No. 158/18 17.08.18
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.08.18) reports that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that the measures which the “government” had announced will be discussed and definitely decided today during a meeting of the regime’s “council of ministers”. Speaking yesterday during a meeting with editors-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot media, Erhurman warned that they will not allow some people to turn the economic crisis into an opportunity to make profit and added that the “government” will interfere in the excessive increase of the price of some products. He said that as of yesterday, the self-styled ministry of finance started inspections in the market and that if necessary some products will be included in the “list of controlled products”.
Erhurman noted that the economic measures which they had announced increased from 23 to 24 and explained that the 24th measure is the stabilization of the foreign currencies’ rates in the rents of the EVKAF religious foundation’s immovable properties, which are paid in foreign currencies. He also said that today the “council of ministers” will discuss the opposition’s proposal providing for stabilization of the rates of the foreign currencies for the rural plots of land.
Furthermore, Erhurman called on the “people” to use credit cards in their transactions, recalling that tax returns will be made to those who do this. He argued that in this manner the unregistered transactions will be avoided.
Asked to comment on the fact that many immovable properties are rented without a “lease contract”, Erhurman noted that “illegality” will be prevented in case the tenants apply to the “ministry of finance” for signing a “lease contract” based on a stable foreign currency rate. He said that the property owners will benefit if they do this, because the tax which they will be paying will decrease to 1%.
Moreover, Erhurman explained that the fees of the private schools have not been included in the “government’s” 24 measures, because the administrations of these schools held a meeting with the “ministry” during which they accepted the stabilization of the currency exchange rates in the payment of the fees.
Referring to these statements, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.08.18) reports that Erhurman said that only 63% of the breakaway regime’s exports are made to Turkey. He added: “For this reason, isolation is not the only problem. We need to launch a campaign for a planned, qualitative and calculated production”.
Illegal Bayrak (16.08.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=economy-discussed-at-presidential-palace) broadcast that the economic problems being experienced in the breakaway regime due to the loss in the value of the Turkish Lira was discussed at a “high level meeting” yesterday.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı met with the leaders of the “4 party-coalition” to discuss and evaluate the latest situation.
In a statement to the press after the meeting, Akıncı reminded that he had met with the “coalition partners within the framework of his routine monthly meeting with the leaders of the political parties which form the coalition government”.
Pointing out that the “government” is working in good will to minimize the impact of the fall in the value of the TL on the public, Akıncı said that he was happy to see that the “coalition” was open to suggestions.
Stating that they had found the opportunity to discuss and evaluate the measures proposed or being implemented by the “government”, Akıncı said that he had shared with the “coalition partners” a report prepared by his economy advisors.
Underlining “the importance of the state and government to do all it can to ease the current conditions for the public”, he pointed out that the Turkish Lira was slowly gaining value following last week’s sharp drop.
Akıncı explaining that the “TRNC Central Bank” had no control over the Turkish lira added that this did not mean that “there was nothing the government could do to ease the conditions in the country”. “This is what the government is genuinely trying to do” he said, expressing the hope that the fluctuations in the TL will die down.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (17.08.18) reports that the so-called minister of public works and communication Tolga Atakan who went to Ankara yesterday, met with the Turkish Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mehmet Cahit Turan.
Speaking during the meeting Atakan pointed to the transportation and infrastructure investments that Turkey has undertaken in the “TRNC”. He said that Turkey has provided them 274 million TL for “investments, construction of roads, works and infrastructure. “We hope that this cooperation will further develop and increase in the future”, Atakan said claiming that the “TRNC could from now on lookthe future with confidence”.
In his turn, Turan said that Turkey will continue supporting the “TRNC” for its security, prosperity and in order to be able to have a “viable economy”.
Explaining that by 2018 they have open tenders for the construction, maintenance and superstructure works of 4 roads, Turan claimed that the cost of the project will be 396 million dollars. He also announced that their aim is to carry out an investment by 2020 for the construction of new roads and infrastructure which is expected to cost 274 million TL.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Turan claimed that Turkey will continue its decisive stance towards the efforts for reaching to a fair and viable solution. “You are common partners in this beautiful island. We will never accept the Turkish Cypriots to become minority in a Greek Cypriot state and also it is out of question for us as motherland and as guarantor country to accept our rights to be overlooked”, Turan alleged.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (17.08.18) reports that the “undersecretary” of the “state planning organization” (“DPO”) of the so-called prime ministry office, Odul Muhtaroglu announced that during the first six months of 2018 they have provide incentives for 16 new “investment projects” in the fields of “industry, tourism and students dormitories”.
Issuing a written statement, Muhtaroglu claimed that with the implementation of the above mentioned “investment projects”, totally 1,694 working positions will be created. He further alleged that these “projects” will contribute to the “economy” of the “country”, the “production, the added-value and the employment”. He clarified that 8 out of the 16 new investments will take place in the occupied part of Lefkosia, two out of them in occupied Famagusta, three in occupied Keryneia, two in occupied Trikomo area and one in occupied Lefka. He further added that 7 projects are related with dormitories, 3 with the sector of industry and 7 with the field of tourism. According to Muhtaroglu, after the completion of the 7 projects in the field of tourism, the bed capacity in the occupied area of Cyprus will increase by 3, 408.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (17.08.18) reports that the self-styled minister of education Cemal Ozyigit stated that the number of “universities” that will be operating in the breakaway regime for the academic year 2018-2019, reached 19.
Speaking yesterday during a meeting he held with “deans of universities”, Ozyigit listed the new three “universities” that will start operating as follows:
He went on adding that 14 of these “universities” were established in accordance with the “TRNC laws” but two of them are part of the “Technological University of Middle East” and of the “Istanbul Technological University” of Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (17.08.18) reports that the central committee of the National Unity Party (UBP) has determined the date for the party’s next general congress. The first round of the congress is set to take place on October 27-28 while the second round on November 3.
According to the paper, four “candidates” announced officially that will run for the party’s leadership. The candidates are the following: Sunat Atun, so-called deputy with the party in occupied Famagusta, Faiz Sucuoglu and Ersin Tatar, “deputies” in the occupied part of Lefkosia and Huseyin Ozgurgun, current leader of the UBP.
Meawnhile, speaking to the paper, so-called deputy with the UBP, Hasan Tacoy, whose name was among the names in the list of candidates for the party’s leadership, announced that he will decide on September whether he will be a candidate or not.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.08.18 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/us-cannot-see-who-its-true-friend-is-turkish-fm/1233643) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday reiterated his criticism of U.S.'s current political stance against Turkey.
"The U.S. does not know, it cannot see who its true friend is,” Cavusoglu told reporters during his closing speech at the 10th Ambassadors' Conference in the capital Ankara.
"We will never be happy with having issues with the U.S. We can easily solve problems with the U.S. but not with its current mindset," he said.
Cavusoglu’s remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump said Turkey "has not proven to be a good friend" during a Cabinet meeting Thursday.
"Turkey has not done any wrong to the U.S., not even once. When anyone faces any charges, regardless of the person’s citizenship, that person will have to go through the judicial process," he said. "We are not making a cowboy film. We are two great countries that need to have good relations but we will learn to respect each other," Cavusoglu added.
Cavusoglu also said that he will attend the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, also known as Gymnich, on Aug. 30 in Vienna. He added Turkey wants to develop relations with the EU, and that the country is "a part of the family".
In addition, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.08.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-intensify-talks-with-eu-on-visa-free-travel-cavusoglu-135869) reports that Çavuşoğlu has said talks with the EU over visa-free travel for Turkish nationals will be accelerated in the coming period, in a sign of improvement in Ankara-Brussels dialogue amid the former’s economic difficulties.
“We will intensify our works with the EU for visa liberalization,” he stated, in an address to Turkey’s A mbassadors at an annual conference late Aug 15.
Çavuşoğlu informed he would meet with First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans in the coming period, with whom he will discuss Turkey’s efforts to fulfill the remaining six criteria out of 72 for securing the Schengen visa waiver for Turkish nationals.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.08.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/albayrak-says-turkey-will-come-out-of-volatility-stronger-135877) reports that Turkey's Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak promised on Aug. 16 the country will emerge "stronger" from the currency crisis sparked by a diplomatic spat with the United States, and ruled out an IMF bailout.
"Turkey will emerge stronger from these (currency) fluctuations," Albayrak was quoted by the state-run TRT television as saying in a conference call with thousands of foreign investors.
"There is no IMF plan, we have focused on attracting direct investments," he also said.
In the conference call, Albayrak said Turkey was now dealing with the market anomaly and has a banking sector which is healthy and strong.
'No compromise from fiscal discipline, fight against inflation'
Ankara will not compromise on fiscal discipline and reducing inflation is a top priority, Albayrak said, adding that Turkey was not a highly leveraged country and debt stood at 137% of GDP in the first quarter of 2018.
All Ministries have a mandate for ambitious savings, he noted, and investment portfolios will be reviewed.
"Turkey has never implemented non-market measures and capital controls will never be on the agenda," the Turkish Minister said.
Ankara will ensure further fiscal tightening, with a focus on boosting Turkey's primary surplus, according to Albayrak, as structural reforms and labour market flexibility are also a priority.
Albayrak also stated that Ankara expected a 6 billion lira ($1.04 billion) primary surplus for the end of this year. "We will navigate through this period of U.S. sanctions with other parties, including Germany and China," he said, referring to Washington's sanctions targeting Turkey over the continued arrest of pastor Andrew Brunson, which put a strain on the Turkish Lira.
Turkey is not expecting any fines against state-owned Halkbank, Albayrak concluded, referring to the case of a former Halkbank executive who was convicted by a U.S. court in January of helping evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.08.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-overcomes-speculations-on-currency-presidency-135879) reports that Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said the recent fluctuations of the Turkish Lira against the United States dollar have been “brought under control,” adding that the speculations over the national currency have been overcome.
“With the coordination of [Treasury and Finance] Minister Berat Albayrak, an action plan has been launched. The environment that would call for speculations over the lira has been eliminated,” Kalın said on Aug. 16 after the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
His comments came as the lira began gaining value against the U.S. dollar after a critical fall over the last week. “We have entered into a period of normalization. We will take steps to preserve it,” Kalın added.
“All channels over the speculations and operations of perception over the lira have been closed. All citizens, consumers, employers, producers should stay calm. We will overcome this process with calm and rational steps and without panic,” he said.
Kalın quoted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words before the meeting. “Turkey will transform this crisis into an advantage,” he said.
The spokesman thanked Qatar’s pledge for further investment and indicated Erdoğan’s contacts with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have had “positive responses.”
Both leaders have expressed their concern over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent economic moves to impose further tariffs, he said, adding that these moves are also hurting Europe and the Eurozone.
“We have received positive responses from Kuwait, Germany, France and even Russia,” said Kalın.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.08.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-talk-to-france-germany-as-diplomatic-offensive-continues-135873) reports that Turkey’s diplomatic offensive against the sanctions imposed by the United States continued on Aug. 16 as it was engaged in more high level talks with Germany and France.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and French President Emmanuelle Macron have agreed to improve bilateral economic and trade ties as the Turkish economy is passing through a dire strait after the United States imposed sanctions on its NATO ally due to the detention of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson.
Erdoğan and Macron spoke on the phone on Aug. 16, a day after the former had a similar conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Erdoğan’s diplomatic campaign follows after the Turkish Lira has been seriously hit due to ongoing spat with the U.S.
According to a presidential source, Erdoğan and Macron emphasized the importance of improving bilateral investment and economic and trade relations. The same source stressed that Macron told Erdoğan Turkey’s economic stability was also important for France.
The two leaders also agreed on further talks between the Economy and Treasury M inisters of both sides in a bid to seek ways to improve investment and trade opportunities.
Two European heavyweights, Germany and France, are among top foreign investors in Turkey, who have thousands of companies operating in Turkey for decades.
The two Presidents have also exchanged views on recent developments in Syria, particularly in the Idlib province, with concerns that the Syrian regime would launch a massive military operation into the enclave at the expense of creating a new refugee influx towards Turkey and of causing civilian casualties.
Turkey will host a summit in Istanbul on Sept. 7 with the participation of the French President, German Chancellor Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria and other regional issues.
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, on the other hand, held a phone conversation with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz on Aug. 16.
According to a statement released by the Turkish Ministry, Albayrak and Scholz “evaluated U.S. sanctions and steps against the Turkish economy.”
Scholz stressed the importance of a strong Turkish economy for both Germany and the EU, while Albayrak voiced his satisfaction for German statements that supported Ankara in the ongoing row, the statement said.
The two Ministers agreed to meet in Berlin on Sept. 21 to “take steps to further enhance economic cooperation” between Turkey and Germany, it added.
Turkish Daily Sabah(17.08.18) reports that with the return of a former member, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has increased its number of parliamentary Deputies to 50.
Hayati Arkaz, an Istanbul Deputy from the far-right opposition Good Party (İP), jumped ship this week following an invitation from MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli. In the 600-seat Parliament, the MHP now has 50 lawmakers, while the İP now has 54.
In a move that sparked controversy and led to debates within the İP, Arkaz had kissed Bahçeli's hand, a traditional Turkish way of showing respect to elders, on the first day of the new parliamentary term in early July.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which formed an alliance in Parliament with the MHP, has 290 seats. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has 144 lawmakers, while the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has 67. Other seats belonging to minor parties include the Felicity Party, the Great Unity Party and the Democrat Party. After the June 7, 2015 elections, former MHP members Meral Akşener, Ümit Özdağ and a number of its other Deputies, including Yusuf Halaçoğlu and Özcan Yeniçeri, had called on Bahçeli to step down as Chairman. After they failed to unseat Bahçeli following a heated judicial process, they left the party in 2016 to form their own party, the İP.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION