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Media Watch 2004

16 February 2004
Source: BBC
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared on BBC online on 16 February 2004.
European press review
"Many Greek Cypriots... fear that Mr Annan's draft constitution will give legal force to the separation of the island into two autonomous states..." "German opposition leaders are right to reject Berlin's stance that Turkey should be allowed to join the EU..." "Turkey... is a problem case which would stretch the EU's capacity for integration too far... you cannot on the one hand support EU accession and on the other refuse to supply tanks because of insufficient compliance with human rights..."

...There is cautious optimism that a solution to the conflict in Cyprus may be found after Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders reach agreement on peace talks.

Cyprus
Austria's Der Standard praises the UN Secretary-General for his role in an agreement on peace talks reached by Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in New York.

"Kofi Annan has delivered his diplomatic masterpiece," the paper enthuses, but it warns that the two parties will now have to negotiate constructively.

The paper believes that Turkey put pressure on Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to accept the plan ahead of Cyprus' accession to the EU on 1 May.

"Once again the European Union, which is often criticized over here, has shown what it really is: a guarantor of peace on our continent," it says.

But the paper fears that mutual mistrust will linger and that only later generations will be able to enjoy "the fruits of peace".

Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau believes that many problems remain.

Many Greek Cypriots, it says, fear that Mr Annan's draft constitution will give legal force to the separation of the island into two autonomous states.

Turkey's EU bid
Die Welt says German opposition leaders are right to reject Berlin's stance that Turkey should be allowed to join the EU.

"You cannot on the one hand support EU accession and on the other refuse to supply tanks because of insufficient compliance with human rights"
Die Welt

A day after the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, Angela Merkel, started a visit to Ankara, the paper wonders why some prominent members of her party are in favour of Turkey's accession.

"Turkey," the paper says, "is a problem case which would stretch the EU's capacity for integration too far."

It suggests Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's position is designed to maximize support among naturalized immigrants from Turkey.

"Mrs Merkel should tell her Turkish interlocutors that the chancellor's offer is dishonest," the paper believes, "because you cannot on the one hand support EU accession and on the other refuse to supply tanks because of insufficient compliance with human rights."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung accuses the chancellor of ignoring the fact that "Europe's destiny is at stake".

"Turkey's accession would fundamentally change the EU and force it to radically revise its prospects," it says."