Illegal Bayrak (09.05.19) broadcast that “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman handed his resignation this morning to Mustafa Akıncı following the decision taken by one of the parties that consisted the coalition partners, the Peoples’ Party (HP) to withdraw from the government.
In a statement on social media last night, Erhürman said that he had talked with Akıncı and would be handing in his resignation so that work to set up a new “government” without further delay would begin immediately.
Erhürman also thanked everyone he worked with “during the coalition government’s 15 months in office”.
Accepting Erhürman’s resignation today, Akinci said that he believed that he had worked in harmony and dialogue with the four-party coalition.
Pointing out that it was the “country’s first four-party coalition”, Akıncı said that Erhürman’s job had not been easy. Akıncı said that he had asked Erhurman to remain in “office” until a new “government” was formed; the process which he added would begin next week.
He said he would be holding separate meetings with the leaders of all the political parties in “parliament” starting next week and would assign one of them to form a “government” that could secure “a vote of confidence in parliament”.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Akıncı, Erhürman said that “the assigning of the party with the largest number of seats in parliament to form a government would be the most correct thing for the President to do at this point in time”.
“The most correct thing to do is to give the UBP leader Ersin Tatar the task of forming a new government,” he said.
He also said that “it was important to form a new government as soon as possible due to the economic crisis the country was currently facing”.
“It is important to have a stable government during times like these. I would like to wish the new government all the best because we are truly going through a difficult time,” he said.
Erhürman refrained from commenting on possible “government scenarios”, adding that the issue will be discussed in detail during a party meeting tonight.
Asked to comment whether early “elections” were on the horizon, Erhürman said that there was the necessary arithmetic in “parliament” for alternative coalition scenarios but as the “constitution” states, early elections will be held if coalition talks fail.
The four-party coalition led by Tufan Erhürman had taken “office” after receiving a vote of confidence by “parliament” on February 16, 2018. “27 MPs had voted in favour of the coalition government, 22 had voted against it and 1 MP had abstained”, according to Bayrak.
All the Turkish Cypriot dailies (09.05.19) report today on the developments that led to the resignation of the “government”.
Under the title: “The government is over”, Kibris reports that the “government of prime minister Tufan Erhurman only lasted 15 months” and notes that the reason for this development was the issue created by the “state owned plots” rented to the family of Serdar Denktas (who is the “minister of finance” and leader of the Democratic Party -DP), which participates in the “coalition government”, for establishing a university named his late father Rauf Denktas.
The issue caused the reaction of the “foreign minister” and leader of People’s Party (HP) Kudret Ozersay who asked to examine the relevant with documents, during a meeting of the HP’ s party assembly yesterday.
Denktas resigned before HP finished its meeting. Later Ozersay stated that the party decided to withdrawn from the “government”, adding that the current situation was deeply disturbing and no longer sustainable. “We are face to face with a crisis of confidence and trust,” Ozersay said, stating that the current situation could no longer be tolerated. “We will decide whether or not to remain in opposition or whether to hold government talks with other parties. However, we will act by counting upon the experiences we have gained over the last 15 months” the HP leader Ozersay said.
Reporting on Denktas’ resignation, Bayrak (09.05.19) broadcast that Denktas announced his resignation via social media and said that he would make public the reasons for his resignation in the coming days.
Democratic Party General Secretary Afet Ozcafer who spoke to BRT said that Denktaş’s resignation had nothing to do with the university land lease issue. Ozcafer said that there was nothing illegal about the leasing of state-owned land for the university in question.She added that Denktaş will be announcing his reasons following a meeting to be held within the party.
Reporting on the issue, Havadis writes that the other two partners of the “coalition government” the Republican Turkish Party and the Socialist Democracy Party (TDP), will gather today to examine the developments.
Star Kıbrıs, under the title: “The end” writes that the “government has ended while Kıbrıs Manşet reports on the issue noting that “the development expected for some time now took place and the HP withdrew from the government”.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (09.05.19), Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party, commenting on the collapse of the “coalition government” to the paper, said: “The government is over. HP has taken the right decision. Because at the end of the day, it was not possible to continue in this way with the allegations regarding Serdar Denktas. (…) what will happen after this, we will see it all together. The central committees of the political parties will convene. We as UBP, will also evaluate the latest situation. Depending on the signal coming from the other party (he refers to the HP), we will make our assessment. (…) However, when you look at the numerical situation, UBP and HP have a total of 30 deputies. (…) We will take our decision by negotiating with every party.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberci (09.05.19, https://www.kibrishaberci.com/tatar-teamuller-geregi-davet-bekliyorum/) reports that Tatar has said that “if Akinci assigns me with the duty to form a government, I will do it as soon as possible.”
