According to illegal Bayrak (01.03.19 at 11:10 am http://www.brtk.net/ozersay-abu-dhabide-iit-disisleri-bakanlari-konsey-toplantisinda/ ) “foreign minister” Kudret Özersay is attending the Organization for Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.
Özersay, in a post at his social media account, said that he will also be meeting with foreign ministers of OIC member countries on the sidelines of the council meeting. He further said that the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers has invited the Indian Foreign Minister to deliver a speech as an honor guest, despite the fact that he is not a member of the organization this year.
Ozersay added: “We shall continue to work to voice the Turkish Cypriots’ cause at the international platform at every opportunity we get”.
Illegal Bayrak (01.03.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-speaks-on-brt-2) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı has said that confidence-building measures are important but nothing can be more important than a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem.
Speaking on a special program on BRT last night, Akinci reminded that Tuesday’s meeting had taken place in two parts, the first focusing on confidence-building measures while the second on the issue of decentralization.
On the issue of mobile phones, he said that subscribers in the “TRNC” could use their mobile phones anywhere in Europe except for south Cyprus, as he called the Republic of Cyprus.
He said that cooperation on this issue was possible without one side having to officially recognize the other. “The Greek Cypriot side had been using an EU law as an excuse to prevent the deal from going forward”, Akıncı said claiming that EU officials had repeatedly stated that this, in fact, was not an obstacle for mobile phone interoperability.
He also said that there were no timetables or a deadline as to when the technical aspects would be finalized.
On the issue of integrating the electricity grids of both sides, Akinci said that the grids had been temporarily connected since 2016 and would now be permanently connected.
He said that the connection of two grids will be useful not only when there is a power outage on either side but will also help lower prices due to increased efficiency.
He however, stated that the “Cyprus Turkish Electricity Authority” should not neglect to carry out investments on its infrastructure which is being debated recently.
“It’s important that we meet any increased demand from our own electricity production rather than having to rely on the south” he said.
On the demining agreement reached between the two sides to clear 9 possible minefields each, Akıncı said that the ultimate goal was to transform Cyprus into a mine-free island.
He said that the minefields in question were mainly in the western part of the island.
Replying to a question he expressed the desire to see more confidence measures being introduced in the future.
Akıncı pointed out that people in the Famagusta and Deryneia area were very happy with the opening of the new crossing point.
“If we receive logical proposals then I believe we shall be seeing more confidence-building measures,” he said. Answering a question as to what he thought about a piece by piece solution model rather than a comprehensive settlement, Akıncı drew attention to the 11 of February Joint Declaration.
“Confidence building measures are different from a settlement. A piece by piece settlement may sound nice but there were other balances which needed to be taken into consideration” he said.
On the negotiations process, he said that the Turkish Cypriot side had experienced great disappointments in 2004 with the Annan Plan and in Crans Montana in 2017.
He, however, added that much had been accomplished as a result of both processes.
“The latest process in Crans Montana failed as a result of the lack of willingness on the part of the Greek Cypriot side. This was a great disappointment. I did say that this was the last attempt of my generation but added that as long as the Cyprus problem remained unresolved, efforts to solve the problem will continue” he added.
Also touching upon calls made to him by the opposition to bring to the table a two-state solution, Akinci said that those who were advocating for a two-state solution keep forgetting that agreements have been reached on this issue.
“They also forget that this issue has been discussed with the Turkish Foreign Ministry and that agreement has been reached,” he said.
He also said that political equality and effective participation in decision making were part of UN parameters and that the Greek Cypriot side could not run away from these parameters forever.
“The UN Secretary-General will shut down all efforts if I go and tell them that the only thing I will negotiate from now on will be a two-state solution. The UN will announce that the Turkish Cypriot side has gone outside the agreed parameters and the Turkish Cypriot side will have to shoulder the blame and responsibility for the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem” he said.
The great majority of the Turkish Cypriot newspapers gives extensive coverage on its front pages today (01.03.19) to the announcement made yesterday by ExxonMobil- Qatar Petroleum regarding the discovery of a natural gas resource in Glaucous well in Block 10 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Under the title “’Natural gas’ resource”, Yeni Düzen reports that ExxonMobil announced the discovery of the third largest natural gas resource in the world during the past couple of years and the discovery was between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet. The paper writes also that the resource is the largest ever discovered in Cyprus.
Under the title “The largest natural gas resource”, Afrika reports that either we will be able to find a solution to the Cyprus problem or the natural gas will become a trouble for us. According to the paper, the natural gas resources discovered off the island will turn the entire world’s eyes on Cyprus. It is noted that a natural gas resource of around 126 billion cubic meters had been discovered in Aphrodite well and that Energy Minister Lakkotripis described the resource discovered in Glaucous well as the largest ever discovered in Cyprus.
Mehmet Harmanci, mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, commented on the issue through his social media account. He said that this natural gas resource could not change the balances in the world, but it is important from the point of view of the balances in the area.
Under the title “Its fanfare is big, itself it is small”, Havadis reports that the data announced yesterday showed that the discovered natural gas was much less than the expected quantity. Serhat Uludag, expert on energy issues, told the paper that under the current market conditions it was not possible for the resource discovered in Glaucous well to be extracted and that if the discovered quantity was added to the 128 billion cubic meters which existed in Aphrodite well and the 100 billion cubic meters in Block 6, Cyprus’ natural gas resources reached 400 billion cubic meters. “This quantity, however, is high for Cyprus but low for a pipeline”, he argued and added that the increase of the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the world markets caused a price decrease. “Therefore, the liquidation and transfer of the discovered natural gas to the international market becomes more difficult”, he argued.
Under the title “The resource does not mean that there will be a production, economic and political feasibility is needed”, Kıbrıs Postası reports that experts argued that the discovered resource was a small one comparing to the natural gas resources on Zhor and Leviathan wells. They also said that the quantity could satisfy Turkey’s needs only for 3-4 years, since the country needed 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. Emin Emrah Danis, expert on energy issues in Bilkent University and director of the Research and Strategy Centre of Global Energy Research Partners, told the paper that the resource should be economically and politically feasible to be sold in the international markets. He alleged that this would be very difficult without a solution to the Cyprus problem and without guaranteeing the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
Under the title “Gigantic maneuver by the TSK”, Kıbrıslı reports that while the results of ExxonMobil – Qatar Petroleum at Delfyni and Glaucous wells were positive and satisfied the Greek Cypriot side, the “impressive” maneuver by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) named “Blue Homeland” was watched with excitement and concern.
Under the title “Either a war will come up or peace will be made”, Detay reports that the quantity of natural gas might determine the fate of the Eastern Mediterranean and refers to comments which argue that “the balances between the sides in the chess game plaid in the Eastern Mediterranean depend on the quantities of natural gas in the area”.
Other titles on the issue include:
Diyalog: Festive climate
Güneş: The oil resource was announced
Vatan: A serious quantity of natural gas resource was discovered in Block 10
Halkın Sesi: A big natural gas resource in Block 10
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (01.03.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, speaking yesterday at “Turkey-TRNC Investment and Cooperation Conference” organized by the Turkish Businesswomen Association with the “Eastern Mediterranean Politics Association” in occupied Kyrenia, argued that the Annan plan and the Crans Montana summits had been missed opportunities and added that if there was a problem then the efforts to solve this problem would continue. He noted that the Turkish Cypriot side will continue to act in line with its rights and protect its consistent stance on the Cyprus issue.
Pointing to the importance of living a prosperous life in the occupied area of Cyprus, Akinci said that “it was important to create the right investment opportunities in the TRNC”. He added that in order for economic growth to take place in the “country” both local and foreign investors must see consistent economic development. He further said: “Because, on one hand, the Cyprus problem continues but life does not stop either. In the course of time, the Turkish Cypriot people should be also successful in their struggle to reach a higher quality of life. Within this framework, it is very important to create an environment suitable for the realization of appropriate investments in the TRNC”.
Noting that the economy has not grown for the last ten years basis, Akinci stressed that “even in this period the competent authorities cannot say the exact number of the population, but the per capita income is decreasing because the population is growing rapidly”. He further said: “In the last decade, we have seen the real average wage, minimum wage, retirement and social welfare salaries, and therefore the purchasing power of a large part of our people to be decreased by 10% to 15%. The unemployment rate among our young people is quite high”.
Noting that the leading sectors in Cyprus are the higher education and tourism, Akinci said that there is an island economy in which small scale agriculture and industrial production is made. Akinci reminded the data that Cemal Ozyigit gave three months ago regarding the “universities” operating in the occupied area of Cyprus. He said that the number of students during the academic year 2018-2019 studying in the occupied area of Cyprus were 102 thousand 944, and the 55 thousand students were from Turkey while the 35 thousands form third countries.
According to illegal Bayrak (01.03.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=investment-and-cooperation), sefl-styled prime minister Tufan Erhürman claimed that “the TRNC is the perfect place for investments in the tourism sector, higher education and information technology to take place”.
In a statement during a lunch that was given in line with the “Turkey-TRNC Investment and Cooperation Conference” that was organised jointly by the Turkish Businesswomen’s Association and the “Eastern Mediterranean Politics Association”, Erhurman argued that “while efforts were being made to make the TRNC more recognisable around the world they discovered that they haven’t in fact promoted the TRNC enough in Turkey”.
Noting that tourism and the higher education sector had made important gains in the “country”, Erhurman pointed to the importance of investors from Turkey coming to the “country” and seeing for themselves the opportunities that are available. “In order for the TRNC to be re-promoted in Turkey there is a need for a new widespread promotion project”, said Erhürman and added that the number of tourists that come from Turkey is insufficient.
Claiming that “the TRNC has a rich history and culture” he also pointed to the importance of widening the variety of tourism opportunities in the “country”.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (01.03.19) reports that Erhurman, noting that history and cultural tourism will be beneficial in terms of increasing the diversity in tourism, explained that the Othello castle is the castle where Shakespeare wrote the title-role play. He added if this castle was in another European country, a tour called “Othello Tourism” would be promoted.
Under the title “Erhurman: 800 thousand population, 102 thousand students”, Turkish Cypriot Afrika (01.03.19), on its front page, reports that Erhurman, referring to the latest statement of the “finance minister” Serdar Denktas on the population in the occupied area of Cyprus, said that from the 800 thousand people who live in the occupied area of Cyprus, the 102 thousand are students and 32-33 thousand from these students are coming from third countries.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (01.03.19), self-styled economy and energy minister Ozdil Nami said that “the TRNC should be transformed into an economy with high added value”.
Addressing yesterday’s “Turkey-TRNC Investment and Cooperation Conference”, Nami claimed that it would be possible to reduce the problems caused by the “isolation” and being an island, by offering competitive products and services. Nami explained that “the Gross National Product of the TRNC is 4 billion Dollars and the income per capita is approximately 14,000 dollars and the average annual growth is 5.4%”. He further said that their “imports are 1.8 billion dollars and 60% of their imports come from Turkey and 20% from Europe, while exports are 105 million dollars, from which 60% go to Turkey and 20% to the Islamic countries”. He added that their “main export product are halloumi and citrus fruits”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (01.03.19) reports that according to a research of the so-called ministry of economy, the majority of the persons living in the breakaway regime believe that federation is not possible as a solution of the Cyprus problem.
In a question about how possible the implementation of a federal solution is , 32,1% replied “definitely not possible”, 25,1% replied “not possible”, 16.6% replied “I do not know if it is possible”, 21% replied “it is possible”, 4,4% “definitely is possible” and 0.8% did not replyat all.
Asked about their first choice for a solution of the Cyprus problem, the replies were as follows: “Unite under the Republic of Cyprus” 5.6%, “federal Cyprus consisting of two founding provinces” 17,3%, “I have no opinion for the solution model” 16,4%, “federal solution consisting of two founding states” 28,7%, “recognized independent TRNC” 29,5%, “not answer” 2,6%.
Asked which place they consider to be their country, the participants in the research stated: “The whole of Cyprus” 23,8%, “TRNC” 40,8%, “Turkey” 3,9%, “TRNC and Turkey” 31,5%.
Asked about their opinion on the EU, the participants replied as follows: “It is a union that we should be a part of” 45,8%, “It will be good to become part of it but I have some doubts” 23,7%, “It is not obligatory to become part of it” 9,4%, “we must definitely become part of it” 18%, “I have no opinion 3,2%.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/updating-customs-union-with-eu-is-priority-turkish-finance-minister-141557) reports that Turkey and the European Union have agreed in high-level talks held in Istanbul that the existing customs union needs to be upgraded.
“Bilateral trade volume between the bloc and Turkey has almost quadrupled over the past 15 years to around $165 billion. This is a well-balanced trade relationship. The issue of upgrading the customs union, which would be beneficial to both parties, should be addressed urgently,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Feb. 28 following the third High Level Economic Dialogue meeting with Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission.
Albayrak added that besides the customs union, he also discussed visa liberalization, which would boost bilateral trade and investments, with Katainen.
“Turkey is our fifth largest trading partner; thus we have deep relations. The European Union wants to maintain its close relations with Turkey,” Katainen told reporters at a joint press conference with Albayrak. “The customs union should be upgraded,” the EU official added.
He also said that visa liberalization will be granted as soon as Turkey meets the required criteria, noting that Ankara has already satisfied 68 criteria out of a total 72.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (01.03.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkish-navy-drill-aims-to-contribute-to-nato-goals-3475685) reports that Turkey's largest navy drill in its history aims to provide trust and stability around Turkey and contribute to the shared goals of NATO rather than threatening its neighbors.
Turkish military sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday that the Blue Homeland 2019 military drill is a joint military exercise conducted with the attendance of other forces to test the weapons and military systems of Turkish Naval Forces.
It began on Wednesday with the participation of 103 navy ships in the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean surrounding the country as Turkish military is testing its warfighting capabilities.
The drill also aims to boost the efficiency of the systems of command and control.
As part of the four-day drill, Turkish navy is visiting 33 Turkish harbors and seven others abroad in the Black Sea. The visits seek to contribute to friendship and peace. Meanwhile, 50 press members are following the drill on the ground.
Turkish Minute news portal (28.02.19 https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/02/28/former-pm-davutoglu-poised-to-become-leader-of-new-political-party-report/ ) reports that Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is poised to become the leader of a new political party that will be established by the former heavyweights of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Sözcü daily reported.
According to Sözcü, Davutoğlu will make an announcement about the new party following the March 31 local elections and the party will be officially established in September.
“It does not matter whether the AKP gets 35 percent or 55 percent [in the local elections], we are setting out our way,” Davutoğlu reportedly said.
Contrary to expectations, former President Abdullah Gül will not be among the co-founders of the new party, but former AKP ministers Ali Babacan, Mehmet Şimşek and Nihat Ergün will.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is also the AKP’s leader, recently talked about rumors claiming that former AKP politicians were preparing to establish a new political party, saying: “It looks like there are some who don’t like the AKP roof and are looking for new venues for themselves. The people who we set out together with are now changing trains.”
Sözcü’s report also claimed that the new party is in contact with 10 current AKP deputies to win them to their side.
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