B. Turkish Press
According to the internet edition of the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (23.01.19 http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n274523-turkiye-disisleri-bakani-cavusoglu-kktcye-geliyor-23012019) the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is paying tomorrow Thursday an illegal visit to the breakaway regime.
The schedule of Cavusoglu is not clear yet; neither with whom hewill have contacts nor what will be discussed during his visit. However, the paper notes that an exchange of views is expected to take place on the Cyprus problem and the research regrading natural gas.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (23.01.19) reports that a representation by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) visited yesterday occupied Vatili village and briefed members of the party on the Cyprus problem and the work of the “coalition government”.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Asim Akansoy, self-styled deputy, said that the problem continued to be a “live matter” and became more important especially after the discovery of natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. Akansoy argued that the Cyprus problem and the way of extracting and distributing the natural gas were intertwined and claimed that there was great tension in the area and no one knew how this would end. He alleged that there were two ways for this to end: the one was for the weak side to be crashed and cluttered and the other to head towards a fair solution with two equal founding states and fairly share the natural gas. He added the following:
“We are passing through such a sensitive process. The UN is at the table with the special representative whom it appointed. As CTP we say that the work done until today should not be wasted and the sides should come to the table to end this issue. This issue should be focused on the solution. The natural gas which will be found should be transferred to Europe through Cyprus and Turkey. We do not expect many developments until June, but we hope the negotiations to resume in autumn”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberator (23.01.19) reports that Mehmet Cakici, leader of the Communal Liberation Party – New Forces (TKP-YG), said that his party supported the policies of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, which aim for a federal solution on the Cyprus issue.
In a written statement, Cakici said that some developments recently on the Cyprus issue are disturbing, adding that the future of the Cyprus problem is still uncertain. He further said that there is an effort to create a picture that they have moved away from the federal solution. Cakici also said that he considers Ozersay’s statements on the rejection of the federal solution as wrong and dangerous, adding that Ozersay’s stance doesn’t benefit anything else than the non-solution.
Meanwhile, the movement “the Independence Road” said that either they will protect their future in a united federal Cyprus or they will not have a future. It further argued that the circles, which are benefitting from the division in the country, are trying to deepen the division by benefiting from the current situation at a time when the Cyprus talks have been halted for a long time.
Ali Sahin, secretary of the “Independence Road”, criticized Ozersay, who has proposed recently a “cooperation model” on the Cyprus issue, adding that this model has the meaning of two separate states. He further said that the “permanent division of Cyprus” is not in the interest of the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Detay (23.01.19) reports that Alpay Durduran, member of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), has stated that they consider that the development of a proposal for a state model in Cyprus where the guarantor countries will not be necessary will find international support.
Stating that the guarantees in Cyprus are not necessary, Durduran made a call to develop this proposal, supporting that the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutterres still waits from the two sides to submit such a proposal.
Evaluating in a written statement the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, Durduran expressed the view that the difference of opinion between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and the so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozerday may harm the solution process.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (23.01.19) reports that the “council of ministers” convened yesterday and decided to grant “three exceptional TRNC citizenships”.
Speaking after the meeting, the “council’s” spokesman, “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, stated that the citizenships were given to the three persons for humanitarian reasons.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (23.01.19) reports that Erkut Sahali, self-styled minister of agriculture of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has claimed that the occupation regime had become able to cover its own expenses. In statements yesterday during a visit of a representation by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) to occupied Vatili village, Sahali said that the restructure of the state continued in Turkey because of the system change and therefore the money which Turkey should send to the occupied area of Cyprus did not come.
According to Sahali, 400 million Turkish liras should have been sent in 2018 but only 100 million TL were released from this sum. He noted that 35 million TL (out of this money) were related to projects financed by Turkey and realized in the occupied area but the tenders for them had been invited in Ankara. He further said that 200 million TL from the money which had not been given were related to the salaries in the so-called security forces command (GKK) and the rest 100 million TL were small projects realized with Turkey’s contribution.
He argued: “Do you know what this shows? The TRNC has become able to cover its own expenses in case population is not increased in the country, in case the Turkish lira is not devaluated or as long as there are no natural disasters”.
Noting that “Turkey’s aid is of course needed”, Sahali said that, because of the increasing population, they need to increase investments in the fields of health, education and infrastructure.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (23.01.19) reports that Narin Ferdi Sefik, self-styled chairperson of the “high court” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has visited Pakistan upon an invitation by the Pakistani President Arif Alvi to attend the oath taking ceremony of the country’s newly appointed High Court chairman Asif Saeed Khan Khosa. According to a statement issued by the regime’s “high court”, Sefik’s visit to Pakistan took place between 17 and 19 January 2019.
During her stay in Pakistan, Sefik also attended the dinner in honor of the outgoing chairman of the Pakistani High Court, Mian Saqib Nisar, who had participated in the opening of the “judicial year” in the occupied area of Cyprus in 2015. She further visited the breakaway regime’s “representation office” in Islamabad.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (23.01.19) reports that an event for expressing support towards Afrika on the anniversary of the attack against it on January 22, 2018, was organized by the Turkish Cypriot Workers of the Press (Basin-Sen) in front of the paper’s headquarters yesterday.
“Our community proved one more time yesterday that fascism will not pass”, the paper notes in its first page, adding that during the event, a protest was also organized against the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who according to Afrika was the instigator of the attack against the paper. In the event it was also stressed that freedom of speech cannot be prevented.
In a written statement read during the protest, Basin-Sen noted that the attack against the paper took place after instructions given by the Turkish President Erdogan and that January 22, was written as a black day in history.
The general secretary of teacher’s Trade Union (KTOS) Senel Elcil who also participated in the event saluted the paper’s stance and noted that Ankara is the side that prevents solution and peace in Cyprus.
On his part, the paper’s editor-in-chief Sener Levent reiterated that the “police” was just standing there watching the attack against the paper and added that the “police chief” who gave an order to the “police” not to interfere during the attack against the paper, is still in post.
Various trade unions and organizations expressed their solidarity and support towards the action to support Afrika, among them the Turkish Cypriots Journalists’ Union, Çag-Sen Trade Union, KTOS and KTOEOS, the New Cyprus Party, the Left Movement and others.
Referring on the same issue, Yeni Bakış daily (23.01.19) publishes statements of the general secretaries of the Communal Liberation Party (ΤΚΡ – YG) Mehmet Davutoglu and the United Cyprus Party (ΒΚΡ) Salih Sonustun who expressed their support towards the paper. Under the title “the stain has not been cleaned yet”, the paper writes that Sonustun said that the nine persons wanted for the attack against the paper have not been arrested yet. “This is a shame for the state. These people are protected; they are known but are not arrested. Nothing has changed in the country within the past year because the Turkish Cypriots lost the power they used to have”, he said.
According to illegal Bayrak (23.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=atakan-signs-protocol-in-ankara), a protocol with Turkey has been signed today for the “mutual recognition of driving licenses”.
”TRNC citizens” will now be able to change their “TRNC driving licenses” to Turkish driving licenses with the protocol coming into force.
The protocol was signed between the “minister of public works and communications” Tolga Atakan and the Turkish Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu in Ankara.
Turkish citizens working or studying in the occupied area of Cyprus will also be able to change their existing driving licenses with “TRNC licenses”.
Speaking before signing the protocol, Soylu expressed his happiness and pleasure, pointing out that “a big obstacle for citizens residing in both countries had been removed with the signing of the protocol”.
Atakan, for his part, said that “an important step had been taken between their respective countries”. He added that “the signing of the protocol will allow the changing of driving licenses in both countries and will contribute to further strengthening relations between the two countries”.
Atakan presented the Turkish Interior Minister with a “TRNC driving license” at the end of the protocol signing ceremony.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.01.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-russian-leaders-set-for-moscow-meet-wednesday/1371479) reported that theTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to have their first face-to-face meeting of 2019 on Wednesday.
During Erdogan's one-day working visit to the Russian capital Moscow, the two leaders will exchange views on regional and international issues, particularly Syria, as well as bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia.
25 contacts with Putin in 2018
Erdogan and Putin had seven one-on-one meetings in 2018 and 18 phone calls to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments, especially Syria.
The leaders first met in the Turkish capital Ankara, where they chaired the Turkey-Russia High Level Cooperation Council meeting on April 3, a day before a trilateral summit on Syria between the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran.
During the trilateral summit on April 4, Erdogan, Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed their joint resolve to oppose separatism as well as the use of terrorism as an excuse for changing Syria.
Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani are expected to meet in the upcoming months to discuss the situation in Syria.
Erdogan, Putin meet at 6 summits
A total of six summits saw the meeting of Erdogan and Putin in 2018.
Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani first met on April 4 in Ankara and on Sept. 7 in the Iranian capital Tehran for the trilateral meetings on Syria.
On July 26, Erdogan had a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Johannesburg on the sidelines of the annual summit of BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
On Sept. 17, the leaders met in the Russian coastal city of Sochi, where they agreed to turn Syria's northwestern Idlib province into a demilitarized zone.
On Oct. 27, Erdogan and Putin also met on the four-nation summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia, Germany and France in Istanbul, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were also present.
On Dec. 1, Erdogan had talks with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.
Turkish-Russian cooperation on energy
On April 3, Erdogan and Putin attended the groundbreaking ceremony of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant via a video conference call from the Presidential Complex in Ankara.
Akkuyu is set for construction by Russia in the Turkish southern province of Mersin.
The plant, comprising of four units, each with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, will meet about 10% of Turkey's electricity needs.
Under the title “The Navy stopped seven ships”, Turkish daily Yeni Safak (23.01.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/donanma-7-gemiyi-durdurdu-3442611), on its front page, reports: “Naval Forces Command does not give permission for occupation in the Eastern Mediterranean energy fields. It was revealed that seven ships with the flags of Italy, France, Britain, Germany and Malta, who had an agreement with the Greek Cypriot administration and were searching for natural gas in the West of Cyprus, were repelled by Turkish warships”.
The paper further claims: “The Turkish Navy did not give permission to the occupation movements of the Greek Cypriot administration in the Eastern Mediterranean energy fields with its unilateral tenders. In the scope of protecting Turkey’s natural rights and interests deriving from international law, Turkish Naval Forces Command carried out its extraordinary duties in the Eastern Mediterranean sea, which has become the stage for the occupation plans of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration. The research and drilling activities of the Greek Cypriots, which started with procurement notices in the EU newspapers for the energy parcels of the Exclusive Economic Zone, which was declared unilaterally, ignoring the TRNC, were blocked by the Turkish Navy.”
The paper also reports that the first blockade of a ship occurred last February. “For the first time in the history of the Republic, the unauthorized activities of a drilling platform in Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction areas were prevented. The Italian Saipem 12000 drill ship of ENI Company was stopped by Turkish military ships at the border of parcel 3. The Italians, who resisted first Turkey against this incident which created crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, had later to address themselves to the TRNC and Turkey”, the paper argues.
The paper further reports: “It was revealed that the Italian drilling ship was not the only ship blocked by the Turkish Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean. According to information obtained, a total of six research ships with flags of Italy, Germany, France, Britain and Malta were not allowed to enter our maritime jurisdiction.”
The paper reports that “the following ships were prevented to enter Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction west of the island of Cyprus”: Italian Odin Finder in December 2017, German Maria S Merian in March 2018, French Thetys II in June 2018, British Song of Whale in August 2018, French L’Atalante in October 2018 and Maltese Nautical Geo in December 2018. “These duties, which were performed by the Turkish Naval Forces with the power and authority deriving from international law, surprised the European countries and especially Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration in their effort to create a de facto situation”, the paper reports.
“The Turkish Navy, which rebels to the fait accompli efforts in the eastern Mediterranean, supports and escorts Turkey’s platforms which have accelerated their research and drilling activities in their maritime jurisdiction zones. Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic research vessel, which was harassed by the Greek Navy in the open sea of Morphou, continues its scientific research under the supervision of Barbaros Frigate of the Naval Forces. The Turkish Navy shows its presence in the region with a strong way for nullifying the planning foremost by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration on the sharing the maritime zone in the Eastern Mediterranean and gives the necessary reactions in the international legal framework against these unauthorized activities in their maritime jurisdiction whoever is the interlocutor”, the paper concludes.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.01.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-57m-to-vote-for-local-polls-on-march-31/1371483) reported that more than 57 million Turkish citizens are registered to vote at the local elections slated for March 31, the head of the country’s electoral authority said Tuesday.
The preliminary preparations for the local elections are almost complete and the current number of voters in Turkey is 57,970,985, Sadi Guven, head of the Supreme Election Council, told Anadolu Agency.
In response to claims that Syrians in Turkey will vote in the polls, Guven said that it is not possible for those who are not Turkish citizens to cast a vote.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday that a total of 53,099 Syrians who have acquired Turkish citizenship will be able to vote in local elections.
A day after, Soylu said 553,000 security staff -- including the coast guard -- will be on duty to ensure safety during the election. Turkey had assigned 6,680 additional security personnel in 11 provinces and 12 districts to guard against any threats by the terrorist PKK to people's right to vote.
“Nearly 56,495 voter registrations were frozen due to wrong declaration of permanent residence”, Guven further said, adding that a total of 6,000 registered voters were removed from the voter list due to death, he added.
Local elections in Turkey
A total of 13 political parties will compete in the local elections.
Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 30 metropolitan municipalities and 51 provincial municipalities.
Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 1,398 municipalities across the country. Among them are municipalities in 81 provinces, including 30 metropolitan municipalities and 921 districts.
Voters will also elect municipal council members in cities and -- in rural areas -- muhtars and members of elder councils.
The official election process kicked off in Jan. 1, with campaigning to begin on March 21.
Election campaigning will end on the evening of March 30, a day before the election.
The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) agreed to support each other’s candidates in some districts and provinces, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Good (IYI) Party made the same arrangement.
The last local elections were held on March 30, 2014, which saw the AK Party clinch more than 45.5% of the vote.
The last elections in Turkey were Presidential and Parliamentary elections which were held on June 24, 2018.
Jan. 27: Order of political parties’ names on ballot papers will be determined by lots drawn by the Supreme Election Council.
Feb. 22: Temporary lists of candidates for provincial and district mayors will be announced. Lists will be subject to appeal until March 3.
Feb. 28: Voter notification cards will begin being distributed (until March 24).
March 21: Campaigning period officially begins.
March 30: Campaigning period ends.
March 31: Election Day
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-iyi-party-resolve-disputes-on-alliance-for-polls-140690) reported that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu and İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Aksener have resolved issues both parties have been at odds over in the upcoming local elections.
The two leaders discussed on Jan. 21 over dinner their alliance in several polling districts and have come to a resolution, sources told private broadcaster CNN Türk.
The two leaders discussed the modalities of their alliance in certain districts including the capital Ankara’s Etimesgut district, the Aegean provinces of Muğla’s Bodrum district and Denizli’s Pamukkale district, the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Çayırova district and Bursa’s Osmangazi district.
The two parties have already agreed on presenting joint candidates in many metropolises and cities under the “Nation Alliance” they had formed before the June 24, 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Evaluations have been made on some districts of the metropolis Istanbul and some critical polling districts such as the southeastern province of Gaziantep in terms of mayoral candidates.
Upon the briefings of party leaders, the CHP and İYİ Party will update their alliance protocol and are expected to make statements in the coming days.
The CHP and İYİ Party have been in talks of alliance for the local elections since November 2018.
The parties in December agreed to cooperate in 21 metropolitan municipalities for the upcoming local elections.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalist-nazli-ilicak-serving-life-gets-another-six-years-in-prison-140700) reported that an Istanbul court on January 22 sentenced journalist Nazlı Ilıcak serving a life sentence to almost six additional years in prison for leaking information deemed secret by the government, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Ilıcak was sentenced to life in prison along with five others, including journalists Mehmet Altan and his older brother Ahmet Altan, last February for aiding plotters of a 2016 failed coup attempt.
On Jan. 22, the court sentenced Ilıcak to five years and 10 months in prison in a separate case where she was charged with “sharing information that needed to remain secret for the security of the state,” Anadolu Agency has said.
The case involves Ilıcak’s publishing the relevant information on her column published on daily Bugün in 2015.
Ilıcak, who attended the fifth hearing of the case via the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS), said that the lawsuit was filed three years after her article was published, whereas the press law stipulates a four-month time period to press charges. “The press prosecutor had dismissed the suit before, and rendered a verdict that I should not be on trial for national security and secrecy,” she said.
Ilıcak’s lawyer requested her acquittal while underlining that his client was just fulfilling her journalistic duties.
Ilıcak had also been sentenced to 14 months in prison last year for insulting the president, a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (23.01.19-https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/european-bank-to-invest-about-1b-in-turkey-in-2019-3472624) reports that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plans to invest €1 billion ($1.14 billion) in Turkey in 2019, a top official said.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Arvid Tuerkner, managing director of EBRD in Turkey, said: "2018 has been a challenging year, a year of geopolitical tensions, economic slowdown, dramatic currency depreciation, waning investor sentiment, but the EBRD maintained a strong commitment to the Turkish economy”.
"The Bank invested €1 billion in 34 projects in Turkey in 2018....as for 2019 we aim to maintain the same level of investment...about a billion euros", Tuerkner said.
He added that the bank had also increased its support for local currency financing in Turkey to a third of its total investment in the country. "In a significant increase from €228.8 million in 2017, we extended the Turkish lira equivalent of €331 million in 13 transactions with Turkish companies last year," he added.
Tuerkner said further that EBRD this year will particularly focus on export-driven industries and agriculture in Turkey.
He also praised Turkey’s strong economic fundamentals and young demographics. “Despite the turbulence, Turkey’s strong fundamentals are still there. Its strategic geographical location is not only a boon for trade -- the country’s great climate and culture also makes Turkey a wonderful tourist destination. I think the country has high expectations for tourism revival this year.”
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION