July 21st Press Review

TURKISH CYPRIOTS CELEBRATE JULY 20 PEACE AND FREEDOM DAY

July 20 Peace and Freedom Day, which marks the 35th anniversary of Turkey's 1974 Peace Operation on the island, was celebrated with official ceremonies and parades in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) yesterday. Speaking at an official ceremony at Girne's (Kyrenia) Bogaz Martyrs Monument, also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, State Minister and chief negotiator for Turkey's European Union talks Egemen Bagis, TRNC Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, former TRNC President Rauf Denktas, TRNC Parliament Speaker Hasan Bozer, Turkish First Army Commander Ergin Saygun, Turkish Peace Forces in the TRNC Commander Hilmi Akin Zorlu, and many other officials and guests, TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat called July 20 the beginning of the survival of the Turkish Cypriots, adding that it should not be seen as a symbol of a stalemate on the Cyprus issue but instead an breakthrough towards reaching a lasting solution. On the ongoing comprehensive talks between the island's two sides, Talat said, "We are not far from a solution to the Cyprus issue," but added, "In light of lessons from past inconsistent behavior by the Greek Cypriots and the European Union and not wanting to again disappoint the Turkish Cypriots, we are acting quietly and prudently." UN-brokered efforts to reunite Cyprus collapsed in 2004 when the Greek Cypriots rejected a reunification plan in a referendum. The Turkish Cypriots approved the plan in a simultaneous vote. Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Christofias launched peace talks last September aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to the division of the island. Stating that the 1974 peace operation served to safeguard the basic rights and freedoms of Turkish Cypriots and affirm their rights of partnership on the island, Talat said, "We have moved towards a realistic, peaceful and permanent solution to the issue thanks to the peace operation." He added, "A solution on Cyprus cannot be reached while disregarding the presence of the Turkish Cypriots, leaving the Turkish Cypriots out of the economic, social and cultural life of the island, and denying Turkish Cypriots' political equality and self-rule. The political parameters that emerged on July 20, 1974 showed the reality to the Greek Cypriots and the entire world in a concrete way." Expressing firm determination to reach a just, permanent and secure solution to the issue, Talat said Turkish Cypriots aim to receive the status they deserve in the EU, and to receive recognition under international law. Stressing Turkish Cypriots' appreciation for Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for the peace operation, and for the Turkish people's support, Talat said the martyrs and veterans who took part in the operation would always be remembered with gratitude and respect. /Aksam/

FM DAVUTOGLU MEETS WITH JOURNALISTS

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday met with Ankara correspondents of various media outlets. Davutoglu spoke about such issues as the latest developments concerning Cyprus, relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Caucasus, Iraq, the Middle East and the recent unrest in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. /Sabah/

CICEK URGES GREEK CYPRIOTS TO SEIZE OPPORTUNITY TO SOLVE CYPRUS ISSUE

The current window of opportunity for resolving the decades-old Cyprus issue cannot remain open forever, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday, warning further that Ankara will not give up its rights as a guarantor country of the divided island. Speaking at an official ceremony in Lefkosa, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), marking the 35th anniversary of Turkey's 1974 Peace Operation on Cyprus, which is celebrated as July 20 Peace and Freedom Day by Turkish Cypriots, Cicek said the Cyprus peace talks can't go on indefinitely and the current window of opportunity won't stay open forever, adding that a comprehensive solution could be reached this year. "Turkey has always taken a position in favor of resolving the Cyprus problem," he explained. "That's why, as the motherland and guarantor country, we are assuming a resolution-oriented policy together with the TRNC. Nonetheless, nobody should make the mistake of supposing that the Turkish sides may sacrifice their indispensable rights due to this policy." He said this in an apparent response to the Greek Cypriot side asserting that the continuation of Turkey's security guarantees and the Turkish military presence on the island would be unacceptable under a peace agreement. "We believe that it is possible to reach a comprehensive resolution by the end of 2009 if all the related parties act with a constructive understanding, like the Turkish Cypriot side does," Cicek said. "Reaching the goal of a comprehensive resolution is in the best interest of all parties, without exception," he added, stressing that the issue should not be linked to Turkey's European Union membership bid. "Turkey will never be in a dilemma of 'either Cyprus of the EU'." Cicek also reiterated that any solution should be a bi-communal partnership based on UN parameters, including political equality and two founder states. "Turkey's active and actual guarantor status will go on," he said. Cicek also stated that the isolation of Turkish Cypriots should be ended as soon as possible and urged EU leaders to keep their word given right after the twin 2004 referendums. Gaining independence from Britain in 1960, Cyprus became a bi-communal republic where Greek and Turkish Cypriot constituent communities were to share power guaranteed by Britain, Turkey and Greece. However, reluctant to share power and pursuing a policy of Enosis (union) with Greece, Greek Cypriots soon expelled Turkish Cypriots from power and terrorized and ghettoized them. An Athens-backed Greek Cypriot military coup on the island that culminated in armed attacks on the defenseless Turkish Cypriots led to Turkey's 1974 military intervention and the island's eventual split into Turkish and Greek Cypriot parts. Although the Republic of Cyprus as described in the 1959 agreements no longer exists, Greek Cypriots continue to enjoy this title and international recognition, while the TRNC, a fully democratic government representing Turkish Cypriots, still suffers. /Turkiye/

IRAQI DEPUTY PM HOLDS TALKS IN ANKARA

On an official visit to Ankara yesterday, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rafi al-Issawi was received by President Abdullah Gul at the Cankaya Presidential Palace, and met with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Later, meeting with the Turkish Contractors' Association (TMB), al-Issawi said that Iraq would see some 500 giant projects worth nearly $500 billion in the near future, and called on Turkish contractors to invest more in Iraq. He said the country's security problems have been overcome and urged Turkish contractors to take part in projects to build housing, schools, hospitals, agricultural plants, transportation networks, ports, railways and airports. Al-Issawi said Turkish contractors have become a global brand, adding that Baghdad is planning to hold a business forum to improve cooperation and discuss projects with contractors. /Turkiye/

ERGUN, YILDIZ ATTEND MEDITERRANEAN ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL FORUM IN MILAN

Industry Minister Nihat Ergun and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, currently in Milan, yesterday attended the Economic and Financial Forum for the Mediterranean, hosted by the Milan Chamber of Commerce. Speaking at the meeting, Ergun said the presence of Turkish entrepreneurs in foreign countries is important. "Globalization brings various opportunities to entrepreneurs, and they should use this to their advantage." For his part, Yildiz said that cooperation between Turkey and Italy in energy has been rising, adding that Turkey expects progress in the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline project known as the South Corridor. Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu, also at the forum, said that although Turkish-Italian economic ties have improved, there could be more Turkish businessmen in Italy. Hisarciklioglu called on Turkish investors to be involved in the World Turkish Business Council so that they can meet and cooperate with their Turkish counterparts in other countries. Afterwards, Ergun and Yildiz also met with Turkish businessmen in Milan. /Today's Zaman/

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