A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.07.18) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that sooner or later Turkey will take a decision as to whether and how the Cyprus problem will be solved and take steps. Replying to journalists’ questions after his visits to Azerbaijan and the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, Erdogan alleged that Turkey “has made the necessary contribution” to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN and added:
“I am the one who especially since the Kofi Annan period is personally involved in this issue, I know well this process, the timetable and encouraged for the solution of the Cyprus problem. When Annan visited me twice and said ‘I cannot solve it anymore’, I told him ‘let us go together, you will see that Turkey will not embarrass you, we will always be one step ahead of the Greek Cypriot sector’. ‘Give us one week’, they said and we held this meeting in Davos. Annan asked for one week and after a week the talks started. Of course we did our bit again. The most important adventure for us was in Burgenstock and we have seriously taken up the issue, but unfortunately again they did not keep their promise. Whenever the issue came to the table since then, south Cyprus always abandoned the table in the one way or the other. The TRNC has always preserved its position at the table with determination. Turkey as guarantor country has shown its decisive stance. Unfortunately, the other guarantors have not shown the same stance”.
Noting that Turkey will continue having the same position in the ongoing process, Erdogan alleged: “Until where? It is not easy to find an answer to this. Sooner or later as Turkey we will take a decision. If this will happen, it will happen. How it will happen, you think about this from now on, we will say and take our step. The people of northern Cyprus have a special place for us. Our brothers in the TRNC are so important for us as my citizens in Turkey. Therefore, just like we have been offering them every support we could [until now], we will continue supporting them in the future as well”.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Nacak newspaper (12.07.18), Ersin Tatar, self-styled deputy with National Unity Party (UBP), commenting on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements during his recent illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus that “Cyprus is a national cause and their aim is to double the national income of the Turkish Cypriots”, said that “they, as TRNC should know very well the value of these messages”.
Tatar argued that Erdogan spoke very clearly on the Cyprus issue, adding that Erdogan’s emphasizing that the Greek Cypriot mentality has not changed for years now shows that Turkey is looking positively for a new road map.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi’s columnist Gokhan Altiner (12.07.18) writes in his daily column Kulis (Backastage) about the illegal visit of the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and notes that there was harmony between the statements made by Erdogan and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, especially regarding the Cyprus problem.
“Both leaders think the same, speak the same and make the same evaluations as regards the Cyprus problem”, the columnist writes, noting that “they acted as one” on the issue something that was clear and obvious during their joint press conference. “This made us understand that Erdogan and Akinci are close and tolerant towards each other”. Altiner goes on and writes that Akinci said in his statements that political equality, security and freedom are not under discussion when it comes to the solution of the Cyprus problem and Erdogan’s statements were on the same line. “The conclusion from this, is that neither Ankara nor Akinci will ever say yes to a solution that does not safeguards totally the rights, the future and the security of the Turkish Cypriots”, Altiner writes.
In addition, the editor-in-chief of Yeni Duzen newspaper Cenk Mutluyakali also writes in his column about Erdogan’s illegal visit and notes:
“-Erdogan came (in Cyprus), but did he say anything new?
-Does the fact that TRNC was not his ‘first’ but his second ‘visit’ carries a meaning?”, he wonders.
The columnist also wonders why the inauguration ceremony of the complex of buildings adjacent to Hala Sultan mosque was not held and notes that the information about this issue did not come from any Turkish Cypriot media but from the DHA News agency which belongs to Erdogan Demiroren, a person of the inner circle of the Turkish President.
Mutluyakali also comments on the fact that there would be no Minister of Cyprus Affairs in the new Turkish Government since issues related to the Cyprus problem would be under the “General Directorship of Binary Political Affairs” which on turn would be under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This makes the whole situation normal since it was an underestimation for the Turkish Cypriots to have a minister for them from another country”, he writes.
“The statements of Erdogan were extremely moderate. That is a good sign”, Mutluyakali writes noting that Turkey is now forced to improve its relations with the international community. Moreover (the Turkish Foreign Minister) Cavusoglu spoke openly about a two states solution during his last visit to (occupied) Cyprus. Therefore Erdogan did not indicate that there would be a separation between Turkey and the breakaway regime and did not got into that “adventure”, Mutluyakali notes.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (12.07.18) reports that the plane that carried the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan from Baku to the breakaway regime arrived at the illegal Tympou airport with a direct flight, conducting a route via the Turkish aviation space.
The paper confirmed this information from the “ministry of transportation”.
According to Yeni Duzen it was noted that Erdogan has paid the shorted visit he ever paid to the breakaway which lasted only four hours.
In addition, the fact that the Turkish Cypriot opposition did not participate in the meetings that Erdogan held with Turkish Cypriot officials, like it happened in his previous “visits” to the breakaway regime, was not seen in a positive way.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (12.07.18) reports that Aysegul Baybars, self-styled interior minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, in an interview to the paper, announced that “since the new coalition government got in office on January 2018, 295 persons have obtained the TRNC citizenship”.
Speaking to the paper, Baybars explained that the works on the “new legislative regulation regarding the citizenships” will be completed within three weeks. Noting that the issue to grant “white identity card” to permanent residents is seriously discussed, Baybars added that this will also be within the “applicable law”. She noted that “the new legislation would come to parliament after the approval of the council of ministers”.
Asked to comment on the developments regarding the lawsuit, which was filed, against the citizenships that were cancelled, Baybars explained: “It is not about how citizenships are granted today, but it was an issue that was discussed a lot prior to the elections. The citizenships, which are called exceptional citizenships and are included in article 9 of the citizenship law is actually a fact. There were the citizenships granted by the council of ministers. There were also a number of statements that these citizenships were not granted accordingly to the law that they were granted as partisan aiming to gain votes. Because we did not have duties at that time, we have said that we would investigate them in the framework of hearings and we would take action if there were no complaint with the law. Especially, I am thinking that the citizenships should not be a material for politics. (…)”
Baybars also explained that “all the citizenship procedures are continuing despite the rumours”.
Asked to comment on whether the population structure has taken into consideration with the implementation of the “white card”, Baybar said: “At this moment, they are doing serious work on the amendment of the citizenship legislation and on the law on permanent residence permits. (…) there will be two laws. The first one is the amendment of the citizenship law and the second one is the permanent residence law. Citizenship should be given to an individual who has more belongings than in any other state. Generally, the people want citizenship in order to overcome the difficulties when they will start a business, in order to be able to live and work. When we make it easier for people to live, the demands for citizenships will decrease”.
Under the title “Mehmet Ersoy: The first Minister of Tourism who owns a casino in Cyprus”, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.07.18) reports that Mehmet Ersoy, Turkey’s newly appointed Minister of Tourism, is the owner of ETS Tur, one of Turkey’s biggest tourism companies, and Maxx Royal Hotels’ chain. Mehmet Ersoy had also been administrating Atlasjet Aviation Company and Voyage Hotels with his twin brother Murat Ersoy. After the ways of the two brothers were separated, Mehmet took the control of ETS Tur and Maxx Royal Hotels, while Murat took over Atlasjet and Voyage Hotels. The Ersoy brothers entered into the hotels business in 1999.
“One detail which attracts attention in Ersoys’s curriculum vitae is his investments in northern Cyprus”, notes the paper adding that in 2010 Mehmet Ersoy purchased 51% of the “Turkish Cypriots airlines” (“KTHY”) which had been administrated by the “authorities” of the occupation regime, and closed the company down.
At the same time, Ersoy is the owner of the five-star Elexus Hotel in Keryneia, which opened in September 2015 and has a casino. The chairperson of Elexus Hotel’s administrative council is Nisa Ersoy, spouse of Murat Ersoy. According to the hotel’s promotional bulletin, Elexus covers an area of 227,000 square meters and possesses “Mediterranean Sea’s biggest and newest casino”. In an interview of Nisa Ersoy with Capital magazine on 17 March 2016, it is said that Elexus Hotel was an investment of 200 million dollars and that one of the shareholders in the investment was Nisa’s father, Mahmut Bozkurt, former MP with the Motherland Party (ANAP) and one of the founders of the Good Party (IYI Party) [under the leadership of Meral Aksener].
According to the paper, in 2010 it was published that ETS Tur would open a hotel with a casino in the occupied area of Cyprus, that the name of this hotel would be Lala Park Hotel and that it would cost 140 million dollars. The then Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, the then Turkish former “ambassador” to the occupied part of Nicoisia, Sakr Fakili, the then self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk, “ministers” and other politicians attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the project [in 2010]. The first stage of the hotel was completed in 2013 and the entire project finished in 2015, but it was renamed to Elexus Hotel and it was announced that its cost reached 200 million dollars.
Referring to the closure of KTHY, the paper describes it as “another interesting story of Ersoy’s family” and notes that the company went bankrupt on 21 June 2010 because it had a 40-million-dollar debt and was transferred to Atlasjet. The closure of the “company” was investigated by the “assembly” of the breakaway regime. The investigation showed that “KTHY” was transferred to Atlasjet and closed down upon initiatives by Tayyip Erdogan and Cemil Cicek. The Ersoy family is also known for its close relations with former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (12.07.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=press-day-2) broadcast that a reception was held at the complex of the Cyprus Turkish Journalists Association (“KTGB”) last night to mark the 11 of July Press Day.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, other Turkish Cypriot “officials” and foreign ambassadors serving in Cyprus as well as journalists from the occupied and government-controlled area of Cyprus attended the event.
Addressing the event, the chairman of the “KTGB”, Sami Ozuslu said that they prepared a 56 worded glossary in cooperation with journalist organizations from both communities and under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and expressed the hope that this work will have a broad repercussion in all disputed areas around the world.
Noting that the “government” had taken an important step for the press workers, he said that the government with a new “regulation” paved the way for unionization and labor agreement in the private sector.
The Principal Adviser in the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Thijs Berman, for his part, said that the Press Day is a day when free and pluralist media is highlighted and added that one of the base priorities of the Office is to ensure the security of journalists.
Explaining that the press office is also providing support for increasing the quality of the media organizations, he provided information about the work they carried out with the journalist associations in Cyprus.
In his speech, Akinci stated that he had a research made regarding the state of the Turkish Cypriot journalism which begun with the publishing of “Saadet Newspaper” 129 years ago. He said that today there were 20 daily newspapers, 23 radio stations, 12 television channels, 4 web TV and more than 50 internet news sites in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
Columnist Basaran Duzgun comments on the “Press Day” in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (12.01.18) and writes that whenever he is asked whether freedom of press exists in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, he responds that “the press of a country is free to the extent the country itself is free”. Duzgun recalls that the Turkish Cypriots celebrate 11 July as the “press Day” because of the anniversary of the establishment in Cyprus of Saded newspaper in Turkish, and notes that before Saded another newspaper named Umit had been published in Cyprus, but they do not celebrate it because its publisher was an Armenian.
Referring to the status of the Turkish Cypriot media today, Duzgun notes that “you should know that the Turkish Cypriot media is under a heavy attack by the gambling barons” and argues the support given to the real journalists and newspapers is a support given for the struggle for the existence of the Turks of Cyprus”. He concludes by saying the following:
“The situation from which the Turkish Cypriot media pass today is the situation of ‘we will never surrender’. The dirty operation to which Havadis has been exposed and what other colleagues experience is summarized with this expression. We will never surrender. […]”
Turkish daily Sabah (12.07.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/07/12/erdogan-discusses-ankaras-counterterrorism-efforts-with-nato-allies-in-summit) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of the opening ceremony of the NATO summit, on July 11.
Apart from discussing Turkey's counterterrorism efforts, Erdogan also held meetings with some of the world leaders on the side-lines of the two-day NATO summit in Brussels
Erdogan attended a meeting of NATO heads of state and government yesterday where he discussed Turkey's counterterrorism efforts with ally countries and held bilateral meetings with several leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump.
On the side-lines, Erdogan had a small conversation with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the exhibition. Erdogan was seen conversing with Trump in what was reported as a warm atmosphere, while the leaders were walking the area, where they watched air force demonstrations.
In a session, to be held with the heads of states from Georgia and Ukraine in attendance, improving relations between NATO and those countries will be discussed. Additionally, matters pertaining to ongoing tensions between the EU and the U.S., moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Iran and climate agreements are expected to be discussed in the summit.
Erdogan made a brief speech after the first session, saying that member states should cooperate more in international security and the fight against terrorism. He added that the bloc should not discriminate in its fight against terrorist groups and member states should show full solidarity.
Erdogan held also a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday. Erdogan was also expected to meet the British Prime Minister Theresa May after his meeting with Merkel.
During the meeting, Cavusoglu said Turkey will receive its first delivery of the Russian S-400 missile systems by late 2019. "The first batteries will be delivered toward the end of the next year," Çavuşoğlu told reporters.
Cavusoglu said that besides the U.S., some other NATO member states have also questioned the purchase, but that this must end. "We understand the technical part. For example, it's normal for them to ask whether the S-400 recognizes NATO systems or allies as enemies. We are also sensitive to this issue," he said.
However, he added that Turkey had to meet its defence needs and seek alternatives in the absence of support from Ankara's Western allies.
Turkey's decision to purchase S-400 air missile defence systems from Russia will be among the issues discussed during Erdogan's meeting with NATO leaders. Ankara has been disappointed with NATO allies for not supporting Turkey's fight against terrorism and the lack of cooperation in meeting Turkey's defence needs.
"We have already laid down our conditions in this regard while making the purchase," Cavusoglu added.
Last December, Turkey announced it had concluded an agreement with Russia for the purchase of two S-400 systems by early 2020. This April both parties agreed on the early delivery of the systems, which cost Turkey $2.5 billion.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system, with the ability to carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
In June, the U.S. Senate passed a bill prohibiting sales to Turkey of F-35 jets, citing the S-400 purchase as well as Turkey's detention of U.S. citizens.
Cavusoglu also rebuffed claims that Turkey is turning away from NATO. In recent years, Ankara's rapprochement with Russia and other eastern countries has been interpreted as a shift away from its Western allies. However, Turkish officials have said that this is not the case, but rather, the policy changes are a result of Turkey not putting all its eggs in one basket. The alliance is also expected to affirm its support to Afghanistan. The summit will also affirm NATO's "open-door policy" in the Euro-Atlantic region for peace and stability. Stoltenberg said that the bloc looks to create a peaceful and secure environment from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea with its 29 members.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-economy-is-on-the-right-track-erdogan-says-134452) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that Turkey’s economy is on the right track and interest rates will soon decrease while the Turkish Lira will rise in value.
“Turkey is on the right track. Our investments are obvious. The fact that international [finance] institutions and creditors grant loans to those who invest in Turkey is a clear indication of it. For example, the necessary financing for building the 18 March Bridge [over the Dardanelles Strait] has been received from abroad,” Erdogan told reporters travelling with him to Azerbaijan and the “TRNC” on July 10.
Erdogan’s comments came after the lira plunged severely immediately after he announced his Cabinet. International experts expressed concerns over the composition of the economy management team that placed Albayrak in charge of the economy and excluded figures like former Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek and Finance Minister Naci Agbal.
“There is no problem,” Erdogan said, expressing his hopes that everything “will be much better afterwards.”
Accusing international media and international credit rating agencies of portraying the Turkish economy wrongly, Erdogan said he does not care what these international bodies are saying about his government.
Erdogan stressed that Albayrak has a practical and theoretical background in the finance sector and had staged a successful performance while working in the private sector. “Recently, he also lectured on this issue at Marmara University. I am sure that he will, as soon as possible, set things on the right track and will run successfully thanks to his background,” he said.
“The decision to merge finance and treasury aims at creating an efficient coordination in running the Turkish economy”, Erdogan said. “These two Ministries were united in the past but separated afterwards. Leaving aside any benefit, this brought damages on to the economy, because each Ministry was acting in separate ways. Now, after a trial-and-error period, we have decided to re-unite them,” he said.
“Thus, the Treasury and Finance Ministry, in its new structure, will constitute a stronger source in providing finance to the state”, Erdogan added.
When asked about the devaluing national currency, Erdogan said he was very sure that the lira will gain value in the coming period. “Our Treasury and Finance Minister will do whatever is necessary. We have many instruments to use. I believe that we will also see a decrease in interest rates. I am sure. Not only state banks but also our private banks will carry responsibility,” he said.
Stating that the high interest rates negatively affect employment, Erdogan added that it could only be boosted if convenient conditions would be created for investors and entrepreneurs.
On a question about the composition of the Cabinet with many surprising figures from professional and bureaucratic life, Erdogan said: “Our friends know the world well. They have no problems integrating with the world. Their best qualification is their honesty, eligibility and merits.”
(…)Erdogan also explained the new military structure and its relationship with the government in the new governmental system.
He appointed Hulusi Akar, formerly the chief of General Staff, as Defense Minister.
On a question on whether the office of the Chief of General Staff may be subordinated under the Defence Minister, Erdogan did not rule out the option, stressing it was one of the requirements of the EU from Turkey in the accession process. “We will evaluate this with our friends under the new system. It’s not true to have a dual management. We now have to find a way to this. I am sure we will resolve this,” he stressed.
Relations between Akar and his successor Gen. Yasar Guler as well as Land Forces Commander Gen. Ümit Dündar are very strong and sincere, Erdogan said, ruling out any suspicion over their ties.
“We got rid of the civilian-military division. Ties between the Defense Ministry and Turkish Armed Forces will be based on solidarity. There will be no division in the decision-making processes”, he added.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.07.2018-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-expects-greece-to-register-turkish-minority-ngos/1201448) reported that Turkey called on Greece to register the NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace without discrimination, referring to recent Greek court decision regarding the rejection of the application of Xanthi Turkish Union for its re-registration.
"We expect from Greece to register the NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace without discrimination and make arrangements that will enable the application of ECHR rulings," Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.
Aksoy alleged that Xanthi Turkish Union, one of the prominent NGOs of the Turkish Minority of Western Thrace had been banned by the Greek authorities on the pretext that the word “Turkish” was in its name.
After this incident, as a result of the judicial initiatives of Xanthi Turkish Union, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the right to association was violated and invited Greece to make necessary arrangements, Aksoy added.
"In this context, for the application of the decisions of the ECHR, the Greek Parliament adopted a legislation in 2017 that enabled the banned associations to apply for re-registration," Aksoy said.
However, the legislation included major exceptions for the acceptance of these applications, he added.
"As a matter of fact, the application of Xanthi Turkish Union for re-registration has been rejected by a regional court of appeals in Greece," Aksoy said.
He added that the decision of the court demonstrates that the legislation adopted by the Greek Parliament is not enough for the realisation of the right to association.
Greece had closed several associations in Western Thrace because they had the word "Turkish" in their names. Although the ECHR convicted Greece regarding this matter, Greece does not implement the ECHR verdict on the issue.
In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (12.07.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/yusuf-kanli/vigorous-presidential-involvement-on-cyprus-issue-134458) under the above title, columnist Yusuf Kanli writes the following:
“Hours after he delivered the oath and started his second term in office, Turkey’s strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan made sweeping changes to the state system, gathering the power to appoint all civilian and military bureaucrats, including the power to single-handedly decide on the promotions of ranks and retirement in the military. Erdoğan has become the sole decision-maker.
It would probably have been an insult up until a few years ago, but currently, a celebrative mood regarding the appointment of the country’s top military leader as Defense Minister has demonstrated at the same time what a great advance civilian governance has achieved in the country.
No one has any doubt regarding the legitimacy of Erdogan’s presidency. The nation has expressed its will. Democracy does not only consist of the ballot box. The free vote of the people is one of the fundamentals of democratic governance. The will of the people must be respected. As of the moment, Erdogan has delivered the presidential oath for a second time, he should be considered the legitimate president of Turkey, and of each member of this nation of over 80 million people. No one should have any doubt about that.
The right to criticize, on the other hand, should be considered a fundamental right in full respect to the tenants of democratic governance. This ought to be the fundamental role the media must play in this new era almost absent of a checks and balances system. Unfortunately, most newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and even electronic media outlets of the country have been effectively domesticated over the years and very few independent, objective, and courageous voices have survived to this day.
What will the situation be now? Will Erdogan be a law-respectful chief executive opening fresh avenues of prosperity and tranquillity not only for this nation of over 80 million people, but also for this very tumultuous geography? Despite all worries, it is the sincere hope of even his worst critics that Erdoğan will not push troubled Turkish democracy down the drain and introduce an iron fist governance.
Erdogan’s first trips as the new President of the country were to Azerbaijan and the ‘TRNC’. Those lightning trips were followed yesterday with a trip to Brussels for a NATO visit and contacts with Turkey’s allies that demonstrated the continuation of tradition but also more so a determination to preserve the “pacta sunt servanda,” particularly in regards to the fundamentals of Turkish foreign policy.
Can Erdogan manage to soothe worries of Turkey’s allies at the NATO summit? American President Donald Trump has his own priorities. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is having difficulty in pulling together her cabinet, facing serious hurdles in carrying Brexit to its last stage. Yet, Turkey is a very important ally not only of those two countries or France, but for the entire NATO alliance.
Contacts of Erdogan in Baku, as well as in ‘northern’ Cyprus have demonstrated, according to friends in the delegation, relaxed and self-confident President approaching issues with humour and optimism. Yet, Erdogan’s public remarks in Cyprus demonstrated he might not be as forthcoming to compromise on the issue as many people have suggested.
Still, it was obvious for Turkish Cypriot executives after talks with Erdogan that from water, electricity and foreign currency woes, to the issue of Cyprus talks, there will be vigorous presidential involvement in the period ahead”.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(AK / AM)