Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.07.19) reports on the illegal one-day visit in the occupied area of Cyprus of Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay and his “contacts” there.
According to the paper, Oktay who arrived in the occupied area of Cyprus on Saturday attended the opening of the “Turkish-TRNC chamber of trade 1st economic forum”. He further met with so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar and also visited occupied Prastio where he talked with the “people”. Oktay, however, did not mett with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
In statements during his meeting with so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar, Oktay sent the message that Turkey aims to make openings for the strengthening and further development of the “TRNC’s economy”, calling on Turkish investors to make investments in the “TRNC”.
On the hydrocarbon issue, Oktay warned against “efforts to underestimate Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean or violate its rights and those of the TRNC”.
"Those who move against the legitimate rights of Turkey or the TRNC and discount Turkey in the region will not be able to reach their aims," Oktay alleged.
In his turn, Tatar pointed out the importance of reforms to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus, alleging the following: "Reforms are extremely important. Businesspeople are waiting for the reforms. There are important initiatives in the government's program”, Tatar said. Recalling further the “anniversary of the Turkish peace operation in 2 weeks”, Tatar said that although half a century has passed since then, the “TRNC” as he alleged, continues its path as a “state” in the Eastern Mediterranean in spite of difficulties and the “unjust international embargo”.
Referring to the strong ties between Turkey and the occupation regime, Tatar alleged: "We will always have good relations with Turkish governments”. “It is important for the market of Turkey, a country with 82 million population, to open for the TRNC”, Tatar argued, recalling that the most important sectors of the occupation regime’s economy are tourism, higher education and the sector of services. “By increasing the competitiveness and finding new formulas on the issue of transferring of electricity from Turkey, the prices will drop and our aim to increase the per capita income from 12,500 dollars which it is today, to 25,000 the next years will be achieved”, Tatar claimed.
Meanwhile, delivering a speech to the forum, Oktay referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem, claiming that Turkey was always sincere on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem and this had no reciprocity. “In spite of our goodwill and the efforts we exerted, no solution was found. In spite of this goodwill stance, the Turkish Cypriots still continue to live in isolation, which makes their life difficult. We will continue acting together, shoulder to shoulder for a comprehensive solution. Our goal is to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and of course to achieve political equality”, Oktay further said.
Claiming that the economic developments in the “TRNC” are very important for the stability and peace in Cyprus, Oktay said that among their most important priorities is the strengthening of the “economy of the TRNC” and the prosperity of the Turkish Cypriots.
On the hydrocarbon issue, Oktay alleged that Turkey will not hesitate to undertake all steps necessary with the aim to protect the Turkish Cypriots’ rights and interests in their “continental shelf”. “We say this openly from here, for the whole world to listen. Those who try to underestimate Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean or violate its rights and those of the TRNC will not be able to reach their aims. Fatih drillship has shown its decisiveness and determination”, Oktay alleged.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.07.19) reported that so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, evaluating to a correspondent of the Anadolu agency the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, his recent “contacts” in Geneva and the issue of the opening of the fenced off city of Varosha, claimed that Turkey and the occupation regime will not allow for any “fait accompli in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
“With the works of Yavuz and Fatih drill ships that Turkey has sent to the Eastern Mediterranean, there is equilibration in the area, so, we will not allow for any fait accompli in the region”, Ozersay said, alleging that Turkey has sent the two drill ships in order to bring peace and stability. He went on to call the “Greek Cypriot administration”, as he called the Republic of Cyprus to behave pragmatically and show a rational stance, in order as he said to cooperate.
Referring to his recent contacts in Geneva, Ozersay alleged that as “Turkish Cypriot government” they would continue exerting efforts for the “voice of the Turkish Cypriots to be heard in all platforms”.
Pointing to the importance of his visit to Geneva, he recalled that he visited very important organizations in the UN.
Referring to the efforts exerted by Greek Cypriot officials of the Foreign Ministry to prevent his “contacts” in Geneva, Ozersay described once again as “illogical and insincere” this stance.
According to illegal Bayrak (06.07.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=coordination-office-for-cyprus-affairs), a coordination office to oversee economic, financial and technical assistance planning between Turkey and the “TRNC” is being created. The public mandate was published in Turkey’s official gazette.
The “Coordination Office for Cyprus Affairs” will operate under the responsibility of the office of the Turkish Vice President or a Minister, it was announced.
Temporary working groups made up of experts will also be set up under the coordination office to assess, review and oversee the implementation of economic protocols between the two “countries”.
According to its mandate, “all projects and transactions between public institutions of the two countries will be implemented following consultations with the coordination office”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (08.07.19) reports that so-called minister of finance, Olgun Amcaoglu, commenting on the recent visit in the occupied area of Cyprus of Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, as well as the recent public mandate published in the official gazette of the Republic of Turkey, envisaging the establishment of a “coordination office” between Turkey and the occupation regime, expressed the belief that soon all obstacles on the issue of the “signing of economic protocol” between Turkey and the “TRNC” will be overcome.
Evaluating to the paper the latest developments, Amcaoglu said that there is no problem on the issue of the “signing of the economic protocol”. He added that the delay on the “signing of the protocol” is due to the system change in Turkey. He claimed that “appointments will be made to the newly established coordination office this week. After this, we will have our interlocutors and we are expecting that the signing of the protocol we take place until July 20”, he argued.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (06.07.19) under the above front-page title: “The Greek Cypriot side should speak according to its neck”, reports that so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar, claimed that the “TRNC also has sovereignty rights in the East Mediterranean, as does Turkey. Turkey is a big country with 80 million population. In the island, the population of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots is 1 million. The Greek Cypriot side should speak according to its neck”, Tatar alleged.
On the issue of the opening of the fenced off city of Varosha, Tatar alleged that the opening of “Maras” would not take place in one night. “It will be realized slowly- slowly. It will become a paradise there. If there is any American company which has title deeds, let it come and operate a hotel. The Greek Cypriots could come and do the same or, if they want may get compensation or sell. Investors from Turkey and rich Turkish Cypriots from every part of the world could come and make investments there”, Tatar argued.
According to illegal Bayrak (06.08.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=gazimagusa-mp-says-maras-must-be-reopened-at-once), self-styled deputy with the National Unity Party (UBP) Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu said that the occupied fenced-off town of Varosha should be reopened without further delay.
In a written statement issued on Friday, Hasipoğlu claimed that the “Greek Cypriot administration” (editor’s note: as he refers to the Cyprus government) was deeply disturbed by the “government’s decision” regarding Varosha. He added: “The Greek Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou recalled that the Turkish Cypriot government’s move was inconsistent with the Turkish Cypriot side’s earlier proposal to return the fenced-off city to Greek Cypriot control as and when a settlement was reached. More importantly, the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades had sent letters to the UN Secretary-General concerning development on Varosha”.
Criticizing Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı for having presented a map at the negotiating table two years ago in Geneva without informing the “government” on its contents, Hasipoglu said: “It was unfortunate we had to learn of the details of the map through the Greek Cypriot press two years after it was presented”.
Hasipoğlu also pointed out that Akıncı had accepted the Guterres Framework document without consulting with either the “government or parliament”, adding: “According to the Guterres Framework, Turkey’s right to intervention is not sustainable. The framework also demands more territorial concessions be made to the Greek Cypriot side”. (…)
He argued that the initiative regarding the fenced off town of Varosha and Guterres Framework were in direct contradiction with one another and added: “It is our hope that the president [Akinci] will work in full cooperation with the judiciary and the executive on the delicate and sensitive matters such as foreign policy and the negotiations. Furthermore, we need to come together as stakeholders and withdraw our position in favour of restarting talks on the basis of the Guterres Framework if we are to take concrete steps on Varosha”.
Hasipoglu further claimed said that the Greek Cypriot side needs to change its understanding that Varosha will become part of the Greek Cypriot constituent state in the event of a solution, adding: “We need to be able to open Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration by protecting the rights of its legal owners. Our legal and political efforts are continuing in that direction. The fenced-off city has been abandoned to its fate for the past 40 years, lying to waste with the hope that a settlement will be reached one day. This is why we must reopen Varosha at once”.
Illegal Bayrak television (08.07.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=3rd-trnc-investment-advisory-council) broadcast the following regarding the “final communiqué of the 3rd TRNC Investment Advisory Council meeting”:
“The final communiqué of the meeting which was jointly organized by the ‘TRNC prime ministry’, the Union of Chambers of Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and realized with a high level of participation from the ‘TRNC’ and Turkey consisted of 20 articles.
In the final communiqué it’s been confirmed that a public reform which will give efficiency to the bureaucratic procedure in the TRNC was on the agenda and emphasized that the reformation in the bureaucracy will have a positive influence on the investment climate.
The final communiqué also pointed to the importance of works on e-government and expressed the need for strengthening jurisdiction in a way to support economic development as well as the need for supporting the establishment and development of arbitration mechanisms.
It also stressed that increasing the number of flights and destinations from Ercan Airport [editor’s note: the occupied airport of Tymbou] to Turkey and carrying out as many connection flights as possible from Turkey to other countries was important for the development of tourism potential.
‘It is so important to increase the visibility of education and tourism potential of the ‘TRNC’ in the international arena. In this regard, work will be carried out to establish a mechanism which the stakeholders will also contribute’, the final communiqué said.
It also expressed the need for taking measures for the ‘TRNC’ firms to reach Turkish market and other international markets.
‘It is important to take necessary measures for the TRNC firms to reach the Turkish market and other international markets. Works carried out by the Turkish and TRNC government are supported by the Union of Chambers of Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and other professional organizations which attended the meeting’, the final communiqué read.”
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (08.07.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/no-one-can-deter-turkey-from-its-course-in-east-mediterranean-says-erdogan-3495040), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in statements to the press at Istanbul airport before departing for a visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, said that no one can deter Turkey from its path in the Eastern Mediterranean and added: "Our drilling ships are currently continuing on their course. There may be some noise regarding this from here and there. None of these can deter us from our path". Erdogan stressed that Turkey was continuing its drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with determination.
Turkey sent a second drilling vessel, Yavuz, to the east Mediterranean Sea that will begin hydrocarbon explorations off the coast of Cyprus Island in early July. Turkey already has a drilling ship, Fatih, working in the region. Fatih vessel is operating in waters west of Cyprus Island while Yavuz will operate in the east. (…)
On the same issue, Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (08.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/-turkish-drill-ships-continue-activities-in-e-med-/1525995) reports that Erdogan also said on Monday that Turkey’s drill ships continue exploration and research activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding: “Turkish drill ships continue coordinated exploration and research activities in the Eastern Mediterranean”. Erdogan expressed hope that “problems” would not arise in Aegean and Mediterranean seas in the future.
On the purchase of the S-400 air defence system from Russia, the President said: “Turkish National Defence Ministry and Turkish General Staff are planning on where the S-400s will be deployed. May the S-400s be beneficial for our country, region and especially for the world”.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.07.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/yavuz-to-start-drilling-off-cyprus-in-a-week-minister-144774), a second Turkish drillship named Yavuz will begin drilling for oil and gas off the island of Cyprus next week, Turkey’s Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez has said.
“God willing we will be starting the first drilling within a week,” Dönmez told state-run Anadolu Agency on July 6. The ship will be exploring off the peninsula of Karpasia, the Minister added.
Turkey on June 20 sent a second ship for exploratory activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles have escorted drillship Yavuz on its journey to the Mediterranean and will be deployed off Cyprus to conduct surveillance.
Yavuz was also escorted by Barbaros frigate, one of the main warships of the Turkish navy named after Ottoman admiral Barbaros Hayreddin.
Over the past few days, the Turkish general staff has shared images of F-16 jets saluting Yavuz on its way.
Turkey’s first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil off Cyprus. (…)
Meanwhile Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has warned against underestimating Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean or violating its rights and those of the “Turkish Cyprus” [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus].
“Those who move against the legitimate rights of Turkey or the Turkish Cyprus and discount Turkey in the region will not be able to reach their aims,” Oktay said on July 6 in the occupied part of Nicosia.
Columnist Erdal Tanas Karagöl, writing in Turkish daily Yeni Safak (08.07.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/columns/erdaltanaskaragol/a-new-era-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-2047089), with the above title, comments on the new “Eastern Mediterranean energy strategy”, in the following commentary:
“The rivalry between the region’s different countries and actors in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the disagreements regarding how to best share hydrocarbon resources calls for the adoption of a new vision for this region.
In other words, a new ‘Eastern Mediterranean Energy Strategy’ is one of the most pressing issues today.
As I have regularly mentioned in my previous columns, the Eastern Mediterranean is a region where a strategy must be adopted from geographical, military, economic, legal and diplomatic standpoints, thus it is mandatory to outline a new roadmap. This requirement is essential for the protection of the interests and rights of both Turkey and the ‘TRNC’ [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus].
In this respect, there is no doubt that the new Presidential Directive issued over the weekend and the new Coordination Office for Cyprus Affairs, which also concerns the Eastern Mediterranean, are important steps.
The new directive aims for relations between Turkey and the ‘TRNC’ to be conducted in a comprehensive manner, enabling full coordination.
Meanwhile, the Coordination Office for Cyprus Affairs, which will conduct various activities through Turkey’s institutes and foundations together with the ‘TRNC’, heralds a critical beginning from an administrative and general coordination perspective.
In short, this step is crucial for general coordination with regards to appointing an interlocutor and creating a new strategy for the Cyprus issue, as well as for the Eastern Mediterranean, through communication and information channels.
Additionally, the new proactive Eastern Mediterranean policy that was solidified through the drilling, which has and will be conducted in the name of protecting the rights of Turkey and the ‘TRNC’ in the Eastern Mediterranean, carries vital importance with regards to the need of conducting more comprehensive work aimed at reaching more meaningful and fresh policies.
What are these comprehensive studies?
Turkey must thus explain its stance to the global public opinion in order to protect both its own rights and those of the ‘TRNC’ with regards to the hydrocarbon sources found in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
In addition to the political messages to explain Turkey’s viewpoints on these issues, strong academic studies are also needed. Turkey boasts many academicians, experts and strategists with different expertise in the field of energy. Therefore, there is an urgent need for an “Eastern Mediterranean Energy Studies” institution to conduct comprehensive studies and develop policies on the Eastern Mediterranean.
Regardless of the name and structure of the new institution or organization to be created, a new entity that will employ experts in needed fields is in dire need today. Therefore, a body can be formed with experts such as academicians, soldiers, diplomats, and lawyers who will work on military, economic, legal and diplomatic issues.
While until now Eastern Mediterranean energy studies centres were supposed to be in Turkey, isn’t the fact that the most comprehensive studies on the topic are conducted by the Mediterranean Energy Observatory (OME), which is located in Paris, something to ponder?
The studies to be carried out for the Eastern Mediterranean region should cover a wide range of issues from the legal status of the region to the transferal of resources to be extracted after drilling exploration.
Turkey needs high-level studies in order to reach its goal of becoming a “Trade Centre for Energy” by using the advantages afforded to it by virtue of its geography and the prospect of securing its own energy supplies.
Therefore, there is much to be done in the Eastern Mediterranean region, for which this is only the beginning.”
According to news portal Ahval (08.07.19, https://ahvalnews.com/us-turkey/first-russian-s-400-system-en-route-turkey), cargo planes carrying the first of the Russian S-400 missile defence systems Ankara has purchased from Moscow have departed a Russian airbase and are set to arrive in Turkey on Monday or Tuesday, Habertürk reported.
U.S. officials have repeatedly told NATO-ally Turkey that the S-400 poses a threat to U.S. military systems, particularly the F-35 stealth fighter jet, and warned that sanctions would be triggered by Turkey’s installation of the Russian system. A Turkish presidential spokesman said on Thursday that the S-400 posed no threat and would soon be deployed.
The initial S-400 delivery has been sent on two cargo planes from a Russian military base, said Habertürk, and a Russian technical team is set to arrive in Turkey on Monday to oversee installation.
Sanctioning Turkey and expelling it from the F-35 programme, as the United States has vowed to do, would mark one of the most significant ruptures in U.S.-Turkey relations, the report adds.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (08.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-wishes-enhanced-ties-under-new-greek-leadership/1525844), Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday congratulated Greece's main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis for his victory in Sunday’s general elections, voicing hope for enhanced bilateral ties.
“We congratulate the New Democracy leader Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has won the snap general elections held in Greece yesterday (July 7) and has been entitled to form the Government,” Hami Aksoy said in a statement. (…)
“With the establishment of the Government under the leadership of Mr. Mitsotakis, we hope that our bilateral relations will be further enhanced on the basis of the friendship between Turkish-Greek peoples. To this end, we want to swiftly revitalize existing dialogue channels and start our contacts as soon as possible to address issues on our agenda,” Aksoy said. (…)
Meanwhile, AA (07.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-president-congratulates-greek-premier-elect/1525663) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday congratulated Greece’s Prime Minister-elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the phone, according to Turkish presidential sources.
Erdogan wished that the results will contribute to the relations between the two countries and to the regional prosperity, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media. (…)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also congratulated Mitsotakis on Twitter. "Warmly congratulate New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the electoral victory. Confident that Turkish-Greek friendship & bilateral relations will further strengthen during his leadership," Cavusoglu wrote.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION