Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (04.04.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has called on UNSG’s Temporary Special Adviser on Cyprus, Jane Holl Lute to state that there was no common ground between the sides for reaching a federal solution in Cyprus. Addressing a conference in the illegal “Near East University”, during which alternative solution models for Cyprus were discussed, Ozersay referred to Lute and alleged:
“One should not be a scientist to see and say that there is no common ground between the sides within the framework of a federal partnership in Cyprus. Courage should be exhibited now. The period of pretending should end now. […] Within this framework, Lute should make her evaluations based on her observations the soonest and come out and say them without hiding behind her finger. We need UN officials who could say the truth while they are on duty and not UN officials who find this courage after their retirement”.
Referring to Greek Cypriot, Greek, British and other foreign academics, intellectuals and opinion leaders, Ozersay claimed that new ideas were needed outside the “established molds” and added that the Turkish Cypriot side has started thinking of new ideas. He alleged that these new ideas should be in “harmony with the existing conditions on the island” and that ideas which ignored the conditions which exist on the ground were doomed to failure.
Ozersay reiterated the allegation that the Greek Cypriot side did not wish the sharing of administration and wealth with the Turkish Cypriot side and claimed that the two sides understood differently the term “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation”, the political equality and the expression that “the status quo cannot continue”.
Ozersay claimed that the way out was the peaceful coexistence of the two separate “identities”, which will always exist on the island and the two separate “peoples” with their own “institutions” and their own “states”, whatever their name is. He argued that this could always be turned into a partnership in a different manner and that they should always be open to such a thing.
According to illegal Bayrak television (04.04.19- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=basceri-evaluated-cyprus-issue), the so-called Turkish ambassador to the occupied area of Cyprus Murat Başçeri alleged that the Greek Cypriot side which enjoyed EU membership had no incentive to work towards a solution in Cyprus.
Başçeri argued they were not opposed to the idea of a federal settlement but that this should not be the only goal.
Evaluating the Cyprus issue to the Anadolu news agency, Başçeri claimed that all aspects of the Cyprus problem had been discussed over the years within the framework of negotiations held with the aim of finding a partnership settlement in Cyprus.
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side had become an EU member before a solution had been reached on the island; he alleged this situation prevented the Greek Cypriot side from feeling any necessity for a solution, pushing it further away from the idea.
“There is no bloodshed or death on the island as a result of the 1974 peace operation carried out by Turkey as a guarantor power,” he claimed.
He further alleged that the Turkish side had put forward all necessary efforts to reach a just and comprehensive solution based on the political equality of the two sides.
Claiming that it was the Turkish side which brought forward all the constructive opinions that would enable a solution on the island, Başçeri alleged further the following: “Therefore we will continue to tell our inter-collocutors that the negotiations process cannot continue from where they left off in 2017.”
Başçeri also pointed out that all methods had been tested over the past 50 years without success. “We now think that it is meaningless to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating”, Başçeri argued, underlining the need and importance of predetermining what future negotiations aimed at achieving and what the two sides understood of the basic concepts.
“We are not opposed to a federal solution but it should not be the only target. All alternatives should be on the table. The two sides and 3 guarantor powers should also share the same vision on the basis of political equality. A negotiations process based on such a political will, will no doubt be successful,” he further claimed.
Supporting the allegation that they are open to new ideas within this framework, he further argued: “The most important aspect within the context of new ideas is that the two sides will share a joint vision for the future of the island. Everyone should think creatively on this issue. We as the Turkish side are considering every alternative.”
Expressing the view that the natural resources around Cyprus constituted an opportunity, Başçeri said that “the discovery of natural gas could be a game changer for the solution of the Cyprus issue. If not utilized properly, it could have negatives effects’, he further alleged.
“The Greek Cypriot side is acting with the wrong assumption that it is the sole owner and only legitimate government on the island, Başçeri alleged, adding that “the Turkish side had proposed in 2011 and 2012 the co-management of the hydrocarbons. However, the proposals were rejected by the Greek Cypriot side on both occasions.”
Expressing the need for the Greek Cypriot side to act together with the Turkish side regarding the natural resources around the island, Başçeri said that they had warned the energy firms conducting activities around the island that “the Greek Cypriot administration”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, was not a normal administration and that the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean was extraordinary.
Başçeri also warned that pretending that the Cyprus issue did not exist would trigger new problems. “We are witnessing that third-party actors which form cooperation alliances are ignoring international law and realities in the region as well as acting against good neighborly relations. Turkey cannot remain unresponsive to such actions,” he claimed.
Underlining the fact that any cooperation model which excluded Turkey could not be sustainable in the Eastern Mediterranean, he also alleged that “Turkey will continue to take all steps to protect its and the Turkish Cypriots’ legitimate rights”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (04.04.19) reports that Serdar Denktas, self-styled minister of finance of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that if the “protocol for economic and financial cooperation 2019-2021” with Turkey was not signed, the regime could administrate the current situation until June. In exclusive statements to the paper, Denktas noted that even if no money came from Turkey, the regime would face no problems with paying the salaries, but he recalled that payments to the agricultural sector and pensions should also be made.
“We are ready for the economic protocol”, he said and added: “However, there were general elections in Turkey and then the process for the local elections started. During the process, they, including the President of the Republic, conducted 7-8 rallies every day. Despite of this intense program, they sent a technical committee. While Turkey was so busy, we could not wait outside their door seeking for money. […] In March we had no need. In April our incomes will start increasing, but the expectation of the market will also start increasing. We are considering of how to face this. Around the middle of the month, the picture will start to be clarified. […]”
Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (04.04.19), Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the regime, said that the reforms and the investments in the occupied area would continue even if a single lira did not come from Turkey. In statements to illegal Bayrak, Erhurman noted yesterday that addressing the “assembly” the day before yesterday Denktas had tried to explain the procedure. Erhurman called on those who allege that serious problems existed [regarding the signing of the “protocol”] to reveal the problems which they know of.
Under the above title, columnist Mehmet Levent in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (04.04.19) reports that for 1,5 year Turkey has not sent any money within the framework of the financial aid, which it should provide to the breakaway regime. Noting that the regime has been standing on its own feet during this period and it has been paying even the expenses of the Turkish occupation army, the columnist writes the following:
“[…] I am not the one who says these. The person whom we could call the most competent on this issue, finance minister Serdar Denktas, says these. Recently he had said that the population in northern Cyprus, for which a population census could not be conducted for years, reached 800,000. Although the streets, the schools, the hospitals, the cell phones, the daily bread consumption, [and] the daily waste volume show that the population has since a long time exceeded the 1,000,000, the number 800,000 was the closest estimation to reality that came out from an official mouth. Afterwards, prime minister Erhurman had also made the same estimation, he had also said 800,000. The common view of all experts in the TRNC is in the direction that northern Cyprus cannon bear this population.
We are not the one who amassed the population from Turkey here which became seven, eight times more than the number of the Turkish Cypriots. Erdogan amassed it! The services to this population cannot be provided with songs and things like that. They are all services which require money. For this reason, Turkey is obliged to contribute to the TRNC budget and this obligation is not fulfilled for one and a half year. It is said that the flow of money depending on this stopped, because the financial protocol which is signed every year has not been signed yet and because it is delayed by Erdogan! […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (04.04.19) reports that the member of the Committee of the Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) Gulden Plumer Kucuk, in statements to illegal TAK news agency, has stated that they will launch a campaign in order to encourage both sides on the island to share information with them regarding the burial sites so they can reach the remains of missing persons. She explained that the campaign will be carried out by “Arkın university of creative arts and design (ARUCAD)” and a Greek Cypriot ad agency.
Refuting allegations saying that this campaign would be carried out only by a Greek Cypriot side firm, Kucuk said that the Committee has decided for the campaign to be carried out simultaneously on both sides of the island on the framework of a communication strategy. He further added that both organizations are on the preparatory stage and explained that the campaign will be launched in May.
Commenting on the dismissal of the Greek Cypriot member of the Committee Nestoras Nestoros, Kucuk said that this might affect negatively the campaign which is still on the planning stage.
Kucuk further said that in the past three months, the CMP had found the remains of 13 missing persons. “This is an indication that the measures taken are correct and that the Committee is on the correct path”, Kucuk added.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (04.04.19) reports that the general secretary of the New Cyprus Party (YKP) Murat Kanatly, issuing a written statement yesterday, called on everyone in Cyprus to use his/her right to vote in the forthcoming European Parliament elections which are to take place on May 26.
In a written statement, Kanatli said the following: “Everyone who has a suffrage rights in the Republic of Cyprus, should act his/her right to vote in the European Parliament elections according to their ideological positions and not based on ethnical differences. Despite the fact that the EU acquis has been suspended in northern Cyprus, a huge number of Turkish Cypriots enjoy benefits deriving from their EU citizenship, even though the regime in north Cyprus is disturbed about this. (…)”. Kanatli went on adding that the European Leftish Party which is attending the EP elections, is a party which is in favor and backs the interests of the workers, supports rights and freedoms and is in favor of gender mainstreaming.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (04.04.19) reports that the "state planning organization" (“DPO”) has announced that for the month of March 2010 the cost of living in the occupied area of Cyprus went up by 1.33% compared to the previous month.
Issuing a written statement on the issue, the “undersecretary of the state planning organization” Odul Muhtaroglu, said yesterday that the inflation rate increased by 1.71% compared to December and the annual inflation rate has reached 29.26%.
According to the figures, there have been increases in 295 items and decreases in 108 items.
The first three goods to see the highest increase are fresh grapes by 58.31%, plums by 48.02 % and marrows by 43.07%
The first three goods to show the highest decrease are broad beans by 40.83% %, cucumber by 28.05 % and green peas by 27.55%.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/both-sides-keep-guards-up-in-race-for-istanbul-142409) reported that both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are relentlessly claiming victories in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest province, in the local elections, as the country’s election watchdog accepted an appeal made by the AKP demanding votes deemed invalid in 15 of Istanbul’s districts are recounted after the board said that the CHP’s candidate had the lead.
District electoral councils in Küçükçekmece, Beyoğlu, Başakşehir, Maltepe, Büyükçekmece, Çekmeköy, Eyüp, Fatih, Tuzla, Sarıyer, Ataşehir, Beykoz, Şile, Bayrampaşa and Ümraniye were told to recount votes that were deemed invalid, along with a recount of all votes — valid and invalid — in Çatalca, Silivri and Kartal districts, while the Daily News went to print on April 3, after the AKP’s appeal.
The CHP’s mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoglu has called on the Supreme Election Board (YSK) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 3 to move on from the decision and give him the mandate to officially run as Mayor of Istanbul. His party has said similar appeals made by opposition parties were never accepted by the YSK in previous elections.
He also called on the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to help with the process. “I am calling on Devlet Bahçeli to contribute. He said an election could be won even on a single vote. He should contribute to this process. Bahçeli should tell these people who have an internal feud and individual concerns,” he stated.
The mayoral hopeful claimed that the senior members of the AKP were in an internal feud over their failure in the local elections. “Do not damage Turkey’s reputation like this. Turkey will be harmed,” he said, while adding that the world was watching Turkey post-election.
Initial results announced by the YSK have shown that İmamoglu had the lead over his rival Binali Yıldırım, gaining a narrow win.
Turkey’s election watchdog held a midnight meeting April 2-3 over the application by the AKP. The YSK decided early April 3 that some votes will be reassessed in seven districts of Istanbul following the March 31 local elections.
The board unanimously abolished a decision of Istanbul Provincial Election Board to stop the recounting of invalid votes in these districts linked to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
The YSK chair said that they decided on the continuation of the recounting process in some districts and added that the re-voting will be conducted for votes registered as invalid.
“Reassessing invalid votes is not an unprecedented process, as such procedures were done in previous elections as well”, YSK head Sadi Güven said on April 3.
“The recounting process is not only evaluated in terms of the objecting party,” Güven said, adding that the evaluation of invalid ballots includes all parties in accordance with article 298 of Turkey’s election law and YSK rules.
(…)The AKP criticized İmamoglu for declaring himself as the Mayor of Istanbul without receiving an official mandate. AKP Deputy Chair Ali İhsan Yavuz claimed that the difference of votes between the two candidates had declined from 29,000 to 20,000 after a re-counting.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.04.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/election-body-to-decide-istanbul-mayor-ruling-party-/1441711) reported that Turkey's ruling party mayoral candidate Binali Yildirm has said that the top election body will decide the winner for Istanbul which saw a neck-to-neck contest in Sunday's local polls.
Yildrim, who is also the former Parliament Speaker, told reporters on Wednesday that Istanbulites have already made their decision and are awaiting an announcement by the Supreme Election Council (YSK).
"The election is over, however, the complaint and appeal period continues," Yildirim said.
Yildirim also criticized Imamoglu for introducing himself as Mayor of Istanbul before waiting for the official results, referring to his visit to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- the founder of Turkey and its first pPresident -- where Imamoglu signed the memorial book as Mayor of Istanbul. "Signing the book in Anitkabir as Mayor of Istanbul is a shock move, I am not saying anything else," he added.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.04.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-not-choosing-between-russia-others-fm/1441589) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Ankara does not have to choose between Russia and other countries, amid plans to purchase Moscow's S-400 system and F-35 fighter jets from the U.S.
"We are not choosing between Russia and any other allies," Cavusoglu said at a NATO event in Washington hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank.
"We don't see our relations with Russia as an alternative to our relations with others. And nobody, neither West nor Russia, should or can ask us to choose between."
Cavusoglu is in Washington for the Meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which brings top diplomats from NATO countries to Washington.
He arrived the same week the U.S. announced it would suspend all "deliveries and activities" related to Turkey's procurement of F-35 jets because of Ankara's plans to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
In responding to remarks that the S-400 missile system is incompatible with NATO military equipment, Cavusoglu said that the system would be for Turkey's own use. "It doesn’t have to be integrated to the NATO system and this is not our aim. It is for our own use, this is a defense system," he said.
"This system will not see any NATO system, including F-35s," Cavusoglu added. "Therefore we propose that the United States establish a technical working group to make sure that this system will not be a threat to F-35s nor NATO systems”, he said.
Cavusoglu said further that the plans to purchase the S-400 system is "a done deal" and U.S. President Donald Trump said he would take care of the F-35 deal.
"Trump himself admitted on the phone that U.S. made the mistake not to sell Patriots to Turkey and he promised Erdogan that he will take care of this issue," Cavusoglu said.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Milliyet (04.04.19-http://www.milliyet.com.tr/bakan-cavusoglu-nun-abd-de-siyaset-2853023/) reports that Cavusoglu, who is continuing his contacts in Washington, met also with Members of the US Congress. According to the paper, Cavusoglu met with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representative and member of the Democrats, Eliot Engel and also with Congressman Michael McCaul. Within the framework of the meetings, Cavusoglu discussed with the US officials, Turkey’s ties with the US and other international and regional issues.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu further met with the Foreign Minister of the Check Republic, Tomar Perticet with whom they discussed bilateral ties, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries and investment opportunities.
Cavusoglu also met with the Foreign Minister of Northern Macedonia, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov. During the meeting, bilateral ties and regional issues were discussed.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.04.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/us-must-choose-between-turkey-terrorists-turkish-vp/1441794) reported that Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Wednesday that the U.S. must choose between remaining Turkey's ally and siding with terrorists.
"The United States must choose. Does it want to remain Turkey’s ally or risk our friendship by joining forces with terrorists to undermine its NATO ally’s defense against its enemies?" Oktay said on Twitter.
His remarks came in response to his U.S. counterpart Mike Pence's tweet in which he said that Turkey must choose whether it wants to remain a critical partner of NATO, or continue its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. "Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in history or does it want to risk the security of that partnership by making such reckless decisions that undermine our @NATO alliance?" Pence said.
Pence also reiterated that the U.S. is suspending shipments of F-35 equipment and material to Ankara.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-russian-leaders-to-watch-opera-together-142402) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to have their third meeting on April 8 since the beginning of 2019 in Moscow.
Erdogan will attend the High-Level Cooperation Council between the two countries and the opening ceremony of the Turkey-Russia cross-cultural year, as well as the gala of the opera Troy in Bolshoi Theatre.
During Erdogan's first working visit to the Russian capital on January 23, the two leaders have exchanged views on regional and international issues, particularly Syria, as well as bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia.
During his second visit to Russia on Feb. 14, Erdogan, Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi for the fourth time to discuss the situation in Syria.
Erdogan and Putin had held seven one-on-one meetings in 2018 and 18 phone calls to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments, particularly Syria.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION