TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW
Α. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (13.05.19) reports that Berat Albayrak, Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister, has alleged that the Mediterranean belonged to no one’s father and that the “TRNC”, as he referred to the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, had its own “territorial waters”. In statements to CNN-Türk television, Albayrak said that the Eastern Mediterranean was very important for Turkey and claimed:
“[…] We cannot accept what is dictated to us. The Mediterranean is not a lake that belongs to anyone’s father. We have territorial waters. The TRNC has its own territorial waters. A state exists there. There is a strong will exhibited by Turkey and the TRNC. We must carry out this struggle until the end in our territorial waters. Our Fatih vessel has entered into action. Yavuz will also get into action these days. I am saying it very clearly with scientific realism: In Turkey of the 2020’s we will hear very joyful news especially in the field of holding energy explorations, in the field of oil and natural gas. […] It is very important to win Turkey’s friendship. […]”
Illegal Turkish Cypriot newspaper Bayrak (13.05.19, http://www.brtk.net/akinci-ilk-gorusmesini-ulusal-birlik-partisi-genel-baskani-ersin-tatar-ile-yapti/) broadcasts that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met this morning with Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), within the framework of the contacts he will be holding after the resignation of the four-party “coalition government” last week. After his meeting with Tatar, Akinci met also with the chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and outgoing “prime minister”, Tufan Erhurman and the leader of the People’s Party (HP), Kudret Ozersay. Tomorrow he is expected to meet with the chairmen of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Democratic Party (DP) and Revival Party (YDP), Cemal Ozyigit, Serdar Denktas and Erhan Arikli, respectively.
In statements after meeting with Akinci (http://www.brtk.net/yeni-hukumet-icin-olasiliklar-bellidir-cok-alternatif-yoktur/), Tatar said that the possibilities for a new “government” were known, that there were not many alternatives and that UBP would participate in the “government”. “As soon as we receive the assignment, we will evaluate it in our competent organs”, he noted adding that the situation was expected to be clarified by tomorrow afternoon.
In statements after meeting Akinci (http://www.brtk.net/muhalefette-mi-kalacagiz-hukumet-muzakeresi-mi-yapacagiz-henuz-bir-karar-almis-degiliz/), Ozersay argued that they have not decided yet whether HP would participate in the new “government” or it would remain in the opposition. He said that the authority to take this decision belonged to HP’s competent organs which will convene at 18.00 o’ clock today.
In his statements after meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader (http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=process-to-form-new-government-underway-2), Erhurman reiterated the view that UBP chairman Tatar should be assigned with the duty to form the new “government”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.05.19) under the title: “He could not understand us ether”, reported on the illegal surprise visit in the occupied area of Cyprus of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate for Istanbul’s Metropolitan municipality Ekrem İmamoglu.
Imamoglu visited illegally the occupation regime on Saturday and met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. No statements were made after the meeting.
As part of his contacts, İmamoglu also visited the tombs of the late Turkish Cypriot leader Dr Fazıl Küçük and Rauf Denktas. In statements there, Imamoglu said that he is paying a courtesy visit which is taking place within the framework of the tradition followed in Turkey by every political person who undertakes new duties. He added that no matter what would be the result of the forthcoming re-run of the mayoral elections in Istanbul, we would also be by the side of the “TRNC”.
On the Cyprus problem, Imamoglu alleged the following: “The TRNC’s road map should continue by protecting, by all means, and at the highest level the guarantorship concept”.
According to illegal Bayrak (11.05.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=migrants-picked-up-near-guzelyurt), a group of 20 Syrian migrants were picked up by “police” in hte occupied village of Avlona near occupied area of Morphou on Friday.
According to a “press release by police”, “the migrants were found during a police operation hiding in a citrus grove in the village of Avlona. The migrants are currently being detained by Morphou police pending further investigation. Police have launched an investigation.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberci newspaper (13.05.19) reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) applied to “court” demanding the suspension of the “decision” received for the Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia to be rented to the “Solidarity tourist company LTD”, without opening a tender process before, as envisaged by the “public procurement law”.
In statements on the issue, the chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar stressed the need for the suspension of the “contract” which was signed with the above mentioned company, claiming that it was signed illegally and it’s contrary to the “law”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (13.05.19) reports that in the “European Friendship rally of East and the west” which was launched yesterday from the German city of Heilbornn of the Baten-Wüttenmberg region, a 5-member group from the “north Cyprus classic and sport auto cars”, is also participating.
According to the paper, the cars participating in the rally have passed from Germany to Austrasia and arrived in Slovenia. The race will continue by passing to Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Turkey and will terminate in the occupied area of Cyprus. The cars will arrive in the “port” of occupied Keryneia on May 20. The last part of the rally will take place in the occupied area of Cyprus and will last 4 days. The termination point will be the “old Keryneia harbor” and the rally will finish on June 1st.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.05.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/protecting-turkish-cypriot-rights-key-for-stability-143326), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 10 said that for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean the rights and interests of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots must be protected. “Stability in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean is only possible by looking after the rights and interests of Turkey and the TRNC [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus”], Erdoğan told ambassadors during the fast-breaking (iftar) meal organized at the ruling AKP headquarters.
Erdoğan reiterated that Ankara would not tolerate a fait accompli in the region, and all related parties are aware of the fact. “Like all problems, we want to solve this issue with reciprocal talks, dialogue and cooperation,” he added. (…)
Also speaking about Turkey’s NATO membership, Erdoğan said: “We are a NATO member. So it is not possible for us to accept the wrongdoings of other NATO members toward us.
“You will be a NATO member; a strategic partner in NATO, then they will talk about sanctions against you. This is not something understandable.”
Noting that the situation does not suit a partnership, Erdoğan stressed that Turkey has been significantly contributing to the NATO alliance for over 60 years. He also said that membership in the EU has always been Turkey’s strategic foreign policy target, but the bloc is trying to fool Ankara.
Meanwhile, HDN (12.05.319, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-wests-poll-re-run-criticism-143355) reports that Erdoğan has criticized Western countries over their reaction to the Supreme Election Council’s (YSK) decision to hold a do-over Istanbul mayoral election on June 23. “Presidential election in Austria can be cancelled after 2 years. Did you hear any voice? ... When it comes to us, even our application [to YSK] is disturbing the West,” Erdoğan said at the 39th traditional iftar meal (fast-breaking meal) organized by the Birlik Foundation charity in Istanbul on May 11.
The President said whether they accept or not, Turkey is an independent, sovereign and democratic country that believes in the rule of law.
On May 6, the YSK accepted the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) objection to the March 31 local election results in Istanbul and announced a do-over election. In its decision, it said some polling officials and staff on March 31 were not public servants as required by law. (…)
Under the title “US sanctions on Iran not serving peace: AKP”, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.05.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-sanctions-on-iran-not-serving-peace-akp-143332), Omer Celik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), during a news conference at the party headquarters, claimed that the “Greek Cypriot administration” [as he refers to the Cyprus government] and Greece governments have made “aggressive” statements attacking Turkey’s natural resources exploration in the areas where Turkish Cypriot bequeathed its license to Turkish Petroleum (TP). “They know best that these aggressive statements will not alter our attitude of protecting Turkey’s rights and interests,” he added.
Turkey supports distributing natural resources to Greek and Turkish Cypriots equally, according to Çelik who added: “But the Greek Cypriot administration doesn’t give consent in any circumstances”.
Turkey has consistently contested the “Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean”, citing Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.
Referring to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades' comparison of Turkey’s seismic vessels Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and Fatih to the Cyprus Invasion in 1974, Celik said: “He calls 1974 operation an invasion. But we call it protection of the Turkish Cypriots’ lives, rights and interests. (…) Turkey, today as in the past, is in full commitment to protect the interests of the TRNC [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus].” (…)
Under the title “Maritime claims cannot be portrayed as EU external borders”, Turkish state’s news agency Ankara Anatolia (11.05.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/-maritime-claims-cannot-be-portrayed-as-eu-external-borders-/1476018) reported that maritime claims of EU member states that violate legitimate rights of third countries cannot be portrayed as EU external borders, claimed a Turkish official on Saturday.
Cagatay Erciyes, acting director general at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, described Greece and Greek Cypriots’ maritime claims as “maximalist” and alleged that they base on the entitlement of islands to exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf (CS).
