Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (21.02.19) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey of “speaking with the Greek Cypriots’ language” on the issue of the explorations for natural gas and oil conducted by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. In statements during a ceremony organized by Altindag municipality yesterday in Turkey, Erdogan strongly criticized the opposition’s stance on this issue. Recalling the statements made the day before yesterday by a CHP deputy regarding Turkey’s explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan alleged:
“He says that our operations in the Eastern Mediterranean should stop. Alleging that ‘not even a single bucket of oil was found’, he calls on Turkey to end its explorations for oil and natural gas. Since the very first day, we have been hearing these calls from the Greek Cypriots. In the same manner, countries which want to usurp the rights of the Turks of Cyprus are also expressing their annoyance with every opportunity.
It is very natural for the Greek Cypriots and others to be annoyed from the explorations conducted by Turkey in the Mediterranean. The thing about which someone should wonder is CHP’s stance […] It is really saddening for the CHP to be driven away in this manner, to act so carelessly on a national matter which concerns the energy security of our country. What hurts me the most is the fact that the CHP speaks with the language of the Greek Cypriots. […] Of course, we will not stop our explorations for oil in the Eastern Mediterranean, because the Greek Cypriots and some CHP deputies do not want them. We will continue our way. We will not stop defending the rights of our country and our northern Cypriot brothers over the energy resources, because the CHP is bothered. […]”
According to illegal Bayrak television (21.02.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=burcu-says-only-one-date-for-guterres-framework), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s spokesman Barış Burcu claimed that there was only one Guterres Framework document which was presented to the two sides on the 30th of June 2017.
In a written statement issued today, Burcu said that a meaningless debate was going on in “South Cyprus” [the government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus] whether or not there are two documents, one tabled on the 30th of June and the other on the 4th of July.
“Everyone, including the UN, knows that there is no document tabled on the 4th of July”, Burcu said.
He further said that if this document is to be included in any discussion as of this point onwards, it must be taken as it is, without being watered down or distorted.
Burcu also pointed out that no meeting had taken place at the leaders’ level in Crans Montana on the 4th of July 2017. “No agreement or understanding had been reached at the meeting held on that date between the negotiators. As a result, to present this as Guterres’ descriptive document is nothing more than a waste of time”, he added.
He argued that it was clear that such unproductive debates by the Greek Cypriot side did not contribute in any way to the solution of the Cyprus Problem. “Our expectation is for the Greek Cypriot side to abandon such debates and to clarify its vision towards the future of Cyprus” he noted.
Burcu also said that Akıncı will be attending the leaders’ meeting on the 26th with a constructive and sincere attitude to listen to Anastasiades’ clarification of his proposal for a decentralized federation as well as any other ideas he may have.
According to illegal Bayrak television (21.02.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=erhurman-holds-weekly-meeting-with-akinci) Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister, said that they expect the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to clarify his views regarding a decentralized federation when he meets with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci next week.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Akinci, which lasted for almost an hour, Erhürman said that today’s meeting had focused on Akıncı’s upcoming meeting with Anastasiades next week on the 26th of February as well as “public reforms”.
“Our expectation is for Mr. Anastasiades to clarify his proposals. He needs to tell us what he wants. If he clearly clarifies what he wants and if this is acceptable by us then that means he is ready for result-oriented talks” said Erhürman.
Erhurman further claimed that he believes that Anastasiades is playing for time, giving the example of the delays experienced in the implementation of confidence building measures such as the mobile phones issue. “We will not negotiate for the sake of negotiating” said Erhürman and added that the Turkish Cypriot side was fed up and tired of open-ended processes.
He also said that they exchanged views regarding public reforms with Akinci.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (21.02.19) reports that the chairman of the Revival Party (YDP) Erhan Arikli refuted that there is a “consensus” among the political parties on the Cyprus problem. “In the current stage, we are far away from this point”, Arikli said yesterday.
Issuing a written statement on the issue, Arikli referred to the recent statements of the “speaker of the assembly” after Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci briefed the “assembly” on the Cyprus problem, supporting that “there was a consensus in the assembly”, alleging the following: “We have never doubted our president’s sincerity and goodwill. However, he should understand that we cannot go anywhere anymore with the stance he follows on the negotiations. Yesterday (the day before yesterday) we expressed to our president our criticism and we also expressed our views on this issue”, Arikli said.
The paper underlined further that so-called foreign minister and chairman of the People’s Party (HP) Kudret Ozersay and also the chairman of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar, denied the allegations about consensus existing between Akinci and the Turkish Cypriot political parties on the Cyprus problem.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (21.02.19) reports that the “speaker” of the so-called assembly Teberruken Ulucay, in statements yesterday on his personal account in social media, said that with the statements he made the other day after the closed-door meeting of the “assembly” where Akinci made a briefing on the Cyprus problem, that there is “a consensus among the Turkish Cypriot political parties and Akinci on the Cyprus problem”, he was referring to the following: “the political equality, result-oriented negotiations and conducting not open-ended negotiation talks but negotiation talks with a specific timetable”.
Meanwhile, issuing a written statements on the issue, the “assembly” underlines that Ulucay has stated that a “consensus exits in several issues, which he had later explained in details”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (21.02.19) reports that the deputy general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (UBP) Ahmet Savasan has stated that his party will organize a workshop for the preparation a new “strategic plan”.
Speaking yesterday during a televised program broadcast by Kanal T in the occupied area of Cyprus, Savasan said that the workshop entitled: “political strategies and vision workshop” will be launched on Saturday February 23 and will last six days. Savasan explained that during the workshop, they will determine the path that the party should follow in order to meet its goals, the strategies to be implemented and the sources to be used.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Savasan recalled the allegation expressed by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, during his recent visit to the “TRNC”, who had claimed that the “Greek Cypriots want a two state solution” and stated that the UBP agrees with “Turkey’s clear stance” that other alternatives should be discussed on the solution of the Cyprus problem. Savasan further argued that when taking into consideration the views of the political parties represented in the “assembly”, it becomes obvious that 35 “deputies” support the two-state solution in Cyprus, while, only 15 “deputies” back federation.
Savasan went on to state that that stance of the UBP which supports that new formulas should be discussed for the solution of the Cyprus problem, is clear and expressed the belief that it is necessary to explain with courage that one out of the new formulas to be discussed should be that of the two-state solution.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (21.02.19) reports that the chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar, speaking yesterday during a visit he paid in occupied Akanthou village, referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and stressed the need for bringing to the agenda of the negotiating table the two state solution, instead of continuing discussing about a federation solution.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (21.02.19) reports that Kemal Yilmaz, former “district governor” of occupied Trikomo area was sentenced yesterday to two months in prison for not obeying a “court’s order” during the period between 21 June 2016 and 6 April 2017. According to the paper, the “court’s order” was to demolish 31 bungalows and restaurants built on a protected site of archeological and natural importance in occupied Golden Sand area.
During the “hearing process”, around 300 persons were gathered in the yard of the “court” and shouted slogans, criticizing the “court” and supporting Yilmaz. Turmoil was created for a while between the “police” and the protesters, who described the decision as “racist”.
“Deputies” of the National Unity Party (UBP) and the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP) attended the “trial” yesterday. YDP’s chairman Erhan Arikli expressed his support of Yilmaz. In a statement on his social media account, Arikli said: “We are by Kemal Yilmaz’s side. We have assigned our lawyer friends with the duty of appeal. I hope that the appeal will end the soonest. […]”.
Referring to the issue, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (21.02.19) reports that Yilmaz had been “district governor” during the UBP’s period in the “government”. During the “general elections” held on 14 December 2003 Yilmaz was elected “deputy” with the UBP in occupied Trikomo area and served for one period.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (21.02.19) reports that according to a survey made by the HK agency regarding the “2020 presidential elections”, the Chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar and the chairman of the People’s Party (HP) Kudret Ozersay are leading the race.
According to the paper, Tatar comes first with 52.4%, followed by Ozersay with 50.7%. The chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman is third with 48.7% and the current “president” Mustafa Akinci is forth with 40.8%. Former “speaker of the assembly” Sibel Siber, despite not being an active politician anymore, is fifth with 32.4%.
Around 600 persons participated in the survey which asked the participants to vote and evaluated their preference towards the potential “candidates” using a scale from 10-0. As the paper notes, Akinci, Erhurman and Siber got a score below 50% and according to these results Tatar and Ozersay are passing to the “second round of the presidential elections”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.02.19) reports that there has been an increase of 26.4% in the price of medicines in Turkey and in the occupied area of Cyprus for the year 2019.
It was announced that the Turkish authorities and pharmaceutical companies agreed last week on hiking prices by 26.4%. The measure is designed to compensate suppliers for a slump in the value of the lira against foreign currencies last year, which hit profit margins.
Suay Sevinc, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot pharmacists’ association (KTEB) , speaking to the paper, said that the change in prices took effect on February 19, 2019, adding that the decision on hiking prices was implemented simultaneously in Turkey and in the occupied area of Cyprus.
Turkish news agency Ankara Anatolia (21.02.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/politika/disisleri-bakani-cavusoglu-kibris-etrafinda-2-gemiyle-sondaja-basliyoruz/1398931#) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has alleged that some groups within the European Parliament supported “terrorist organizations” and that the EP Elections would influence negatively this picture. In statements in the city of Aydin, addressing businessmen of the area, Cavusoglu referred to the Cyprus problem again and alleged:
“Cyprus is both a strategic target and a national cause for us. In the same manner the hydrocarbon wealth in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean around Cyprus is a strategic target for us, these are national issues. We have never allowed for the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey to be violated and we will never allow their violation from now on either. Within the forthcoming days we are starting drillings with two vessels around Cyprus. In the past, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasha vessel was conducting seismic explorations. Now we have one platform. It is conducting drillings in the area of Alania until March. After the end of this, it will come to Cyprus. Our new platform will also come within these days. It would go to the Black Sea, we are transferring it there as well and let those who come to these areas from far away and their companies see that nothing can be done in that area without us. Nothing can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey, we will not allow this”.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.02.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-draft-report-on-turkey-unacceptable-ankara/1398710), the European Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs voted Wednesday to accept a draft advisory report on Turkey, with Ankara calling the document "unacceptable".
The report, which calls for suspending accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union, is expected to be voted on by the entire European Parliament in mid-March.
"The call in the draft report -- which is not legally binding and bears only the status of an advisory decision -- to officially suspend our country’s accession negotiations with the EU is absolutely unacceptable," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said. He claimed that the draft report exemplified the EU’s biased and prejudiced attitude towards Turkey, adding Ankara would continue to push for its amendment.
"We expect the necessary changes to be made for a more realistic, unbiased and encouraging final report which will be accepted in March at the European Parliament’s general assembly," said Aksoy, stressing that Ankara would only take such a document into account.
He stressed that Turkey would continue to adopt reforms for accession into the bloc and Ankara expected the European Parliament to honor its pledged obligations towards Turkey. (…)
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.02.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-sticks-to-s-400-deal-despite-us-pressure-141375) with the above title reports that Turkey cannot accept the current criteria of a U.S. proposal for the procurement of the Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, a Turkish official has said, noting that Russia will deliver the first batch of the S-400 air defence systems to Turkey in July.
“The delivery of the S-400s will begin in July 2019. As of October, the system will be active. There are two systems, the second system’s calendar is set back, there is no problem,” the undersecretary of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), İsmail Demir, said in a televised interview.
Turkey needs to acquire more than two air defence systems, he said, recalling the ongoing talks with Washington for the purchase of the Patriot systems, whose details are yet to be clarified. “We cannot accept the content and details of the offer as it is,” he said. (…)
The U.S. put an informal deadline of Feb. 15 for Ankara to respond to its offer on the Patriot systems. The formal U.S. offer for Turkey’s purchase of Patriot systems expires at the end of March, U.S. officials have told Reuters, after which a new offer would have to be submitted. However, the U.S. offer did not commit to two major demands of Ankara: Providing credit and joint production. (…)
The U.S. considers the S-400 procurement by Turkey as a security problem of NATO. Washington is worried on Turkey’s “deviation in its pursuit of security.” Besides, the U.S. interprets Russia’s sale of its defence technology to a NATO member country as an effort to crack the integrity of the Alliance.
Meanwhile, the U.S. will wait until at least November for the deployment of two F35 fighter jets in Turkey’s military air base in the eastern province of Malatya, the Daily News has learned.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.02.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/political-alliances-expand-scope-for-turkeys-local-elections-141356), the two separate alliances running in the March 31 local elections expanded their scopes in last-minute moves late Feb. 19 as the initial lists of candidates have been submitted to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK).
The “People’s Alliance” between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has expanded further to cover 51 provinces out of 81.
The MHP will present its own candidates in the southern provinces of Adana, Mersin and the Aegean province of Manisa, while the AKP will race in 27 metropolitan cities.
As part of the new expansion, the MHP will endorse the AKP’s candidates in the metropolis of Istanbul, the capital Ankara, the Aegean province of İzmir, eastern provinces of Erzurum, Ağrı, Van and Bitlis, the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep, Şırnak and Siirt along with several others.
Both parties’ leaders’ hometowns, the southern province of Osmaniye and Black Sea province of Rize, which were not included in the alliance initially are now part of the alliance.
The main opposition and Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party have agreed to cooperate in a total of 56 provinces. While their “Nation Alliance” will present joint candidates in 56 provinces, 24 out of which are metropolises, İYİ Party will propose its own candidates in 14 metropolitan cities and 30 provinces.
The alliance was previously comprised of 50 provinces, but on Feb. 19, with a final decision, the CHP endorsed İYİ Party’s candidate for the northern province of Ordu in the local elections.
With recent alterations on the lists of both parties’ candidates of some provinces, İYİ Party withdrew its candidates from the northern province of Amasya, the Central Anatolian province of Sivas and the eastern provinces of Bingöl, Bitlis and Iğdır.
Meanwhile, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has decided not to race in 11 metropolitan cities including the capital Ankara, the Aegean province of İzmir, the metropolis of Istanbul, the northwestern province of Bursa and southern province of Adana.
Metropolitan municipality mayors are presented in large provinces with populations over 750,000, with a mayor running the entire province, such as Istanbul and Ankara, along with mayors of districts within that province. Residents living in smaller provinces elect mayors only for the districts they live in.
According to Turkish daily Sabah (21.02.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/02/21/tanap-to-strengthen-turkeys-energy-position-in-region), TANAP is the backbone of the Southern Gas Corridor, a project that would carry natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz-2 and other fields in the Caspian Sea to Turkey and Europe.
The Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) will strengthen Turkey's position as a key energy country, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez Wednesday. During the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) Advisory Council in Azerbaijan's capital Baku, Dönmez said the pipeline, which already transfers gas to Turkey, would extend to the Greek border in the coming months when its infrastructure is completed. Since its launch at the end of June last year, TANAP has transferred more than one billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey, Azerbaijan's President İlham Aliyev announced Wednesday. The meeting in Baku was attended by officials from the European Union, Turkey, the U.S., Georgia, Bulgaria, Italy, Montenegro, Albania, Croatia, Greece, Serbia, San Marino, Romania, Turkmenistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary.
"On June 12 last year, we witnessed the timely completion of TANAP. The first gas deliveries to Turkey occurred June 30, 2018. Over the next few months, infrastructure work for the Greek border will be finished," Dönmez said. (…)
"The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the most important projects demonstrating the commitment of the countries in the region," Dönmez said, adding that it creates a large value chain from producer to final consumer with an investment of more than $45 billion. The minister commended TANAP as a historic project in which Turkey's energy position in the region would be strengthened and in which Europe would obtain more diversified supply sources.
"Azerbaijan will provide access to new markets with its supplier country position. Europe will increase the source country and route diversity," he added. (…)
Commenting on the speed of TANAP's construction, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dönmez said he hoped the TAP project would be completed just as quickly as TANAP. The pipeline is expected to be ready to deliver its first gas to European markets by mid-2020.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION