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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 10-04-06

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. 61/10 01- 06.04.10

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat evaluates the negotiation process in Cyprus during a press conference held in occupied Lefkosia
  • [02] Turkish Foreign Ministry issues a press release regarding the latest developments in Cyprus
  • [03] Reactions to Talats press conference
  • [04] Statement by Talat during his visits in occupied villages in the framework of his election campaign
  • [05] Eroglu repeats that he will make no concessions at the table of the negotiations
  • [06] New ambassador is appointed to occupied Lefkosia; Turkish Cypriot columnist wonders why Ankara took this decision a few days before the elections
  • [07] BKP extends its support to Talats candidature
  • [08] Public opinion polls show that Eroglu is ahead of Talat by more than 10%
  • [09] European parliamentarians of Turkish origin illegally visited the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [10] The director of a casino in the occupied areas of Cyprus was abducted in Northern Iraq while looking for clients
  • [11] The Turkish Boz Group made a 220-million-dollar investment in occupied Cyprus
  • [12] Turkey appoints new ambassadors
  • [13] Erdogan to visit the U.S; Namik Tan to return to his post in Washington
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] Columnist alleges that Eroglu will be forced by AKP to continue Talats line over Cyprus
  • [15] Turkish daily argues that AKP started engaging in efforts to influence the Turkish Cypriot electorate in favour of Talat

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat evaluates the negotiation process in Cyprus during a press conference held in occupied Lefkosia

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.04.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat and members from his negotiations team have held a press conference to publicize the issues of agreement and disagreement discussed at comprehensive peace talks launched in September 2008.

    Addressing the crowd at the conference in [occupied] Lefkosia, Talat pointed to the significant progress achieved on chapters of Governance and Power-Sharing, European Union Matters and the Economy, and stressed that they remained committed to the solution grounds of the United Nations during all this time. He reminded that joint papers were prepared on 31 issues, a first in Cyprus negotiations history.

    Stating that the Greek Cypriot motivation for a solution was diminished with its unilateral EU membership, the President, yet, said that there has been an expectation towards an early solution as a result of significant convergence reached between the two sides. He also referred to Turkeys full support to the process which he said helped him to stay determined.

    Following Talats speech, his special representative for negotiations Ozdil Nami, law expert Tufan Erhurman, the Head of the EU Coordination Office Erhan Ercin and Mustafa Besim informed the public on which issues the two sides agreed and disagreed. Speeches were later followed by the question-answer session.

    [02] Turkish Foreign Ministry issues a press release regarding the latest developments in Cyprus

    The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following press release regarding Cyprus on its webpage ( HYPERLINK "http://www.mfa.gov.tr" www.mfa.gov.tr) on 01.04.10:

    Two years have passed since the commencement of the ongoing negotiation process in order to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue. Under the negotiations within the UN framework, the two leaders have met more than 70 times and there have been many other meetings at the technical level. The number of meetings is more than those held during the Annan Plan process. The Turkish Cypriot side conducted the process with a sincere, constructive and dynamic approach, taking numerous initiatives in order to intensify and accelerate the negotiations and reach an agreement. Thanks to the constructive approach of the Turkish side, there has been considerable progress in the negotiations. The Turkish Cypriot side also spent maximum effort for taking this progress under record, thus preparing the ground for concluding the process with a just and lasting settlement as soon as possible.

    During the visit of the UN Secretary-General to the Island on 1 February 2010, the Turkish Cypriot side also tried to record the progress made within the framework of its Governance and Power Sharing package bridging proposal of 4 January 2010, aiming at determining the structure and functioning of the new Partnership that shall emerge from the comprehensive settlement. Unfortunately, due to the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side, it has not been possible to benefit from the UNSGs visit in that sense. The Turkish Cypriot side, despite the approaching presidential elections in the TRNC, spared no effort to continue the negotiations in an intensified and result-oriented manner. However, neither has this approach been duly reciprocated by the Greek Cypriot side.

    Recording the progress in a concrete and substantial manner by making a joint statement at the last leaders meeting of 30 March, before the interruption due to the TRNC presidential elections, has not only been the desire of the Turkish side, but also the anticipation of the UN Secretary-General and third countries. Such a joint statement was important for avoiding an unnecessary loss of time in the negotiating process which shall be resumed following the elections.

    The fact that the two leaders could in fact make a joint statement is welcomed. However, it would have been preferable that the progress made in the negotiations which have been going on for 19 months be taken concretely and substantially under record and thus confirmed by this joint statement. This has not been possible yet. The fact that the Greek Cypriot side refrained from assuming their responsibility in the process and their efforts aimed at hiding the negotiations from the eyes of the world public opinion were the main reasons for this. Making efficient use of the limited time at our disposal and not refraining from taking result-oriented steps are most important for not losing the narrow window of opportunity, as in 2004 and for the negotiating process to reach a positive conclusion.

    The statements made today by TRNC President Talat and his negotiating team, aimed at meeting the need of informing his people and stating the progress achieved in the negotiating process, in line with the joint statement of the two leaders, is welcomed and as a guarantor and motherland, Turkey fully supports the approach of the Turkish Cypriot side and the UN negotiating process. Turkey earnestly desires the ongoing process to reach a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue in line with the established UN parameters and the leaders joint statements, as soon as possible and continues to contribute to this aim with goodwill and resolve.

    Moreover and on the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (02.04.10) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has expressed his countrys hope for the current talks to achieve a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem in line with the principles agreed by the two leaders. Davutoglu also said that the Turkish side was always the party which opened the way when the process was blocked.

    Responding to journalists questions yesterday, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that important progress had been achieved in the last two months of the talks due to the intensive efforts of the Turkish side. Pointing out that they gave importance for the progress achieved in the negotiations to go on record, the Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu said that they welcomed the statement issued on behalf of the two leaders on the 30th of March, stating that this was important in showing the stage of progress achieved in the talks.

    [03] Reactions to Talats press conference

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.0410) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said that no agreement or even convergence has been reached in the Cyprus negotiations process which is of vital importance for the Turks of Cyprus.

    Eroglu called on everyone to see the realities on the process and to refrain from looking at the situation through rose coloured glasses. The Premier noted that no agreement has been reached on the most fundamental issues concerning Governance and Power Sharing.

    Eroglu also pointed out that no progress has been achieved on the issue of Security and Guarantees, Territory and Property and that serious difference existed between the two sides over these issues.

    He said that the Turkish sides positions had failed to explain how the founding states would be exercising sovereignty, as well as the fact that the source of the single sovereignty would come from the founding states. Stating that his actual criticism was directed at the Greek Cypriot side, Prime Minister Eroglu said that the Greek Cypriot Administration had once again demonstrated that it was the side which blocked the way for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The Premier also pointed out that the intensive talks held since January had failed to yield results despite the Turkish sides strenuous efforts.Pointing out that the statements made had revealed how right he was on criticizing President Talat, Eroglu said that unnecessary flexibility shown by Talat at the start of the talks had ripened the Greek Cypriot sides appetite for concessions. He also said that the Turkish side had failed to persuade the Greek Cypriot side on the final solution agreement to become EU primary law.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (02.04.10) broadcast the following:

    The Democrat Party (DP) has evaluated President Mehmet Ali Talats press conference on the course of peace negotiations by calling it a joke of April Fools Day. A statement issued by the DP criticized Talat for creating a serious expectation among the Cyprus Turkish people towards a solution.Talat moved on from a year-old joint documents and his statements were perceived as a joke of April Fools Day by the public, the statement said and described the press conference as the-end-of- term report of the current negotiator. Having complained that there has been neither an agreement nor convergence on the critical subjects of negotiations, the DP said Talats statements were far away from meeting the publics expectations.

    Finally, illegal Bayrak television (05.04.10) broadcast the following:

    The Besparmak [occupied Pentadaktylos Mountains] group has argued that no progress has been achieved on any of the vital issues in the negotiations conducted between the two sides in Cyprus. A statement issued by the group described the statement made by President Mehmet Ali Talat as an effort aimed at drawing an optimistic picture.

    Evaluating the press conference held by President Mehmet Ali Talat and his negotiating team on the 1st of April, the group said that no progress had been achieved in regard to the practical adaptation of the principle of political equality and bi-zonality. It also said that no agreement has been achieved on making the final agreement to be reached a primary law of the EU.

    No progress, for the exception of minor areas in the chapters of Governance and Power Sharing, Economy and EU matters has been achieved on any of the concrete issues, the statement read.

