Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.03.18) reports that “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay met yesterday in Ankara with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Erdogan-Erhurman meeting was closed to the press and lasted for 45 minutes.
After returning to the occupied area last night, Erhurman said that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cypriot Affairs Recep Akdag was present during his meeting with Erdogan and added that they had a very productive discussion. He also noted that Ozersay did not meet with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu because of the latter’s absence from the country and added that this meeting will be held after a few weeks. Erhurman further said that during their visit in Ankara they held a four-party meeting with the participation of himself, Ozersay, Yildirim and Akdag.
After the Yildirim-Erhurman meeting, a joint press conference was held during which the Turkish Prime Minister said that Turkey will always be by the “TRNC’s” side under any condition and alleged that the Greek Cypriot side should be mentally ready in order for a lasting and permanent solution to be reached in Cyprus. Asked to comment on information regarding the protection of “the Greek Cypriot drillings” by the American 6th Fleet, Yildirim alleged: “Any kind of natural wealth which exists around Cyprus is a common property of all people living on the island. Activities unilaterally undertaken are never received positively by our side. The TRNC also does not receive this positively. Similar provocative activities which will be made with fait accompli will receive the appropriate reply”.
In his statements, Erhurman alleged that President Anastasiades should realize that the acceptance of the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality is sine qua non for the negotiating process and that a lasting, viable and permanent peace process could be built only on the political equality. “If things come to this point, the negotiating process could resume of course, but the existing signs at the moment do not seem very hopeful on this issue”, he argued alleging that the statements made by President Anastasiades on the hydrocarbons issue do not contribute to the resumption of the negotiating process and prove that the Greek Cypriot side does not have a clear understanding regarding the status of the Turkish Cypriots. He claimed that the Turkish Cypriots are not only “an element” which will take a share from the island’s wealth, but they are one of the “two essential elements” which will take decisions regarding this wealth, adding that this is what comes out from the political equality concept.
Moreover, Erhurman described as “wrong” the statement made by the Greek Cypriot side saying that a hydrocarbon fund will be established, the income from Cyprus’ hydrocarbon resources will be deposited in this fund and the Turkish Cypriots will be given their share later. He alleged that the statement by President Anastasiades that agreement was reached [in the Cyprus talks] that the hydrocarbons will belong to federal government’s jurisdiction is not correct, since a federation has not yet been established and it is not correct to identify the powers of the federal state with the powers of the “Greek Cypriot state”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus.
He further claimed that they cannot accept the efforts to present the issue as a matter between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus. He alleged: “It is not so. It is a matter between the Greek Cypriot administration and the TRNC. […] It is a matter of equal rights of the Greek Cypriot people and the Turkish Cypriot people. […] In case it is accepted that the wealth around the island could be shared only if the solution process succeeds, it is possible for the motivation for a solution to increase”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (08.03.18) refers to Yildirim’s and Erhurman’s statements under the front page title “He complained about us to our prime minister” and reports that Yildirim asked from Erhurman to silence Afrika by saying: “[…] However, the effective control of the activities of some impertinent organizations and persons who try to refer to our country’s just causes, I am sure that will be a matter which will be taken into consideration during the new government’s term of duty […]”
Under the front-page title “Yildirim asked for ‘effective measures”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (08.03.18) notes that Yildirim alleged that Turkey should not be considered as occupier.
Turkish Cypriot daily havadis newspaper (08.03.18) reports that Baris Burcu, the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci made the followings statement:
“The statement made this morning by Nikos Christodoulides, the Foreign Minister of the Greek Cypriot administration, where it is alleged that president Mustafa Akinci rejected to have a social meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades, does not reflect the truth.
President Akinci has repeatedly made it known publicly that he would like to meet Mr. Anastasiades with a view to understanding his real intention hereafter.
In his latest meeting with Ms. Elizabeth Spehar, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, the president reiterated his readiness for such a meeting at a time that will be mutually suitable to both sides. In light of these realities, we consider such false statements aimed at creating a negative perception not helpful.
When Ms. Spehar returns to the island from New York in the coming days, we are confident that the dialogue to determine a mutually suitable date for both sides will continue.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.03.18) reports that so-called minister of economy and energy Ozdil Nami, delivering a speech during the Mediterranean Economic Forum in Mersin, Turkey, claimed that the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean was caused due to the “Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral oil exploration activities. The tension was not created because of us; it is due the insistence stance of the Greek Cypriot side to undertake unilateral steps. Concerning this insistence, we want to point out the following: these resources belong to all Cypriots. And regarding the administration and control of these resources, nobody can hand over it to the Greek Cypriot monopoly”, he argued.
Pointing out the importance of developing their trade, increasing their mutual investments and reinforcing their cultural ties with other countries”, Nami claimed that on the one hand, the “TRNC continues its intensive efforts aiming to find a solution on the Cyprus problem, but at the same time, on the other hand and despite all negativeness and problems, it continues undertaking important steps for the development of its economy”. “The policies on the Cyprus problem we follow especially after 2014, conduce to undertaking important steps towards the lifting of the isolation”, Nami alleged, adding that they have undertaken initiatives on the issue of “lifting of isolation” in the EU, the UN and PACE. “Of course, beside the support we have from abroad, the biggest and the most important support came from the Turkish Republic”, he also alleged.
Referring to the transferring of electricity from Turkey to the occupation regime via underwater cables, Nami said that this is one of their new goals in the near future, adding that “the electricity connection between the TRNC and Turkey will be realized if the results of the cost analysis of the project are positive”.
Referring to the issue of natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, Nami pointed out that there are significant natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding that Egypt and Israel had already started to exploit these reserves.
He added that data show that there is also natural gas off the coast of Cyprus. “Such discovery of course has started to raise tensions which we are not to blame for. The source of the tension is the Greek Cypriot side’s insistence to continue with its activities and unilateral steps. We are repeatedly stressing that these resources belong to all Cypriots. No one can surrender to the the Greek Cypriots the monopoly of managing these resources”, Nami further argued.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side had done all necessary in the past in order to preserve an atmosphere of peace in the island, Nami alleged that they will continue to show the same stance. “It is our right to expect the other side to respect our rights and interests”, Nami claimed, calling on “firstly the Greek Cypriot side and then all concerned countries which have signed agreements with the Greek Cypriot side, to refrain from taking unilateral steps and to seek the Turkish Cypriot side’s approval in any steps that will be taken from now on”.
Illegal Bayrak (08.03.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-speaks-to-anadolu-agency-2) broadcast that the “deputy prime minister and foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay has said that “diplomatic channels are open should the Greek Cypriot side wishes to take joint steps with the Turkish Cypriot side on the issue of natural resources”.
In an interview to Anadolu News Agency during his latest visit to Ankara, Ozersay evaluated the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.
Claiming that the negotiations process had ended in failure with the Crans Montana summit held last year, Ozersay said that “negotiating just for the sake of holding negotiations was not a good thing”.
“The Turkish Cypriot people have been prisoners of a negotiations process for the past 50 years” he claimed, adding that the Turkish Cypriot side did not desire a new round of endless negotiations which will not achieve any results.
He claimed that the Greek Cypriot side needed to show that it was ready to share power and the island’s wealth with the Turkish Cypriots.
Ozersay expressed his view that negotiations cannot be the purpose but only a means to an end and he added that the fact that the negotiations have not restarted should not be a source of concern.
“We have tangible and important goals which we have been postponing for years. And that is economic and social development” he said.
On the issue of hydrocarbons, Ozersay said that the “island’s natural wealth was the property of both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriot”s.
“For the Turkish Cypriots, the natural wealth around this island is not disputed. The wealth belongs to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots and everyone accepts this” he said.
Ozersay however alleged that the Greek Cypriot side’s current stance on the issue was unacceptable.
“Acknowledging the Turkish Cypriot peoples’ share to be generated from natural gas revenues but keeping the Turkish Cypriots out of the whole decision making process as well as stating that they (Greek Cypriots) will decide when, how much of these revenues will be given to Turkish Cypriots is totally unacceptable and contradictory” he added.
Claiming out that the Turkish Cypriot side was not pursuing a power diplomacy over the issue, Ozersay said that the Turkish Cypriot side’s channels for diplomacy were open.
“We are open to dialogue if the Greek Cypriots decide to share to act together with us. But if they ignore us, the Turkish Cypriot side, before resorting to force or deterrence, will be giving a firm the authority to carry out its own activities on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, just like they have done so” he concluded.
Under the title “Let raise the hand the holders of Republic of Cyprus passport”, Cenk Mutluyakali, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.03.18), writes:
“There is a group, they will travel abroad. Around 40 young people. Their educators asked them: ‘Let raise their hand those who hold a Republic of Cyprus passport’. There were 7 persons!
(Because you need the Republic of Cyprus passport in order to travel abroad without being asked for visa. Actually it is a shame of Turkey’s embassy in Lefkosia. The enormous Turkey state could not even say ‘it belongs to us the visa expenditures and travelling cost’, at least for the cultural and athletic groups. It gives permission openly to this discrimination.)
These children were of 15,16,17 years old. The new generation of Cypriot youth. Nearly all of them were born here [Translator’s note: in the occupied area of Cyprus]. The majority of them their mother or father too. Some of them their grandmother or grandfather came from Turkey. And some others, either their mother or their father, one of the two is Turk from Turkey. It is what we call ‘mix marriage’.
Do you see, how the population structure has also changed?
The family structure, which we call ‘Cyprus origin’ has dissolved or has transformed.
I know that from my own family.
We are three siblings, my two brothers are part of the ‘mix marriages’, their children are also like that.
So, what will happen if the children of the children of the families who came to Cyprus after 74’, could not be able to establish a bond with the Republic of Cyprus?
There is also a reality! According to me the ‘planned and conscious’ movement of the population transformation oriented at the norhern part of Cyprus cannot be accepted as ‘legitimate’ by the Republic of Cyprus.
If they say ‘you always want’, they are also rights.
Because, just as these children, have a right at the ‘passport’, then the children of the children of the Greek Cypriot families have also a right at Varosha, they have a right at the share of the hotel from their grandfather in Lapithos, they have a right at least to a certificate for the citrus fields or for an industrial factory.
Only 7 children from the group of 40 persons held the Republic of Cyprus (passport)! There are a lot of question marks for the other 33 children are wrangling to promote ‘Cyprus folk dancing’. It is said that an agreement was reached at the negotiation table in order these people to be citizens of the ‘new Cyprus’. This ‘consensus’ should be also valid for the Cyprus identity; however, with the approval of both sides a ‘line’ should be drawn.
Moreover, columnist Fatma Azgin, writing also in the Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.03.18), under the title “The unbearable advantage of the Republic of Cyprus”, argues that because the two sides could not reach an agreement yet in the island since 1974, the “continuous situation” of the non-solution, not only it creates politically tension and uncertainty, but also leads to many social problems, especially in the north.
She further writes: “To demand a Republic of Cyprus (EU) identity for the children who were born from a Cypriot father or mother with a ‘mix marriage’ is not like to want a ‘right’ from an authority that you do not recognize and you are trying to prove that it is separatist?”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.03.18) reports that so-called minister of communication and transportation Tolgan Atakan in statements to Ada TV in the occupied area of Cyprus evaluated the issue related with the occupied Lefkonoiko airport and stated that the “Lefkonoiko airport is a national value for the country” and cannot be abandoned to decay.
He went on adding that they will evaluate different alternatives concerning the airport including attempts to operate for “maintenance of the planes”, or for cargo activities or for aviation as a hobby.
Atakan stated further that it is necessary to have an active and usable airport in the “country” in case of a state of war of for natural disasters. Atakan underlined that the main problem exists today in the occupied Lefkonoiko airport is the transferring of direct electricity, he, however, added that as he was informed, the necessary works will be launched the soonest possible in order for this problem to be overcome.
Atakan also said that he would have a meeting in the near future with the “company they have signed a contract” in order to discuss the companies’ plans and program about the “airport”.
Referring also to works taking place in the illegal Tymbou airport, Atakan claimed that the works continue intensively. He further said that their goal is for the works at the illegal Tymbou airport to be concluded during the second half of 2019 and added that they have determined a symbolic date for the “inauguration ceremony” which is the 15 of November, 2019.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.03.18) reports that Ahmet Mahmut Unlu head of an Islamist religious sect in Turkey called Ahmet Hoca confirmed that meetings were organized in mosques in the occupied areas of Cyprus related to the sect; however he said these persons are not members of his order.
A few days ago there was a report in a Turkish Cypriot newspaper that some persons who are connected with the Ahmet Hoca order were reading the Islam, khutba, (Translator’s note: sermon delivered at the noon prayer on Fridays and on certain other occasions) and several important mosques in the occupied area of Cyprus with the permission of the “religious affairs department”.
Commenting on the issue, the “head of the religious affairs department” of the breakaway regime Talip Atalya stated that no permission was given to any other that employees of the “department” to perform any religious ceremony or readings at the mosques and noted that these persons are dangerous.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Bakis newspaper (08.03.18) reports that the “Tourism Laborers Trade Union (TES)” which is the “administrator” of the Greek Cypriot-owned Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia for years now, expressed its reaction over the reports saying that Vakif Foundation, where Dome Hotel belongs to, will not renew the contract with “TES” which expires on May 15 and will reportedly hand over the “administration of the hotel” to a private company.
In statements to the paper on the issue, the “chairman of TES”, Bayram Karaman stated that they have received a letter from the lawyer of the “Vakif Administrtaton”, which notes that they have decided not to extend the “term of contract”. Karaman, commenting on the allegation that the “administration of the hotel will be handed over to a private company”, argued that the “workers in the hotel” who performed their work successfully for years will not go out from the hotel, pointing out to all negative effects that a possible privatization of the hotel could bring to the “economy of the TRNC”.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (08.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/germany-reconsidering-turkey-travel-warning-turkish-fm-128415) reports that Germany is reconsidering its travel warning for Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on March 7.
Speaking to reporters at an international tourism fair in Berlin, Cavusoglu said he raised the issue during his meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on March 6.
“Now the Foreign Minister is reconsidering the travel warning,” he said, adding that the current travel advice was not reflecting the current situation in Turkey.
“German tourists will be very comfortable and safe when they come to Turkey,” he added.
Turkey has been one of the most popular travel destinations for German holidaymakers, but the number of visitors declined in recent years due to a series of terror attacks in Turkey and political tensions between Ankara and Berlin.
The number of German tourists dropped from 5.5 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in 2016, according to official figures. In 2017, around 3.5 million German tourists traveled to Turkey.
Amid political tensions with Ankara, the German government warned its citizens last July to exercise caution when travelling to Turkey, saying several German citizens were arrested in the country as part of counter-terrorism investigations.
Cavusoglu said Turkey has left behind a difficult process of normalization after a defeated coup in 2016, adding that Ankara and Berlin were now taking steps to rebuild trust.
“As two foreign ministers we did our best to normalize our relations, to create more positive atmosphere in our relations,” he said, referring to his efforts with Gabriel in recent months to overcome tensions.
Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily (07.03.18_ published the following article by Ahu Ozyurt”
“It did not come as a surprise, but even Felicity (Saadet) Party head Temel Karamollaoglu did not expect this kind of attention. Once a fringe party that carried the Islamist torch of the late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, the Felicity Party now seems to be at the center of all political activity in Turkey.
Since the presidential referendum, parts of the opposition have been looking to the Felicity Party to set the agenda. Karamollaoglu, a veteran politician who was among those jailed after the 1980 military coup, has became a voice of reason for leftists and conservatives alike. One big reason for this is the lack of progress on the İYİ (Good) Party front. İYİ Party leader Meral Aksener is still a powerful politician who gets a lot of grassroots support while on the road in heartland Anatolia. But her party's message is still unclear. As a party that should be aiming to address the needs of young people, the İYİ Party still lacks an agenda that can motivate younger voters.
Another big reason why attention has turned to the Felicity Party is the Republican People's Party's (CHP) internal dilemma in setting an agenda for itself and moving forward with it. Sadly, Turkey's main opposition party seems to be deciding on a daily basis what to do, which issue to push, and how to answer to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and to the president. One insider once told me that in the hallways of the CHP, the party's deputies and high ranking officials look at the newspapers every morning to see if their names appear in Hurriyet. As a result of this shortsightedness, the CHP lacks consistency, message coherence and patience.
Behind all this dust and fog, the Felicity Party appears to many as the true "third-way." In previous elections, the party hardly made it to the 5 % level, but according to respected pollsters it actually has a "mortgaged 10 %" inside the AK Party that it can quickly claim. Karamollaoglu, as chairman and leader of the party, gives the impression that he does not need to bend or break to make his voice heard. He has very little to lose if he speaks about the mistakes of the AK Party, and he knows very well that both the AK Party's base and its upper echelons listen whenever he says something.
Bekir Agirdir from the KONDA research company, in an interview he gave to the news website T24, touched on the vacuum that the Felicity Party could fill. "There is a 40 % bloc in Turkey that sincerely feels the current cadre of politicians cannot solve the country's problems of Turkey. This is a mass that votes according to economic worries and less according to political attachment to a party. These people are in the 'grey area' and feel the situation will get worse."
According to policy analysts, the Felicity Party and Karamollaoglu seem to be touching the worries of this specific voter group. Karamollaoglu's Twitter account gets hundreds of responses from young people who walked on the CHP's "Justice March" last year, who have been beaten by the police in street protests, or who simply feel a need to see a leader that does not need to yield to the politics of the AK Party. With this in mind, Karamollaoglu almost resembles Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party in the U.K. or Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party in the U.S.
The Felicity Party and Karamollaoglu advocate a better and perhaps more nationalistic economic policy, a decent judiciary, and an end to unfair recruitment practices in the state. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan clearly sees the challenge and the deep tide that is rising. Once upon a time these "elders" silently stepped aside to pave his way. But now they are coming back.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (08.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/violence-is-the-biggest-problem-women-face-in-turkey-poll-128372) reports that violence is by far the biggest problem that people think women face in Turkish society in 2018, according to a poll conducted by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University.
Some 61 % of people believe that “violence” is the most important problem women face in society, according to the poll conducted by the university’s Gender and Women’s Studies Research Center.
In last year’s poll, the rate was 55 %.
Respondents also voiced their demand from policymakers to develop policies to fight violence against women across Turkey.
Recently, the Kadin Cinayetlerini Durduracagiz Platformu (We Will Stop Femicides Platform), a women’s rights organization that monitors violence against women, announced that some 47 women were killed in February in Turkey, marking one of the highest femicide figures in recent months.
Throughout 2017, a total of 409 women were killed and 387 children were sexually abused in Turkey, according to data compiled by the same group.
The Kadir Has University poll on the perception of gender and women in Turkey was conducted in February in 23 provinces across the country with 1,205 people, including women and men.
“Unemployment” and “lack of education” follows “violence,” with 9 % of all respondents believing that both constitute major problems.
In last year’s poll, 11 % of respondents said they believed that unemployment was one of the biggest problems women face in Turkey, while 10 % said they saw lack of education as a major problem.
Street harassment, parental pressure and gender inequality are also listed among the biggest problems that women face in Turkey.
Some 72 % of respondents said they believe that domestic violence is a valid reason for divorce.
28 % of women in labor force, 46 % have never worked
The poll also touched upon the presence of women in Turkey’s labor force. Some 28 % of female respondents said they are actively work, 35 % said they used to work in the past, and 46 % said they have never worked before.
Some 84 % of female respondents and 73 % of male respondents said they agree with the statement that “women’s participation in labor force is essential for the country’s wealth.”
Women say no to muftis registering marriages
Meanwhile, some 64 % of women and 49 % of men said muftis - religious officials from the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) - should not be able to perform and register marriages.
A draft law allowing muftis to perform and register marriages and was submitted to parliament in July 2017, drawing strong criticism from opposition parties and women’s rights groups.
Perception of gender equality reinforced
The poll also found that both men and women said they believe they should have equal rights and opportunities in the public sphere and their private lives.
However, the poll noted that these attitudes are mainly limited to women’s rights and opportunities in the public sphere and not reflected in their private life, especially when it comes to childcare, abortion, cohabitation and household chores.”
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(CS / AM)