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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-02-05
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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. 24/10 05.02.10
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat asks for direct representation at the EP and establishment of a joint parliamentary committee between the EP and the TRNCUnder the title, We asked representation from the EP, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.02.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, met yesterday in Brussels with the President of the European Parliament (EP), Jerzy Buzek, and asked the direct representation of the Turkish Cypriots at the EP and the establishment of a joint parliamentary committee between the EP and the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr Talat stated that his demands have been noted and that it is difficult to secure consensus because many groups exist at the parliament. He added, however, that his views were conveyed to the President of the EP.
Meanwhile, Mr Buzek did not allow to the press to take their picture while he was shaking hands with Mr Talat. Asked to comment on the issue after the meeting, Mr Talat said that this was not important.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.10) refers to the issue under the title A complete insult and, citing information broadcast by Anatolia news agency, reports that Mr Buzek did not allow for their picture to be taken while they were shaking hands with Mr Talat, showing as pretext that their meeting was unofficial. The paper reports that the journalists were taken out of the room before the meeting and they were invited in to the room after the delegations sat at the table.
Noting that Talat did not realize the scandal, Kibris points out that a few hours before the meeting with Mr Talat, Mr Buzek had met with Leyla Zana, former MP of the closed DEP party in Turkey and allowed to the press to take their pictures when they were shaking hands. The paper notes that in his statements after the meeting with Mr Buzek, Mr Talat said that the handshaking with the EP President was sincere and that he did not realize that the members of the press were taken out of the room.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (05.02.10) refers to the same issue under the title New proposal from Talat to the EU and reports that Mr Talat alleged that it is extremely undesirable for the international institutions to take steps which could harm the ongoing negotiating process in Cyprus. He noted that everybody has a duty on this issue and that everybody should refrain from making interferences that could harm the negotiations. Mr Talat criticized the reports of the EP regarding Turkey and the verdict of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the Orams case.
Mr Talat stated that they demanded the establishment of a joint committee between the EP and the TRNC.
The paper reports that the meeting between Mr Talat and Mr Buzek was held last night in the building of the EP in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.02.10) reported the following from Brussels:
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat met Thursday with European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten.
Commenting on the draft report on Turkey, Talat criticized the recent amendments to the report, which urge Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus, resolve the issue of Turkish citizens settled in the island and allow Greek Cypriot access to Maras [closed city of Varosha]. He said such topics, which are subject matter of the extensive settlement talks in the island, was like throwing cold water on their efforts. Hopefully our initiatives and Turkey's attitude will pay off and some amendments (to Turkey progress report) will be made during the voting in the European Parliament, said Talat.
He said it was the Greek Cypriot side that pushed for the amendments at the European Parliament in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the settlement talks. Righteous reports and resolutions work, while unbalanced and unjust ones fail. If the draft progress report is adopted as it is, it will be the latter, said Talat.
The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee adopted last Wednesday a draft motion for a resolution on Turkey's progress report 2009. Sixty (60) committee members voted in favour of the draft report prepared by Dutch parliamentarian Ria Oomen-Ruijten, while 11 abstained. Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists acted together on several amendments to the report. It urges Turkish government to seek solutions to preserve the bicultural character of Turkish islands Gokceada and Bozcaada, and to address the problems encountered by Greek people with regard to their education and property rights. The European Parliament is scheduled to debate the report on February 10. Final parliamentary voting on the report is expected the next day.
 The breakaway regime decided to launch an investigation on the decision of the British Court of Appeals on the Orams caseTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.10) reports that the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime discussed yesterday the decision of the British Court of Appeals on the Orams case and decided by majority to launch an investigation on the issue. Addressing the assembly, the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), Serdar Denktas pointed out that many accusations were made regarding the process of this case and added that all these should be established and measures should be taken regarding possible future lawsuits. Mr Denktas noted that for this reason the establishment of a committee is important and added that there are steps which the breakaway regime and Turkey should take after the decision on the Orams case whatever the result of the investigation of their committee will be. He argued that these steps should be taken without waiting the results of the investigation of the committee. Mr Denktas noted that the only thing that has been said until now is that the house will not be demolished. He asked for the consideration of the problems, which the Orams couple and people who are in the same situation will face in Britain or in the EU, if the building is not demolished.
Furthermore, in his address, Irsen Kucuk, general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), said his party will support the proposal of the DP regarding the establishment of a committee for investigating the issue and added that taking measures against the Orams decision is as important as not waiting for the results of the investigation of this committee in order to take these measures.
Moreover, in his statements, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has said that his party will support the DPs proposal. He noted that former MPs such as Alper Orhon, Naci Talat and Ozker Ozgur had warned the assembly that expropriating the occupied Greek Cypriot properties and issuing title deeds for them would create problems with the international law. Pointing out that decisions taken by ignoring the international law could not bring solutions, Mr Soyer argued that in this situation it is inevitable for the path of Turkey to be blocked.
Finally, Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said the mistakes of the past lead to the current situation and pointed out that the DP, which today is proposing for the Turkish Cypriots not to go outside the international law, is a party which has violated this law. He argued that the CTP seems to forget that it has also violated this law, when it amended the ITEM law of the breakaway regime in cooperation with the DP. Mr Cakici said that the UBP is also violating the international law.
 Turkish Cypriot businessman files a lawsuit against the breakaway regime because it allocated to him occupied Greek Cypriot landUnder the front page title You deceived me, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.02.10) reports that the Blue Spa Tourism Ltd. (Mavi Kaplica Turism Ltd.) has filed the first law-suit to the so-called courts established in occupied Cyprus on the basis that the company has been allocated property for investments which belongs to the Greek Cypriots.
The paper writes: Within a short time, the Orams verdict showed its influence among us as well. Citizens, who have been allocated Greek Cypriot property for making investments, stand now in queue for filing lawsuits against the TRNC authorities The first law-suit was filed from the Blue Spa Tourism Ltd.
According to the paper, the Director of Blue Spa Tourism Ltd, Sonuc Mertoglu who was encouraged upon his return from Britain to make investments in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus and a plot which belongs to Greek Cypriots was allocated to him for constructing a tourism complex in the occupied Davlos village in occupied Trikomo region, has filed a law-suit to the courts in occupied Cyprus on the grounds that he has been deceived.
Mr Mertoglu said: For our investment plan, we requested a void or a similar government land to be given to us. However, we have never requested immovable property which belongs to a private or a legal Greek Cypriot entity or to Greek Cypriot citizens
Mertoglu, who worries that in any moment he can be called to face a law-suit similar to the Orams case, has filed a law-suit against the self-styled government, the so-called ministry of finance and the so-called ministry of tourism, environment and culture, the paper writes and adds that Mertoglu was encouraged to make investments in occupied Cyprus by the self-styled government itself.
In order to construct the tourism complex, Sonuc Mertoglu has received 950,000 US dollar loan from the Development Bank. For this investment, he has spent approximately 4,5 million pounds Sterling.
The lawsuit was filed to the court on 11January 2010.
 Eroglu says the Cyprus negotiations could not last foreverTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (05.02.10) reports that Dervis Eroglu, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, has said that the time for an agreement has come in Cyprus and added that either an agreement will be achieved or they will evaluate with Turkey the steps they should take. The paper writes that Mr Eroglu is continuing his contacts in London and met with Turkish Cypriot businessmen living in the British capital and the ambassador of Turkey, Yigit Alpogan. Mr Eroglu stated that his contacts were useful and expressed his satisfaction with the interest shown for him.
Mr Eroglu said he agrees with the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan who stated that the negotiations in Cyprus could not last forever. When asked to comment on this statement, he noted: I agree with him. Esteemed Erdogan is correct. This issue cannot continue at the negotiating tables. Besides, Ban Ki-moon has also said that it lasted too long. I am saying the same thing for many years. Our hair became white while following the Cyprus problem. I hope that the hair of our grandchildren will not become white in the same manner.
Mr Eroglu alleged that no one has the right to leave in darkness the future of the Turkish Cypriot people with endless discussions and added that people feel deeply sad because of debates such as is this house mine, am I going to leave this house, will Morfou or Varosha be returned?
In the meantime, Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.02.10) reported the following from London:
The prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), who is currently in London to hold a series of talks, said that he would carry on with the negotiation process in the island if he was elected TRNCs president in the upcoming elections.
Attending a meeting organized by Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce in the British capital on Thursday, TRNCs Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said that Greek Cypriots had made no contributions to the ongoing negotiation process in Cyprus and they had always been interested in what they would take. Noting that at least two parties and an intention were needed for an agreement, Eroglu said Turkish Cypriots had the intention to agree, but Greek Cypriots did not. We are not sitting at the negotiation table as equal parties. At one side sits the state recognized by the world, at the other side we sit as a community, he said.
Upon a question on how he would carry on with the peace talks if he was elected TRNCs new president, Eroglu said: If I am elected, I will maintain the process, however, I will sit at the table according to the support and the messages I get from my people. The Greek Cypriot party should not consider itself superior to me. Eroglu also said that he would sit at the table for Turkish Cypriot people, not to make Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias happy.
Commenting on the result of the Orams case as well, Eroglu said a party that desired an agreement in Cyprus should not file such cases. He said Cyprus issue was a political matter, not something that could be solved by the courts.
In January, the British Court of Appeals ruled that a British couple (Orams) could not keep their holiday villa in the TRNC [breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus]. The court of appeal decision upheld an earlier European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that will return the property to Meletis Apostolides, whose Greek Cypriot family had to leave the northern part of the island in 1974 after the Cyprus Peace Operation.
TRNCs Prime Minister Eroglu is expected to complete his talks and depart from London on Sunday.
 Ercakica says Eroglu might delegate the duty of holding the Cyprus negotiations to someone elseTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.02.10) publishes statements by Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, who said that in case Dervis Eroglu was elected as president, he might be obliged to delegate the duty of holding the Cyprus negotiations to someone else. Mr Ercakica made these statements speaking to journalist Cem Kar on the Oglen Ajansi (Noon Agency) program of Ada television.
Commenting on some statements made recently by Mr Eroglu that he will be a different president in case he will be elected to this position, Mr Ercakica said that Mr Eroglu should act now instead of waiting to become president in order to take steps. Mr Ercakica also noted that Mr Eroglu may face the need to assign the duty of holding the negotiations to someone else, in case he is elected president.
He said: If Mr Eroglu is elected he may have a lot of spare time. That is, if he is elected president he may really have much less time than the time Mr Talat devotes to the negotiations, because he may face the need to delegate this duty to others.
 Rauf Denktas alleges that Pendathaktylos Mountains will remain in the territory of the TRNC either an agreement is reached or notTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.10) reports that Rauf Denktas, former Turkish Cypriot leader, issued a written statement yesterday warning the EU officials that they have no right to say anything against the flags which the breakaway regime put on the Pendathaktylos Mountains. Mr Denktas alleged that Pendathaktylos Mountains will remain in the territory of the TRNC either an agreement is reached or not. Therefore, he claimed, the flags on the mountain are not a problem of the Greek Cypriots or the EU.
 European Parliaments delegation continues contacts in occupied CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (04.02.10) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Members of the European Parliaments High Level Contact Group for Relations with the Turks of Cyprus are continuing their contacts on the island.
Yesterday, the Contact Group was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat. Today, the delegation headed by vice-President of the European Parliament Libor Roucek meets with officials from the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce at working lunch in Lefkosia. In the afternoon, members of the Contact Group will hold separate discussions with political parties in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
 A Symposium on Cardiology will be held in the occupied areas of the Republic of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.02.10) reports that the 1st International Symposium of Cardiology will be held in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus between February 10 and 12. The symposium is organized by the illegal Near East University (YDU), the Cyprus Turkish Heart Association, the Turkish Cardiothoracic Surgeons Association and Turkeys Heart Diseases, Heart-Lung Transplanting Foundation. Many cardiologists from Turkey, Britain, America and Europe will participate and make a presentation at the symposium. The rector of the illegal YDU and the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Heart Association met yesterday with the speaker of the assembly, Hasan Bozer and invited him to deliver the opening speech of the symposium.
 The US Ambassador to Turkey said that they will continue to support a bizonal, bicommunal federation in CyprusTurkish daily Sabah newspaper (05.02.10) in its inside pages publishes the third and the last part of an interview with US Ambassador to Turkey, James Jeffrey, given to journalist Nur Batur. The US Ambassador evaluates Turkeys new foreign policy, the ties between Turkey and Armenia and the protocol signed between the two countries and issues related to Iraq and Cyprus.
Asked to answer questions concerning the Cyprus problem, James Jeffrey said the following:
Q: Lets come to the Cyprus problem. If Greek Cypriots accepted the Annan Plan, now the problem would be solved.
A: I do not want to enter into the discussion who was the one who made a mistake. However, Turkey undertook a brave step during that period. Maybe, other leaders would have acted differently. And why not!
Q: Do you believe that there is any chance for a solution until April, before Talats term ends up?
A: We do not expect a big success, but yet it is not impossible for this to happen. There were many times that progress was made. However, we saw that the results were not what we expected.
Q: Can the Czech-Slovakia model be implemented?
A: We will continue supporting the bizonal, bi-communal federation. We should exert efforts for the solution.
 Davutoglu calls for a Eurasian unionUnder the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.02.10) reported the following:
Given the European Unions peaceful environment, which is based on a joint economic basin, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called for the establishment of a similar union encompassing the Eurasia region.
There is a need to embark on a new vision in order to have the Eurasia region regains its historical importance, Davutoglu said on Thursday at a meeting organized by the Turkish-Eurasia Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Ankara. In addition to Davutoglu, Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz also participated in the meeting, which brought together ambassadors and commercial officers accredited at the embassies of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
If peace and welfare do not reign in Eurasia, it is not possible to make peace and welfare reign in the world, either. This region can export peace and welfare to the rest of the world, Davutoglu said in a speech delivered at the meeting, which aimed at dealing with new strategies for multilateral and regional cooperation.
In the absence of stability in Eurasia, this region can become the source of war and chaos in the entire world, Davutoglu warned, urging for the highest level of dialogue among Eurasian countries for the sake of global peace. The minister suggested revitalizing historical, economic and political relations which were maintained at the time thanks to the Silk Road via todays railroads, highways and air links.
The western and eastern ends of Eurasia should be reconnected, Davutoglu said, while underlining that the region should also serve as a link between energy-supplying countries and energy-receiving countries. We can become the power engine of the worlds economy.
Later on Thursday, Davutoglu and Dussanbay Kasseinov, the secretary-general of the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), signed a host country agreement.
TURKSOY was founded in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 1993 upon Turkeys initiative. TURKSOY, which has diplomatic status as an international organization, began its activities within the same year. TURKSOY member countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), the Gagauzia Autonomous Region of Moldova and some autonomous republics of the Russian Federation --the Altai Republic, the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Republic of Khakassia, the Saha (Yakutistan) Federal Republic, the Republic of Tatarstan and the Tuva Republic-- participate in TURKSOYs activities as observers.
The official language of TURKSOY is Turkish, and its headquarters is in Ankara. The signing of the host country agreement on Thursday aims at outlining legal privileges and immunities of TURKSOY staff during their activities in Turkey. The agreement is expected to facilitate TURKSOYs activities here and lead to concrete contributions to the organization.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.02.10) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan said on Thursday that unemployment was the most important problem of global economic crisis.
Speaking at the seventh diplomatic mission representatives' meeting of Turkish-Eurasian Business Councils hosted by Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Ankara, Caglayan said Turkey's foreign trade volume with Eurasian countries was 2 billion U.S. dollars in 1992, and the figure has reached 56 billion U.S. dollars in 2008. Unfortunately, trade volume dropped to 35 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 due to global economic crisis, he said. Turkey is among the least affected countries by global economic crisis, Caglayan said.
He said Turkey made investments in several areas such as education and construction in Eurasian countries and those investments exceeded 15 billion U.S. dollars.
 Turkish government annuls EMASYA protocolTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.02.10) reports the following:
The Interior Ministry has announced that the Protocol on Cooperation for Security and Public Order (EMASYA), which has been harshly criticized for allowing the military to conduct operations and intelligence gathering in cities without the approval of the civilian administration, has finally been quashed.
The announcement came on Thursday from Interior Minister Besir Atalay, who has been coordinating governmental efforts to get rid of the controversial document. He said he had a meeting with Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug earlier this week in order to abolish EMASYA. We have made the decision to abolish the protocol. Lt. Gen. Mehmet Ersoz, the head of the General Staff's Operations Department, and Interior Ministry Undersecretary Osman Gunes have signed off on the decision, which has been circulated to the General Staff and all governor's offices, he said.
The move was fervently welcomed by analysts and observers who spoke to Today's Zaman. I see no harm in the abolishment of EMASYA. It was an unnecessary protocol. Its demise will not harm our country's security, stated Mahir Kaynak, a terror and intelligence specialist. The controversial protocol was signed by the General Staff and the Interior Ministry on July 7, 1997, and empowers the military to intervene in social incidents on its own initiative. EMASYA gave the military the authority to gather intelligence against internal threats. Although the protocol has been severely criticized by politicians and analysts over the years, it has remained in force. Resat Petek, a retired chief public prosecutor, underlined that the cancellation of the protocol was a necessity for a country governed by the rule of law. The Constitution and other laws prevail in a country governed by the rule of law. However, EMASYA was signed after the February 28  postmodern coup between the General Staff and the Interior Ministry. It enabled the armed forces to intervene in social incidents without a directive from a governors office. It contradicts both the Law on Provincial Administrations and related legislation, Petek remarked.
EMASYA is believed to be a product of the February 28 coup, during which the military overthrew the coalition government led by Necmettin Erbakan of the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP).
Petek also recalled that the protocol was used as an excuse by a wing of the armed forces to make preparations for a military takeover. The abolition of EMASYA was a must for Turkey, he added.
Debates over EMASYA flared up last month after a retired general confessed to having drafted an alleged military plan to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in accordance with the protocol. The plan, titled the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) Security Operation Plan, includes a subversive TSK plot to take control of the country through a series of violent acts. The retired prosecutor, however, warned that the move against the protocol would not eradicate the impact of military tutelage in Turkey. Unless civilian bodies take the necessary steps to fully eliminate military tutelage in the country, Turkey will not escape illegal and anti-democratic initiatives in the future, according to Petek.
The move against EMASYA came shortly after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly vowed to do away with the covert protocol. In a televised interview with journalists on Sunday, the prime minister pledged to take all the required steps --both legal and administrative-- to eliminate EMASYA. No such thing as the EMASYA protocol can exist. We are taking the necessary steps to abolish it. We will conclude our work to that end soon. This is a protocol, not a law. We will make legal changes if necessary to abolish the protocol, he said.
Similarly, President Abdullah Gul stated earlier this week that the country no longer needs the protocol and it should be voided.
In addition, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug told a Turkish daily that the protocol could be eliminated, as Turkey does not need it.
