Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (10.04.19) reports that Prof. Dr Yasin Aktay, who is also one of the advisors of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated that Turkey will certainly not allow any fait accompli in the Eastern Mediterranean. Everyone’s rights in the natural resources offshore Cyprus should be handed over. Otherwise, nobody will benefit from these resources”, Aktay said while speaking to HK news agency.
Pointing out that nobody should act unilaterally in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aktay claimed that Turkey does not say that it will be the only one to win but it supports that the Turkish Cypriots have the same rights as the Greek Cypriots. “Turkey wants cooperation in the region and follows the most logical policy that it can”, Aktay alleged.
On the Cyprus problem, Aktay reiterated the allegation that all efforts aiming to reach a federal solution in Cyprus have failed due to the stance of the Greek Cypriot side. He alleged further that Turkey does not close the door to a federal solution but pointed out the need to be open to “new ideas”, stressing that everyone should approach the issue with a “more creative approach”.
Accusing the Greek Cypriots of not accepting “power sharing and political equality with the Turkish Cypriots”, Aktay alleged that it is not possible for the negotiation process to start if this approach does not change.
Stating that for Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality and security is a sine qua non for a solution in Cyprus, Aktay argued that at the current stage, what is important is for the two sides in the island to come together with a new vision which will be based on the political equality for the future of the island.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (10.04.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled minister of foreign affairs and deputy prime minister, claiming that the sides do not have a common ground and vision towards Cyprus’ future, argued that the Greek Cypriot side by ignoring and by abstaining from what is reflected on the UN report, they will not change the truth. He claimed that if the UN representatives were a bit more realistic, they could go to a better place.
Speaking yesterday at the “assembly” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus on the Cyprus issue, Ozersay reminded that some laughed with his statement when he said four - five months ago that the UN could not draw a rabbit from the hat when it came to the Cyprus problem.
Claiming that the Greek Cypriot side had recently rehashed old proposals that had been first put on the table during his time as a negotiator, he argued that with the latest proposal put forward by the Greek Cypriot side, a Turkish Cypriot will never become the head of state.
Noting that when he was a negotiator, 6-7 different ideas were brought to the agenda and they, as a Turkish Cypriot side, were working on these issues with UN experts, Ozersay stressed that they explained to them (UN experts) that the idea of the rotating presidency does not serve political equality. He added that the Turkish Cypriots may be the head of the government but the appearance of a Greek Cypriot state will unavoidably remain, claiming that “the political experience of the Turkish Cypriots, the history and the reality of the Republic of 1960 is clear”.
“The UN Secretary-General had made it openly clear in his latest report on Cyprus that the two sides will first have to agree on a joint vision for a settlement and the methodology on the basis of that settlement before negotiations begin. Not even the first step was achieved. There is a serious difference in mentality between the two sides,” he added.
Noting that the time has come for everyone to think where Cyprus’ future is heading, Ozersay reiterated his call to the UN officials: “We don’t want diplomats or individuals who will speak of the truth on the Cyprus problem once they retire. We want them to speak out courageously and include the truth in reports while they are still in office. There is no common vision between the two sides. The realities will not change if the truth is not told or will not be reflected in reports. There is a real chance to open Pandora’s Box here in Cyprus. The UN should convene a meeting and question as to where the Cyprus problem is heading. (…) There is no ground between the sides, the Greek Cypriots cannot digest the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots and they are trying to dilute it. The Greek Cypriots are not ready to share the administration and the wealth. We cannot ignore the realities of a half century”.
Referring to the Guterres Framework, Ozersay said that there was too much confusion as to what the document contained and added that the Guterres Framework had been presented back in Crans Montana and was not that important anymore.
Evaluating the meetings of the UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Lute, Ozersay said: “The UN Secretary-General authorized Lute to take the pulse and prepare a report. Not to carry ideas between the sides. The Turkish side and Turkey have reminded this to Lute. The reasonable thing was to do this in 2-3 meetings. It was not realistic to extend these meetings over time. While the process was underway, we also told this to the UN officials”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (10.04.19) reports that Erhan Arikli, leader of the Revival Party (YDP), argued that it has been understood with the statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader’s spokesman Baris Burcu after the meeting of UN Special Envoy on Cyprus Lute with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci that Lute’s mission would not be successful.
Speaking yesterday at the “assembly” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, Arikli argued that it was understood after Burcu’s statements that Akinci had insisted to Lute only on the political equality. He then accused Akinci of not referring also to the issue of guarantees during his meeting with Lute. Arikli wondered what Akinci is thinking on the issue of guarantors, adding that it has been understood that the resumption of the Cyprus talks is not possible and that there is not any stage in which Akinci can take some steps back.
Arikli further claimed that Akinci is promoting the political equality, which is of non-essential content, as a sine qua non.
Referring to Akinci’s statements regarding the population in the occupied area of Cyprus, Arikli said that these statements were made due to the fact that the “elections” were approaching. He described the population as a “national issue” that should not be exploited.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (10.04.19) reports that “deputies” Armağan Candan and Hamza Ersan Saner are attending the General Assembly and Committee meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) which is holding its spring session in Strasbourg from 8-12 April.
Candan made a speech to the General Assembly of PACE and gave information about the latest political developments and the negotiation process in Cyprus .
Candan also referred to the missing persons issue and said that it affects all the people of Cyprus. He also stated that both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are missing and that the bi-communal Committee on Missing Persons has been a serious contributor on the matter.
Turkish Daily Sabah (10.04.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/04/10/turkeys-s-400-deal-national-security-decision-not-an-issue-for-third-countries) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made statemenst to journalists upon his return from Russia.
He said that the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 defense systems is a decision made against external security threats, adding that the step taken for Turkey's national security does not target a third country nor does it authorize a third country to have a say in Ankara's sovereign choices. "Turkey, with its state and nation, is an absolute sovereign state and we will not share this with anyone," Erdoğan told journalists accompanying him during his visit to Moscow, where he attended the opening ceremony of the Turkey-Russia cross-cultural year and held bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council meetings on Monday.
Erdoğan said there is great international interest in Turkey's S-400 decision and that Turkish ministers are frequently being asked whether there has been a change in Ankara's position on the S-400s.
"We tell them 'this is a job completed, all is ready.' The delivery of the S-400 missile defense system was supposed to be in July, it may be done earlier," the president said.
The Ankara-Moscow S-400 deal was inked in December 2017, when the parties signed a $2.5 billion agreement for two batteries of the system, Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. Turkey will be the first NATO member country to acquire the system. Moreover, Turkey seeks to build its own missile defense systems as the deal also involves the transfer of know-how and technology.
He said that while Ankara and Washington are not on the same page, NATO sees the matter as Turkey's sovereign decision. Erdoğan responded to the U.S. questioning of the joint production and availability of related technology by saying all the articles have been inked in the deal in detail.
"We are here as one of the strongest military powers of NATO. When such criticism is being made, how come nobody mentions this side of Turkey? I mean, why one of NATO’s strongest militaries shouldn’t have a strong air defense systems," Erdoğan asked. He added that despite Turkey's requests for defense support its demands were not responded to positively, leading to Ankara finding its own alternatives.
"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 alliance?" Pence said in remarks at a NATO event in Washington.
"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?" Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay responded to Pence on his official Twitter account.
Erdoğan also commented on Pence's remarks, "Pence's remarks are non-binding. NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg's remarks were. NATO's general-secretary is not Pence. Stoltenberg had already said the last word with his remarks and he did that a few times."
Erdoğan accused Washington of having double standards against Turkey's S-400 decision, saying that countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Slovakia also have similar systems. He underlined that Turkey's need for an air defense system had to be met and a decision to purchase the S-400 systems was made following the lack of cooperation from the U.S. The president added that Turkey was open to purchasing the U.S. Patriot systems as well, if similar conditions were made available. Ankara's decision to resort to the Russian-made surface-to-air (SAM) S-400 system is the result of a comprehensive calculation of geopolitical risks compelling the country to look for alternatives to strengthen its defense systems after the U.S. refused to sell similar weapons to Turkey. When Turkey wanted to the buy the Patriot missile system from the U.S. in 2009 during then-President Barack Obama's term, the U.S. Congress declined the offer for the sale of the Patriot PAC-3 batteries, worth $7.8 billion at the time.
When it comes to Syria, Erdoğan said that the conversations with Russia mostly revolved around the situation in Idlib. "In this respect, Russia's main problem is regarding the presence of some terrorist organizations in the region," Erdoğan said, adding that Turkish military and intelligence services have been warning Russian troops when it is necessary in the region.
"Yet, more important than anything, we have our sensitivities regarding the territorial integrity of Syria and we will continue to have these sensitivities till the end," the president emphasized.
When he was asked whether or not there is some kind of a disagreement with Russia over who should be involved in a new constitutional committee with Syria, Erdoğan said that there was disagreement over six names but now they have reached a solution over them.
The local elections and the period in the aftermath of the elections have become another prominent topic of interviews as the president expressed the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) determination to seek its rights through legal means.
"If in a city like Istanbul, where there are almost 11 million voters, there is a difference as small as 30,000 between the votes, and if this number decreases to 13,000 quickly only through objections, then we have to pursue our struggle," Erdoğan said, referring to the AK Party's ongoing objections to the election.
The president said that bilateral diplomatic visits, Turkey's fight against terror, investment and economic steps will continue without compromise. He added, however, that investment in the economy is the government's key priority for the short-term period.
Erdoğan also commented on recent regional developments, the U.S. recognition of Syria's Golan Heights as Israeli territory and the reciprocal steps between Tehran and Washington on declaring each other's militaries as terrorists.
Turkish Yeni Safak (10.04.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/erdogans-akp-says-doubt-will-remain-unless-istanbul-votes-again-3478549 ) reports that doubt over local election results in Istanbul will remain if Turkey's High Election Board (YSK) rejects an appeal by President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) to renew elections in the city, a party vice chairman said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, AKP Deputy Chairman Ali Ihsan Yavuz said his party would demand a renewal of the mayoral elections in Istanbul after determining what he said were irregularities that directly impacted the vote.
"We will file our extraordinary appeal today. We will say that there have been events that directly impacted the outcome of the elections and that we demand the renewal of the elections in Istanbul."
Turkish Hurriyet daily News (10.04.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-has-confidence-in-election-board-imamoglu-142549) reports that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu has said his party has confidence in the Supreme Election Board (YSK) and that it would make the right ruling amid claims of vote irregularities in the elections by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which said it will file an objection to the results of the March 31 elections.
“We believe the YSK will make the correct ruling concerning the process,” İmamoğlu said at a press conference on April 9.
Sound steps should be taken in order to finalize and clarify this process, he said, elaborating on the ongoing YSK assessment on the AKP’s objections to the outcome of the Istanbul vote.
The AKP should accept that it has failed and step down as part of the nature of democracy, he said.
Istanbul is tired of this process, he said, adding that the CHP feels optimistic that the YSK will give him the mandate to run Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
“We want Istanbul to be handed over to us along with the problems [of the city] as soon as possible,” he added. Speaking about the possibility of a new election in Istanbul, İmamoğlu said it was only a waste of time. “Then one can hold an election every two months when they don’t like the results?” he said.
Democracy requires that the one who failed should congratulate the winner, he said, urging a normalization process in Turkey soon.
“They have damaged our country and city. This city is being watched by the entire world at the moment. The price will be heavy. People will leave, but the institutions will remain,” he stated, speaking about claims the AKP was removing files and data that could be held as evidence purporting corruption in the municipality conducted by the previous mayors.
Turkish daily Sabah (10.04.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/04/09/fm-cavusoglu-uk-eu-counterparts-discuss-libya-clashes) reports that Turkish foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed latest developments in Libya with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini over the phone on Tuesday, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Çavuşoğlu had a phone conversation with Hunt and Mogherini.
On Monday, Çavuşoğlu discussed the latest situation in Libya with his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi over the phone.
In addition, Turkish daily Sabah (10.04.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2019/04/09/un-led-conference-not-military-intervention-will-resolve-libya-conflict-turkish-fm-says) also reports that Turkish Cacusoglu urged caution against military aggression in Libya, and called for dialogue to tackle the recent escalation in the country.
"Unity and solidarity of Libya should be ensured through a conference organized by the U.N., not with military intervention," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a joint news conference along with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani in Ankara.
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