“Entitlement & Delimitation are not the same thing. Islands may get zero or reduced EEZ/CS if their presence distorts equitable delimitation. This is a fundamental international law principle,” Erciyes wrote on Twitter.
“Final maritime boundaries can only be determined through agreements (not violating 3rd parties’ possible boundaries) or through litigation. Overlapping maritime claims prevail in the absence of a settlement,” he claimed.
The Turkish official further alleged: “Maritime claims of EU members, violating the legitimate rights of 3rd countries cannot be portrayed as the external borders of the EU. That’s indeed the gross violation of international law. Turkey is determined to continue to protect its own & Turkish Cypriots’ CS/EEZ rights”.
Turkish daily Milliyet (13.05.19) reports that the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez issued warning to USA and the Greek Cypriot side. As he reffered to the Republic of Cyprus, as regards the energy issue.
According to the paper, Donmez stated that Turkey is determined to continue drilling in the Mediterranean until it discovers oil or natural gas.
Turkish CNN channel (13.05.19 https://www.cnnturk.com/turkiye/son-dakika-hulusi-akardan-dogu-akdeniz-aciklamasi) reports that the Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar stated that Turkey is determined to protect its rights in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus.
His remarks came ahead of Turkey's largest military exercise Sea Wolf (Denizkurdu) 2019 which kicked off on May 13.
"Our aim in military exercises is to show that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are extremely determined, committed and capable of ensuring the security, sovereignty, independence, maritime rights and benefits of Turkey,” he stated.
Some 131 warships, 57 warplanes and 33 helicopters will participate in the exercise which will run through May 25 in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea. “These activities are followed closely not only within the country but also by our foreign counterparts," Akar added.
He underlined Turkey's determination in the fight against terror at home and abroad.
“We take all necessary measures to protect the rights and the law of our country in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus."
According to Turkish state news agency Ankara Anatolia (12.05.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-slams-greece-over-aegean-sea-disputes/1476403), Greece has attempted to abuse international organizations, including NATO, and draw them into Aegean disputes to justify its national positions, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry alleged on Sunday.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the Eastern Aegean islands were put under demilitarized status by virtue of several international agreements, including the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 and the Treaty of Paris of 1947. "These Treaties prohibit the militarization of the Eastern Aegean islands. They are in force, and thus, are legally binding for Greece, imposing legal responsibilities on this country," the statement said.
"While the Aegean disputes between Greece and Turkey are actually being addressed through bilateral channels, the attempts of Greece, our neighbour and Ally, to abuse international organizations, including NATO, and draw them into these disputes with the aim of justifying her national positions are not new," it claimed.
The Foreign Ministry said it was agreed that the military vessels operating in the Aegean Sea under the NATO Activity would refrain from visiting the Aegean islands under demilitarized status according to international law, including with the aim of refuelling or port visits.
It added that these vessels may only operate in the Aegean Sea on the basis of diplomatic clearances issued concurrently by Turkey and Greece for specified areas at sea.
"That being the case, Greece’s claims that the NATO activity in the Aegean sea has rendered Turkey’s legitimate position that is fully in accordance with international law 'de facto invalid' are in vain," the statement argued.
It said that the NATO Activity is being carried out to support the efforts to stem irregular migration due to humanitarian concerns, upon Turkey’s consent. "On this occasion, we once again renew our call to Greece to put an end to its policy of disregarding international law, historical facts and Turkey’s legitimate rights and interests, and to forgo its efforts to create de facto situations," the statement concluded.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (13.05.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkeys-largest-military-exercise-kicks-off-3480911), Turkey’s largest military exercise Sea Wolf (Denizkurdu) 2019 kicked off on Monday. The exercise, supervised by the Turkish navy, will run through May 25 in the eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea with 131 warships, 57 warplanes and 33 helicopters, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.
Turkish Naval Forces will carry out strategic and operational exercise with scenarios similar to crisis-tension situations and wartime. Domestic and national weapon systems including high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Simsek and anti-surface defense boat Albatros will hold drills.
High level submarines, frigates, naval artilleries, armed UAVs, as well as search and rescue units will also participate.
According to Turkish state’s news agency Ankara Anatolia (11.05.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-says-s-400-procurement-done-deal-143327), Turkey on May 10 denied a German newspaper report claiming that Turkey will no longer buy the S-400 air defence systems from Russia. Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said the S-400 procurement was a "done deal."
“Dear Julian, your sources are mistaken. Take it from me: The S-400 procurement is a done deal,” Altun tweeted, responding to claims by Julian Ropcke, editor in chief for foreign policy, at tabloid Bild. Earlier on May 10, Ropkce tweeted: “Diplomatic sources tell Bild, Erdoğan will not buy the S-400 from Russia.” (…)
According to Turkish daily Sabah (13.05.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/economy/2019/05/13/finance-minister-albayrak-inflation-set-to-decline-sharply-soon), Treasury and Finance Minister Ber Albayrak said in an interview broadcast live on CNN Türk television yesterday that inflation will "decline significantly" in the coming months. He added that inflation was already on a downward trend thanks to base effects, while the summer months will bring "increased foreign currency revenues via tourism." The fact that annual core inflation dropped to 16.3% in April from 17.53% a month earlier was seen as a significant decline. The highest price increase last month was seen in food and non-alcoholic beverages, up 31.86% on a yearly basis. TurkStat data shows that the 12-month average hike in consumer prices was 19.39% as of this April. As noted in the new economic program announced last September, the country's inflation rate target is 15.9% this year, 9.8% in 2020 and 6% in 2021. In its quarterly inflation report, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) kept the country's year-end inflation forecast at 14.6% this year, 8.2% next year and 5.4% in 2021.
As noted in the bank's quarterly inflation report, the figure is expected to fluctuate between 12.1% and 17.2% through the end of 2019.
Albayrak further emphasized that Turkey has been going through a very historical period, especially in economic terms, and that it has faced "a great challenge" economically in the last six years. He noted, "We have undergone a process in which Turkey has been subjected to very intense economic attacks on different fronts". He recalled that they expressed the need for a structural transformation and strong financing architecture in the Turkish economy following speculative volatilities in August last year. (…)
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (12.05.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/six-detained-following-yenicag-journalist-attack-143350), six people have been detained in connection with the attack on Yenicağ newspaper columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ who was hospitalized after being assaulted outside his home on May 10. Demirağ was beaten up by about five to six people with baseball bats after appearing on a TV show. The assailants escaped the scene in a vehicle.
The reason for the attack was unknown, but it comes amid tensions over the top electoral authority’s decision to cancel the results of the March 31 mayoral race for Istanbul, which was won by the opposition. It ordered a revote June 23.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), visited Demirağ in the hospital and condemned the attack. “How can a journalist be beaten with intent to kill just because he participated in a program, voiced his views or criticized someone?” he told reporters. “Where is Turkey going to?”
İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener has also condemned the attack. “I condemn the base attack against the honored Yeniçağ newspaper columnist Yavuz Selim Demirağ. I wish him a quick recovery. This base attack has been done against press freedom and our freedom of opinion. These [attacks] cannot discourage us and will not!” said Akşener on her Twitter account on May 11.
The assault also drew condemnation from Turkey’s Journalists Association, which said the attack on Demirağ raises concerns over media freedoms. “Politicians who have difficulty espousing the idea of freedom of media and of expression and turn newspapers and journalists into targets play an important role in these types of attacks,” the group said. (…)
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.05.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-announces-guidelines-for-istanbul-revote/1475391), Turkey’s top election body on Friday announced guidelines for the revote in Istanbul on June 23 which will be held to choose a new Mayor.
The Supreme Election Council stressed the fresh vote will only be cast for the mayor of Istanbul municipality.
The head and members of the balloting committee will be chosen from public servants, the council said, adding that the committees cannot include police heads and officers, persons subjected to military law, and members and candidates of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
The list of the committee head and members will be given to political parties contesting the election. (…)
The council issued several other guidelines for the fresh polls.
The same candidates which contested the March election will compete for Mayor in the revote, it said, unless there is a vacancy due to death or resignation. The rule applies to independent candidates as well.
The election body said it is not necessary to re-identify and announce the political parties which will contest in the revote.
The rules for the printing of split-tickets remain the same as before.
Voter lists of the March election will also be used on June 23. Each voter will cast vote in the same ballot box assigned to them earlier. Election schedules will be prepared and applied by the Provincial Election Council.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION