Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/obama-lied-to-us-trump-follows-the-same-path-erdogan-126909) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleged that former US President Barack Obama “lied to Turkey” on the issue of Syrian Kurdish fighters in Syria’s Manbij region and also claimed that current US President Donald Trump “follows the same path”.
“Trump told us ‘they cannot stay there. They will go to the east of the Euphrates.’ He accepted that Arabs are the real owners of Manbij. But what he said has not turn out true. Now there is mobilization in Manbij. Manbij will find its real owners. There are many refugees in Turkey who had to “flee from Manbij but want to return to their homelands.” Erdogan told reporters while returning to Turkey from an official visit to the Vatican and Italy.
Regarding his meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Erdogan noted that Italy has deployed air defense systems in the southern province of Kahramanmaras under the NATO umbrella in order to augment Turkey’s capacity against missile attacks from Syria and said that Ankara had made a request for the extension of its mandate to September 2018. “It has been extended. We attach great importance to this,” he said.
“During the talks in Rome, cooperation between Turkey and Italy through projects to carry Russian and Azeri natural gas to Italy via Turkey was also discussed”, Erdogan said.
“We expressed our sensitivities over ENI. We drew their attention to the ENI’s initiatives in the eastern Mediterranean. Because natural gas [drilling] works in that region pose a threat to Northern Cyprus and to us”, he added.
Evaluating his meeting with Pope Francis on February 5, Erdogan said he “conveyed Turkey’s sensitivities” regarding the Vatican’s recognition of the mass killing of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 as genocide.
The Pope had described the mass killings as genocide during a special centenary mass in 2015, in a move that sparked political tension with Ankara.
“I explained to [the Pope] that we are of the opinion that this issue should be left to the domain of historians and should not be used as a political tool,” Erdogan said.
He also recalled that he and the Pope agreed to stay in touch over developments regarding Jerusalem, following the United States’ unilateral decision to recognize the Holy City as the “undivided” capital of Israel.
Erdogan said that he told the Pope, the Italian President and the Italian Prime Minister that international actors should come together to help in the return of 3.5 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. “I told them that if they give us financial support we will do our best for them to return to their lands,” he said, adding that Turkey could undertake housing and infrastructure work to rebuild war-torn Syria.
“Unfortunately the promises given to us have not been met. The EU told us that a total of 6 billion euros would be forthcoming for refugees. But so far only 900 million euros have come,” Erdogan said, stressing that the money has not gone to Turkey’s national budget but to the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) through international organizations.
Touching on the recent Sochi congress and ongoing peace efforts for Syria, Erdogan said he does not think the Geneva process is “successful.”
“Despite all the work being done, nothing concrete has emerged. The Astana process was more fruitful in terms of obtaining results,” he said.
Asked about the country of origin of weapons that recently targeted Turkish tanks during the ongoing “Operation Olive Branch,” Erdogan said that examinations are still underway.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.02.18) reports that during yesterday’s hearing of the defendants, regarding the attacks against Afrika newspaper and the unfurling of the flag on the roof of the “parliament”, they stated that they did not accept the charges despite the agreement with the “TRNC prosecutor’s office” that they would have accepted the charges in case the trial was held in the “lower court” and not at the “criminal court”. However, the defendants objected to the charges through their lawyers.
Meanwhile, “senior judge” Tacan Reynar emphasized that the circumstances of the previous day have not changed and pointed out that the fact that the case would not be discussed at the “heavy penal court” did not remove the seriousness of the crime and that the crimes committed amounted to 5 years imprisonment.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.02.18) reports that “judge” Reynar was put under protection immediately after the beginning of the “trial”. The “supreme court” asked from the “police” to take measures for the protection of “judge” Reynar after he received threatening messages especially through social media.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.02.18), under the title “A deadly threat to the senior judge”, reports that Reynar’s house is guarded 24hours by “police” and there are also “police” in front of the “court room” where the trial is going on.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (07.02.18) reports that Mehmet Demirci, representative of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the occupied area of Cyprus, took yesterday in the “court” an envelope that contained the damage money regarding the incidents in Afrika newspaper on January 22, a total of 17,450 TL. The issue drew the attention of the court that AKP’s representative brought the amount inside the envelope. However, the “court” continued the trial from where it stopped after depositing the money in exchange of the damages. Meanwhile, the “mayor” of the occupied village of Komi Kepir Ahmet Sennaroglu wanted to vouch for the court so that the defendants could be released, but the “prosecutor” asked that the defendants continue their detention.
According to illegal Bayrak television (06.02.18- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=erhurman-speaks-on-brt-2), so-called prime minister Tufar Erhurman alleged that there is no reason why the four- party “coalition government” should not work or be successful.
He claimed that “the only way this coalition would collapse would be if the coalition partners do not abide by the agreed principles”.
In exclusive statements to illegal BRT yesterday, Erhurman pointed out that “coalition governments could become governments of action if they succeed in clarifying and agreeing on a set of principles”. He further said that the four parties which form the “coalition government” had discussed and agreed on such principles even before official negotiations had begun.
“The leading principle that we have all agreed upon is that we shall crack down on all illegal and irregular practices”, he said.
Erhurman also pointed out that the “government “will be held accountable and responsible as a whole for anything that goes wrong.
Touching upon relations with Turkey, Erhurman said that it was the duty of any “government in office” to establish good relations with the Republic of Turkey.
Erhurman added that “a strong TRNC economy could only be based through good relations with Turkey and that work on the new protocol to be signed with Ankara had already begun”.
Responding to a question regarding the 2018 “budget”, Erhurman said that “the new budget will be the first thing to be brought to the parliament’s agenda once the government receives a vote of confidence”.
(…)On the same issue, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (07.02.18) reports that Erhurman, in exclusive statements to the illegal BRT, evaluating the “TRNC’s ties with Turkey”, alleged that their ties are at a good level. He further added that as soon as the “coalition government receives a vote of confidence, they will carry out their first visit abroad, to Turkey”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.02.18) republishes a commentary published by columnist Hasan Hasturer on Nokta Kibris news portal under the title “We cannot be the side which runs away from the table. Attack is the best defense!” (http://www.noktakibris.com/yazar-masadan-kacan-olamayiz...-en-iyi-savunma-hucumdur-184.html)
Hasturer refers to statements made recently by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Kathimerini newspaper, in which he alleged that a possible new process under the auspices of the UN could be successful only if the mentality of the Greek Cypriot side changes, adding that this does not seem possible in the near future, something which means that new negotiations within the same or a similar framework would be meaningless because they will fail. Hasturer notes:
“[…] What do I understand from Cavusoglu’s words? Northern Nicosia and Ankara do not intend to return to the table from the point it was left. I wish Akinci and not Cavusoglu expressed our stance.
The world does not want the breaking down of the negotiations. It will not easily justify the side which runs away from or does not sit at the table. Anastasiades will most probably write a letter to the UNSG and ask for the continuation of the negotiations from the point they were left. UN officials and the ambassadors of the countries interested in the Cyprus problem will come to Mustafa Akinci’s door. We must definitely not be the side, on which they exert efforts to convince to sit at the negotiating table. Whatever we will do, we will do it by sitting at the table. We will say how this will happen in a language which the world also understands. Which steps is the Greek Cypriot side delaying to take due to the continuation of the negotiations? Let us be at the table and do what we will do at the same time. […]”
Moreover, the columnist criticizes the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) for withdrawing Ozdil Nami from being the negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot side in the Cyprus negotiations and appointing him “minister” of economy. He also points out that the new “government” has not a common policy on the Cyprus problem. He writes:
“[…] The CTP has withdrawn Ozdil Nami, who knows the Cyprus problem very well, from the post of negotiator and made him economy minister. It did not do well. The government has not a common policy on the Cyprus problem. Look what they have written in the coalition protocol: ‘The four political parties which are coalition partners will preserve their positions on the Cyprus problem negotiations’. […] And in addition, the CTP withdrew the most important name in the negotiating team after the president. Whatever is said, this is degrading the importance attached by the CTP to the Cyprus problem. In fact, the impression that an important development is not expected in the near future is accepted by the CTP. […] The CTP saw that it will not be possible for the negotiations to succeed. In a sense, it withdrew Ozdil Nami, its representative in the negotiating team, in order for the entire bill for the failed process to be paid by Akinci.
Very well, What should Akinci do? He should nominate a new negotiator in Ozdil Nami’s place whether the starting time table of the negotiations is known or not and create the opportunity to be prepared [for the negotiations].
Since the declaration of the non-solution of the Cyprus problem was not made, we will not run away from the table, we will be at the table. If we know what we want to do both at the table and outside the table, absolutely no problem will be experienced”.
Under the title “Turkey will ‘hand Manbij to Arab owners’ after expelling YPG: Erdogan”, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (06.02.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-hand-manbij-to-arab-owners-after-expelling-ypg-erdogan-126863) reports that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group on February 6, claimed that Turkey has “wasted the last two centuries with sacrifices” and has “lost around 5 million square kilometres” of land once ruled by the Ottoman Empire, suggesting that the “same powers” today consider the current size of the Republic of Turkey to be “too much for Turks.”
“They have forced us so much that in the end they have awakened a sleeping giant. They should know this. The Turkish people are advancing towards a new era. No state or international organization can question the power of Turkey anymore,” Erdogan said.
The country’s operations in Afrin and Idlib will continue as planned, the President said, stating that the number of “neutralized YPG terrorists already exceeds 1,000”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (06.02.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-consortium-pulls-out-of-akkuyu-nuclear-project-126859) reported that the three Turkish companies which have partnered with Russia’s Rosatom for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), have pulled out of the project, company officials told Anadolu Agency on February 6.
Rosatom holds the majority share of the plant with 51%, while the remaining 49% stake was to be divided among the Turkish consortium of contracting conglomerates, which includes Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon (CKK).
However, the CKK consortium pulled out of the project citing the inability to agree on commercial terms in the project, the company officials said.
The Turkish consortium signed a draft agreement with Rosatom for the transfer of 49% of shares in the project last June. Since then however, the sides have failed to reach a final agreement.
Rosatom plans to construct Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, in the country’s southern province of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast.
The plant will have a capacity of 4,800 megawatts in four units and a working life of 8,000 hours per year.
In the first phase of construction, two units with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts are planned.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.02.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-officials-agree-to-meet-turkish-president-erdogan-in-march-despite-poor-ties-126911) reports that top European Union officials will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Bulgaria on March 26 in order to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues, an EU spokesman said on February 6.
The meeting in the city of Varna will take place against a background of hostility between Turkey and the bloc and diplomats in Brussels acknowledged that the meeting had been agreed to only reluctantly by some on the EU side.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will host Erdogan as well as Donald Tusk, who chairs meetings of EU leaders, and the head of the bloc’s executive European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, for a dinner.
“This will be a good opportunity to jointly assess matters of mutual interest and recent developments in your country, including in the area of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, which remain fundamental to the fabric of and prospects for EU-Turkey relations,” the two top EU officials said in their invitation to Erdogan.
Ties between Ankara and the EU have gone from bad to worse since a foiled 2016 coup in Turkey and political spat between the Turkish and European leaders especially from Germany and the Netherlands.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (06.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-national-security-advisor-mcmaster-secretary-of-state-tillerson-to-visit-turkey-126892) reported that US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, will visit Istanbul this weekend and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit the Turkish capital Ankara next week, as it was announced on February 6.
The official visits come amid heightened tension between the United States and Turkey, with the latter staging an ongoing military operation in the Syrian district of Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet daily News (07.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-tell-tillerson-it-wants-to-mend-trust-with-us-turkish-fm-126915) reports that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in an interview to the private broadcaster TGRT Haber, stated, inter alia, that Turkey will tell US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the two countries must repair damaged mutual trust, following a series of disagreements, especially over the Syria crisis.
“Our trust is damaged. We have to mend our trust. Contacts between us are important,” Cavusoglu said, adding: “When Tillerson comes we will share these ideas with him sincerely, we will share our expectations. The United States should understand and meet our concerns,” he said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (06.02.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-main-opposition-to-file-complaint-against-akp-for-aiding-pyd-126880) reported that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu announced that he will file a criminal complaint about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), on the grounds that it engaged in contact with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) despite a previous court ruling designating it as a terrorist organization.
Kılıcdaroglu stated that he has instructed Istanbul Deputy Mahmut Tanal to initiate legal action against the government over the fact that PYD leader Salih Muslim was hosted in Ankara in the past.
“Now I am asking you, Mr. Recep [Tayyip Erdogan], with what patriotic sentiments did you invite Salih Muslim to Ankara despite the court ruling and the Supreme Court ruling that designated it as a terrorist organization?” Kılıcdaroğlu said on Feb. 6 in an address to his party group at parliament.
He was referring to a 2014 local court ruling, approved by the Supreme Court the following year that defined the PYD as a terrorist organization.
“They invited PYD leader Muslim to Ankara after those rulings,” Kılıcdaroğlu said.
Kılıcdaroglu accused President Erdogan of also “abetting a terrorist organization” for inviting Salih Muslim in a meeting in Ankara with officials from the Foreign Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
“You [Erdogan] are aiding and abetting terrorist organizations. Why aren’t you filing a complaint about me, saying this?” he said, criticizing the President for repeatedly suing him for his comments.
Kılıcdaroglu instructed CHP officials to file a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, accusing the ruling party of “aiding and abetting terror.”
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