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Media Watch 2003

26 September 2003
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 26 September 2003.
My job is not up for grabs, says Denktash


IT IS by no means certain that Rauf Denktash will bow out of politics if the opposition win a majority in the coming Turkish Cypriot elections.

In typically defiant mood, Denktash said in an interview with Reuters that his opponents would not be able to sideline him as chief negotiator if they win a parliamentary majority.

The self-styled president’s own job is not up for grabs in December. 

“I was elected on one ticket, as president and negotiator,” he told Reuters.

“If these people (the opposition) win the elections, all they can do is to give me instructions which I will not be able to carry out as a negotiator, because my promise to my people is a settlement on the basis of sovereign equality,” he said.

As the news agency points out, Denktash, who has dominated Turkish Cypriot politics since 1974, has powerful allies in Ankara, in the Turkish military and political establishment.

In the same interview, Denktash confidently predicted that voters would back his policies and particularly his rejection of the Annan plan, despite strong international criticism of his stance.

“I know who will win. I know the people...They know these elections are not simply parliamentary elections. They are elections that will determine the fate of Turkish Cypriots and the fate of their state”.

He repeated his claim that the UN blueprint granted too much power and territory to the Greek Cypriots. He said he was preparing his own plan for a settlement in Cyprus “on the basis of equal sovereignty of the two communities” but declined to give details.

He said he was prepared to meet President Tassos Papadopoulos for face-to-face discussions.

I will wait

“There are lots of things which can be discussed but the man (Papadopoulos) says no, he will wait for the Turkish Cypriot elections. All right, I will wait for them, too”.

The Turkish Cypriot leader also said he favoured allowing international observers to oversee the December 14 election, which is seen as crucial for the future of the island as it prepares to enter the European Union next May.

He would welcome international observers to prevent the opposition parties from claiming he had rigged the vote, he said.

Commenting on the TC elections, President Papadopoulos said this week that if they brought to power those political parties that believed in the need for a solution on the basis of the Annan plan, then this would certainly be to the benefit of both communities.

Separate

But he could not predict what the outcome would be if, as a result of the vote, Denktash was forced to step down.

He noted that Denktash considered the Annan plan to be “dead” and stuck to his vision of two states with separate sovereignties.

Papadopoulos reiterated his position that he was ready to attend negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan under UN auspices, “as soon as we are invited to attend new talks either before or after December.”

His own belief was that it was not possible to hold new talks before December’s poll."