AND OTHER MEDIA
A. NEWS ITEMS
1. Statements by Hasan Ercakica on the Ledra street checkpoint.
2. The Turkish army is preventing the demolition of the bridge in the area of the Ledra Street; Talat is discussing the issue today with General Buyukanit and Abdullah Gul.
3. Talat has reportedly called on the Turkish Cypriot holders of passports and identity cards of the Republic of Cyprus to give them back.
4. Talat is to hold contacts in Ankara.
5. Talat to attend the activities for the presentation of Turkey to Europe organized by the TAM Foundation in Germany.
6. Ankara braces for new year's diplomacy season.
B. Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
1. Talat has reportedly told the army that he would resign in case the bridge in the area of Ledra Street is not removed.
A. NEWS ITEMS
1. Statements by Hasan Ercakica on the Ledra street checkpoint
Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (05.01.07) under the title “’TRNC’: The Greek Cypriots prevent the new ‘gate’”, reports from occupied Lefkosia that the so-called Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakıca, alleged that the Greek Cypriot side is finding new excuses every day for preventing the opening of the Ledra street checkpoint. “The Greek Cypriots invent excuses for preventing the opening of the Ledra ‘gate’”, he said. Commenting on the statements of the Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis which have been published in the Greek Cypriot newspapers, Mr Ercakıca asserted, in a written statement, that even though Mr Pashiardis was the one who said: “We invited the Turkish Cypriot side to a dialogue with the UN involvement so that the Ledra street could be opened”, no invitation has reached the Turkish Cypriot side. Mr Ercakıca stated: “Pashiardis is said to have made a statement in this direction last Friday as well, but the Turkish Cypriot side received no call or invitation on this issue. Despite the fact that we thought that this call could have been delayed reaching our side, due to the holiday of Bayram which has started at the end of last week, no request has been received today (yesterday). It is obvious that the Greek Cypriot side is trying to counter the insistent increasing demands from both sides for the opening of the Ledra street gate with such games and lead them to no result. It is visible that the Greek Cypriot side is finding new excuses every day for preventing the Ledra street gate from opening. … We will not give the possibility to the Greek Cypriot side to obstruct this with accusations and manipulations.”
2. The Turkish army is preventing the demolition of the bridge in the area of the Ledra Street; Talat is discussing the issue today with General Buyukanit and Abdullah Gul
Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.01.07), under the title “Bridge crisis”, reports that the military officials are preventing the lifting of the bridge which the breakaway regime has built in the area of the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) in the occupied part of Nicosia.
The dismantling works were not conducted yesterday, in spite of the fact that it had been announced that they would begin after the religious feast of the sacrifices.
According to the paper, the issue will be discussed today during a summit which will take place in Ankara, with the participation of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul. The paper notes also that yesterday Mr Talat discussed the issue with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.
Furthermore, the paper notes that the leader of the National Unity Party, Tahsin Ertugruloglu criticized Mr Talat because of the decision to demolish the bridge and argued that this decision, which “ignores the security”, has been taken without establishing a sound dialogue.
According to KIBRIS, the leader of the Democratic Party, Serdar Denktas discussed yesterday the issue with the tradesmen at the Ledra Street area in the occupied part of Nicosia. Mr Denktas reiterated his view that demolishing the bridge is not right.
Meanwhile, the paper reports that the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari referred also to the issue yesterday and expressed the hope that as from now Mr Talat will give him the duty to deal with the issue.
“We can carry on this duty and I believe that our possibility of securing a solution to this without being politicians is high, because in both sides there are mayors who exert efforts for the opening of the gate”, he said in statements to KIBRIS TV.
Mr Bulutoglulari stated that the mayor of Nicosia, Ms Eleni Mavrou had asked from him a period of 10-15 days on the issue of the work to be done for the opening of the crossing point in Ledra Street. He said that this time should be given to Ms Mavrou and argued that they are waiting for Ms Mavrou’s call in order to begin the work for lifting the bridge.
He noted that if the bridge is demolished and the gate is not opened, this will be of no use. He alleged that the opening of the crossing point depends on the stance of the Greek Cypriot side.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (05.01.07) refers to the statements of Serdar Denktas and Tahsin Ertugruloglu under the title “Attack for the bridge from the hawks”. The paper reports that the nationalists in the occupied areas are attacking in order to prevent the demolition of the bridge.
The tradesmen in the area of Ledra Street in the occupied part of Nicosia will organize a gathering today and ask the Greek Cypriot side to “pull down the wall”. “The entire nationalist front expressed support to the activity of the tradesmen today”, notes AFRIKA.
Turkish Cypriot daily VOLKAN newspaper (05.01.07) refers to the same issue under the title “There is an activity today at the Lokmaci” and adds: “Let the Greek Cypriots demolish the wall and we shall lift the bridge”.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (05.01.07) refers to the issue under banner front page title “Let the barricade be lifted, let the gate be opened” and publishes statements by tradesmen from both sides who express their support to the opening of the crossing point in the area.
3. Talat has reportedly called on the Turkish Cypriot holders of passports and identity cards of the Republic of Cyprus to give them back
Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (05.01.07) refers to information published by Sefa Karahasan, Turkish MILLIYET’s correspondent in the occupied part of Cyprus (MILLIYET 04.01.07, Internet Version), who reported that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat called on the Turkish Cypriots who hold passports and identity cards of the Republic of Cyprus to return them to the Greek Cypriots.
Mr Talat said that in case the Turkish Cypriots return the passports saying to the Greek Cypriots that “I do not want your passport or identity card”, this would be a very effective move. Talat alleged that “if at that time Turkey had not given passports to the TRNC, the world would be obliged to open its doors to the Turkish Cypriots”.
HALKIN SESI reports that in statements to THE NEW ANATOLIAN newspaper on 30 November 2005, Mr Talat had said that because of these passports the Turkish Cypriots can travel freely to the EU member countries and many other countries of the world and that their life became easier. Talat had told THE NEW ANATOLIAN that getting a passport of the Republic of Cyprus was a right that the Turkish Cypriots have and that this is a human right.
According to MILLIYET, in statements on a program of GENC TV Talat argued that the Greek Cypriots use the passports and identity cards they issued to the Turkish Cypriots as a material for propaganda and added that they conducted a research, the results of which they conveyed to all the EU Commissioners, noting that 40 thousand Turkish Cypriots are holders of passports of the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr Talat said that countries such as the US, Pakistan, Britain, France and Germany give visa to the holders of “TRNC” passports and added that when the Greek Cypriots are asked something about the “isolation” of the Turkish Cypriots, they answer: “That’s absurd” and that “we give them passports and identity cards”.
4. Talat is to hold contacts in Ankara
Illegal Bayrak television (04.01.07) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who is currently in Istanbul for a private visit, will be moving to Ankara on Friday for a series of contacts on the Cyprus issue.
In line with his contacts, Mr Talat is expected to meet with the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
Mr Talat is expected to return to the occupied areas on Friday following the completion of his contacts in the Turkish capital.
5. Talat to attend the activities for the presentation of Turkey to Europe organized by the TAM Foundation in Germany
Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (05.01.07) writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will be among the guests for the activities for the presentation “Turkey in Europe”, to be organized by the Foundation “Turkey Research Centre” (TAM) which is based in the German city of Essen. The activities are to take place during the German term of the EU Presidency. The Chairman of the Foundation, Mr Farut Şen said that the German term presidency is an important opportunity for the revival of the relations between Turkey and the EU.
6. Ankara braces for new year's diplomacy season
Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (05.01.07), under the above title, reports that Ankara is braced diplomacy traffic in the first days of the new year as the country prepares to host heavy weights from Egypt, Poland, Italy and Ukraine.
The diplomacy traffic season opens with the visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who will visit the country in January as the official guest of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. During the key visit, the two foreign ministers are expected to exchange views on efforts to revive the Middle East peace process and latest regional developments.
Following the visit by the Egyptian foreign minister, Ankara will host Poland's president and the Ukrainian and Italian premiers.
Italian Premier Romano Prodi, who is expected to visit Turkey later this month, will discuss Turkey's bid to join the European Union with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will also participate in the inauguration ceremony of the Bolu Tunnel.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's long-awaited and previously postponed visit to Turkey is also expected to be made in March.
The diplomacy season will also be tough for Turkish officials, especially for Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Gul will open the season with a visit to Davos, Switzerland on January 24-28 in order to participate in the annual meting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is also planning to visit Australia in February.
B. Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
1. Talat has reportedly told the army that he would resign in case the bridge in the area of Ledra Street is not removed
Basaran Duzgun, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.01.07), refers to the issue of the bridge at the Ledra Street area under the title “Talat will resign”.
Mr Basaran Duzgun writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Talat consulted with the commanders of the Turkish occupation forces and the “security” forces before taking the decision for lifting the bridge.
The military officials gave the message to Talat that they do not agree with the decision, but they will not prevent its implementation. Talat told them that this is a political issue and that the final decision should be taken by the politicians. He added: “I will announce that the bridge will be lifted and if a contrary development takes place I will resign”.
According to Mr Duzgun the issue has been discussed also at the General Staff in Ankara between the army and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr Gul supported Talat’s decision and tried to persuade the General Staff that this is right, but these efforts had no result. Mr Duzgun refers to Mr Talat’s statement that the bridge would be removed and adds:
“All the sides expected the dismantling works of the bridge to begin on Thursday, but these works could not start at all. Why? Because the army sent the message that ‘I will arrest those who enter into the area’. The bridge is a military zone and if the workers who will perform the dismantling work come, they will definitely be arrested.
The following was revealed with this message: The debates behind closed doors have not ended with reconciliation of the differences and the army showed its ‘do not come, we shall arrest you’ stance by replying with the force of the arms to the political decision taken by the President of the Republic.
Very well, what did President Talat, who spoke in the manner that ‘I am not a puppet and if necessary I will resign’, do?
President Mehmet Ali Talat was in Istanbul during the feast holiday. The holiday was announced as a pretext to the public opinion, but Talat met in Istanbul with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The issue of the removal of the bridge, which has been turned into a tactful crisis which will cause Talat’s resignation, was discussed with all its details.
The Prime Minister assigned the duty to Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul to overcome the crisis and calling the Chief of the General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit suggested that the issue should be discussed at a three party meeting.
In this manner the bridge crisis was carried to the Ankara summit.
President Talat, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gul and the Chief of the General Staff General Buyukanit will meet and try to overcome the bridge crisis. What will the result be?
As of this point there are two options in front of President Talat: Either he will remove the bridge or he will say ‘I am not a puppet’ and resign. There are two ways in front of the army officials who object to the lifting of the bridge: Either they will say their objections and withdraw and approve the lifting of the bridge or they will face Talat’s resignation in the manner which will be officially registering its position of being ‘an occupation army’.
I believe, however, that there is a third way out. For their security the Turkish Cypriots have transferred a great part of their sovereignty to the army. The Council of Ministers will sit and take the area where the bridge at Lokmaci is out of the military zone. The area where the bridge is will enter into the control of the government and in this manner the dismantling works will be done.
The issue is fully related to the sovereignty. In the hands of the parliament and the government there are legal arguments, which will use the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriots. We shall continue tomorrow on the issue”.