Turkish reports that Erhan Arikli, leader of the Revival Party (YDP), claimed: “UBP will form a coalition government with HP. The economic protocol will be signed immediately and the flow of money will begin. UBP is a political party that is doing this successfully.” He added that “in case the UBP-HP do not form a coalition government, then YDP is ready to support a UBP-DP minority government”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (09.05.19), on its front page under the title “Ozersay: If I don’t want to, I don’t play. Is the ball not in my court?”, implies that Turkey was involved in the collapse of the “coalition government” in the occupied area of Cyprus by writing: “Mevlut Cavusoglu came, left and the government collapsed…”
Erdogan Sorakin, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), after the withdrawal of the People’s Party (HP) from the “coalition government”, said that “the ‘plot crisis’ was an excuse because HP could not find any other sufficient reason”, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (09.05.19) reports. Sorakin wondered how a party (referring to HP) that 15 months ago, would not even meet to discuss forming a “coalition government” (with UBP), can now go ahead and form one when it (UBP) is a corrupt party. He concluded by saying that for a long time now everybody knew that HP wanted to withdraw from the government by “creating” different pretexts.
Columnist Cenk Mutluyakali, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (09.05.19), under the title “Is it over?”, comments on the collapse of the “coalition government”, writing: “Is the government over? (…) It is over! You should focus on the real question: When will the establishment of the TRNC be over?”. He further writes that Ozesay was looking for a pretext for a long time now, adding: “If UBP backs Ozersay for presidential candidate, then there will be a UBP-HP coalition!”.
On the same issue, columnist Rasih Resat, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (09.05.19, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c1-KIBRIS_POSTASI_GAZETESI/j72/a34608-Cumhurbaskanligi-secimi-zili-caldi) under the title “The bell rang for presidential elections”, stresses that the main issue in the “collapse of the government” is the “presidential elections” that will be held in April 2020. He further argues that now HP will “form a coalition government” with the UBP and will form also an alliance for the “presidential elections”.
Meanwhile, columnist Mert Ozdag writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (09.05.19, http://www.yeniduzen.com/o-bunu-sevmez-para-o-yuzden-gelmez-13961yy.htm), reports that “there are power groups, who haven’t been satisfied from the government and have acted through their ‘media’. They are not exactly media, they are more like operation centres.” He further writes: “These are the things that have not been said:
Ozdag is disappointed from the situation, writing that what they really need is a healthy democracy, an alternative opposition that can present a healthy, strong, dynamic and different solution. He added that UBP has stepped into a period where the opposition will be hard to find in public.
Gokhan Altiner, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (09.05.19, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c1-KIBRIS_POSTASI_GAZETESI/j160/a34607-Hukumet-dustu) reports that he wrote it almost a month ago that HP will withdraw from the government. He further argues that this problem is an important exam for them for this dispute with Turkey, adding: “Of course, Turkey will always be right beside us, no one should doubt it. For eight months now, the government has tried to stand up to its own means, and it has not been easy with the foreign exchange crisis.”
Illegal Bayrak (09.05.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ulucay-speaks-on-natural-gas-issue) broadcast that the “speaker of parliament” Teberrüken Uluçay evaluated the latest developments regarding the natural gas reserves found around the island during a visit paid to him yesterday.
Uluçay said if cooperation could be possible then both sides would benefit from this.
He also said that “it had been revealed as a result of research carried out by international experts that the natural gas reserves would possibly have a positive effect on the island’s economy”.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side from the very beginning had been expressing the desire for the two sides to act together and to utilize the natural gas to be found in Cyprus’s EEZ to serve for the economic benefit of both “peoples” on the island, Uluçay alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side was sensitive on using the economic value to emerge as a result of drilling of the natural gas for the benefit of both the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots on the island.
He also expressed the hope that any natural gas to be found in the exclusive economic zone will be used to bring the two sides closer rather than escalating tensions both in the region and between the two sides.
Uluçay stressed that development of a cooperation model as part of a consensus on hydrocarbon fields will be for the benefit of both sides.
According to the official website of Turkey’s Presidency (08.05.19-https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/news/542/105289/-throughout-the-history-the-turkish-nation-has-prevailed-as-the-greatest-military-power-in-its-region-and-the-world-), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the National Defense University’s students at an iftar in Ankara. Speaking there, Erdogan said the following: “In order to serve, one needs to deeply love his/her nation and homeland, to strongly adhere to the values that represent them, and also to possess certain physical conditions and courage. Throughout the history, the Turkish nation has prevailed as the greatest military power in its region and the world for it possessed all these qualities at utmost level.”
