Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (10.05.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has alleged that the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share Cyprus’ natural gas with the Turkish Cypriots and caused an increase of tension in the Mediterranean. In statements to Turkish TRT state television, Akinci argued that Turkey had the right to carry out explorations for natural gas in its own continental shelf and that “investments were made after the necessary discussions”.
“We also continue our efforts in the direction of our rights using Turkey’s possibilities. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots could not be excluded from the equation in the Eastern Mediterranean”, he claimed.
Asked who “encourages” the Greek Cypriots to act in the way they do in the Eastern Mediterranean, Akinci alleged that the events that happened in 2004 were reiterated, the promises given to the Turkish Cypriots were not kept and the way for sharing [the hydrocarbon resources] was closing completely with the encouragement of the international community.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (10.05.19) reports that Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Fatih Donmez, has reiterated that his ministry continued its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean for securing what he called “the country’s rights and interests” in the areas for which Turkey and the “TRNC”, as he described the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, had given “license” to Turkish Petroleum (TPAO). “Those who think that, by creating fait accompli, will harm our explorations in our licensed areas are very mistaken”, he claimed speaking in Ankara last night.
Noting that Turkey’s explorations for hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean “annoy some counties”, Donmez alleged that they would continue taking all necessary steps within the framework of the international law for protecting the rights and interests of the Turkish nations and the “TRNC”. “It is not possible for us to accept the statements made for the drillings carried out by Turkey in its own licensed area”, he claimed, arguing that especially the foreign press “distorted” the issue and with its publications “shadowed Turkey’s justified stance” in the area.
Alleging that the activities of Barbaros and Fatih vessels in the area were based on Turkey’s rights within the framework of the international law, Donmez added: “As the UNSG said, the reserves in Cyprus belong to both sides and should be shared fairly. We expect all players in and outside the area to respect the explorations and drillings we are carrying out in our continental shelf. Everyone knows our determination on this issue”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (10.05.19) reports that after “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman submitted yesterday the resignation of his “government”, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said that he would give the political parties the opportunity to carry out consultations during the weekend, adding that on Monday and Tuesday he would hold separate meetings with party representatives in order to assign a “deputy”, who would be able to form a “government”, with the “duty” of forming the “new government”.
Under the title “They agreed on 7 to 3”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (10.05.19) reports that according to backstage information, the efforts of forming a “coalition government” between the National Unity Party (UBP) and the People’s Party (HP) have been completed. Citing sources close to UBP, the paper notes that Kudret Ozersay’s HP will continue in the new “government” with the same three “ministries” it possesses in the outgoing “cabinet” and with the same “ministers”, that is, Ozersay will be “foreign minister”, Aysegul Baybars “minister of interior” and Tolga Atakan “minister of public works and transport”. The “prime ministry” and the other seven “ministries” will be given to UBP, said the sources.
UBP’s chairman, Ersin Tatar said yesterday that he expected an invitation by Akinci and that if he was assigned with the “duty”, he would form a “government” the soonest. “We will work to relieve the private sector and solve the economic problems which exist in the country”, he argued and underlined the need for stability.
Moreover, outgoing “prime minister” Erhurman said yesterday that Tatar should be assigned with the duty to establish a “government” the soonest. Noting that the new “coalition government” could be established from the parties which exist in the current “assembly”, Erhurman added: “First these options should be tried. If a collation does not come up, however, we do not say no to early elections”.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (10.05.19) reports that the Social Democracy Party (TDP), one of the four “coalition partners” in the outgoing “government”, said that there were outside interventions in the process of the collapse of the “government”, adding that these interventions were “outside of the will of the people” and “abolished the democratic processes”. In a statement after a meeting of the party council last night, it was noted that “some parties” allowed these interventions to happen.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (10.05.19) reports that the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP) expressed the view that Tatar should be assigned with the duty of establishing a “government”. The party will hold a meeting on Monday to assess the situation.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (10.05.19) reports that Mehmet Harmanci, mayor in the occupied part of Nicosia, met yesterday with German politicians coming from the Social Democrat Party (SDP). During the meeting, Harmanci briefed his German guests on the Cyprus problem, the history of his municipality and its common projects with the Municipality of Nicosia. Harmanci said that the European Union gave funds for infrastructure only to “south Cyprus”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, and alleged that this was not a “reasonable and fair policy”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.05.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-works-insistently-for-full-eu-membershiperdogan/1474460) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday reiterated his vow to gain full membership in the European Union despite counter-efforts.
