A.Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (20.06.18) reports that Ayfer Said Erkmen, chairman of the “Immovable Property Commission” (“IPC”) established by Turkey in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus hotels were built on 133 occupied Greek Cypriot plots of land and that the number of hotels built on Turkish Cypriot plots of land is 33. In statements to journalist Ercin Sahmaran, Erkmen alleged: “The users should purchase the land of these hotels the soonest. An investment was made here. These investors must become owners of the property through the IPC”.
Referring to the return of the property to Greek Cypriot refugee Nikolas Skourides in occupied Larnakas tis Lapithou, Erkmen argued:
“Our 67/2005 law says return, exchange and compensation. This is a 78-year-old man. He said I was born in Larnakas tis Lapithou, I want to die there. We investigated, we asked our security forces. We were told that there is no problem.
We cannot always give compensation; we must give return as well. The problem there concerns the right of access. Just like a Turk becomes owner of right here, takes a title deed, construction permit by the TRNC authorities, construction permit by the municipality and the city planning, this person will also build a house and live there with the permits given by the TRNC authorities in the same way.
Very wrong statements are made. It is even alleged that this man will dynamite the village. There is no such a thing. One person will come and live among one thousand persons. Moreover, he will do this with our laws and we are afraid of this […]”
Referring to the work of the “IPC”, Erkmen said:
“[…] We have concluded 201 cases. However, the payments are halted.
The ECHR has asked for a commission to be established for solving 1500 cases. And this commission was established. They asked for two foreign members. […] We are carrying out the duty of a court, we are investigating documents. The claimant must prove his claim. We have made 11 returns until today. Three of them are direct returns. There are also partial returns. Return of one part of the property was decided and compensation for another part. The unofficial ones are seven, they will be returned after the solution. All these were always concluded in cooperation with and by taking the views of our institutions and our security forces. With this method, a significant part of the land on which Ercan airport [Translator’s note: The illegal airport in occupied Tymbou area] is located has been Turkified.
We have submitted some proposals in order for the commission to become stronger. To begin with, Turkey must give us a serious financial contribution on this issue. Because our government did not take a step on the issue of the local improvement tax, Turkey does not give financial resources. And because there are no resources, the interior minister cannot invite the owners of right.
The government must not give plots of land with symbolic prices to universities, hotels. This practice must stop. Whatever the equivalent, whatever the amount of money is, it should be paid. Investments should be made by paying the financial equivalent of these places. After 1974 hotels were built on 133 Greek Cypriot plots of land in the north. There are also 33 hotels on Turkish land. The users should purchase the land of these hotels the soonest. An investment was made here. These investors must become owners of the property through the IPC”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (20.06.18) reports that the self-styled government of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are cooperating for preparing a “draft-law” in order to impose a “local improvement tax” for paying compensation to Greek Cypriot refugees for their occupied properties. According to information acquired by the paper, this “tax” will be paid in case of sale or transfer of an occupied Greek Cypriot property by the person who is currently occupying it. The money from this “taxation” will reportedly be transferred to the “Immovable Property Commission” (“IPC”) established by Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus.
The paper describes the development as “a serious step that will nullify the TRNC’s title deeds” and alleges that the reason for this “wrong step” is the abandonment of the Turkish side’s position for solving the property issue through global exchange and compensation. The paper claims also that in this manner the solution of the property issue through courts on individual basis is adopted, just like the Greek Cypriots wanted.
Under the title “International struggle for direct flights”, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (20.06.18) reports that Turkish Cypriot businessmen living in the United Kingdom and in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus met the day before yesterday in London in order to determine a road map for the struggle they have launched for direct chartered flights from the UK to the occupied area of Cyprus and discuss their views and suggestions regarding the initiatives they will undertake on the issue.
The chairman of the London Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Muhammet Yasatara, hosted a dinner in support of the campaign for collecting signatures for starting direct flights to the occupied area of Cyprus. The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC), Turgay Deniz, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot “chamber of industry” Candan Avunduk, the chairperson of the Council of the Turkish Cypriot Associations in the UK, Leyla Kemal, businessmen and journalists attended the dinner.