    [04] Statement by Talat during his visits in occupied villages in the framework of his election campaign

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.04.10) broadcast the following:

    The independent presidential candidate and the current President Mehmet Ali Talat has pointed out to the fact that the Cyprus Turkish side has started colleting the fruits of its peaceful and solutionist policies. Addressing the public while touring some villages near capital Lefkosia as part of his presidential election campaign, the President referred to the significant progress achieved at peace talks and said yesterdays press conference was held to reply to those who argue that there had been no progress at all.

    He noted that the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and himself agreed on making separate statements on the course of negotiations, instead of a joint statement, because the Greek Cypriot side was concerned if the joint statement would be perceived as an interim agreement. Talat underlined the fact that the content of yesterdays press conference was welcomed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry which once again expressed its desire towards reaching an early settlement in Cyprus.

    Mehmet Ali Talat said that the TRNC is no longer being isolated from the international community as happened in the past, despite of the ongoing international isolation, and this comes as a result of the peaceful policy of the Cyprus Turkish people.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (03.04.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the TRNC people has moved forward since voting yes to the 2004 Annan Plan. He added that the Turks of Cyprus started to regain their lost rights one by one thanks to the pro-solution policies pursued after the 2004 referendum.

    Addressing a political gathering in Dikmen [occupied Dikomo] village as part of his election campaign yesterday, Mr. Talat said that the world believes that the Turks of Cyprus are in favour of a solution to the Cyprus problem as a result of the right policies pursued by his leadership. Noting that the negotiations aimed at reaching a settlement were continuing with Turkeys support and under the auspices of the United Nations, he said no concessions will be given on the rights of the TRNC people at the negotiating table. Mr. Talat also expressed the hope that the Turks of Cyprus will take a decision towards integrating with the world at the elections.

    On 05.04.10, illegal Bayrak television broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that he is trying to find a solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of Turkeys EU politics. The President made the statement during his visits to the Girne [occupied Keryneia] region. He visited Dogankoy [occupied Thermia], Beylerbeyi [occupied Bellapais], Zeytinlik [occupied Templos], Karaoglanoglu [occupied Agios Georgios], Yesiltepe [occupied Elia], Ilgaz [occupied Fterycha], Malatya [occupied Paleosofos], Incesu [occupied Motides] and Edremit [occupied Trimithi].

    During his visits to these villages the President emphasized the fact that citizens would be voting for their future and they should keep this in mind when they go to the polls on the 18th of this month. Noting that his policies were in line with Turkeys that has a population of 70 million Mr. Talat reiterated that he was trying to facilitate a solution in line with Turkeys EU politics.

    Explaining that it was due to these politics that the Turks of Cyprus were started to get more recognition around the world, President Talat said they have started getting in contact with us and understand that we are not the intransigent side. We are pro solution. We must continue with these policies.

    Noting that the European Union was regretful that it had accepted the unilateral membership of the south and therefore was trying to pass the Green Line Regulation, Financial Assistance and Direct Trade Regulations, President Talat added however, the south Cyprus is doing all it can to block these regulations from being approved.

    Meanwhile, the President carried out an election rally in the village of Alsancak [occupied Karavas] and Lapta [occupied Lapithos]. Addressing the crowds here the President criticized National Unity Partys (UBP) candidate Prime Minister Eroglus policies on the Cyprus issue and added that his policies were very clear and that he would continue working towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. The President will hold a similar rally in the Iskele [occupied Trikomo] region tonight.

    Finally, illegal Bayrak television (05.04.10) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat who is standing for re-election as TRNC President has said that the Cyprus Turkish people achieved important gains thanks to rational and pro-solutionist policies pursued. Independent Presidential candidate Talat visited the Iskele [occupied Trikomo] district yesterday as part of his election campaign. `You will choose between `the past` and `the world, he said in address to villagers in Cayirova.

    Describing Aprils Presidential elections as very important and critical, President Talat said important gains have been achieved thanks to rational and pro-solutionist policies. He cited the European Court of Human Rights ruling concerning the TRNC Immovable Property Commission and the decision to bring the Direct Trade Regulation back to the agenda of the European Parliament as examples to these gains.

    The President also rejected the claims that he does not believe in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and said that such claims are completely unfounded.On Cyprus negotiation process, he said that the talks should be conducted within the framework of the UN Parameters.

    [05] Eroglu repeats that he will make no concessions at the table of the negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (03.04.10) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Prime Minister and Presidential hopeful Dervis Eroglu has said that the future of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and its people will be determined in the upcoming elections. Mr. Eroglu words came during an election rally held in Gonyeli [occupied Geunyeli] village last night.

    Explaining that the TRNC was established as a result of the struggles waged by the Turks of Cyprus, he said that whoever sits in the Presidential chair should know that he is the president of the TRNC. This will be the election of the future of the TRNC state and its people. We will either live proudly in this land or we will be assimilated into the Greek Cypriot state, Mr. Eroglu added.

    Repeating that he will be sitting at the negotiations table to persuade the Greek Cypriot side to accept the sovereignty of the Turks of Cyprus, the Premier said he will discuss everything with Mr. Christofias at the table. If Mr. Christofias has red lines we also have red lines. He is trying to dilute the bi-zonality. What partnership is he talking about, Mr. Eroglu said.

    Meanwhile, as part of his election campaign Mr. Eroglu came together with the representatives of various associations and tradesmen in Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] today.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (04.04.10) broadcast the following:

    The National Unity Party (UBP) presidential candidate, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, has said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus needs to be strongly defended at the Cyprus negotiations table. He said it was due to this view that he had decided to run as a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in the Republic.

    Mr Erolgu is continuing with his election campaign and it was within this framework that he visited the Meserya region. Yesterday he had paid a similar visit to the Karpaz [occupied Karpasia] region. Today he first visited the Haspolat [occupied Mia Milia] region where the crowds greeted him with much joy.While speaking in the local coffee shop Dervis Erolgu said he would sit at the negotiating table to facilitate an agreement based on equality and not to make concessions. He told the listeners that politicians are remembered due to the actions they took during their duties and added: I will be remembered due to the action I took and I am proud of this, but independent candidate Mehmet Ali Talat is boasting about the concession he made to the Greek Cypriot side.Referring to a previous statement made by Talat that he had cried, Mr. Eroglu said on the 18th of April, Talat will be crying once again. After completing his visit to the Haspolat region, Mr. Eroglu then moved on to Balikesir [occupied Palekythro]. Here his speech concentrated more on the difference between him and Mehmet Ali Talat. The difference between him and I is the love of the people, said Erolgu. Expressing the belief that he will obtain 60% of the votes at the Presidential election the Premier said he is promising you the world, whereas I am promising you peace and stability in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. He concluded his visit here by saying the most important thing amongst others is the sovereignty of the people. I will sit at the negotiating table not to patch the Turks of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriot side, but to find a solution based on equality, said Dervis Eroglu.

    [06] New ambassador is appointed to occupied Lefkosia; Turkish Cypriot columnist wonders why Ankara took this decision a few days before the elections

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.04.10) broadcast the following:

    Kaya Turkmen has been appointed as the new Turkish Ambassador to [occupied] Lefkosia.

    The outgoing Turkish Ambassador Sakir Fakili had been appointed as the Turkish Ambassador to [occupied] Lefkosia last year.

    The appointment, along with those of sixteen other new ambassadors was approved by Turkish President Abdullah Gul over the weekend.Meanwhile, the Turkish diplomat Kerim Uras who has been closely following the Cyprus problem in the Turkish Foreign Ministry has been appointed as the new ambassador to Israel.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (06.04.10) reports that the newly appointed ambassador of Turkey to the occupied part of Lefkosia, Kaya Turkmen is an expert on EU issues. He served at many posts related with the EU, while since 2007 he is Turkeys ambassador to Lisbon.

    Furthermore, Rasih Resat, Haberdars general director, wonders in his daily column today (06.04.10) why Ankara changed its ambassador to the occupied part of Lefkosia two weeks before the illegal presidential elections in the occupied areas of the island. Mr Resat says that this development was a little bit strange and wonders what would happen if the decision of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the Turkish ambassadors waited for another few weeks.

    Mr Resat wonders also what Ankara wanted to do by removing former ambassador Sakir Fakili from his duties before the completion of his term of service.

    I wonder whether the messages of Ankara have not been reaching sufficiently to the people of Turkish origin living here or whether ambassador Fakili has not kept pace with the operations of Ankara in Cyprus to the desirable extend, writes Mr Resat.

    [07] BKP extends its support to Talats candidature

    Illegal Bayrak television (03.04.10) broadcast the following:

    The United Cyprus Party (BKP) has announced that it will support incumbent President and independent candidate Mehmet Ali Talat in the upcoming presidential elections. Announcing the partys decision, the General Secretary of the BKP said that the aim of the BKP is to form a united and federal Cyprus which was why they decided to support Mr. Talat whom he said is the closest candidate to achieving his partys goals.

    [08] Public opinion polls show that Eroglu is ahead of Talat by more than 10%

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.04.10) reports that according to the results of a public opinion poll conducted by KADEM Research Company between 21 and 30 March 2010, the candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP), Dervis Eroglu will receive 52.9% in the so-called presidential elections of 18 April, while his main opponent, Mehmet Ali Talat will get only 42.1% of the votes.

    The research was conducted on behalf of Kibris newspaper with the method of face-to-face interviews with 2.034 persons in the entire occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The paper writes that 56% of the people believe that the elections will end from the first round. Kibris reports that 14.5% of the participants in the survey said they are undecided and 4.2% stated that they will not vote. After the distribution of these votes the percentage of Mr Eroglu is 52.9%, while Mr Talat receives 42.1%.

    The percentages received by the other five candidates are the following: Tahsin Ertugruloglu 2.6%, Zeki Besiktepeli 1.9%, Arif Salih Kirdag 0.2%, Mustafa Tumkan 0.2% and Ayhan Kaymak 0.1%.

    According to the results of the poll, Mr Eroglus highest percentage is in occupied Trikomo area (62.7%). Mr Talat receives his highest percentage (41.1%) in occupied Lefkosia, which is the only area where he is ahead of Mr Eroglu.

    Meanwhile, Kibris (03.04.10) continues to publish the results of KADEMs public opinion poll. According to these results, if there is a second round in the elections, Mr Eroglu will receive 46% and Mr Talat 36%. The paper writes that 13% of the participants in the survey said that they are undecided and 5% that they will not vote.

    The paper writes that the 59.9 % support of the Democratic Party (DP) for Dervis Eroglu in the first round of the voting will increase to 63.5 % in the second round. The 19 % support of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) for Dervis Eroglu in the first round of the voting will increase to 22 % in the second round.

    Some 13.3 % of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) will vote for Dervis Eroglu and 31.1 % will vote for Mehmet Ali Talat in the second round.

    Moreover, 11.6 % of the supporters of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) will vote for Dervis Eroglu and 77.8 % will vote for Mehmet Ali Talat in the second round. In addition, 8.5 % of the supporters of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) will vote for Dervis Eroglu and 79.1 % will vote for Mehmet Ali Talat in the second round. According to the survey, 68 % of the supporters of the ORP will vote for Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Asked to mention the development or the incident that has upset them most in the election period, 23.9 % of the respondents said that this was the failure of politicians to fulfill their promises. Other responses to the above question received the following percentages:

    Tahsin Ertugruloglu's decision to announce his candidacy in the presidential elections 22.5 %, the failure of the sides to achieve progress in the effort that is made for the solution of the Cyprus problem 16.6 %, the loss of jobs 7.3 %, the approach of the media on the elections and the unfounded reports they publish 6.9 %, DPs support for the UBP 6.3 %, discrimination and partisanship 4.3 %, Turkey's interference in the elections 3 %, illegal Bayraks biased policy 2.9 %, harsh and bad language used in the election campaigns 2.9 %, Mehmet Ali Talat's concessions to the Greek Cypriots 2.6 %, Tahsin Ertugruloglus not being appointed minister 2.5 %, ORPs support for Mehmet Ali Talat 2.4 %, the recent inconsistent statements by Mehmet Ali Talat 1.7 %, Mehmet Ali Talat's statement that he cried when the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, was established 1.6 %, the fact that the disaster caused by the floods was ignored 1.4 %, the EU interference in the elections 1.4 %, the convoys of the political party vehicles 1.3 %, the media forgetting the existing problems because of the elections 1.2 %, the absence of a woman presidential candidate 1.1 %, the large number of presidential candidates 0.8 % and the disputes between politicians 0.8 %.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (02.04.10) reports that according to the results of a public opinion poll carried out by a Turkish firm named Strateji-Veri Research Company, which is administered by Mesut Deren, Mr Eroglu will receive 58.3% in the first round of the elections and Mr Talat 37.8%.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] European parliamentarians of Turkish origin illegally visited the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (05.04.10) reports that nine former and current European parliamentarians of Turkish origin have called on the European Union (EU) to lift the so-called embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish MPs, who live in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, alleged that the EU makes the solution of the Cyprus problem more difficult.

    The parliamentarians paid a two-day illegal visit to the occupied areas of Cyprus after an invitation by the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs. In statements at a press conference in the occupied part of Lefkosia, they asked for the fulfilment of the promises given by the EU to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots and alleged that the direct flights to the occupied areas should start and direct trade and economic relations should be launched.

    The European MPs of Turkish origin said that the Treaty of Lisbon prevents one or two EU member states from vetoing the decisions of the Union and added, inter alia, the following: Only in this way the EU could contribute for the south and north part of the island coming together in equal conditions in every area. In this manner, the biggest obstacle in front of Turkeys ongoing negotiations with the EU will be lifted. Only then Turkey will open its ports to south Cyprus as required by the Ankara Protocol.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The director of a casino in the occupied areas of Cyprus was abducted in Northern Iraq while looking for clients

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.04.10) reports that Hakan Atici, director of the casino of Artemis Hotel in the occupied areas of Cyprus, has been abducted by an Iraqi army commander in Arbil, Northern Iraq, where he went searching for wealthy clients for his casino.

    Citing information published the day before yesterday in Turkish Milliyet newspaper, Halkin Sesi writes that the above-mentioned Iraqi army officer had lost a lot of money in the casino.

    Mr Atici was set free after his company sent 500 thousand dollars from Istanbul as ransom. According to the Turkish paper, Mr Atici, who is a citizen of the breakaway regime for 13 years, went to Arbil through Istanbul on 1 March 2010 to find new and wealthy clients for the casino accompanied by a Kurdish translator.

    The paper writes that officials of the firm where Mr Atici works have stated that the above information was not true.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] The Turkish Boz Group made a 220-million-dollar investment in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish daily Bugun newspaper (01.04.10) reports that the Cratos Premium Hotel, which is the biggest investment made in the occupied areas of Cyprus will be opened in occupied Keryneia in April. According to the paper, the 220-million dollar investment was made by the Turkish Boz Group.

    Speaking to the paper, the deputy chairman of Boz Group, Murat Bozoglu, stated that the hotel is the first investment undertaken by the Group in the field of tourism. He also stated that the Group carried out 200 projects in occupied Cyprus until now and added that the worth of these projects is worth 2.5 billion dollars. He said: Making investments in Cyprus is described by some people as signing on the ice. With the Cratos Premium we will change this view and with our unique concept we will help tremendously to northern Cyprus world advertising.

    (CS)

    [12] Turkey appoints new ambassadors

    Ankara TRT Net (04.04.10) broadcast the following:

    Turkish ambassador to Israel Oguz Celikkol has been replaced by Kerim Uras following the low seat crisis between Turkey and Israel.

    Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Unal Cevikoz has been appointed ambassador to London.

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the new ambassadors one by one and notified them of their posts.

    Sixteen ambassadors to take up new posts are:

    Foreign Ministry Spokesman Burak Ozugergin has been appointed Turkish ambassador to Zagreb, Ilhan Ozyildiz to Beirut, Ismail Aramaz to Sofia, Kerim Uras to Tel Aviv, Aydin Sezgin to Moscow, Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Unal Cevikoz to London, Gurol Sokmensuer to Skopje, Akin Algan to Tunis, Lale Ulker to Astana, Ali Riza Colak to Belgrade, Murat Adali to Jakarta, Huseyin Dirioz to Rome, Nihat Civaner to Kinshasa, Tanju Sumer to Bern, Ali Rifat Koksal to Abuja and Oguz Demiralp to the UN permanent representation in Geneva.

    Davutoglu has selected dynamic names that he believes will be active in the Balkans that he attaches great importance to.

    [13] Erdogan to visit the U.S; Namik Tan to return to his post in Washington

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.04.10) reported the following from Ankara: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he would travel to United States this month and that Turkish Ambassador, who was recalled after the approval of a U.S. congressional panel resolution labelling the incidents of 1915 as ´genocide´, would return to Washington D.C.

    Erdogan said Ambassador Namik Tan would go back to his post next week. Tan was recalled to Turkey after the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted a resolution on Armenian allegations related to the incidents of 1915 in a voting of 23-22 on March 4.

    Erdogan also said he would travel to United States to attend the International Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C. to take place on April 12 and 13.

    He said he got an invitation to the summit months ago.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] Columnist alleges that Eroglu will be forced by AKP to continue Talats line over Cyprus

    Under the title Ankara lays down the law for Eroglu in Cyprus, Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (05.04.10) published the following commentary by Semih Idiz:

    Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Demetris Christofias issued a joint statement last week in which they said they were encouraged by the important progress they have made so far on the chapters of governance and power sharing, EU matters and the economy in their negotiations to find a lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem.

    The statement underscored the mutual concern for the common good of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots that the leaders have and emphasized their will for a comprehensive solution that will lead them to an exhaustive discussion of the remaining aspects of the Cyprus problem and the overcoming of the divergent positions soon.

    Not surprisingly there was widespread international support for the joint statement, which was lauded by the United Nations Secretary-General, the European Union, Washington and Great Britain - a Cyprus guarantor power along with Greece and Turkey.

    The joint statement did little, however, to do away with the serious doubts the publics on both sides of the divided island have concerning this negotiation process, for which Talat and Christofias have met no less than 70 times.

    But the situation in northern Cyprus is doubly problematic this time since very few Turkish Cypriots have any faith left in either the negotiation process or the promises of the international community - and especially the EU - that are made to them.

    This is the result of what they experienced after a referendum held in both communities in 2003 for a settlement blueprint worked out by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and endorsed by the international community, including the EU.

    Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted for that plan while the Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected it. Despite this, all of the rewards, including EU membership, have gone to the Greek side while the Turkish side has been left eating humble pie despite having done the right thing as far as the international community was concerned.

    It is no wonder then that there should be a once bitten twice shy attitude in the north today. We visited the island twice over the past two months and saw no guarantee that a settlement plan worked out by Talat and Christofias will be accepted this time by Turkish Cypriots - unless, that is, they are given watertight guarantees that they will not be cheated again.

    This highly suspicious attitude is also apparent by the fact that public support has shifted away from President Talat to Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, who is generally considered a hardliner and who is expected to win the presidential elections on April 18.

    This brings us back to the joint statement of the two leaders and begs the question, why was it issued at such a time and in such an upbeat manner after so much pessimism was reflected by the sides previously concerning progress in the talks?

    Initially it was not even certain such a joint statement would be made, judging from certain remarks uttered by the Greek Cypriot leader. Christofias also made it clear prior to the joint statement that it would not be binding.

    But despite these discouraging signs, the joint statement was issued and applauded internationally for one reason alone. That is the fact that Eroglu is likely to be elected president, making him chief negotiator for the Turkish Cypriots. The idea is to put pressure on Eroglu in this way so he does not become a spoiler as far as the negotiations are concerned, Eroglu has already expressed serious reservations about the negotiations conducted by Talat and is totally opposed to the notion of single sovereignty and single citizenship for Cyprus. He argues instead that shared sovereignty should come about as a result of powers given up voluntarily by two independent entities rather than being dictated from above.

    Eroglu's supporters also indicate the joint statement issued by Talat and Christofias does not contain anything new since the topics agreed on have also been agreed on in previous negotiations. They add that the crux lies with the problems that have not been resolved yet, particularly on such issues as international guarantees and property rights.

    Eroglu's supporters furthermore believe President Talat has been far too lenient in talks with Christofias, has not informed his own public sufficiently about the negotiations - unlike the Greek Cypriot leader - and has made concessions that are unacceptable.

    But despite the public support he is enjoying and the fact that he will most likely win the presidential elections, Eroglu is not sitting comfortably. To the contrary he has a major problem - namely, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration in Ankara.

    The Eroglu camp must have noted with concern and disdain the strong support Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave to the Talat-Christofias joint statement, adding that this statement establishes a good basis for continuing the negotiations without losing time after the Turkish Cypriot presidential elections.

    Davutoglu's remarks were reinforced by a written statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which not only gave great support to the negotiations conducted by President Talat with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, but also concluded with the following telling remarks:

    Turkey earnestly desires the ongoing process to reach a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue in line with the established UN parameters and the leaders' joint statements as soon as possible and continues to contribute to this aim with goodwill and resolve.

    This statement in effect laid down the law for Prime Minister Eroglu. Ankara is basically telling him that if he is elected, he will have to continue the negotiations from where President Talat left off without changing the format of the talks or tampering with issues that have already been agreed on.

    This is of course bad news for Eroglu since he knows northern Cyprus is economically and politically dependent on Turkey and therefore has a very narrow margin for acting independently.

    We can say, therefore, that we have a hitherto unseen situation whereby the government in Ankara is pushing for a negotiated settlement on Cyprus, and rejecting the stance of hard-liners and ultranationalists in Turkey and northern Cyprus.

    This is a unique position that the EU in particular should take note of and use to coax the Greek side to move more sincerely toward a settlement. But few in Turkey or northern Cyprus expect the EU to do so.

    In the meantime, most Turkish diplomats doubt the sincerity of the Greek side in these negotiations. They are nevertheless concerned whether the stigma of intransigence held by the Greek side after 2003 has made its way to the Turkish side.

    The way the cards are presently stacked, a Cyprus settlement does indeed look very difficult, if not impossible, any time soon. But Ankara still feels the need to warn Eroglu to continue Talat's line, whether this brings results or not, and not create any headaches for Turkey in terms of its foreign policy administration at a time of international uncertainty.

    Thus Eroglu is in the hapless position of having to negotiate in a way he does not want, while at the same time trying to represent the views of his own supporters. It will be interesting to see how he copes if he is elected president - as everyone expects.

    [15] Turkish daily argues that AKP started engaging in efforts to influence the Turkish Cypriot electorate in favour of Talat

    Under the title Countdown starts, Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (05.04.10) published the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:

    In two weeks time Turkish Cypriot voters will go to the booths to make a choice that may not just be limited to who should be the next president of northern Cyprus. The election campaign, indeed, has already turned into a referendum on the latest direct talks between the leaders of the two peoples, who have been locked for the past 47 years in a quagmire of power sharing that so far has defied mediation efforts by an army of international top mediators.

    The process has captured the center stage in the election campaign, with incumbent President Mehmet Ali Talat boasting of unprecedented progress over the past 18 months and during 71 rounds of talks with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias for a federal resolution of the inter-communal problem of the eastern Mediterranean island. Interestingly enough, though, his main contender, Prime Minister Dr. Dervis Eroglu, has been underlining that there has been no progress on fundamental aspects of the Cyprus problem despite all the unacceptable concessions made by Talat and his team. Both Talat and Eroglu claim that, if elected president, they will continue the process with a commitment to reach a comprehensive and sustainable settlement with the Greek Cypriot side.

    Where then do the top two contenders for the Turkish Cypriot presidency differ? Talat, a socialist who confessed on the record that he wept in astonishment when northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1983, is committed to a federation of the two communities of the island. In the past 71 rounds of talks with Christofias, he has proved that he might compromise on many red lines, including separate Turkish Cypriot sovereignty and a right of secession should a new partnership falter. Talat is ready to accept a federal resolution - very close to a unitary state - with a strong central administration and two constituent units having sovereign powers limited and as allowed by the central federal administration.

    Eroglu, however, is coming from a political tradition with strong emphasis on Turkish Cypriot statehood and a resolution of the Cyprus problem based on the realities of Cyprus, which implies the existence of two states, two democracies and two peoples. Eroglu thus has been advocating a federation with two democracies and two peoples on the island in a loose federation - very much close to a confederation with both founding states having sovereignty in areas where sovereignty is not transferred to the central federal government.

    Yet, according to many public opinion polls, over 65 percent of both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are skeptical of the Cyprus settlement negotiated by Talat and Christofias - a fact that clearly demonstrates that, should they ever reach an agreement, they most likely will not be able to sell it to the two peoples and receive their approvals in separate simultaneous referenda. On the other hand, a settlement that might be reached along the lines of what Eroglu has been supporting would most likely receive approval from the Turkish Cypriot people, partly because of the perception that the hawkish Eroglu would never surrender to Greek Cypriots, and if he makes some bitter compromises, he will have made them for good reasons.

    Subtitle: Ankara is supporting Talat

    In the contest for the Turkish Cypriot presidency, Ankara has been careful in the initial stages of the race to stay at an equal distance from both Talat and Eroglu. However, with public opinion polls indicating that Eroglu might win the election in the first round of voting on April 18, some strong elements of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration started engaging in efforts that might influence the Turkish Cypriot electorate. First, a senior center-right politician, Tahsin Ertugruloglu, was invited to Ankara several times and given a photo opportunity with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ertugruloglu, parting from Eroglu's party and becoming an independent candidate for the presidency, however, did not serve the aim of dividing Eroglu's electoral support but rather produced a counter-effect, helping to consolidate public support for the conservative prime minister.

    Now scores of AKP deputies are touring northern Cyprus to influence the mainland settlers to vote for Talat. Will it work? Experience shows that such efforts might work to the contrary.

    The countdown for the April 18 vote has started. In two weeks time we will have the results of the first round of the election.


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