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April 29, 2004

April 29, 2004



** Greek Cypriot papers say the people's verdict "must be respected" but fret over EU reaction.

** Turkish Cypriot writers see the beginning of a "new period in Cyprus."

** Europeans vent "bitter disappointment and reproach" over the "Cyprus fiasco."


The Annan Plan is 'dead'-- Greek Cypriot papers were split about their community's rejection of UN Secretary General Annan's plan for reunification of the island in last week's referendum. Nationalist papers stated that "Cyprus has said 'No' to suicide" while defending universal "rights and values." Hard-line, pro-Democratic Rally Party I Makhi declared "no one has the right to ignore the verdict of the sovereign people" and that it was time to "chart a new strategy" not based on the Annan plan. Influential, top-circulation, Fileleftheros focused on "next steps" being taken with "an open prospect" towards a settlement. Some dailies were downbeat, arguing the result had led Greek Cypriots to "international isolation." The English-language Sunday Mail labeled the result "a Pyrrhic victory" and worried about foreign reaction; Alithia agreed, asserting the Greek community now "must focus on minimizing the consequences."

'We have entered a new phase'-- Some Turkish Cypriot papers said the vote had made it clear that "Greek Cypriots will not agree to share anything." A columnist remarked in right-wing nationalist Halkin Sesi that he hoped "the world has now realized why the Cyprus problem has so far remained unsolved." Commentators called the vote "an important milestone" and concluded that after the poll, "nothing can be the same." Top-circulation, independent Kibris interpreted the vote to show that the community had "had enough" of Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash, declaring that new Turkish community leaders are "quickly achieving" what he "failed to accomplish during the past 40 years." Papers contended that "the EU and the U.S. are preparing to take important steps in favor" of the Turkish Cypriots in recognition of their positive vote. Analysts looked forward to the end of "isolation" and the prospect of economic growth.

A 'sad day' and a 'disappointment'-- Greek dailies maintained the way to a Cyprus solution "must remain open" and called for a strategy that would "minimize the negative consequences" of the vote but "maximize the chances" for a solution. Dailies in Turkey saw "benefits gained" for Turkish Cypriots but cautioned against expecting "immediate results." Conservative, mass-appeal Turkiye reasoned that Turkey itself had gained in its quest for EU membership, since now "there is no way the EU can place Turkey on the irreconcilable side" of the issue. Other European writers lamented the "missed opportunity," some going so far as to label the Greek Cypriots "the spoilsports of the EU." A conservative British broadsheet termed the rejection of the plan "mean-spirited," voicing a common complaint that it was also "wholly predictable"; once the EU decided it would admit the southern side of Cyprus regardless of the vote's outcome "it took away any incentive" from Greek Cypriots to compromise. Other observers predicted EU aid would begin to flow into the northern side of the island and that Turkey's PM Erdogan "will use the vote for achieving his European goals."

EDITOR: Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 50 reports from 14 countries April 25-28, 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.


CYPRUS: "For The First Time"

Most influential, top-circulation, independent Turkish-language Kibris commented (4/27): "There had been many important milestones in search of a solution in Cyprus. The T/C side had lost all of them in the past. For the first time, we became the side that won, on April 24. We went through a process that Rauf Denktas was not influential in and we were successful. The G/Cs had looked for Denktas in vain at the negotiating table. The T/Cs did not just approve of the Annan Plan with their 'yes' vote on April 24, but they also threw the bridges with the father and son Denktas's and Eroglu."

"Brussels-Ankara Summit And Final Strike From USA"

Most influential, top-circulation, independent Turkish-language Kibris commented (4/27): "The EU and the U.S. are preparing to take important steps in favor of T/Cs. The Europeans and Americans who have earlier said that they would not leave the T/Cs out in the cold are busy with formalizing their methods. Gnter Verheugen stated yesterday that they will establish direct cooperation with northern Cyprus. Talat is touring Brussels to lift embargoes. Talat will then go to Ankara to plan the steps that the Turkish side will make. The Turkish side plans to implement the property regime of the Annan Plan unilaterally as the G/C side will try to sue Turkey with cases like Loizidou after May 1. the Turkish side, by implementing the property regime of the plan will be in a position to say 'here you can take your property'. And the final strike will come from the U.S. When all of the above steps are announced, Talat will be officially invited to Washington. Remember the international statements made that the G/C side made a 'no' campaign and would pay the price. This price will be the final strike against Papadopoulos."

"New Period In Cyprus"

Right-wing, nationalistic Turkish-language Halkin Sesi opined (4/26): "Nothing can be the same after the referenda. We have entered a new phase where the world will understand us better, where we can get rid of isolation and where we can catch economic growth. First, we must make a good assessment of what we said 'yes' to and what the G/Cs had rejected. The T/Cs said 'yes' to a bi-zonal federation. Therefore we must build on our political initiatives on this theme. The G/Cs said, 'no' to a bi-zonal and bicommunal federation. Because the model in the minds of G/Cs was majority of G/Cs and minority of T/Cs. We have also seen that if there was to be a single referendum, the final result, despite the 65% yes of T/Cs would have been negative with the majority of G/Cs votes. We have to show to the world and prove them that this is not acceptable. The T/C voters made the best decision ever and we must use this golden opportunity in the best way possible for the good of our people. This period should not be spent with internal fights or politics."

"The Outcome Should Be Respected"

Influential, top-circulation, Fileleftheros editorialized (4/25): "Attention is already focused on the next steps. The outcome of yesterday's referenda is the basis of which we should face the next day. We should handle it with the least possible consequences and with an open prospect for a Cyprus settlement. The UN Secretary General has put forward five plans since the beginning of his efforts that goes back to 2000.... The Secretary General defined a process on February 13 in New York that had a beginning and an ending. With the consent of all parties involved, he offered the possibility for negotiations. However, this did not happen either in Nicosia or Lucerne. He then asked and secured the right to arbitrate, which he exercised in Lucerne, and even though no agreement was reached on the basis of his plan, he sent it to separate referenda. The citizens judged the Annan Plan in the referenda.... This was the Secretary General's objective. The decision of the people should be respected. No one can retaliate against the outcome. People cannot be punished for their decision. Since they decided to send the plan to the citizens to judge it, they should accept the outcome and reflect on it. The outcome of the referenda should also be accepted internally. Besides, there are no losers and no winners."

"A Pyrrhic Victory For Papadopoulos"

The independent English-language Sunday Mail editorialized (4/25): "If the president is hoping to use Cyprus' veto within the EU after 1 May to block any measures aimed at helping the Turkish Cypriots, he should think again. His handling of the referendum has alienated the entire EU, including Greece, and he is likely to be given short shrift once we become a full member. The only person who has a right to celebrate tonight is Denktash because the Greek Cypriots have handed him everything he has been fighting for, for more than 40 years, on a plate. His state enters the international arena, he keeps all the occupied territory, and the Turkish army will stay in Cyprus indefinitely. Meanwhile the Cyprus government will not even be able to secure a mild resolution condemning the Turkish occupation in an international forum."

"A New Strategy"

Sotiris N. Sampson editorialized on the front page of hard-line, nationalist, and pro-Democratic Rally Party, Greek-language I Makhi (4/25): "A pan-national conference is required to chart a new strategy that cannot be based on the Annan plan. Any effort to revive it will be crafty. The referendum opens new prospects and no one has the right to ignore the verdict of the sovereign people."

"Annan Plan Dead"

A front-page editorial in Greek-language Alithia commented (4/25): "[They] killed off the Annan plan, canceled the island's immediate reunification, and led the Greek side to international isolation. The dream has been lost. And if a new struggle that will unite the people is required then it must focus on minimizing the consequences, not acquitting those who are guilty of misinforming and deceiving."

"Now What?"

Greek-language Politis remarked (4/25): "Now what? The people have decided and their decision must be respected. The problem arising as of today is how we are going to handle this 'No' domestically, but mainly abroad."

"Prospect Of Reunification"

Greek-language Kharavyi held (4/25): "The Greek Cypriot verdict does not mean, nor can it be interpreted as, a rejection of a solution. On the contrary, it is sending within and outside Cyprus the message that it fervently wants a solution, with guarantees that this solution will be durable and will open the prospect of reunification."

"People Said No To Blackmail"

Greek-language I Simerini had this to say (4/25): "The people have rejected the blackmails.... Cyprus is small and weak, but the rights and values it is defending are big and universal. Cyprus said No to suicide. It is saying Yes to a modern, democratic, functional, and European solution to its dramatic problem. This No must be interpreted correctly, both inside and outside Cyprus. And Cyprus must be genuinely helped to find a solution, instead of being blackmailed and terrorized about a dissolution."


Turkish-language Kibris stated (4/25): "Open Letter to Rauf Denktash: Mr. Denktash, we have had enough. Leave us alone now. Leave us to go on our way. The new Turkish Cypriot leaders are quickly achieving what you failed to accomplish during the past 40 years."

"What To Do Now"

A columnist observed in Turkish-language Halkin Sesi (4/25): "Let us now focus on what we have to do.... The Greek Cypriots will not agree to share anything. They have always seen us as a minority in Cyprus. I hope that the world has now realized why the Cyprus problem has so far remained unsolved."

"Lift The Embargo"

Turkish-language Volkan commented (4/25): "The illegal referendum should have been boycotted. The Turkish Cypriot people said yes and the Greek Cypriot people said no. The Justice and Development Party administration in Turkey should now move to fulfill its promise to our people. It should launch a significant campaign to have the embargoes on us lifted and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus recognized."

"Vote Outcome"

Turkish-language Afrika noted (4/25): "Rauf Denktash was the first to describe the referendum outcome as a 'victory.' It seems that he confused his people with the Greek Cypriots!"

GREECE: "The Struggle Continues"

Pro-government Eleftheros Typos observed (4/26): "A new day for Cyprus begins today. We must seek for the strategy that will on the one hand minimize the negative consequences from the international community, and, on the other, maximize the chances for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Both Athens and Nicosia can keep the Cyprus issue open, making the requisite goodwill gestures that will confirm out good intentions. The new national strategy must develop in two fronts: the policy Nicosia will follow towards the Turkish Cypriots...and the policy Athens will follow towards Ankara."

"The Solution"

Top-circulation, left-of-center Ta Nea editorialized (4/26): "Such a big percentage favoring 'no' weakens significantly any hopes for the so-called 'second chance.' On the contrary, the 'yes' of the Turkish Cypriots decriminalizes Turkey and the pseudo-state in the eyes of the Europeans.... To the extent the EU economic support measures do not lead to an indirect recognition [of Northern Cyprus], the Greek and the Greek Cypriot sides have every reason to support them in order to prove their goodwill. At the same moment, they should resist all efforts that could create faits accomplis. At the same moment, both Cyprus and Greece should review comprehensively the policy they plan to pursue in order to reach a solution. No matter if they assert they want bi-communal, and bi-zonal federation accepted by both communities in the island, they have to make clear that they accept it in practice, and not just in theory. There is no room for illusions!"

"Yet, They Can"

Left-of-center, anti-American, influential Eleftherotypia argued (4/26): "The correct interpretation of the referendum leads to the view that the way toward the solution of the Cyprus problem must remain open, and not have it close hastily. One should also note that the Annan plan has also positive clauses, which are correct, and that is why although legally it is considered to be invalid, it remains politically a useful framework for discussions. The Cypriot people were asked to vote for a plan without knowing the contents of even the 200 pages, or the 20.... However, voters realized that the plan upgrades one community--which voted for it--and downgraded the other one, which voted against it. It is not especially difficult to correct the deficiencies of the Annan plan that everybody knows. For that the political will of the two communities is required. The two communities can show through the practical handling of all issues that they can live together and thrive in the EU."

"Planning, Initiatives After 'NO'"

Left-of-center Ethnos contended (4/26): "The visit of Cypriot President Papadopoulos to Athens must not be used as an opportunity to exchange views only. It must be used as a venue to plan for substantive cooperation that will restrain the side-effects of the international reaction [to the referendum in the South] and plan for the appropriate moves for the second chance."

"A New Strategy For Cyprus"

The lead editorial of independent, influential, Kathimerini held (4/25): "It is certain that the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue will not end with the referenda. The reasons that brought the two sides to the table of negotiations persist. The Cypriot and the Greek sides are faced with the major challenge of raising the issue again on a more fair and realistic basis, and so both sides are called upon to demonstrate imagination, boldness, generosity, and, above all, unity."

"Developments Following The 'No'"

Yiannis Kartalis observed in small-circulation, influential pro-government To Vima (4/25): "[The vote]...does not leave much latitude for anyone to doubt their true feelings toward a solution aimed at reunifying the island.... Partition becomes an established fact without the prospect for another solution soon."

TURKEY: "New Middle East, New NATO And New Cyprus"

Serdar Turgut argued in the sensational, mass-appeal Aksam (4/28): "Looking at the Cyprus question from a narrow perspective does not provide the real picture of what is going to happen in the region. Very few commentators are looking at the Cyprus issue from a strategic point of view, which is a pity since military strategy is the only concept that matters to the U.S. and UK in their assessment of the Cyprus issue. The U.S. is working on a new strategy to introduce during the upcoming NATO summit. The gist of this strategy is about directing the Greater Middle East project from American bases in Cyprus. The world's most effective intelligence unit, ECHELON, will be coordinated in Cyprus. Details can be found in the April 10 edition of the Asia Times.... We should be prepared for the upcoming NATO Summit. The U.S. is going to intensify its efforts to convince NATO and EU members about the establishment of an American base in Cyprus. If this does not work, the U.S. will definitely try to persuade Turkey to establish a base in the north of Cyprus."

"Don't Expect Any Cash Prizes"

Mehmet Ali Birand commented in the sensational, mass-appeal Posta (4/28): "Some commentators are constantly saying, 'The Turkish Cypriots should be rewarded immediately for their acceptance of the plan and the Greek Cypriots should pay for their rejection of it.' This viewpoint is close to getting out of control because some are calling for immediate results. In other words, the European Union Council of Ministers or their leaders should immediately reward the Turkish Cypriots while punishing the Greeks. However, patience dominates international relations. We have to wait and play the game according to the rules. On the other hand, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Verheugen's statement after the commission meeting in Luxembourg was full of remarks that pointed toward a plan being formulated.... According to his statements, the TRNC will not be recognized as a state, but relations will be built without declaring its status. In other words, the Greek Cypriots will not be able to represent the entire island. The commission will ensure the lifting of all the trade and economic embargoes on the Turkish side. It appears that the current border will continue to divide the sides. Moreover, financial assistance will be given directly to the TRNC, not via Greek Cyprus. The fact which everyone has to get used to is that we are entering an uncertain period. The certainties we have lived with for the past 30 years are changing. We need to produce visionary and creative policies. If we do not produce them, someone else will present them to us. Therein lies the danger."

"Cyprus: Gains And Losses"

Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative-mass appeal Turkiye (4/27): "Under the current circumstances, Turkey should be able to receive a date from the EU in the upcoming December summit. Turkey has also gained an important benefit from the referendum in that there is no way the EU can place Turkey on the irreconcilable side of the Cyprus issue. With the help of the northern Cypriots' yes to the Annan Plan and the EU's vision of Turkey, we have two important components of continuing to be part of the modern civilized world, which is the most important benefit of all.... There will be another important gain if the embargoes against Turkish Cyprus are lifted. In fact, a unique opportunity was missed due to the unfortunate attitude of the Greek Cypriot side. Had the Annan Plan been approved by the both sides, it would be a relief for everyone, including the whole of Cyprus, the US, the EU and the UN."

"Withdrawing Forces From Cyprus"

Fatih Altayli suggested in the mass appeal Hurriyet (4/27): "The referenda results are not the best outcome for Turkish Cypriots, yet they still provide hope and optimism for the future. The current process has gained a dynamic momentum and the northern side will be the winner regardless of what comes next. Turkey is also on the winners' side. It would not be realistic to expect the embargoes to be immediately lifted and recognition process to be immediately initiated. Yet, it is absolutely realistic to see things developing to the benefit of the north. In sum, this is a win-win case for both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side.... This is the very time to take an initiative that will enhance Turkey's position: reduce the number of Turkish troops on the island. If Turkey manages to do this, it will provide enormous diplomatic benefits for us."

"Is The Problem Over?"

Sami Kohen opined in the mass appeal Milliyet (4/27): "The ability of the Turkish side of Cyprus to preserve the benefits gained with the referendum depends on the strategy it will follow.... A policy that aims at permanent division or separation will bring huge problems in the future, especially, for Turkey, which expects a date from the EU in December, and for the Turkish Cypriots, who want the embargoes to be fully lifted and hope to join the EU (immediately after the Greek Cypriot accession) in the near future. Therefore, following their latest diplomatic success, it would be useful for the Turkish side to keep its options open for the realization of the 'Republic of the United Cyprus.' Of course, for this, the Greek side will need to show a serious change in its stance and correct its 'oxi' mistake. And, for everyone's benefit, this change has to be realized, as soon as possible, before the roads are separated fully."

"Turning The Loss Into A Profit"

Ismet Berkan opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal (4/26): "The Turkish Cypriot side has managed to change its overall negative image regarding the Cyprus unification process. This itself provides an enormous chance for Turkish diplomacy. The crucial thing at this stage is to prevent the Greek Cypriot side from creating a new bargaining process on the fate of Cyprus based on its EU membership. Turkish diplomacy should focus on persuading the EU to pressure the Greek Cypriots for a repeat of the referendum in the south. The current Annan Plan, which was supported by the north, should be the basis of a new referendum in the south. This should be the immediate priority for Turkey rather than recognition of the north as a separate identity, which will only legalize the division of the island."

"Turkish Cypriots Are Waiting For Reward"

Ferai Tinc observed in the mass-appeal Hurriyet (4/26): "After strong support for the Annan Plan from the Turkish side, the north is still living in anxiety. The uncertainties brought about by the admission of the south to the EU are making the Turkish Cypriots very worried about their future. The status of Green Line is among the major uncertainties. There is need for an EU resolution on the status of the Green Line, yet given the Greek and Greek Cypriot veto power, it remains to be seen how and if this will happen. This also applies to other privileges, including commercial and maritime rights for the north. People in the north still remember that when the EU Commission came up with an aid package for the northern side in 2003, it went nowhere because the south blocked it.... While statements from Brussels give cause for optimism on the protection of Turkish Cypriot rights, the north wants to see actual deeds as well, and see them as soon as possible."

"Cyprus After The Referenda"

Oral Calislar commented in the social democrat-opinion maker Cumhuriyet (4/26): "It seems that the international community, including the U.S. and the EU, have a unified position on Cyprus, in contrast to their different positions on Iraq. It is clear that the international community is very upset about the outcome of the Greek Cypriot referendum. However, it remains to be seen whether the international community will stop there or will look for new solutions. It is possible that UNSG Annan could start working on a new initiative, yet everything seems up in the air at the moment. In any case, the result from the north has provided very positive ground for the Turkish Cypriots, and nothing will ever be the same again in the north or in the south."

"Turkey Should Thank Papadopoulos"

Mehmet Ali Birand argued in the sensational, mass-appeal Posta (4/26): "The most important outcome of these referenda was that the world now knows that they were tricked by Greek Cypriots for the last three decades. Until now, they always said they wanted to live with their Turkish brothers and complained about Turkey's unjustified occupation. They also argued that Turkey was flooding the north with settlers and were asking for a federative resolution.... Papadopoulos will definitely support Turkey receiving a date to start membership negotiations because, according to his game plan, they can receive even more during Turkey's negotiations. A Turkey that is left out of the EU would be dangerous. Papadopoulos will play his hand during these negotiations and utilize the veto card to get all that he can. Can he succeed? Nothing is certain. The future may favor Greek Cypriots. The present developments may be forgotten. Turkey may forget its past mistakes and become careless, forgetting to be a step ahead of Greek Cypriots.... Papadopoulos took a very risky and very courageous decision, and initiated a process that could result in a better deal for himself. The only thing he should be careful about is that Turkey has woken up and is also playing the game. Don't ignore Papadopoulos."

BRITAIN: "Picking Up Pieces"

The independent Financial Times remarked (4/27): "It will be even more important for the island's two 'parent' states, Greece and Turkey, to maintain pressure on their Cypriot co-linguists to pursue the path to a settlement. Athens and Ankara have no interest in letting Cyprus obstruct their efforts for a wider reconciliation across the Aegean."

"The Cost Of Saying No: Greek Cypriots Have Closed The Door On Reunification"

The conservative Times held (4/26): "The challenge now is to limit the fallout. Luckily both Greece and Turkey, under responsible prime ministers, will not let the Cyprus fiasco derail their rapprochement. The UN will retire hurt, but it is unlikely to pull out the peacekeeping troops. Britain, with bases in Cyprus and a web of ethnic links, could try to calm emotions. But counseling reason after such folly will be difficult."

"Cyprus Stays Divided"

The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (4/26): "The rejection by Greek Cypriots of the UN reunification plan was disappointing, mean-minded and wholly predictable. The moment the EU decided it would accept a unilateral application from Southern Cyprus, rather than insisting on an internal solution as a precondition for admission, it took away any incentive from the Greek side to compromise. We do not say this with the gift of hindsight: we pointed it out at the time.... In the circumstances, it is odd that the EU should complain of betrayal. Greek Cypriots made the entirely rational calculation that they had nothing to lose by voting No. Logically, the EU should react to the vote by bringing Northern Cyprus back into the comity of nations, ending the trade embargo, restoring air links and offering de facto recognition. At the very least, Turkish Cyprus should be offered a customs union with the EU on the same terms as Turkey. In practice, though, none of this is likely to happen as long as Greece can wield its veto. That, of course, has been the problem all along."

"Island Of Lost Dreams"

The left-of-center Guardian contended (Internet version, 4/26): "Bishop Pavlos of Kyrenia told Greek Cypriots that they would be doomed to a life in hell if they voted for the United Nations plan to reunify the island. It was one of the more illuminating comments from a country which is about to enter the European Union, and presumably to adopt western European values. A fellow Greek Orthodox bishop on the island...revealed that his refrigerator was full of champagne for a bash.... While the dinosaurs toast the demise of the best chance of unification that Cyprus has had in three decades, Greek Cypriots of greater vision will today be counting the cost of this weekend's referendum. There will be no new deal on the table for them now, even if there were international mediators to help them, which today there are not.... The vote against the Kofi Annan plan was a vote to make 1974's Turkish invasion a permanent reality. The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, will get a substantial reward for approving the Annan plan.... The trade embargo which has crippled the north will be lifted and EU aid will flood in. The airport will be open to international flights and the port to trade. Turkey, which pushed for the Annan plan, will get a start date for entry talks to the EU. Greek Cypriot rejection means that the former pariah state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will now be recognized in all but name. Rauf Denktash, its rejectionist octogenarian leader, must be laughing all the way to the bank. None of which means that the Annan plan was particularly fair to the Greek Cypriots. But it was better than nothing."

GERMANY: "Different Kettle Of Fish"

Wolfgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/27): "Annan's plan to unite Cyprus is a different kettle of fish from the island's EU entry. But it is clear that it was counterproductive not to combine the island's EU entry and the peace referendum, because the Greek Cypriots were able to vote against the plan without any qualms. They will enter on May 1 anyway. On the other side, Turkey lost its bad reputation as objector. It's right that they want to be rewarded for having voted against their stubborn leader Rauf Denktash, who has also lost the support of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. It will now take some time till the divided island is reunited. However, financial help for the north and a lift of trade sanctions are on the way. Even the status of Denktash's 'state', which is still illegal, might change. In Ankara, Erdogan will use the vote for achieving his European goals."

"Europe's Disappointment"

Christian Wernicke argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/27): "Europeans look pretty helpless, since a vast majority of southern Cypriots rejected the reconciliation with their Turkish compatriots. The EU strategy for the Mediterranean island is now in tatters. For years it was a dogma that entering the EU could unify the divided island. But reality has nothing to do with the wishful thinking of Europeans, who have to revise their plans now.... But the disaster is not the fault of Europeans. Their error is ten years old, when they started the risky venture of negotiations. Now they must pay the price--all of them."


Katja Ridderbusch editorialized in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/27): "The vote of Greek Cypriots maneuvered the EU into a complicated situation, where international law will often put the brakes on political will. But this situation did not come as a surprise. Europe could see how it was building up during the recent months, but acted like a little child who closes its eyes: what I don't see does not happen.... One just was not prepared for the Greek Cypriots torpedoing the peace plan. EU diplomats will now find a solution how to deal with Cyprus--probably a very European one: a mixture between improvisation and pragmatism. And Europe will have to pay a price for this later in autumn, when the decision will be made about the start of negotiations with Turkey."

"Failed Referendum"

Carla Sappok said on radio station Suedwestrundfunk of Stuttgart (4/26): "Especially together with Greece, the small and divided island can put the brakes on many matters. The EU did not think of that when it gave up the idea of allowing only a united Cyprus with an acknowledged Turkish minority to enter the Union. EU Commissioner Verheugen is correct that there is a shadow over the entry of Cyprus. But it is more than that. The vote cast a shadow over the entire EU enlargement. One can now limit the consequences for Turkish Cypriots, but the political consequences for the future are not yet clear."

"Missed Opportunity"

Horst Bacia editorialized in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/26): "Greek Cypriots will not accept such a peace plan as long as they just see the Turkish occupation as inexcusable injustice. They must learn that it was also a reaction to the culpable way they dealt with the Turkish minority on Cyprus. The realities created with military force must not be internationally legitimized now, because the Turkish invasion in northern Cyprus was legally wrong. Beyond that, the Turkish Cypriots now deserve to get any help from the EU and the international community. The Greek Cypriots are well advised not to abuse their questionable claim to represent the entire island. They already are the spoilsports in the EU. And Erdogan's government would act unwisely if it would press for an international acknowledgment of Northern Cyprus, because Turkey also will be relying on the Greek Cypriots when it wants to join the EU."

"Sirens On Cyprus"

Christiane Schloetzer commented in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (4/26): "The Greek Cypriot government waged a fight against the Annan plan by slinging mud against dissidents. This has made the community deeply insecure again, after a friendly laissez-faire between the two ethnic groups replaced old fears when the border was slightly opened last year. The psychological damage of the campaign is enormous. Many Greek Cypriots will see themselves as the odd one out in the EU. And the failed referendum will also affect relations between Turkey and Greece. Greece already shows some realism, given the unsolvable situation. The conservative government seems to be willing to give up the old foreign policy dogma that it will not support Turkey's EU entry without an agreement on Cyprus.... For Turkey, the high approval by Turkish Cypriots means political release. For the first time it was able to demonstrate to the EU that it did not halt a peace plan."


Christoph von Marschall commented in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/26): "The EU must act more carefully in this region and must not run political risks for the sake of peace. Crisis regions should only join when they are totally pacified; otherwise the EU might be obstructed internally. This principle maybe unfair in some cases, because the opposing side gets a right to veto. But it is better to be unfair than unable to act. Cyprus' unity will remain on the agenda."

RUSSIA: "Russia Benefits By Vote Outcome"

Gennadiy Sysoyev commented in business-oriented Kommersant (4/26): "The Greek Cypriots' refusal to support the plan makes prospects for their admission to the EU doubtful. At least there is less certainty about the time when it may happen.... There is more to it, however. Had both parts of the island voted for unification, the Cyprus plan might have been used as a model of sorts to help settle conflicts that have resulted in some countries being divided. If successful, unification would have become a major victory for Europe, since the UN-proposed plan is virtually European. Europe would then have been able to claim the principal role in resolving similar problems.... After the fiasco in Cyprus, Europe can't seriously bid for the laurels of the chief peacemaker in NIS countries, which, in the final analysis, is good for Russia. Up to now this country has been jealously following the EU's attempts to act as an arbiter in ex-Soviet republics. It seems like Russia has benefited by the outcome of the Cyprus plebiscite."

AUSTRIA: "A Disaster For Diplomacy"

Foreign affairs writer Walter Friedl wrote in mass-circulation daily Kurier (4/27): "The no-campaign of the Greek Cypriot leadership, in alliance with the church and the hotelier lobby, who was afraid of losing market shares in case of re-unification, was a scandal, a slap in the face to the UN, the U.S., and the EU, rendering fruitless their efforts to finally solve the conflict. However, this attitude might backfire: when it comes to dishing out money, power, and influence, Brussels is not going to fall over itself to meet the Greek Cypriots halfway.... But the EU must also accept its share of the blame: the stipulation that only the southern part of the island would be able to join the EU without re-unification was supposed to put pressure on the Turks. This part of the equation worked, but the EU did not count in the stubbornness of the Greeks. Now it is faced with a diplomatic disaster."

DENMARK: "Greek Cypriots Must Look To The Future"

Center-left Politiken commented (4/26): "The international community ought to work towards giving Greek Cypriots guarantees in connection with the implementation of an agreement. At the same time, the Greek Cypriots should wake up to some realities and realize that they must be courageous and look to the future."

IRELAND: "Cyprus Vote"

The center-left Irish Times editorialized (4/26): "There has been widespread international criticism of the Greek Cypriot decision to reject United Nations proposals on reunifying the country in Saturday's referendum--and rightly so.... EU leaders believe a unique opportunity has been missed and warn that rejection of the UN plan will not be cost-free for the Greek Cypriots. A lot hung on this vote.... The international effort to secure a settlement now is part of a much wider attempt to resolve the question of Turkey's relationship with the EU, at a time when it is essential to establish a new relationship between the Muslim world and Europe. The widespread regret over this result...has much to do with these broader issues. While the Greek Cypriot leaders could not be expected to disregard their interests simply to suit some larger geopolitical design, they have been accused of selfishly ignoring a real opportunity to resolve the island's division and negotiating in bad faith, notably by the European commissioner responsible for EU enlargement, Mr. Gnther Verheugen.... Among the responses being canvassed are a change in the so-called line regulation which determines the status of the island's division in international law. If it is replaced by a law which recognizes the line as an external EU border it would be possible to ease trade embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots. There will also be a willingness to relax their political isolation in the context of Turkey's approach towards EU membership."

"Sad Day"

The center-right Irish Independent commented (4/26): "The vote has attracted bitter disappointment and reproach. The Greek Cypriots have been roundly condemned by two EU Commissioners, Chris Patten and Gunter Verheugen. Their part of the island will join on May 1, but Mr. Verheugen says there is a shadow over their accession. The EU and the UN have labored mightily to reunite Cyprus. Now they are frustrated, with no fresh course of action available. The island has been divided since the Turkish invasion three decades ago. Europe can only hope that it will not have to wait another three decades. "

KOSOVO: "EU Against Annan And The EU Racism Towards Northern Cyprus"

Commentator for pro-LDK, mass circulation Bota Sot, Elida Bucpapa, wrote (4/26): "The Unification of Cyprus was rather an initiative of Secretary General Koffi Annan than of UN itself.... Paradoxically enough, despite their opposition to Koffi Annan's plan, the Greek Cypriots have been granted direct accession to EU on May 1, while the opposite is happening to Turk Cypriots, who, despite their vote for Annan's plan, are now being punished by the EU. In fact, the referendum results once again highlighted the failure of the EU foreign policy which maintains a racist view towards the Muslim part of Europe.... It is true that EU had its representative for Cyprus issue...Gunter Verheugen, who strongly criticized the leadership of Greek Cypriots. However, his stance remained a personal one if not private, because he was not regarded by anyone. Because, it is well known that behind the Greek Cypriots is Greece.... Annan's plan and the referendum for the reunification of Cyprus failed because of the EU's degenerated policies. The EU's foreign policy once again capitulated to its corrosive forces.... Those Greek deputies who whistled at the Commissioner for EU expansion (German Gunter Verheugen) showed that Greeks within EU are much stronger than Germans and that the EU depends on them (Greeks). If the EU was independent, constructive and in service of the peacemaking policies of the United Europe, the EU should have also been in the service of expanding EU towards territories or countries where Muslim populations live. If this positive tendency existed it would have also been reflected through a close cooperation between the plan of Koffi Annan and the EU.... However, the EU did not want a positive result, therefore it promoted those who keep Cyprus divided by barb-wired fence and mined areas."


ISRAEL: "There Are No Easy Solutions In Cyprus, Either"

Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and former Foreign Ministry director-general Shlomo Avineri wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/28): "One could easily see how the UN and the EU--which are opposed to Israeli occupation and the settlements--were ready to betray their principles when it was about Turkey. It is therefore no surprise that Greek Cypriots viewed the Annan plan as a prize to Turkey and the occupation.... In Cyprus--and in our region, too--there are no easy solutions, particularly if such solutions are initiated by foreign elements. If there is no local political willingness, there can be no solution to the conflict. What can be done--like in Cyprus 30 years ago--is to shake off the thought that the alternative to a solution actually is war. There also is room for stabilizing the situation, reducing violence, creating effective barriers between the opposite sides to lessen friction and conflicts. In the absence of solutions to conflicts that are not ripe for resolution, one must aspire to stabilizing them."

ALGERIA: "Cyprus: Failure Of Reunification"

El Watan, one of the most influential French-language dailies, noted (4/26): "Cyprus will remain a divided island. This verdict was confirmed by yesterday's ballot. The Greek Cypriots rejected the reunification plan proposed by the United Nations, whereas the Turkish Cypriots approved it. This vote is a 'very negative' start for Cyprus in the European community, the former Greek Cypriot head of the European harmonization, Takis Hadjidemetriou, declared after resigning to protest against the Greek Cypriot government's refusal of the United Nations proposal."

BAHRAIN: "Cyprus Problem Intractable As Ever"

The pro-government, English-language Bahrain Tribune observed (Internet version, 4/26): "Years of diplomatic efforts to reunite Cyprus came to naught on Saturday when...Greek Cypriots rejected [the peace plan].... The collapse of the plan disappointed the international community, notably the European Union and the U.S. who strongly supported it.... While it appears that the Greek Cypriots were the big winners in the referendum, analysts believe it would be the south which will bear the brunt of the political fallout. Their entry into the EU on May is assured, but it was the Turkish Cypriots who won the admiration of the world for opting for a 'yes' vote. Sanctions against the north are likely to be lifted and direct airport and port links opened with the outside world, facilitating exports and easing constraints on tourism. Some small countries have also indicated that they might go so far as recognizing the breakaway Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. With international recognition, Turkish Cypriots are likely to oppose participation of the south in the EU and question the status of two MPs at the EU parliament as the entire island's representatives.... With the diplomatic squabble tension is likely to rise between the two communities. This, analysts believe, will isolate Cyprus in the EU.... The Cyprus problem is far from over and the rejection of the UN plan marks the beginning of new and bigger ones for the island.

JORDAN: "For A Better Future For All Cypriots"

Elite, independent, English-language Jordan Times editorialized (Internet version, 4/28): "The rejection of the UN-sponsored unification plan for Cyprus is a major setback for multiculturalism and inter-ethnic unity and cooperation. When the greater majority of Greek Cypriots vote no on a referendum for a federated yet united Cyprus and a similar majority of Turkish Cypriots vote yes, something certainly seems amiss. Rejecting even a remotely united Cyprus cannot bode well for a resourceless island divided by over three decades of ethnic tensions. Fortunately, 65 per cent of the Turkish community showed more confidence in a united country and appear to be much more willing to give a multicultural and multiethnic united country a chance.... In the case of Cyprus, there is little doubt that the Balkan war and the ethnic cleansing processes in Bosnia, Kosovo and other parts of former Yugoslavia must have weighed heavily on voters.... For the time being, therefore, Cyprus remains divided along ethnic and religious bases. There will come a time, though, when the two Cypriot communities will recover from old wounds and overcome prejudice and intolerance to opt instead for a united Cyprus.... Meanwhile, the European Union's commitment to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is admirable. Even Greece, which pledged support to the Greek Cypriots to 'minimize' negative consequences of their 'no' vote, said the Cyprus issue would not interfere with endeavors to ameliorate Greek-Turkish ties or Athens' support for Ankara's bid to start negotiations to join the EU in December. Perhaps when Cyprus enters as a new member of the EU on May 1, its co-members will be able to convince its Greek Cypriot leadership that as EU states had to reconcile many differences, so too must Cyprus."


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