Addressing the dinner, Yasarata alleged that the so-called embargoes allegedly imposed on the Turkish Cypriots should be lifted and that as Chamber they have started a common struggle in this direction with the TCCC and the Council of the Turkish Cypriot Associations in the UK. He said that as a result of this struggle they have launched a campaign to collect signatures for direct flights to the occupied area of Cyprus. Describing this initiative as “important”, he called on the self-styled government to contribute in the organization of effective campaigns for the development of tourism and the lifting of the “isolation”.
Moreover, TCCC’s chairman Deniz alleged that the economy of the Turkish Cypriots could not come to the desired level because of the “isolation”, which negatively influence their life, adding that this “isolation” should be lifted the soonest and direct flights should start. He also said that they will launch a legal struggle in order for the Turkish Cypriots to take back their “rights which are usurped”. Furthermore, he argued that the European Union (EU) is not their only option and added that the TCCC will reevaluate its mission and vision and try to continue the Turkish Cypriots’ struggle within the international law.
Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (20.06.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=campaign-in-uk-for-direct-flights) broadcast that the Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) Turgay Deniz and board member Serhan Kombos yesterday expressed their support for British Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith’s initiative to promote direct flights from the UK to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
Duncan submitted a motion to the British Parliament to collect signatures for direct flights to the occupied area of Cyprus. The motion is also supported by the Chairman of the “Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry” (KTSO) Candan Avunduk and the Chairwoman of the “Cyprus Turkish Societies” (CTCA UK) based in the UK Leyla Kemal. Deniz and Kombos attended the Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival in London on Sunday and signed Duncan’s proposal.
A joint statement issued by the chambers and council regarding the campaign stated that Turkish Cypriots residing in the UK will undertake all actions and initiatives until the necessary steps are taken.
In light of the difficulties experienced by non-EU citizens upon arrival at Larnaca airport in Cyprus, the statement pointed out that it was very likely UK citizens or Turkish Cypriots living in “South Cyprus” (government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus) could face similar problems or difficulties when flying to Larnaca following Brexit.
The British Conservative MP Iain Duncan, who submitted a motion to the British Parliament to collect the signatures for the direct flights, said that he had met with the British Transport and Foreign Ministry regarding the issue.
Duncan said that their efforts will continue until they obtain a result, adding that after the signature campaign is done, the motion for direct flights will be submitted to the British Parliament for approval.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.06.18) reports that the land phase of the “The Martyr Lieutenant Caner Gönyeli 2018 Search and Rescue Exercise” was conducted yesterday with the participation of search and rescue teams from Turkey and the “TRNC”.
The land phase of the exercise took place in occupied Keryneia near St. Hilarion castle. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozerday, so-called minister of public works and communication Tolga Atakan, the “commander of the Turkish peace forces in Cyprus, mayor general” Yilmaz Yildiriz and other “government and military officials” watch the exercise. Observers from foreign countries such as Palestine, Kosovo, Pakistan and Burkina Faso also watched the exercise.
The second stage of the exercise which is to be conducted at sea will take place today off the coast of occupied Famagusta.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.06.18) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTOS) stated that although it is known that 57% of the students in the occupied area of Cyprus are Turkish citizens, Turkey has cut this year budget for the “ministry of education” by 50%.
In a written statement, Elcil argued that the ruling government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has turned “north Cyprus” (the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus) into a place of money laundering, a nest of gambling and prostitution, drugs and human trafficking, adding however that the AKP government does not neglect the religious oppression in order to correct the Turkish Cypriots’ morals with religious beliefs.
Furthermore, Elcil argued that the students are being brainwashed through the Koran courses and the project of transferring money to AKP with trips to Canakkale continues.
Finally, he made a call to the “coalition government of four parties” to make a statement against this disrespect towards the political will of the Turkish Cypriots, underlining the fact that the Turkish Cypriot community is not unprotected.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (20.06.18) reports that Cemal Ozyigit, self-styled minister of national education and culture, who was guest in a programme at Turkish Cypriot private channel Havadis TV, referred also to the religious lessons. He explained that there is not only a Sunni Islam community in the “TRNC”, but there are also Alevi and Christians, adding that in the religious courses, they try to explain the philosophy of every religion. For this reason, Ozyigit noted that they prefer the religious courses to be elective and not compulsory.
Ozyigit argued that in Turkey religious lessons are compulsory but the “coalition government” is not being pressed to change the religious lessons to compulsory. Referring to the Theological College, Ozyigit claimed that they have never said that it will be closed down.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.06.18) reports that “voting” in the occupied area of Cyprus for the June 24 Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections have been completed and the ballot boxes were sent yesterday to Turkey.
According to the paper, 47,070 out of the 106,446 “registered Turkish voters” used their “right of voting” for the Turkish elections in the occupied area of Cyprus. The voters turnout in the “TRNC”
has reached 44%. Also, according to the paper, 42,812 out of the “voters” cast their vote in the “representation” of Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus while 4,258 cast their vote in “custom gate office”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.06.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/record-number-of-turkish-expats-vote-for-june-24-polls/1179454) reports that a record number of Turkish voters living abroad have turned up to cast their votes in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections, Turkey's election body announced late Tuesday.
Voting in Turkey is set to start on June 24, but for expat Turkish citizens voting abroad, the polls are now closed.
The Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced the turnout after expat voting ended in 51 countries.
According to official YSK figures, it reached 48.78%, with a total of 1,486,408 Turkish citizens heading to the polls between June 7-19.
Over 3 million Turks living abroad are eligible to vote in the elections.
Turkish citizens living abroad and traveling to Turkey this month can also cast their votes at customs gates until 5 p.m. local time on June 24.
Six candidates are running for President while eight political parties are taking part in the parliamentary elections.
If the presidential election goes to a second round, voters will go to the polls again.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/30-000-syrians-eligible-to-vote-in-turkish-elections-pm-133488) reported that Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said that some 30,000 Syrians are eligible to vote in the June 24 elections in Turkey.
Speaking to journalists in the western province of İzmir, Yıldırım announced that around 30,000 Syrians have received Turkish citizenship so far.
“They have the right to vote but I do not know how many of them will use that right. They are our guests and they will return to their country,” Yildirim said.
He stressed that the Syrians in Turkey “must obey the Turkish law.” “If they do not, then we will take them by their hand back to where they came from,” said Yıldırım.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-senate-approves-bill-prohibiting-f-35-sales-to-turkey-133475) reported that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım harshly criticized a U.S. Senate decision to block F-35 sales to Turkey.
“The decision is an unfortunate development,” Yıldırım told reporters. “Turkey is not without alternatives. Such attempts are regrettable and goes against the soul of strategic partnership,” Yildirim added.
Yıldırım’s comments came after the U.S. Senate on June 18 passed a $716 billion defence policy bill including an amendment prohibiting sales to Turkey of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin Corp.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 85-10 for the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which authorizes U.S. military spending but is generally used as a vehicle for a broad range of policy matters.
According to the NDAA, U.S. President Donald Trump should certify that Turkey does not threaten NATO, purchase defense equipment from Russia or detain U.S. citizens.
Senators included the legislation because of the imprisonment of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir on terror charges and Turkish government’s decision to purchase S-400 air defense system from Russia.
The amendment claimed that purchasing the S-400 system from Russia increases tensions and risks to the NATO alliance.
The U.S. Defence Ministry is supposed to prepare a report on relations with Turkey in 60 days. Any sales of F-35 and F-16 fighters, Patriot air defense systems, and military helicopters by Pentagon to Turkey will be blocked until the report is submitted to the Congress committees.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (19.06.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-receive-first-f-35-fighter-jets-despite-us-senate-decision-fm-133487) reported that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Turkey expects that the United States will deliver the first F-35 joint strike fighters on June 21 with a ceremony despite the U.S. Senate decision to block the procurement of the aircraft to the Turkish government.
“There have been attempts in the U.S. Parliament regarding the F-35 delivery. Two fighters will be delivered to us on June 21 and there are also attempts [to block this delivery]. We can’t sustain a healthy relationship as such,” Cavusoglu said on June 19 during a live interview with the private broadcaster NTV.
“Come and let’s talk like we did in Manbij. Turkey is an important ally and it cannot be in any entity that would risk NATO. They should not test sanctions by making an excuse of it,” he added.
Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.06.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/turkish-deputy-pm-we-will-definitely-take-f-35s/1179206) reported that Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu, speaking at a TV program on state-run broadcaster TRT, said that Turkey will take the F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. "We will carry out our own active process, policies against those who try to limit Turkey's independence and freedom with impositions. We will also definitely take the F-35s."
Cavusoglu said that Turkey had made an agreement with the U.S. "Regarding the agreements, the necessary things were fulfilled. It is a convention," he said.
Cavusoglu added that mutual agreements and conventions should be realized and he thinks that this will be realized. "The decision of the [U.S.] House of Representatives and the decision of the [U.S.] Senate do not hold value for us", Cavusoglu added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/no-kurdish-citizen-is-marginalized-erdogan-says-at-rally-in-turkeys-east-133504) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told crowds in the eastern province of Van during a campaign rally on June 19 that no Kurdish citizen is marginalized in Turkey.
“It doesn’t concern me if you are Kurdish, Turkish or Georgian. What concerns me is the fact that the God who created me also created you. I love the created because of the creator,” Erdogan added.
“Whose life has been interfered in? [The Kurdish person] is my brother,” he said, adding that anyone who is “disrespectful” to Kurds would have to face the President himself.
In his speech, Erdogan blasted the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) , which won 75% of the votes in Van in the general elections held on June 7, 2015. In the April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, 57% of Van voters said “no.”
“Van is ours. The locals of Van are ours. We will not give permission to terrorists, sinners and vampires thirsty for the blood of people here,” Erdogan said.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the party that “revived” Van after a deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the eastern province, killing more than 570 people in 2011, he added.
“What have the allies of the terrorist network ever done? What have they ever done with the capital that was meant to serve you? They sent it to Kandil instead,” Erdogan said, referring to the headquarters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Also, according to Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.06.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-to-continue-destroying-pkk-strongholds-in-qandil/1179258 ) Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey will continue striking down PKK terrorists in northern Iraq's Mt. Kandil. "We have destroyed and will continue destroying the separatist [PKK] terrorist organization's strongholds in [Mt.] Qandil," Erdogan said at his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s election rally in southern Adana province.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/i-will-send-4-million-syrian-refugees-back-to-syria-iyi-party-leader-133509) reported that the İYİ (Good) Party leader and presidential candidate Meral Aksener has vowed to send 4 million Syrian refugees residing in Turkey to Syria in the event she becomes President in the upcoming elections, stating Turkey needs to channel the $36 billion dollars spent on refugees on domestic economic development instead.
“They [ruling Justice and Development Party AKP] have intervened in Syria’s internal politics and then we had 4 million Syrian refugees. I feel sorry for them. All citizens are free and happy in their own country. After I am elected, my first action will be to fix our relations with Syria and to send the 4 million Syrian brothers and sisters back to their country,” Aksener said at a public rally in the north western province of Bolu on June 19.
“The money spent on them is 150 billion Turkish Liras. It makes $36 billion U.S. dollars,” she said, adding that Turkey needs to use this money for industrial development and production.
Repeating the İYİ Party’s election promise to give 500 liras to every unemployed young citizen in Turkey and a 1,500 lira bonus to retired citizens on every religious holiday, Aksener said that her government would be able to afford such expenses by changing the public spending policy.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-rejects-to-release-jailed-greek-soldiers-133510) reported that a Turkish court on June 19 ruled that two Greek soldiers charged with espionage and illegally entering the country would remain in jail.
Lieutenant Aggelos Mitretodis and non-commissioned officer Dimitros Kouklatzis were detained on March 2 at a military zone in the western Turkish province of Edirne’s Pazarkule district, which hosts a border gate with Greece.
A local court in Edirne ruled for their arrest and refused to release them in the latest hearing on March 27.
The court refused again the soldiers’ plea for release in the June 19 hearing, citing that the demanded jail sentence, which is up to five years, is too long to apply probation.
The soldiers told the prosecutors shortly after their arrest that they mistakenly crossed the border after getting lost in the fog. But according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, they have been charged with “attempted military espionage” by prosecutors as well as “entering a forbidden military zone.”
The two soldiers testified that they entered the Turkish side by tracking footsteps in the snow and filmed images on their mobile phones to send to higher ranking officials.
The arrest of the soldiers has strained bilateral ties between Ankara and Athens, who are already at loggerheads over the exploration of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(AK / AM)