Under the title “’EU violates international law’”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (10.07.19) reports that the self-styled foreign ministry of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus reacted yesterday to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini’s statements regarding Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
In a written statement, the “ministry” alleged that the EU’s approach, which put itself in the position of a court that judges and decides, was clearly violating international law. The statement also claimed that the EU’s position, which supported the “Greek Cypriot state” [Translator’s note: This is how it describes the Republic of Cyprus] having “blinders”, usurped the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and lacked justice. It further alleged that the EU’s stance showed once more that it could not be impartial or fair on the solution of the hydrocarbon issue and the Cyprus problem and verified how justified the lack of trust towards the EU was.
Under the title “Erdogan: We are trying to protect the rights of Turks in north Cyprus”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (10.07.19, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c36-TURKIYE/n290732-erdogan-kuzey-kibristaki-turklerin-haklarini-korumak-icin-ca) reports that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, commenting on natural gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean in an interview to reporters late July 9 on his return from a two-day South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Bosnia, said that they are trying to “protect the rights of Turks in north Cyprus”.
Noting that the process has started in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said: “On the one side, our exploration works in the region are continuing and on the other side our drilling vessels were directed to the region”.
Noting that both Fatih and Yavuz drilling vessels are in the region now and that they will start their work, Erdogan claimed: “We are not there to work in someone else’s field. We are taking our steps there to defend the rights, any rights, and especially the rights of our Turkish brothers in north Cyprus”.
Noting that the people who live in all the areas of Cyprus have rights, Erdogan added that they all have equal rights on whatever is drilled there, whether this is natural gas or oil, and that they are working towards protecting their rights.
Under the title “They came as tourists, they are going as refugees”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (10.07.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that the self-styled council of ministers decided yesterday to send 50 Syrian refugees back to Turkey. In statements after a meeting of the “cabinet” yesterday, Ozersay noted that the refugees were accepted to Turkey within the framework of an “agreement for mutual aid on administrating migration”.
The 50 refugees were sent to Turkey yesterday with a ship from occupied Famagusta port, after being illegally detained for months in the illegal Tymbou airport under unhealthy conditions, notes the paper adding that an 8 months pregnant woman and four children were included in the 50 refugees. The paper writes that the 50 Syrians had arrived in the occupied area as “tourists” because the regime did not demand a visa from Syria and stayed in the “airport” as “illegal immigrants” for months.
Turkish Cypriot human rights organizations have reacted strongly to the detention of the refugees in the “airport” under unhealthy conditions.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Bakis (10.07.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister announced yesterday among other issues the decisions taken on the interoperability of mobile phones during the “cabinet meeting”.
Claiming that the Greek Cypriot side has delayed the use of the mobile phones on both sides, Ozersay added that the “council of ministers” has taken steps so that the mobile phones could be used in both sides. He added that on this issue, decisions on “special communication tax” and “VAT” were taken.
Noting that the necessary steps have been taken by the “council of ministers” regarding “roaming”, Ozersay added that after this decision, the related decisions taken by both the Greek Cypriot side and the companies, should be able to be implemented.
According to illegal Bayrak television (09.07.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=minister-cavusoglu-in-ankara), so-called minister of national education and culture Nazım Çavuşoğlu who was in Ankara for a series of “contacts”met with Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Nuri Aksoy.
Çavuşoğlu expressed his satisfaction over the meeting which reportedly was held in a warm and positive atmosphere and which lasted an hour.
Expressing his happiness from Turkey’s continued support in the field of culture as in all other fields, he expressed the belief that the joint works to be carried out will greatly contribute to cultural life in the “TRNC”.
During the meeting, the two “ministers” agreed to update and complete works on the “cultural cooperation protocol” as soon as possible.
“It’s been also noted by the Turkish Minister that all requests for legal support, technical equipment and needs of artists for the state opera and Ballet to be established in the TRNC will be met”.
The two “ministers” also agreed on offering training workshops for artists, librarians and other art-related professions in Turkey. It’s been also stated that opera, theatre and other art events to be held abroad will be supported by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the aim of promoting the Turkish Cypriot cultural and artistic identity around the world.
Another decision was taken for the books published in Turkey to be donated to libraries in the “TRNC”.
The two “ministers” also agreed on providing support for studies on local folklore and posting these on digital media.
Under the title “Out of control”, Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (10.07.19), on its front page, reports that self-styled minister of labour and social security Faiz Sucuoglu stated that while around 10,000 working places are unregistered, illegal workers have reached 35%.
Sucuoglu, who was a guest in a television programme at Turkish Cypriot private channel Diyalog TV, said that “the issue of illegal workplaces and workers is out of control”, adding that work has been initiated in order to be able to register the illegal workers, but this would take time.
Asked to comment on the number of the people, who are “active on social insurance”, Sucuoglu said that there are 111,626 persons, who are active, paying “social insurances” and 37,452 persons who are called “passive”, like the retired persons.
Sucuoglu further gave information regarding the “registered workers” in 2018. 59,650 “registered workers” were “TRNC citizens”, 33,255 were Turkish citizens and 14,657 were from other countries. He added that there was a dramatic change to the number of workers from third countries, the number was 2,917 in 2010 and reached 14,657 in 2018. The number of workers, who were Turkish citizens, in 2010 was 27,792 and reached 33 thousand.
Noting that those who are referred to as “illegal workers” are usually workers from third countries, Sucuoglu added that they have obtained a “protocol” with the Turkish Employment Organisation (İş-Kur) and the workers, who would come from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus, would come through Is-Kur and not alone and would be registered.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (10.07.19) reports that Hasan Sertoglu, chairman of the so-called Turkish Cypriot football federation, met yesterday in Istanbul with Nihat Ozdemir, newly elected chairman of the Turkish Football Federation.
The latest developments on the “opening of the Turkish Cypriot football to the world” were discussed during the meeting. They also noted that they would cooperate at the highest level on the infrastructure works.
Sertoglu invited Ozdemir to visit the Turkish Cypriot so-called federation in the occupied area of the island.
Ozdemir stated that he gladly accepted the invitation and that the visit would take place the soonest.
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its official website (10.07.19-http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_199_-yavuz-sondaj-gemimizin-faaliyetleri-hk.en.mfa) publishes the following written statement:
“As it is known, our drilling ship Fatih has begun its activities last May, in the west of the island of Cyprus, where our Government has granted licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012 within our continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean notified to United Nations. Our second drilling ship Yavuz, deployed in the south of the Karpas peninsula, will operate on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots within the license areas granted by “TRNC” to Turkish Petroleum in 2011.
We find quite odd the Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Dendias' statement in an interview regarding Turkey’s off-shore activities in the Eastern Mediterranean which are being carried out in compliance with international law. In fact, the title ‘spoiled child of Europe’ belongs to Greece. And the hellion of Europe is the Greek Cypriot administration, which became a member of the EU against international law and thus destabilized the Eastern Mediterranean together with Greece for years. Being a member of the European Union, allegedly representing the entire Island does not give the Greek Cypriot administration the right to usurp the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots.
With this understanding, we also reject the statements made by the Greek Foreign Ministry and the EU officials declaring Turkey’s aforementioned activities as illegal. It is an exemplary point of concern that these statements do not ever mention the Turkish Cypriots and as such ignore their very existence in the Island despite the fact that they are one of the co-founders of the Republic of Cyprus, whose rights have been usurped since 1963.
The European Union has become an actor of this play of unlawfulness staged by the Greek Cypriot-Greek partnership against the rights of the Turkish Cypriots who are the co-owners of the Island. It has thus become clear that the European Union will not be able to assume the role of an honest broker in the negotiation processes towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue.
As it protects its own continental shelf rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey will continue to defend Turkish Cypriots’ rights and interests around the Island, insofar as the Greek Cypriots do not involve Turkish Cypriots in the decision-making mechanisms, including the revenue sharing on hydrocarbon resources, and guarantee their rights.
In this context, we fully support the recent statements of the Turkish Cypriot authorities who granted licenses to Turkish petroleum in 2001 which indeed constitute the legal and legitimate basis of the operations of our drilling ship Yavuz”, read the statement.
In a commentary in Turkish daily Sabah (10.07.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/ataman-muhittin/2019/07/10/defending-turkeys-interests-in-the-eastern-mediterranean), columnist Muhittin Ataman writes the following about the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean:
“The Eastern Mediterranean is increasingly becoming more and more important for both regional actors and global powers. For Turkey, the region, which became a source of threat after the unilateral activities of other regional countries, is significant in many ways. Turkey has to develop geographical, diplomatic, legal, economic and military strategies toward the region in order to be able to protect the interests of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. The most recent step is very important in this context. Turkey has established the Coordinating Agency for Cyprus Affairs. A vice president or a minister will be in charge of this agency, which aims to ensure full coordination of Turkey's relations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are forced to maintain the balance in the region in order to defend their interests. The two Turkish drillships, namely the Yavuz and the Fatih, began to search for hydrocarbon resources in the region.
Greece and the Greek Cypriot side has been trying to prevent this via threats and deterrence. They have been following a three-track diplomatic strategy, namely bilateral, regional and international. At the bilateral level, the Greek side tries to deter Turkey not to enter the region. They undermine Turkey's rights in the context of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf.
They try to exploit the related principles of international law; the ‘Greek Cypriot administration’ issued international arrest warrants for 25 people including workers on the Turkish drillship in waters off the coast of Cyprus as well as several officials from companies working with the Turkish Petroleum Corporation.
At the regional level, the Greek side has been trying to mobilize other regional countries against Turkey. It takes advantage of the regional atmosphere, tries to establish an anti-Turkish regional bloc and thus isolate Turkey in the region by cooperating with Israel and Egypt. The establishment of the Mediterranean Energy Forum is the most significant indication of this attempt at isolation.
At the international level, the Greek side tries to mobilize Europe-wide support against Turkey. As a matter of fact, they are successful in mobilizing the European Union for their interests.
Ultimately, almost all EU explanations regarding the region are pro-Greek. For instance, the EU authorities recently explained that they are concerned about Turkey's drilling activities in the region, claiming that Ankara's activities violate the sovereignty of the Greek Cypriots and thus increases tension.
However, Turkey will never give up its economic, political and military activities because the region is vital for Turkey's national sovereignty. Any development in the region directly influences Turkish national interests.
Therefore, the Turkish authorities are careful in responding to any anti-Turkish developments. The Turkish side prioritizes bilateral negotiations and calls on the other side to respect the principles of international law.
Otherwise, Turkey is ready to speak the same language and mobilize its military power to deter others. In this context, the battleships and jets of the Turkish Navy and Turkish Air Force began patrols in the region.
Furthermore, Turkey has sent its domestically made Bayraktar Tactical Block 2 (TB2) armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the region in order to provide full protection for its ships operating in the region. This move alone provided strategic support to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and has caused some kind of shock for other regional actors.
In his statement in Geneva, ‘TRNC Foreign Minister’ Kudret Özersay emphasized that the two Turkish drillships aim to restore the regional balance and protect regional peace and stability.
He pointed out that the Turkish side is on the ground and will remain in the region to exercise their rights emanating from international law.
Turkey has increased its capacity and ability to operate on the tactical, operative and strategic levels, especially with their armed UAVs stationed aboard Turkish naval ships operating in the conflict zone.
The latest developments have shown one more time that Turkey is one of the most effective countries and a game changer in the region, enjoying deterrent power. Turkey is determined not to allow any fait accompli, i.e., unilateral drilling activities of the Greek side, and to contest any economic and military steps in the region. Eventually, Turkey will continue exploration and research activities in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.07.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkish-vice-president-introduces-11th-development-plan/1527269) reported that Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay stated on Tuesday that Turkey's 11th development plan will be a roadmap to improve the country's position in the international arena and enhance its welfare.
Speaking to the Turkish Parliament's Planning and Budget Commission, Oktay introduced the development plan to the commission members.
Oktay noted that the development plan foresees "change and transformation in every area."
He said that the plan would fulfill Turkey's "basic values and expectations" by realizing its development vision.
According to the plan, Turkey aims to increase gross domestic product to $1.08 trillion by 2023, the centenary of the Turkish Republic, with a per-capita income goal at $12,484.
Under an economic program announced last September, Turkey aims to reach $226.6 billion in exports under the plan as well as single-digit inflation figures, marking a growth rate objective of 2.3% for 2019, 3.5% for next year, and 5% for 2021.
Oktay underlined that the government embraced the principles of the rule of law, powerful democracy and rights and liberties as a "carrier column" of the plan.
"We will attach importance to our energy and development policies during the period of the development plan," Oktay said.
He added: "Our main aim will be to provide energy with continuous, qualified, sustainable, secure and bearable costs. Within this scope, it will be focused on seismic oil and gas detection and drilling activities in the sea," referring to Turkey's ongoing drilling efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean.
According to the Turkish minutes portal (09.07.19-https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/07/09/european-rights-court-fines-turkey-for-violating-kurdish-politicians-freedom-of-expression/) the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Turkey for violating the right to free expression of jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş, who was convicted of disseminating terrorist propaganda in 2010, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.
Demirtaş, then an executive at the Human Rights Foundation’s (İHD) Diyarbakır branch, said during a TV program in 2005 that jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan might play a role in peace talks.
In 2006, a Turkish court sentenced him to two-and-a-half years for disseminating the propaganda of an outlawed organization; however, the Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the decision and sent the case back to the local court, saying that the sentence should have been issued under anti-terrorism laws.
The Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court in 2010 handed down a suspended sentence to Demirtaş on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.
The ECHR also ordered Turkey to pay €3,500 in compensation including expenses for the legal proceedings.
Demirtaş has been in jail since Nov. 2016.
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