Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (22.02.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has reiterated the allegation that the federal partnership solution model based on sharing had been tried and exhausted in Cyprus and that the model of a partnership based on cooperation should be tried.
In statements to Turkish Anatolia news agency, Ozersay referred also to the hydrocarbons issue and claimed that the breakaway regime will begin explorations for natural gas with Turkey in the area, which allegedly belongs to them. He alleged that the international community and the foreign energy companies had the duty of encouraging the Greek Cypriot side to take the consent of the Turkish Cypriot side during the natural gas explorations in the Eastern Mediterranean and added that the Turkish Cypriot side would not wait for steps to be taken by the international community on this issue. He alleged the following:
“Since we also have rights, we will also conduct these drillings. […] As TRNC, by using our potential and possibilities and the instruments we have with Turkey, we will repel the Greek Cypriot side from the point of usurping our rights. We will take our rights with our own hands. I think that everybody notes that we are doing this in a diplomatic and peaceful way”.
Claiming that the negotiating process collapsed at the Crans Montana, he argued: “I am saying it very clearly. This is not because federation is a bad model, but because the conditions which will help in the creation of a federation do not exist in Cyprus. For a federation in the direction of the sharing of administration and wealth, two sides ready to share administration and wealth are needed. The issue on which everybody agrees now is that the Greek Cypriot administration is not ready to share the administration and the wealth. […] What has been proved and demonstrated after 50 years is that federation is not possible because of the conditions on the island”.
Alleging that not only President Anastasiades but no other Greek Cypriot leader wanted to share with the Turkish Cypriots, Ozersay claimed that the Greek Cypriot side wanted the negotiations to begin from the point they were left off in order to lead things into a vicious circle. “First the sides should agree on what they will be negotiating”, he argued.
Noting that some circles discuss the “method” without seeing the essence of the Cyprus problem, he alleged that any negotiating process which would start without a common vision was doomed to fail.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (22.02.19) reports that the Deputy chairman of the parliamentary group of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey Engin Ozkoc, speaking yesterday during a press conference in the Turkish National Assembly, referred to the parliamentary question submitted by the party’s Deputy Ali Mahir Basarir, regarding the natural gas researches in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ozkoc stated that Turkey had asked for natural gas researches not to take place in the area which coincide with its interests before reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. “The Greek Cypriot administration and Greece may confront economic difficulties. However, while the Cyprus problem still exists and before reaching an agreement, it is not right for natural gas researches to take place”, Ozkoc alleged.
Referring to Basarir’s question, Ozkoc alleged that the aim was for Turkey’s natural gas researches in the area to be carried out with a transparent way and the public opinion to know how they are carried out and that there is no other intention.
Turkish Cypriot daily Günes (22.02.19) reports that the chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar, issuing a written statement yesterday, alleged that it is not right to say that “the TRNC cannot be recognized” and argued that in case the negotiation talks on the Cyprus problem totally collapse, the international community will be obliged to find a remedy for the Turkish Cypriots. “The day will come that the TRNC will be recognized”, Tatar alleged, adding also the following: “Let’s safeguard our state and rights. Let’s reinforce our economy and after the negotiation talks collapse, we should explain in a sincere manner to clarify to our people that the rightest choice for the solution of the Cyprus problem is the two state solution. We have to defend this position in every platform for the interest and benefit of our people”, Tatar further argued.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (22.02.19) reports that Asim Akansoy, self-styled deputy with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), described “insincere” the reactions against the statement made by Teberruken Ulucay, self-styled “assembly speaker”, regarding the existence of consensus on the Cyprus problem among the political parties which are represented in the “assembly”.
In statements to the paper, Akansoy recalled that in the joint statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu during the latter’s recent illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus, they both referred to a “common approach” in the Cyprus problem and to “approval” by the political parties of this approach. He argued that the political parties which, in spite of this, said that there was absolutely no consensus, were insincere.
Explaining the points on which consensus exists among the political parties, Akansoy stated:
“The Cyprus problem will be administered within the framework of negotiations. Political equality is a sine qua non for us. The negotiating process will be conducted within the framework of the UN. It will be a process focused on the result. Our just stance on the natural gas issue will continue. The process will not be open-ended. Anastasiades should clearly explain what he wants. Cooperation and not a conflict should exist on the natural gas issue. Powers and the resources should be shared”.
According to Akansoy, the statements [saying that no consensus existed] seriously harmed the Cyprus problem and when the Turkish Cypriots went outside the perspective for a solution and the UN parameters, they would find themselves in a very difficult situation before the international community.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (22.02.19), the United Cyprus Party (BKP) argued that the National Unity Party (UBP), the People’s Party (HP) and the New Revival Party (YDP), with their criticism at the Turkish Cypriot leader by blowing up the negotiation process, aim to gain advantage in the “presidential elections”.
In a written statement issued yesterday, Izzet Izcan, leader of the BKP, said that the negotiation process, which started with the reconciliation between the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades in 2014, has reached to this day based on the principles of the reconciliation process, stressing that if the process will continue it will continue on the basis of the same principles.
Izcan further said that the reason that the political parties, which owe their political lives to the governments in Ankara, attack Akinci, is to interrupt the efforts of peace and solution by causing hostility to the federal solution. He argued that the policies of separatism and two state policy are impossible to be strengthened.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (22.02.19) reports that a three-member delegation from the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) will be attending a meeting to be organized by the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (ACRE) which is to take place in Rome.
According to the paper, the delegation consists of “deputies” Tahsin Ertugruloglu, Ersan Saner and Oguz Hasipoglu.
The National Unity Party (UBP) became a member of the ACRE three years ago, writes the paper. Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is also a member, the paper adds.
According to illegal Bayrak television (22.02.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=nami-says-efforts-underway-to-lower-electricity-prices), Ozdil Nami, self-styled minister of economy and energy, speaking on a program on “BRT” last night, said that serious efforts were underway to lower the cost of producing electricity and to offer consumers lower prices. He added that efforts to lower electricity costs and prices included improving the grid infrastructure and more importantly raising efficiency in energy production.
In response to a question, Nami said that he was not against the multiple tariff system in place as they were striving to establish systems and practices which existed in developed countries.
Touching upon the issue of bringing electricity from Turkey, Nami said that such a project would need at least two years if such an agreement was signed today, adding: “If it will take at least two years for electricity to be brought from Turkey we will need to change the types of generators in place”.
Nami pointed out that the issue had been discussed with EU officials and that experts had stated that the interconnectivity with Turkey would not affect the grid but would be beneficial for the whole of Cyprus. “The issue, therefore, is not technical but political and therefore there is a need for diplomacy,” he said.
Stating that he supported the idea of inter-connectivity with Turkey, Nami said that such a project would cost around 400-500 million dollars. “We are however not at a stage to give the green light”, he added.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay (22.02.19) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) Turgay Deniz met separately with the Ambassadors of France and Germany to Cyprus, Rence Trococaz and Franz Joseph Kremp, respectively.
According to a statement issued by the chamber, during both meetings with the European Ambassadors, there was an exchange of views on the Turkish Cypriot economy and the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.
Deniz further underlined that as long as the Cyprus problem remains unsolved, it is very important for them to develop the “TRNC’s trade ties” with other countries. “We pay great importance to share with all state officials our views on what could be happening towards this direction”, Deniz said, adding that they will continue carrying out such meetings and visits.
Under the title: “There is not embargo, there are standards”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (22.02.19) reports that Izzet Adioglu, expert at the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KKTO) referred to the Green Line Trade Regulation and to the “embargo” and stated:
“No obstacle can be put for a product that is produced under EU standards and has a reasonable price. What matters is the quality, the standards and the antagonistic price. Products that are produced within this framework are able to pass without any problem to the Mersin Custom […]”.
He went on adding that the Green Line Trade Regulation is in place for 15-29 products and added that the annual volume is 4,5 million Euro. Plastic products worth 1,5 million euro and fresh fish worth 900,000 are sold to the south. Construction material and waste products follow.
“Through the Green Line Regulation Trade mainly industrial products are sold to the south. This is something we do not see at the retail trade. The internal political activities in the south stir up the psychological obstacles”, he said.
He also added that the Green Line Trade Regulation came into a routine but as he said the trade value does not reflect the potentials. He added that some Greek Cypriots are looking for a way to bring the raw materials and start producing in the north. As he said there is consultation with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce over the issue.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (22.02.19) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KKTO) announced that it will hold various contacts in Istanbul aiming to increase the co-operation in international trade and investments.
In this framework the chairman of the Chamber Turgay Deniz heading a delegation will visit the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and the Istanbul Technical University. In addition it will have contacts with representatives of the Taiwan Foreign Trade Development Council.
According to illegal Bayrak television (22.02.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=drillingship-metro-1-passes-through-bosphorus-strait), the Deepsea Metro-1 drilling vessel purchased, recently by Turkish Petroleum (TPOA) to conduct drilling for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, has passed through the Bosphorus Strait. The vessel is heading to Yalova for repairs and supplies.
The drillship, which is the first of Turkish Petroleum Consortium’s two rigs, was purchased for 262.5 million dollars.
The Marshall Islands-flagged rig, which weighs 51.238 gross tones and is 229 in length, was escorted through the Bosphorus Strait this morning by the TCG Heybeliada and coast guard vessels. (…)
According to Turkish daily Star (22.02.19, https://www.star.com.tr/ekonomi/takdir-edemiyorsan-bari-sus-haber-1435696/), Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez reacted to Mersin Deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ali Mahir Basarir, who opposes Turkey’s oil and gas explorations in the Mediterranean.
Noting that Turkey has achieved important progress on the issue of natural resources explorations in the Mediterranean, Donmez said: “Now the drilling is at 4.850 meters. Our goal is to go down to 5.500 meters. You don’t find without searching. We are not going to surrender. It is not the job of the opposition to speak on this issue. We have been on the field day and night, we are searching.”
Donmez further said: “They say ‘Don’t search’. In other words, the discourse of the CHP Deputy has been harmonized unfortunately with the discourse of the Greek Cypriots. So, if you cannot appreciate it, at least you have to be quiet. The numbers cannot become definite without finishing the job. The numbers will speak. According to world average, only in one of every six wells opened in the sea and one in every twelve wells on the land, resources are found. (…)”.
According to Turkish news agency Ankara Anatolia (22.02.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/erdogan-trump-discuss-syria-economic-ties-over-phone/1399678), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed Washington’s planned troop withdrawal from Syria during a phone call late Thursday.
The two leaders agreed that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria should be carried out in line with common interests, stressing the need to support the political process in the war-torn country, according to Turkish presidential sources. They also reiterated their countries’ determination to fight all forms of terrorism.
They also agreed to further enhance economic relations, setting a goal of $75 billion in bilateral trade.
The White House said separately in a statement that Erdogan and Trump agreed to continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone in northern Syria.
It also noted that Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford would host their Turkish counterparts within the week for further talks. (…)
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.02.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/no-imf-in-turkeys-future-erdogan-141401), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will never have a role in the future of the Turkish economy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, also criticizing the main opposition party on the issue.
“When we came to power [in 2002], Turkey’s debts stood at $23.5 billion,” Erdoğan said Feb. 21 at a local election rally in the western province of Denizli.
“I told the IMF chair in Davos [at the time] ‘You are not the Prime Minister of Turkey, I am. You do not have a job to run Turkey, take your money and leave the rest.’ He was sent away [as the IMF chair], but your brother, here, became the President. Now we have no debts to the IMF,” Erdoğan said, claiming that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu would not have such a stance if he was in power.
“Now, Mr. Kemal says we should apply to the IMF. This is what he would do,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also claimed that the strategy and candidates of the opposition alliance for the March 31 local elections have been shaped by FETÖ and the PKK.
“A quadruple gang was put up against the People’s Alliance. It’s remotely controlled by Qandil and Pennsylvania,” Erdoğan claimed. (…)
“Their election strategies as well as candidate lists have been imposed by Pennsylvania and terror barons,” he added. (…)
The “quadruple gang,” according to Erdoğan, is composed of the CHP, the İYİ Party, the HDP and the Felicity Party (SP). “A new political game against us is being staged. It’s about political engineering,” he said.
“The spokesmen of the HDP openly indicated that their strategy was based on efforts to let the People’s Alliance lose elections,” Erdoğan said, adding that “the representatives of this organization openly say they will stand against the AKP, but the leader of the CHP seems not disturbed by this. He never says ‘We don’t need the support of the terrorists.’”
CHP chair Kılıçdardoğlu has “preferred to align with the terrorists and the political leg of the terrorists,” the President claimed.
“I call upon the hearts of my people who support the CHP: Are you still going to vote for this man? Just think twice. You have to teach him a good lesson.”
Under the title “Mustafa Şentop named AK Party candidate for Parliament Speaker”, Turkish daily Sabah (22.02.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2019/02/22/mustafa-sentop-named-ak-party-candidate-for-parliament-speaker) reports that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has chosen Deputy Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop as its candidate for the speaker's post, according to sources in parliament. (…)
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the AK Party's parliamentary and election ally, has already announced that it will support the AK Party candidate. (…)
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (22.02.19, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/1260620/iste_TBMM_Baskanligi_icin_yarisacak_adaylar.html) reports that the candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) for the post of parliament speaker is Engin Altay, CHP’s deputy group chair.
The People’s Democracy Party (HDP) has choosen its former co-leader Serpil Kemalbay for the post, and the candidate for the Good Party (IP) is the Deputy Imam Huseyin Filiz.
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (20.02.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/02/20/nearly-3000-online-news-articles-censored-by-turkey-in-2018-report/), Turkey censored 2,950 online news articles in 2018 according to the “BİA Media Monitoring Report 2018”, released by the Bianet news website on Tuesday (19.02.19, https://bianet.org/bianet/bia-medya-gozlem/205589-bia-medya-gozlem-2018-habercinin-medyanin-bir-yili).
Turkish authorities also blocked 77 tweets, 22 Facebook posts, five Facebook videos and 10 websites, issued three broadcast bans and censored eight newspapers, two TV stations, two personal letters, one news report, one TV series and one interview.
Wikipedia, the world’s most popular Internet encyclopedia, which was blocked in 2017, remained so throughout 2018.
The report also presented an overview of the current status of the media in Turkey, which ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.
One hundred twenty-three journalists greeted 2019 from behind bars in Turkey, which is described as the world’s largest jailer of journalists.
Forty-seven of the imprisoned journalists were convicted, while 34 were still on trial. Thirty journalists were under investigation. Twelve were convicted but appealed the verdicts.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, 73 journalists and media workers were in jail over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, accused of orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016.
At the same time, 38 journalists and media workers were in prison on charges related to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) or the Syria-based Democratic Union Party (PYD).
At least 47 reporters were detained in 2018, 36 of whom were taken into custody while in pursuit of developments related to Turkey’s Kurdish minority.
At least 19 journalists and one media organization were attacked in 2018, while 70 journalists and four media outlets received threats.
At least 20 journalists were convicted to a total of 38 years, five months and four days (six years, 10 months and 12 days of which were deferred) in prison and fines of TL 35,000 ($ 6,600) in total for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
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