According to illegal Bayrak television (10.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-in-washington), Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister, who completed his contacts in New York moved on to Washington D.C. yesterday.
As part of his contacts in the US capital, Özersay met with several high level officials from the US State Department. He then held meetings with some officials from US President Trump’s team at the White House.
Within the framework of his contacts in Washington, Özersay also attended a meeting at the Atlantic Council – one of the most prestigious think tanks in the world especially on the issues of energy and security.
During a speech he delivered at the Atlantic Council, Özersay touched upon the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, the mandate of UNFICYP and the natural gas issue in the Eastern Mediterranean. He also responded to participants’ questions.
As part of his contacts, Özersay will also be meeting with several members of the US Congress.
On the same issue, “BRT” (10.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=fm-ozersay-speaks-at-atlantic-council) also broadcast that Özersay, during his speech at the Atlantic Council, has expressed the view that the two sides in Cyprus should start to cooperate on a wide area of issues without waiting for a solution, adding that it was not right to try and link everything in Cyprus to the decades long Cyprus problem.
“The two sides should be able to cooperate, without having to wait for a settlement, on a wide range of issues such as natural gas, crime and extradition, the fight against money laundering and terrorism”, argued Özersay, expressing the view that this was the only true way to building an environment of trust between the two sides on the island.
Drawing attention to the importance of cooperation in achieving peace and stability in the region, Özersay said that the cooperation carried out between the two sides on electricity in 2011 was a good example of what needed to be done. He reminded that the “South” (Republic of Cyprus) had experienced serious power shortages following a massive explosive at the main power plant in Mari. “The Greek Cypriot side had hesitated at first but later turned around, did what was pragmatic, showed the necessary flexibility and purchased electricity needed from the North” he said. Özersay pointed out that the deal had been made possible via the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.
“We saw that if there is a will there is a way. We saw that it was possible to cooperate on a wide range of issues through mutual need and pragmatism” he added.
On the issue of hydrocarbons, Özersay claimed that the international community’s approach to the issue was the reason for the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to cooperate on the issue. “While one side is able to benefit from this wealth, the other side, an equal partner over that wealth, is told by the international community that it can only benefit from this wealth as and when a settlement is reached. Naturally such a stance discourages the Greek Cypriots from cooperating on this issue”, he argued.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(10.01.19)reports that the Left Movement has described as unacceptable the demand to not renew the term of duty of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which had been put onto the agenda by Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, during his contacts in New York.
In a statement issued by Abdullah Korkmazhan on behalf of the Movement, it is said: “The demand for not prolonging UNFICYP’s term of duty and its withdrawal from Cyprus in the current conditions of the continuation of the cease fire and the non-solution is a dangerous, adventurist and provocative effort aiming at inciting tension”.
Kormazhan called on Ozersay to say what he suggested in UNFICYP’s place and wondered whether the UN should hand over to the Turkish occupation army the places which are under its control in Cyprus. He also asked who would interfere when a military or a provocative action happened.
Noting that Ozersay had said that the Turkish Cypriot side demanded that UNFICYP’s term of duty should not be renewed, Korkmazhan argued that it was evident that the “coalition government” had no Cyprus policy and called on Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci to issue a statement on the matter.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot news portal Gazedda Kıbrıs(10.01.19, http://gazeddakibris.com/ozersayin-samimiyetsiz-bm-girisimi-tumay-tugyan/?fbclid=IwAR2IY2_nemrFkPF2QmxEanLMnQwSMB_0fI20gAahGTh3higfAOaCbSprnG8)under the above title, columnist Tumay Tugyan reports that changing UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus’ (UNFICYP) term of duty was one of the main issues on the agenda of the contacts held in New York by Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus. Noting that Ozersay had expressed the view that UNFICYP’s mandate should not continue in its current form, Tugyan says that Ozersay had demanded from UN Deputy Secretary General Jean Pierre Lacroix “the abolition of the military wing of the mission”.
She notes that in statements to Turkish Cypriot Diyalog TV on Monday, Ozersay had said that UNFICYP had been established in 1964 when there was a possibility for a conflict on the island and the regional peace was threatened. “However, at the point we have come today, just like nothing of these exists, a large part of the duties given to the UN Peace Keeping Force have lost their meaning”, he alleged adding that “we do not think that it is meaningful for the international community to keep Peace Force’s mission here with an expenditure of 50 million dollars, while the UN Peace Force is in a kind of a position of representing the status quo in Cyprus” and there is no progress for finding a comprehensive solution. She adds the following:
“Ozersay’s stance is not new. He has been expressing since some period his annoyance from the UN’s mission on the island, but conveying this to the UN as the official stance of the Turkish Cypriot side is thought provoking. Because when you say ‘Turkish Cypriot side’, this binds both the presidency and the government. Therefore, I think that it is the public’s right to know whether the demand for abolishing UN Peace Keeping Force’s military wing is also a demand of president Akinci and prime minister Erhurman. […]”
Tugyan notes that another important point is the justification used by Ozersay to back his demand by saying that there was no possibility of conflict and threat to the regional peace, as was the case in 1964. She adds:
“If nothing of these exists, then what is the job of 40 thousand troops on the island? I wonder, what does Mr Ozersay, who finds unnecessary the existence of 1000 UN soldiers, think on the issue of the 40 thousand (with the optimistic possibility) Turkish soldiers? Or why he supports the continuation of the existence of the guarantees and the Turkish troops on the island in case of a possible solution? If he says that we want the demilitarization of the island, how nice! However, if no, the nuisance is only the UN troops, which is the case, then, he needs to frankly reply to the above questions. Ozersay notes that the UN spends 50 million dollars for UNFICYP and that he does not find it meaningful to spend here this kind of money in this environment.
According to information I obtained with a minor research, the annual cost of UNFICYP is 54 million dollars. One third of this money, that is 18 million dollars, is voluntarily covered by the Republic of Cyprus and 6,5 million dollars again voluntarily by Greece. Of course, this is not spent only for the UN Peace Keeping Force’s military wing, but there are also other missions carried out by the Peace Keeping Force on the island.
Very well, if the annual expenditure of the UN, which maintains its existence on the island with approximately 1000 soldiers from 12 countries, is 54 million dollars, this coincides with 300 million Turkish liras, does Mr Ozersay find meaningful the cost for the Turkish army, which we assume that are roughly 40 thousand? The budget of the Security Forces Command (GKK) is 423 million TL. You think what the cost of the Turkish peace keeping forces command in Cyprus (KTBKK) is [Translator’s note: This is how the Turkish occupation army in Cyprus is called by the Turks]. Moreover, in an environment where, as esteemed minister himself said, ‘there is absolutely no situation and possibility of conflict’!”
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Halkin Sesi (10.01.19) reports that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have the responsibility from now on, on the capital flow from Turkey to the “TRNC”, which includes the funds that the Turkish Republic sends every year to the “TRNC” as an aid or as a credit.
According to the paper, the prolonged “problematic system” followed by Turkey on the issue of “cash flow” to the “TRNC” was been abolished due to its deficiencies.
According to article 4 of regulation E of the Turkish Republic budget law for 2019, the authority for the “TRNC’s aid and credits” is given to the office of the Presidency. According to the regulation, the disposal, the aim, the method and the conditions of the allowances will be determined according to a protocol which is to be signed by the “two states”. The decision was published in the official gazette of Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily newspaper Diyalog (10.01.19) reports that so-called minister of finance, Serdar Denktas, in exclusive statements to the paper, welcomed the above decision taken by Turkey and alleged that Turkey will allocate to the “TRNC” 1 billion TL in 2019.
“We have been saying it for months that the difficulties experienced in capital flow from Turkey were deriving from Turkey’s system. Thus, what we have been supporting, became true”, Denktas argued, explaining that Turkey would sent this source of money by March 2019.
Commenting on the method to be followed by Turkey on the sources of 2018 which were not allocated by Turkey, Denktas said that he does not know if Turkey will allocate them retrospectively.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (10.01.19) reports that the Global Journalist’s Council has been established in Turkey.
Speaking to the paper, the founding chairman of the Global Journalist’s Council (KGK), Ali Dim, stated that the Council will be the “Voice of the Turkish Cypriot people abroad”. Dim is at the same time chairman of the Cooperation Platform of Anatolia Media and also chairman of the administration board of Dim Media Ltd.
Speaking in Ankara during the meeting of the founding members of the KGK, Dim stated that they pay great importance to the “TRNC” and argued that “as a Council they will be everywhere. “We will make an important job in north Cyprus. We will undertake steps that would make the Turkish Cypriots’ voice heard everywhere”, Dim argued, pointing out that among the founding members of KGK, is also the correspondent of the Demiroren Media Group (DHH) in the “TRNC”, Sefa Karahasan. “We will establish a communication bridge with Cyprus”, Dim further said.
The founding members of the Council met also with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Speaking during the meeting, Cavusoglu thanked them for founding the Council and wished them good luck.
In his turn, Dim stated that they briefed Cavusoglu on the aim of the Council and explained to him that it would be a large scale international organization.
Under the title “This is not a statue, but an artwork”, Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (10.01.19) reports that Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate of Turkey’s main opposition party for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, replying to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Cyprus Monument including the statute of Archibishop Makarios, said that Erdogan was wrongly informed. He added that the Cyprus monument was not a statue but an artwork, explaining the backgroung story on how this artwork has been installed.
Turkish NTV(10.01.19, https://www.ntv.com.tr/dunya/disisleri-bakani-cavusogluypgye-harekat-abdnin-cekilmesine-bagli-degil,NpRGL80dvEqoy28wvoTNAQ)broadcast today an interview with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Referring to the drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cavusoglu claimed:
“[…] Our Fatih drilling vessel has started working. Secondly, the issue of starting drillings in our exclusive economic zone has come onto the agenda of our National Security Council (MGK). Everyone is doing their bit on the issue upon the instruction our esteemed President of the Republic. It is said that oil and natural gas reserves exist around the island. What we say is that both peoples should take their rights but they say that we cannot do this. They use as an excuse the public pressure. Our demand is very legitimate. The Turkish Cypriot people’s rights should be guaranteed. And everybody is talking: As long as this does not go through Turkey, it is not feasible and the extraction has no meaning. Let it go through Turkey and let everybody win. What is the bad thing in what we say? The matter, however, is something else […]”.
Referring to the possibility of the establishment of a new naval base by Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus, Cavusoglu argued:
“[…] Turkey has a position. It will always protect the rights of the TRNC and the Turkish people. We are reminding that they should distance themselves from views such as zero troops. This does not mean kidding around with them. We want them to see the realities […]”.
Referring to the withdrawal of the US troops from Syria, Cavusoglu alleged:
“[…] The US learned to draw back. The operation against the YPG does not depend on the withdrawal of the US. Even if the US does not withdraw, Turkey will carry out an operation for its national security. We have defended the rights of the Kurds as well in Syria […]”.
Referring to the issue of the S-400 missiles, Cavusoglu said that no one has the right of having a say on this agreement, which is a “finished agreement”. He added: “We never forget our promise. And the S-400 agreement is anyway a finished agreement. We might agree with the USA for the Patriots, but if there is an insistence on the S-400 issue, this cannot happen”.
Under the title “The biggest drill in the sea”, Turkish daily Yeni Safak (10.01.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/denizlerde-en-buyuk-tatbikat-3430194) reports that the Turkish Armed Forces are preparing the biggest military exercise in the sea, which will be held between 27 February- 3 March, in a 462,000 km2 area. In the drill, apart from the Naval Forces, ground and air units will also participate.
The paper argues that the drill intends to give a message to Athens concerning the controversial areas that Greece and the “Greek Cypriot administration” (Republic of Cyprus) have claims on. The drill was named “Blue homeland” and is expected to be the biggest battle rehearsal of the Naval Forces, yet.
Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar repeatedly referred to Turkey’s sovereignty in the sea, the paper reports, adding that “the drill is expected to take place in Turkey’s continental shelf, including the controversial areas that Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have claims on, in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean”.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.01.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/end-of-feto-terrorists-near-says-turkish-president/1360121), the end of members of the terror group FETO both in Turkey and abroad is "near", warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. "I call on all FETO members inside and outside our country: Your end is near. You have nowhere to go, nothing you can do", Erdogan told a symposium in the capital Ankara on the new presidential system.
Erdogan said Fetullah Gulen, the U.S.-based ringleader of the terror group behind the defeated 2016 coup, will come to Turkey "sooner or later". "I don't know how long those who stood behind FETO [leader Gulen] will keep supporting him, but sooner or later he will come here," said Erdogan.
Turkish leaders recently indicated that the U.S. has stepped up operations against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in America, as well as renewed efforts to extradite Gulen, a long-time resident of Pennsylvania. (…)
Erdogan said that Turkey will follow FETO members "until they have no place left in the world to hide". He also said Turkey countered attacks "quickly and effectively" over the last 16 years through its democracy and economy. "Hopefully, Turkey will enter a strong new period in 2019," Erdogan added.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.01.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkish-russian-defense-ministers-discuss-idlib/1360459), Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar discussed regional security issues with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu in a phone call on Wednesday. The latest developments in Syria’s northeastern province of Idlib were discussed in the context of the Sochi agreement, according to a statement released by the Turkish Defence Ministry. (…)
On the same issue, under the title “Erdoğan, Putin to meet soon, but no date set yet”, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-putin-to-meet-soon-but-no-date-set-yet-140388) reports that a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has been planned, but no date has been set yet, officials from the two countries have said, amid the former’s negotiations with the United States over the withdrawal of American troops from Syria.
The Kremlin said Jan. 9 that it expected Erdoğan to visit Russia for talks with Putin soon, but that no date had yet been agreed on. Turkish officials also confirmed the planned trip of Erdoğan to Russia.
“Mr. President will also visit Russia in the forthcoming period,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, referring to the meeting he said would take place in Russia which would have the same format as the previous tripartite summit in Sochi between the Turkish, Iranian and Russian presidents. (...)
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.01.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/turkey-russia-cooperate-to-build-future-of-syria/1360512), under the title “Turkey-Russia cooperate to build future of Syria”, publishes a report on efforts by Turkey and Russia to strengthen their multidimensional cooperation, especially on Syria. But also in ambious projects like the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, the purchase of two S-400 air defense systems and the Akkuyu Nuclear Plant.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalist-pelin-unker-sentenced-to-prison-over-paradisepapers-reporting-140384), an Istanbul court has sentenced journalist Pelin Ünker to one year, one month and 15 days in jail over a series of articles named “Paradise Papers” published by Cumhuriyet newspaper about offshore companies that allegedly belonged to former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s sons on the tax-haven island of Malta.
Ünker’s sentence was not postponed. She said she would appeal the local court’s ruling with a higher court.
“I fulfilled my journalism job. They were articles about public figures. I fulfilled my job to inform the public. A right of reply had emerged [for Yıldırım]. I do not think that the news I wrote consistutes a crime,” said Ünker during the final hearing of the trial on Jan. 8 at the Istanbul Çağlayan Courthouse.
“This news has been covered all over the world, but it is only Pelin Ünker who is on trial in the world. The press has an irreplaceable job in a democratic society. It has a duty to release all documents that concern the public, and this is what Pelin has also done,” said Ünker’s lawyer, Tora Pekin, at the hearing, requesting her client’s acquittal.
But the Istanbul 2nd Penal Court of Instance sentenced Ünker on charges of “defamation and insult” and “slandering a public official.” The court also demanded the journalist pays a fine of 8,860 Turkish Liras (around $1,610).
The Paradise Papers are leaked confidential documents unveiling off-shore accounts of politicians, businessmen, royal family members and multinational companies, who were allegedly avoiding tax.
Ünker had claimed in her news series that the sons of Yıldırım, former Prime Minister and current Parliamentary Speaker who is now running for Mayor of Istanbul from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), owned five off-shore companies based on Malta.
Critics have accused Yıldırım of breaching the Turkish constitution for running for Mayor while Speaker of Parliament. They say the Constitution requires the Parliament Speaker to be “impartial.”
According to Turkish news portal Turkey’s Minute (09.01.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/09/hdp-deputy-162-inmates-join-hunger-strike-in-turkey/), one hundred sixty-two prisoners across Turkey have joined a hunger strike in a show of solidarity with an imprisoned opposition legislator who has been refusing food since November, a pro-Kurdish Deputy said on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.
Meral Danış Beştaş, an MP from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said her imprisoned colleague, Leyla Güven, has reached a “critical stage” in her hunger strike. She has petitioned the Turkish parliament’s human rights investigatory committee to intervene.
Güven launched the hunger strike to press authorities to allow family members and lawyers to visit jailed terrorist leader Abdullah Öcalan, whom she says is unlawfully being kept in isolation in a prison on an island off Istanbul.
Beştaş said 162 other prisoners in 36 prisons across Turkey — 27 of them women — have joined the hunger strike. (…)
Güven, 55, has been in prison since Jan. 31, 2018 on charges of allegedly provoking hatred with statements opposing a Turkish military operation that drove out Syrian Kurdish militia from a northern Syrian enclave. One of 10 HDP legislators currently in jail, she faces up to 31 years in prison on terrorism-related charges if convicted. (…)
According to Turkish news portal Turkey’s Minute (10.01.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/10/opposition-deputy-claims-erdogans-son-may-be-appointed-as-istanbul-mayor/), Özgür Özel, a Deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has claimed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan could be appointed mayor of İstanbul if ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidate for İstanbul Binali Yıldırım is elected but decides not to assume office, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Wednesday.
Yıldırım, a former prime minister, is currently Speaker of the Turkish Parliament. He did not resign from this post to run in the local elections to be held in Turkey on March 31, in a move that attracted widespread criticism from the opposition parties.
Speaking to RS FM radio station on Wednesday, Özel claimed that Yıldırım will not leave the post of Speaker of Parliament if he is elected mayor of İstanbul and that a member of the İstanbul municipal council will be appointed as mayor of Turkey’s largest city. “The name of Bilal Erdoğan is among those mentioned [as the possible mayor],” said Özel.
The CHP deputy also said Yıldırım not resigning from his post as Speaker to run in the local elections will go down as a “black stain” in Turkish history. (…)
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION