Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (05.03.19 http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c36-TURKIYE/n278501-sentop-kktc-ziyareti-oncesi-konustu-kibris-konusunda-gorus-a ) reports that the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Sentop arrived at the breakaway regime this morning.
Sentop was welcomed at illegal Ercan airport by the “speaker of the assembly” Teberruken Ulucay, the “ambassador of Turkey” in the breakaway regime Ali Murat Basceri and other “officials”.
As part of his contacts in the occupied area of Cyprus, Sentop will meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman and Ulucay.
Speaking before his departure at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport, the newly elected Parliamentary Speaker said that “he was holding his visit to the TRNC in line with a longstanding tradition of state officials conducting their first trip abroad to the TRNC and Azerbaijan”.
As he stated, the aim of his visit to the “TRNC” is to exchange views as regards the steps to be taken in the coming period on the Cyprus problem.
Reporting on the same issue, illegal Bayrak (05.03.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=sentop-in-trnc ) broadcast that Sentop who arrived in the breakaway regime this morning with an accompanying delegation of MPs, first visited the “tomb of Dr. Fazıl Küçük and the TMT Monument where Rauf Raif Denktaş’s Mausoleum is also located”.
Sentop then met with Akıncı. The Cyprus Problem topped the discussions at the meeting held at the “presidential palace”.
Speaking during the visit, Sentop said that “Cyprus was a national cause for Turkey and that the Republic of Turkey had shown the world that it will do everything to protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
He claimed that the Greek Cypriot side was to blame for the failure of negotiations aimed at reaching a solution, alleging that the Turkish side had done its part for a settlement.
He also said that “the Turkish Cypriots will never accept becoming a minority within a Greek Cypriot state”.
The Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly also said that new ideas were needed for the solution of the Cyprus Problem, adding that “the most important thing was for the Greek Cypriot side to accept political equality”.
Akıncı highlighted the importance of cooperation between their two respective “parliaments”.
On the Cyprus Problem, Akinci reminded that the Turkish Cypriot side would continue to defend its rights on the island.
“We need to produce ideas where everyone cooperates and will win” said Akıncı, claiming that the political and legal rights of the Turkish Cypriot people had been usurped since 1963.
He said that “Turkish Cypriots were not a minority and would never accept becoming a minority”.
Akıncı claimed that the Greek Cypriot side was playing a game with the aim of continuing the status quo. “We should not be deceived by these games and continue this struggle together with Turkey” he said.
Following his meeting with Akinci, the Turkish Parliamentary Speaker paid separate visits to Ulucay and Erhürman.
Şentop will leave later in the evening after completing his contacts.
Illegal Bayrak (05.03.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozyigit-receives-husejin) reports that the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of North Macedonia Enver Husejin is holding a series of contacts in the breakaway regime.
As part of his contacts, Husejin met with the “minister of national education and culture” Cemal Özyiğit.
Özyiğit and Husejin exchanged views on the education systems in both “countries” and the works and projects being carried out during the meeting.
They also discussed and exchanged views on what steps could be taken to enable cooperation between the two “ministries” in the fields of education and culture.
According to illegal Bayrak television (05.03.19- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=erhurman-to-visit-london), so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman will be holding a series of “contacts” in London.
According to information released by the so-called prime ministry’s press and public relations bureau, Erdogan will depart from the occupied area of Cyprus tomorrow and is expected to return on Sunday, the 10th of March after completing his “contacts” in London.
As part of his contacts, Erhurman will attend the screening of a documentary on the life of the first Turkish Cypriot female journalist Bedia Okan Göreli which will be organized by the “TRNC Representative Office in London”.
A reception will also be held as part of the event which will be held tomorrow.
On Thursday, the 7th of March, Erhurman will first come together with the Turkish Cypriot businesspeople and then will attend a public event for Turkish Cypriots residing in London.
The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) Turgay Deniz, the “chairman” of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry (“KTSO” Candan Avunduk, the “chairman” of the “Turkish Cypriot contractors association” Cafer Gürcafer and the “chairman” of the “Turkish Cypriots’ Hoteliers association union” Dimağ Çağıner will also attend and address the event.
Erhürman will attend further an event organized by the Turkish Women’s Philanthropic Association of England on Friday, the 8th of March to mark International Women’s Day and will also hold a meeting with “chairmen of the Turkish Cypriot associations in London” later in the evening.
As part of his other contacts, he will also meet with the Federation of Turkish Cypriot Students and university students studying in the UK.
On Saturday, Erhurman will hold a meeting with the London Solidarity Association before watching a football match between U16 young mixed football teams of the Turkish Community Football Federation.
In the evening, he will attend the “Turkish Cypriot Awards Ceremony” Ball to be organized by the “Turkish Cypriot Trust UK”.
The “undersecretary of the prime ministry: Berkan Tokar, the “private secretary” Mustafa Ergüven and the “director of the prime ministry press and public relations directorate” Ahmet Muratoglu will accompany Erhurman in London.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (05.03.19) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot teachers’ trade union (KTOS), has said that KTOS and the Turkish Cypriot secondary school teachers’ trade union (KTOEOS) have received 6,100 applications from children born from mixed marriages [in which one parent is Turkish Cypriot] and could not secure the citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus. According to the paper, the “struggle” launched by the two trade unions one year ago started to give “positive results” and the granting of the citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus will begin with 529 persons, who are children of mixed marriages and the wedding of their parents had taken place abroad.
Elcil told the paper that they had categorized the applications and that they had come across various cases, such as children from a marriage between a Turkish Cypriot and a Palestinian and 32 children from two Turkish Cypriot parents, who could not take the citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus.
Elcil said that they had held a meeting with Minister of Interior Constantinos Petrides on 21 August 2018 with positive results and that after the meeting a unit was established in the Ministry to deal with the issue. Elcil noted that they had also met with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, who told them that he would offer them the help they needed. “We were told that the giving of citizenship to children who were born in Cyprus from mixed marriages held abroad would start”, he said adding that the trade unions had received 437 such applications and 92 persons having this status had directly applied to the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus.
Moreover, Elcil said that the trade unions had undertaken some initiatives internationally, that the Dutch Mastery University had prepared a report on the issue and that the trade unions had exchanged letters with EU member countries. He also noted that they had conveyed the issue to the UN Committee on Human Rights and that their positions were supported by the US, the UK and Argentina. “While we are carrying out lobbying activities, we also continue the legal examination of the issue. If there is not a move on the issue in the future, we will carry the issue to court”, he concluded.
Turkish daily Sabah-(05.03.2019 https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2019/03/05/opposition-alliance-in-efforts-to-block-turkeys-2023-goals-president-says) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in statements during the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) rallies in northern Zonguldak and Bartın province, accused the opposition alliance of trying to block the country's 2023 vision. "Do you know what it is that brings together those who wouldn't even greet each other if their roads crossed?" Erdogan asked, referring to the opposition Nation Alliance, formed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the far-right Good Party (İP).
"They are seemingly in an alliance against the People's Alliance and joined together against me. However, what actually brings them together is that they are afraid of the power Turkey will have when the country reaches its 2023 goals," Erdogan said.
The People's Alliance he was referring to is formed by his AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Erdogan has long criticized the Nation Alliance, accusing the CHP and İP of being supported by the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Erdogan also said that the CHP has the support of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) for the upcoming elections, a party which has failed to acknowledge the PKK as a terrorist group.
"The party [HDP] under control of the separatist group [PKK] did not nominate mayoral candidates in many municipalities. They are supporting CHP's candidates. Similarly, they are discussing how to share the administrations in many municipalities," Erdogan said, adding that the people, "particularly the CHP voters" will teach a lesson to "those who put CHP to the situation it is in today."
The HDP is known for its support of autonomy in regions where large Kurdish populations live. Some of its members have also been charged or accused of having links to the PKK terrorist organization. Its former co-leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, was arrested in November 2016 over terrorist propaganda. Many of its members have often voiced overt support for the PKK.
The HDP announced previously that it would not nominate mayoral candidates in seven major municipalities, including Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara. The decision raised questions about a possible secret alliance between the CHP and the HDP; both parties have denied such claims.
"We need a national stance in politics. You cannot do politics with those counting on terrorist groups," Erdogan added.
Erdogan further continued and also played video clips showing HDP officials declaring their support for the PKK. He went on adding that Turkey will not let any terrorist groups survive within the country's borders and that they will be eliminated sooner or later. Erdogan also pointed to an HDP official's remarks about supporting their own party's candidates in "Kurdistan," during a joint event with CHP's mayoral candidate in Istanbul's Şişli district. "Is there a region in Turkey called Kurdistan?" Erdogan asked, "No, there is not."
"If you really want a Kurdistan, there is one in northern Iraq, goodbye to you. There is no such region in Turkey," he said, calling on voters to support his party during speeches in both Zonguldak and Bartın and supporting that the opposition parties have failed to put forward projects needed for the municipalities and the people.
Turkish daily Sabah (05.03.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/03/05/more-than-30000-arrested-for-feto-links-since-the-coup-bid) reports that Turkey’s Interior Ministry announced on Monday that in the biggest crackdown against FETÖ, Turkey has arrested more than 30,000 people since the 2016 coup attempt.
According to the Interior Ministry, 30,709 people have been taken into custody for their links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) since its members tried to seize power in a coup attempt in July 2016.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in Ankara, Ministry Spokesman İsmail Çataklı said that security forces "processed" 511,646 people on FETÖ-related charges over three years following the coup attempt that killed 251 people. "The process" refers to detentions and investigations. A total of 30,709 among them were arrested and are still in custody awaiting hearings in their cases or the start of their trials. Çataklı said that another 19,329 people were convicted of FETÖ membership and related crimes. "We continue our fight against FETÖ with determination," the Spokesman added.
FETÖ is already implicated in two coup attempts dating back to 2013 when prosecutors, judges and police chiefs tried to implicate people close to the government in a graft probe based on trumped-up charges. Turkey launched a crackdown on the group's members then, but FETÖ continues wielding immense power in the country with thousands of followers. A state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the coup attempt sped up the crackdown on the terrorist group. Police, largely cleared of FETÖ sympathizers, carry out almost daily operations to capture secret members of the group among them, in the army and other agencies. Twenty-five people, including active-duty soldiers, were detained in yesterday's operations in 19 cities. The suspects were identified through an investigation into their contact with fellow FETÖ members via payphones, a commonly used method to secretly communicate for the group. More than 780 operations were carried out in the past two years to capture FETÖ suspects in "payphone operations," and 11,153 people were detained, while 4,324 of them were arrested.
İsmail Çataklı also spoke about investigations into Bylock, an encrypted messaging app exclusively used and believed to be developed by FETÖ members. He said investigators found 4,676 new Bylock users in the investigation that already identified more than 95,000 users. Bylock investigations started prior to the coup attempt but gained significance after the coup attempt with deciphered messages revealing secret messages pointing to an imminent coup. More than 79,337 people faced legal process in Bylock investigations, Çataklı said.
Separately, 1,953 people were detained in 139 operations against "gaybubet" houses of FETÖ. Gaybubet, which means absence, refers to safe houses used by group members as hideouts after the coup attempt.
The terrorist group, which evolved from a congregation of Fetullah Gülen's followers, is accused of pursuing a sinister agenda by posing as a religious group with an emphasis on charity work for years. Investigations have revealed that the group was planting its men and women in every institution at least since 1980s, from the army to law enforcement, from judiciary to bureaucracy before its first coup attempts in 2013. Disguised with code names, secretive correspondences and a distinct secular lifestyle worlds away from what FETÖ promotes as religious life, its members easily infiltrated places they ultimately aimed to take over.
Turkish private channel Ahaber (04.03.19, https://www.ahaber.com.tr/gundem/2019/03/04/31-marta-gunler-kala-son-secim-anketi-sonucu-adana-balikesir-hatay-antalya-aydin-istanbul-ankara-manisa-secim-anketi-sonucu), broadcast the results of Gezici Research Company regarding Turkey’s upcoming local elections that will be held on March 31. The survey was carried out between 23 and 24 of February regarding the cities of Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Balikesir, Hatay, Aydin, Antalya and Manisa.
According to the survey’s results, AKP’s Binali Yildirimi is the leading candidate in Istanbul with 52.1% of votes after the distribution of the undecided voters. Second is the candidate of the Nation Alliance (Millet Ittifak), the candidate of the Republican’s People Party (CHP), Ekrem Imamoglu with 46.6%.
In Ankara, the candidate of the People’s Alliance (Cumhur Ittifak), the candidate of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mehmet Ozhaseki is the leading candidate again with 51.8% after the distribution of the undecided voters. The candidate of the opposition alliance, Mansur Yavas, CHP’s candidate, receives 46.3%.
In Manisa, the candidate of the People’s Alliance, the National Movement Party (MHP) candidate, Cengiz Ergun, receives 64.2% after the distribution of the undecided voters and his opponent of the Nation Alliance, the candidate of the Good Party (IP) Orkun Siktasli got 33.1%.
In Aydin, the candidate of the AKP Mustafa Savas with the People’s Alliance receives 52.3% after the distribution of the undecided voters and his opponent Ozlem Cercioglu with 46.8%.
In Antalya, AKP’s candidate Menderes Tevfik receives 52.2% and his opponent CHP’s candidate Muhittin Bocek 47.1%
In Hatay, AKP’s candidate Ibrahim Guler receives 55.8% and his opponent CHP’s candidate Lutfu Savas 43.3%
In Balikesir, AKP’s candidate Yucel Yilmaz receives 55.8% and his opponent CHP’s candidate Ismail Ok 42.4%.
In Adana, MHP’s candidate Huseyin Sozlu receives 56.1% and his opponent CHP’s candidate Zeydan Karalar 43.2%.
On the same issue, columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet (05.03.19, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/abdulkadir-selvi/anketlerden-secimlere-iliskin-onemli-sinyal-41137912), reports that one of the most important opinion poll company of Turkey argues that the outcome of this election will be determined by those who will not cast a vote.
According to a survey conducted by OPTIMAR Research Company between 24-26 February in 26 districts interviewing 1500 people, 20.2% responded that they are still undecided. Of the people who responded they would not vote, asked about the reason, 30% of the respondents said that they think the elections are unreliable, 28.2% said that they are not satisfied with the candidate their party supports and the biggest rate, 41.8% do not feel close to any party.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.03.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/blue-homeland-shows-turkey-has-become-a-maritime-power-141624) publishes an interview to the paper by retired Admiral Cem Gurdeniz who has claimed that the “The Blue Homeland naval drill shows Turkey has become a maritime power”. “It is also a manifestation toward the enlarging blocks against Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean,’ adds Cem Gürdeniz, who is the father of the name “Blue Homeland”
The “Blue Homeland” naval exercise demonstrates Turkey has become a maritime power since it has been conducted by nationally built naval elements, according to Gurdeniz. “The navy’s strength does not come from the number of its ships but from the industrial support behind it,” Gürdeniz added, supporting that the center of gravity of the drill is the eastern Mediterranean, as it harbors the biggest geopolitical challenges.
“Why is it that it has been the first time Turkey is holding a naval exercise in the three surrounding seas?
It has been declared the biggest exercise ever in the history of the Turkish Republic. Some 103 warships have participated, consisting of multilateral and triservices, with the involvement of the Turkish Air Force and the Turkish army. It has taken place as a manifestation against the enlarging blocks against Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.
The three major geopolitical issues involving Turkey’s future in the 21st century are energy resources in the seabed, the future of the so-called Kurdistan with a sea port, and the future of northern Cyprus.
The drill is taking place in the Black Sea as well. Should it be interpreted as a message against Russia as well?
No, because Turkey’s relations with Russia in the last couple of years are considered to be in their best phase compared to the last 100 years. Turkey has never conducted a NATO exercise in the Black Sea during the Cold War in order not to disturb the strategic balance between Turkey and the Soviet Union. In addition, during this exercise, Turkish warships will conduct port visits in every littoral country, including Russia. If Russia had perceived it as an unfriendly gesture, she would not have allowed it.
The center of gravity in the Blue Homeland exercise seems to be the eastern Mediterranean; could this then be perceived as a message against Turkey’s NATO-ally Greece and others?
If a country targets your maritime interests, if they are targeting your continental shelf rights, your exclusive economic zone (EEZ) rights and try to grasp a chunk of your maritime jurisdiction areas, of course you cannot distinctly target these countries but you can demonstrate your stance.
In the years following the Gülenists’ coup attempt, Turkey has been facing big challenges from Greece and the ‘Greek administration of southern Cyprus’ [Translator’s note: as the Republic of Cyprus is called] as well as from the United States and the European Union. They have almost formed an opposing bloc against Turkey. This bloc is trying to impose delimitation in the eastern Mediterranean, which is grasping almost more than 100,000 square kilometers from Turkey.
When you look at the map from EU institutions, the delimitation on these maps does not correspond to that of Turkey. Unfortunately, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has not yet declared our continental shelf or EEZ boundaries in the Mediterranean. They have only declared the longitude of the eastern border west of Cyprus to the United Nations via two votes in 2004 and 2012. Greece, Greek Cypriots, Egypt and Israel do not recognize this. Together with the U.S., these two countries are holding military exercises almost every month against Turkey. American and European energy companies are holding exploration and exploitations works on the illegally declared Greek Cypriot license zones that overlap the Turkish Continental Shelf.
So would you argue that access to eastern Mediterranean resources is being denied and that the “Blue Homeland” drill is a manifestation of Turkey’s stance?
Indeed. But it also goes beyond that. Blue Homeland has become Turkey’s maritime doctrine and it shows Turkey is becoming a maritime power. Normally, Greeks have thought Turks are land people and believed the sea belonged to them. For the first time in centuries, Turks are saying, “we are now in the sea and we have a strong navy.”
So, is it also a message to underline that it has become a naval power?
Turkey was already a naval power but it is now building its own warships. We have our own indigenous defense industry satisfying most of our defense needs. The Turkish Navy’s strength is not coming from the number of the ships but from the industrial support behind it. Press releases underline the fact that the navy is conducting exercises with nationally built ships.
Would you also say the exercise is a special message to Western powers who do not want Turkey’s access to energy sources?
Yes and they also do not want Turkey to join the maritime club of the developed world. If you look at maritime civilizations, you will see that almost all of the hegemonic states are maritime powers with imperial heritage. This is a very exclusive club: England, France, the U.S., Japan, etc.
Turkey is striving to be a maritime state. The Turkish Navy has reached the point only the maritime states can have and that is the main reason behind the FETÖ action against the navy during the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases. As you may recall, the main target was the Turkish Navy at that time. After 2008, the Turkish Navy started to operate permanently in the Indian Ocean.
While defining maritime powers, you used the term hegemonic powers. Does Turkey aspire to be a hegemonic power?
We would not be a hegemonic power; we just want to safeguard our maritime geopolitical rights as well as Turkish interests worldwide”.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION