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Media Watch 2003

06 May 2003
Source: Phileleftheros
Comment: The following article appeared in Philelefteros of Nicosia on 6 May 2003.
This Friday in the occupied territories

'Surprises' and 'spectacular' moves are expected of Erdogan

Nicosia: The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayipp Erdogan is expected to arrive in Cyprus on Friday for an illegal visit. The visit is expected to involve 'surprises' and 'spectacular' moves with respect to the Cyprus issue. Information regarding the new Turkish initiatives were brought to light on Sunday in the Turkish-Cypriot press. It is clear that the new initiatives will be a continuation to the first measure addressing the partial lifting of restrictions in the free movement to and from the occupied areas. At the same time, according to Philelefteros, the Greek-Cypriot side views Ankara's aims with skepticism, mainly its efforts to draw attention to the confidence building measures and to avoid any meaningful and substantial discussion within the UN framework. According to Nicosia's appraisals, the promotion of additional measures by the Turkish Cypriots aims at creating the requirement for a de facto settlement of the Cyprus issue and a disengagement from further discussing the Annan Plan.

According to the Sunday issues of Afrika and Kibrisli, Tayipp Erdogan will announce during his 24-hour visit the following:

Gradual withdrawal of the occupation forces (each year a number of soldiers is to depart)
Gradual resettlement of Greek-Cypriots to their homes (it is not clear what he means nor is he submitting percentages and figures) and Return of a part of Ammohostos to its legal inhabitants.

According to the Turkish plans, funding for repair works will be granted by the United Nations, the European Union and other international organizations.

Also, special courts will be set up manned by Turkish judges regarding the settlement of property cases (they will ask for the cooperation of the European Court of Human Rights).

The lifting of the restrictions regarding free movement will be expanded to other sectors as well, such as transportation, communications, sports and culture, while it will involve the free movement of ships and aircrafts too.

All these seem to be connected with the total lifting of the economic embargo on the Turkish part. A move that does not affect the free trade between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which will be conducted anyway, but the legitimisation of the ports and airports in the occupied territory, through which avoiding the Republic of Cyprus exports will be made.

The Cypriot Government has already formed several alternative moves in view of Erdogan's visit to the occupied areas. Nicosia clarified that it will not be led to any discussions that concern merely the confidence building measures and certainly they are not to consent to discussions outside the framework and presence of the United Nations.

The President of the Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos in his statements ruled out the possibility of the operation of the Ammohostos' port for trade purposes from the occupied areas. The President said that on no account is the port to operate by someone other than the Republic of Cyprus."This is our position and it is well-known to foreigners", said Mr. Papadopoulos.

Also, he rejected the criticism that the government acted in confusion, stating that the Government acted a day before Denktash announced the partial lifting in movement restrictions."