1. Akinci’s interview on CNNTurk on natural gas issue
2. Ozersay: “The Turkish Cypriots will not allow the Greek Cypriot side to continue exploring unilaterally natural gas”
3. Nami: “The Turkish Cypriots have rights in all parcels of Cypriot EEZ”
4. Akinci and Ozersay discussed the Cyprus problem and the crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean
5. Celer will attend the 4th Islamic Conference for Labour Ministers in Jeddah
6. Zaroglu’s “citizenship” continues to be into the agenda in the occupied area of Cyprus
7. Atakan announced new road projects
8. An attack against a Turkish Cypriot vehicle was condemned
9. The economic aid of Turkey to the breakaway regime was increased last year
10. The “TRNC” attended various international tourism fairs
11. Kalin: “Alleged Assad-YPG deal in Syria's Afrin is propaganda”
12. Erdogan: “Afrin region will shortly be encircled to cut support and end YPG's negotiations”; Erdogan talked with Putin and Ruhani regarding the Afrin operation
13. Cavusoglu: “Turkey gave US another chance”
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-on-natural-gas-issue), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci evaluated the recent developments regarding the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral natural gas activities in the Eastern Mediterranean during a program he attended on CNN Turk.
Claiming that the main reason of the conflict experienced in the Eastern Mediterranean was the Greek Cypriot side’s desire to claim the natural gas and oil reserves alone by considering everything in its scope of authority, Akinci alleged that the Greek Cypriot side which claimed the Republic of Cyprus alone by excluding the Turkish Cypriots now tried to claim the natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean alone by extending its sovereignty zone.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side should leave the non-solution policy and contribute to a just and permanent solution in order to remove current tensions, Akinci added what’s needed was to turn this region from a tension area to a cooperation area.
Akinci alleged that even if the Greek Cypriot side was not ready for a solution today, then it should find a way for agreeing with the Turkish Cypriots on the natural gas issue through interim formulas. “Otherwise, just as they see themselves authorized and conducting researches in these areas the Turkish Cypriots will also hold the same activities in cooperation with Turkey. We will of course start these research activities in cooperation with Turkey and with the new drill ship of Turkey because this richness is a common richness. It does not only belong to the Greek Cypriots.” Akıncı said.
He also reminded that the Turkish Cypriot side had continuously warned the Greek Cypriot side throughout the negotiations process and proposed the establishment of a common committee on this issue.
Reminding that they proposed to search for the natural richness together and to turn the region to a cooperation area than a tension area, Akinci argued: “However, the Greek Cypriot side in response said that the issue is not related with the negotiations, it is within their scope of authority and therefore they would not discuss this with the Turkish Cypriots.”
Claiming that the Greek Cypriot side by taking the advantage of the tensed relations between Turkey and some other countries in the region tried to benefit from this with Greece, Akinci argued that another aim was to expose Turkey with big powers adding that this was obvious from the companies selected.
Noting that the EU was providing financial support to the Greek Cypriot side, Akinci said: “East-Med natural gas pipeline project is being discussed. East-Med is a project which aims to transfer the natural gas to be found in Eastern Mediterranean to Europe via Greece by bypassing Turkey. EU has allocated millions of Euros for the feasibility of this project.”
“Instead, a project which would create an opportunity for the establishment of cooperation bridges between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, regional countries, between Cyprus and Turkey in the future and Turkey and Greece would be at stake” Akinci argued.
“A route via Turkey is the shortest, more practical, faster and cheaper. However, unfortunately the Greek Cypriots did not prefer the path of mind and path of cooperation and went into the effort of creating tension scenarios”, he claimed.
Under the title “Turkish Cyprus will not allow the Greek side to continue exploring gas: Minister”, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.02.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-cyprus-will-not-allow-greek-side-to-continue-exploring-gas-minister-127572) reported that self-styled foreign minister and deputy prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus Kudret Ozersay alleged that the “Greek Cypriot administration will not be permitted to continue engaging in unilateral natural gas exploration activities in the Mediterranean without the consent of the Turkish Cypriots”.
“They cannot continue before the Cyprus issue is settled, or, if it would not be possible, without reaching an understanding with the Turkish Cypriot side,” said Kudret Ozersay in a written statement on Jan. 19.
Ozersay claimed: “If the unilateral activities being undertaken by the Greek-side do not turn into conflict, it would be on account of the ‘cold-blooded approach’ of Turkey and Turkish Cyprus [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus]”.
Ozersay further claimed that “it was ‘unfair and unacceptable’ for the Greek Cypriot administration to take advantage of the status quo arising from the very problems that cannot be solved due to its own reluctance”.
“Unfortunately, Greek Cyprus’ membership to the EU occurred in the same manner. We are intent on not allowing a similar development to take place on the issue of natural gas,” he argued and added that the Turkish Cypriots have equal rights regarding natural resources.
“On one hand, they [the Greek side] recognize that we also own this richness, but on the other hand, they want to try to continue along this path by disregarding us. This is neither in line with international law nor the notion of justice. If you acknowledge the existence of someone’s rights, you have to act accordingly,” he alleged.
“For one, these resources belong to us as well. So, before you take any action regarding these resources, you have to win the consent of the Turkish community and address their concerns,” Ozersay argued.
The Turkish Cypriots have rights in all parcels of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) alleged Ozdil Nami, self-styled minister of economy and energy of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
In statements to Anatolia news agency (20.02.18, http://aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/kktc-ekonomi-ve-enerji-bakani-nami-parsellerin-tamaminda-kibris-turk-halkinin-hakki-var/1068223), Nami claimed that the Turkish Cypriots have as many rights over the island’s natural resources as the Greek Cypriots and argued that these resources should be exploited in a manner that will bring benefit to both sides. He alleged that the Greek Cypriot side ignores the Turkish side’s calls in this direction and that the Greek Cypriots think that they have the right to “take unilateral steps by hiding behind the curtain of being recognized”. Claiming that the Greek Cypriots have signed agreements with international companies on the basis of their own interests and without consulting and cooperating with the “TRNC”, Nami alleged:
“The Turkish Cypriot people have also rights in the whole of the parcels. It is not important whether the parcels are located in the south of the island, in the north, in the east or in the west. The Turkish Cypriot people have rights and interests in all of them. In some of these parcels activities are held within the framework of agreements made between the TRNC and Turkey as regards these parcels. In some others activities are held within the framework of agreements signed by the Greek Cypriot side with international companies. What we are saying to the Greek Cypriot side is ‘come and let us act in cooperation’, but the Greek Cypriot side is taking unilateral steps in parcel 3 or in all the other parcels without opening any door of cooperation with us. This is what we are reacting about. Another separate feature of parcel 3 is that it is located right in the bottom of the area which is within the framework of the agreements signed by the TRNC with Turkish Petroleum Corporation. It corresponds to an area of five miles. When we look at the essence of the issue, it does not make any difference whether they are close or far away. The Turkish Cypriot people have rights in all of them and we protect them”.
Noting that some initiatives for the decrease of the existing tension are being carried out, Nami alleged that the Turkish side will continue “defending its rights and interests on the basis of international law and in a manner which will not cause tension”. He also claimed that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side never caused any tension and that they always reacted to steps taken by the Greek Cypriots after “giving a reasonable period of time”. “However, our patience does not mean that we will remain unreactive forever”, he added.
Furthermore, Nami expressed the view that the events show how important the solution of the Cyprus problem is and reiterated the allegation that President Anastasiades rejected the “hand of friendship” supposedly extended by the Turkish Cypriots during the Cyprus Conference last July in Switzerland and abandoned the negotiating table. He claimed that for this reason President Anastasiades should act in a more responsible manner. Nami made a call on President Anastasiades to avoid steps which cause the reaction of the Turkish side.
Referring to the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Nami alleged that the same methods used in the past cannot be implemented again and argued that a new methodology and approach is needed. He claimed that open-ended processes cannot bring a comprehensive solution and that the sides should agree on a timetable in order for the negotiations to resume in a meaningful manner. He further alleged that this might not be enough and added that it should be clarified what the position of the Turkish Cypriot side will be “in the world’s eyes” in case of a Greek Cypriot “no” in the end of the negotiations.
Referring to the economy of the breakaway regime, Nami argued that electricity should be transferred from Turkey and the networks of Turkey and the occupied area should become interconnected. Noting that the necessary political will should be shown for the commencement of this project, Nami argued that when this is completed they will be able to supply electricity to the Greek Cypriot side as well and claimed that these efforts will contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
According to illegal Bayrak television (17.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-ozersay-met), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with the “deputy prime minister and foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay.
According to a written statement issued by Akinci’s office,” the Cyprus issue and the atmosphere that has developed due to the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean were discussed”.
Meanwhile Akinci will come together with the government and political parties that are represented at the “parliament” on Wednesday the 21st of February.
According to a press release, “Akinci will first meet with the prime minister and the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman followed by a meeting with the coalition government partners leaders, the Peoples Party (HP) leader deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader minister for national education and culture Cemal Ozyigit and the Democratic Party (DP) leader and finance minister Serdar Denktas”.
Later on Akinci will meet with the leaders of the main opposition parties, National Unity Party (UBP) leader Hüseyin Ozgurgun and the Revival Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı. It is widely expected that the Cyprus issue and the reportedly unilateral efforts of the Greek Cypriot side in the Eastern Mediterranean will be taken up during the meeting.
According to illegal Bayrak television (20.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=4th-islamic-conference-for-labour-ministers), the self-styled minister of labour and social security Zeki Celer will be attending the 4th Islamic Conference for Labour Ministers which will take place between the 21st and 22nd of February in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
According to a press release by the “ministry of labour and social security”, the Labour Ministers of the IOC member countries will be attending the meetings. Labour market strategies in the OIC countries as well as the working life and issues related with the labour market will be taken up during the meeting.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.02.18) reports that the so-called interior minister Aysegul Baybars has stated that the “citizenship” of Bertan Zaroglu, “deputy with the Revival settler’s Party” (YDP) “is possible to be cancelled if it comes out that it was granted illegally, regardless of the fact that he is a deputy”. On the other hand, so-called minister of finance Serdar Denktas claimed that “Zaroglu’s citizenship cannot be cancelled, this is impossible”, he said, adding: “You cannot consider people from the island that they are from Anatolia. And if the people who came from Anatolia choose to remain loyal to their place but to live in this island, then let them live here in freedom and have a secular lifestyle bounded to Ataturk’s values. As minister of finance, I would confront the owners of the media which exert efforts to separate the people”, Denktas further alleged.
On the same issue and under the front-page title: “He did not do his military service”, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.02.18) reports that Bertan Zaroglu “was granted the TRNC citizenship in 2010 during Eroglu’s term in office and after a decision of the council of ministers and right after this (3 months later) he took a report from a hospital saying that he was not able to serve his military service and thus he took exemption”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (20.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=atakan-announces-new-road-projects), the self-styled minister of public works and communications Tolga Atakan has said that there were 28 road projects financed and ready to be implemented.
Speaking during a visit paid to him yesterday by the “mayor” of the occupied village of Dikomo Yüksel Celebi, Atakan said that “a 15 day debate on the state budget will take place in parliament starting as of next week”, and added: “We have 28 projects, all with fully financed budgets, waiting to be implemented. These include the renewing of the Lefkosia-Keryneia dual carriage way and rearranging the Bogazi junction.”
Atakan further explained that “some adjustments will be made to the entrance of the Lavinium apartments located on the Lefkosia-Keryneia dual carriage way which poses a serious danger to traffic”.
He finally pointed out that “his ministry will be speeding up work to open the Lefkosia Beltway which connects with Dikomo and Vouno”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=turkish-cypriot-attacked-in-s-cyprus), the “deputy prime ministry and ministry of foreign affairs” has issued a written statement condemning the attack against a Turkish Cypriot vehicle in the government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus.
The statement calls on the “Greek Cypriot authorities” [Cyprus authorities] to take immediate action and punish those who carried out the crime. It claimed that attacks against Turkish Cypriots have increased in recent months and was becoming the norm and called on the “Greek Cypriot authorities” to take serious action.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (20.02.18) reports that the financial aid of Turkey towards the breakaway regime “hit the ceiling” last year. However, 47% of the Turkish grants were not used because the required reforms did not take place.
According to the “2017 TRNC economic indicator report”, there was a serious increase in Turkey’s separate grants to the breakaway regime. The economic aid of Turkey to the breakaway regime was 726,280,961 Turkish Lira for the year 2016, while there was an increase to 1,858,488,587 TL in 2017.
However, some grants were not let free for use in 2017 because the reforms Turkey required did not take place; therefor an amount of 982,000 TL were returned to Turkey. Therefore only the 47% of the aid was used.
In addition, the paper notes that 45% of the “TRNC budget” is used for the current transfers.
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=trnc-tourism-7), the “ministry of tourism and environment” represented the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus at various international tourism fairs.
Accordingly, the “TRNC” was represented at the Vakantieberus in Netherlands, FerienMesse in Austria, Holiday exhibition in Stuttgart, EMİTT in İstanbul, Destination of London in London, Matka in Finland, the Brussels Holiday Show in Brussels and the Holiday World Show in Czech Republic.
According to a press release by the “ministry of tourism and environment”, during the fairs important meetings were held with international tour operators with the aim of bringing more tourists to the “TRNC” from more countries and further developing mutual cooperation.
The statement also added that during the fairs mass tourism, cultural, health, eco-tourism and other tourism alternatives were promoted to the visitors at the stands.
The self-styled minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu, who expressed that they had been attracting intensive attention from the sector each year, said that the international fair organizations were the most important tools for using the promotion activities together.
Underlining that the promotion and marketing activities were continuously growing, Ataoglu said: “We have planned to increase the budget for our promotion and marketing activities in the European market. We are planning to be more active in the promotion activities and within this framework we are searching for ways of providing more support to the activities of tour operators and agencies”.
Referring to the problems being experienced in promotion and marketing activities, he pointed out that “the promotion and marketing activities of the TRNC were held with public funding”, however, noted that these were held through public-private partnership in other countries.
Stating that instead of “North Cyprus” stand they aimed to set up Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta], Girne [occupied Keryenia], etc. stands at the fairs, Ataoglu said works aimed at destinations will be determined with the sector.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (20.02.18) reports that the “Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry” participates in the Dubai Gulfood 2018 Fair with 13 Turkish Cypriot companies until February 22.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (20.02.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2018/02/20/alleged-assad-ypg-deal-in-syrias-afrin-propaganda-kalin-says), reports about the Assad regime's plan to enter Syria's Afrin, where Turkey is carrying out Operation Olive Branch, and striking a deal with PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists is propaganda, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Tuesday.
Kalin noted that while the reports sound like propaganda, they do not mean there is no "secret negotiation" between the Assad regime and the YPG.
The top presidential aide said on his official Twitter account that Turkey's anti-terror operation will continue with determination, regardless of what happens.
Syrian state media said Monday that pro-Assad forces will begin entering Afrin "within hours," after reaching an agreement with the YPG terrorists in control of the region.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (20.02.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/02/20/afrin-region-will-shortly-be-encircled-to-cut-support-end-ypgs-negotiations-erdogan-says), in upcoming days, the Afrin town centre will swiftly be encircled, support to the city and region from the outside will be halted and the terrorist PKK group-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) will no longer have the opportunity to negotiate with anyone, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.
Erdogan's remarks at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party)'s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara came a day after the Assad regime's official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) and pro-regime news outlets reported that regime forces struck a deal with PKK's Syrian affiliate YPG to be stationed in Afrin, which they handed to the terrorist group without a fight in 2012.
Later in the day, Turkish officials clearly warned the regime not to collaborate with YPG, which denied such reports. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani regarding the allegations and Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.02.18, http://aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-gave-us-another-chance-fm-cavusoglu/1066870), the U.S. and Turkey will either normalize relations or bilateral ties will grow even worse, Turkey’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday.
Speaking to journalists during the Munich Security Conference, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey has lost confidence in the U.S. due to Washington’s support for the PYD/PKK terrorist group in Syria. "Our relations with the U.S. have been going through a critical period. Either we are going to normalize relations, put relations back on track, or they will get even worse,” he stressed.
Cavusoglu said that during U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ankara last week, the sides agreed to establish two mechanisms, with the goal of addressing issues of disagreement between the two NATO allies. “One is on bilateral issues,” he said, explaining that this mechanism would particularly focus on Ankara’s expectations from Washington regarding the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader, who orchestrated a defeated coup in 2016.
Mentioning the YPG/PKK, the terrorist PYD/PKK’s armed wing, he added: “The second one is on the situation in Syria, and how they are going to meet our concerns, how the YPG is going to leave Manbij, and how we coordinate this together, and how those [Syrian] towns and cities are going to be governed, by whom, and who is going to ensure the security of these cities and towns.”
Cavusoglu underlined that the normalization of ties between Ankara and Washington depends of the U.S. keeping its promises. “You can say that we gave another chance to bilateral relations,” he added.
“From our side we didn’t do anything wrong. They can’t claim that Turkey actually undermined bilateral relations. They can’t say that Turkey acted hostilely towards the U.S.,” he added.
He said that, under the new mechanism, senior Turkish and American officials will hold their first working group meeting in the first half of March. “Let’s see how they’re going to deliver,” he said, warning that if they do not deliver, “then we have to deal with that.”
Cavusoglu said that one of Ankara’s central demands of Washington is to take back the U.S. weapons it gave to the PYD/PKK.
Cavusoglu said this has been a serious concern for Ankara, as the PYD/PKK tried to smuggle some of these weapons into Turkey. "And we also caught some of them in the hands of PKK terrorists in Turkey, they were using them to attack our security personnel and also civilians,” he argued.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(DPs / AM)