A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.08.18) reports that the fear expressed by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce has become a reality, since yesterday the pound sterling reached 7 Turkish liras (TL). Noting that this price of sterling is considered to be a “breaking point”, the paper writes that businessmen, tradesmen and the people have come to a deadlock and do not know how they will pay their debts off.
“The increase not only in sterling, but also in the dollar and euro is also in scary dimensions”, notes the paper adding that the dollar increased yesterday to 5,50 TL and the euro to 6,13 TL. According to Kibris, the fear now is that the second warning made by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce will be realized. The Chamber had stated that if sterling reached 7,50 TL and above, a social explosion would happen in the occupied area of Cyprus. The Chamber’s chairman, Turgut Deniz had expressed the view that the increase of the foreign currency was a disaster in small economies such as the one in the occupied area of Cyprus.
In statements to Kibris, economists Zeki Besiktepeli and Okan Safakli warned that the increase of the foreign currencies’ prices will continue.
Besiktepeli expressed the view that the Turkish Cypriots should adopt the euro, the salaries should be paid in a foreign currency or Turkey should pay the inflation’s deficit. “If these do not happen, economy will collapse”, he argued.
Safakli noted that the increase in the prices of the foreign currencies cannot be prevented, but measures could be taken on how this increase influences the people.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (10.08.18), Dursun Oguz, general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), reacted to the efforts of changing the course of religious culture and moral education into an elective one.
In a written statement, Oguz argued that “while necessary reforms and inevitable new steps were expected to be taken on the field of education, it is unacceptable that particularly the minister of education and generally the government have further complicated the already challenging issue of education”. He further claimed that the only purpose of the mentality of those who try to introduce the course of religious culture and moral education as elective in the new school year is to cause dissociate and to sow discord among the people.
Noting that in the current economic recession the “government” has done nothing to find solution to the people’s problems, Oguz argued that they do nothing else than mock the people’s intelligence with unnecessary topics instead of trying to increase their level of prosperity. He added: “We, as the National Unity party, have warned Cemal Ozyigit, minister of national education, who tried to punish our children by creating an artificial crisis during the graduation at Sultan Theology College, to abandon his anti-faith, separatist attitude”.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (10.08.18) reports that Mesut Genc, “deputy” with the People’s Party (HP), speaking on a TV program yesterday, argued that the “coalition government” has created a tension by changing the religious course, which was only obligatory at the 6th, 7th and 8th grade, to an elective one. He warned that there would be a problem if the “government” does not take a step back on this issue. He clarified that he does not know whether the “coalition government” will collapse, but definitely there will be a problem. He claimed that in Europe and in the education system of the Greek Cypriot side, the religious lesson is obligatory.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed “director of the board of education and discipline” Salih Sarpten, in an interview to the Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (09.08.18) explained the new goals of the education system, “2030 vision for the education Strategic plan”. He noted that the course of ecology and environment will be obligatory, the Greek course, will be offered as the 2nd foreign language and the religious course will be elective.
Sarpten said: “This year we paid special attention to the Greek lesson. We are preparing a new curriculum (…). The Greek language will be as the second foreign language at the secondary school and at the same time we are making an effort this lesson to be offered also at the high school as a second language”.
Another change to the curriculum is the religious course, Sarpten said. It will be offered as an elective lesson at the middle school. He further explained that the main reason of this change is that there are a lot of foreign students in their schools, and they do not want to force this lesson to them. He added that the students, who want to study the religious, can choose the lesson.
On the same issue, columnist Hakan Yildirim, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (10.08.18), under the title “Greek ‘in’, religious lesson ‘out’”, criticised Sarpten’s statement that they have decided to strengthen the foreign language level by adding the Greek language as the second foreign language and change the religious lesson from obligatory to elective.
He asked the “ministry of education” to give information how many are the foreign students, who force them to change the religious lesson to an elective one. He also wonders what language these foreign students speak in order to offer the Greek language as the second foreign language. “In a way to strengthen the Greek and to weaken the religious”, he added.
He concluded by saying: “This fact is a reality that even Anastasiades could not see in his dreams. Since the foreign students are more, the religious education should be elective. So, distribute also the Bible in the schools and include also the Christianity in the syllabus”.
In addition, Cemal Ozyigit, evaluating the debate on the religious lesson, which will be changed in the new school syllabus from obligatory to elective, on a programme at “BRT” (http://www.brtk.net/ozyigit-din-dersleri-hukumet-arasinda-catisma-yaratmak-amaciyla-one-cikarildi/), stressed that the religious lesson is only a drop in the education. He argued that their purpose was to do the religious lesson, which has been a “matter in question” until today, to a premiumisation topic. He further said that some brought up this topic in order to spark a debate and to show the differences among the partners of the “coalition government”. He added that the religious lesson will continue to be obligatory at the primary and secondary schools, and only elective at the high schools.
Criticizing also the latest statements of Erhan Arikli, leader of the Revival Party (YDP), who called the “government” to get rid of TDP and will give their support to them, Ozygit said that Arikli’s approach is really comic and he is just thinking ways to be part of the “government”.
Writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (10.08.18), columnist Cenk Mutluyakali reports that the implication that Turkey sends a lot of money to the occupied area of Cyprus but the “stupid” Turkish Cypriots cannot use it has lost its appeal and that whenever they [the Turkish Cypriots] go outside the “marked circle” [by Ankara], “disciplining means” are activated. Under the title “The ‘sharing of power’ in the north”, Mutluyakali comments on the information published in the press that the Turkish Cypriots could not use 464,319,566 Turkish liras (TL) given to them by Turkey. Noting that the Turkish Cypriots are provoked with this information, which he describes as “the cheese in the mouse trap”, he argues that the so-called “development and economic cooperation office” of the self-styled embassy of Turkey in the occupied part of Nicosia “is actually making a power sharing and administration bargaining” and “is turned into a lion tamer”.
Noting that they cannot find a reply to the question of whether Turkey wants to improve the Turkish Cypriots’ life or to discipline the “governments” in the occupied area of Cyprus for implementing its wishes, Mutluyakali writes that the occupation regime’s “governments” dot not reveal the reality. “They hide it, they cover it up”, he says adding:
“Even though the many ‘reprimands’ made ‘behind closed doors’ leak outside, they are not ‘officially’ expressed, sincerely shared […] They say that a payment of 464 million 319 thousand 566 TL was given and could not be used. Very well, who prevents them from being used? […]”
Referring to projects which should be carried out with this money and wondering why these projects are not completed if there is money, Mutluyakali concludes as following:
“[…] Of course big investments are also made and this community endlessly respects every investment which adds value to its life. However, at the same time, these resources are kept as ‘an element of intimidation’! As soon as you go outside some ones’ word, ‘cuts’ are immediately made. This is what happens [in all fields starting] from education to the industry, from the BRT to KIB-TEK, from the culture to the youth. There is money, it is true. However, there is also ‘conditions’ and ‘intimidation’! This is what hurts the people”.
Writing also in Yeni Duzen (10.08.18), columnist Unal Findik refers to the issue of population transferred from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus and to some complaints made by barbers in Istanbul because refugees from Syria opened barbershops in the above-mentioned city and allegedly take their jobs. Under the title “Accept it!” Findik compares the situation to the Turkish settlers in the occupied area of Cyprus and writes, inter alia, the following:
“[…] Turkey’s population exceeded 80 million. The number of the Syrian refugees in Turkey is 3-4 million. That is, almost 4-5 % of Turkey’s population. Very well, TRNC’s population is 150 thousands. Is the population from Turkey, who lives in the TRNC and obtained citizenship within the years, 300 thousands or 600 thousands? No one knows. Or those who know do not reveal it. Very well, if we take its percentage for a TRNC population of 450 thousands, this is 300% and for 300 thousands it is 200%. That is, refugees twice or three times more than the population of this country are settled in the country and obtain citizenship and all rights of this country, including the right to vote and being elected. […] When the barbers in Istanbul complain they are right and when the Cypriot barbers complain they are wrong.
First you transfer population here. When a complaint comes, you will say ‘hey you enemies of the motherland’ and afterwards you will make them citizens giving them the right to vote and be elected, you will carry them to the parliament with your votes and you will turn to us and say: ‘Mr …. has become a deputy in the country, because citizens wanted so. If the citizens want, tomorrow he will become a minister, prime minister and may be president of the republic. Get used to it and accept it’.
I beg your pardon my bother Erhan [Translator’s note: He refers to the chairman of the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP) Erhan Arikli], but I do not intend to accept this. Yes, Mr …has been elected according to the laws of this country. I accept this. However, if you say ‘get used to it and accept it’, this is not correct. This style is not appropriate for you. While you complain about discrimination, on the contrary you are making discrimination yourself.
This country, first of all, belongs to its people. I have nothing to say for the people, who came from Turkey after 1974, settled in this country, united their fate with the people of this country, got married, established a business and had children. However, I am sorry, while you cannot tolerate the Syrian refugees who are 4-5% of your population in Turkey, you expect us to satisfy the demands of the population from Turkey which is 300% of our population, that is, three times our population, and which during the past few days it is even said that ‘the TRNC population to increase to one million’.
This is not a matter of accepting it or not. This discrimination did not bring a gain to anyone and it also serves no other purpose than encouraging the Turkish Cypriots to migrate from their country.
Do not forget, Cyprus without Turkish Cypriots is unthinkable. The Greek Cypriots have also tried a lot for this. Before 1974, the Makarios administration was giving tickets to the Turkish Cypriots who wanted to migrate abroad. Some left. However, the great majority did not abandon the lands on which they were born and raised. They resisted and won. Now they will also resist and win”.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (10.08.18), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday at his office with Iran’s Ambassador to Cyprus Reza Zabib and Hamid Reza Anvari, the First Counsellor of Iran’s Embassy in Cyprus.
Meanwhile, Akinci also met yesterday with Ismet Korukoglu, who has been appointed as the new “New York representative” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus from his duties at the “TRNC Washington representative’s office”.
Korukoglu briefed Akinci on the latest developments under the UN framework regarding UNFICYP and the Cyprus problem.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (10.08.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/if-they-have-their-dollars-we-have-our-people-and-god-erdogan-says-135654) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited his citizens to “ignore campaigns against Turkey,” adding that “if they have their dollars, we have our people and God.”
Erdogan addressed locals during his first trip to his hometown in the Black Sea province of Rize following the June 24 elections late Aug. 9. “We will work a lot and we will try to make our country more modern with all of its 81 provinces, God willing. Just know that we are better than yesterday now and tomorrow we will be better than today. Don’t worry,” Erdogan said.
As the Turkish currency lost more than 30% against the greenback since the end of last year, Erdoğan said: “There are various campaigns. Don’t care about them. And don’t forget that if they have their dollars, we have our people and God ... I hope for you patience and ardour.”
The USD/TRY exchange rate rose as high as 6.41 early Aug. 10 before easing to 5.93. It was 5.46 as of 5 p.m. local time on Aug. 9.
(…)Meanwhile, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (10.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-reveal-new-economic-model-on-aug-10-135633)
Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak is set to announce a “new economic model” on today, the Ministry announced on Aug. 9.
The new set of economic steps are aimed at securing an economic growth of 3-4% in 2019, and decreasing the inflation rate to single digits, the ministry said in a press release. “It is expected that the current account deficit would be balanced at around 4%,” the Ministry said, adding that a saving program in the public sector, which was launched this year, will continue in the medium-term.
The Ministry added that it will continue to take steps to cut budget deficit to around 1.5% of the country’s GDP. “The inclusion of foreign investors and foreign funding will be sought specifically in infrastructure projects,” read the release.
Turkish daily Sabah (09.08.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/08/10/us-intransigence-delays-solution-to-bilateral-crisis-as-turkey-seeks-dialogue) reported that the U.S. demand for the unconditional release of pastor Andrew Brunson is an intervention to state of law in Turkey and it hinders further talks for recovery, experts said, as a Turkish delegation returned to Ankara after reportedly fruitless talks.
The official Turkish delegation that traveled to the U.S. for talks on mending bilateral ties returned home yesterday after refusing to accept the undiplomatic preconditions set by the U.S., including the extrajudicial release of a suspect. The American side reportedly demanded the immediate release of pastor Andrew Brunson before any progress could be made, a move seen by experts as blatant contempt for the Turkish judiciary and the rule of law. The nine-person delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal, arrived in Washington on Tuesday and met U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and accompanying officials. There was also a meeting between the Treasury officials of the two countries. No official statement was released by the Turkish side afterwards, while the U.S. State Department said that Önal and Sullivan "discussed a range of bilateral matters including pastor Brunson."
A Wall Street Journal report claimed that the U.S. demand for the release of Brunson scuttled the talks. İlnur Çevik, chief adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Daily Sabah columnist, said that the U.S. side's insistence for the release of Brunson was very disrespectful both toward Turkey and its judiciary. "Turkey is an independent state, not an authoritarian regime, which you may tell what to do. In diplomacy, you have to be flexible and ready for all options," Çevik said.
Talha Köse, an academic from Ibn Haldun University's department of Political Science and International Relations, told Daily Sabah on U.S. demands about Brunson that it is not possible to release a suspect upon the request of another administration in a meeting. "Hence, I do not think the real purpose of these meetings is to solve the problems between two countries. It is more like crisis management to start putting things in order," Köse said.
Ankara and Washington have faced a period of crises since the Barack Obama administration, including the disagreement over U.S. support for the PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), Washington's lack of support for Ankara's sensitivities toward the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and Turkey's demand for the extradition of the U.S.-based FETÖ leader, Fetullah Gülen, who lives in the country since 1999.
Relations between the two countries hit rock bottom when Washington decided to impose sanctions on Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül over Turkey's detention of Brunson. The American pastor, who was previously jailed for his links to FETÖ and the PKK, was released from prison and moved to house arrest on July 25, following an appeal by his lawyer. Brunson's lawyer objected to the extended detention of the 50-year-old in an earlier hearing, citing health issues.
Köse stressed that there are some cliques in the U.S. administration who don't want ties between two NATO allies to recover. "However, the Turkish delegation's visit is a positive sign for possible recovery. I think these meetings will yield good results for both countries to overcome these problems," he added.
Ankara called on its counterparts in the U.S. to come to their senses as they deemed the sanctions decision illogical and have been trying to solve the matter through diplomatic channels. Following the U.S. sanctions, Turkey announced, in retaliation, that it would also freeze the assets of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/lavrov-to-pay-a-key-visit-to-ankara-to-discuss-syria-idlib-135643) reported that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will pay a visit to the Turkish capital on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 where he will hold talks with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on recent developments in Syria and other regional issues.
Lavrov’s visit was announced by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in a briefing to reporters in Moscow on Aug. 9. The two men will also discuss the schedule of the forthcoming high-level contacts, issues connected with Syria and bilateral economic issues.
“The main attention will be paid to the current international agenda in Syria peacebuilding, in the Middle East, the Caucasus region, Central Asia, in Ukraine and in the Black Sea region,” she said.
They will also discuss the developing of economic and trade ties, particularly the building of Akkuyu and the Turkish Stream.
Apart from his official meetings with Cavusoglu, Lavrov is also expected to address the Turkish Ambassadors who will be gathered in Ankara for a week-long annual conference.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/iranian-presidents-envoy-met-with-turkish-fm-135640) reported that the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent an Envoy to Turkey for talks amid the U.S. putting pressure on Ankara for sanctions against Tehran.
Rouhani’s special Envoy Mahmoud Vaizi met with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Aug. 9. “We discussed the issues on the common agenda of Turkey-Iran with Mahmoud Vaezi, Head of the Office of the Iranian President,” Cavusoglu tweeted on his official account.
The visit comes at a time when the United States is putting pressure on Ankara for the next round of American sanctions on Tehran.
The first wave of Iranian sanctions went into effect on August 7 and targets mainly financial transactions and commercial airline sales with Iran. In November, measures to stop the sale of Iranian energy are set to go into effect.
Cavusoglu has repeatedly ruled out complying with U.S. measures, insisting Turkey is bound only by international agreements.
Turkish daily Sabah (09.08.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2018/08/10/good-party-ready-for-emergency-convention-amid-risk-of-unraveling) reported that the opposition far-right Good Party (İP) is set to gather at an emergency convention on Aug. 12.
With claims the party might be unraveling from the recent string of resignations that were triggered by a frustrating performance in the June 24 elections, the İP will gather with the mindset of initiating a fresh start.
The work of the technical commission established for the healthy execution of the works of the İP for the convention has been concluded.
The Commission has set the main slogan of the congress to be held at the ATO Congresium in Ankara as "We are just getting started" reports said yesterday.
Chairwoman Meral Aksener is expected to be nominated as the sole candidate by the delegates and re-elected to lead the party. At the convention, the emphasis will reportedly be put on intraparty democracy to avoid further dissent.
Some 1,124 delegates will vote at the emergency convention to elect the general assembly and party organs. In addition to the election, the General Administrative Board (GİK) consisting of 80 members and the Central Disciplinary Committee (MDK) consisting of 10 members will be determined. It is being rumored in Ankara that radical changes within the GİK and MDK will be seen.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Secretary-General İsmet Büyükataman said that the unraveling within the İP will further continue as he expressed his expectation that more ex-MHP members would be purged.
The İP, indeed, has been reeling under intraparty unease and an unstoppable wave of resignations. Affected by the resignations from party administration and local branches both before and after the June 24 elections, the party was dealt a heavy blow earlier this week following the resignation of three founding party members, who have been regarded as heavy guns for the İP.
The members that resigned - Yusuf Halaçoğlu, Özcan Yeniçeri and Nevzat Boz - shared a statement to the press regarding their resignations holding the party administration accountable for the unsuccessful results of the June 24 elections and blamed them of "disloyalty" in preparing the Deputy lists.
The resignations are expected to have a devastating effect on the party, which has been engulfed in intraparty debates since the party's poor June 24 election results. The party's chairwoman, Meral Akşener, gained 7.3% of the votes in the presidential elections, while the IP garnered 9.6% of the votes in the parliamentary elections, well below expectations.
The resignation of the three dissidents followed a lengthy unraveling period in the party after founding Chairwoman Aksener said that she would take the party to an emergency convention and not be a candidate. However, she was convinced by other party members to change her mind.
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