EURASIAN UNION NEARING REALITY

EURASIAN UNION NEARING REALITY

The intentional obstacles placed in Turkey’s accession path and the coming developments in the EU don’t look promising. Proceedings for the accession negotiations are not advancing as well as in the honey-moon days. Soon after the stones settle in Turkey’s Parliament, the new Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will probably turn its face toward Russia and the Turkic (Turkic-language speaking) countries, rather than the EU.

It seems quite obvious that Turkey and the Turkish people will give up their EU accession hopes and plans soon. After the parliamentary elec-tions in Turkey Jose Manuel Barosso, president of the European Commission, clearly spelled out the impossibility of Turkey’s accession and the inability of the EU to digest Turkey as a full member.

Barosso made much of the difference between “accession talks” and “accession,” clarifying that beginning accession talks may not mean or guarantee accession at the closure. His prediction was that the EU will never accept Turkey as a member — the country is not ready for acces-sion now and is likely to be ready anytime in the near future.

With no other choice Turkey is now turning an eye toward Central Asia and the southern Caucasus. Increasing the number of visas for the Turkic countries soon is on the agenda, particularly for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Already Tur-key has started to develop good relations with Russia that many plan to be long-lasting.

The citizens of these countries will be able to visit Turkey without a visa for a certain period after this unilateral gesture of the new Turkish government gets into effect. Furthermore, in the second stage this people will probably be granted work and residence permits.

In June the Turkish minister of foreign affairs discussed the visa issue with ambassadors of the countries mentioned. After the Cabinet of the 59th government made a decision about enactment, the legislation is now on its way to the President for legalization. This is likely to be among the first group of documents signed by the new Turkish presi-dent.

In a speech during the opening ceremony of the eighth summit of the heads of Turkic-language speaking states in November 2006, the Tur-kish president at the time, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, emphasized the impor-tance of forming a “Turkic-speaking-countries community.”

Vladimir Putin’s dreams of establishing a Russian-Turkish Eurasian Union that would incorporate Central Asia and the Caucasus seem to be in line with those of the new Turkish government.

In the third week of April, President Putin addressed the Russian par-liament and made a call for Turkey to establish a Russian-Turkish Eurasian Union. It was a friendly gesture, asking Turkey to leave the EU and work hand-in-hand with Russia to establish the new union. This was of course the result of Russia’s strategists’ convincing Putin to look toward Turkey after sensing increased negative sentiments toward the country in the EU.

The US will not react well to this unification and seeing Turkey on the side of a rival, especially because Turkey is one of their most important allies in this region.

Given all the current obstacles to Turkey and the EU’s seeming unwil-lingness for partnership with an Islamic country, it looks as though a Eurasian union would be the better place for Turkey.

The giants and tigers of Asia are already on their way toward unifica-tion, or at least cooperation, in the form of the Shanghai Five. In a Eu-rasian alliance, Turkey’s prestigious and decisive seat, especially when compared to a potential “privileged partnership,” would be the best option for Turkey in the long run.
It seems now that the fog is lifting and Turkey’s new direction is be-coming crystal clear — the East and a Eurasian union.

13 Ağustos 2007
EURASIAN UNION NEARING REALITY için yorumlar kapalı
Okunma 91
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FEDERATION WARS IN GREEK CYPRUS

FEDERATION WARS IN GREEK CYPRUS

The discussions on the Cyprus issue are getting increasingly heated as the presidential election draws near. The rightists, especially the Dem-ocratic Party (DIKO) of which Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papado-poulos was the chairman, are claiming that comments suggesting a bi-zonal and bi-communal federal state as a solution to the Cyprus issue are made to damage the trustworthiness of the president.

It seems that Mr. Papadopoulos is suffocating from the offensives built up on his fruitless Cyprus policy and for dragging the Cyprus issue to a dead end because of his ideologies still resting on the conditions of the 1950s.

Each candidate plays a different tune on the federation concept. Arch-bishop Hrisostomos II, who is not a politician but an ecclesiastic, also joined the band playing his own tune on the federal solution for Cyprus issue. He made an official call and asked the Greek Cypriots to gather around DIKO. He also commented that the “Cyprus problem” is the only political subject the Cyprus Orthodox Church is fighting about.

These comments of Hrisostomos II clearly show that the Cypriot church is politicized and mixing politics with spiritual matters. According to Hrisostomos II, when Archbishop Makarios signed the 1977 top-level agreement with Denktas there were no settlers from Turkey, and Greek immigrants were supposed to return to the northern territories and Turkish Cypriot immigrants to the south.

As the Greek Cypriots would return to the north, the population ratio would change in favor of the Greeks, and the majority would again be Greek Cypriots in the north as well as the south. The movement of Turkish Cypriots who fled to the north in 1974 heading back south would only contribute to a Greek majority in the north. So by this me-thod the majority in both sections of the island would be Greek Cypriots and, according to Hrisostomos II, this is why Makarios signed the agreement.

In fact he also accepted the intervention right of Turkey as a guarantor government as mentioned in the 1960 Cyprus Treaty of Guarantee. Of course no Greek politician mentions this.

When I read this information, I suddenly remembered a picture taken on Feb. 12, 1977 right before the official meeting producing the 1977 top-level agreement. I haven’t forgotten this picture in the last 30 years, and has it stayed in my memory as fresh as the first day. In this picture Makarios sits in an armchair in the left corner of the photo and looks directly into the camera. UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim sits in the middle and is focused on a point somewhere below the camera. Denktas is in the right corner and sits on an armchair, looking to his left with a smile on his face. The reason why I remember this picture so well was the look on the face of Makarios. It was mealy and had no connection at all to visage of the Makarios of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, which tended to be lofty.

The look on Makarios’ face in this picture was totally different than the one taken on Jan. 1, 1960, when Makarios was declaring the invalida-tion of the 1960 Cyprus Agreement, or when he was signing the “cease-fire” agreement with Dr. Fazıl Küçük on Jan. 7, 1964 as if he was a triumphant commandant, or even the one taken on July 26, 1967, in the Greek Parliament right after the unanimous acceptance of an “enosis” resolution, when the look on his face was of the “eternal hero of the Hellenic world.” The look on his face right before the official meeting of the 1977 top-level agreement was not related at all with the face of the vainglorious Makarios during the genocide period for Turkish Cypriots or the dark years between 1963 and 1974.

His face bore the look of a defeated, deplumed hen. In fact he did not live long after signing the top-level agreement with Denktas, passing away a couple months later from a heart attack.The agreement he signed with Denktas consisted of four items that laid out the framework for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal republic, including the intervention right of Turkey as a guarantor government as mentioned in the 1960 Cyprus Treaty of Guarantee. Spyros Kyprianou and Papadopulos were both hand-in-hand against his signature, claiming this agreement would pave the road to partition on the island.

For the next 25 years, the Greek Cypriots pretended as though they were negotiating on the basis of the 1977 agreement, all in the hope of gaining time to solidify their position being recognized as the only gov-ernment of Cyprus. Now all the three candidates are calling for the Turkish Cypriots to discuss the “federation” as a solution to the Cyprus issue despite having never mentioned it for the past 30 years.

Of course, the “federation” in their minds is totally different than the federation concept in the minds of the Turkish Cypriots. While Greek Cypriots seek a solution, including the withdrawal of Turkish troops, return of the so-called “settlers” and cancellation of the guarantor rights of Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots think the opposite. With the still-fresh bitter experiences of 1963-74 in their minds, they insist on the presence of the Turkish military, their Turkish collateral on the island, and particularly on solid guarantees for Turkey. They no longer trust the Greek Cypriots.

11 Ağustos 2007
FEDERATION WARS IN GREEK CYPRUS için yorumlar kapalı
Okunma 90
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PARTITION IN THE AGENDA FOR CYPRUS

PARTITION IN THE AGENDA FOR CYPRUS

The conflict in Cyprus has been ongoing for the past 44 years. Yet, there still seems to be no sign of a settlement, whether in the form of a federation or a confederation. Nothing at all. Partition is now in the scope of things. The current situation in Cyprus is the result of years of hostilities between Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and the Greek and Turkish governments.

The Greek Cypriots and the Greek government have seen the so-lution to the problem as enosis — unification with Greece for the whole of the island of Cyprus — since 1796. Beginning in 1947 with the Lord Winster Plan, almost 33 plans, proposals, constitutions, initiatives and similar solutions have been put on the table to settle the Cyprus issue. All of these were rejected by the Greek Cypriots, as they did not pave the way to enosis.

Greek Cypriots deserve all the shame and blame for the current situation on the island. The pre-British owners of the island, the Tur-kish Cypriots and the Turkish government, now see the solution as partition — independence for the northern part of Cyprus, known to Turks and Turkish Cypriots as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cy-prus (KKTC) — after all the bitter experiences of the past 44 years and non-fruitful negotiations, which most of the time were dragged to a dead end by the Greek Cypriots and their enosis ideal.

The inhabitants of Cyprus share no common language except English, no common history or literature, no common schools or sport-ing clubs and no common religion. Nor do they, except superficially, share any common culture. Under the Ottoman Turkish administra-tion, the Turks and Greeks living in Cyprus coexisted peacefully. It wasn’t until the takeover of the island by Britain that their relationship began to deteriorate.

The 1959 London and Zurich agreements and the 1960 Republic of Cyprus Constitution that were signed by Britain, Greece, Turkey, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, were based on equality and partnership between the two communities and the independence and sovereignty of the island.

There had to be joint presence and effective participation by both sides in all the organs of the state in order to legitimize the 1960 Con-stitution. Neither community had the right to rule the other, nor could one of the communities claim to be the government of the other. The aim of the basic articles of both the constitution and the treaties were to safeguard the rights of two equal peoples. The treaties also created an external balance between the two “motherlands.” Turkey and Greece were not able to obtain a more favorable political or economic position than the other with respect to Cyprus.

The 1960 agreements prohibited the membership of Cyprus in any international organization or pacts of alliance in which both Turkey and Greece were not members, but they were unfortunately overruled by the EU, accepting the Cyprus (Greek) Government as a member state.

The hopes of a peaceful life under this new political partnership were crashed by Greek Cypriots on the road to enosis. It became ob-vious that this peace was not going to be possible because Greece and the Greek Cypriots did not intend to abide by the constitution. They did not give up their ambition for annexation of the island to Greece and the Greek Cypriot leadership sought to unlawfully bring about constitutional change.

In effect, this would negate the “partnership” status of the Turkish Cypriots and clear the way for annexation with a Turkish minority. The only way that the Greek Cypriots could achieve their aims was to destroy the legitimate order, by the use of brute force, to overtake the joint state. The rule of law collapsed on the island in 1963 as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus.
Greeks tried to get 13 basic articles of the 1960 Agreement ab-olished. These articles were there to protect the Turkish Cypriots and by removing them the Turkish Cypriots would be reduced to a minority subject to Greek Cypriot control. Christmas of 1963 saw Greek Cypriot militia attacks on Turkish Cypriot communities across the island, kill-ing many men, women and children. Two-hundred and seventy mos-ques, shrines and other places of worship were desecrated; 103 Turkish villages were leveled. The constitution became unworkable because of the refusal on the part of the Greek Cypriots to fulfill the obligations they had agreed to. The bi-national republic that was imagined by the treaties ceased to exist in December 1963.

The Greek Cypriot wing of the “partnership” state later took the title “Government of Cyprus” and the Turkish Cypriots, who never ac-cepted the seizure of power, began to set up a Turkish administration to run their own affairs. Britain has in effect washed its hands of Cyprus, despite many opinions that they are partly responsible for the division in the island. Cyprus is a former colony and despite Britain’s having guarantor powers over the island, they refused to intervene when it was most needed.