The protocol may be abolished. There is no need for it. The law gives [the military] necessary authority, the military chief stated during an interview with a group of journalists from the Hurriyet daily. The military chief also expressed reluctance about intervening in social incidents. No army would want to intervene in social incidents. What army would like to challenge the public? Would we [the TSK] like this idea? Surely not, he stated.
According to Altan Tan, a Kurdish writer and intellectual, the government was far too late in getting rid of the document. The protocol had many negative impacts on society. The military should not be authorized (to interfere in social incidents) in a country ruled under a civilian administration. We have governors and other civilian authorities. Members of the military should function under those authorities, he remarked.
Hasim Hasimi, a former deputy, said the abolishment of the covert document was a democratic requirement for Turkey. The protocol still being in force did not conform to democratic principles. The person responsible for order in a province should be the governor. This is the case worldwide. Turkey made bad decisions for security reasons in the past. Some chronic problems remain unsolved due to those decisions, he complained.
 Turkey to establish human rights watchdogUnder the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (05.02.10) reports the following:
The government has taken one more step forward within the framework of the democratic initiative by establishing a state institution to deal with human rights violations and make proposals to prevent them.
The bill regarding the establishment of the Human Rights Institution was sent to Parliament last week. The institution will monitor developments related to human rights and will receive complaints about violations and discrimination along with proposals to prevent human right abuses. The institutions decisions will be made by the Human Rights Council, which will consist of a president, a deputy president and members who will be selected by the Cabinet. The members of the council will be from different NGOs, universities and occupational organizations in order to reflect the diverse opinions on the issues. All members will have a four-year term and may only be selected for one additional term.
However, the first president and deputy president of the institution will remain in post for six years and four of the members will also work for six years for their first term at the council. The selection of the council members will be determined two months after the law is put into effect.
The new institution will prepare and publish reports on problems in the field of human rights and on the performance and progress of state organs concerning the protection of human rights. The institution will carry out projects and campaigns with the cooperation of the relevant civil society institutions to encourage the public not to ignore human rights violations and be more aware of discrimination.
The institutions decisions will not be announced to the public if the institution does not deem it necessary. Decisions will be conveyed to the relevant state institutions within five days of having been made. However, the institution will issue information through its Web site on its budget and expenditure.
The Human Rights Institution will be composed of different departments which are responsible for fighting against torture and mistreatment, legal regulations, external relations and documentation. Individuals who have faced human rights violations and discrimination can apply to the institution.
The institution will have regular meetings with related state institutions, NGOs, universities, experts on the media and researchers every three months with the aim of considering recent developments in terms of human rights and exchanging views.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Turkish columnist alleges that Ankaras position will determine the Cyprus talks after the illegal election in occupied CyprusUnder the title, The EU paints itself into a corner in Cyprus, Hurriyet Daily News (04.02.10) publishes the following article by Semih Idiz:
Granted, it is not the most exciting or interesting of international disputes --except for those who are directly concerned or involved, of course. But U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons visit to Cyprus last weekend has turned world attention to the problem once again, even if only momentarily.
Judging by the press coverage of the visit, however, it seems that few people, if any, are holding their breath for an early breakthrough to the Cyprus problem that has defied all attempts at settlement to date.
Ban himself made it clear on arriving on the island that he was under no illusion that the Cyprus problem is easy to solve or about the difficulties that you face, even if he did go on to say he was still confident a solution was possible and within reach.
There is some news from the south of the island, to the effect that the Greek Cypriot government has accepted some Turkish demands for the power-sharing formula that presidents Talat and Christofias are currently trying to hammer out in a series of intensified talks.
Past experience, nevertheless, tells us that caution is the best approach in the face of such news concerning Cyprus. Nowhere is it more apparent that the opera does not end until the fat lady sings, as the saying goes, than in Cyprus. In short, the fat lady has not sung on Cyprus yet, and, to be honest, it is not even clear if there is a fat lady in this case.
All that is known is that there is a deadline of sorts, namely April 18, when the Turkish northern part of the island goes for presidential elections, and is expected to elect hardliner Dervis Eroglu, if one is to go by the polls being conducted.
The fear is that Eroglu, who is known as someone who favours a division of the island and much closer ties with Turkey, will scuttle whatever headway presidents Talat and Christofias have managed to make to date. Whether Eroglu will be that free to act as he wants, however, is a wide open question.
In fact, it is very unlikely that he will have enough political clout to overcome any resistance from Ankara to his resistance in the Cyprus talks. In other words, his actions will ultimately be guided by what Ankara says, given that northern Cyprus is dependent on Turkey for just about everything.
What will therefore determine the future of the Cyprus talks after the Turkish Cypriot presidential elections will be Ankaras position, more than what Eroglu may say or do. What will work to Eroglus advantage, however, is that there is little reason at the present time for Turkey to put the Cyprus question on a fast track for a settlement.
Ankara, of course, argues that any settlement must be worked out very carefully to ensure it does not lead the island to another crisis, or series of crises, such as the ones that culminated in the events of 1974. It says that what is more important is a good agreement, rather than a bad agreement that is hurried through for political reasons.
Ankara has also made it clear in various ways that any threat or enticement coming from Europe for it to act on Cyprus, in order to thus enhance its EU prospects, simply does not provide any incentive to make it hurry. Professor Ludger Kuhnhardt from the political science department at the University of Bonn puts the reasons for this in bland and succinct terms in a recent piece he wrote on the topic.
Kuhnhardt, who also heads the Centre for European Integration Studies, or ZEI, wrote the following in the December edition of the centres EU-Turkey Monitor:
As long as many in the EU are hoping that EU membership negotiations with Turkey will not lead to membership, the EU cannot expect Turkey to hope that moving on Cyprus will lead to a better reputation or even to faster EU membership. As long as the Republic of Cyprus can insist on unanimity in EU foreign-policy making, the EU as a whole can hardly become an honest broker in the process of resolving the Cyprus issue.
When looked at from another angle, these remarks also make something else very clear. Something, that is, which cannot be much to the liking of the Greek Cypriot side. The Greek Cypriot governments hold over the EU, in blocking Ankaras EU path, in fact makes it less likely there will be a settlement any time soon, not more likely.
Put another way, both the EUs carrots and the Greek Cypriots sticks are simply not big enough to make Ankara budge on Cyprus at the present time --beyond, that is, what is necessary as a minimum diplomatic requirement.
The fact that the EU has not been able to come up with a fair and honest formula for Turkish Cypriots, who endorsed the EU-supported Annan Plan rejected by the Greek Cypriots at the time, simply aggravates the problem, of course.
This only confirms to the Turkish side that the EU is not, and cannot be an honest player in Cyprus. That role remains with the U.N. Security Council and its key members; namely the United States, Russia and Great Britain --which is also a Guarantor Power for Cyprus.
The problem, however, is that there is very little incentive for these powers to force a Cyprus settlement at the present time, because the current status quo is not the cause of any tangible instability in the eastern Mediterranean. These powers say they want a solution as soon as possible, of course, but their actions belie their words.
The ultimate irony here is that the EU is the one side that really needs a settlement today because of the problems it imported into the union by admitting only the Greek Cypriot side (i.e. the side that spoiled the chances for a settlement in 2003) as a full member. Yet it has become part of the problem itself, delaying, and perhaps even preventing, the very settlement it needs.
Professor Kuhnhardt also points to this when he indicates that Cyprus is the one dilemma the EU has intentionally aggravated by accepting the EU membership of the Republic of Cyprus. He concludes by saying that the EU as a whole is not in the position to impose its normative philosophy on Turkey as long as its strategic interests can by vetoed by the Republic of Cyprus.
Given this overall picture, it appears that the EU is the side that has really painted itself into a corner here. It is now faced with a very difficult situation that will need all the diplomatic prowess of her new foreign minister to get out of --extremely difficult, if not impossible, as this may seem.