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Denktash panics over Turkish Cypriot joint vision
2002-08-13 10:16:39

Nicosia, Aug 13 (CNA) -- Eighty-six "non-governmental organisations" in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Cyprus Republic have announced their "joint vision" for a solution of the Cyprus problem before the end of the year and the island's accession to the European Union, a move that appears to have sparked a wave of panic in Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

Turkish Cypriot daily "Kibris" reported on August 10 that the 86 NGOs called on President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash to mutually play a constructive role in UN-led talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

Two days later, "Yeni Duzen" wrote that the "joint vision" called "Solution and EU" had caused panic and that Denktash had reportedly given his advisors instructions to act in the direction of reducing the influence of the "joint vision".|

The "joint vision" was announced at a press conference, during which Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Ali Erel said the 86 NGOs were in agreement over the need for a speedy Cyprus settlement and over the common denominator of EU membership.

Erel said the joint vision was the result of a two-month work period, adding that the declaration, which reflects the views of the majority, did not comprise a minority status for the Turkish Cypriots, nor did it call for the rejection of their rights.

He called on politicians to take the vision's message into consideration and noted that the NGOs' goal was to attain what has been achieved in the world, in Turkey and in the free areas of the Cyprus Republic.

"We do not want to consider the hellish scenario in the event that a solution is not reached", he said.

The "joint vision" notes that a Cyprus settlement and EU membership were necessary in order to solve the problems of the Turkish Cypriots, adding that the lack of a settlement adversely affects the Turkish Cypriots and causes mass migration.

It points out that the Cyprus problem should be solved before the end of the year 2002 and that the Turkish Cypriots and the people of Turkey will suffer the most if a solution is not reached by the end of the year.

The NGOs explain the need for a single international entity and for effective legislative, executive and judicial organs that will be able to conduct relations with the EU.

The "joint vision" notes the need to solve the problem of property, in a manner that will prevent new mass migrations, and notes that a solution and EU membership will advance the Turkish Cypriots towards a bright future.

The NGOs add that their countless proposals for structural reforms have been disregarded by the various so-called "governments" in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic.

"We should not renounce our demand for self rule, nor should we surrender to the Greek Cypriots our political equality and our founding partnership rights granted to us by the 1960 Cyprus Republic agreements in a bid to overcome the current difficulties", the "joint vision" notes.

It adds that the Turkish Cypriot side should show to the entire world through its actions and approach that it is the side that is interested in an agreement.

The "joint vision" says that a call has been made to the EU, the UN and the US to treat the two sides equally, and stresses the extreme sensitivity shown not to disrupt the process of the talks, which will determine the future of the Turkish Cypriots.

Replying to questions at the press conference, Erel said the NGOs would try to inform the entire world and Turkey about their "joint vision".

Yesterday, the Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Yeni Duzen" reported that the "joint vision" had caused panic within some circles of the so-called "presidential palace" in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic.

It said Denktash had tried to place obstacles in the initiative of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce to announce the "joint vision", and to reduce the influence of its ideas.

According to the report, Denktash had given his advisors instructions to act in the direction of reducing the influence of the "joint vision", noting that the Turkish Cypriot leader was getting ready for a counter attack aiming at overcoming the uneasiness he feels from the "joint vision".

Within the framework of these efforts, "Yeni Duzen" lists the "imprisonment" of the editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily "Afrika" (formerly "Avrupa") Sener Levent and journalist Memduh Ener, who were found "guilty" of "libel" against Denktash, the Turkish occupation army and "motherland" Turkey, and given a six-month "jail sentence" each.

The paper says Denktash told his advisors to prevent the publication of the "joint vision" in the international and Turkish press, to put forward their own "vision" finding or creating at least 86 organisations of their own, to continue the efforts of changing the agenda and if necessary to bring onto the agenda the issue of early "elections", to be more aggressive, and to ensure that the reports regarding the "joint vision" of the 86 NGOs are not published by the so-called "state" news agencies and radio and TV stations.

It adds that Denktash called the "coordination committee" for an irregular meeting, in order to define the strategy of the regime against the "joint vision".

The committee consists of Denktash and his advisors, representatives of the illegal Turkish "embassy" in the occupied areas and military officials. The committee is due to meet again within the next few days.

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

UN-led talks are underway between President Clerides and Denktash to solve the problem. No progress has been so far achieved because of Denktash's insistence on the creation of two states in Cyprus, contrary to repeated UN resolutions and high level agreements he himself had signed, providing for the establishment of a bicommunal, bizonal federation.

The leaders of the two communities will enter their sixth round of talks later this month.

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