Turkish Cypriot newspaper KıbrısPostası (24.05.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has sent a letter to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on the US State Department’s report on human rights in Cyprus for 2018.
Ozersay alleged that the biggest deficiency in the report was the lack of reference to the “unjust isolation” allegedly imposed on the Turkish Cypriots and constitutes the “most important violation of human rights” on the island. He argued that this so-called isolation caused a great lack of trust between the sides and prevented finding a solution in the negotiations.
Ozersay said that what he called “obstacles” put by the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Tr. Note: as he refers to the Cyprus government] in the fields of sports, tourism and art were included in the report as a result of his “ministry’s” initiatives and expressed his satisfaction with this fact.
Ozersay noted that the Turkish Cypriots cooperated with the US and the UN High Commission on Human Rights and other international institutions on issues such as human trafficking, terrorism, gender equality etc. He further expressed their wish to further communicate and cooperate with the US so that the situation of human rights in Cyprus may be included in the next reports “in the most correct manner”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs(24.05.19) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), has argued that with the statement he had made after submitting the list of the “cabinet” to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, he did not want to “discipline” Akinci and that his statements were “taken elsewhere” by the press. In statements to illegal TAK news agency and Bayrak, Tatar noted that he had said that in light of the developments, Akinci should “readjust” his positions on the Cyprus problem, that is, to “reevaluate them” taking into consideration the new composition of the “assembly” and the “government”.
Tatar alleged that Akinci should reevaluate his positions, since he did not see any response from the Greek Cypriot side to the “good will” he had allegedly exhibited since his election, since Turkey says that alternative ideas not on the basis of federation should come to the negotiating table and since the “government” also asked him to do so. He argued that Akinci should “come closer” to the will of the “assembly” and added that “when we look at Turkey’s position, these messages are coming from there also”.
Replying to a question on the Cyprus problem, Tatar argued that the issue was “continuously evolving” and that Cyprus was not the same due to the activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, the agreements signed by the Republic of Cyprus with big countries, the steps taken by Turkey for allegedly protecting Turkish Cypriots’ rights and interests in the area and the possible drillings by Turkish Fatih and Yavuz vessels around Cyprus. “That is, this is not an issue of territory only. It is an issue of sovereign rights in this area. It is an issue of rights and interests in this area”, he claimed.
Referring to the new “coalition government”, Tatar said that its first job would be the “protocol of economic cooperation” with Turkey and that economy would be among the main issues they would be dealing with.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıslı (24.05.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has referred to the possibility allegedly given by the Republic of Cyprus to France for establishing a military basis on the island, the landing of British F-35 jets in Cyprus and the joint military maneuvers between Cyprus and Israel and described these as “approaches which would spoil the balance in the Eastern Mediterranean”. In statements to Turkish Demiroren news agency, Ozersay claimed that the breakaway regime would have closer cooperation with Turkey in the military and security fields and that they would “balance things”. “Turkey and the TRNC will not allow any fait accompli”, he argued.
Claiming that the Greek Cypriots were taking unilateral steps trying to create a fait accompli for the future, both as regards the natural resources and the military balance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Ozersay said that they would take the necessary steps when the existing balance on the island “comes to the point of changing”. He alleged:
“Our efforts on the natural gas issue are continuing internationally. Our representatives held meetings in the US on this issue. We will allow no one to take away the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Within this framework, we are in full cooperation with Turkey”.
Referring to the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Ozersay reiterated the allegation that the federal solution model was not “realistic” any more and that new models should be discussed. “Two political parties which had the courage to say this established a coalition”, he claimed referring to the newly established “coalition government”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Haberci (24.05.19) reports that Olgun Amcaoglu, newly appointed self-styled minister of finance of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that next Friday, as soon as the new “coalition government” receives a “vote of confidence” by the “assembly”, 288 million Turkish Liras (TL) would come from Turkey to the breakaway regime’s safe. “All the debts of the state which could not been paid until now in the private sector, in tourism will be paid before the Bayram”, he noted in statements to the paper.
Noting that Turkey’s stance “has instantly changed”, the paper writes that sending money right after the “government” receives a “vote of confidence” was an answer to questions which had remained unanswered for a long time.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (24.05.19) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot primary school teachers’ trade union, has called on the Turkish Cypriots to vote in the European Parliament (EP) elections which will be held in Cyprus on 26 May. In a written statement issued yesterday, Elcil noted that every Turkish Cypriot who would participate in the EP elections would contribute to the termination of the status quo, peace and their existence as community.
“If we want to be saved from being political hostages, get rid of Turkey’s yoke and live peacefully in a free, independent, disarmed , demilitarized Cyprus without barbed wires and enter into the international law, it is absolutely necessary for us to participate and vote in the EP elections on Sunday 26 May”, he said.
