No. 11/19 16.01.2019
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Detay (16.01.19)reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, has said that the “government’s” view had from the very beginning been that UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus’ (UNFICYP) mandate should be revised. In statements to illegal Bayrak, Ozersay evaluated his recent visit to the US.
When asked to comment on the criticism against him regarding these contacts, Ozersay replied: “As government we have from the very beginning said that UNFICYP should be reexamined now. This is the government’s view, not mine. Were these views not expressed even by the president of the republic? The view we have conveyed there is the view of the Turkish Cypriot side”.
Ozersay alleged that his initiatives should be evaluated within the framework of “questioning the status quo” and reiterated the allegation that UNFICYP has turned into a symbol of this status quo. Ozersay once more claimed that there was no need for UNFICYP’s military presence on the island and that the UN could carry out its activities without having a military presence.
Arguing that UN Security Council’s Resolution No 186 considered the “Greek Cypriots”, as he called the Republic of Cyprus, as the only government of the island, Ozersay claimed that time has come for “radically questioning this status quo”, adding that “in this sense, our contacts in the US were a positive step”.
Noting that his contacts in the US were fruitful from the point of view of conveying the Turkish Cypriot side’s views on renewing UNFICYP’s mandate, Ozersay reiterated that “you cannot effectively carry out diplomacy by sitting here or by talking to some ambassadors”. “Visibility at international platforms is possible. We will continue holding similar contacts”, he added.
Replying to another question, Ozersay alleged:
“[…] There is a serious lack of confidence in Cyprus. We said that instead of waiting for this lack of confidence to end, we could cooperate in [the fields of] tourism, health. We said that this confidence could turn into a partnership in the future. The Greek Cypriot side does not approach cooperation in the natural gas. We will explain this to the international community. Because they are the ones who should force the Greek Cypriot side to cooperate. Otherwise, if on the one hand the world treats the Greek Cypriot side as government without a solution and on the other gives it the right to administrate the natural gas, why should I make a solution. If it was me, I would not make”.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (16.01.19), columnist Gokhan Altiner comments on the position repeatedly expressed by Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, regarding the withdrawal of the troops of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus’ (UNFICYP). According to the columnist, when someone talks about the end of UNFICYP’s presence, it means that he asks for the permanent division of Cyprus. Altiner notes, inter alia, the following:
“[…] Let us speak sincerely. The structure, for which now Ozersay says that the UN troops should go, helped the Turkish Cypriot fighters a lot with providing weapons within the years 1964-74. These are realities known by many. In spite of the fact that they remained spectators to many incidents, I know from my own family that UN soldiers prevented the assassination of many Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots. […] Of course circumstances have changed, the Turkish army exists here and the Turkish Cypriots are more secure, but we are still in cease fire conditions. […] That is, in other words, war still continues, no agreement was reached and this is why buffer zones should still exist.
If, however, you say that let the UN go and let us sit against the Greek Cypriot soldiers, this is otherwise named as following: You want to take the Cyprus problem out of the UN parameters.
If we have to speak openly, this will suit many countries and mainly the UN, because instead of strengthening Turkey, it will weaken it. […] If Ozersay’s target is to make Cyprus’ division permanent, he should come out and say it openly. If it is not and the target is to exert pressure on the Greek Cypriots, […] the Greek Cypriots know anyway what will happen to them when there is a trouble. […]
Now no one recognizes us anyway. Even though the Cyprus problem is not solved, the UN also knows that the Greek Cypriots do not want a solution. If it goes outside the UN umbrella, the TRNC, which is anyway isolated from the world, we will be led to other problems. […] In the worst case, the Cyprus problem will not be solved and the Greek Cypriots will continue living with the Turkish army’s presence on the island. Apart from saying that the UN should go away from the island, Ozersay should also tell us what he is doing for the recognition of the TRNC. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Duzen (16.01.19) reports that the conscientious Objector Halil Karapasaoglu was arrested yesterday at around 11 o’ clock, while being at his house, by the so-called police in the occupied area of Cyprus and was led to “prison”.
Karapasaoglu, who was tried before a “military court”, was fined 2,000 Turkish liras, but refused to pay the fine. Karapasaoglu’s refusal to pay the fine had as a result, writes the paper, of his “20 days detention”, ordered by the “court”. Halil Karapasaoglu will be held in “prison” for 20 days.
The paper points out that a group of activists of the Conscientious Objection Initiative in Cyprus and other people supporting Karapasaoglu, gathered yesterday in front of his residence and before his “detention”, in order to express their support. Also, the Conscientious Objection Initiative organized last night a protest in front of the “central prisons”.
Commenting on Karapasaoglu’s “detention”, activists and members of the Conscientious Objection Initiative in Cyprus and also a conscientious objector himself, in a short statement to the press, warned that more people will be arrested and sent to prison if the “Conscientious Objection bill” is not “approved” in the “assembly”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (16.01.19) publishes an article by columnist Ali Baturay who writes about yesterday’s arrest of the conscientious objector Halil Karapasaoglu who was arrested at his home by the so-called police and was led to “prison”.
[Tr. Note: Karapasaoglu, who was tried before a “military court”, was fined 2,000 Turkish liras, but refused to pay the fine. Twenty days of “detention” was ordered by the so-called court. Halil Karapasaoglu will be held in “prison” for 20 days.]
Commenting on the issue, Baturay notes that Karapasaoglu was led to prison because he demanded a human right that is being accepted and protected by the law in many countries.
“The exercise of the right of the freedom of thought that is considered a right recognized by the European Convention on Human Rights, is considered a crime according to our laws. This is the reason why a young person is going to jail because he asked for an extremely innocent human right. How is it possible the nine persons for whom there is the claim that they conducted a lynching attack against Afrika newspaper and they are wanted for this (crime), cannot be found, but the police can go to Karapasaoglu’s house and lead him to jail? This is a great contradiction, is it not? How come in some very important cases a notification cannot be given to certain, very well-known people that everyone knows their working place? How is it possible that these people are not able to be found, but the police can go and take Karapasaoglu […[ and lead him to jail? […]”.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Duzen (16.01.19) reports that so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, evaluating in a program broadcast by illegal BRT his latest contacts in the USA and the “Conscientious objection bill”, stated that everybody should feel free on this issue since the People’s Party (HP) would not approve any “bill” which would not take into consideration the “sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriot security forces (‘GKK’) and of the attorney general”.
Ozersay further alleged that the “Conscientious objection bill” was sent to the “parliament” for discussion and argued that they would proceed to several “amendments” on this, after taking into consideration the views to be exchanged, the suggestions and the criticism to be expressed. “(…) There are many other bills which are more urgent to be discussed in the committee, like the asset declaration bill. We will not ignore our people’s priorities”, Ozersay further said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Revival Party (YDP) of settlers, Erhan Arikli welcomed Ozersay’s statements on this issue adding that his party as well share the same views on the “Conscientious objection bill”. Arikli explained that his party considers that any steps contrary to the will of the “Turkish Cypriot security forces” and the “attorney general” should not be taken. Arikli further alleged that the “discussion” of the “bill” is not a priority.
Turkish Daily Sabah (16.01.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/01/16/turkey-coalition-forces-to-establish-safe-zone-in-northern-syria) reports that Turkey will establish a safe zone in northern Syria along the length of its border with the assistance of the U.S.-led coalition forces, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Tuesday. Speaking at a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) group meeting in Parliament, Erdogan said that he had a positive discussion with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, over the establishment of the safe zone, something suggested by the Turkish authorities for years now. "We have reached an understanding that is of historic importance," he said. Erdogan had a phone call with Trump on Monday on the latest developments in Syria and bilateral ties, amid a diplomatic spat over the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.
"The safe zone issue, including one along Turkey's borders to be formed by us, is something I have discussed since the Obama era. It was reiterated by him [Trump] as 20 miles [32.19 kilometers]," Erdogan said. He later told reporters that the zone could be extended beyond 20 miles, but did not say how far.
“Turkey has long called on the U.S. and the international community to support the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, a call that drew little support. Erdogan has been suggesting since 2012 that a safe zone of 30-40 kilometers could be established between the northern Syrian towns of Jarabulus and al-Rai. At that time, Turkey had three main aims with the suggestion of safe zone: To put an end to the damage caused by Syrian regime attacks, to prevent Syrian people from migrating and lastly, to avoid terrorist organizations from flourishing in the country”, Sabah writes.
Regarding the matter, Erdogan previously said that the safe zone would also function as a no-fly zone and could be a convenient area to host Syrian refugees with new housing projects. He reiterated his suggestion yesterday, saying that Turkey could build a secure area near the border with the financial help of coalition forces. These secure areas would have homes built exclusively for the people of the area, in line with their customs and lifestyles and would prevent migration as well, the president said.
Erdogan noted that he had previously mentioned this issue to other leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 Summit in China, who even proposed providing financial support for the initiative but did not follow up.
"When you say safe zone, you'll clear the whole area from the terrorists," the President underlined, referring to the presence of the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), and Daesh in the region.
Erdogan also said he was saddened by Trump's tweet but that the phone call later in the day was positive. "Turkey will continue to do what it has to in order to solve this issue in line with the spirit of its alliance, so long as our rights and laws are respected," he said.
Erdogan said Ankara would solve issues with a "spirit of alliance" with Trump as long as Turkey's sensitivities were taken into account.
"I told Trump once again that Turkey prioritizes an effective fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria," Erdogan said, adding that he also said that Turkey welcomed everyone fleeing Syria with open arms, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, and that the YPG oppresses all groups, including Arabs, Kurds and Christians, who do not submit to their rule.
"We also told him that the YPG tortures the groups in Syria that do not depend on them. We also said that we have given all document on this issue to his advisers," said Erdogan.
Following the phone call, Trump also "expressed the desire to work together to address Turkey's security concerns in northeast Syria while stressing the importance to the U.S. that Turkey does not mistreat" the YPG, the White House said in a separate readout of the call.
Erdogan also called on Kurds not to be fooled by terror groups, particularly the YPG, adding: "I call on my Kurdish brothers. You should not be deceived by this game."
"Turkey is the state of everyone who lives in here, including Kurds. Not only this, but it is also the state of everyone who has an emotional attachment with it, most particularly our Kurdish brothers who live right beside our border," the President said.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (16.01.19https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/turkey-wont-seek-anyones-permission-to-fight-terror-erdogan-3471912) reports that Turkey will not seek anybody's permission to fight terrorism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.
“We reserve our right to target terrorists who threaten our country from Syrian territories, Erdogan said in an article penned for Russian daily Kommersant.
In the article on Turkey-Russia cooperation in Syria, he stressed that Turkey had no problem with Syrian Kurds or any other groups living inside the borders of the neighboring country.
"[The US] will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds," Trump tweeted on Sunday, conflating “Kurds” with the terrorist PKK/YPG, a confusion that Turkey has repeatedly criticized.
"Baseless allegations from the U.S. don’t reflect the reality, but the point of view of certain interest groups," Erdogan added.
“The crisis in Syria can only be solved by countries which will benefit from healing Syria’s wounds and will suffer from the deepening of them,” he added.
Turkish Daily Sabah (16.01.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/01/15/turkey-to-control-proposed-safe-zone-in-north-syria-presidential-spox-kalin-says ) reports that Turkey will have control over the proposed 20-mile safe zone along Syria's northern border, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said on Tuesday.
Reiterating that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been voicing the same safe zone proposal for the past four years, Kalın said this time the same idea was floated at the top levels of the current U.S. administration.
"It will be a safe zone not just for Turkey but also for migrants," Kalın said, asserting that Turkey will have control over the zone.
"Turkey will continue to be a player both in the field and at the table by utilizing politics, diplomacy and power," Kalın said.
A model similar to those established by Turkey in Jarablus, Al-Bab and Afrin can be used for Manbij too, he said.
Speaking about the U.S. military's pull-out from Syria, Kalın said the U.S. commission last week presented Turkey a document that unofficially confirmed Washington's decision to withdraw from the region.
According to the spokesperson, Turkey offered a similar document in return which outlined the importance of not giving any territory to the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorist organizations.
Kalın also announced Erdogan would visit Moscow on Jan. 23 to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the steps both countries would take after the U.S. completes its withdrawal.
Answering a question about the proposed sale of Patriot missile systems by the U.S., Kalın said Turkey was still considering the purchase but reiterated that any potential purchase would not change Ankara's agreement with Russia on S-400 missile systems as the two deals are not tied to each other.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (16.01.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/exchange-of-non-papers-between-turkey-and-us-aims-to-set-political-framework-for-post-us-pullout-diplomat-140532) reports that Turkey’s response to a non-paper, delivered by a top White House aide during talks in Ankara on Jan. 8, mainly outlines how Ankara perceives Turkey’s role in a deal reached between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump regarding the post-U.S. pull-out period, a Turkish diplomatic source has told Hürriyet Daily News.
The non-paper “demonstrates our vision on how we see the framework of the coordination and cooperation that we are trying to establish with the United States after their decision to withdraw from Syria,” said the diplomat on condition of anonymity.
The paper corresponds to Turkey’s views, attitude in a reply to Bolton’s non-paper and to Ankara’s vision on cooperation and coordination through the withdrawal process of the U.S.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton delivered a non-paper to the Turkish team last week that outlines basic points of the U.S. policy with regard to its withdrawal and expectations from Turkey.
(…) “You know, what we did was to give the Turks a piece of paper, a non-paper, that’s a fancy diplomatic term for just being a set of ideas, but expressing what the U.S. position was fully agreed upon by the Department of State, the Department of Defence, the National Security Council, so that the Turks knew we were all speaking with one voice despite the media commentary that would have you believe otherwise,” Bolton said.
Turkey’s response, submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and to the State Department in Washington D.C. on Jan. 14, is a presentation of Turkey’s well-known views on this issue which have been conveyed to the U.S. officials several times, according to the diplomat.
However, any negotiation, on any level on the issue of the post-U.S. pull-out period first requires setting a higher level political framework for defining mutual understanding in this cooperation, according to Ankara.
“In our current negotiations, we are building the principle consensus. When we can’t establish this framework on political consensus, other talks seem to be in a bit of space. Each of the discussions from military to military or through the intelligence channels should be built in accordance with a certain upper consensus,” the diplomat said.
Ankara expects Washington to clarify the issue of a safe zone at a working group meeting on Syria between Turkish and U.S. officials in Washington on Feb. 5 which would be crucial for discussions on the U.S. proposal, according to the diplomat. The top soldiers of the two countries are also expected to meet on Jan. 15 on the side-lines of a gathering in Brussels.
“Safe zone is not a new matter, but we will see in time what is in the minds of Americans,” said the diplomat.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (16.01.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-year-end-budget-deficit-in-2018-at-73-billion-liras-minister-140517) reports that Turkey’s budget deficit stood at 72.6 billion Turkish Liras ($14.8 billion) in 2018, meeting a year-end target under the country’s new economic program, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Jan. 15.
“We have reached the target of a 1.9-percent budget-deficit-to-gross-domestic-product ratio under the new economic program,” Albayrak said in a Twitter post.
In the annual budget of 2018, the Turkish government had targeted a year-end budget deficit of 65.9 billion liras. However the target was revised to 72.1 billion liras with the new economic program announced in September 2018.
The country’s budget revenues rose 20.2 percent to reach 757.8 billion liras ($154.6 billion) in the January-December period, while tax incomes went up 15.8 percent to hit 621.3 billion liras ($126.8 billion), Albayrak noted.
He said budget expenditures rose to 830.5 billion liras ($170 billion), up 22.4 percent during the same period.
“Our strong public financial structure and the fiscal discipline are among Turkey’s most important anchors,” Albayrak said.
The budget balance, excluding interest payments, posted a surplus of 1.35 billion Turkish liras (some $274.7 million), according to Treasury and Finance Ministry data.
Data showed that interest payments were nearly 74 billion Turkish liras ($15.1 billion) over the same period.
According to the new economic program, the budget deficit/GDP ratio target is 1.8 percent this year, 1.9 percent next year, and 1.7 percent in 2021.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.01.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-to-take-all-legal-actions-against-feto-leader/1365843 ) reports that Turkey will take all legal actions for the extradition of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen by the U.S., the country's Justice Minister said Tuesday.
"We believe that this extradition will happen. It should happen. If you are a state of law, you should do it. We have not gotten a result yet regarding this issue, but we will take all legal actions," Abdulhamit Gul told news channel Haberturk.
Gul said Turkey has requested Gulen's extradition from the U.S. seven times.
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