"Turkey proceeds on its way persistently despite those trying to exclude it from the European family", Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Reform Action Group meeting in Ankara which was held to discuss the country's stalled EU accession process.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey has been struggling to become a full member of the EU for the last 60 years. “Despite all the double standards we have been facing in our accession negotiations, Turkey is determined to become a full member of the European Union as a strategic objective,” said Erdogan in a statement on Europe Day.
“The EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the EU”, Erdogan stressed, adding that without Turkey, it is not possible for the EU to successfully fight the threats to its core values.
"EU membership is meaningful in the equation in which both sides gain. Nobody can force Turkey to accept an equation that is harmful," Erdogan said.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (09.05.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-membership-meaningful-if-both-sides-win-president-erdogan-143298) reported that in his address Erdogan pledged to make structural reforms in a bid to restore Turkey’s economy.“We need to give more weight to structural reforms in order to strengthen our economy. We need to accelerate the reforms that will provide confidence to international investors and that will make our country gain momentum,” he said.
“The presidential government system has accelerated the decision-making and implementation processes”, he said. “Now we have the opportunity to implement our reforms more quickly and effectively.”
Erdogan further called on the Ministers to turn Turkey’s reform will into concrete steps and accelerate the relations with the EU as well. “Developing the fundamental rights and freedoms of our citizens is a key priority for us,” Erdogan stated.
“In order to strengthen our economy, we need to give more weight to structural reforms. The most important of these will be the steps we will take in the judiciary,” he said, noting that a justice academy is on their agenda to provide better training to judges and prosecutors.
“If we share the Judicial Reform Strategy with the public and implement the reforms here quickly, we will give a positive message to the markets and prepare the environment to accelerate the investments,” he said, recalling the long waiting reform strategy for justice.
“Ankara should focus on areas where Turkish-EU relations will benefit in the coming period”, Erdogan further added.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.05.19https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-foreign-minister-marks-europe-day/1474600) reported that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Ankara has contributed significantly to THE stability and prosperity of Europe.
In a written statement on Thursday to commemorate Europe Day, Cavusoglu said: "Turkey has to this day made various sacrifices for the security of Europe and has contributed significantly to stability and prosperity on the continent. However, Turkey’s genuine contribution to Europe will be possible through its full membership to the EU", Cavusoglu said.
He added that Turkey maintains its commitment to full membership in the EU which the country has set as a "strategic objective". "The EU needs to look at Turkey and the values that it will contribute to the EU from a wider perspective and respond appropriately”.
(…)"Europe is at the crossroads today. The EU will either become a global power and adopt the necessary visionary approach or yield to the dynamics of internal politics arising from populist and extremist movements. The second approach, with no doubt, will push Turkey away from the EU," he said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.05.2019-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/-end-political-blockade-to-turkey-s-eu-membership-/1474349) reported that Sibel Ozdemir, a prominent lawmaker of Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party [CHP], called on the European Union on Wednesday to remove political obstructions to Turkey's membership.
“On the occasion of Europe Day on May 9, we see a historical responsibility to call on the EU to take positive steps away from personal interests," said Ozdermir, representing Istanbul province. "The political obstructions should be removed in the way of Turkey's EU membership," she said.
Ozdemir also urged the EU to exhibit a strong political will to allow the accession process to conclude.
She added that Turkey should be granted full membership of the EU, if it has fulfilled the criteria set for other candidate countries.
Turkish daily Sabah (09.05.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2019/05/09/ak-party-mhp-begin-election-preparations-for-june-23) reported that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and its People's Alliance partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have started preparations for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) elections rerun scheduled for June 23.
The AK Party Chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reportedly gave the go-ahead during the party's Central Executive Committee (MYK) meeting. Expressing his content over the Supreme Election Council (YSK) decision to renew the elections, Erdogan reportedly said that everyone in the party should leave all the resentments behind and work hard toward June 23.
During the course of the election, AK Party Election Coordination Center will be led by the party Deputy Chairman, Ali İhsan Yavuz, who also conducted the party's affairs during the YSK's decision-making process in the aftermath of the March 31 local polls.
It was also reported that until the end of May all AK Party Deputy Chairmen and Deputies from eastern and southeastern provinces will conduct fieldwork in Istanbul. After the Ramazan Bayram, all the Deputies are expected to be active in Istanbul. Erdogan is also expected to hold several rallies around Istanbul in the meantime.
The MHP, on the other hand, is planning to intensify its activities in Istanbul until the elections. The chairman of the party, Devlet Bahçeli, is expected to hold a meeting at the MHP headquarters with the 15 provincial heads. The provinces are Sivas, Kastamonu, Ordu, Giresun, Tokat, Samsun, Erzurum, Malatya, Trabzon, Sinop, Erzincan, Rize, Kars, Ardahan and Mardin.
Meanwhile, according to the Turkishminutes portal (09.05.19-https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/09/turkish-presidency-prepares-booklet-explaining-ysk-decision-to-cancel-istanbul-election-results/) the Turkish Presidency has prepared a 6-page booklet explaining the Supreme Election Board’s (YSK) ruling to cancel the results of the March 31 İstanbul mayoral election, the Habertürk news website reported on Thursday.
The board’s decision, which was based on the assignment of polling station officials who were not public servants as stipulated by law, came after a number of objections filed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
(…)The booklet responds to the opposition’s criticism, saying that the YSK only deals with objections and that the AKP specifically requested a cancelation of the metropolitan mayoral election results.
It also argues that the YSK only found 42,000 suspicious votes in 123 ballot boxes, which only could affect the metropolitan mayoral election, narrowly won by the opposition on March 31.
The booklet was also criticized by the opposition on social media because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the chair of the ruling AKP and used presidential resources for his party’s politics.
According to the Turkishminutes portal (09.05.19-https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/09/first-poll-after-ysk-decision-indicates-oppositions-imamoglu-leads-by-2-pct-in-istanbul/), a Turkish polling firm on Thursday announced that opposition alliance İstanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoglu is leading the polls by 2% over the ruling party’s Binali Yıldırım, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.
İmamoglu won the İstanbul race on March 31 by a razor-thin margin, but the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Monday cancelled the election results in İstanbul, citing irregularities, and set a new election date of June 23.
The survey by the Konsensus polling firm was conducted on April 21 and 22, before the YSK decision was announced, on nearly 40,000 people.
According to the survey, 54.6% of 18-29 year-olds declared that they would support İmamoglu if a new election were to be held in İstanbul.
The support for İmamoglu in the 30-39 age group remains at 49%, while it decreases to 44.9% among 40-49 year-olds. The over-60 age group supports İmamoglu with 47.2%.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (09.05.19-http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/1384657/iste_Ekrem_imamoglu_nun_masasindaki_son_anket.html) reported that the chairman of the administration board of the MAK Consultant Company in Turkey Mehmet Ali Kulat, in statements to a televised program broadcast by TV 5, announced the results of an opinion poll conducted by the company on the forthcoming re-run of the local elections in Istanbul, which will take place on June 23.
The Company's poll interviewed 5,500 people with the face- to -face method between April 27-30. According to Kulat, the votes for Imamoglu will increase further, since, according to the opinion poll, AKP receives 40.6% while CHP receives 41%.
According to Kulat, the undecided voters at the March 31 elections was 17%.
Asked to reply to the question: “Would you change your preference, if elections would be repeated?”, 79% of the participants answered negatively, 13% answered positively, while 8% said that they are undecided.
Commenting on the above question, Kulat expressed the view that the percentages of Imamoglu will be increased further during the re-doing elections in Istanbul.
Turkish daily Sabah (10.05.2019-https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2019/05/10/turkish-army-seeks-sea-change-in-naval-drills) reports that Turkey is looking to expand its naval drills in order to boost its presence in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The Sea Wolf 2019 military exercise, the largest annual drill of the Turkish Naval Forces, will kick off next week. The country is also mulling an international drill in the Mediterranean, where it faces multiple security threats, especially toward its oil and gas exploration attempts.
The Sea Wolf exercise, to be held between May 13 and May 25, will be one of the most comprehensive naval drills of the year. It will be held simultaneously in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, with the participation of 131 vessels, 57 aircrafts and 33 helicopters. Along with the naval forces, other military units, including the Land, Air and the Special Forces, as well as the Coast Guard Command will join the exercise. Some 25,900 officers will take part in live-fire exercise aiming to bolster the readiness for operations for Naval Forces. The exercise will also be an opportunity for a show of force and diplomacy for Turkey as 85 vessels that take part in the exercise will visit 33 ports in Turkey and abroad in the last stage of the exercise and will be open to public visit.
Meanwhile, a Turkish newspaper reported that the country was in talks with other countries for the Mediterranean Shield, a naval security exercise organized by the Turkish military, to be open to other countries.
Mediterranean Shield, conducted every year since 2006, aims to boost preparedness to maritime security threats. Turkish daily, Yeni Şafak reported that Turkey plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Jordan, in order to have them included in the exercise.
The countries littoral to the Mediterranean and with commercial and strategic interests in the sea will share information and experience for the Mediterranean Shield although they will not be required to send naval units, Yeni Şafak reported. Turkey previously went international with a similar military exercise in the Black Sea.
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