
'The relatively high government restrictions score for Europes 45 countries is due in part to former communist countries, such as Russia, which have replaced state atheism with state-favored religions that are accorded special protections or privileges', the report said.
 Turkey announces budget deficit as 30.8 billion USDAnkara Anatolia news agency (17.12.09) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Finance Ministry announced on Thursday the budget deficit as 30.8 billion USD in the first 11 months of 2009. The ministry made public the budget performances in November and the first eleven months of 2009, and said the budget deficit was 46.3 billion Turkish liras (30.8 billion USD) in the first 11 months of the year.
Also, the ministry said the budget deficit in November 2009 was 3.1 billion TL (2 billion USD). The budget expenditures were 20.9 billion TL (13.9 billion USD), and revenues were 17.8 billion TL (11.8 billion USD) in November.
In the first 11 months, the budget expenditures were 239.5 billion TL (159.6 billion USD), whereas the revenues were 193.1 billion TL (128.7 billion USD). The budget surplus was 1.2 billion TL (800 million USD) in November and 5.8 billion TL (3.8 billion USD) in the first 11 months.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in Hurriyet Daily News.com assesses the decision of the EU to open the environment chapter as one step ahead for Turkeys accession talksHurriyet Daily News.com (17.12.09) under the title: Cyprus settlement up to Greek side publishes the following commentary by Semih Idiz:
We are arriving at a critical juncture in the Cyprus problem. Not, however, due to any outside pressure by the European Union or anyone else. It is clear that the talks between presidents Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris Christofias cannot go on forever. In other words, time is running out.
There was talk at the beginning of the year about punitive measures against Turkey if Ankara did not comply with the EUs demands over Cyprus by December. But it is clear now that this will not be happening, despite the diplomatic efforts of the Greek Cypriot side.
Instead, it seems the chapter on the environment, which the Greek Cypriots were trying to block, will be opened, thus taking Turkeys accession talks one step ahead, albeit a small step.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou announced after all this became apparent that his country would unilaterally veto talks on six other chapters labor mobility, fundamental rights, the justice system, education, foreign policy and energy in the future if Turkey does not comply with EU demands.
It is a fact that Greek Cypriot power in the EU against Turkey is relative to certain EU members desire to block Ankaras accession path.
Because there is no EU consensus on Turkey, the Greek Cypriots find a playing field for themselves in Brussels, even if this does not amount to the power they would like to have against Ankara.
But all that will happen in the coming days is that Turkey will get a message of disapproval from the EU Council for not having complied with the requirement to open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships.
Turkey will not, however, change its position until the EU side honors its promises to lift the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, or until a settlement is reached in the Cyprus talks. And life will go on.
In other words, Turkeys punishment will be nothing more than a continuation of the existing punishment, which involves the suspension of talks in eight chapters due to the fact that Ankara refuses to open its ports to Greek Cypriot ships.
Then there is the additional punishment of the five chapters unilaterally frozen by France, a matter that has nothing to do with Cyprus. If the Greek Cypriots unilaterally freeze six other chapters, then the whole Turkey-EU business will become a farce.
The simple fact is that the prospect of EU membership does not provide a big enough carrot anymore for Turks, and the threat to stop this process in its tracks does not provide a big enough stick to make Turkey budge. The latest Eurobarometer poll shows further decline in the confidence Turks have in the EU, which makes the EUs carrots and sticks even more flaccid.
For most Turks, admitting Greek Cyprus into the EU after it rejected the U.N.-sponsored and EU-supported settlement plan in 2004 was the most significant indicator of dishonesty toward the Turkish side. Turks saw then that no matter how compliant they may be on Cyprus, they will always be relegated to the background in favor of Greek Cyprus.
When the EU Commission attempted to redress this injustice through a direct trade package for northern Cyprus, it was promptly blocked by the Greek Cypriots (with moral support from anti-Turkish elements in the EU). This development only increased the distrust in the European Union.
So the Greek Cypriot side faces a serious dilemma today. Its initial calculation was that EU membership was considered by Turks to be such a reward that the Turkish side would be forced to come to a certain position on Cyprus because of this. But this strategy failed, and Greek Cypriot threats, such as the one mentioned above by Kyprianou, ring hollow today.
The fact is that Turkey has achieved critical mass in terms of its economy and has a growing political and strategic importance.
It is therefore unlikely that the Greek Cypriot administration will be able to block the critical chapters named by Kyprianou. Put another way, the foreign ministers wishes will only be fulfilled to the extent that he gets support from anti-Turkish elements in the EU.
But areas such as the justice system, foreign policy and energy are crucial for the EU too, for a host of objective reasons that far transcend Greek Cypriot interests. If, however, Greek Cypriots succeed in blocking these chapters, Turkeys distrust of the EU will peak. This in turn will make any pressure by the EU on Ankara over Cyprus even less effective than it is today.
News reports and certain statements from key EU officials indicate that politicians and strategists in Europe are wary of pushing Turkey too far, knowing full well that an alienated Turkey is not in Europes interests.
It must also be noted that it is strange that the Greek Cypriot side should still be trying to pull the carpet out from under the Turkish side through its EU membership while continuing talks with the Turkish Cypriots at the same time. One would not expect a country negotiating in good faith to do this.
But since it is doing this, it is clear that the Greek Cypriot side is looking for a last-minute political miracle of some sort that will put an end to the Cyprus talks. There seems to be a desire to turn the clock back to a situation in full compliance with Greek Cypriot demands.
The past 35 years have shown, however, that this is a pipe dream. The simple fact is that if a settlement cannot be found soon, we will be heading for permanent division of the island.
While they overwhelmingly rejected the United Nations blueprint for a settlement in 2004, Greek Cypriots have to be aware that the key aspects of any settlement for Cyprus will not be much different than the Annan Plan they rejected.
If a permanent division on Cyprus occurs, it will be interesting to see to what extent the EU will come down on Turkey for the sake of the Greek Cypriots. Especially since the whole world now knows that the best chance for a settlement was scuttled by Greek Cyprus in 2004, increasing the prospects for division.
Looking at the proverbial big picture, something tells us that the EU will disappoint Greek Cypriots if that day of division ever comes.
If, however, the Greek Cypriot administration is serious about a settlement this time, then it will not find a more propitious moment to act accordingly. So, yes, the Cyprus settlement is up to Greek side.