Turkish daily Sabah (24.05.109, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/05/24/vice-president-fuat-oktay-turkey-to-clear-northern-syria-from-ypg-sooner-or-later) reports that Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, in an exclusive interview to Daily Sabah, spoke on a variety of issues, including recent developments in Syria, increasing tension in Idlib, implementation of the Manbij road map, Turkey's position on U.S.-Iran escalation, Turkey's S-400 purchase, Turkey-U.S. relations, Turkey's drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, rising anti-Islam rhetoric in the West, coup attempts in Venezuela and Turkey's fight against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Touching upon Turkey's drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Oktay argued that Turkey's position is also clear on the matter. Claiming that no one or any alliance in the region would be able to intimidate Turkey or the “TRNC” [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus], Oktay alleged: "Research and drilling activities are Turkey and TRNC's natural rights that are guaranteed under law. We will neither allow anyone to deny our rights nor take the issue single-sided. Above all, no one can intimidate Turkey or the TRNC forcefully with the support of some international alliances. We will not make any compromise on our rights or those of our brothers and sisters in Northern Cyprus. We will continue our research and drilling in the region."
(…) Oktay further claimed that the “Greek Cypriot administration” [editor’s note: as he refers to the Republic of Cyprus] acts like a "spoiled child" especially after it was accepted by the European Union as a member. "We will not allow this type of behaviour from the Greek Cypriot administration, which tends to ignore the fact that Turkey and the TRNC have equal rights," Oktay argued. (…)
Elaborating on Turkey's position and expectations from the Manbij agreement and the ongoing safe zone consultations with the United States, Oktay indicated that the emergence and performance of the agreement has not been satisfying for Turkey so far.
"There is no change in our position on this matter. The situation in Idlib cannot be sustainable. Joint patrols and training have started but Manbij has not been cleared of the PKK, Democratic Union Party (PYD), or the YPG yet. This terror corridor is still a threat for Turkey and the people of the region. But we have also said to our counterparts that we will take this matter into our own hands if necessary. No one should expect Turkey to change its position in this direction. We will eliminate these terrorists from the region sooner or later," Oktay continued. (…)
Pointing to the recent developments in the northwestern province of Idlib, Oktay underscored that rising tension in the region is a result of destabilization attempts of the Bashar Assad regime that aims to extend its gains. "Increasing attacks of the regime toward Idlib clearly show that the regime has an ambition to gain ground there. We have shared our opinions and concerns with Russia on that matter. Turkey fulfils its obligations according to the Idlib agreement and continues to work with Russia and Iran under these terms. We are closely monitoring the situation out there," Oktay said. (…)
Touching upon the Western community's approach to the humanitarian crisis, Oktay also noted that the sensitivity of the West to the humanitarian crisis is over. "The immigration and humanitarian crisis are not an entertainment or a drama movie that you can enjoy after all. There is real grief and real people. People are suffering. I think this sensitivity has been lost in the Western community," Oktay argued. (…)
Elaborating on Turkey's stance amid U.S.-Iran tensions, Oktay said that Turkey's position always leans on principles that refer to supporting whoever is right. "Iran is the neighbour of Turkey, it is not a country that is 10,000 kilometres away. Just because some countries want to impose sanctions on our neighbour, we cannot cut our trade and economic relations. This is not possible. Turkey has always been keen on being on the side of the rightful. This has been the same throughout history. Our position says that we have our own interests and we have to take care of our own. Thus, we cannot follow your decision whenever you want," he said. Oktay also noted that the aforementioned tension seems to not have a satisfactory reason in terms of how it has emerged. "I think we should look out for other developments or plans that are being pursued to be implemented in the region, while Iran-U.S. tension grows. Our radar is always open," Oktay added. (…)
Touching upon the tensions between the U.S. and Turkey on the issue of S-400, Oktay claimed that there is no crisis for Turkey with the U.S. on this matter. "I don't see any crisis with U.S. but it might be a domestic discussion for them. Turkey has its own security needs. Turkey discussed this need with U.S. first for the purchase of Patriots. Our requests were very clear in terms of purchasing this defence need. This is not only a matter of pricing, crediting or payment but most importantly about technology transfer, know-how and joint-production. At this point we got rejected. What can be expected from us after all?" Oktay asked.
He also emphasized that Turkey is a sovereign country and would not ask any other country to make a decision on its security needs. "If Turkey promised something its signature and commitments have a great value. On the other hand, since we are a country that knows its responsibilities very well in NATO, we will not allow any mistake that causes a problem. S-400s will not be integrated with our NATO systems anyway," Oktay noted. He also asked why U.S. integration considerations between the F-35 and S-400 is not a problem for other NATO countries such as Greece, which has S-300s; or Israel, which has F-35s and operates in Syria where S-400s are deployed. (…)
Commenting on current U.S.-Turkey relations, Oktay pointed out that the two countries have common views on issues but differences and disagreements to some extent, such as the PKK and FETÖ terrorist organizations. " (…)
Turkish daily Hurriyet (24.05.19) under the title: “First message by the new prime minister: full cooperation with Turkey”, reports that the new “prime minister” of the occupation regime, Ersin Tatar, in an exclusive interview to the paper, the first one after undertaking his duties, send the message that the “newly formed government will be in full cooperation and consultation with Turkey on the Cyprus problem and the hydrocarbon issue in the Eastern Mediterranean. “Open the map and see Turkey, the Blue Island-Eastern Mediterranean and the TRNC. This is Great Turkey”, Tatar alleged.
Referring to the formation of the new “coalition government” between the National Unity Party (UBP) and the People’s Party (HP), Tatar claimed that together with their “partner in the government” they share the same views and positions on the Cyprus problem and argued that from now on the “TRNC’s government voice will be united and together with the foreign minister” will work together to back their “rights and interests”.
Referring to the fact that they do not share the same views with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Tatar alleged the following: “We have 30 out of the 50 parliamentary seats in the parliament. Also, there are five other deputies who share the same views with us. The great majority of the assembly wants other solution models besides federation with the Greek Cypriots to be put on the negotiation table. This is also Turkey’s demand and its policy is towards this direction. Ten months are left until the presidential elections and president Akinci who supports the federation with the Greek Cypriots should esteem our thoughts and these of the majority of the assembly and should make an adjustment. (…). Akinci should re-evaluate his position”.
On the oil exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Tatar described as “unacceptable the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality who ignores the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean” and alleged that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have also rights in the hydrocarbon resources and will not allow for their rights to be neglected. “Fatih drilling ship has already come and carried out activities in Turkey’s exclusive economic zone to the west of Cyprus. We are expecting Yavuz to come soon in the TRNC’s territorial waters”, added Tatar.
Referring to the occupation regime’s economy, Tatar claimed that they will work with Turkey for the further development of the “TRNC’s economy”. He went on to claim that they will also work for the “lifting of the embargoes”.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (23.05.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-open-to-talk-on-s-400-working-group-proposal/1485018), the U.S. has yet to respond to Turkey's proposed working group to address concerns about the Russian S-400 missile defence system, a Turkish deputy Foreign Minister said Wednesday.
Yavuz Selim Kiran is in Washington as part of a delegation that includes Cagri Erhan, a member of the Turkish Presidential Security and Foreign Policy Committee, and journalist Bora Bayraktar.
The delegation arrived Monday for a series of talks in Washington and New York to increase awareness of U.S.-Turkish relations as well as dispel misinformation on the subject.
Speaking to Turkish reporters at Turkish embassy, Kiran said Ankara has been taking Washington's concerns under consideration on the Russian defence system. "We are sure that this [working group] will dispel America's concerns and render discussions that the S-400 system will jeopardize F-35's presence pointless," Kiran said. "And we are open to any kind of diplomacy and dialogue on this issue." (…)
Kiran said his delegation met six American lawmakers to convey Turkey's reasons on the S-400 purchase as well as U.S. long-standing inaction to provide Ankara with necessary air defence systems, referring to Patriot missiles.
"We witnessed that the senators and Congress members did not have much information about the background of this purchase," said Kiran. (…)
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (23.05.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-and-trump-may-meet-soon-turkish-official-143648), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump may soon meet face-to-face, either in Turkey or on the side-lines of the G20 Summit in Japan next month, Reuters quoted a senior Turkish official as saying.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Erdoğan had invited Trump to Turkey and that there were “positive signals” the American President would accept the invitation. “We are working on the calendar now,” the official said. “We have some positive signals, but the time has not been scheduled yet. They may meet on the margins of G20 in Japan as well,” he said. “For a bilateral visit, we are waiting for an exact date.”
Turkey and the United States also have been considering alternative dates, including July, presidential sources earlier briefed the local media. (…)
According to Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (23.05.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-announces-49b-financing-for-strategic-sectors/1485487), Turkey will provide a 30-billion-Turkish lira ($4.9-billion) financing package for sectors which have export potential but are riddled with foreign trade deficit and high import dependency, the Treasury and Finance Minister said Thursday.
The new finance package named "IVME" (advanced, productive, indigenous, industry) will target sectors which have four main features, Berat Albayrak said.
The package will prioritize medium-high-technology and high-technology products and sectors, the Minister underlined, with the provision of raw material, intermediate goods, machinery and agriculture, he added. "We will adopt a model of prioritizing export based, value-added, technologic product manufacturing," Albayrak said.
The share of medium-high-technology and high-technology products was 31% in Turkey's exports in 2002, it reached 39.9% in 2018 thanks to the country's policies, the Minister stated.
He added that Turkey should further increase the share of high technology products on exports which also has key importance in Turkish economy’s structural transformation.
Turkey's production capability and industrial structure will gain strength with the financial package, Albayrak stressed. (…)
According to Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (23.05.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/paid-military-service-to-be-made-permanent-in-turkey/1485290), Turkey's ruling party on Thursday introduced a bill in the Parliament which will reduce the period of military service from 12 months to 6 months and make permanent the paid military service for those who can afford it.
"According to the bill on new military service, the military service period will be reduced to 6 months, and the paid military service will be made permanent," Mehmet Mus, ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s deputy group chair, told reporters in the parliament.
The Turkish citizens will be required to undergo one-month military training and they will be exempt from the rest of the five months of service by paying 31,000 Turkish liras ($5,024), according to the draft of the bill.
The bill is expected to be debated in the General Assembly next week after it goes through the Planning and Budget Commission.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION