According to illegal Bayrak television (08.06.19- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-meets-with-senior-us-diplomat),Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with the US State Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Mathew Palmer, on Friday.
According to a press release from the “president’s office”, Akıncı conveyed to the senior US diplomat why the Turkish Cypriot side did not believe the US arms embargo on “south Cyprus”, as the Republic of Cyprus was referred to, should be lifted.
He warned that such a move would have a negative impact on peace efforts in Cyprus.
“The two also had the opportunity to discuss the Turkish Cypriot side’s views and positions regarding the issue of hydrocarbons”, the press release read.
“The president once again explained to Mr Palmer how the Greek Cypriot side has always rejected the proposal to establish a joint committee to take up the issue leaving the Turkish Cypriot side with no option but to take reciprocal steps on drilling,” the statement claimed.
According to the press release, Akıncı also conveyed to the US State Assistant Secretary the fact that the UN Secretary General’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute had not yet been able to complete her mission to find common ground between the two sides “due to the fact that he the Greek Cypriot side has been backtracking on previous agreements reached on political equality”, as he alleged.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (09.06.19)reports that Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State, has criticized Turkey’s drillings in Cyprus’ open sea. In statements to Turkish Cypriot illegal TAK news agency, Palmer said that they have both openly and during their private meetings expressed their concern to their Turkish allies regarding these activities and noted that “we are openly saying that we want them to terminate these”. “Turkey’s drillings in the area at this stage do not contribute to regional peace and security”, he added.
Noting that the US wanted the disagreements in the area to be solved peacefully, Palmer said that in case a solution was reached, the way for cooperation in many fields, including energy, would open, adding that finding a bi-zonal bi-communal federal solution in Cyprus would contribute to regional cooperation and peace. “Without a solution, it is difficult to realize this”, he noted.
He also said that the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus were of a strategic importance for the US, arguing that there were many issues in the Eastern Mediterranean that concerned the security of the US. Pointing out to the cooperation between Greece, Israel and Cyprus, Palmer described the Turkish Cypriots as “friends and partners” of the United States and Turkey as “an important ally in the area”.
Palmer argued that the solution of the Cyprus problem was still a priority for his country and added that Washington continued to support a bi-zonal bi-communal federal solution, but the discussion of different models depended on the decision of the two leaders.
According to illegal Bayrak television (08.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=trnc-mfa-criticises-hydrocarbon-revenue-deal) the occupation regime’s foreign ministry has alleged that “the revenue deal signed between south Cyprus, Noble Energy and its partners was usurping the equal rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
In a written statement, the “TRNC foreign ministry” described the deal which has the potential to bring $9 billion in revenue over an 18-year period from the Aphrodite reserve, as totally unacceptable.
It further claimed that “the Greek Cypriot administration’s continued refusal to cooperate on the issue of hydrocarbons and its insistence to continue unilateral, unjust and unlawful activities once again revealed its vision regarding the future of the island. The equal rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots have no room in this vision. It is the most concrete proof that the Greek Cypriots are not ready to share the island’s wealth with Turkish Cypriots,” the statement further read.
Alleging that such moves continued to threaten the stability and security of the island and the region, so-called foreign ministry further argued that the international community which encouraged these activities were just as much to blame as the “Greek Cypriot administration” for the current situation.
It added that the “TRNC and Turkey will continue to take all necessary steps with the aim of protecting the equal rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots as long as the Greek Cypriot administration continued its unilateral activities”.
“Turkish Petroleum will commence drilling activities in areas licensed by Turkey and the TRNC in the shortest possible time,” the statement concluded.
According to Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (10.06.19, http://www.brtk.net/haklarimizi-arzu-ettikleri-gibi-gasp-etmeye-calisiyorlar/), Ersin Tatar, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) and self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has commented on the arrest warrants issued upon an initiative by the Republic of Cyprus against the crew of Turkish Fatih drilling vessel and officials of the companies, which cooperate with Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), because of their illegal actions in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
In a written statement issued today, Tatar argued that no one could ignore what he called “the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey” in the Eastern Mediterranean and added that no one would be able to force Turkey to make a step backwards from its so-called rights. “If there is someone who commits an illegal action, injustice and lawlessness, this is the Greek Cypriot side which makes agreements and explorations ignoring our proposals and rights”, he alleged and claimed that the Republic of Cyprus and those who cooperate with it were trying to exclude Turkey and the “TRNC” from the Eastern Mediterranean and allegedly “usurp” what he called the Turkish rights.
“Either we will agree within the framework of justice and fairness or we will do whatever they are doing within the framework of the principle of reciprocity”, he argued and alleged that the Turkish side was in favour of the discussion of the natural gas issue outside the efforts for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. He claimed that such a step would significantly contribute to the settlement of the issue. “We are warning the UN and the third parties: We will not be responsible for the results to be caused by the fact that the Greek Cypriot side continuously rejects our proposal and takes decisions which increase tension”, he alleged.
Turkish Cypriot Kıbrıs Postası (10.06.19, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n287670-ozersay-rum-tarafi-sondaj-calismalari-konusunda-barisci-yakl) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has referred to the arrest warrants against the crew of Turkish Fatih drilling vessel which carries out drillings in the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone in the Eastern Mediterranean and argued that if the issue was not solved with peaceful methods, the Turkish side would take counter measures. Speaking at the “assembly”, Ozersay claimed that the effort to arrest to crew was wrong.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (08.06.19) reports that the self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar speaking on Diyalog TV stated that 1,2 billion TL funds are coming from Turkey in the coming period.
As he stated, this amount will be used for public finance and for investments. Part of this money will be released in 2019 and part in 2020, he said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (10.06.19) reports that a delegation of the so-called assembly and the “Turkish Cypriot football association” held a meeting with FIFA officials who were in Paris in the framework of the “69 FIFA Congress”.
According to information by the so-called assembly, the delegation of the breakaway regime discussed with FIFA officials, “ways for the lifting of embargoes and limitations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots in the field of football”.
Illegal Bayrak (10.06.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=caner-gonyeli-exercise-2019) broadcast that the annual “Martyr Lieutenant Caner Gönyeli 2019 Search and Rescue Exercise” kicked off this morning in the breakaway regime with the participation of search and rescue teams from Turkey and the “TRNC”.
A press conference regarding the search and rescue exercise will take place tomorrow and following the press briefing, the land phase of the exercise will take place in Keryneia 101 Evler (houses) which is located near the St. Hilarion castle, at 11:30am. The second stage of the exercise which will be conducted at sea will take place on Wednesday, the 12 of June off the coast of occupied Famagusta, at 9am.
According to illegal Bayrak television (08.06.19- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatlisu-earns-title-of-cittaslow-town), the occupied village of Akanthou has become the 5th village in the “TRNC” to be declared a Cittaslow town.
Occupied Akanthou’s membership was confirmed via an email sent by the organization’s General Secretary Pier Giorgio Olivetti.
Commenting on the issue, the “mayor” of Akanthou said that village’s acceptance as a member to Cittaslow was a source of pride for them.
He said that they aimed to further expand occupied Akanthou’s tourism potential through different models.
Explaining that he will be receiving occupied Akanthou membership certificate at a ceremony in Italy on June 22, Orcun said that they had been working for the past five years in order to meet the criteria required to become a Cittaslow town.
The “mayor” also provided information about the various projects being planned including the construction of an archaeology park, research centers, special organic farming plots and cultural exchange visits.
The village currently boasts a miniature museum where 15 miniature historical buildings featuring the different civilizations that settled on the island are displayed.
In addition to its trekking paths and natural beauty, occupied Akanthou is also famous with the Panayia Pergaminiotissa, a late Byzantine church that has been renovated and transformed into a museum.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (09.06.19) reported that according to figures which are included in the “bulletin of the information technologies telecommunication organization”, for the first quarter of 2019 (January-March 2019), the active mobile subscribes in the occupied area of Cyprus were 731, 189 out of the 900, 334 registered subscribers. According to the same figures, 574, 320 are subscribers of Turkcell and 326, 016 of Telsim mobile operation Ltd.
It was also reported that the mobile network operators "Cyprus Mobile Telecommunications Ltd." and the "Vodafone Mobile Operations Ltd" have achieved net sales revenue of 82,79 million TL during the first quarter of 2019.
In this period, the net revenues for the provided services for internet was 23,49 million TL.
The first five countries that the mobile subscribers have phoned were Turkey, Britain, Nigeria, “south Cyprus” [Translator’s note: as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to] and Turkmenistan.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (10.06.19) reports on threats against the few Turkish Cypriot families that continue to live within the walls in the occupied part of Nicosia.
According to the paper, signs which said: “Every place that we are in, is ours” were put up on the doors of these Turkish Cypriots’ houses. According to the paper, it is not known who wrote and put these signs but it was considered as a threat against the Turkish Cypriots, in order to leave the area. The paper further reports that the area within the walls of Nicosia has turned into a criminal nest with gangs who fight over their rule.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its official website (07.06.19http://www.mfa.gov.tr/sc_-41_-gkry-nin-dogu-akdenizde-bazi-petrol-sirketleri-ile-yaptigi-anlasma-hk-sc.en.mfa) publishes the following statement, condemning the Republic of Cyprus’ recent agreement on natural gas revenue sharing with certain international oil companies.
“First of all, we share and support the views expressed in the statements made by the TRNC authorities today regarding the said agreement.
The agreement is a concrete example of the Greek Cypriots' continuation of the violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots who have equal rights on the natural resources of the island. It is understood that the agreement does not make any reference to the Turkish Cypriots and that the Turkish Cypriots are not given any share from the revenues. This is unacceptable for both Turkey and the TRNC.
The Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus and those international companies doing business with this administration cannot ignore the fact that Turkish Cypriots are co-owners of the island and that they have equal rights on the oil and gas resources of the island.
Therefore, Turkey will maintain its principled and resolute stance to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, as well as its own rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, and will not hesitate to take the necessary steps for this purpose. Indeed, as President Erdogan has stated today, Turkey will not let anyone violate the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
In this context, as long as the Greek Cypriot side does not cease its unilateral hydrocarbon activities or fails to include the Turkish Cypriots -as an equal owner of the island- in decision making mechanisms and revenue sharing, Turkey will continue to protect the continental shelf rights of the Turkish Cypriots. To this end, our drilling vessels, Yavuz and Fatih, will commence drilling activities in the near future, in the areas where TRNC granted licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2011.
On this occasion, we would like to once again remind the international community that the Greek Cypriot administration is the party which does not hesitate to irresponsibly risk the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean by disregarding the inherent rights of the Turkish Cypriots who are the co-owners of the island, rejecting all cooperation proposals and continuing unilateral activities despite all our warnings”, the statement alleged.
Turkish daily Sabah (07.06.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/06/07/turkey-determined-to-protect-turkish-cypriots-rights-in-east-med-erdogan-says) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again voiced Turkey's determination to protect Turkish Cypriots' rights to oil and gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.
"Our Turkish kinsmen in northern Cyprus also have rights according to international law in the same way that (Greek Cyprus) have rights on all resources in the region, be it oil or something else. We will not allow these rights to be usurped by those who have no business (there)," Erdogan said while leaving Friday's prayers in Istanbul's Üsküdar district.
Erdogan's remarks come after the “Greek Cypriot administration”, as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to, recently announced that it had renegotiated a deal with international companies on the distribution of revenues from natural gas exploitation from the Aphrodite gas field in the eastern Mediterranean. Nicosia renegotiated a contract with a consortium made up of Dutch-British Shell, Texas-Based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek that paves the way for the exploitation of an offshore field that is estimated to hold 4.1 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Erdogan argued that Turkey's drill ships and exploration vessels, protected by Turkish frigates, are also resuming efforts in the region.
In a commentary under the above title in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.06.19http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/serkan-demirtas/how-about-the-rights-of-the-turkish-cypriots-144016), Turkish columnist Serhat Demirtas writes the following: “Hardly a day passes without senior U.S. officials criticizing Turkey over its plans to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems or pressuring Turkish authorities to suspend drilling for hydrocarbon reserves off the Cyprus island.
The latter, however, increasingly displays urgency in the eyes of U.S. policymakers. A recent visit by U.S. State Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer to Nicosia seems to be quite significant in upgrading the level of bilateral relations between Washington and Nicosia. Turkey’s activities in the region and lifting a decades-old U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus were reportedly on Palmer’s agenda.
This new engagement between the two countries is surely related to the discovery of relatively rich hydrocarbon reserves off the island, also paving the way for the U.S. giant energy companies, like ExxonMobil and Noble Energy, to penetrate into gas fields.
The United States had already lent great political support to joint efforts by Greece, Israel and [Greek] Cyprus by dispatching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a trilateral summit in Israel.
This new axis stretching from Israel to Greece via Cyprus would sure increase the U.S. influence in the eastern Mediterranean with apparent visibility. That would also help the United States to counter the Russian impact in the region, if, of course, traditional ties based on shared Orthodox values between Nicosia and Moscow would be hurt as a result of this Cypriot-American rapprochement.
Another dimension of this new equation in the region corresponds to the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, an issue of least concern by the Greek Cypriots, international companies and the international community.
To give credit, U.S. Ambassador to Nicosia, Judith Garber, has raised this aspect in a statement last week in the presence of Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades.
While noting that the United States recognizes the right of Cyprus to develop resources in its exclusive economic zone, she said: “We also believe these resources should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement. It is our earnest hope that such resources will soon benefit a united Cyprus.”
The Ambassador’s statements come just a day after the Cypriot government unveiled a renegotiated contract with Shell, Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek in which it will earn $9.3 billion over 18 years from exploiting the Aphrodite gas field. According to the estimate, Cyprus will receive an average yearly income of $520 million over the lifespan of the gas field. Sadly, the Greek Cypriot statement had no mention about the rights of the Turkish Cypriots to this income.
If the United States is sincere in its views that the Turkish Cypriots should also benefit from these resources, it should impose pressure on both the Greek Cypriot government and the U.S. companies to this end. Washington should push for the establishment of a bicommunal commission for a transparent record of transactions and revenue sharing.
Most important is that this move should be done right away and not “in the context of an overall settlement” as noted by Ambassador Garber. I don’t know how it looks from Washington’s point of view, but prospects for a negotiated settlement have long ago collapsed due to [Greek] Cyprus.
History has bitterly shown that it has always been the Turkish Cypriots who have been suffering most from the decades-old conflict. They have been subjects of one of the world’s most incomprehensible and extensive embargoes for more than half a century.
All those who have been involved in high politics and lucrative economic deals in this neighborhood should recall that ignoring the rights of the Turkish Cypriots would constitute a serious breach of human rights with potential court cases in the future.
The Turkish Cypriot authorities have already notified these international companies involved in hydrocarbon activities in the disputed waters off Cyprus over its intention to take the matter to the international courts”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/no-change-in-turkeys-course-on-s-400-deal-turkish-officials-144056) reported that Turkish officials have told daily Hürriyet that there was no change regarding Turkey’s stance on an S-400 missile defense deal with Russia.
Their comments were in response to a question about the U.S. acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s letter to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that laid out the steps to remove Turkey from the F-35 training program.
The anonymous sources noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already said that the purchase from Moscow was a “done deal” and “there is no backtracking from that.”
The same sources said that “some of the U.S. institutions do not want to take into consideration” the issues that Erdogan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump had previously mutually agreed on. They also said that Turkey’s suggestion of establishing a joint commission with the United States to examine the S-400 issue was “still on the table.”
Shanahan said in his letter sent to the Turkish Defense Ministry on June 7 that all Turkish pilots in the F-35 fighter jet program must leave the United States by July 31 and training for new pilots will be suspended.
The timetable would allow pilots currently training on the F-35 to complete their training and for other pilots to be reassigned to other posts, Shanahan said.
The letter said there were 34 students scheduled for F-35 training later this year.
“This training will not occur because we are suspending Turkey from the F-35 program; there are no longer requirements to gain proficiencies on the systems,” according to an attachment to the letter that is titled, “Unwinding Turkey’s Participation in the F-35 Program.”
In his letter, Shanahan also warned Ankara that its deal with Moscow risked undermining its ties to NATO, hurting the Turkish economy and creating over-dependence on Russia. “You still have the option to change course on the S-400,” Shanahan wrote.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-canada-sign-mou-on-economic-trade-cooperation-144026) reported that Turkey and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding on June 8 to strengthen relations in the fields of trade, industry, services and investment.
Turkey's Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and her Canadian counterpart Jim Carr signed the Joint Economic and Trade Commission's (JETCO) MoU at the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy in Tsukuba, Japan.
"We believe that the agreement will contribute to increase commercial relations and investment between Turkey and Canada and pave the way for business people," Pekcan said.
She went on to say that if the countries sign a free trade agreement it will be an important tool for reaching higher bilateral trade volume and creating a legal basis for trade relations.
For his part, Carr stressed their desire to improve trade relations and increase mutual investment between the two countries.
He also mentioned that Turkey and Canada could cooperate on education.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION