At a press conference Tuesday, Chief of Joint staff General Hilmi Ozkok said that “We will make no concessions from the principle of secularism of the Republic, its democratic and legal structure and the territorial integrity of Turkey. We are firm to defend these, till the end.”
Chief of Staff General Hilmi Ozkok underlined at a press conference , the priority of the political will. On criticism that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) did not voice its views on the Cyprus problem, louder before the public, Ozkok said that “TSK must not be expected to be a side expressing its stance on every issue, or sharing everything with the public opinion.”
He said “In no issue, our heart and mind fell in so much conflict. Turkey must be guided by her mind.” Stressing thet TSK was responsible of providing security to Northern Cypriot people. Ozkok said:
WHY ARE BRITISH THERE?
“We believe in the necessity of the guarantee agreement. To those who claim that Cyprus has no strategic importance, let me remind how Britain shows great care to maintain its sovereign bases in the island.”
Guarantee Agreement, is Violated
WE WERE UNABLE TO EXPLAIN : “Turkey was unable to prevent the decision to admit Greek Cypriots as a EU member, by the violation of the Guarantee Agreement. Turkey was unable to explain sufficiently that this decision will upset security balances and the political situation in East Mediterranean. “
DIFFERENCE OF OPINION, FOR THE FIRST TIME: “If a settlement is not attained until May 1, EU will be a party on the issue of Cyprus after then. All these, shook the judgement of our kinsmen in TRNC, Two different views emerged for the first time in a national cause and, reflected on Turkey.”
PROCESS ABOVE MGK: “TSK has always stated its views about Cyprus, openly and logically, at legal and constitutional platforms. However this cooperation must not be interpreted that we arrived at the same point (with the government) on every issue and problem. That the New York negotiating process, went beyond the general framework drawn at the 23 January MGK meetings, is included to this.”
WE RESPECT EXPECTATIONS, BUT..: “We recently feel that our people expect from TSK to say a definite Yes or No on outstanding issues and share this with the public opinion. We respect this opinion. But TSK must not be expected to take a stance on every issue or to share everything with the public opinion. “
NO PRESSURE MUST BE PUT
DECISION BELONGS TO TRNC AND TBMM: “The most important point from now for all institutions at home and abroad, is to create a climate in which the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus take their decision, free of any pressure and their own will. The final decision belongs to the Turkish Grant National Assembly (TBMM), on behalf of the Turkish nation. We fully believe that the Turkish Cypriot people and TBMM will make the best decision. There is word about some amelioration to be offered to the Turkish Cypriot side, If the Greek Cypriot side votes a No, and the Turkish side a Yes in the referendum. This might be possible. “
I WILL NOT SAY A YES OR NO : “The Annan Plan is a 9-thousand-page plan. The majority of these pages is about federal arrangements, international agreement. Saying Yes or No to this document , is not suitable for me. “ Ozkok said that “The referendum train moved from New York and is in speedy action.”
POLITICS, OVER TSK, IS DANGEROUS: “There are allegations that secularism and Kemalist nationalism are obstacles over Turkey and prevented change. There are deliberate rumors that there are deep differences within TSK. All these are merely rumors. TSK is in full unity. TSK personnel never forgets the friendship extended to itself, and of course hostility too. IN spite of the things said in campaigns against itself, TSK respects the worshipping and life style of our people. TSK is outside politics. Making politics over TSK, is wrong and dangerous. TSK, whose Constitutional position is defined, must not be forced to be a side in the democratic system. TSK is an institution whose strength is unimaginable. No one can succeed in damaging the relations between the Turkish people and TSK. When the developments around Turkey are carefully examined, we conclude that the need to TSK has not decreased, but to the contrary, increased.”
STRONG ECONOMY, STRONG TSK: “There is a direct relationship between a strong economy and strong armed forces.”
I AM MODERATE AND UNIFYING: Reacting at rumors that AKP was preparing to nominate him in the Presidential elections in 2005, Ozkok said “My moderate, responsible , constructive and unifying approach , to avoid harming my nation and state is misinterpreted by certain circles who are in fact, disturbed by this approach of mine. I am commanding over a military generation which wants to obey the leadership of the mind, rather than the loudness of this voice. I regret to say that, some of these people claim that , my behavior is because of some promises made to me (to be named president) for felicity and spread this rumor. I have never received such an offer. I do not think that anyone would ever have the courage to do so. The position of the Chief of Joint Staff, is the highest and last point to be arrived by me and the last point which made my family proud.”
ABOUT YALMAN: About the news concerning Ground Forces Commander General Aytac Yalman, Ozkok said “I feel disturbed of the things said to my friend. I condemn the mentality that spreads news about my friend in newspapers and internet pages.”
Ozkok also said that paid military service had not yielded any expected revenue in the past and there was no source or need to launch another paid military service now.
Asked by a journalist to invite TRNC President Denktas to the symposium at the Ground Forces Warfare School, General Ozkok said “I always get scared of bright ideas voiced at the last moment. In such cases, I always consult my headquarters then, review it myself.”
Army Commander General Hilmi Ozkok summarized the negative aspects of the Annan Plan as “Failure in meeting some requests of the Turkish side.” He said that “Unless sources are provided for settlement and employment, there might be very serious social incidents in Cyprus.” He said “The maintaining of guarantee rights, the TSK in the island, political sovereignty to TRNC, restriction of the rate of Greek Cypriots to settle in the North with one third and a middle way found in exchange of properties” were among the positive sides of the Plan.
Deputy PM Mehmet Ali Sahin said that the statements made by Ozkok about Cyprus had no big difference from the views of the government.