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Both Cyprus And The E.U. January 4, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Turkey.
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Speaking at a ceremony in Lefkosa late week marking the 26th anniversary of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said that if some people are thinking that it’s ‘either Cyprus or the EU,’ Turkey’s choice will forever be the Turkish Cypriots, and everyone should understand this. What caused Cicek to say this? Must Turkey make such a choice? What did he mean by ‘some people’ and ‘everyone’? It seems his messages were meant for three different audiences. The first is the European Union. Actually one can’t say now that the EU has to make a choice between Cyprus and Turkey. But the Greek Cypriot administration is always trying to take advantage of its EU membership.

In this respect, the next month will be critical. Ankara will again be asked to fulfill its pledge to open Turkish harbors and airports to the Greek Cypriots. Turkey has already declared that it wouldn’t comply. So what will the EU do then? Will it break off or suspend our membership talks? All signs say this won’t happen. But Cicek’s statement in Lefkosa was actually a warning. In other words, it signaled how Ankara will act if the EU makes the wrong move.

He was also speaking to the Turkish Cypriots. Things are different now, but we shouldn’t forget that five years ago some 65% of Turkish Cypriots voted yes for then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s reunification plan. The main factor in this stance of the Turkish side was the EU motivation. In other words, they hoped the entire island would join the EU and so Turks would also benefit from EU membership. This hope fell through, as the Greek Cypriot side rejected the plan by 76%. But certain Turkish Cypriots still want to join the EU somehow through a resolution. TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat’s efforts are aimed at this. But any solution of course aims at an agreement under set parameters. As Cicek said, his statements are directed at those trying to make Cyprus an obstacle to Turkey’s EU bid. But he also showed Turkey’s directing and even determining stance and the priority of its own national interests. Furthermore, he showed that if it has to make a choice, Turkey can give up the EU without any hesitation.

Finally, he was also speaking to the Greek Cypriot administration. As I said above, the Greek side is trying to use the EU as a tool in Turkey’s membership talks with the EU, and with this self-confidence is being uncompromising in Cyprus talks. Cicek effectively said that if you’re trying to use Turkey’s EU bid to corner us, you should know that Turkey can give up the EU, but will never forsake the TRNC. I hope Turkey won’t be forced to make a choice. The right thing and the best thing for everybody is both Cyprus and the EU. In other words, a solution to the Cyprus issue and the full EU membership… I think this is still the goal of Turkish diplomacy.

Rompuy opposed Turkey’s EU membership November 24, 2009

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Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy. AFP photo
Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy.

As the European Union’s 27 government leaders met Thursday for dinner and tough diplomatic battles over the bloc’s president and foreign policy supremo, it was revealed that new EU president was once a vocal critic of Turkey’s EU membership.

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy said in 2004 that he strongly opposed Turkey’s EU accession, reported EU Observer on its Web site, an independent Web site from Brussels. “Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe,” Rompuy said. Rompuy’s opposition was based on Europe’s Christian “fundamental values,” he said in a meeting of the Council of Europe in the Belgian parliament in 2004.

“An expansion of the EU to include Turkey cannot be considered as just another expansion as in the past. The universal values which are in force in Europe, and which are also fundamental values of Christianity, will lose vigor with the entry of a large Islamic country such as Turkey.”

According to the EU Observer, the speech has remained relatively unknown. Belgian officials, however, confirmed that the speech was made but noted that the comments were made when Rompuy was part of the opposition.

“Things that are said in opposition are different from what you find yourself saying when in government,” one official said. “Serious politics, however, is to judge someone by what they say and do when in power.”

“If we ruled out all the politicians that had said awkward things in the past, we’d have a very short list indeed,” said another official.

Greek-Turkish reunification talks in Cyprus still on hold November 20, 2009

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The Greek part of Cyprus rejected a proposal submitted by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an for a five-party conference, to be held under United Nations supervision, over the future of the divided island. According to the Cyprus Press Ministry, Greek Cypriotic President Dimitris Christofias rejected the proposal on the grounds that it would only repeat the 2004 experience, when UN-chaired discussions were aimed at pressing the Greek side to accept an imposed solution within a very short time frame and without further amendments. The proposal had been turned down in a referendum by the Greek Cypriot community, as it failed to recognize the right of Greek citizens to return to the properties from which they had been evicted during the 1974 events.

Christofias is reported to have firmly rejected the idea of a quintet summit, arguing that the involvement of all five sides – the island’s Greek and Turkish-speaking communities alongside Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom – would downgrade Greek Cyprus. The 1960 accords that led to Cyprus’ independence from British colonial rule recognized a guarantor’s role for the UK, which still operates important military bases on the island.

Momentum for a resumption of talks over the reunification of Cyprus had built up following an offer made by the United Kingdom to the United Nations, to make available nearly 50 percent of the territory of the UK Sovereign Base Areas on the island in the event of a solution leading to the reunification of Cyprus. There are two British bases on Cyprus, considered a British sovereign enclave: Akrotiri, which hosts the only RAF station on the Mediterranean, is located in Greek Cyprus and Dhekelia is on the Turkish side. According to the terms of the offer, the Greek and Turkish leadership would decide the proportion of territory transferred out of British control by themselves.

The issue however lost momentum under the impact of upcoming election scheduled to be in held in the Turkish community next April. The Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat favours reunification of the island and a European Union membership for a reunified Cyprus, while the opposition disagrees with that position.

TRNC shows robust optimism November 16, 2009

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trnc flag

 

As we know the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Kuzey Kýbrýs Türk Cumhuriyeti commonly called Northern Cyprus or North Cyprus is a de facto independent republic located in the north of Cyprus. The TRNC declared its independence in 1983, nine years after a Greek Cypriot coup attempting to annex the island to Greece triggered armed action by Turkey. The Turkish Army maintains a large force in the TRNC with the approval of the Turkish Cypriot population. The history of the TRNC begins with the gaining of independence of a united Cyprus from British rule in August 1960. The agreement involved Cyprus being governed under a constitution which apportioned Cabinet posts, parliamentary seats and civil service jobs on an agreed ratio between the two communities. Within three years, tensions between the two communities in administrative affairs began to show. In particular, disputes over separate municipalities and taxation created a deadlock in government. In 1963 President Makarios proposed unilateral changes to the constitution via thirteen amendments, which some observers viewed as an unconstitutional attempt to tilt the balance of power in the Republic. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots rejected the proposed amendments as an attempt to settle constitutional disputes in favor of the Greek Cypriots.

In 1963, the Greek Cypriot wing of the government created the Akritas plan which outlined a policy that would remove Turkish Cypriots from the government and ultimately lead to union with Greece. The plan stated that if the Turkish Cypriots objected then they should be “violently subjugated before foreign powers could intervene”. On December 21, 1963, a Turkish Cypriot crowd clashed with the plainclothes special constables of Yorgadjis. Almost immediately, intercommunal violence broke out with a major Greek Cypriot paramilitary attack upon Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia and Larnaca. Seven hundred Turkish hostages, including women and children, were taken from the northern suburbs of Nicosia. Nikos Sampson, a nationalist and future coup leader, led a group of Greek Cypriot irregulars into the mixed suburb of Omorphita and attacked the Turkish Cypriot population. By 1964, 193 Turkish Cypriots and 133 Greek Cypriots had been killed, with a further 209 Turks and 41 Greeks missing and presumed dead. Turkish Cypriot members of the government had by now withdrawn, creating an essentially Greek Cypriot administration in control of all institutions of the state. Widespread looting of Turkish Cypriot villages prompted 20,000 refugees to retreat into armed enclaves, where they remained for the next 11 years, relying on food and medical supplies from Turkey to survive. Turkish Cypriots formed paramilitary groups to defend the enclaves, leading to a gradual division of the island’s communities into two hostile camps. The violence had also seen thousands of Turkish Cypriots attempt to escape the violence by emigrating to Britain, Australia and Turkey. On July 15, 1974, the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 backed a Greek Cypriot military coup d’état in Cyprus. President Makarios was removed from office and Nikos Sampson took his place.

Turkey said that, under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, the coup was sufficient reason for military action to protect the Turkish Cypriot populace. Following Turkey’s military intervention, the coup failed and Makarios returned to Cyprus. Turkish forces proceeded to take over the northern third of the island (about 37% of Cyprus’s total area). In 1975 the “Turkish Federative State of Cyprus” (Kýbrýs Türk Federe Devleti) was declared as a first step towards a future federated Cypriot state, but was rejected by the Republic of Cyprus. After eight years of failed negotiations with the leadership of the Greek Cypriot community, the north declared its independence on November 15, 1983 under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Politics of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus takes place in a framework of representative democratic republic, whereby the President is head of state and the Prime Minister head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. In wake of the April 2004 referendum on the United Nations Annan Plan, and the support of the Turkish Cypriot community for the plan, the European Union made pledges towards ending the isolation of northern Cyprus. These included measures for trade and 259 million euro in aid.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference gave the TRNC the status of a constituent state, making the “Turkish Cypriot State” an observer member of the organization. A number of high profile formal meetings have also taken place between President Mehmet Ali Talat and various foreign leaders and politicians including the former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the then British foreign minister, Jack Straw and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has an indigenous Turkish Cypriot Security Force (TCSF), which is primarily made up of conscripted Turkish Cypriot males between the ages of 18 and 40.

In addition, the mainland Turkish Armed Forces maintain a Cyprus Turkish Peace Force (CTPF). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is divided into five districts. The winter in Northern Cyprus is cold and rainy, particularly between December and February, with 60% of annual rainfall. These rains produce winter torrents that fill most of the rivers, which typically dry up as the year progresses. Snow may fall on the Kyrenia Range, but seldom elsewhere in spite of low night temperatures. The short spring is characterized by unstable weather, occasional heavy storms and the “meltem”, or westerly wind. Summer is hot and dry.

The education system in Northern Cyprus consists of pre-school education, primary education, secondary education and higher education. Five years of primary education is mandatory. There are six universities in Northern Cyprus, including Near East University, Girne American University, Middle East Technical University, European University of Lefke, Cyprus International University, and Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). Despite the constraints imposed by the lack of international recognition, the TRNC economy turned in an impressive performance in the last few years. Between 2002 and 2007, Gross National Product per capita more than tripled (in current US dollars) from US $ 4,409 to 14,047. The number of tourists visiting the TRNC during January-August 2006 was 380,000, up from 286,901 during January-August 2003. According to a census carried out in the beginning of 2006 by the Turkish Cypriot administration, the TRNC has a population of 265,100 of which majority is composed of indigenous Turkish Cypriots. The TRNC is almost entirely Turkish speaking. English, however, is widely spoken as a second language. Many of the older Turkish Cypriots speak and understand Greek. The republic wants to ensure safeguards for the Turkish Cypriots which was the spirit of original constitution of the united island. Over the years the leadership of TRNC tried to reach an agreement with the Greek Cypriots but the desire has not been fulfilled. The Turkish Cypriots are determined to safeguard their independence and working for their progress. Turkey fully supports TRNC in its efforts to reach an honourable settlement with Greek Cypriots and has been cooperating with it in all vital fields. Greek Cypriots and Greece cannot ignore the aspirations of the Turkish Cypriots any more.

Turkish Cyprus calls for more offices in OIC members November 15, 2009

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talat kibris
Talat said, “I invite OIC member states to cooperation for lifting the inhumane and unjust isolations imposed on Turkish Cypriots.”
Tuesday, 10 November 2009 08:37

President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Monday that members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) should cooperate against the inhumane and unjust isolations which had been imposed on Turkish Cypriot people.

Talat attended as an observer to the Economy Summit which took place in Istanbul on the sidelines of the 25th session of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) of OIC.

Recalling that OIC was the first international organization which accepted representatives of Turkish Cypriot people, Talat thanked OIC member states for supporting the right cause of TRNC people with the decisions and declarations they adopted.

Talat said, “I invite OIC member states to cooperation for lifting the inhumane and unjust isolations imposed on Turkish Cypriots.”

Talat said that Turkish Cypriots especially wanted direct transportation as well as to take part in tourism, culture, information, investment and sports activities, adding that it was important to open offices which would represent TRNC in OIC member states.

Opening of these representations would develop every aspect of the lives of Turkish Cypriot people, he added.

Talat also said that problems of Palestinians in the Middle East, problems in Kashmir region, occupation of a part of Azerbaijan, attitude towards Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace and incidents happening in Iraq after war period were creating uneasiness.