WHY TURKEY IS NOT KEEN ON THE GAMBARI AGREEMENT

WHY TURKEY IS NOT KEEN ON THE GAMBARI AGREEMENT

For some time Greek Cyprus President Tassos Papadopulos and his team have been conducting a campaign of blame against Turkey. They criticize Turkey for not supporting the Gambari agreement, which was brokered by UN Undersecretary-General Ibrahim Gambari and signed by Papadopulos and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat in July of 2006, in all of their official or unofficial speeches and statements. There is some truth in this censure.

It is quite obvious that the latest political developments in the Cyprus issue are not ideal for Papadopulos. His dream to establish a “unitary Greek state” in Cyprus and to keep the post and title of the “only recognized government of Cyprus” until then, has almost gone by the board. In fact, it has already fallen to the ground.

For the past 43 years, the Greek government of Cyprus has mo-nopolized this false title, but now it seems this era is drawing to a close.
Although at a Sept. 5 summit Papadopulos rejected President Ta-lat’s proposal to establish the necessary committees mentioned in the Gambari agreement and to set up a program to settle the Cyprus issue by the end of 2008, the UN, the EU, the US and Turkey are sympathetic towards this proposal.

There are now two alternatives on the table concerning the Cy-prus issue that are both no good for Papadopulos.

The first one is the Annan plan, which involves new negotiations arbitrated by a UN official that would be started after the presidential elections on Feb. 17, 2008 and completed before the end of year.
In this plan all of Papadopulos’ possible escape routes are blocked. He won’t be able to delay the proceedings and keep the title of “the only recognized government of Cyprus” for as long as possible.

The second alternative is the unification of the island under the EU umbrella.
According to this plan, if there is no possibility for the unification of the island under the first alternative, then the road to separation will be paved and the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) will be confirmed. Since the soil of the KKTC is already EU soil according to Protocol 10 of the 4th phase of enlargement, dated May 1, 2004, the annexation of the KKTC to the EU will be immediately implemented and the unification of the island will finalized under the EU umbrella.

The example of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is a good and realistic model for this plan. So, too, is the Kosovo issue. A similar dis-pute between Kosovo and Serbia will be most likely be settled by the second alternative.

The independence of Kosovo is like a nightmare for Papadopulos and the Greek Cypriots. The significant date for the Kosovo issue is Dec. 10, 2007, the day they will most likely declare their independence. If this declaration of independence is supported by other countries and Kosovo’s independence is diplomatically recognized, Serbia will be welcomed into the EU and the unification of Kosovo and Serbia will come through the EU.

Given the latest developments, it is quite clear that the pressure on Turkey for the settlement of the Cyprus issue and the opening of air and sea ports to Greek Cyprus-bound vehicles is not as strong as it has been previously. This proves that the unification of the island under the EU sounds feasible to member countries and their leaders.

For this reason, Papadopulos has changed track in his foreign policy and he is now trying very hard to pull the Cyprus issue from the hands of the EU and to let it fly into the hands of the UN, especially into the UN-brokered Gambari agreement.
For years he used all kinds of trickery, perjury and misrepresen-tation to take the Cyprus problem off the UN’s agenda and to place it with the EU. Suddenly he has changed his tactics, wiping out his years-long efforts in one go and sticking his expectations firmly to the Gambari agreement.

Why to the Gambari agreement? This is the tricky point of the new scenario.

The only safe route to escape from the pressures that may be ex-erted by the UN, EU or US lies in the Gambari agreement. This is the main reason.

Only five guiding rules and two determinations exist in the plan drawn up by Mr. Gambari. These guiding rules and determinations are written in such a way that their meanings can be interpreted in many ways and can be stretched as wished. There is no time limit for negoti-ations and no arbitrator. The negotiations could last from 50 to 500 years.

This is why Mr. Papadopulos immediately objected to the proposal of President Talat to establish the necessary committees mentioned in the Gambari agreement and set up a work program to settle the Cyprus issue by the end of 2008. There is a time limit in this constructive proposal.

Mr. Papadopulos is against time limits in negotiations because of his desire to draw out the negotiations until a day when Turkey shows weakness and to realize his dream of a “Greek Republic of Cyprus,” while pretending to be the proactive side of the Cyprus negotiations.

1 Aralık 2007
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Okunma 111
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TURKEY UNDISPUTED LEADER OF THE MIDDLE EAST

TURKEY UNDISPUTED LEADER OF THE MIDDLE EAST

Although the Armenians and the Greeks played the Christian card quite well in the 20th century and tried to push Turkey into the position of the most underrepresented and discredited nation on earth, it didn’t work well in the last century and won’t work in the 21st cen-tury, either. The latest card player was Armenian camp-follower Nancy Pelosi, who in fact put her personal interests above American interests by pushing for passage of the so-called genocide resolution, just like Armenian-Americans who think of Armenians’ interests above those of Americans, unfortunately.

Since 2002, from the day the new driver, the Justice and Devel-opment Party (AKP), took over Turkey’s steering wheel, a departure from the country’s traditional foreign policy began and gradually quickened. The new driver led the country to a brand new track, one more temperate, social, constructive, modernistic and rather enterprising; as opposed to the defensive and passive track of old.

This new track gradually led Turkey’s political prowess upward, and Turkey is now becoming an important player in the Middle East, emerging as an important diplomatic actor. Turkey’s greater activism in the Middle East has also been reflected in its effort to strengthen ties to Iran and Syria, and now Turkey’s political and economic relations with neighboring countries are at the best levels ever achieved.

Ankara’s relations with Tehran and Damascus were strained in the 1980s and 1990s, in part because Iran and Syria supported the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in their effort to destabilize Turkey. But relations have significantly improved in recent years, thanks to the three governments’ shared interest in containing Kurdish nationalism and preventing the emergence of an independent Kurdish state on their borders.

Turkey’s cooperation with Iran has intensified considerably, par-ticularly in the security sphere. During Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Tehran in July 2004, Turkey and Iran signed a secu-rity cooperation agreement that branded the PKK a terrorist organiza-tion. Since then, the two countries have stepped up cooperation to protect their borders. Energy has been another major engine behind the warming of Iranian-Turkish relations; Iran is the second-largest supplier of natural gas to Turkey (after Russia).

Ankara’s policy toward Israel and the Palestinians has also un-dergone a shift. Turkey had maintained a close relationship with Israel since 1996, especially in the defense and intelligence areas. Coopera-tion had benefits for both sides: It gave Israel a way of breaking out of its regional isolation and a means of putting pressure on Syria, and it gave Turkey new avenues for obtaining weapons and advanced tech-nology at a time when it faced increasing restrictions on weapons pro-curement from the United States and Europe.

But more recently, under the AKP’s leadership, Turkey’s outlook toward Israel has begun to change and Ankara has begun to adopt a more active pro-Palestinian policy.
This change started when Erdoğan decided to send 1,000 troops to participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon — one of the largest contributions of any European state.

Although not without risks, Erdoğan’s decision to contribute troops to the UN mission had a number of important benefits. It both underscored Turkey’s European credentials and showed that Ankara is an important regional player. And along with Erdoğan’s criticism of Israel’s military action, it allowed Turkey to demonstrate its solidarity with key Arab governments in the region that supported the peace-keeping mission.

The latest summit in Ankara held by President Abdullah Gül, be-tween Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mah-moud Abbas, exemplifies the position and importance of Turkey in the Middle East.

Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia in particular have been strengthened recently, as was highlighted by King Abdullah’s trip to Turkey in August 2006 — the first visit of its kind in 40 years– and then again in the second week of November 2007.

Turkey’s greater engagement in the Middle East is part of the gradual diversification of Turkish foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. In effect, Turkey is rediscovering the region of which it has historically been an integral part. Especially under the Ottomans, Tur-key was the dominant power in the Middle East.

Turkey’s recent focus on the Middle East does not, however, mean that Turkey is about to turn its back on the West. Nor is the shift evidence of the “creeping Islamization” of Turkish foreign policy, as some critics claim.
Turkey’s new activism is a response to structural changes in its security environment since the end of the Cold War. And if managed properly, it could be an opportunity for the Western world to use Turkey as a bridge to the Middle East.

Both Ankara and the Western world — the EU and US — need to accept that the war in Iraq has created new realities and unleashed new forces that must be accommodated and that no satisfactory results can be achieved in the region without Turkey’s assent.

26 Kasım 2007
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Okunma 111
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WHO IS LYING HRISTOFIAS OR AKEL?

WHO IS LYING HRISTOFIAS OR AKEL?

Cypriot presidential candidate Dimitris Hristofias of the Progres-sive Party of Working People (AKEL), in his speeches at various meet-ings and rallies, has said that he and his party believe in a “bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on political equality” and that, if elected, he will solve the Cyprus problem in the shortest time possible. It may sound good, but what he keeps saying is only a fairy tale.

On March 6, 1966, the Haravgi newspaper (AKEL’s mouthpiece) reported the proceedings of AKEL’s 11th congress in banner headlines. According to the paper, the congress was taking historic decisions on the furtherance of the “Greek Cypriot anti-imperialist struggle.”

The historic decisions concerning Cyprus announced on March 12 and published in Haravgi on March 13, 1966 were as follows:
“The congress reaffirms AKEL’s persistent and unchanging atti-tude in our liberation struggle. It further reiterates AKEL’s efforts aimed at a non-aligned independence, the ultimate territorial integrity of Cyprus and the removal of all foreign bases and radio stations that are used for spying. It is only after the realization of these objectives that the people of Cyprus will be able to determine their future through the internationally accepted principle of self- determination, free from foreign intervention and pressure. Only within this concept will our people achieve national rehabilitation with its free will and conscience, without any pressure or blackmail. Those NATO forces that oppose our policy are taking advantage of the nationalistic feelings of the people and issuing disseminating propaganda of a direct [union of Cyprus and Greece (enosis)] through a fait accompli. Our party is resolutely opposed to such enosis. Because through this kind of enosis an unacceptable NATO solution will be imposed on our people … that will in fact amount to the partitioning of Cyprus from Greece and its linking with NATO.
“The congress, having in mind these efforts of imperialists and NATO forces, calls on our people to be vigilant, to foil these plots aimed at the oppression and enslavement of Cyprus.
“While the congress approves non-aligned independence, full so-vereignty and the policy of self-determination, it maintains that this policy serves the national interests of our na¬tional struggle and, in general, world peace in its full meaning. It sees the struggle as the only right policy and the real anti-imperialist national liberation movement and, while it approves this stand, it urges the party to continue to play a leading role in this struggle as it has done, without deviation and to do its utmost with all its strength.”

One day before this resolution was adopted by the 11th congress, the text of a letter addressed to President Makarios by former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, dated Aug. 29, 1964, was published in the Greek Cypriot press. There is a close relationship between this letter and the slogan of “Unfettered independence, unconditional inde-pendence and genuine independence.”

Passages from Makarios’ reply to Papandreou also shed light on their links with enosis, as indicated be¬low. All Greek Cypriot papers carried the following quotation from George Papandreou on March 3, 1966, attributing it to the Athens-based Ethnos newspaper:
“Shortly the Turkish troops in Cyprus will be rotated. We feel it necessary to announce our joint decisions on the new crisis created by this development.

We have reached agreement to have recourse to the United Na-tions for unconditional independence, which provides for the exercise of the right of self-determination.

We have further agreed to maintain peace in the island until the UN adopts a resolution. We shall not provoke, but rather we will launch a peace offensive, promising general am¬nesty to Turkish Cypriots. We shall tell them that we will safeguard their human and politi¬cal rights. With this approach we will foil the aggressive intentions of the Turks and create favorable impressions at the United Nations.

Turks can be expected to attack without provocation. But, as I said, in the event of such an offensive Greece will defend Cyprus with all her strength. As the Greek army cannot pos¬sibly fight under the banner of “unfettered in¬dependence,” the parliaments of Greece and Cyprus will proclaim enosis immediately and the fight¬ing will take place under the banner of enosis. This is a banner suitable for a nation to fight for.”

I wonder why AKEL did not object to the declaration of the “Cypriot Hellenic Republic” on July 16, 1974 by coup d’état-installed President Nikos Sampson, the notorious killer of innocent Turkish Cypriot civilians. The resolutions of 1966 and 1973, which are similar to pre-vious one, are still valid and not yet cancelled.

One must wonder how Mr. Hristofias will settle the Cyprus dispute based on “bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on political equality” while the above resolutions are directing him to enosis.

24 Kasım 2007
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Okunma 117
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TIME FOR KKTC TO OPEN FURTHER OFFICES IN MIDDLE EAST

TIME FOR KKTC TO OPEN FURTHER OFFICES IN MIDDLE EAST

The historic meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took place in the Turkish capital of Ankara a few days ago.

In the same week Saudi Arabian King Abdullah came to Ankara to congratulate Abdullah Gül on his presidency. King Abdullah was Gül’s third guest leader, after President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and Syrian President Bashar Assad, and this visit is his second within a short period. In addition, he is one of eight foreign statesmen who have been awarded the Turkish National Medal of Honor.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) delegation is headed by the president of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and In-dustry, Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdullah Kamel. Kamel arrived in the KKTC only a day before the king’s arrival in Ankara and was greeted by the foreign minister and other high-ranking officials at Ercan Airport. He managed a direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Ercan in the KKTC, irres-pective of the transportation embargo imposed on the Turkish Cypriots since 1983. Upon his arrival at the airport, Kamel stated that he was pleased to meet with his brothers in the KKTC.

The visit of King Abdullah to Turkey days before the historic meeting and the visit of the president of the Islamic Chamber of Com-merce and Industry to the KKTC wasn’t just a coincidence.

Israeli President Peres and Palestinian President Abbas signed an economic development agreement Tuesday in Turkey, the first time ever in the history of the Middle East, at least for the past 2,000 years. Turkish President Gül also signed the pact, which calls for the devel-opment of two industrial zones in the West Bank, creating 5,000 jobs. The heads of state met with the Ankara Forum, a group of business leaders from all three countries. This was a big step toward peace in the historical soil Terra Sancta, the Holy Land, for the followers of three religions.

Peres and Abbas addressed the Turkish Parliament as well. Both expressed great hopes and fears about the coming meeting in Annapo-lis, which Peres called a “historic opportunity.” The key role of Turkey in the reformation of the Middle East is surfacing slowly but surely.

The time has come to settle the Cyprus issue along with the oth-ers. Turkey has consistently called for steps to end the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots after they voted for a UN plan to reu-nite the island in 2004, but despite pledges, there has been no signifi-cant progress since then.

The Israeli government and the Israeli people have not care much lately about the embargoes and isolation imposed on the Turkish Cy-priots. Between Israel and the KKTC, there are already social relations, with Israeli tourists and academics visiting without any restrictions.

A direct route for ferryboats between the port of Haifa and Fama-gusta was in place at the beginning of the new millennium and lasted for a few years; however, it was closed due to an insufficient number of passengers. Israeli investors have already purchased hundreds of thousands of square meters of land in KKTC territory and the amount of construction there has begun to rise.

After all of these civil and political developments, Turkey re-quested the opening of a Turkish Cypriot representative office in Tel Aviv when President Gül met with Peres in Ankara. President Peres did not turn down Gül’s request and responded by saying that he would have to discuss the matter with Israel’s Foreign Ministry before replying officially. It is of course the Israeli government who would respond to the request, but for the time being, the chances of an official representation of the KKTC opening in Israel seem to be high.

17 Kasım 2007
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Okunma 125
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THE BARREN HIGH LEVEL CONTACT GROUP FOR CYPRUS

THE BARREN HIGH LEVEL CONTACT GROUP FOR CYPRUS

Soon after the April 24, 2004 referenda held in Cyprus, members of the European Parliament warmly welcomed the decision by the EU Council to finally adopt a financial aid package for the Turkish Cypriot community, as repeatedly called for by the European Parliament. The council decision was seen as a first encouraging step to move toward adoption of the direct trade package in order to fulfill the remaining commitments made by the EU to the Turkish Cypriot community. The “high-level contact group” was set up to “strengthen relations with the Cypriot community in the northern part of the island” and “to establish contact with the political representatives of the northern part of the island, elected representatives and representatives of civil society in the broadest sense of the term.”

The aim was rather “to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus,” as was laid out in the council conclusions of April 26, 2004.

The initial members of this contact group consisted of Francoise Grossetête (EPP-DE, FR), coordinator; Mechthild Rothe (PES, DE), deputy coordinator; Karin Resetarits (ALDE, AT); Cem Özdemir (Greens/EFA, DE); Francis Wurtz (EUL/NGL, FR); Sean O’Neachtain (UENS, IRL); and Ryszard Czarnecki (NI, PL).
LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) chairman and the European Par-liament deputy for Greece Georgios Karacaferis went into this group with a deliberate mission to paralyze or to block any constructive at-tempts toward Turkish Cypriots.

Three members of this group, including the coordinator, have hostile feelings toward the Turkish people, irrespective of their back-ground. It makes no difference for these members whether these are Turkish Cypriots or Turks of mainland Turkey. Their motto is “No ben-efit to any human being of Turkish origin.”

They come to Cyprus only to enjoy the benefits of a first class trip, enjoy the sunny days they spend on the island, eat the best food, stay in first class hotels and ride around in limousines.

Since their first visit to the island in March 2006, they have not caused anything to change. The political conditions, embargoes, isola-tion, direct trade regulations and the financial aid regulation are the same as the first day of their visit.

The European Commission’s 2007 progress report released on Nov. 6, relating to Turkey’s EU accession process, is envenomed by the Greek Cypriots and nothing against this report is heard from this group. The report, which appears totally Greek sided, refers to Turkey’s continual refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot trade but has no lines mentioning the unjust political, economic, cultural, social, sporting and trade embargoes that still stand firm irrespective of the “Direct Trade and Financial Aid Regulations” of the EU dated April 26, 2004, and the commitments made after the “yes” votes of the Turkish Cypriots in the referendum on the Annan plan of 2004.

Lack of fulfillment of the promises to lift the embargos has created distrust of the EU by the Turkish Cypriots and Turkish people as well as by the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish politicians. The high-level contact group has already traveled to Cyprus four times to meet with roughly the same people and say roughly the same things without any results following their conversations. The constitution of the group does not allow either a political follow-up or political decisions. Given this, the group is no longer the appropriate instrument for the European Parliament to effectively deal with the Cyprus issue.

12 Kasım 2007
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Okunma 112
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