Recalling that the Turkish military proudly represented Turkey in all missions it has undertaken across the world from Korea to Cyprus, from Afghanistan to Bosnia, Erdogan also praised the military’s courageous fight against terror. “You have achieved victories, which fascinated the world, during operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch in Syria, in Idlib and in northern Syria. Soon you will clear Manbij and east of the Euphrates of terrorist organizations. You will crush the separatist terrorist in Qandil and Sinjar. You will stop the increasing attempts to violate our rights in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean”, Erdogan said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-appeals-election-results-from-2018-143263) reported that the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has asked the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to cancel the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections as well as elections for 39 Istanbul districts.
The appeal piggybacked on the board’s decision on May 6 to annul the victory of main opposition candidate, Ekrem İmamoglu, as Istanbul mayor.
“If the YSK (Supreme Election Board) is sure about its decision on the Istanbul elections, then it should also revoke the mandate of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because the same laws, regulations and same polling stations officials were applied in both elections,” Muharrem Erkek, Deputy CHP leader, told reporters after filing the appeal.
Erkek recalled that the YSK based its decision to annul the March 31 Istanbul elections on the grounds that many members serving at the polling station committees were not civil servants.
“A good majority of the heads of these polling station committees were in charge in the presidential and parliamentary elections that took place in June 2018. If the YSK stands behind its decision on Istanbul, then it should cancel 2018 elections as well,” Erkek said.
“The appeal by the CHP suggests that unlawfulness occurred in the 2018 elections and therefore that the YSK should inquire into the accusations, as statute of limitation does not apply in such cases” he added.
Pointing out the fact that the YSK annulled only the election for Istanbul mayor - although voters also voted for 39 district mayors, municipal council and neighborhood heads, Erkek said: “it’s incomprehensible why the rule only corresponds to the mayor of Istanbul”.
The Election Law charges YSK with preparing all the conditions for the elections, including setting up polling station committees, Erkek stated.
“If there is an illegal situation, the YSK is to blame, not the voters or the candidates. How come the YSK shift the blame?” he asked.
After the CHP, the Good (İYİ) Party submitted its own appeal seeking cancelation of all local elections in Istanbul on the same grounds as the CHP.
The YSK was scheduled to convene in late afternoon on May 8 to discuss the appeals by the CHP and the Good Party.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/france-must-review-ties-with-ypg-cavusoglu-143266) reported that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called on France to review its ties with the PYD/YPG, which Ankara considers as a terrorist group due to links with the PKK.
“On the Syria issue, France must review its stance regarding PYD/YPG, offshoot of the terrorist organization PKK in Syria,” Çavusoglu tweeted after a meeting with French Ambassador to Ankara, Charles Fries on May 8.
Cavusoglu said that Turkey attaches importance to relations with France and is pleased to see commercial economic relations expand.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (09.05.19-https://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/akdenize-uluslararasi-kalkan-3470146) reports that the Operation Mediterranean Shield, initiated by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean on 1 April 2006, mainly with the aim to discourage possible risks and threats and illegal acts and protect sea lines of communication in the eastern Mediterranean , is taking international dimensions.
According to the paper, 9 more countries are planned to attend the operation, if an agreement is reached. The paper adds that important progress has been achieved in the talks launched with these 9 countries 1,5 year ago. These countries are: Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Jordan. The paper adds that the Operation Mediterranean Shield which was acting since 2006 as a national operation, will be united under an international structure.
According to the paper, within the framework of the operation, all partners will share information and support. Currently, the above 9 friendly countries are not expected to provide to Turkey any fleet support.
Pointing out to the important role of the operation especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, the paper adds that the Operation Mediterranean Shield holds important operations regarding the issue of protecting Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean deriving from the international law. The paper recalls that with the activities of the Operation Mediterranean Shield in 2018, the Italian company owned Saipem drilling ship was prevented twice from conducting drilling activities on behalf of the “Greek Cypriot administration”, in the “TRNC’s maritime area of jurisdiction”.
“The Turkish Navy provides a considerable contribution to the maritime security through Operation Mediterranean Shield”, the paper supports. Frigates, corvettes, assault boats, coast-guard ships, submarines and unmanned aircraft and maritime patrol aircraft based in Aksaz, Mersin and occupied Famagusta port are participating in the operation, the paper adds.
In a commentary in Turkish Daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.05.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/barcin-yinanc/palestinians-and-turkish-cypriots-need-a-strong-turkey-143267) under the above title, columnist Barcin Yinanc writes the following:
“Donald Trump is not fond of Muslims, and every step he took has been detrimental for the Muslims in the Middle East. Likewise, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban is openly anti-Muslim. Russia is responsible for the death of tens of thousands of Syrian Muslims with the support it lends to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Yet, Ankara continues to speak to both governments and not only does it have extremely good relations with Russia, it cooperates with Moscow to find a solution in Syria. Obviously the U.S. and Russia are super power nations one cannot afford to break bridges with. But how about Hungary, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited last year?
