Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.12.18) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Kudret Ozersay held a meeting yesterday with the Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Elizabeth Spehar. During the meeting, they discussed the UN Secretary General’s Temporary Consultant Lute’s recent contacts and exchanged views on UNFICYP’s activities.
They also took up the term report to be presented to the UN Security Council in January regarding UNFICYP’s mandate.
According to a statement by the so-called information office, Ozersay and Spehar discussed the tension created in the agriculture areas of occupied Deneia and Mia Milia villages saying that a way for co-operation must be found in the area where, according to Ozersay’s claims, “the Greek Cypriot side is trying to deliberately create tension”.
The statement also added that during the meeting Ozersay brought up to the agenda the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal for demining and said that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to demine the whole island.
Illegal Bayrak (20.12.18 http://www.brtk.net/kaymakci-turkiye-1960-anlasmasi-uyarinca-kibristadir/ ) broadcast that Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs, met with members of the Turkish Delegation to Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee’s meeting and replied to several questions by European Parliament Deputies.
Responding to a statement by a Cypriot EU Deputy that Cyprus supports Turkey’s EU bid, Kaymakci claimed: “If you truly support Turkey then you must re-launched the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem with the Turkish Cypriots”.
He also claimed that “statements that the Greek Cypriot side is not preventing the 8 chapters from being discussed during Turkey’s membership process, are also incorrect”.
According to Bayrak, Kaymakci reacted against the use of the term “invading force” for Turkey and claimed the following: “Turkey has never invaded a country. We are there through our rights stemming from the 1960 agreement. We are there not only for the Turkish Cypriots to live in peace but for the Greek Cypriots as well”.
Alleging that Turkey is in Cyprus so that peace and stability can prosper in the country Kaymakci stated: “As long as there is peace on the island the presence of the Turkish armed forces should not be a cause for concern”.
Touching upon the Exclusive Economic Zone in the region, the Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister alleged that no one should be claiming full rights over the natural resources on the island.
“In 2005 Turkey had clearly stated that it sees the energy issue as an issue for cooperation. We said that in order to determine, where and how these sources are going to be shared should be determined by a committee that should be established jointly by Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. This proposal is still valid. But instead of finding a solution and coming to an agreement some circles are trying to take unilateral steps creating even more problems between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots and Turkey and Cyprus”, he claimed.
Touching upon one of the comments made by an EU MP that pains are being experienced under occupation, he stated: “If there is a side that is experiencing pain it is the north of the island that is being crushed under embargoes being imposed by the Greek Cypriot side.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (20.12.18) reports that according to a decision ratified by Turkey’s Presidency, “TRNC licence plate vehicles have been authorized for international transportation”. The decision, which was signed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was published yesterday in the official gazette of Turkey.
According to the decision, goods sent from third countries to warehouses in Turkey can now be transferred to the occupied area of Cyprus by TIR trucks with “TRNC licence plates” without showing any pecuniary guarantee. With this decision, there is expected to be an increase in the work load of the TIR trucks with “TRNC licence plates”, and the cost of transportation will be more appropriate to the importers in the “TRNC”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (20.12.18) reports that the “budget” of the “security forceS command” (“GKK) which is 423 million TL, has been “approved” yesterday in the so-called assembly. Also, the “budget of the civil defense organization”, which is 27 million TL, was also approved.
In statements during the “budget discussion”, the so-called deputy with the UBP, Dursun Oguz, pointing out the importance of the “existence of the security forces command” for the “security of the country”, underlining at the same time, that “south Cyprus”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, spent millions for its security and army. Oguz stressed further the need for the so-called government to undertake steps in order to do the necessary infrastructure in the “army” and also to support the “personnel”.
In his turn, so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, referred, inter alia, to the FETO investigations in the occupied area of Cyprus, claiming that the “prime ministry” cannot intervene, since as he said the investigations are taking place confidentially.
Referring to the killing of the 13 year-old boy, who was killed by unexploded munitions in a military shooting range next to the occupied village of Chrysiliou, Erhurman alleged that the “security forces command” clean up the area and added that a decision was taken to “investigate” the incident thoroughly.
Referring to the Republic of Cyprus budget amounts which are allocated for defense, Erhurman claimed that they have problem with the agreements that “south Cyprus” signs with foreign countries. “We should decide together on the hydrocarbon issue and those agreements can be valid only if we decide together”, Erhurman argued.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Gunes (20.12.18) reports that the “four party coalition government” will take up a loan of 80 million TL from the “cooperative central bank”, since it is unable to meet its “financial responsibilities”.
According to the paper, the “council of ministers” “decided” the other day to give the authority to the “ministry of finance” to obtain a loan amounted to 80 million, in order to be able to meet financial responsibilities.
Invoking reliable sources, the paper alleged that Turkey did not transfer to the occupation regime the planned “operating budget” for this month, which is 100 million TL. The same sources support that the Turkish government is disappointed with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which is the “biggest partner” of the “coalition government” due to its negative stance on issues related to economy. The same sources claim that there is not a healthy and consistent dialogue between the “government” and Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (29.12.18) reports that Cafer Gurcafer, “chairman” of the “Turkish Cypriot building contractors association”, in statements to ADA TV in the occupied area of Cyprus, announced yesterday that they had reached an “agreement” with the so-called government on the “Temporary City Planning Decree” for the occupied areas of Famagusta, Trikomo and Agios Sergios, which was put into effect and was published in the “official gazette” of the breakaway regime the other day.
According to Gurcafer, the crisis experienced with the “government” on the decree was overcome, since they had reached agreement.
Gurcafer alleged that the “decree will become a law number 55-89 and will envisage the establishment of zoning higher council. This council will be responsible for the preparation of zoning plans”.
Also, a “budget will be set” in order to be allocated for speeding up the preparation of “zoning plans”. Sources from this “budget” will be transferred to the “higher zoning council”. The union of chambers of architectures and civil engineers” will be responsible of the coordination and technical support of the preparation of “zoning plans”. Also, the “higher zoning council” will be responsible to arrange any problems that might arise in the areas where development and investments will take place.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.12.18) reports that Akile Buke, the chairwoman of the "higher education planning evaluation, accreditation and coordination council",(“YODAK”) in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, claimed that the accreditation and recognition of the illegal universities are increased.
Buke, who made statements regarding the memberships and international work of YODAK, stated that, as of December 2018, the illegal universities are recognized and have accreditation by more than 20 organizations in 17 countries. She also claimed that the “universities”, mainly the five big ones that were established first, (the Eastern Mediterranean University, the Keryneia American University, the Near East University, the Lefka University and the International Cyprus University) are de facto recognized by 80 countries and are members in 106 organizations and institutions.
She also said that YODAK participated in 11 international institutions during the period 2017-2018 and paid six visits to Turkey.
Turkish daily Sabah (20.12.18, https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2018/12/20/milli-savunma-bakani-akardan-flas-operasyon-aciklamasi) reports that Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar reiterated that not only in Turkey or in their borders, but also in the Aegean, the Mediterranean and Cyprus, they will continue their efforts for the protection of their rights deriving from the international law and treaties. He further said that they do what they can to protect also their rights in the sea, and they will continue to do so.
Speaking during his visit to Turkish forces in Doha, Qatar’s capital, Akar stressed that they will never make concessions on the rights of their country and of their nation, adding that they are in favour of good neighbourly relations, peace, friendship and cooperation. He further said: “However, we will not take one step back even in the slightest degree from the rights of our nation, Turkey and the TRNC also in the Aegean and in the Mediterranean. We have taken all kinds of measures to protect the rights of our country and our nation, and we will continue to do this. There is no step back here. We do not and will not allow any fait accompli on. We have also declared to all that no solution, that Turkey and the TRNC do not say “yes” or do not participate, has any chance to survive and we will continue to say this.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Defence Minister said that Turkey is preparing “intensely” for a counter-terrorist military operation in Manbij and parts of Syria east of the Euphrates River.
Under the title “Energy and Natural Resources Minister: Turkey to carry out two deep-sea drilling ops in Mediterranean, Black Sea annually”, Turkish daily Sabah (20.12.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2018/12/20/energy-and-natural-resources-minister-turkey-to-carry-out-two-deep-sea-drilling-ops-in-mediterranean-black-sea-annually) reports that as Turkey works to increase the share of renewable energy sources, it is adding nuclear power to the country's energy mix to reduce import dependency, maximize the use of domestic resources and combat climate change. The country has also drawn out an energy policy that looks to secure national energy supply and meet future demand by using energy efficiently and limiting imports. One of the key elements the policy focuses on is the tension regarding natural gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, near the coast of Cyprus. Turkey has consistently objected to the Greek Cypriot administration's [Republic of Cyprus] unilateral drilling activity in the area, which has commissioned American, French and Italian energy giants, including Exxon, Total and ENI.
Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said that Turkey's first drilling vessel, Fatih, started its first deep drilling in the Mediterranean off the coast of Antalya. Saying that Fatih is capable of drilling at 4,000 feet, Dönmez said the vessel will start working at new locations next year. "I hope our second drilling ship will reach Turkey by the end of January. After installing the necessary equipment, the second vessel will start drilling within the specified program. We plan to do at least two deep-sea drillings annually in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea," Dönmez added.
He said that Turkey launched shallow sea drilling off the coast of the Mediterranean city of Mersin last month. The drilling will continue for two months, before being moved to the southern province of Adana where Karataş-1 well will be opened. "We have always defended this: If there is oil or natural gas, we will find it. We analyse all scientifically collected data and benefit from using the latest technology”.
He said that the number 10 parcel was outside the license areas determined by Turkey and the “TRNC”. Dönmez further said that the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Republic of Cyprus] had no right to sign agreements that ignored the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
"We have warned South Cyprus a few times. We stressed that the Greek Cypriot side's unilateral and illegal move in the region would certainly have consequences," the Minister said. He pointed out that if the Greek Cypriots continue to carry out search operations and drilling activities in disputed areas, they will respond accordingly. The Energy Minister said it was difficult to reach a comprehensive settlement on this issue unless there was a fair share between Turkish and Greek Cypriots on the island.
Turkey has always used negotiation channels in this regard and has always taken constructive steps in order for diplomacy to work, Dönmez alleged.
He claimed that southern Cyprus [Republic of Cyprus] follows a policy based on non-resolution by abusing its European Union membership. "It should be well known that we are the primary components in this region and to this day, anything we have never wanted does not happen, and we will never allow it to happen". Dönmez noted that action against this situation means not knowing the history and the realities of the region.
Commenting on Turkey's petroleum explorations in the Black Sea, the Minister said that Turkey currently has a natural gas platform in Akçakoca known as the pearl of the western Black Sea. "We are now doing seismic exploration activities with our Barbaros Hayrettin and Oruç Reis seismic ships with our own human resources and local equipment," Dönmez said, recalling the drilling operations Turkey previously carried out in the Black Sea with the world's leading companies.
He stressed that data collected by the two seismic vessels were analysed in detail. The Minister said that oil or gas should be found in wells to be opened, in order to determine the actual amount of reserves in the region. He added that the estimated reserve and commercial size of the site would be revealed after the test results.
Considering the structure of the region, promising results can be obtained from Turkey's activities in the Black Sea, the Minister said. With the arrival of the second drilling vessel, activities in the region will be further increased. (…)
Referring to TurkStream, Donmez said that around 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas will be transported annually through the TurkStream project, while half of this gas will be used in Turkey. He added that most of the gas would also play a fundamental role in the protection of the system balance in peak periods in areas where energy is used intensively.
Since Turkey will play an important role in energy supply security in Europe with the activation of the TurkStream project, Dönmez said that some Balkan countries have started to negotiate with the EU to receive gas from TurkStream, adding that Turkey welcomes this development.
Asked if the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant – set to come online by 2023 – will provide safe energy, Dönmez said that the VVER-1200 type reactors have the highest security standards and use the latest technology. "It will be the models escalated by thermal efficiency, momentum and power," he said. He added that the four reactors at Akkuyu NPP will produce 4,800 MW of electricity, meeting 12.5 percent of Turkey's annual energy demand, which is equivalent to Istanbul's annual electricity consumption. (…)
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.12.18. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/top-headline/top-turkish-us-diplomats-discuss-syria/1343662), Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a phone conversation Wednesday with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo after Washington signalled that it would withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, said Turkish diplomatic sources.
The phone conversation between Cavusoglu and Pompeo came after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S.-led coalition has succeeded in militarily defeating the Daesh terrorist group, suggesting that a withdrawal of U.S. troops was imminent. "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," Trump said on Twitter, using another name for Daesh.
The announcement follows reports that the U.S. is preparing to withdraw its roughly 2,000 troops from north-eastern Syria, where it has been working to defeat Daesh.
The White House appeared to confirm the U.S.’s departure, stressing that military victory against Daesh in Syria "do not signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign”. "We have started returning United States troops home as we transition to the next steps of this campaign," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. "The United States and our allies stand ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary". (…)
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.12.18. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-us-navies-hold-joint-maritime-trainings/1343289), the Turkish and U.S. navies carried out joint maritime exercises in international waters in the southwest of Cyprus.
Turkey's TCG Gokceada and TCG Gemlik frigates along with a helicopter and a maritime patrol aircraft conducted maritime trainings with the USS D. Cook warship of the U.S. Navy, the Turkish Defence Ministry said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The joint maritime trainings were held on Monday, it added.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (20.12.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/irans-rouhani-praises-relations-with-turkey-3469661), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday hailed his country’s close ties with Turkey and called for stepped-up economic relations.
Speaking to reporters at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, Rouhani -- now on a state visit to Turkey at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan -- said that economic relations would top the agenda of talks at a Thursday meeting in Ankara between the two leaders.
On Thursday, Rouhani is slated to attend the fifth session of the Turkey-Iran Cooperation Council in the Turkish capital. “We will discuss means of enhancing ties and overcoming the obstacles to achieving that goal,” Rouhani said, adding: “Turkey is extremely important to Iran”.
“We share deep historical, cultural and religious ties,” the Iranian president said. “In recent months, Turkey -- and especially President Erdogan -- has taken a firm stance against the U.S. sanctions [on Iran].”
In reference to recent tripartite talks on Syria between Turkey, Iran and Russia, he said: “We’re pursuing two very important issues: the security of Syria and the return of refugees”. He added: “But Syria’s future must be decided by Syrians”.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (20.12.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-prevented-347-terror-acts-in-2018-interior-min-3469627), Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, speaking at a workshop on counter-terrorism in Ankara, said on Wednesday that Turkey prevented some 347 terror acts in 2018.
"Last year, we prevented 697 terror acts -- which became 347 this year. There is a tremendous struggle and serious success that can't be ignored," Soylu said. (…)
He said Turkey captured some foreign nationals attempting to cross the Turkish borders to go to the Middle East to join PKK/PYD and Daesh terrorist groups. "Nearly 9,500 European citizens from 28 EU countries, who attempted to cross to conflict zones and join terrorist organizations like PKK/PYD and Daesh, had a permanent entry ban imposed on them," Soylu said, stressing that France and Belgium were the first two of these 28 EU countries.
Soylu further asserted that Turkey had so far imposed permanent entry bans on 69,967 people from 151 countries. Turkey also extradited a total of 7,031 foreign terrorists of 100 nationalities, Soylu added.(…)
Meanwhile, under the titel “2,754 arrested in Turkey over social media messages in 2018”, Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (19.12.18, https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/12/19/turkey-arrests-2754-people-for-online-terrorist-propaganda-since-2016-failed-coup/) reports that a total of 110,000 social media accounts have been investigated, 7,109 social media users have been detained and 2,754 of them have been arrested in 2018 due to their posts, according to a statement from Turkey’s Security Directorate General, the Demirören news agency reported on Wednesday.
The directorate said 2,828 social media users who were detained this year were released on judicial probation.
Turkey has been carrying out a crackdown on social media as well as print and broadcast media, targeting a wide range of people such as journalists, human rights activists, politicians, members of nongovernmental organizations, academics, construction workers, physicians and high school and university students.
According to transparency reports published by Twitter, Turkey was the world leader in requests to remove accounts or content – so-called “take down” requests – between 2014 and mid-2017. (…)
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (19.12.18, https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/12/19/turkey-has-canceled-1954-press-cards-since-january-2016-says-vice-president/) and Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (19.12.18, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1175621/Son_3_yilda_1954_gazetecinin_basin_karti_iptal_edildi.html), Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay on Wednesday said 1,954 press cards were cancelled by the government between Jan. 1, 2016 and Nov. 29, 2018 for various reasons.
The press cards of 705 journalists, who were working for news outlets affiliated with the Gülen movement or were dismissed from state-owned media bodies over Gülen links, were also cancelled, Fuat Oktay added.
In Turkey, press cards are given by a committee under a media watchdog attached to the government. Of the nine members of the committee, only one seat represents media organizations and unions. Also, a new regulation making the cancelation of press cards easier was adopted in January.
There are 15,206 press card holders in Turkey, Oktay said in response to a parliamentary question posed by opposition deputy Atilla Sertel.
Turkey has been pursuing a crackdown on the media in the aftermath of a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Almost all media workers who are detained are accused of terrorism without credible evidence.
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