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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Regional press dissects Annan plan
Rauf Denktash (left), Kofi Annan (centre) and Tassos Papadopoulos
Greek and Turkish Cypriots will now decide on the island's future
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's blueprint for reuniting Cyprus receives wide coverage in media in the region.

The Turkish Cypriot press is divided in its assessment, while mainstream newspapers in Turkey welcome the plan.

Reports in Greek Cypriot papers are largely factual, and reaction in mainstream Greek papers is one of disappointment.

"The people have the final say," proclaims a headline in the Turkish Cypriot Kibris daily.

Columnist Hasan Hasturer praises the plan and predicts that nearly 70% of Turkish Cypriots will vote in favour in a referendum scheduled for 24 April.

He urges Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) to accept it.

"Rauf Denktash's political life will end disastrously if he maintains his stubborn policy," he predicts.

"The historic opportunity must not be missed this time."

And, he warns, "the UBP will dig its own grave if it continues to object."

Mr Hasturer also urges the Greek Cypriot side to accept the talks' outcome and start preparing for the referendum.

Writing in the same paper, columnist Basaran Duzgun praises Turkey's proactive and conciliatory approach.

"Even if the referendum yields a negative result, Turkey will be seen as a country that has done everything it can for the solution of the Cyprus problem."

'Plot'

But a commentator in the Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi sees a "plot" masterminded by "foreign forces" and "their pawns among Turkish Cypriots" aimed at destroying the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Ismet Kotak accuses UN special envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto and EU Commissioner Gunther Verheugen of siding with the Greek Cypriots.

The plan "must be torn up and dumped", he says.

"Those who want to move ahead on the road to the EU as a minority might agree to do so with a Greek Cypriot identity... They have stabbed us in the back in Switzerland."

The Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan has similar views.

The plan is "aimed at destroying the Turkish Cypriot people" and creating "great opportunities for the Greek Cypriots", it says.

But an Afrika commentator chastises both sides for leaving it to Mr Annan to solve the problem.

Cautious welcome

Mainstream papers in Turkey cautiously welcome the plan.

"Ankara and Lefkosa left the negotiating table declaring that they were in favour of a solution, which was unprecedented in the 30-year-old negotiating process in Cyprus," Hurriyet says.

Another commentator in the same paper says the plan satisfied both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

"Turkey is in an advantageous position regarding the Cyprus issue for the first time since 1974 and everybody is aware of that fact."

Milliyet writer Hasan Cemal believes "the plan addressed the Turkish Cypriot side's priorities to such an extent that it angered the Greek Cypriots" and provoked their rejection.

But writing in Cumhuriyet, Sukru Sina Gurel argues that the plan does not meet the Turkish Cypriot side's fundamental demands.

Rejection

Newspapers in Greece are downbeat.

"Shipwreck in the snow. They did not agree in Lucerne," reads a headline in To Vima.

"The hour of the Cypriots - a referendum regarding a plan of despair," says Elevtherotipia.

Elevtheros Tipos is in no doubt about how Greek Cypriots should vote.

"A dramatic no to the plan trap and to the extortion."

But Ta Nea argues that although it would be best to reach agreement before EU enlargement on 1 May, it is still possible to find a solution after that date.

"Europe is placing its bets. Cyprus says no to Annan with the aim of reaching a solution after the accession."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Cyprus peace plan set for vote
01 Apr 04  |  Europe


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