TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW
No. 130/19 13-15.07.2019
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Illegal Bayrak (13.07.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=new-proposal-on-hydrocarbons ) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı made a new proposal to the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades on the hydrocarbons.
According to Bayrak, “Akıncı proposed to Anastasiades the establishment of a joint committee on the hydrocarbon issue through the UN Special Representative Office in Cyprus”.
“Akıncı with the aim of giving Anastasides the chance to pre-examine and to later evaluate the proposal at a tete-a-tete meeting conveyed the proposal to the Greek Cypriot leader through the Coordinator of the UN Good Offices Mission Sergiy Illarionov”, Bayrak broadcast adding that “Akıncı’s new proposal is aimed at changing the hydrocarbons issue from tension and conflict to cooperation”.
The proposal involves the establishment of a joint committee which will be under the supervision of the UN and which will be formed with the participation of the same number of members from both sides.
The proposal which set forward the structure, targets and methodology of the committee also includes the establishment of a fund and details on how this fund will be used.
Akıncı also sent the proposal to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Junker and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (14.07.19), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in an interview to the Turkish state news agency Ankara Anatolia, commented on the latest developments on the natural resources around the island, the responsibility of the international community on the Cyprus issue and their expectations from the general elections in Greece.
Claiming that if the Greek Cypriot side has an understanding of togetherness with the Turkish side, it would have the opportunity to benefit from the natural wealth around the island, but the administration in the “south” (as he refers to the Cyprus government) has “not yet accepted these proposals”.
Referring to the results of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus in 1974, Akinci argued that “an autonomous administration was created first in the north, later a Turkish Cyprus federal state and finally the TRNC”. He further claimed: “There is a state here, whether it is recognized or not. There are efforts to improve this state. This struggles continue for us, in order to achieve a more solid structure with its economy and democracy. (…) If we look at the event positively, there is an environment where all sides could benefit from peace and cooperation. However, constant repeating of this only by me and Turkey is not enough. The international actors have a huge duty. There are possible formulae with which the peace and stability in the region as well as all the sides could benefit, but the EU and UN should support it. (…) However, if they continue to give a pat on the back of the Greek Cypriots as they do now, and it is not possible to tell them ‘this is your sovereign area, no one can interfere’. (…) I always try to show a perspective that peace, tranquillity and reconciliation will bring benefits to everyone. Otherwise, the tension will climb in the Eastern Mediterranean as we see it today. What will the Greeks gain if mutual understanding is achieved? The rich resources thousands of meters below the sea level can come out much more easily. Maybe, when they understand that Turkey and Turkish Cypriots are indeed players in this equation, these resources can reach international markets faster.”
Referring to their call for a formation of a joint committee to discuss the natural resources around the island, Akinci claimed: “Although the Greek side accepts the fact that Turkish Cypriots have the same rights on those resources in theory, they neglect this when it comes to practice. They behave as if they are living on the island alone. (…) Let’s set up a committee. Our proposal to establish a joint committee has been on the table since 2011, since the period of other presidents before me, before I became president. I also repeated it in in later stages. It never happened. If you cannot talk on this issue, how do you engage in dialogue and compromise? If we cannot reach a consensus on the establishment of a committee, then there is only one way for us. Turkey, has its claims on the continental shelf. The Greek side also makes its own claims. We, as the TRNC, have rights. If you're doing seismic research, so will we. If you're digging, we will too. They dismissed us until we took action. I repeat, our goal is not to create an environment in the Eastern Mediterranean that will lead to tension, and conflict. As Turkey explained many times, we want peace, stability and cooperation in the region. We need to compromise in the field of natural gas. Since, in principle, it is accepted that it belongs to both communities, then we need to compromise by taking the issue within the committee. There are various ways of doing this, as long as you intend to.
Referring to the newly-elected Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Akinci said that it introduced a new approach to Turkish-Greek relations and the Cyprus issue, and added that it aimed to facilitate the development of both nations side by side in cooperation, this would be greatly beneficial for both peoples.
Replying whether he would be candidate for the “general elections” in the occupied area of Cyprus next year, Akinci said that in fact, the “elections” have come into the agenda very early and added: “I am currently performing an important task. The issues that we have just talked about are on our agenda. The issue is our meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader. Jane Holl Lute, who is appointed as adviser of the UN Secretary General, may come to the region again. Beyond this, it is the UN General Assembly in September. We have been there traditionally every September, we meet with the UN Secretary General. (…) Everything will be evaluated when it is time, the necessary decisions will be taken and shared with the public.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (15.07.19) reports that the Spokesman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Omer Celik, commenting on the proposal submitted by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the establishment of a joint committee between the two sides on the hydrocarbon issue, described the proposal as “a very important step”, supporting that once again, the Turkish side has shown that it puts forward cooperative policies against the Greek Cypriot side which follows “skirmish policies”.
In a Tweet on his personal account, Celik claimed that while there are several important issues of conflict worldwide, the “new approach/proposal of the TRNC should be confronted with appreciation”.
“Turkey, we continue with decisiveness and without making any concession, supporting its own rights and the Turkish Cypriot rights in the Eastern Mediterranean”, Celik said. “The discussion of the hydrocarbon issue by the joint committee to be established by the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot side under the auspices of the UN is a policy which pays importance to the cooperation. Also, the proposal for utilizing the resources simultaneously, is according to justice”, Celik argued.
He went on to call on the guarantor countries, the EU and the Greek Cypriot side to support the “peaceful policy followed by the TRNC and the proposal submitted by the TRNC with diplomatic mindset”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (15.07.19) reports that the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli, in statements during a visit he paid in Kutahya, Turkey, referred, inter alia, to the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming that they will not allow any country to block Turkey’s path in the region. “We will not allow any country to seize our sovereign rights or our national interest in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Today, our country is blocked in the Eastern Mediterranean. Our country is openly threatened. The Greek Cypriots, who are spoiled, are ill mannered by their collaborators. Our fair and legal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with the Fatih and Yavuz drill ships annoy some competitive circles. Turkey has sovereignty rights in the Mediterranean deriving from international law. On the contrary, Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration in the south, Israel, the US, Italy and France, as well as some Gulf countries kneel goes on Turkey’s knees. We will not ask for their ratification for our existence and independence. We will not be offered to no-one”, Bahceli said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (15.07.19) reports that so-called minister of economy and energy Hasan Tacoy, replying to questions of a correspondent of the illegal TAK news agency, evaluated Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Claiming that Turkey is using today its right deriving from the “agreement signed in 2011 between the TRNC and Turkey’s TPAO to carry out oil exploration activities on behalf of the TRNC, as a result of the unilateral oil exploration activities launched by the Greek Cypriot side”, Tacoy argued that Turkey will continue supporting its own and Turkish Cypriot rights in the region.
He went on to claim that Turkey’s Yavuz drillship would launch drilling activities very soon. “This is a very positive step”, said Tacoy.
The following press release was issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry as regards Akinci’s proposal on hydrocarbon resources (13.07.19 http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_203_-kktc-nin-hidrokarbon-kaynaklarina-iliskin-yeni-isbirligi-onerisi-hk.en.mfa):
“No: 203, 13 July 2019, Press Release Regarding the New Cooperation Proposal of TRNC on Hydrocarbon Resources
We have been informed that TRNC President Mr. Mustafa Akıncı has submitted today through UN, a new cooperation proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side to the Greek Cypriots concerning the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus. We welcome and fully support this cooperation proposal.
The proposal aims at creating a cooperation mechanism between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, as the co-owners of the ısland on hydrocarbon resources over which they have equal rights. As such, the proposal envisages cooperation including revenue sharing and enables the two sides to benefit from hydrocarbon resources simultaneously.
If accepted, this proposal will create a new cooperation era between the two sides, strengthen regional peace, stability and cooperation and also create a conducive atmosphere for the settlement of the Cyprus question.
In this respect, we call upon all parties, including the UN and the EU, and in particular the Guarantor States to seize this opportunity and support this proposal, as well as to encourage both sides on the island to cooperate with each other on hydrocarbon resources.
We reiterate our firm resolve in protecting the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots over the off-shore resources of the Island in addition to our country’s own continental shelf rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this respect, we wish to draw the attention of the international community that we will maintain our determined and principled stance in protecting the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots, until these rights are guaranteed.”
Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.07.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/-turkey-will-continue-its-activities-in-e-med-/1531390 ) reports that Turkey will continue its activities in Eastern Mediterranean unless there is a cooperation between Turkish Cypriot sıde and Greek Cypriots, the Turkish foreign minister said on Sunday.
Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote an article for Turkish Cypriot daily news Kibris Postasi and made assessments on the latest developments related to the Cyprus issue, the negotiation process with the Greek Cypriots and Eastern Mediterranean.
Cavusoglu alleged: “Greek Cypriots violently hijacked the Republic of Cyprus in 1963, which was established by the 1960 Treaties and based upon a partnership between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, on the basis of political equality.”
“The main reason for the failure of these negotiations is that the Greek Cypriot side refuses to share power with the Turkish Cypriots,” the top Turkish diplomat said.
However, there has been no change in the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side since the closure of the Conference on Cyprus, he added.
“We have been emphasizing that in order to restart negotiations it should be determined in advance what will be negotiated, in which direction and within the framework of which modalities. We do not consider it beneficial to engage in a new open-ended exercise with no clear vision or purpose, and to start negotiations for the sake of negotiating.”
“We are face to face with a Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (TR. Note: As he called the Republic of Cyprus) that makes full use of all the advantages of EU membership and sees itself as the sole owner of the Island,” Cavusoglu said adding that the Greek Cypriots are “willing to share neither the political power nor the natural resources of the ısland.”
Cavusoglu alleged that the Republic of Cyprus “is undermining both Turkish Cypriots' rights on the resources and Turkey’s rights from its continental shelf registered with the United Nations”.
Greek Cypriots claim that they preserve Turkish Cypriots’ share to be given to them following the settlement but “it is not acceptable for neither us nor the Turkish Cypriots that the Turkish Cypriots would leave their rights after a solution which has been prevented by the Greek Cypriots,” said Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu claimed that it is wrong to associate Turkey’s use of continental shelf rights with the Cyprus issue.
“We continue our exploration and drilling activities within the areas -where we have registered our continental shelf rights both geographically and legally before the UN as of 2014- in which our Government granted licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012,” he said.
On the other hand, Turkey gives its full support to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to protect its rights, under international law, as the co-owners of the ısland, Cavusoglu said.
“Our activities where the Turkish Cypriot Government granted licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2011 falls within this context. Our drilling vessel Yavuz and seismic vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa are conducting their activities in these areas,” he alleged.
“Unless Greek Cypriots would go for a cooperation, which includes a joint decision making mechanism with Turkish Cypriots –the equal partner of the Island, and unless a cooperative mechanism would be established as envisaged in the proposal dated July 13, Turkey will resolutely continue its activities, without a pause, within the areas where the TRNC granted licenses to Turkish Petroleum,” he claimed in the article.
Turkish daily Sabah (14.07.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/07/14/turkey-aims-to-guarantee-national-security-regional-peace-through-purchase-of-s-400) reports that the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that Ankara takes concrete steps to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
Meeting with the chief editors of prominent newspapers and TV channels in Istanbul, Erdoğan referred to Cyprus and also expressed his gratitude to media representatives for their supportive stance on the S-400's purchase after a screening of an introductory film of the missile system.
"We are taking concrete steps against the understanding that aims to eliminate the rights, interests and benefits of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in Eastern Mediterranean," Erdoğan said regarding the recent developments in the region, indicating that Turkey's drilling ships continue their activities.
"In order to provide the security of these ships, our maritime and air forces are also present in the region," he added.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.07.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-leader-blasts-us-senator-over-cyprus-proposal/1531578) reports that a sked about a proposal by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez to lift the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters he believed U.S. President Donald Trump would "not fall for this scheme."
"A senator's approach at this point should never damage Turkish-U.S. relations," he added.
Turning to last week’s start of the delivery to Turkey of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, Erdogan said that through buying the systems Turkey is "not preparing for war" but "trying to guarantee its peace and national security."
He added that the missiles' deployment would be completed by April 2020. Erdogan said the S-400 deal was "the most important agreement" in Turkey's history, because rather than make Turkey a market for weapons sales, the deal made it a partner in production.
Erdoğan also said that Turkey is not getting ready for possible warfare, instead it is aiming to bolster its national security and sustain regional peace with the purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.
"All of our efforts [in the defense industry] are a result of our desire to provide [national and regional] peace," Erdoğan underlined.
"The purchase of the S-400 missiles and the disputes that took place over the issue showed us the common sense of our people and the media, which I believe is the voice of the people," Erdoğan said, adding that he wishes a similar societal unity over other critical issues as well, while calling on media representatives to inform their audiences on such matters.
Touching upon the few politicians who have been criticizing the purchase in an unfair manner, Erdoğan said that they are acting like "they are the representatives of the U.S."
Mentioning the recent concerning developments in the Middle East, Erdoğan said that Turkey is being forced to be a part of the conflicts in defiance of its will, adding that the country has never fell into these traps and never will.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.07.19) reports that Turkey’s foreign minister held talks over the phone Friday with his Slovak, Slovenian, Romanian and Maltese counterparts over recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed the developments with Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor-Viorel Melescanu and Malta’s Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela, according to diplomatic sources.
The talks came after the European Union said that Turkey's hydrocarbon-related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are illegal and that it would take appropriate measures in response.
The statement drew harsh criticism from Turkey, and the Foreign Ministry issued a statement Wednesday rejecting it.
The EU countries' representatives are still negotiating over the possible measures and the final text is expected to be approved at an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on July 15.
Turkish daily Sabah (13.07.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2019/07/13/main-opposition-chp-chair-kilicdaroglu-supports-turkeys-s-400-purchase) reports that Turkey's main opposition party leader on Saturday supported the country's decision to buy Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
"If Turkey's past desire to purchase Patriots [U.S.-made missile defense systems] was not met, of course, it will pursue other options to ensure its security," said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Kılıçdaroğlu underlined that the U.S. Senate should look at the geography in which Turkey is located.
Emphasizing that Turkey was located in a "ring of fire" and thus had to guarantee its safety, he said he did not approve of the pressure exerted by the U.S. Senate and other organs on U.S. President Donald Trump to "oppress Turkey."
"Turkey will do whatever is best for itself and will continue on its own path," he said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.07.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/paid-military-service-applications-to-start-on-july-16-144951) reports that Turkey's National Ministry of Defense announced on July 13 that the paid military service application for next year will start on July 16 till the 31st.
The Ministry said the service fee will cost 33,230 Turkish liras (nearly $5,800) for Turkish citizens living in Turkey.
For Turkish citizens resident in a foreign country the fee will be 5,442 (around $6,150).
The draw will be held in January 2020 and the conscription will start from March 2020 onwards.
According to the law, citizens born on or before 2000 will be required to complete just 21 days of military service and will be exempt from serving for the remaining five months by making the payment.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.07.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russian-s-400-hardware-deployment-in-turkey-continues-144954) reports that delivery of S-400 Long Range Air and Missile Defense Systems is continuing as planned, and the sixth Russian plane carrying S-400 parts landed at Murted Airbase outside Ankara, the ministry said on Twitter.
A seventh plane is scheduled to arrive later the same day, the ministry added.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara signed a contract in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400s.
U.S. officials urged Turkey to buy U.S. Patriot missiles, arguing the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, emphasized the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Turkey has urged formation of a commission to clarify any technical issues, but the U.S. has failed to respond to this proposal.
The U.S. has threatened sanctions over the purchase, with Turkey responding that any sanctions would be met in kind.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION