No. 247/18 22-27.12.18
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
Turkish Cypriot newspaperHalkın Sesi(26.12.18)reported that Turkey will start drilling for natural gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the area in which the Republic of Cyprus is carrying out drilling activities. Evaluating the Turkish foreign policy, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists that Turkey’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) coincided with a part of the Republic of Cyprus’ EEC, but not with parcel 10, where American Exxon Mobil was currently drilling.
“Therefore, we will also start drilling now in these areas. In January our second drilling vessel will come”, he said adding that Turkey’s second vessel would have drilled in the Black Sea, but for avoiding “disorder” they decided to drill in these areas (the Eastern Mediterranean).
Cavusoglu said that Turkey was not against the drillings which were held in the area and alleged that its only concern was to secure and protect the “TRNC’s” rights in the income from the natural gas and oil.
He also claimed: “In order to avoid congestion we will also start drilling in these areas, in the areas of our EEZ which we have registered in the UN. And there are also areas to which we have been invited by the TRNC. There is an area starting from the northern part of the TRNC, from Karpasia area and goes north towards Turkey and comes down again. We have also our own EEZ”.
Illegal Bayrak (26.12.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=pakdemirli-in-trnc-2) broadcast that Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli who visited the breakaway regime met with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and the “speaker of parliament” Teberrüken Uluçay.
Speaking after the meeting with Akinci , Pakdemirli said that his visits were mainly focused on the agriculture and water issues. Touching upon the Cyprus problem, the Turkish Minister expressed support to the Turkish Cypriots “rightful cause”. Claiming that the Greek Cypriot side’s perception of the Turkish Cypriots as a minority was a “distorted mentality”, Pakdemirli said: “This is unacceptable for us as much as it is for the Turkish Cypriots.”
Touching upon the “need of finding new solution alternatives”, he said: “Like we did in the past and are doing today we should continue consulting with each other on all issues and find solution models.”
Akıncı for his part reminded that the water brought from Turkey had reached houses but warned that it should not be wasted and expressed the need for taking care of the local resources.
On the Cyprus problem Akinci said: “We came within an inch of a solution” and criticized the Greek Cypriot side’s and the European Union’s manner.
Reminding that a new initiative had been launched on the Cyprus problem, he said the temporary special consultant had held contacts with the two sides and the guarantor countries.
“Whatever the initiative is, it has cornerstones. Within the context of the Cyprus problem, political equality is the most important of these. It wasn’t and will never be true that one side owns the island and the other side has a minority status” Akıncı said.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot leadership had recently developed a new discourse that “the state should be functional”, Akıncı said: “They intend to express an understanding where they will be governing the common state and the Turkish Cypriots will be considered as a minority. It is not possible for us to understand and accept this.”
Claiming that Turkish Cypriots and Turkey should not be excluded from the energy policies in the Eastern Mediterranean, he said that “our warnings that this would be ineffective and cause new tensions came to nothing”. “We will continue to warn them and invite them to reason. However, life goes on. We will continue our efforts towards achieving better days.”
Illegal Bayrak (26.12.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cyprus-issue-45) broadcast that “deputy prime minister and foreign minister” Kudret Özersay has repeated his warnings regarding the Cyprus negotiations process and said “if the lack of common vision is ignored then the result will be the same.”
“I don’t think there is a common vision between the two sides for today” Özersay said.
He made these statements during a program he attended on BRT.
Evaluating the UN Secretary General’s temporary consultant on Cyprus Jane Holl Lute’s recent contacts in Cyprus, he said: “It is not a proper approach for the temporary UN Envoy to start preparing a document called reference paper when there was no common vision between the sides and when there was no consensus on what the sides will negotiate. Therefore, it is seen that the document which is said to be prepared until the end of this year could not be prepared.”
“The problem is while there is a difference in views regarding the essence of the issue. In other words while the sides have different views on what should be negotiated and this is being ignored, at the end of the day they are focusing on issuing a document which everybody will interpret in their own way.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (22.12.18) reported that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister, argued that the sides should agree on what issue they will negotiate on in order for the Cyprus problem to have results.
Speaking to the press after the meeting with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and Head of Mission in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar at the headquarters of the People’s Party (HP), Ozersay said that the meeting was positive and many beneficial issues were discussed. He added that HP believes that both communities should have a good dialogue at different levels and different sectors.
Pointing out that the benefit of the UN is in a dialogue with the political parties in a more intense way than before, Ozersay said that he believes that these contacts of Spehar, which they see as a healthy approach, should be continued in terms of the continuity and persistence of the dialogue.
Ozersay further noted that first the sides should reach a consensus on what to negotiate on before the dialogue, on which the UN Secretary General’s deputy special adviser on Cyprus Jane Holl Lute continues, to be changed into negotiations. He reiterated that if the two sides said the same then the process that would begin would not bring any different conclusion from what they had seen in the ongoing negotiation process for 50 years.
Ozersay said that they had the opportunity to share their views regarding the upcoming period within the framework of special conditions with the UN both international, regional and also in Cyprus. He went on saying that no one can think that these and similar process are independent from the developments in the region and in the world. He added that therefore, the developments in the Cyprus issue, as an international issue, is dependent also from the developments in the region and international, for an example, from the Brexit process, for an example, for the elections of the European Parliament next year, for example from Turkey’s local elections next year. Ozersay also said: “For these reasons, these and similar developments are developments that will affect what will happen in the upcoming period. Taking these into consideration, we had the opportunity to share with the UN, as HP, our views regarding the upcoming period in the context of both international, regional and in Cyprus special conditions. We hope this dialogue will continue by institutionalizing.”
Illegal Bayrak (26.12.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=protocol-signed) broadcast that Turkey’s Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and the “TRNC agriculture and natural resources ministry” have signed the “Agricultural Supplies- Agricultural Credit Cooperatives of Turkey Cooperation Protocol”.
The Turkish Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli and the “TRNC minister for agriculture and natural resources” Erkut Şahali made a statement to the press prior to the inter delegation meetings.
Şahali said that in order to increase productivity in the agricultural sector and make it more sustainable they were continuing with their efforts with the support provided from Turkey.
The Turkish Minister, for his part, said that they would be discussing agricultural issues, financial support, credit cooperatives and exchange of produce during their meeting.
Touching upon the problems experienced in the supply of potatoes, Pakdemirli said they wanted to establish a mechanism that will overcome similar problems that may arise in the future. Explaining that Turkey is number one in Europe in the field of agriculture, Pakdemirli said that with the investments to be made the “TRNC” will also be able to make serious progress in the agricultural field.
The two “ministries” signed the protocol after the inter-delegation meetings were completed.
Turkish Cypriot newspaperKıbrıs(27.12.18)reports that a ceremony to lay the foundation of a tunnel through which water will be carried to occupied Morfou and Mesarya plains for irrigation purposes was laid yesterday in occupied Diorios village. The ceremony was held in the presence of Bekir Pakdemirli, Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forests. The tunnel will be 5,7 meters long and its diameter will reach 4,20 meters. It is estimated that it will be completed within 500 days. Its cost will be 184 million Turkish liras (TL) and it is estimated that it will bring to the breakaway regime a profit of 100 million TL annually.
Addressing the ceremony, Pakdemirli said that yesterday was an extremely important day for the “TRNC”, as he described the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, adding that this was the first step of the two “sister countries” in the field of irrigation, after transferring drinking water from Turkey to the occupied area of the island. Pakdemirli reiterated also the position that Turkey showed to the whole world that it did not hesitate to make any sacrifice needed for the protection of the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots. “Turkey, as motherland and guarantor power, will continue its full support to TRNC’s existence, security, rights and prosperity”, he alleged.
Turkish Cypriot newspaperAfrika (27.12.18)reports that during his speech, Pakdemirli referred to the breakaway regime as “Turkey’s Republic of Northern Cyprus” and not as “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, as the Turkish Cypriots call the illegal “state” they unilaterally declared in 1983. Turkish Cypriot “ministers” and “deputies” who were present at the ceremony listened to Pakdemirli’s words and said nothing, notes the paper.
Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today (22.12.18) published exclusive statements of British High Commissioner Stephen Lilly to the paper, saying that issues involving UK citizens in the occupied area of Cyprus still need to be resolved before Britain leaves the bloc in March.
High Commissioner said: “We know that Brexit is an issue which is of concern and I have met representatives of the British community, the British Residents Society and the Royal British Legion Kyrenia Branch. They have shared some of their concerns…[and] we are trying to understand what the potential implications will be for Britons in the North in terms of coming to or through the South. Concerns are focused on whether they will be able to cross the Green Line as they do at present. What will happen when they come and go through Larnaca or Paphos airport?
“At the moment, it is not completely clear what the situation will be because, as you know, there are not straightforward legal or political issues where you just go and find a rule book that says ‘this is how it works’. What we need to do… is to get the basic Brexit deal nailed down, then we will be able to engage with the authorities in the South on some of these issues.”, he added.
Mr Lillie said movement of people across the “border” was covered by the Green Line Regulation and added: “It’s a lot more flexible for EU nationals. So the problem is what happens when British citizens aren’t EU nationals. Will they be able to cross as freely as they can now? To some extent, there are different ways of interpreting the regulation. When we leave the EU under a deal we have, we will still be following most EU rules [up to 2020]… We have the implementation period to resolve [these issues].”
Asked to respond to claims that he had forgotten UK nationals living in the “north”, Mr Lillie said: “I have not forgotten them. Not too long ago, I met with representatives of the BRS and RBL Keryneia Branch my team meet them regularly, which will continue. Information will continue to be provided via our digital channels and by talking to [Cyprus Today]. It is a reality, however, that there are about six times as many Britons in the South as there are in the North. They are living in the EU and they are the ones who will feel the most immediate and clearest impact of Brexit.”
He added: “The whole Cyprus is in the EU, but the EU acquis is suspended in the North. So EU regulations don’t apply in the North. Therefore, Britons living in the North of Cyprus are not living in the EU…. The citizens’ rights part of the withdrawal agreement applies to Britons living in the EU… But it doesn’t apply to Britons living outside the EU.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.12.18) under the title: “Christodoulides’ wedge on the citizenships”, reports on statements by the general secretary of KTOS, Sener Elcil on the issue of the applications made for the children of mixed marriages in Cyprus to be able to obtain the Republic of Cyprus' citizenship.
In an exclusive statement to the paper, Elcil claimed that the Republic of Cyprus’ Minister of Interior, Constandinos Petrides, has stated that there are 17,000 mixed marriages in Cyprus. “If the average of each of these marriages is two children, then the unjustly treated persons are totally 34,000. We have received totally 5,700 applications from these people”, Elcil said.
He also explained that on August 21, they held a positive meeting with the Minister of Interior, Petrides on this issue, explaining that even though the Interior Ministry has established a committee to examine this issue, it is the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus that would take the final decision, adding that there are political obstacles.
Elcil went to accuse Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Christodoulides of putting political obstacles and claimed that the Minister prevents the submission of the files to the Council of Ministers. Alleging that they had asked for an appointment with Christodoulides but they had not received any answer yet, Elcil accused Christodoulides of following Archbishop Makarios’ policy.
Referring to the policy followed by Turkey after 1974 to systematically transfer population to the “TRNC”, Elcil argued that this situation was first launched after the “signing of the protocol of agriculture labour forces” between Turkey and the “TRNC”. Elcil went on to claim that the number of Turkish Cypriots who obtain the Republic of Cyprus’ citizenship in “north Cyprus” is around 130 thousand, but the population in the “north” is around 600 thousand, as he said. He supported hat the issue is completely a political issue and the responsibility for the population transferring belongs to the “governments” which followed this policy for years. Elcil explained that some settlers from Turkey who were transferred to the “TRNC”, got married and had children, while others as he said, left the “TRNC” and went abroad.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay (24.12.18) reports that the applications to the “Immovable property committee” increased, especially after the Crans Montana summit.
According to the paper, only 1,413 of the applications files were examined from the 6,503 applications made to the “committee”. In addition, 181 applications were sent back. Furthermore, in 82% of the cases, a decision for compensation was made. In total, 296,547,921 Sterling pounds were paid as compensation until now.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (24.12.018) published summaries of the “official gazette” of 13,14,17,18 and 19 December 2018. According to this publication, “Mehmet Gul and Yilmaz Demir were granted TRNC citizenship, according to citizenship law of 9 (1) (C).
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (22.12.18) reported that the Turkish Cypriot businessman and chairman of the administration board of Kibris Media Group, Asil Nadir has stated that the project for investments in the occupied Lefkonoiko airport will be implemented and set into force in 2019.
Speaking in a ceremony organized for the New Year, Nadir explained that new investments will take place in 2019 which will create, as he said, thousands of employment opportunities.
Referring to the “Lefkonoiko airport project”, Nadir claimed: “It is not an airport project that will be implemented in Lefkonoiko but an interesting city project”. With the implementation of this project, employment opportunities for thousands of working positions will be created. It will be a beneficial project which will bring profit to all of us”, he argued.
Turkish Cypriot newspaperHaberatör (25.12.18) reported that a Turkish Cypriot journalist named Hasan Cagda was arrested by the “police” upon a complaint that he had shared on his Facebook page a picture he took with his cellphone in occupied Gonyeli, showing a man in the street with two women who were wearing a black veil [covering everything but their eyes]. “Scenes from the TRNC”, wrote Cagda under the picture. Cagda remained in custody for four hours and a “lawsuit” was filed against him demanding for his imprisonment for a period up to six years on the accusation that he “violated the secrecy of privacy”. His cell phone was confiscated.
Cagda’s lawyers said that taking pictures in public was not a crime and noted that they have also filed a complaint, but the “police” ignored these complaints. They also asked for the return of Cagda’s cell phone and said that they would file a “lawsuit” demanding compensation because of the “police’s” stance.
Moreover, Ali Kismir, chairman of press laborers’ trade union (BASIN-SEN), reacted to the arrest of the journalist and said that this aimed at intimidating, exerting pressure on the press and silencing the press, just like it happens in Turkey.
Under the title “The embassy of Turkey is behind him”, Turkish Cypriot newspaperAfrika (26.12.18) reported that according to Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot primary school teachers’ trade union (KTOS), the complaint to the “police” for the arrest of the journalist had been filed by a Turkish teacher, who is controlled by the “embassy” of Turkey in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. In a written statement, Elcil said that this teacher had been appointed to the occupied area from Turkey to teach the lesson of “religious culture and morality”.
Elcil wondered whether the fact that this teacher forced members of his family to wear a black veil was not an obvious violation of the principle for a modern national education.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Afrika (27.12.18) under the front page title: “War to seize Dome hotel”, reports that the fight for the management of Dome hotel in occupied Keryneia, which belonged in the past to the Katselli family, has escalated recently.
According to the paper, the “tourism laborers trade union (TES)” which was the “manager” of the Greek Cypriot-owned Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia for years now, expressed its reaction over the decision of the Vakif Foundation, where Dome Hotel belongs to, not to proceed to the renewal of the contract with “TES” which expired on May 15, 2018. The Vakif Foundation was reportedly thinking of not renewing the “contact” and to proceed with a call for tenders in order to hand over the illegal management of the hotel to a private company.
According to the paper, so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman is presented to be unhinged after the report submitted to him by “experts” on the issue of the “management” of Dome Hotel. However, Erhurman is expected to announce his “decision” within the forthcoming days. As the paper adds, it has been already six months since the Vakif Foundation’s contract with “TES” has expired and no decision was taken yet.
Turkish Daily Sabah (25.12.18https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/12/23/erdogan-turkish-officials-slam-israeli-pm-netanyahu-over-tweet) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and top Turkish officials on Sunday criticized the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his tweet on Erdoğan.
Speaking at an opening ceremony in Istanbul, Erdoğan said Netanyahu was the "voice of opressors" and used state-sponsored terrorism.
"Unhappy with us for helping Palestinian victims, Israeli Prime Minister attacked with vile insults and slander. Netanyahu accuses us of invasion in Cyprus. I think it is a slip of tongue. He was going to say they were invaders themselves in Palestine," Erdoğan said.
"Israel has no right to accuse anyone without accounting for its own sins, crimes against humanity, massacres and destruction," he added.
On Sunday, Netanyahu in a tweet attacked the Turkish president over Ankara's counter-terror operation and Cyprus issues.
On his official Twitter account the Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote: "The occupier which kicks people lying on the ground is easily offended: @netanyahu is a cold-blooded killer of modern times, responsible for massacres of thousands of innocent Palestinians, bombing children on beaches."
"Turkey will never stop exposing the truth," he added.
"Accused of fraud in investigations carried out in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to manipulate the international community," Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Ömer Çelik said in a tweet.
Çelik said that Netanyahu is "disturbed" by Erdoğan's remarks in favor of humanity and oppressed people.
The spokesman emphasized that Turkey will continue to speak up against Israel's unjust actions against the oppressed Palestinians and its practises that violate international law.
"It means that Netanyahu is disturbed by the operations carried out by the Turkish army and security forces against PKK targets, which carry out terrorist acts against our civilians and the oppressed Syrians, regardless of women and children," Çelik said.
Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın also responded to the Israeli premier's accusations:
"Instead of begging President Erdoğan not to speak out the truth, @netanyahu should end the lawless occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal oppression of Palestinian people. "Bashing Erdoğan or using Kurds as a political chip will not save him from his domestic troubles," Kalın wrote in a tweet.
In addition, Turkey’s Defense Ministry issued a statement supporting that the recent remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu targeting Turkey's counterterrorism operations were "baseless and deluded."
In the statement, the ministry rejected Netanyahu's slander of the Turkish army stressing that it was "an attempt of distraction amid corruption accusations and political problems in his own country."
Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.12.18) reports that Ibrahim Kalin Turkish presidential spokesman, said that Turkey will not allow violation of its rights arising from international law in Eastern Mediterranean.
He made these statements speaking to reporters in Ankara after a Cabinet meeting.
He said that Turkey will not allow a fait accompli, north, south, east or west of Cyprus. “Our goal is to transform the Eastern Mediterranean into a sea of peace”, he stated.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (27.12.18 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/top-turkish-delegation-due-in-russia-to-discuss-syria-3470199) reports that a high-level Turkish delegation including the foreign and defense ministers is to pay a visit to Russia this weekend to discuss recent developments in Syria, according to the country’s ruling party spokesman.
The delegation, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, will be in Moscow on Saturday, Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik said at a news conference in the capital Ankara.
The visit comes in the wake of last week’s surprise announcement by U.S President Donald Trump that Washington will withdraw all its troops from Syria.
Celik said a plan would be made after Saturday’s talks to hold a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (27.12.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-demands-google-to-remove-kurdistan-map-minister-139999) reports that Turkey has demanded that Google remove a map of “Kurdistan,” which includes its own territory.
Answering a parliamentary question from İYİ (Good) Party, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turan said Turkish authorities were aware of the map on Google Earth, which also encompasses Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian territories as a “geo-cultural region.”
“Information and Communication Technologies Authority [BTK] officials talked to the platform’s [Google] representatives for the urgent removal of the map as part of their liabilities over national and international statutes,” the minister said in his response.
“We are following the developments and maintaining our contacts,” he added.
Turkish Minute portal (27.12.18 https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/12/27/court-rules-to-keep-pro-kurdish-deputy-guven-in-jail/) broadcast that a high criminal court in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır has ruled to keep pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Leyla Güven in jail, according to Turkish media reports on Wednesday.
The latest hearing in Güven’s trial in which she faces terrorism charges was held at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court on Wednesday.
Following Güven’s election to parliament in the general election of June 24, her lawyers petitioned the court, asking for Güven’s release on the grounds that she won parliamentary immunity, but the court has so far refused to order her release.
During Wednesday’s hearing Güven’s lawyer reminded the court that a Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy, Enis Berberoğlu, was released from jail although he was convicted of revealing state secrets.
Berberoğlu was released from jail in September after 15 months of imprisonment on espionage charges.
Güven was arrested on Jan.31. She faces a prison sentence of between 17.5 and 31.5 years on charges of establishing and leading a terrorist organization, disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and provoking the public to take part in illegal demonstrations.
In the meantime Güven is currently on a hunger strike demanding the removal of the “heavy lockdown” of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkish Hurrieyt Daily News (27.12.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogans-lawyer-applies-to-media-watchdog-over-actors-comments-140029) reports that lawyer of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan applied to the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) on Dec. 25, demanding that broadcaster Halk TV be fined for “not acting in line with the law” during a program in which actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen made comments on “fascism,” which led to prosecutors launching a probe into them.
In the application submitted to the watchdog, the lawyer, Hüseyin Aydın, said “the comments of Gezen and Akpınar mounted to insult and that the actors directly targeted President Erdoğan.” The president accused both actors of threatening him “with death and a coup explicitly.”
Aydın demanded an administrative fine not less than 10,000 TL halting the broadcastings of Halk TV up to five times in accordance with article 8 of law number 6112, which oversees the Foundation and Broadcasting Services of Radios and Televisions, titled “Principles of Broadcasting Services.”
Actors Metin Akpınar, 77, and Müjdat Gezen, 75, were hosted by journalist Uğur Dündar on his program on Halk TV Dec. 21.
“I believe that the only solution for us to get rid of this polarization and fights is democracy. If we can’t reach that point, then perhaps the leader will be hanged from his feet like it happened in all other fascisms of the past, or he will be poisoned in a dungeon or live the end of all the other [similar] leaders, but it will be ultimately our own destruction,” Akpınar had said in the program.
He had added that all Turkish leaders who “turned toward Russia” in the past were ousted by the military, naming former prime ministers Adnan Menderes and Süleyman Demirel as examples.
Gezen, on the other hand, had directly criticized Erdoğan during the program. “He is rebuking everyone, he is pointing his finger at everybody, he tells people ‘to know your limits.’ Look, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, you cannot test our patriotism. You should know your limit,” he had said.
In response, Erdoğan strongly criticized the two actors during a public speech on Dec. 23. “They say they will take me to the gallows. These are so-called artists. You think you can hang the president of this country? Now go and pay your price at the judiciary,” he said.
Hours after Erdoğan’s statement, the Istanbul Anadolu Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the two actors on charges of “insulting the president” and “threatening him with coup and death.”
Both actors were later released after the court ruled for a ban on overseas travel among other judicial control measures.
Meanwhile, Gezen’s lawyer Celal Ülgen said they would file a criminal complaint against prosecutors who initiated the relevant investigation on Dec. 25. “I do not know whether or not we’ll get a result but we’ll use our legal rights,” said Ülgen.
Turkish Hurrieyt Daily News (27.12.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opposition-parties-condemn-erdogan-for-targeting-comedians-140009) reports that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party have condemned President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for targeting prominent comedians Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen.
“We do not accept what’s being done to Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen. Everyone has the right to criticize [the president]. On a television program, they criticized me even more. But despite this I’m not criticizing them for that. Of course, if they see me making a mistake, they should criticize this.” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in a parliamentary meeting on Dec. 25, adding that Erdoğan “cannot tolerate the slightest criticism.”
Turkish prosecutors on Dec. 23 launched an investigation into Akpınar and Gezen, both veteran actors in their 70s, for comments they made on a live TV program.
Kılıçdaroğlu said Erdoğan was displaying attitude similar to that of Kenan Evren’s, who had become president after leading a bloody military coup in 1980, in detaining intellectuals.
“The constitution urges you to be neutral. Are you neutral? You have to tolerate criticism,” he added.
“The president is also the president of dissidents,” İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener said at her party’s group meeting in parliament on Dec. 25.
“A president should not point his country’s journalists and artists as targets. A president should not breach the legal system by saying ‘Look, they are now being brought to account by the judiciary,’ just five hours before the prosecutor’s investigation,” she said. “A president should unite the nation,” she added.
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