Turkish press and other media no. 165/08 29. 08. 08 A. News items

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No. 165/08 29.08.08


1. Talat and Gul hold a joint press conference ahead of Cyprus peace of September 3rd

2. How the Turkish Cypriot press covered the statements made yesterday by Abdullah Gul and Mehmet Ali Talat in Ankara

3. Ankara determines its strategy for the September 3rd negotiation process

4. Talat considers that solution of two strong constituent States under a loose federation is a more logical solution

5. Three conditions by General Basbug for the solution of the Cyprus problem; General Buyukanit expressed concerns on the issue of the explorations for oil in Eastern Mediterranean

6. Serdar Denktas guarantees all property “owners” in occupied Cyprus

7. The Cyprus EU Association stressed that the negotiations are carried out at the level of the “leaders of the communities” and that the “virgin birth” is not possible because of the UN Security Council resolutions

8. KSP argued that the CTP and AKEL cannot solve the Cyprus problem

9. Izcan said the Turkish side does not want the opening of a barricade at Limnitis

10. Celebrations for the International Peace Day and the starting of the negotiations in Cyprus

11. The CTP is continuing its visits to get support to Talat for the procedure to be launched on 3 September

12. The Koran courses were organized by the Religious Affairs Presidency at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey

13. The breakaway regime became a member of ICCA

14. «YAGA» to organize a meeting in London on investments

15. TRT to cooperate with Armenian public TV

16. Radikal publishes interview of the Armenian President

1. Talat cautious as talks are underway


1. Talat and Gul hold a joint press conference ahead of Cyprus peace of September 3rd

Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.08.08) reported the following from Ankara:

“Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said Thursday that a solution in Cyprus could be found under the roof of United Nations, within the framework of UN Secretary-General's goodwill mission, based on realities in the island and with a new partnership to be established by two equal communities and two founder countries.

President Gul had a meeting with President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in Ankara ahead of peace talks on September 3rd between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on the Mediterranean island.

At a joint press conference after his meeting with Talat, which was attended also by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Gul said that it was important to be fair and that the new system should be functional and viable.

'We also think that it is right to continue guarantor status and we are insistent on it,' Gul said. 'Not only Turkey, but also Greece is the guarantor in the island. This is an international agreement.'

Gul also called on involved parties in Cyprus question and the international community to exert efforts to help establish peace and stability in the island and in the whole region.

Pledging that Turkey would provide all kinds of support for upcoming peace talks, Gul said, 'on the other hand, we will continue to fulfill our historical responsibility for progress of TRNC and peace and prosperity of Turkish Cypriot people.'

Asked whether status of Cyprus could be affected as Russia recognized independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Gul said, 'Cyprus question has aspects that are sui generis, more positive and advantageous. First of all, this question is not a result of cold war era. It is totally different from recent crisis. Secondly, Turkish and Greek Cypriots founded the Republic of Cyprus together, they were partners. Problems emerged as partnership did not work and requirements of the partnership were not performed. That is the cause of difference'.”
On the same issue, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman newspaper (29.08.08) reports the following:

“Despite speaking cautiously in regards to the possible impacts on the Cyprus issue of Moscow's Tuesday decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway Georgian regions, as independent states, visiting Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday he expected the developments in Caucasia to have an impact on the Cyprus issue

Talat was speaking at a joint press conference following his talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gül. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also participated in the two leaders' meeting, which took place only days before a meeting between Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias, scheduled for September 3, when the two will launch comprehensive reunification talks after decades of separation.

The South Ossetia and Abkhazia issue and the Cyprus issue, likewise the Kosovo issue and the Cyprus issue, are all separate issues which should be dealt with one by one, Talat said when asked about the probable impact of developments in the Caucasus on the Cyprus issue.

'Speaking frankly, I believe that it may have an impact, but at this very moment I cannot predict in which direction this [impact] will be,' Talat said.

Responding to the same question, Gul said the Cyprus issue has had 'more specific, more positive and more advantageous aspects,' when compared to the developments in the Caucasus.

‘This issue is not a consequence of the Cold War era. It is completely separate from the crisis that emerged recently. Second, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots established the Republic of Cyprus at the time as partners. They were partners when the state was founded. Problems emerged since the partnership didn't function and since conditions of partnership were not met and this is the reason that led to separation,’ Gul elaborated.

'Another point which needs care is the fact that there is a negotiation process at the UN, one that has been going on for many years. That is to say, legislation has been made. A referendum was held by the mutual will of both sides. Taking all of these facts into consideration, I hope that everyone will see that the Cyprus issue is a much more just and much more legitimate issue in regard to Turkish Cypriots,' Gul added. Talat, meanwhile, also said he hoped a solution to the problem of ethnically divided Cyprus could be found by the end of the year.

'We aim to solve the Cyprus problem within 2008. We think that a solution is possible in this short timeframe. We will be at the table with all our goodwill,' Talat said. Divided after a Turkish intervention, triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup, Cyprus has frustrated a long list of mediators attempting to reconcile the island's two communities.

Peace talks had been in limbo since Greek Cypriots in the south rejected a UN unification blueprint in 2004, accepted by northern Turkish Cypriots. The climate has improved dramatically since the election of Christofias in presidential elections in February, replacing hard-liner Tassos Papadopoulos. Christofias, whose party has maintained close ties with Turkish Cypriots, is generally viewed as more moderate on reunification.”

In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.08.08) reported the following from Ankara:

“President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that TRNC would do its best to achieve a solution in Cyprus question in 2008.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Talat said support of Turkey and Turkish executives added strength to TRNC.

Talat said TRNC has good will and was flexible for the solution of the question, and indicated that the new process would start on September 3rd within the scope of good-will mission of the UN SG and with the participation special envoy newly appointed by the SG.

'I hope September 3rd process will assist solution of the problem,' Talat said and reaffirmed that TRNC would be on the negotiation table with good will.

Talat said plan of the TRNC was to achieve a solution through negotiations, and form a new partnership state based on two founder states, and political equality of Turkish and Greek Cypriot parties. Talat said TRNC would not give up Turkey's guarantor status.”

2. How the Turkish Cypriot press covered the statements made yesterday by Abdullah Gul and Mehmet Ali Talat in Ankara

The Turkish Cypriot press of today (29.08.08) covers as follows the statements made yesterday in Ankara by the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat:

Kibris: “The guarantees cannot be abandoned”.
Afrika refers to the issue under the title “The guarantees is the first red line” and reports that the most important red line of the Turkish side at the negotiating table was determined after the Gul-Talat meeting in Ankara. According to the paper, Mr Gul said: “I have underlined our principles and our stance. I am sure that these will be handled in the best manner at the negotiations”. Mr Talat stated that the guarantees of Turkey are indispensable for the Turkish Cypriots. Referring to the issue of guarantees, Mr Gul reminded that Greece is also a guarantor power in Cyprus and added that the Turkish side insists on the guarantees of Turkey.
Replying to a journalist who argued that President Christofias “has pocketed some things and these should be taken out of his pocket and be decreased”, Mr Talat argued: “I have seen him putting them in his pocket. He has taken them from there and put them contrary to the rules”. Mr Talat called on President Christofias to negotiate with him face to face, not through the press.
Halkin Sesi: “Full support from Gul to Talat”.
Yeni Duzen publishes the same statements under the title “The target is the solution”. The paper writes that Mr Talat said their target is to reach a solution in 2008. Mr Gul alleged that if the negotiations are starting, the whole world knows that this happens with the “insisting, sincere and constructive stance” of Mr Talat. Mr Talat said: “We shall be at the table with all our good will for a solution. Our target is a new partnership state based on two founding states and the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot peoples. We shall work for this, but the Turkish Cypriot people will protect its earned and registered rights until the end”. According to the paper, Mr Talat said that the guarantees of Turkey are “indispensable and vital” for the Turkish Cypriots.
Star Kibris refers to the issue under the title “The guarantees are a definite condition” and reports that Mr Talat said that the official stance of the Turkish Cypriot side is for the “Treaty of Alliance and Guarantee” to remain unchanged and the new system to be guaranteed. The paper notes that Mr Talat argued that the developments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia will affect Cyprus. Referring to the issue, President Gul argued that Cyprus is a unique problem and it has not been created as a result of the cold war. Mr Gul stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem should be achieved at the United Nations and added that as Turkey they will do whatever they can for the tranquility and the security of the “Turkish Cypriot people”.
Kibrisli refers to the issue under the title “What has Christofias put in his pocket!”
Sozcu newspaper refers to the issue under the title “Three – party summit at Cankaya” and writes that besides Gul and Talat, Prime Minister Erdogan and the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci participated in the meeting that took place at the presidential palace in Ankara’s Cankaya area yesterday.
Bakis publishes the statements made by Talat and Gul under the title “The table is the place for negotiations”.
Gunes publishes on its first page the statements made by Mr Gul under the title “We shall do whatever we can for the tranquility and the security of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Yeni Volkan: “The guarantees of Turkey cannot be abandoned”.
Ortam: “Cyprus was put on the table in Ankara”.

Vatan reports that after the summit in Ankara “Talat called on Christofias: Take out of your pocket the things you have taken and put them onto the table. Otherwise, this job cannot be done!!!”

Weekly Cyprus Star newspaper publishes the developments under the title “First Ankara, then summit”. The paper quotes “political sources” to have said to it: “Talat and Turkish officials discussed the details of the Road map to the peace talks”.


3. Ankara determines its strategy for the September 3rd negotiation process

Under its front page title, “Ossetia, an ace in TRNC’s sleeve”, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (29.08.08) reports on the meeting of the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, with the self-styled president, Mehmet Ali Talat. As the paper reports, Mr Gul and Mr Talat determined the strategy for the negotiation process of September 3rd. “The recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia will be used as a trump card,” stresses the paper.

The paper continues on page 19 with the title, “Kosovo, Abkhazia and Ossetia to become a precedent”, reporting that Gul, Talat and Erdogan decided the process of the reconciliation policy on the Cyprus bargaining.
According to Sabah’s report, the decision taken during the meeting at Turkey’s Presidential Palace, for the strategy to be followed on the Cyprus bargaining, is based on the following seven basic principles:

“1. Turkey and the TRNC will continue their reconciliation policy towards the solution. The Turkish side will not leave the negotiation table.

2. At the bargaining, which will start with a ceremony on September 3 and will proceed to the official negotiations on September 11, priority will be given to the constitution of the Cyprus Federal Republic. Without an agreement over the details of the new constitution, which will provide for political equality in the administration, there will not be bargaining on the territory issue.

3. The Turkish guarantees will definitely not be abandoned.

4. The target will be to complete the negotiations in ten months. At the latest, on August 2009 negotiations will be completed and it will be asked for a referendum to take place.

5. The tactic of the Greek Cypriots to extend the negotiations and to exert pressure on Turkey in the EU Summit on December 2009 will be prevented. For this reason Talat will suggest a marathon of intensive negotiations.

6. The new conjuncture created with the independence declaration of Kosovo, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be used as a trump card.

7. The Greek Cypriots’ explorations for oil in the Mediterranean contrary to the international agreements will not be overlooked. If necessary, just as before, Turkish military vessels will enter the areas of the Eastern Mediterranean to be ceded by the Greek Cypriot administration for oil exploration.”

Subtitle: “Talat: A solution must be found this year”

According to the paper, Mr Talat stated: “Our aim is to reach a solution within 2008. We will create a new partnership state based on political equality between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots and on two founding states. Of course, the rights the Turkish Cypriots have gained will be protected.” Referring to the crisis in Caucasus, Talat said that the South Ossetia and Abkhazia issue, the Kosovo issue, the Timor issue earlier and the Cyprus issue are all separate issues which should be dealt with one by one.

Subtitle: “Gul: Two equal people, two founders”

The paper reports on the statements of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who said that the solution must be made within the UN framework, with a new partnership to be reached by the two equal people and two founding states. Mr Gul stated that Turkey’s active and effective guarantee will continue and that the guarantorship is an indispensable part for this work. The Turkish President added that Turkey is not the only guarantor, there is also Greece. “Turkey will work hard for this,” he said.

On the same issue, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (29.08.08) reports that during the meeting, the self-styled president Talat stated that the recognition of South Ossetia and Abhkazia by Russia will affect the Cyprus problem, but as he said: “I cannot predict in which direction it will be”.
According to the paper, Mr Talat held contacts yesterday with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan at the Presidential Palace. As the paper writes, the meeting started at 11.30 and ended at 13.30.
At the press conference following the meeting the self-styled president called on President Christofias to negotiate at the table and not through the media.
Furthermore, Turkish Daily News (29.08.08) under the title, “Cyprus different issue, says Gul”, reports the following:

“Besides Turkey’s conflicting interests with the West and Russia, political implications of Moscow’s recognition of the two breakaway provinces opened the question of whether or not this could serve as a model for Northern Cyprus.

‘South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Cyprus are separate issues. Will [the Russian decision] have an impact on Cyprus? I believe it could have but I cannot predict in which direction’, said the Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, in Ankara.
For his part, Gul said the Cyprus problem was essentially different from the latest Caucasus crisis. He said Turkish and Greek Cypriots originally founded the state of Cyprus as partners, but the island was divided because the conditions of that partnership were not fulfilled. ‘This makes the Cyprus problem a more just and legitimate cause for the Turkish Cypriots’, he said.”

4. Talat considers that solution of two strong constituent States under a loose federation is as a more logical solution

Istanbul NTV (28.08.08) broadcast the following:

“Mehmet Ali Talat, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, said that they respect the decision of the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Touching on the most correct model of solution on the island, Talat said that the most correct model would be [the formation of] two strong constituent states.

In a statement to NTV, Talat also disclosed matters on which consensus has been reached ahead of the 3 September talks.
Talat: First of all, no country can force a people [a segment of its population] into coexistence under duress. As we have rejected living under the yoke of the Greek Cypriot Administration, it is extremely normal for these peoples [Ossetians and Abkhazians] to express and assume such a position. We respect their will.

News reader: After these comments on the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Talat said that it has to be realized that [the formation of] two strong constituent states would be the most correct solution at the new negotiations to open on 3 September.

Talat: Moreover, at the initial stage, two strong constituent states under a loose federation would be more logical. That will be the correct approach.

News reader: Talat also disclosed issues agreed upon at the working and technical committees.

Talat: Agreement has been reached on the establishment of a bicameral assembly -- that is, a two category assembly with upper and lower chambers, with Greeks and Turks represented proportionally in the lower house and equally in the upper house --, and on the rotational presidency. It has also been agreed that this is how the political equality should be understood and applied. But on many other issues there are still disagreements."

5. Three conditions by General Basbug for the solution of the Cyprus problem; General Buyukanit expressed concerns on the issue of the explorations for oil in Eastern Mediterranean

Under the title “Sensitivity for Cyprus at the General Staff”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.08) reports that General Ilker Basbug, who has taken over the duty of the Chief of the Turkish General Staff from General Yasar Buyukanit said yesterday during the handover ceremony that the Cyprus problem is a national problem which concerns the security of Turkey and the “TRNC”, as he described the breakaway regime in the occupied part of Cyprus.

The paper refers to “three conditions for the solution by Basbug” and writes that the Turkish General alleged that if there is wish for a comprehensive, just and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem, everybody should accept that “the Greek Cypriot administration” is not the “Republic of Cyprus of 1960” which is based on the 1960 agreements, that the “TRNC” is a reality and that the problem could not be solved without putting onto the table a solution which could be accepted by the Turkish Cypriot “people” in an “equal and sovereign manner” and by Turkey as a guarantor power.
General Basbug claimed that providing the security of the “Turkish Cypriot people” and the protection of the national interests of Turkey and security in Eastern Mediterranean is one of the four basic foundations of the security strategy of Turkey.
Meanwhile, referring to the Cyprus problem, General Yasar Buyukanit, who handed over the duty of the chief of the Turkish General Staff to General Basbug, touched upon the explorations for oil in Eastern Mediterranean and noted that they are following the issue with concern. “In case these efforts are materialized, Turkey may face the danger of being imprisoned in the Antalia Gulf in the south”, he alleged.

Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (29.08.08) refers to the statements made by the Turkish Generals under the banner-front-page title “’A solution which Turkey will accept’”. The paper writes that General Buyukanit said it should be known that Ankara is also working “in the face of the efforts to close Turkey into its mainland”.

6. Serdar Denktas guarantees all property “owners” in occupied Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Star newspaper (29.08.08-04.09.08) publishes an interview with Serdar Denktas, who comments on the Cyprus problem and the property issue. The interview is as follows:

Question: Your opinion on the solutions process, is everything going as well as has been said?
Answer: I don’t really think so, I am not hopeful. It is always possible to sign an agreement but it does not necessarily mean there will be a settlement for Cyprus. We do not have another 40 years to spare. Mid next year we have to come to a solution.
Question: Does the Democrat Party support this solutions framework?
Answer: As long as we have our civilian rights, and our rights for being one of the owners of the country. There are two owners of the country. There are two owners of this Island, they have to come to an agreement to share some power.
Question: The UBP says that President Talat should depart from the negotiations because they do not agree with this framework. Are you of the same opinion?
Answer: We have our differences with the UBP. President Talat should continue but not the way he is doing it at the moment.
Question: The issue of property. What will happen to the properties in the TRNC with any solution or no solution?
Answer: Good question. As Turkish Cypriots we do not deny them the rights to these properties. All the deeds that the TRNC has given are under guarantee of the Turkish Cypriot Government. Whether there is a solution or note, these deeds will be treated as legal documents. If any problem arises the guarantor is the TRNC Government and they will have to compensate the present owner. One should not forget that Turkish Cypriots have property in the South confiscated by the Greek Government.
Question: Is there a difference between Turkish land and land previously owned by Greek Cypriots prior to 1974?
Answer: No, they are all TRNC deeds, they are all the same.
Question: The Immovable Properties Commission, do you think they are handling the claims by the Greek Cypriots correctly?
Answer: I believe so because the only land they are reimbursing is the land not held by anyone and ones which there are known investment in. If it is taken from the Turkish Cypriot and given back to the previous owner, then the Turkish Cypriot is compensated. There is no way we will allow any deed owner to lose any investment or money on this side. We have to guarantee otherwise no one will invest and no one will buy and the economy will collapse. That is what the Greek side wants. Let me say this once again, all the deeds and land are under the protection of the TRNC and whatever happens it will be handled and compensated by the TRNC government.”
7. The Cyprus EU Association stressed that the negotiations are carried out at the level of the “leaders of the communities” and that the “virgin birth” is not possible because of the UN Security Council resolutions

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.08) reports that the Cyprus EU Association has stated that the two sides in Cyprus have agreed on a bi-zonal and bi-communal federal solution based on political equality. The association made a call yesterday to Turkish Cypriots not to “be receptive to positions that would make the solution difficult”.

In a written statement issued by Mustafa Damdelen on behalf of the association, it is stressed that the negotiations under the UN umbrella are carried out at the level of the “leaders of the communities” and, therefore, the solution which will be found will be between two communities, not two states.
Mr Damdelen referred to the provisions of the resolutions of the UN Security Council for Cyprus and added that the two leaders, with the document they signed on 8 July 2006, accepted that the solution will be in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Pointing out that UN resolutions exist which say that the “TRNC”, breakaway regime in the occupied part of Cyprus, cannot be recognized, he said that the recognition is not possible.
Mr Damdelen noted also that the “virgin birth”, which is an issue that is being discussed a lot, is also not possible because of the above-mentioned resolutions. He said that Protocol 10 is a fundamental law of the EU and the virgin birth is not possible according to the rules of this fundamental law. “The stance of the decision-makers in Turkey is important for an early solution in Cyprus”, he concluded.

8. KSP argued that the CTP and AKEL cannot solve the Cyprus problem

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.08) reports that the Cyprus Socialist Party (KSP) organized yesterday a press conference regarding its positions and proposals on the Cyprus problem. The general secretary of the party, Yusuf Alkim said that the only way to produce a real solution is the anti-imperialistic struggle and the establishment of the government of the working class of Cyprus and the laborers. The paper publishes these statements under the title “KSP: The CTP and AKEL cannot solve the Cyprus problem, they will not solve it”.

9. Izcan said the Turkish side does not want the opening of a barricade at Limnitis

Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (29.08.08) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), issued a written statement yesterday noting that the Turkish side does not want the opening of the occupied Limnitis barricade, in spite of the fact that the Greek Cypriot side has stated many times that it is ready to open this barricade. Mr Izcan pointed out that the Turkish side has put forward its demands regarding Pyla village in order to cover up the fact that it does not want the opening of Limnitis barricade.


10. Celebrations for the International Peace Day and the starting of the negotiations in Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.08) reports that the Cyprus Turkish Peace Association is preparing for celebrating with a big feast the International Peace Day on the 1st of September and the 3rd of September when the direct talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus will start. Mr Huseyin Celal, chairman of the association, has said that an important process will start and added that the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot “peoples” should extend great support to the leaders. Mr Celal called on the people to come out to the squares for this reason.

11. The CTP is continuing its visits to get support to Talat for the procedure to be launched on 3 September

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (29.08.08) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) is continuing its visits to NGO’s to get support for the procedure to be launched on 3 September towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.

A delegation of the CTP visited yesterday the Chamber of Industry, the Physicians Union and the Chamber of Tradesmen and Craftsmen and asked for their support to the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. The paper notes that the head of the CTP delegation, Mr Ozkan Yorgancioglu said: “The support of the people is a condition for a more courageous bargaining”.

12. The Koran courses were organized by the Religious Affairs Presidency at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey

Under the title “The Koran courses were organized by the Religious Affairs Presidency at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.08) reports that according to a statement issued by the “Counselor’s Office for Religious Affairs” of the so-called embassy of Turkey to the occupied part of Nicosia, 200 students from the occupied areas of Cyprus had been sent to the Koran courses of the Religious Affairs Presidency of the Turkish Prime Minister’s Office between 23 June and 22 August 2008.


13. The breakaway regime became a member of ICCA

Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (29.08.08) reports that the self-styled Minister of Economy and Tourism, Mr. Erdogan Sanlidag has stated that the «TRNC» has been accepted as a member of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). According to Mr. Sanlidag, the breakaway regime will have the chance from now on to participate in several international congresses and meetings. Mr. Sanlidag has said also that with their participation in the International Congress and Convention Association they will participate in two different important fairs for tourism, to take place in Germany and Spain.

Reiterating the fact that Turkey was the only market for congresses until now, Mr. Sanlidag said that since the interest of other foreign countries in the issue was limited, they didn’t exert the necessary efforts. He also said that they have already started the preparations for their participation in the fairs, in order to be able to promote their tourism.
Erdogan Sanlidag has also stated that with the initiative of the “Ministry of Economy Tourism” they will host the Gynaecological Congress of Turkey, with more than 4000 participants.
Referring to the ICCA, Mr. Sanlidag stressed that it is the only International Association which offers the possibility to all companies and organizations which have a strategic commitment to provide top quality products and services for international meetings. ICCA has more than 850 members from 80 different countries with offices in the USA, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Uruguay.

14. “YAGA to organize a meeting in London on investments

Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (29.08.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Investment Development Agency (YAGA) is organizing a meeting in London in the issue of attracting investments in the occupied areas. According to the decision taken by the self-styled Council of Ministers, published in the official gazette of the pseudostate, a nine-member delegation headed by Ontac Duzgun, “undersecretary of the Prime Ministry” will visit London between 2-5 December for the meeting which will be held on 4 December.
Ontac Duzgun would be accompanied by Ayse Donmezler, director of YAGA, Musa Sonmezler, chairman of the board of YAGA, Turgut Muslu, “director” of the “Department of Planning for Tourism” and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

15. TRT to cooperate with Armenian public TV

Under the above title Today’s Zaman (29.08.08) publishes the following report:

“Ibrahim Sahin, director general of the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), and Alexan Arutyunan, chairman of the Armenian board of the Public Television Company, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in Ankara, Azerbaijani media has reported.

The document envisages the organization of television and radio programs about Armenia and Turkey, the exchange of experience between the two countries, both members of the European Broadcasters' Union, according to the Armenian Public Television Company, www.today.az reported on Wednesday.

Today's Zaman learned yesterday that the TRT consulted with the Foreign Ministry and received the ministry's consent before signing the MoU.

Azerbaijani media quoted TRT Secretary-General Ali Gemuhluoglu as saying during the signing of the MoU that the first broadcasting of programs in Turkey was organized by Armenians from Istanbul in 1907. He added that Turkey still remembers this fact.

The Public Television Company of Armenia is a publicly owned organization. Along with the territory of Armenia, the public television and public radio of Armenia also broadcast in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, in Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Canada, North Africa, Siberia, the Far East and Australia, the report said.”

16. Radikal publishes interview of the Armenian President

Istanbul daily Radikal (28.08.08) newspaper publishes the following interview of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan by Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin [MY] under the title: "We ascribe great importance to Gul's visit":

Question: The match on 6 September between the Turkish and Armenian national football teams can be characterized as the most political sports event that has yet been seen, at least in our region.  In inviting President Abdullah Gul to watch the match together, what was your expectation, politically?

Answer: First of all, my purpose was the promotion of relations between Armenia and Turkey.  In the message of congratulation that President Gul sent following my election, there was mention of the possibility of the development of relations.  Later, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke of the doors being open for dialogue.  And so I, in response, decided to make use of this opportunity.  There is a good sporting event in front of us.  Our national football teams will confront one another for the first time in our history.  This could provide a good opportunity for our relations to develop.  What the [match] results are is not important; I hope that it will be a good game, from which the spectators will derive pleasure.  Excitement will be high.  This match will be an extraordinary event in our relations, and I hope that it will also be extraordinary with attendance by the Presidents of both Armenia and Turkey.  We are neighbors, and we will continue to be neighbors.  I think it will be more beneficial for both peoples to have normal relations.  I issued my invitation to Mr Gul within this framework.

Question: There are certain concerns in Ankara regarding this invitation, such as question marks in terms of border issues, and the things that President Gul might encounter in Yerevan.  Do you see these concerns, and do you consider them valid?

Answer: There should be no such concerns.  The logistical and technical preparations aside, we have invited a head of state, and every sort of measure for the appropriate reception of a head of state has been considered.

Question: I have spoken with the Dashnaksutyun Party, and they are opposed to this invitation of yours.  They say that they will do all in their power to make their voices heard if Gul comes to Yerevan.  This is why I asked the question.

Answer: I think that the things that they would do to make their voices heard would not go beyond behavior that would be acceptable for official visits of this type.  I would consider that those engaging in uncivilized behavior would be doing this against Armenia and myself rather than Gul, since I was the one who invited him.

Question: What do you think about the projects among Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the energy and transportation areas that, as long as there is peace and stability, will increase the prosperity in the region?  Does Armenia want to take part in these projects?  Do you think that you will one day be accepted in Turkey like the Azeri and Georgian leaders, and that Turkish leaders will accept an invitation to Yerevan without hesitation? 

Answer: You know, I have taken two lessons from the regional projects that have been implemented to date.  First, if all the countries in the region do not participate, or if one is excluded, this produces new lines of division.  Second, if in these projects political considerations take precedence over economic ones, the projects are unable to be as successful as they should.  In one of these projects, it is as if the cart were being put before the horse.

Question: What project are you speaking of?

Answer: The (Baku-Tbilisi-) Kars railroad, for instance...  There in fact already exists such a railroad.  (He was speaking of the track that is not used because the border with Armenia is closed - MY)  With very little expenditure, it could be made usable.  Great sums are being expended in order to keep Armenia out.

There have been visits to Turkey by Armenian leaders in the past.  I as well, in various positions, have visited Turkey more than once.  I consider that for neighbors to visit one another is natural, and that this should not be perceived by the other side as some sort of favor.  Indeed, we are working for this to come about.

Question: When President Gul was together with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at the linkage ceremony for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, he said that Armenia as well, if it respected international law, would be able to participate in these projects.  Was he, in your view, referring to the existing borders, which came about with the 1921 agreement?

Answer: I think that you would get a clearer answer if you were to ask this to Gul.  But I can say this:  Armenia is a party to a great many international agreements, starting with the United Nations Charter, and respects its international obligations.

Question: Let me ask more clearly.  There are circles in Armenia that call a portion of Turkey "Western Armenia" and call for territory to be demanded in accord with the Treaty of Sevres.  You must certainly appreciate that it is not easy to establish full diplomatic relations with your neighbors who debate your borders.  What is your view, and your official position, regarding the legitimacy and the recognition of the 1921 Kars agreement?

Answer: I do not recall that any official of Armenia has spoken of a territorial demand.  But I do hear this from the other side (referring to Turkey - MY).  I think that it is not appropriate to take isolated statements as a basis.  If you look at that, there are those in Turkey who say that there does not in fact exist any country called Armenia.  We want there to be no precondition in our relations with Turkey.

I have heard concerns about the expressions Eastern and Western Armenia from Turkish officials as well.  This strikes me as strange, because these are geographical expressions that were used in the 19th century.  Insistence on forgetting and erasing this expression, which has remained in the past, resembles rejecting the existence of a great many other geographical expressions that have remained in the past, such as Sparta, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.  If this were our official policy, we would be called not the Republic of Armenia but the Republic of Eastern Armenia.  No official of Armenia has had any such ambition.  If diplomatic relations should be established, these topics could be discussed more easily.  Just look:  Russia has border issues with China and with Japan, but this is not an obstacle to diplomatic relations.

Question: Since your invitation to Gul, serious developments have come about in the Caucasus, such as the Georgian-Russian dispute.  What do you think about the support that Russia has been providing to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are breaking away from Georgia?

Answer: Truly there have occurred tragic incidents, which have cost untold lives.  This has shown yet once again what sorts of things an arms race can lead to in issues like this.  We favor problems of this sort being resolved through negotiations.  We favor a people's right to determine its own destiny being taken into account.  Unfortunately, it seems as if things are going to escalate, and this does not please us at all.  We believe that implementation of the plan agreed to by Russian Head of State Dimitriy Medvedev and French Head of State Nicolas Sarkozy, on behalf of the EU, will bring peace and stability.  Peace and stability are very important for us.  All else aside, we conduct over 70 percent of our trade through Georgia.

Question: A gasoline shortage has begun in Yerevan as a result of Russia's bombing of the railroad bridge in Georgia, hasn't it?

Answer: True.  I am hoping that the problem will be solved within two days.  It is an obvious fact that instability in the region is not in Armenia's interests.  This shows that we have a need for stability.  For the instability to continue for three months, or for three years, would yet further increase our problems.

Question: Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has reacted positively to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's proposal of a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform.  Could you detail your policy in this regard a bit more?

Answer: Nalbandian, as Armenia's Foreign Minister, announced that he was positive toward Erdogan's words regarding dialogue for the sake of stability and security in the region.  I believe that our Foreign Minister has taken a very proper step.  When we receive the proposal, we will study its details, and we will announce our stance.

Question: Do you think that the issue of Mountainous Qarabagh, which is a problem in your relations both with Azerbaijan and with Turkey, will be solved in the short term?  Can you see that your reaching agreement with Azerbaijan will increase the level of political and economic cooperation in the region?

Answer: The meeting I had on 6 June in Saint Petersburg with President Aliyev of Azerbaijan went well.  Both of us directed our Foreign Ministers to work on the Madrid Principles; they have now come together three times.  I hope that we will find a solution soon.

Question: Can you give an approximate date?

Answer: It would not be appropriate to make a prediction prior to the elections in Azerbaijan.  We will see the developments following the elections.

Question: Do you see a similarity between the situations in South Ossetia and Azkhazia, on the one hand, and Mountainous Qarabagh on the other?  I am asking because you spoke of a people's need for the right of self-determination.

Answer: All of these disputes have both similarities and differences.  Rather than dwelling on the similarities and differences, I think we should focus on the lessons to be drawn.  We see that efforts to solve the problems through military methods give rise to dangerous consequences that cannot be foreseen.  I wonder how many people (in Georgia), before getting involved in this action, saw that they would encounter such consequences.  We have to be very careful.

Question: Looked at from the outside, it is seen that relations between Turkey and Armenia have been locked for years on the genocide issue.  Is this right, in your view?  Will the relations, in your opinion, not move forward as long as Turkey does not recognize the tragic events of 1915, and before and afterwards, as genocide?  Is this a precondition?

Answer: You cannot find a single Armenian on the face of the earth who believes that it was not genocide.  But we absolutely do not see the recognition of the genocide as a precondition in the development of our relations with Turkey.  It is indeed for this reason that we say that we are prepared to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey without any preconditions.

Question: What do you think about the establishment of a historical commission in order to study what really happened in 1915?  In your view, could a commission for normalization of relations, as proposed by the Armenian side, and a historical commission be managed in parallel with one another?

Answer: I think we need a new view on this issue as well.  Because I cannot remember that a non-state commission has ever to date been established for the sake of resolving problems between states.  The best solution would be to establish diplomatic relations.  In this way, below a commission to be established between the governments, any number of sub-commissions or groups could be established.  Previously, a similar commission was established in the United States.  Did it produce results?  Second, you have to bring about normal working conditions for your experts and your scholars.  And for this, you have to have normal diplomatic relations.  Efforts conducted with diplomatic relations and without diplomatic relations would be entirely different from one another.

Question: Do you believe that the ongoing covert diplomatic discussions between Turkey and Armenia will produce a result?

Answer: Certainly; if I didn't believe that they would bring results, it would be impossible for me to support them.  But going beyond these discussions, I believe that the course of the relationship shows that we, the leaders of the two countries, have come to the stage of being able to make decisions.  These will not be easy decisions.  Not all in the societies of Armenia and Turkey will approve these decisions.  But I am certain that positive decisions will be supported by the majority in the societies.  I do not mean with this the diplomats' efforts; I am referring to the general atmosphere. Gul's message of congratulations, Erdogan's words, my invitation to Gul, and even this interview that I am having with you are all a part of this atmosphere.  In this sense, I believe that we are coming to the stage of making decisions.

Question: How will Gul's coming or not coming to Yerevan impact this situation?

Answer: I believe that it is important.  Because people do not reach important decisions easily.  Personal relationships are important.  To speak before the public, and to speak while looking into the eyes of the person opposite you, are two different things.  If I did not believe that this visit was important, I would not have invited Mr Gul.

We are neighbors.  We have gone through difficult times in our history.  But Armenia is prepared to develop the relations.  We expect the same thing from Turkey as well.


1. Talat cautious as talks are underway

Under the above title Turkish Daily News newspaper (29.08.08) publishes the following commentary by Barcin Yinanc:

“It's almost like a cliché. For the Turkish side the Cyprus problem dates back to 1963 when Greek Cypriots started their attacks in the island. For the Greek Cypriots, the problem started in 1974 when Turkey “invaded” the island.

“The 1963 line,” is the official line of the Turkish side, especially of the first president of Turkish Cyprus, Rauf Denktas. So it comes as a surprise to hear the 1963 rhetoric from Mehmet Ali Talat, his long time opponent and now successor.

 Talat met with a group of journalists and academics Wednesday night. At the casual atmosphere of the dinner organized by the Global Political Trends Center, a think tank of the Istanbul Culture University. Talat did not sound too bitter when he recalled the days he went on hunger strike to protest Denktas. He did not hide however his frustration of those days when Denktas would inform opposition leaders of a certain decision on the Cyprus problem, without having prior consultation with them. 'We would be told not to raise our voice and accept the decision which was taken without even consulting with us,' he said.

  But when he started to talk about the Cyprus problem, I almost heard Denktas talking. While he was talking about the necessity of lifting the embargo on Turkish Cyprus, he said Turkish Cypriots have been suffering from the isolation since 1963. “Even if we have a solution in a year, the devastating effects of the isolation will be felt for many years to come,” he said. “When it comes to the issue of properties, the compensation of the Turkish side should cover a time span starting from 1963,” he said. “As far as the Turkish side is concerned there have never been equal opportunities ever since 1963,” he said, adding that measures need to be taken to narrow the economic gap between the two sides even before reaching a solution.

He complained however, about the intransigence of the Greek Cypriots which succeeded in blocking the visit of an Estonian delegation which was planning to come to Turkish Cyprus to share their experience of integration with the EU.

"Yes to solution" ticket

  For someone who has spent his whole political career trying to curb the intransigence of Denktas and Ankara, it sounds a bit ironic to see how he is now focused on the rigid position of the Greek Cypriot side.

He seems not to trust his Greek Cypriot interlocutor Christofias that much.  The two will meet on 3rd of September for what many see as yet another historic opportunity to reunite the island. “The meeting next Wednesday is not a very critical one. It will rather be a ceremonial meeting. We will also set the procedures,” said Talat. Christofias wants to meet once a week, while Talat insists on more frequent meetings. “Christofias told me that unlike me, he has to deal with the day to day business of the government. Due to his work load he wants to meet once a week,” Talat said. But he does not seem convinced by that argument. Talat believes he wants to slow down the process. “I am suspicious of his intentions,” he said. “I don't see any argument other than ideology for him to seek a solution. He is a communist. So he should be seeking a solution,” he said. But he seems not to have forgotten how Christofias deceived him by joining the “no camp,” at the referendum for the notorious Annan plan.

Talat seems aware of the fact that his Greek Cypriot counterpart got all the credit from the international world by simply winning the elections with the “yes to solution” ticket. Christofias has yet to show if he really means “peace.” Talat is thus quite cautious about his “teammate,” with whom he will carry the heavy responsibility of finding a solution to a complicated problem.

 Talat also has a very realistic stance as far as the international conjuncture within which the talks are taking placed. He is not encouraged by the recognition of break away provinces like Kosovo, Abhazia or South Ossetia. “Reunification is problematic but so is the division. If we are recognized by 100 countries, it's fine. But what happens if this number is limited to 20. Then this won't solve the problem for us,” he said.

At the end of a dinner that lasted almost three hours, I saw a realistic, serene and decided leader, well prepared for long and complicated negotiations.”



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