EuroNews slant on Turkish Cypriot Elections - with a big invisible Stefan Fule EU elephant in the background
Northern Cyprus divided over elections - Euronews
9th April 2010
Every week for the last 35 years, a small UN convoy delivers a shipment of food, gas and other ncecessities to a diminishing enclave of Greeks living in Northern Cyprus. The island has been divided since 1974 – the year Turkey sent its army to stop what it claimed was an attempted coup d’etat by the Greeks in the south.
Cut off from the rest of the island, these people stayed in their village called Rizokarpaso – which became protected under a UN ceasefire plan. The villagers say they will not leave the village where the were born. They want to die there like their forefathers They fear that if they move south, they’ll be beggars with no houses of their own, and no way of earning a livelihood.
Before 1974, there were 3,000 Greek Cypriots here. Today that number has shrunk to 260. Now, most of Rizokarpaso’s residents are of Turkish origin. They were brought in to farm the land abandoned by the Greek cypriots. In the village centre, the local mosque and orthodox church stand shoulder to shoulder. On one side of the street, Turkish cafés and shops. On the other side, the same, but in Greek.
Ali Karadogan is one of Rizokarpaso 2,500 Turkish settlers who arrived here after 1974. He came from Anatolia and was given farmland. He says he was part of a plan to repopulate empty villages and didnt have a choice. His conscience is clear. He lives in peace with his Greek neighbours.
Although the opening of borders since 2003 has brought more Greek Cypriots to visit Rizokarpaso, few stay. Chris Parpottas is an exception. He returned seven years ago to head the village’s only Greek elementary school. Born and raised here, Parpottas said coming back to his own school was a dream come true even if there are only 20 students. He says he understands the frustration of his older peers who never left and are still waiting for a solution. He himself lost his family home. But despite this loss, he claims he has no hard feelings against the Turkish settlers.
Under the 2004 Annan peace plan, Greek Cypriots would have been able to reclaim their homes in Rizokarpaso. But they would have stayed under Turkish Cypriot control. The Greek side voted no. The Turkish side, yes.
Ragbet Buyukdogan came to Rizokarpaso from Turkey when she was four years old. She lives in a house which belonged to Greek cypriots but doesn’t own it. She pays rent to the Northern Cypriot government. Chris Parpottas is her neighbour. But despite the friendly relations, she says only a solution can make her feel really at home.
Today Ragbet is helping out her younger brother, Sukru who owns a restaurant in Rizokarpaso. They are expecting 50 tourists from Iran. Sukrü was two months old when his family came in 1975. He has never left the island. He feels Cypriot and wants a solution. But he says the European Union has let them down: “Before the referendum, some EU countries promised that if we voted YES, the sanctions would be lifted. If you vote YES, you’ll get direct flights. And what happened? We said YES by a large majority and what did we get out of it? The same line, the same old life. Nothing changed.”
These issues are at the heart of the forthcoming electios in Northern Cyprus which pit current leader Mehmet Ali Talat against Dervis Eroglu, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus or TRNC. They are running for the president of a country which is only recognized by Turkey. But although there are only 280,000 Turkish Cypriots, who they vote for on the 18th of April will have a strong political impact way beyond their small borders.
Talat has campaigned for a bi-federal, bi-zonal Cyprus since he was elected in 2005. But a growing number of Turkish Cypriots, tired of the slow pace and disappointed by the EU’s broken promises, want a two-state solution.
Dervis Eroglu and his party of National Unity are campaigning on this promise of a two-state solution – a popular slogan which has become political music to many Turkish Cypriots. Eroglu’s growing popularity in the opinion polls has led to a concern that time is running out not only for a Cyprus solution but for Talat’s re-election.
Talat says he understands the frustration of the Turkish Cypriots but warns a two-state solution is not up for negotiation. There are too many UN security council resolutions which forbid it.
But imagination or not, the latest polls show that Dervis Eroglu is winning. And while this could be a dream for some, it will no doubt be a political nightmare not only for the international community but for Cypriots from both sides who continue to wait for a solution.
Could the above item by EuroNews possibly be 'tailor made' to help Stefan Fule and the proposal for direct trade with 'northern Cyprus' get a positive vote in the European Parliament on 19th of April as well as to give Talat a boost?
My own comments in uploading the EuroNews item to my youtube were as follows:
While appearing at first hand ever-so fair in its presentation of the issues and ending with incumbent 'President' Mehmet Ali Talat explaining that 'the dream' which 'the electorate' in 'Northern Cyprus' apparently proposes to vote in favour of by supporting his opponent and 'Prime Minister' Dervis Eroglu for a 'two state solution' which is contrary to all UN resolutions the item by EuroNews is a pay-per-slot advert for Turkey's current demand for an upgrade of the 'north' which no country other than Turkey itself provides any recognition to. The invisible Elphant in the election as much as in this reportage by EuroNews is EU Enlargement Commissioner Fule's efforts to get the European Parliament to push through a vote in the European Parliament on 19th April which would be counter to existing EU legislation regarding Cyprus, intended to create new realities through that vote which would run counter to the EU's existing legislation regarding Cyprus, would be counter to those very UN resolutions which Mehmet Ali Talat warns about in the closing section of the video clip, and is likely to be considered both highly immoral and offensive by the majority population of Greek Cypriots and arguably also by many Turkish Cypriots on the island. This is 'rigging democracy' both in the 'North of Cyprus' where the settlers illegally shipped-in from Turkey contrary to the Geneva convention and UN resolutions so they now outnumber indigenous Turkish Cypriots by a factor of 2 to 1 (which the EuroNews report conveniently fails to mention) but it is also an attempt to 'rig the vote' in the EuroParliament to upgrade the statelet Turkey created in the territory of Cyprus which it continues to occupy 36 years after its illegal invasion in order to produce semi-official recognition. This Euronews report is as foul as Fule's own foul against Cyprus within the European Commission, and is intended to serve the interest of appeasing Turkey and easing its way into the EU, rather than serving the interests of CYPRIOTS (both Turkish, and Greek Cypriots).
See the comments in an interview with Cyprus Foreign Minister Kyprianou screened on Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation on 6th April which provides a response by the Republic of Cyprus to what I have termed the Invisible Elephant in both the 'elections' in 'northern Cyprus' and in the engineering by Enlargement Commissioner Fule and certain other forces within the European Union - on this blog here
Meanwhile, at today's Cyprus Mail there was the following article:
Bickering increases over direct trade
By Stefanos Evripidou Published on April 9, 2010
THE EUROPEAN socialists’ call for direct trade between the EU and the north invited a torrent of internal bickering yesterday, just a day after the government’s call for unity on the domestic front.
The government accused socialist EDEK of making “arbitrary” statements and being obsessed with blaming its handling of the Cyprus problem.
The latest incident began when the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the second largest group in the European Parliament (EP), released a statement on Tuesday supporting implementation of the direct trade regulation proposed by the European Commission in 2004.
President of the S&D group Martin Schulz said adoption of the regulation would help improve the Turkish Cypriot economy and facilitate a Cyprus solution. He said his group would support the early adoption of the regulation in the EP, which will discuss it on April 19.
Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule raised a few eyebrows when he recently sent the draft regulation to the EP, returning to an issue first raised six years ago when the EU pledged aid and trade to the Turkish Cypriots as a reward of sorts for their ‘yes’ vote in the Annan plan. In explaining why he had failed to mention the rebirth of the regulation to Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou in their recent meeting, Fule argued that the procedure had started last December with his predecessor, based on the new rules that apply under the Lisbon Treaty.
The Cypriot government had considered the effort to push through direct trade dead in the water based on the argument that this was not a matter of international trade, since northern Cyprus is part of the Republic, as stipulated in Protocol 10 of the Accession Treaty. This view was supported by the European Council’s Legal Service which shared a similar legal interpretation.
However, the Commission holds a different view, which coincides with that of Turkey; mainly that the EU has failed to keep its promise to end Turkish Cypriot “isolation”. The latest step by Brussels reveals the draft regulation was more of a dormant volcano than a dead duck. One official source said the move was two-pronged, first, to put pressure on Greek Cypriots for a solution while giving Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat a much-needed push in his re-election bid.
The fact that the S&D group supports the regulation hugely increases its chances of passing the first hurdle, which is the EP.Iit must then pass through the European Council, which will decide using qualified majority voting, meaning the Republic no longer has a veto on the issue.
Schulz’ announcement was met with surprise by the government, the socialist party EDEK which is a member of the S&D group, and the two Cypriot deputies in the EP who also belong to the S&D group, DIKO’s Antigoni Papadopoulos and EDEK’s Kyriacos Mavronicolas.
Following heightened diplomatic activity, Schulz released a second “corrective” statement yesterday saying the S&D’s clear position on Cyprus is that it wants a solution as soon as possible to ensure stability in the region.
“In this sense, we have always supported financial assistance to the Turkish-speaking population and direct trade in order to strengthen the inner-Cypriot integration. However, it is evident, that in parallel the Ankara Protocol must be fully implemented. Turkey must recognise the Republic of Cyprus as it recognises every other EU-member state.”
EDEK and the government exchanged barbs yesterday over who was responsible for the clarification statement.
EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou accused the government of bad handling of the Cyprus problem, which had brought on negative international developments and invited pressure exclusively on the Greek Cypriot side, he said.
Meanwhile, Omirou attributed the second S&D statement to the actions of his party, saying he had spoken to them about the need for a corrective statement.
This in turn invited a volley of fire from government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou who said Schulz’ initial statement had nothing to do with the actions of the Greek Cypriot side.
“What madness is this... I think we should all be more careful not to create wrong impressions,” said Stefanou. He accused Omirou of trying to take all the glory for the second corrective statement when in fact President Demetris Chritofias had made intensive efforts along with Greek MEPs from socialist PASOK to counter the S&D position, resulting in a phone call between Christofias and Schulz and the subsequent second statement.
The spokesman noted that Christofias had the courtesy to inform Omirou about the latest development by phone. “Mr Omirou omitted to mention this,” said Stefanou, adding, “If Mr Omirou was going to be fair, he should have referred to that and not said ‘we acted to get this result’, because it was the president that had informed him of it.”
EDEK hit back saying that Omirou was referring to the actions that he and his MEP Mavronicolas had taken to handle the issue.
Meanwhile, the two MEPs, Papadopoulos and Mavronicolas, acknowledged in a letter to Schulz that they had not been informed by the S&D prior to its decision to support direct trade.
My own comment at the Cyprus Mail article was:
This is smelling filthier and filthier on the part of the EU as each day progresses.
But there again, international politics is indeed a pretty filthy business when it comes to serving those interests which do wish to get Turkey into the EU !
The interests of those who consider themselves Cypriots - whether Greek or Turkish Cypriots - are not best served when, while all of that is going on, we just "bicker" amongst ourselves !
EDEK leader Giannakis Omirou was interviewed (in Greek) on Apo Mera se Mera at the start of the program (click on item 09/04/2010 at the link below) today about the Schultz statement yesterday