Britain should have taken the lead over other countries and done what they said in 1960 that they would — which was to guarantee the rights of all those living on the island. They, along with most countries, refuse to recognize the KKTC as being independent and see it as an illegitimate state. The Turkish Cypriots saw their declaration of inde-pendence as the only way to guarantee the rights of Turkish Cypriots, the citizens of the KKTC.

Now it is obvious that nothing short of symmetry between the two communities of “Cyprus” will bring peace to the island, except partition and the recognition of the both states on the island.

6 Ağustos 2007
PARTITION IN THE AGENDA FOR CYPRUS için yorumlar kapalı
Okunma 85
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EU AND UN: BOTH HARMING THE CYPRUS ISSUE

EU AND UN: BOTH HARMING THE CYPRUS ISSUE

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had the right and duty to inter-vene in 1974 under the Treaty of Guarantee and whatever the legal arguments about the limits of those treaty rights, they have at least as much humanitarian justification for being there today as NATO troops in the former Yugoslavia.

They are in no sense an occupying force and the UN Security Council has never accused them of invasion or occupation. The “state of affairs established by the basic articles of the 1960 Constitution” was one in which the Turkish Cypriots had at the very least the right to life, and this can be guaranteed today only by the presence of the TSK.

If Turkey had not taken decisive action in 1974, Cyprus would today be a Greek military base with no Turkish Cypriots left alive on the island.

For the past couple of decades Turkish Cypriots have been asked to believe that Greek Cypriots have changed, but they see no evidence of that. Since 1963 Greek Cypriots have maintained unjust local and international political, economic, cultural, social, sporting and trade embargoes on Turkish Cypriots in an attempt to strangle their economy and basic human rights.

This creates tension and animosity, and is clear evidence that the Greek Cypriots have no genuine wish for reconciliation with the Tur-kish Cypriots. Moreover their embargo has no authority under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Those in the EU and the US who express concern for the living standards of Turkish Cypriots should start by refusing to participate in the embargoes any longer. Turkish Cypriots do not want handouts, but they do want a fair chance to earn their own living in the world.

Concerning the Cyprus issue, both sides of every case must be given a fair hearing. But for 38 years the Turkish Cypriots have been excluded from all channels of normal international communication. All too often they have had to sit at the back of the meeting room (or even outside) watching a Greek Cypriot occupying the Cyprus chair. It is rare to hear both points of view in any debate on Cyprus in the EU committees, EU Parliament, British Parliament or the US Congress, or to see the Turkish Cypriot point of view in the international press. The imbalance is particularly noticeable in the European Union, where the key committees are packed with Greek members and their supporters. There are, of course, no Turkish members.

In Washington, London, and Brussels the Greek Cypriot repre-sentatives have their official access to everyone, but the Turkish Cy-priot representatives have access to hardly anyone. This really has to change. It is therefore not surprising that the world has had a rather one-sided perception of Cyprus for more than half a century.

The UN has disabled itself as an impartial interlocutor by taking the side of the Greek Cypriots on the fundamental question which di-vides the two peoples — namely whether the Greek Cypriot administra-tion is entitled to be treated as the government of Cyprus.

Because of the one-sided international perception of Cyprus, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are always seen as being in the wrong and pressure is constantly applied to them to accommodate Greek Cypriot wishes — something they will not do and cannot reasonably be expected to do by anyone who understands how the present situation in Cyprus has arisen.

The two peoples of Cyprus have negotiated for many years under the auspices of the UN and in March 1986 and May 2004 the Turkish Cypriots twice accepted the UN plans for a settlement. However the Turkish Cypriots eventually realized that the UN talks go nowhere and that the UN could not be relied upon as an impartial interlocutor.

The Greeks are very good indeed at law and public relations and they have spared no effort or resource to put Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots at a serious disadvantage, particularly in the EU and UN and at the US Senate. This is important because Turkey could not join the EU without the approval of parliament. The very effective Greek and Greek Cypriot lobbies have also damaged, and are continuing to dam-age, Turkey’s relations with Britain and the United States.

The Greek Cypriot desire to join the EU had nothing to do with economics as they are already one of the richest countries. Their policy was to become a member because they believed they could use the EU’s political and perhaps even military pressure to push Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots out of Cyprus.

4 Ağustos 2007
EU AND UN: BOTH HARMING THE CYPRUS ISSUE için yorumlar kapalı
Okunma 64
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WHICH DIRECTION FOR TURKEY: EAST OR WEST?

WHICH DIRECTION FOR TURKEY: EAST OR WEST?

The Middle Ages are 500 years behind us. Europe should not fear a new barbarian horde at its gates. When Turkey was not invited to Europe’s big birthday despite being an official candidate for EU mem-bership, Turkish people were quite disappointed and expressed heartbreak at this unfortunate missed opportunity.

But now, the anger and frustration which were peaked at that time, are slowly giving way to a new, more assertive idea. That perhaps Turkey does not really need Europe after all and the EU will come to regret its insultingly complacent chauvinism as Turkey goes its own way — facing eastward. It is probable that the Europeans underesti-mated the importance and influence of Turkey in the region. If they are serious about the future of Europe as a power in global affairs, they need to change their way of thinking.

In the 1990s, the EU was a giant organization governed by prom-inent leaders; today it seems it has become a fat midget that lacks perspective and is governed by small thinkers.
Turkey is now recalibrating its external ties and the EU is but one of the knots on the rope. EU membership should not be seen only as a gift to Turkey as the benefits for Europe are just as many as for Turkey. While in Turkey the working-age population as a proportion of the total population is growing, it is the contrary in Europe. Turkey’s strength is the drive and energy of its 70 million people, a dynamic resource that flabby, middle-aged Europe lacks. Rates of growth mean that by 2015, Turkey could become an importer of labor.

Turkey’s increasingly important regional leadership role is also changing the way it views the EU. As a vital transit hub, it provides much of Europe’s oil and gas from the Caspian basin, Russia and, prospectively the Turkic republics of central Asia. This is leading to closer cooperation with Moscow and reviving ideas of a Turkic Com-monwealth from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan.

The Republic of Cyprus started adding poison to the pot imme-diately after its accession to the EU on May 1, 2004. Disillusion with the EU begun to slowly escalate and now to peak after Brussels partially suspended talks in December in a row over Cyprus. The hostility, as perceived from Ankara, of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, keeps poisoning the pot at a rate of one deadly drop per day.

Turkey’s new-found confidence about life beyond Europe is based in part on a booming economy, whose sustained, IMF-supervised 7 percent annual growth rate far outperforms large EU states. Export earnings are rising too, including in the Arab lands of the old Ottoman Empire.

The “Reformed Islamist” or as called after the July elections “Communal Central” government in Ankara is also cultivating the Arab and Muslim world. It is true that Turkey is the only country to reconcile Islam with a fully functioning, multi-party democracy in a modern, secular republic. The experience of the Turks shatters the myth that Islam cannot accommodate democracy. This theory is now out of ques-tion. The July 22 elections proved the existence of a stable and strong democracy in Turkey.

The Turkish government sent peacekeeping troops to Lebanon last year and conducted talk with Iran when most do not dare. Close links to Israel have not prevented Turkey from building ties with Pales-tinian authorities, both Hamas and Al-Fatah. Despite tensions with the Kurds, Turkey is northern Iraq’s main economic partner. Turkey is likely to be the venue for Iraqi summits in the future.

Officially, Turkey still wants to join the EU, but Europe must ba-nish its ignorance and acknowledge its own needs. Europe is not yet ready for Turkish membership, and it seems it will take a long time for the European public to digest this fact — if Turkey does not give up the idea by then.

30 Temmuz 2007
WHICH DIRECTION FOR TURKEY: EAST OR WEST? için yorumlar kapalı
Okunma 76
bosluk
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