Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (28.02.18) reports that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that a problem exists on the natural gas issue and not a crisis. In statements to illegal TAK news agency on various matters, Erhurman said that currently there is no “serious activity” on the Cyprus problem and commenting on the view that “a natural gas crisis exists”, he claimed: “I do not see it as a crisis. This is a problem. The existence of this problem is related with the existence of the Cyprus problem”.
Noting that the “government” has also undertaken some initiatives on the issue through self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, Erhurman alleged: “Our position is clear: Our view is that the Cyprus problem should be solved and the federation’s competent organs which will hold discussions on this issue will take the decisions. However, it is not possible for us to accept unilateral actions on this issue before a federation to be established, that is before a solution is reached, and the will of the Turkish Cypriots to be ignored”.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot “people” is one of the two fundamental founding elements in Cyprus and they should be accepted as one of the sides which will express their will during the decision making and not only a side which gains profit, Erhurman argued that they cannot accept the approach that “we will anyway give you a share from the income”, because the Turkish Cypriots are not “only a group of people which takes a share from this income”.
Moreover, he said that the “government” will be more actively involved in this process and alleged that the Greek Cypriots should abandon the mentality saying that “I will benefit from every kind of possibility without a solution to the Cyprus problem” and that “only the Turkish Cypriots are harmed from the non-solution”. Arguing that because of the non-solution the common benefit from the island’s resources has become problematic, Erghurman alleged:
“Until today, the Greek Cypriot side was seeing things as following: Only the Turkish Cypriot side is harmed from the non-solution, the more I prolong non-solution the more benefit I gain. Behold, such situations show that this is not so much in its favor, because we also have rights. […] We said let a joint committee be established and when there is no common solution, this committee to express [our] will, but they did not accept this. Since they did not accept this, we do not allow it. The execution of sovereignty through a unilateral will in which we do not participate is not something which we could accept”.
Asked about the Republican Turkish Party’s (CTP) contacts with Greek Cypriot political parties, Erhurman said that he could continue meeting with DYSI and AKEL parties as the chairman of the CTP. “I would very much like to hold contacts as prime minister as well, but I do not think that they would accept something like this”, he argued adding that he had no meeting with Greek Cypriot parties since he became “prime minister”.
Referring to their relations with Turkey, Erhurman said that after the “government” secured a “vote of confidence” in the “assembly”, he asked for having meetings in Ankara with various Turkish officials having a concrete agenda and not for a routine visit. He noted that the discussions with Ankara for signing a “cooperation protocol” will resume and added that they want to express their views on this issue. He also noted that the date of his visit in Ankara was not determined yet adding that during the visit he will most likely be accompanied by self-styled “deputy prime minister” and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay.
Furthermore, Erhurman said that “clear principles” are included in the “government’s program” on the “citizenship” issue and that the “coalition partners” agree on the following: 1) The new “citizens” should not “vote” in the first “elections” (after they are granted “citizenship”), 2) The “principle” that the “cabinet” grants obligatorily “citizenship” should be abolished, 3) Clear criteria should be included in the “law” regarding the “citizenship by exception” to persons who have contributed or will contribute to the regime in fields such as culture, sports and economy, 4) A provision should be put in the “law” so that those who come to the occupied area of Cyprus with a “work permit” to return to their country before five years are completed and if necessary to be able to come back after a certain period of time passes, and 5) Those who will be granted a “white card” to have all the benefits except for the “right to vote and be elected”.
Erhurman alleged also the following: “The issue which increases the number of citizenships is the work permits. After five years pass, the right of applying for citizenship is born. If a certain period of time passes and becomes ten years, the issue is turned into a human rights matter”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.02.18) reports that “deputy prime minister” and “foreign minister”, Kudret Ozersay has alleged that they should continue acting in a deterrent manner without being skirmish regarding the sea areas of jurisdiction and if necessary a bilateral “delimitation agreement” of exclusive economic zones (EEZ) might come onto the agenda. Addressing the “assembly” yesterday, Ozersay thanked Ersin Tatar, “deputy” with the opposition National Unity Party (UBP) for describing as “successful” the steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey on the hydrocarbons issue and noted that the natural gas issue does not have only financial importance for them.
Alleging that there is a disputable sea area of jurisdiction around Cyprus as regards the natural wealth, Ozersay argued that this is a usual situation in the international law. He also described as “undisputable” the fact the Turkish Cypriot “people” have rights over the entire wealth around Cyprus and alleged that the steps by the Turkish side were taken having as starting point the Turkish Cypriot “people’s” will. Claiming that in 2011 the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey “changed a paradigm” on the issue of the sea jurisdictions by saying that “if you do not sit and discuss with us, we will also make actions similar to yours”, he argued that the second “change of paradigm” was the “agreement” regarding the “delimitation of continental shelf” between Turkey and the occupation regime.
Ozersay further argued that the Greek Cypriot side, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, was not able to secure that explorations were held by a company in an area for which it had granted license, and alleged that it was shown that the Republic of Cyprus has no de facto control in that area, something which is, allegedly, important.
Replying to a question regarding his contacts on the issue of the drillings in Cyprus’s EEZ, Ozersay noted that all these meetings are filed in the “state archive” and the minutes were communicated to the “competent authorities”, according to the “customs and practices”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.02.18) reports that the UNSG’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar met yesterday with the so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay.
According to a written statement issued by the “ministry”, the meeting took place at the “foreign ministry” in the occupied area of Cyprus and officials from the UN as well as from the “TRNC’s foreign ministry” attended.
During the meeting, Ozersay and Spehar discussed the latest developments in Cyprus.
Under the title: “Mini fleet to Cyprus”, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (27.02.18) reported that Turkey has sent a “mini fleet forces” in the east of the “TRNC” as a reciprocity to the situation in the Aegean Sea and the oil exploration activities of the “Greek Cypriot administration” in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In this framework, Turkey has sent two frigates, one corvette, two assault boats and one oil carrier. However, the military existence in the region has been reinforced recently writes the paper with one submarine and one corvette. “Thus, it is remarkable the fact that the military existence in the region has raised at the level of ‘a mini fleet’”, adds the paper, pointing out that as a result of the decisive stance of Turkey in the region, the drilling ship has already set off from the Eastern Mediterranean and is heading to Morocco.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (28.02.18) reports that so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, speaking yesterday during the “council of ministers meeting”, announced that the “council of ministers approved the “demand of some Turkish prisoners who are under custody in the TRNC central prisons to be extradited”.
Invoking reliable resources, the paper writes that 250 out of the 523 prisoners in the occupation regime’s central prison are Turkish citizens. The paper adds that the demand of 6 Turkish citizens who are under custody in the “TRNC” to be transferred to Turkey has become acceptable.
Speaking also on the issue of the “persons being granted the TRNC’s citizenship exceptionally with a council of minister’s decision” in the past, Ozerday announced that they have decided to re-examine this issue.
Ozersay explained that “during the past two years, two thousand persons were granted the TRNC’s citizenship exceptionally”. He added that they will examine all these cases and claimed that “all citizenships which are not abiding with the law will be cancelled. I will provide more details about the issue next week”, Ozerday said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.02.18) reports that Turkey “has signed a cooperation protocol with the TRNC government envisaging the increase of security measures at towns and crossing points in the TRNC”.
The “protocol” was “signed” between Turkey and the “TRNC” on September 26, 2017 and after being approved by Turkey, it was published yesterday at the official gazette of the Republic of Turkey.
The “protocol envisages the implementation of a project for measures to be taken for a security management system in towns and for the increase of security measures at the crossing points”.
According to the paper, the so-called ministry of interior “will prepare the necessary legal regulations for the implementation of the project in order to be able to be set into force”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.02.18- http://aa.com.tr/en/europe/release-of-terrorist-belies-eus-anti-terror-stance/1075366) reported that Turkey on Tuesday blasted the Czech Republic’s decision to release a former leader of the terrorist PYD/PKK, saying that the ruling violated its responsibility to abide by international law and to fight terrorism.
The PYD/PKK “is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by the European Union, of which the Czech Republic is a member,” said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.
“The Czech court’s decision to release Salih Muslim, instead of arresting him, shows that it ignores the killing of dozens of innocent civilians in terrorist attacks and the suffering of their families,” the Ministry added.
The statement said that the decision also showed the "insincerity" of European countries’ counter-terrorist stance.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Turkey's Ambassador in Prague Ahmet Necati Bigali said: “Unfortunately, it seems that the information and documents prepared by our Justice Ministry were not taken into consideration by the court. This decision is in no way acceptable.”
The decision may harm ties between the Czech Republic and Turkey, as it undermines the idea that terrorism can best be fought through international cooperation, Bigali added.
A Czech court on Tuesday released Muslim, a former co-leader of the PYD/PKK terrorist group. He was detained on Sunday in Prague after Turkey called on the Czech Republic to arrest the ex-terrorist leader.
The Turkish Interior Ministry has offered a bounty of nearly $1 million on Muslim, who it lists among Turkey’s most wanted terrorists.
Muslim is being sought on charges of disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state, homicide, attempted homicide, damaging public property, and transporting hazardous substances.
The PYD/PKK is a Syrian offshoot of the PKK -- designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- which has taken some 40,000 lives in its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/former-pyd-co-leader-salih-muslim-released-by-czech-court-despite-turkish-extradition-request-127962) reported that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag slammed the court’s decision to release Muslim, saying it amounts to support for terrorism.
“This decision very clearly amounts to support for terrorism,” Bozdag told reporters in Ankara.
He also said that the decision is against international law, adding that it will have a negative impact on Turkish-Czech relations.
Bozdag said further that the court ruling came as no surprise for Turkey. “Because, the EU member countries’ stances on Turkey and on the people who have carried out terrorist acts against Turkey are obvious,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu said that Turkey issued a diplomatic note to the Czech Republic for the release of Muslim, adding that Turkey will pursue Muslim "wherever he goes."
Meanwhile, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said that Turkey expects the Czech authorities to compensate for the “mistake” it made by releasing Muslim.
Gül said the court’s decision was motivated by political reasons, adding Turkey would “never accept this decision.” He added that Turkey would pursue its legal rights on the issue.
Ahead of the Prague ruling, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that the court’s decision would be a “test” for the Czech Republic on its sensitivity toward the fight against terrorism and its solidarity toward a NATO ally.
“However, whatever the outcome [of the court ruling], these terrorist ringleaders will not be able to walk free, we will continue to make life unbearable for them,” Yıldırım said.
Muslim was detained by Czech police late on Feb. 24 at the request of the Turkish authorities.
Turkey accuses the former PYD leader of “attempting to disrupt the unity and territorial integrity of the state” through a series of terror attacks on Turkish soil that claimed the lives of scores of civilians.
In previous years Muslim liaised with Ankara on a number of diplomatic issues related to Syria, but has since been put on the Turkish Interior Ministry’s “most wanted terrorists” list, with a $1 million bounty on his head.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-says-france-mischaracterized-presidential-phone-call-over-syria-128009) reports that Turkey refuted a French statement about a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, saying it was “dishonest” and mischaracterized their discussion of a Syria cease-fire, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
“Contrary to a statement by the French presidential office regarding a phone conversation between our President and French President Macron referring to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2401 regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria, Mr. Macron did not make reference to Afrin [in north western Syria],” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.
The French presidential office’s statement published on Feb. 26 had said: “The President of the Republic stressed that the humanitarian truce applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay to stop the spiral of violence in progress.”
Aksoy called the statement “dishonest,” stressing that Turkey conveyed to the French authorities its displeasure at their “giving false information to the public.”
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-algeria-sign-trade-agreements-128003) reported that Turkey and Algeria have signed a number of agreements on the sidelines of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day visit to the Maghreb country, with the Turkish leader pushing for higher trade goals.
Algeria’s state-owned energy company SONATRACH and Turkey’s Rönesans and Bayegan energy firms have agreed on a $1 billion investment in the petrochemical sector, Erdogan said on Feb. 27 in Algiers, where he attended a Turkey-Algeria Business Forum.
The forum came one day after Erdogan met with Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in the city.
The investment will be made in the Adana Yumurtalık Free Zone, located in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Adana.
Erdogan said that the plant at the economic zone would produce 450,000 tons of polypropylene per year and that the raw material will be provided by Algeria.
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer, which is used in various sectors such as spare parts used in the automotive industry, packaging of textile and food.
“Once the plant becomes operational, Turkey will surpass issues in its current account deficit and external dependence will also be reduced by 25%”, he added.
“I believe we should advance our cooperation with Algeria in the energy field rapidly. We should develop joint projects,” Erdogan further said.
Erdogan added that Algeria and Turkey remain determined to give necessary support to the business community to invest in the energy sector.
Erdogan’s visit to Algeria — the first stop in a four-nation African tour — is the second presidential trip to the country. After Algeria, Erdogan was set to head to Mauritania on February 28, followed by Senegal and Mali.
The mutual agreements signed on February 26 included cooperation on hydrocarbons and a cooperation protocol on a Turkology project signed between Turkey’s Yunus Emre Institute and Algeria’s Setif-2 University.
The Turkish and Algerian Foreign Ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Diplomacy Academy and the Algerian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic and International Relations Institute.
Another memorandum of understanding regarding cooperation on agriculture was signed between the Agriculture Ministers of the two countries.
The Culture Ministers of both countries signed a cooperation protocol to utilize the common cultural heritage between Turkey and Algeria.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/two-more-hdp-deputies-lose-seats-in-turkish-parliament-128006) reported that two more Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputies have been stripped of their parliamentary status following criminal verdicts against them which they were read out at a Parliamentary session.
The summaries of proceedings against Deputies Ahmet Yıldırım and İbrahim Ayhan included the final verdict of separate legal cases against them and was read aloud at parliament’s General Assembly on February 27.
Yıldırım was sentenced to one year and two months in prison in June 2017 for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech after the April 2017 referendum.
With the latest procedure, Yıldırım became the first MP in parliamentary history to be stripped of his status for “insulting the President.”
Ayhan, meanwhile, was sentenced to one year and three months in jail in July 2017 for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” over his social media posts and for attending the funerals of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members.
In 2016, the legislative immunity of lawmakers was lifted through the joint votes of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Following the vote, almost all HDP Deputies faced summaries of proceedings on 100 different accusations, while seven lawmakers are currently in prison including former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas.
With the removal from Parliament of Ayhan and Yıldırım, a total of nine HDP Deputies have now been stripped of their parliamentary status on the basis of criminal convictions or for failing to attend parliamentary sessions.
Before the removals, the HDP had entered Parliament after the November 2015 parliamentary election with 59 Deputies.
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(AK / AM)