US embassy cable - 02ANKARA8470

ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT FOR TURKISH PRESS REACTION TO THE UN CYPRUS PLAN

Identifier: 02ANKARA8470
Wikileaks: View 02ANKARA8470 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ankara
Created: 2002-11-20 13:01:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: OPRC KMDR TU Press Summaries
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ANKARA 008470 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/SE, EUR/PD, NEA/PD, DRL 
JCS PASS J-5/CDR S. WRIGHT 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OPRC, KMDR, TU, Press Summaries 
SUBJECT: ANKARA MEDIA REACTION REPORT FOR 
TURKISH PRESS REACTION TO THE UN CYPRUS PLAN 
 
                    ------- 
SUMMARY: 
 
 
The Turkish press has for the most part reacted very 
positively to UN Secretary General Annan's plan for 
resolving the Cyprus issue.  Most commentators have argued 
that, despite some negative aspects of the proposal, the 
Annan plan is probably Turkey's "last and best chance" to 
achieve a comprehensive settlement.  The initial cautious 
official response to the plan stood in contrast to a series 
of optimistic commentaries that appeared in Turkey's 
mainstream and Islamist press.  Press analyses generally 
view the Annan plan as an "historic chance" that should not 
be missed.  The position of most influential Turkish media 
on the Cyprus plan is perhaps best summed up by the November 
16 front-page headline in the national daily "Milliyet": 
"If Not Now, When?"  End summary. 
 
 
COMMENTATORS URGE NEGOTIATION: 
 
 
The positive press reaction to the UN plan stems from the 
perception that the plan recognizes, for the first time, the 
sovereignty and equality of Northern Cyprus.  Most 
commentators have also noted the "disappointing" elements of 
the plan, particularly with regard to territorial 
concessions, refugee resettlement, and the reduction of 
Turkish troops.  They also point out the inherent advantage 
of the Greek Cypriots, who will become part of the EU with 
or without a settlement.  While pointing out the negatives, 
however, most columnists have consistently advocated a 
negotiation process aimed at reaching a settlement. There is 
a general consensus (with limited exceptions among 
nationalist commentators) in the Turkish media that the 
Annan plan should not be rejected, and that the plan's 
shortcomings should be dealt with at the bargaining table. 
Mehmet Yilmaz of "Milliyet," for example, wrote that "an 
experienced leader like Denktas has the ability to perform a 
diplomatic juggling act and is capable of correcting 
mistakes in the plan at the negotiating table.  If Denktas 
believes he does not want to discuss this plan, then I think 
he should retire."  Negative public comments by Turkish 
officials have been largely discounted in commentaries and 
editorials.  When the nationalist daily "Ortadogu" ran a 
front-page story citing former Foreign Minister Sukru Sina 
Gurel's characterization of the plan as a "plot against the 
Turkish Cypriot nation," the same paper's foreign policy 
editor wrote on the same day that "sources close to 
diplomatic circles tell us that the initial evaluation of 
Kofi Annan's Cyprus plan was deemed  positive." 
 
 
SAMPLE COMMENTARIES: 
 
 
[Following is a representative sample of Turkish 
commentaries -- both positive and negative -- on the Cyprus 
plan during the period November 13-19] 
 
 
"Dream Might Come True in Cyprus" 
Editor-in-Chief Mehmet Y. Yilmaz wrote in mass appeal 
Milliyet (11/19): "The Turkish people want to see a 
settlement in Cyprus.  The Turkish people want to see Turkey 
in the EU.  As for the Turkish Cypriots, they do not want to 
be left out while the Greek Cypriots join the European 
Union.  . This common desire calls for Denktas to evaluate 
the UN plan very seriously.  An experienced leader like 
Denktas has the ability to perform a diplomatic juggling act 
and correcting mistakes in the plan at the negotiating 
table.  If Denktas believes he does not want to discuss this 
plan at the negotiating table, then I think he should 
retire." 
 
 
"Kofi Annan's Cyprus Plan" 
Kamuran Ozbir wrote in nationalist Ortadogu (11/15): 
"Sources close to diplomatic circles tell us that the 
initial evaluation of Kofi Annan's Cyprus plan was deemed 
positive, particularly because of its recognition of the 
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.  There are, however, 
certain elements which cause serious concern, such as 
territorial concessions, property issues, and demographic 
movements.  . It seems that the Turkish Foreign Ministry 
will have to conduct a comprehensive study of the plan, 
which might take at least a couple of days, and leave the 
matter for a final decision at the upcoming National 
Security Council meeting at the end of November." 
 
 
"Style is important on the Cyprus issue" 
Ferai Tinc wrote in mass appeal Hurriyet (11/15): "The 
current situation calls for a diplomatic juggling act.  . 
The upcoming Copenhagen summit is not only going to evaluate 
the Cyprus situation in light of current developments, but 
also make more binding decisions for Turkey.  The EU's 
Accession Partnership Document clearly draws a direct link 
between Turkey's EU process and the Cyprus issue. . We do 
not mean to say `let's give away Cyprus and get rid of this 
issue.'  Yet we don't have to reject efforts for a 
settlement with crude rhetoric either.  The Turkish side 
should announce its readiness to negotiate the Annan plan." 
 
 
"What is Ankara's position?" 
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (11/15): "There are 
certain parts to which the Turkish side would object, such 
as the territorial concessions and demographic movements. 
Yet the plan, very positively, verifies the equality and 
sovereignty of the two sides -- something that we have been 
working for years to achieve.  Now is the time to think 
realistically and act pragmatically.  Rejection of the plan 
will definitely work against the interests of Turkey as well 
as Turkish Cypriots." 
 
 
"The UN plan is a death verdict for the TRNC" 
Columnist Hasan Unal argued in Islamic-intellectual Zaman 
(11/14): "The UN plan aims at liquidating the Turkish 
Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as a state and the 
Turkish Cypriots as a nation. . It might give the impression 
that it meets Turkish demands on constitutional issues, but 
in fact it provides an opportunity for the founding of a 
unitary Greek Cypriot state. . The plan also gives very 
limited and very unproductive territory to the Turkish 
Cypriots.  . In short, the UN plan expects Turkish Cypriots 
to make vital concessions without meeting their ultimate 
demands. Cyprus will gradually become a Greek Cypriot 
island.  It is clear that Turkey's security guarantees will 
not be valid the moment Cyprus joins the EU." 
 
 
"Cyprus" 
Hadi Uluengin calls the UN plan a historic chance in mass 
appeal Hurriyet (11/14): "Clearly this is a unique chance 
for a Cyprus settlement and definitely should not be missed. 
Creating excuses or making evasive remarks in order not to 
take advantage of this chance would be a crucial mistake. 
Whoever makes this mistake, whether it is the Turks or the 
Greeks, will  be harshly judged by history. . The Annan plan 
is almost perfect.  Therefore, whichever side rejects the 
plan and causes the continuation of a 'no-settlement' 
situation will be doomed to deprive its people of the 
opportunities coming with the new millennium." 
 
 
"The Blending of Models" 
Sami Kohen wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (11/13): "The UNSG 
seems to have found a middle way between `federation and 
confederation' as well as between the Swiss model and the 
Belgian model for Cyprus.  Therefore, both sides will find 
certain elements of this plan acceptable, and certain parts 
unacceptable. . From our side, it is very important that the 
Annan document complies with Turkey's longstanding 
insistence on partnership and equality in Cyprus. . Yet 
there are some negative points which the Turkish side might 
not like very much, such as giving away some territory, the 
migration and settlement issues, and the disarmament of the 
island.  However, a constructive approach can solve these 
issues through fair and just bargaining." 
 
 
"Turkey should not miss this chance" 
Mehmet Ali Birand supports the plan in mass 
appeal/sensational Posta (11/13): "Turkey faces a final 
historic opportunity.  Though it does not fully satisfy the 
Turkish side, the Cyprus package offers extremely important 
gains.  Casting aside the `We will not give away even a 
pebble' rhetoric, we must take the most we can get and close 
this file.  If we allow ourselves to be slaves to our old 
habits, we will lose Cyprus legally on the day after the 
upcoming Copenhagen summit.  . In that case, everyone will 
be bound to suffer from the harmful effects." 
 
 
"The Annan Plan" 
Semih Idiz opined in mass appeal Aksam (11/13): "It seems 
that the Turkish Cypriot leadership will not burn his 
bridges, but instead will continue to discuss the plan, 
which is described by Turkey as `a plan with a glass of 
water, half empty and half full.'  That means the two sides 
will negotiate the plan and work on the nuances. . The two 
Cypriot sides will also feel pressured, because the US and 
UK are strongly supporting the Annan plan behind the 
scenes." 

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