NEWS

From ‘Rauf’ to ‘Glafcos’

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday that he has sent a second letter to Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides urging him to hold a face-to-face meeting as Cypriots. In comments to the Cypriot broadcasting service RIK, Denktash also stressed that I want to meet with Mr. Clerides, I have to meet him, it is necessary that I meet him. Clerides responded that he had not rejected Denktash’s proposals or laid any ground rules. He said that all Denktash has to do is meet him in the presence of a UN representative acting as an observer within the framework of the UN-sponsored peace process that the Turkish-Cypriot leader walked out of in September 2000. Denktash appears to be coming under much pressure as Cyprus moves inexorably toward accession to the European Union. This feeling has been strengthened by a European Commission progress report made public on Tuesday that Cyprus had achieved considerable progress in its entry negotiations and called on the Turkish Cypriots to see the benefits of EU membership. So far, Denktash has kept his Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus out of the accession negotiations. The commission also criticizes Turkey for not helping end the Cyprus problem. This appears to have made an increasing number of Turks aware that the Cyprus question is holding up Turkey’s own hopes of one day joining the EU. All these intellectuals have their own reasons for believing that the Cyprus issue is an obstacle in Turkey’s progress toward joining Europe, Denktash told RIK bitterly. The Cypriot government expressed absolute satisfaction yesterday with the criticism of Turkey in the Commission’s report. These documents specify the continuing Turkish intransigence in the efforts for a Cyprus settlement and stress the responsibility of Turkey so that there may be progress in the efforts of the United Nations secretary-general, a Foreign Ministry statement said. Cypriot officials believe that Denktash’s calls for a face-to-face meeting with Clerides is an effort to sidestep the international efforts aimed at solving the Cyprus issue and also to display goodwill. Denktash revealed that his letter was not written on official paper but on white paper and that he addressed Clerides as Dear Glafcos while signing simply as Rauf. He also declared that as a Cypriot he was calling on Clerides for the two to meet as Cypriots. Composer in hospital