When Turkey transitioned from the period based on ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy to one that was called ‘precious loneliness’, the government’s stance was justified by the urge to follow a ‘principled policy’. In other words, we were told Turkey was going after its values and principles rather than its mere interests.
Yet current inconsistencies contradict this approach. One can understand Turkey’s frustration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inhumane policies against Palestinians. One can equally understand Turkey’s anger against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s oppressive policies against the Muslim Brotherhood. One is shocked at Europe’s hypocrisy over Sisi’s despotic rule.
However, Turkey’s decision makers are no doubt aware that both Netanyahu’s oppressive policies and Sisi’s despotic rule are encouraged and supported by Trump.
Washington recently proclaimed the Syrian Golan Heights a part of Israel and gave approval to the Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territories. The White House recently announced that it was intending to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
If Turkey can find a way to talk with a global actor so decisive for the Middle East it can find a way to work with regional actors who are key players in the Middle East.
It should not only do so for its interests but for the interests of the Palestinians and the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood.
Unfortunately organizing big conferences in Turkey, hosting some Palestinian figures where participants express to each other their anger against Israel does not help much the Palestinian cause.
Similarly, hosting members of Muslim Brotherhood and allowing them to live and work legitimately in Turkey cannot be a panacea to the bleeding wound.
Turkey should be on talking terms with Israel and Egypt in order to help the causes of the Palestinians and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Currently, its Middle East policy is also threatening its potential role in the Eastern Mediterranean energy equation, which could be used in favor of the Turkish Cypriots.
The cheapest and efficient way to deliver gas that is found by Israelis, Egyptians and Cypriots is via a pipeline to Turkey.
At a time when Turkey is facing difficulties due to Iranian sanctions imagine how such a pipeline would contribute to the government’s efforts to diversify its suppliers. In addition to transferring excess gas to Europe, the pipeline would help Turkey’s aspiration to become a hub.
Next to the economic benefit, the energy connection would provide a tool of leverage for Turkey. It would have a more legitimate say in the Cypriot problem and could even justify its military presence on the island by overseeing the security of the pipeline.
‘Between its role as a major consumer of gas and a transit point for even more, natural gas would not only be a boon to the Turkish economy: it would win Erdogan political power in the region that he so desperately wants. Ankara would be able to set terms and prices, and in extreme cases, even use its position to engage in energy blackmail as Russia has done with Europe in the past’, wrote David Rosenberg in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Yet Ankara’s policy has pushed Israel, Egypt and other players in the Eastern Mediterranean to overcome their differences and join forces to make the best use of the gas discoveries, without Turkey.
Facing so many problems, a crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean will not be to the interest of Turkey. Yet other regional players should not fall into the delusion that they can get away with a framework excluding Turkey, especially in a geography where the unsolved Cyprus problem render maritime rights in the Mediterranean highly contested.
In the meantime, foreign players like the United States and France would do better to play mediator roles rather than bet on an equation without Turkey in it. They should not underestimate Turkey’s nuisance value”.
In a commentary in Turkish daily Star (09.05.19-https://www.star.com.tr/yazar/dogu-akdenizde-isgale-nasil-cevap-verilecek-yazi-1452366/) under the title: “What answer will be given to the occupation in the Eastern Mediterranean?” columnist Yahya Boston, recalls in his commentary the large-scale Blue Homeland military exercise in the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea which took place last March and coming to the present, refers to the tension and crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean and around Cyprus.
“On the one side of the tension is the Greek Cypriot administration in the south [as the Republic of Cyprus was referred to] and Greece and on the other side is Turkey. However, the actors are not only two in this situation. According to reliable resources who watch closely the issue in Ankara, the Greek Cypriot side and Greece are the pawns of the US’s mounting game in the region. The U.S is the real decision-maker in the energy chess game in the Eastern Mediterranean. And Isreal is the implementer. The US controls the Greek Cypriot side and Greece via Isreal and Egypt is also attending this equation”, supports the columnists, claiming that all efforts exerted in the Eastern Mediterranean to exclude Turkey from the game, have no difference with the attempts undertaken to “occupy Izmir”. “Not only did you try to seize by force Izmir, you seize also Turkey’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
The columnist supports further that Ankara’s mind on this issue is crystal clear. “The seizure of Turkey’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean is considered and is accepted as an invasion to the territories in the Blue Homeland. And is preparing to take action over this issue. It is for this reason that it took action and bought two drilling vessels. The Fatih and Barbarros. These ships are accompanied in their activities in the region by the Turkish fleet. The Turkish naval forces prevented in the past the activities of an international company vessel to carry out drilling activities and researches on behalf of the Greek Cypriot side”.
The columnist concludes by supporting that the waters in the Eastern Mediterranean will be warmed further, especially in June, supporting that Eastern Mediterranean will be the most important issue onto the agenda for the period to come.
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