Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(25.01.19, http://www.yeniduzen.com/kibris-davasina-kimse-tek-basina-yon-vermeye-calismasin-111287h.htm)reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that he had come to the occupied area of the island because no one could “give direction alone” to the “Cyprus cause”. Speaking during a ceremony at the illegal “American University of Keryneia”, Cavusoglu alleged the following:
“We are seeing indecisive stances, statements. We are seeing tricks. What are we negotiating for? For a federal solution again? For a two- state-solution, or for confederation, or for another option? We should determine this beforehand. This is what we are doing now. This is the aim of our unofficial meetings with all sides. Afterwards, we should determine the framework of this. Moreover, it [the process] should be focused on the result. We do not have time and energy to lose for negotiations open for many years. No one has the right to give hopes to the Turkish Cypriot people and then disappoint them again.
The Cyprus cause is a great cause. The Cyprus cause is such a great cause that it could not be sacrificed for some persons’ political ideology or political ambitions. Let no one forget this. Let no one try to give direction alone to the Cyprus cause by saying I want this, I had said this, I will say this. And this is the reason for our coming to the island today. We have come to discuss what we will do together, what we will do as TRNC, as Turkey, as actors in the government and president of the republic. We have come to determine all together what we will do, as it happened until today. If the table had not been overturned in the Crans Montana because of us, this is due to the fact that Turkey and the TRNC acted as a single state. We have consulted together, we took steps together. I wish that we will be stronger during the forthcoming period in the Cyprus cause by securing this unity during today’s meeting.
We had always said that we considered that the steps for exploring for hydrocarbons around the island were wrong. The Greek Cypriot side had always continued. In February our second platform will come and we will also launch drillings. We will not allow anyone to usurp the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people. Our most important duty is to defend our national cause”.
Referring to the same statements, Kıbrıs Postası (25.01.19, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n274702-cavusoglu-kibris-sorunu-ile-ilgili-konustu-celiskiler-ve-kur) reports that Cavusoglu also alleged that the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share anything with the Turks and “for this reason to begin a new negotiation is nothing beyond dreaming”. Reiterating the allegation that the whole world had seen that the only person who showed flexibility in Crans Montana was the Turkish Foreign Minister, Cavusoglu claimed that “starting negotiations just for the sake of conversation will be a waste of time”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (25.01.19 http://www.yeniduzen.com/cavusogluna-elcilik-tertipli-sohbet-111280h.htm ) reports in its on-line edition about the illegal visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the occupied areas of Cyprus and writes that the “Turkish embassy” in the breakaway regime is organizing again an afternoon television program in which the Turkish Foreign Minister will appear along with journalists, in the framework of his visit.
According to the paper, there was not an open invitation to the press and only three journalists will participate in the television program with Cavusoglu, which will be broadcast live. The paper also notes that the names of the journalists are not known yet. In addition, the program will be broadcast by Bayrak, Diyalog TV, Cyprus Genc TV, Ada TV, Kibris TV and Kanal T. However, Kanal Sim was not invited by the “embassy” to broadcast the program.
Reporting on Cavusoglu’s meeting illegal Bayrak (25.01.19 http://www.brtk.net/cavusoglunun-kktcyi-ziyaret-programi/ )broadcast that Cavusoglu will participate in the morning in a ceremony in which he will receive an honorably PhD by the “Keryneia American University”.
He will later have a meeting at 13.00 with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, at 14.00 he will participate in a meeting with the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot parties that are represented in the “assembly” and at 16.00 he will meet with the “speaker of the assembly”, Teberruken Ulucay.
Finally at 17.45 he will participate in a television program with three journalists that will be broadcast live.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (25.01.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met also with “deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister” Kudret Ozersay yesterday afternoon, , after his weekly routine meeting with the self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman.
According to a press release by Akinci’s office, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s visit to the occupied area of Cyprus, as well as the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, were evaluated in both meetings.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (25.01.19) reports that Oguzhan Hasipoglu, “deputy” with the National Unity Party (UBP) argued that the resumption of the Cyprus talks would be the end of the “coalition government”, adding that the “government” has seriously different views on the Cyprus issue and all the members of the “coalition government” had clearly confirmed this during the recent “budget debates”.
Hasipoglu, who was guest at a television program of Kibris Postasi TV, commenting on the process of the Cyprus talks, claimed that the main problem is the evaluation of the federation as the only alternative. He argued that after the failure of the Cyprus talks in Crans Montana, the view ‘let’s discuss alternative ideas’ had emerged, because they have reached the last point there, adding: “Think that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci opened a map there, the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Britain were present there and all the dimensions of the Cyprus issue were discussed there.” He further claimed: “Even the president (Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci) gives a timetable at this moment. At the end of a determined period there should be a declaration. If we agree, there should be a referendum immediately. Let Anastasiades come and say ‘you have misunderstood me’ and sit and agree on the issues and a date of the referendum to be determined. But this should be in 2019.”
Referring to the candidacy of Professor Niyazi Kizilyurek in the European Parliament elections with AKEL, Hasipoglu said: “It is a matter of representation. With the candidacy of Niyazi Kizilyurek, the issue moved to different dimensions. There are six seats for Cyprus in the European Parliament. Two of these chairs are for the Turkish Cypriots. There are also three seats in the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe). A Turkish Cypriot deputy elected by the TRNC people is there.” He wondered why not the same process is followed also in the European Parliament and accused the European Parliament of making repeatedly mistakes since 2004.
Hasipoglu further noted that 3 “deputies” from the political parties represented in the “parliament” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus will go to Brussels in February and will convey to the European Parliament some letters they prepared. Regarding the content of the letters, Hasipoglu said that the issues focus on the representation, adding: “We say that a Republic was established in 1960. The 1960 Constitution says: the Turkish Cypriot deputies are elected by the Turkish Cypriot people. Think that there are still 24 empty seats in the parliament in the South [House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus]. These seats belong to the representatives of the Turkish Cypriots.”
According to illegal Bayrak television (25.01.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=trnc-represented-at-pace) the occupation regime was represented at the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held in Strasbourg.
The “TRNC parliament” was “represented” by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) so-called deputy Armagan Candan and the National Unity Party (UBP) by so-called deputy Ersan Hamza Saner.
According to a press release from the so-called assembly, the “parliamentary delegation” attended the meetings of the committees for Political Affairs and Democracy, Culture, Science, Education and Media, Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Social Affairs as well as Equality and Non-Discrimination.
The two “deputies” also attended a session of the Committee for Legal Affairs and Human Rights during which Greek rapporteur Evangelos Venizelos presented a report on a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights titled “Turkey and Ukraine”.
In his criticism of the report, Saner alleged that the report only gave room to the victimization of the Greek Cypriot side and that “no mention was made of the property violations of Turkish Cypriots prior to 1974 or the Turkish Cypriot missing persons”.
He said that Cengiz Ratip, a missing person, was an MP and was not mentioned in the report either.
Also speaking, Candan said that “the fact that the report failed to mention or include any of the injustices committed against Turkish Cypriots was a serious disappointment”.
He added further that it should not be forgotten that hundreds of Turkish Cypriots went missing before 1974.
The two so-called deputies also attended the meetings of the Socialists, the Democrats and the Greens groupings.
Illegal Bayark (25.01.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-visits-cyprus-tmt-association ) broadcast that the leader of the main opposition National Unity Party Ersin Tatar has criticized the “coalition government” for not having a joint view or position on the Cyprus Problem.
Speaking during a visit he paid yesterday to the Freedom Fighters’ Association (TMT) Tatar said that “this was unacceptable”.
Stating that UBP shared the same views with TMT on the Cyprus problem, the UBP leader said that the Cyprus problem was entering a critical phase which was why it was important to keep the issue on the agenda.
Criticising the Turkish Cypriot academic Niyazi Kızılyürek’s candidacy with AKEL party for the upcoming European Parliamentary elections, Tatar claimed that the 6 seats allocated for Cyprus within the European Parliament belonged to the whole of the island.
“The distribution of seats is according to the population ratio” said Tatar.
Claiming that Turkish Cypriots “are victims of the international isolations”, the UBP leader said that “thanks to the sacrifices put forward by motherland Turkey, the Turkish Cypriot people had set up their own state”.
“The important thing is to strengthen our state and to develop it economically, politically and socially. The UBP’s experienced and hardworking cadre will continue to work to develop the TRNC” he said.
Also touching upon the “foreign minister” Kudret Özersay’s recent contacts in New York and Washington, the UBP leader said the statements made by Özersay in Washington were correct but that he had been unjustly criticized by Akinci “and his other coalition partners”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika(25.01.19)reports that Mehmet Ipek, one of the perpetrators of the attack against the paper on 22 January 2018, boasted for his actions. The paper recalls that Ipek had been arrested and released because of “good behavior” and that he had expressed his “regret” in the “court”.
On the occasion of the completion of one year since the attack, Ipek wrote the following comment on the Facebook page of the press employees’ trade union (BASIN-SEN): “22 January is a date on which we have our forehead clean and our head upright. May the country be well”.
BASIN-SEN’s chairman, Ali Kismir made a statement on the issue saying, inter alia, the following:
“Do you remember Mehmet Ipek, the fascist who had savagely thrown stones against Afrika newspaper, on the same day he was locked in a close embrace with the chairman of the UBP Ersin Tatar; when he was arrested he made the sign of the hearths of the ideal and was released for good behavior by the parole council? Why is a convicted person released by the parole council before the end of his punishment? Is it for good behavior? Very well, are regretting for these actions and accepting that they were wrong included in this good behavior? […]”
According to Kismir, Ipek’s comment on BASIN-SEN’s Facebook page meant that he did not regret for his actions and that on the contrary he was proud of them and if necessary he would do the same again. “He defies the judiciary, the government, us, that is, the Turkish Cypriots and our culture”, notes Kismir.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-highlights-deal-with-syria-on-terror-fight-140752) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the Adana Agreement can be beneficial in the fight against terrorism in Syria, as his Russian counterpart Russian Vladimir Putin suggested.
“The [Adana] agreement is an agreement that will make Turkey’s presence felt in the region. We need to bring the agreement to the table again,” Erdogan told journalists aboard his flight from Moscow to Ankara on Jan. 24, referring to an agreement signed in 1998 by Turkey’s then President Süleyman Demirel and Syria’s then President Hafez al-Assad.
The Adana protocol is important and Turkey should work on it, Putin told Erdogan, according Erdogan who has stressed that the protocol was still in effect.
“We’re in contact with all actors in order to eliminate terror elements in Syria,” he stated.
Asked how the protocol could be practiced now, Erdogan said that he refused to carry out any high-level contacts with someone “who forced the migration of millions and carried out the killing of nearly one million.”
Erdogan also said that during his meeting with Putin, the Idlib Memorandum was also discussed. “We will not let any terrorist organizations be active in Idlib. We have the capability and ability to provide security and stability both in Idlib and Manbij as well as the east of River Euphrates,” he said.
“We care about the safety of our Kurdish brothers in Syria more than anybody else,” Erdogan added, stressing that regarding Kurds as the PYD and YPG is simply not fair.
Erdogan also informed that a trilateral summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran will be held in February. “The political transition process will be approached at the summit”, Erdogan added.
“We have discussed the Astana process and the establishment of the Constitutional Commission with Mr. Putin,” he said.
When asked about whether U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s statements in Ankara can be regarded as a milestone on issues with the U.S. about Manbij and the YPG, Erdogan said that Turkey’s desire is for YPG militants to retreat from Manbij, as the U.S. and Russia have said they would.
Erdogan also said that according to official Turkish figures nearly 1,000 YPG members are currently present in Manbij.
On the Idlib deal, there is progress, according to Erdoğan. “We have saved Idlib,” he said.
“If Russia and Turkey have not cooperated in Idlib, hundreds of thousands of people would have been forced to migrate”, Erdoğan said.
“We are carrying on with the Idlib process that we started in Sochi. However, there are radical elements trying to cloud the process,” Erdogan further said, expressing that Russia is discomforted by the radical elements and its discomfort reflects on to Turkey.
“We need to overcome these discomforts, as soon as possible. With Russia, we believe that we can provide prosperity and peace to Idlib,” Erdogan stressed.
Regarding the U.S.-proposed 20-mile safe zone in northeastern Syria, Erdogan said that Turkey is ensuring the U.S. and Russia to clear “all terrorist organizations” from the region if they provide logistical support.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-positive-on-turkeys-plans-to-secure-its-borders-fm-cavusoglu-140741) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said a day after a meeting between the Turkish and Russian Presidents that the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mention of a 1998-dated bilateral anti-terror protocol between Turkey and Syria has been interpreted by Ankara as a green light given by Moscow to a Turkish military operation against the YPG on its southern border.
“We think he referred to this [protocol] implying that Turkey can intervene in [Syria]. And this is positive for us,” Cavusoglu told private broadcaster AHaber in an interview on January 24.
Speaking about the talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Jan. 23, he said all recent developments in Syria have been discussed particularly after the U.S. decision to withdraw from the war-torn country.
One specific item on the agenda of the talks was the U.S.’s proposal to set up a security zone 32 kilometers deep inside Syria that Ankara says is to protect its borders from the YPG, which it sees as an offshoot of the PKK. Turkey has long been reinforcing its troops along its border with Syria in preparation for an incursion into its southern neighbor.
Cavusoglu recalled that the Adana protocol obliges Syria to “fight against terrorists that are posing a threat against Turkey,” while stressing that “it also gives the right to intervene to Turkey in the event that Syria fails to take these measures.”
The protocol is still valid but is not being implemented, the Minister said, noting that he believed Putin’s reference to the protocol was a green light given to Turkey to use its right to intervene.
On questions about Ankara-Washington talks over the secure zone, Cavusoglu said there was nothing decided yet about it.
“We could establish a safe zone on our own but we will not exclude the U.S., Russia or others if they are willing to cooperate,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey and the U.S. had exchanged position papers in their first meeting after the U.S. withdrawal decision on Jan. 8 and there are points agreed and disagreed on over the process, he said.
Turkey expects the U.S. to collect all the weapons it provided to the YPG and to leave the military facilities it has been using in Syria to Turkey.
On ongoing efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian question, Cavusoglu said Turkey, Russia and Iran are on the same page for an immediate establishment of a committee tasked to write a new Constitution for Syria.
“We are on the same page with Russia except for Assad,” he said, in reference to the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “They obviously want to continue with him. But we tell them ‘a man responsible for the death of more than one million Syrians cannot bring about unity’.”
In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/bora-bayraktar/dynamics-of-turkish-russian-partnership-140753) columnist Bora Bayraktar, writes the following about Turkey’s President Erdogan’s recent visit to Russia:
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in person in Moscow this time, for the 18th time since the summer of 2016. The one-hour and 50-minute-long meeting will have consequences not only on bilateral relations but also for the Middle East, Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean regions.
The meeting was important because it is the first one since U.S. President Donald Trump declared his intention to withdraw his troops from Syria. Because many issues like what will happen to the east of River Euphrates after the American withdrawal, Turkey’s intention to establish a safe zone in the north of Syria, Russia’s reaction to this plan, how to stop the advance of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib, and the future of the constitutional process of Syria depend on the talks between Erdogan and Putin.
The statements after the Moscow summit reveal that there are disagreements between Turkey and Russia on many issues, but both sides are still determined to work together.
Erdogan’s statement that ‘Turkish-Russian cooperation is the touchstone of peace, stability and security of Syria; with our close partnership and dialogue, we achieved many positive developments. We are determined to enhance our coordination with our Russian friends’ reflects this determination.
Meanwhile, Russia is still distant to the idea, while Erdogan repeated his concerns about the YPG and PYD. It seems that for the Russians, the YPG/PYD should remain as leverage to be used against Turkey. One should not forget that Russia from the 1980s used the PKK as an asset. When jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was deported from Syria, his first stop was Russia in 1998. In the early years of the Syrian civil war, Russia insisted on having the PYD on the negotiation table. But Russia stepped back many times upon Turkey’s resolve against this idea. Russia understands that Turkey can offer much more than the terrorist organization can provide in Syria. Moscow reluctantly supported Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in Syria. For Russia, Turkey is a partner that can’t be lost, and Putin proved many times that he is aware of this reality.
The Moscow meeting also showed the limits of this partnership. Putin referred to the Adana Agreement of 1998 between Turkey and Syria. In a way, he confirmed Turkey’s security concerns in Syria. But at the same time, he pointed out that Turkey needs to coordinate before it takes action in Syria with Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
For Russia, Turkey’s importance came from its geopolitical location. When you look at the Russian Naval Doctrine, Moscow wants to be a Mediterranean and an Atlantic power.
For this, Russia needs naval bases in the Black Sea (Crimea), Eastern Mediterranean and in points close to Gibraltar. Russia for the last couple years tried to develop its naval base in Tartus, Syria. Russian officials are chasing opportunities to build bases in Egypt and Libya. For the security of its base in Tartus and its supporting air base in Khmeimim, Russia needs Turkey’s help. These two military bases are within the range of terrorist groups in Idlib. The permanent threat in such a close location is a weakness. For Russia, Turkish-Russian understanding beginning with the Moscow Declaration of 2016, and then the Astana and Sochi talks, providing relative calm in Syria is critical for Russia.
That’s why the question of Idlib was a priority for Russia in the latest Erdogan-Putin talks. Erdoğan provided his commitment by saying: ‘We will continue our common fight against terrorist organizations in Idlib’. In return, Russia reluctantly and implicitly consents Turkish designs in the north. But obviously, Russia continues its efforts to take the Kurdish card from Americans’ hand and play it against Turkey in negotiations.
The second importance of keeping good relations with Turkey for Russia is its efforts to deepen the split within NATO. The closing statements of each NATO summit are full of criticisms against Russia. For Moscow, this is regarded as a serious threat and they try to stand by Turkey who was left alone by her allies in difficult times. By doing that Russia is aiming to weaken the southern flank of NATO.
From Turkey’s point of view, first of all, Russia is a balancing actor for Turkey in its relations with the western countries. Secondly, Russia is one of the main military powers in Syria, so practical reasons Turkey has to deal with Moscow. Eighteen meetings in person and 38 phone calls between Erdogan and Putin in 30 months prove the importance of this relation for both sides. Thanks to this partnership Turkey denied a terror corridor in the west of the Euphrates and Russia and regime-controlled Aleppo and the rest of the country until the river.
For the last three years, there were a series of attempts to sabotage the relationship between the two countries. The most brutal of this attempt was the murder of Russian ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov in front of cameras. Karlov was one of the victims of this horrible crime and the other target was Turkish-Russian relations. But the Russian leader did not give in against this terrorist action and managed the crisis with a cool-headed approach and protected the partnership with common understanding with his Turkish counterpart. Putin continued working in coordination with Turkey and he has been paid in kind for being a determinant actor in the Middle East, Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
As long as the problems continue in Syria and as long as both sides benefit from it, this partnership seems like it will develop further”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/maduro-brother-stand-tall-erdogan-tells-venezuelan-president-after-us-move-140730) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced solidarity with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on January 24 after Washington recognized opposition-controlled National Assembly's President Juan Guaido as interim President.
“Maduro brother, stand tall, Turkey stands with you”, Erdogan told President Nicolas Maduro by telephone, according to Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın on Twitter.
Kalın shared the #WeAreMADURO hashtag to show solidarity on Twitter.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced Jan. 23 support for Guaido.
Maduro has slammed the decision and said his country was cutting off diplomatic relations with the U.S., giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
Maduro made the announcement while speaking to supporters who gathered at the Presidential Palace in the capital of Caracas.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.01.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/those-defending-democracy-side-with-democracy-turkey/13740920 reported that Erdogan, speaking in a joint press conference with the Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who is currently in Turkey for talks, said, inter alia, that those who fight for democracy should side with those who are elected and champion democracy.
Erdogan made the above statements referring to the U.S. recognizing a Venezuelan opposition leader as interim President, rather than President Nicolas Maduro.
"If Maduro takes a tough stance... I believe the Venezuelan people will back their elected President", Erdogan said, adding: "If you do not respect election results, then this is not democracy, this is a totalitarian mindset”.
On ties with Malta, Erdogan said that Turkey and Malta agreed to further enhance cooperation on culture, tourism, education, health, maritime, and particularly energy as well as regional issues.
"Visa-free travel to Europe and updating the Customs Union deal will affect our relations with Malta with more service, investment, and tourism," he said.
He said further that Turkey hopes Malta will continue supporting Turkey in its relations with the European Union.
Preca, for her part, said that Malta would continue supporting Turkey's EU membership process, calling it a necessity for a prosperous Europe.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogans-press-aide-assigned-as-turkeys-envoy-to-the-vatican-140760) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s press advisor Lutfullah Goktas has been appointed as Turkey’s new Ambassador to the Vatican. The appointment was announced in the Official Gazette on January 24.
Turkey’s former Envoy to the Vatican was again a non-career Ambassador, Theologian Prof. Mehmet Pacacı.
Goktaş is also a theologian and a historian of religions who worked as a journalist in Italy before he had been assigned as Erdogan’s press officer in 2011. Goktas was born in 1963 and graduated from Marmara University’s Faculty of Theology.
Goktas received his master’s degree in the history of religions at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was the correspondent of NTV news broadcaster in Rome between 1998 and 2011.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION