Turks confident about new Cypriot nation
Istanbul — ''The storm created around the world over the declaration of independence will calm down soon. The new Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will survive. And the Greek side will finally have to sit down and talk about a federation.''
This confident view was voiced in Nicosia to this correspondent by the foreign minister of the new Turkish-Cypriot state, Kenan Atakol.
Here in Turkey, too, political and military circles seem to share this confidence - although they express some anxiety as well, especially about the impact of the Turkish-Cypriot move on Turkey's relations with Greece and the United States.
What Turks here and on Cyprus do not take seriously is the disapproval and/or strong criticism of the declaration by international organizations and even by friendly countries. The United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a withdrawal of the declaration has had hardly any effect on Turkish thinking.
A reversal of the decision is described here as out of the question. This has been stressed both by Turkish-Cypriot leaders and by top Turkish officials.
Turkish President Kenan Evren explained to President Reagan's Middle East envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, during his talk in Ankara Saturday that no government in Turkey - neither the present military one nor the coming civilian one - could even think of revoking that decision. He suggested the US should stay out of this issue.
But the Turkish Cypriots and the mainland Turks have some apprehension regarding the future. For the estimated 150,000 Turks on the island, the main worry is a possible reprisal from the Greek Cypriots, including the cutting off of water and electric supplies.
''We have our contingency plans for all that,'' said Ismet Kotak, a Cabinet minister in Nicosia, but he admitted that this would cause some hardship - and force the Turkish side to take ''some retaliatory measures.''
The other topic the Turkish Cypriots are concerned with is the question of recognition. They were expecting at least a few Islamic countries to come forward with an early recognition - and only Bangladesh is reported to have done it, albeit in an unofficial way.
For the Turkish government the main concern is the international repercussions.
Officials here sighed with relief over the news that the US Congress went into recess until January, thus preventing any possible congressional action such as a cut in aid to Turkey or even an arms embargo. Officials take this as a breathing space. They hope the US administration will not take any action that could damage the close ties between the two nations.
Turkish officials have already warned US diplomats that any measure such as an embargo would force Turkey to reconsider its defense cooperation with Washington, which could mean the closing down of strategic US bases.
''Cyprus is not a problem between the US and Turkey. And should not interfere with our relationship,'' Nazmi Akiman, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, commented. He deplored the fact that the US government has been trying to persuade other countries to refrain from recognizing the Turkish-Cypriot state.
Turkish and American diplomats here agree that relations between Ankara and Washington may enter a critical period. But the belief here is that the US cannot afford to sacrifice its strategic interests and cooperation with Turkey at a time when the balance of power in the Middle East is shifting.
As for Greece, there seem to be two schools of thought here on possible developments. One view is that Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou could do ''some foolish things,'' such as extending territorial waters in the Aegean Sea. This could provoke an open confrontation with Turkey. The other view is that Mr. Papandreou would not do anything to provoke an armed clash.
But Turks foresee a period of tension with Greece. Turkey may face serious pressures from allied countries on which Greece has some influence. Thus Turgut Ozal, who takes over the government next month, will have to give priority to foreign policy issues.
''However, it could have been worse,'' said one of his aides, ''if (Rauf) Denktash had declared independence soon after (Ozal) took office.''
The fact is that the Turkish-Cypriot leader would most probably have been prevented from doing so. Mr. Denktash said he selected Nov. 15 because of the power vacuum in Ankara and because he was sure the new civilian government would not let him do it - at least for some time. He kept the Nov. 15 D-day a secret. But there is little doubt that Ankara knew about it and that it gave Denktash at least a ''yellow light,'' as a diplomat put it.
Turkish officials say the next step is to encourage the UN and friendly countries to force the Greek Cypriots to resume the intercommunal talks. Certainly the Greek side will not agree to any dialogue that means implicitly recognizing the self-proclaimed state. Many observers here believe Denktash's declaration was intended mainly to gain a better bargaining position in any future talks. Denktash hopes he will receive equal treatment and the projected federation in Cyprus will be based on the concept of equal partnership.
''If (Cypriot President Spiros) Kyprianou rejects talks, the federation-orientated independence may cease to be temporary,'' a Turkish official said.