Illegal Bayrak (17.07.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-disappointed-over-proposal-rejection ) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı expressed disappointment on Tuesday over the rejection by Greek Cypriot political parties of his proposal to set up a joint committee on hydrocarbons.
In a written statement Akıncı said that “contrary to the Greek Cypriot side’s claim, the proposal was not a distraction from the essence of the Cyprus Problem but would shorten the path to a settlement. It is regretful to see that the Greek Cypriot leadership has opted for a policy of tension over cooperation and dialogue which would aid efforts for a solution,” he stated.
Akinci further said that he was astonished by the grounds on which the proposal was rejected by Greek Cypriot parties.
“The Greek Cypriot parties argued that the proposal could not be accepted because it was a distraction from the essence of the Cyprus problem and the need for immediate resumption of substantive negotiations. As everyone knows Turkish Cypriots suffer the most from the continuation of the status quo. This has been proven in the 2004 referendum and at the conference in Crans Montana in 2017,” he said.
Akıncı added that “the absence of a result-oriented negotiations process was not the fault of the Turkish Cypriot side but the Greek Cypriot side which rejects the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality and effective participation in decision-making processes”.
The proposal furthermore aims to enhance cooperation between the two communities and to serve common benefit, said Akıncı.
“The Greek Cypriot side’s actions do not serve peace and stability in the region” he concluded.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (17.07.19) under the title: “All sides will end up as losers from a possible conflict”, reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) expressed the view that all sides will end up as losers from a possible conflict. Evaluating in a written statement the escalation of tension in Cyprus on the hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, CTP underlined the following: “In a possible conflict, not only the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots but also all parties in the region will suffer”.
“The sides should act with dialogue in order to de-escalate the tension and it is essential to exert efforts together in order to discuss a common formula on the issue”, the statement said, underlining the need to end the oil exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean if we want to be focused on the solution process. The CTP stressed further the need to hear the callings of the UN’s Secretary General and prepare the ground for returning to the negotiation process, which will be oriented to a solution and not open-ended. “While we act in this way, it is a sine qua non to put forward an approach that the political equality and the effective participation will not be questioned. It is well known that as long as the Cyprus problem remains unsolved, it will be impossible for any of the sides to utilize effectively the natural resources, which will continue to constitute reason of tension”, adds the statement.
CTP underlines further in the statement that “the continuation of the oil and natural gas activities unilaterally by the one side would be the reason for the other side as well to continue the same activities”. It further alleged that the detailed proposal submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side on the establishment of a joint committee by the two sides aimed to create a basis in order to overcome all issues related with hydrocarbons, deriving from the non-solution of the Cyprus problem.
CTP supports further in the statement that the justification offered by the Greek Cypriot side which rejected the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal is not a sincere argument.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (17.07.19) reports that the leader of the Democratic Party (DP) Serdar Denktas stated that the Turkish Cypriot should first protect their rights.
Denktas, who issued a written statement, commenting on the rejection of the recent proposal made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci as regards the hydrocarbons, also said that the international community shut its ears to the calls and statements made by the Turkish Cypriot politicians.
Akinci also said that “the EU’s threads towards Turkey for an embargo, just after the constructive proposal of Akinci, is unacceptable” and said that today he will hold contacts with various NGOs and all the political parties for preparing a letter with the positions of the Turkish Cypriots. As he said, this letter will be sentto the UN Secretary General, the chairman of the European Parliament and other officials.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (17.07.19) reports that the chairman of the parliamentary group of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Erkan Akcay stated that there is no force to prevent Turkey from conducting research in its and the “TRNC’s” “continental shelf” at a time that countries that have no legal rights in the area are wandering around freely.
Speaking at the Turkish Assembly, Akcay stated that the developments in Eastern Mediterranean are not only a race as regards natural gas but also an activity of Turkey to protect its sovereign rights, the Turkish presence in Cyprus and also to safeguard the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
Under the title “If it was Denktas, he would have made the same proposals”, columnist Sener Levent in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (17.07.19) refers to the tension created by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and the proposals submitted by Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci to President Anastasiades, providing for the establishment of a joint committee on the hydrocarbons issue. The columnist reports, inter alia, the following:
“[…] Even though this tension is a presage of new disasters to be laid upon Turkey’s head, it suits Tayyip Edogan’s purpose and plays into his hands. Erdogan, who has lost his old power, fell into disfavour and it seems unlikely for him to win the 2023 elections any more, is able to gather around him everyone by reviving the national spirit, thanks to these moves of war. The opposition supports both the purchase of the missiles [Translator’s note: The S-400 missiles] and his activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. It even supports his presence in Syria.
Tension is escalating continuously. This time, there is no Rauf Denktas to lead us, like in 1974. There is Mustafa Akinci. Do you see a difference between them? I cannot see one. If there was Denktas now, he would have done what Akinci is doing. He would say the same things in this tension and submit the same proposals to the Greek Cypriot side. He would always accuse the Greek Cypriot side, like Akinci is. He would say ‘we want peace and stability’, just like Akinci is saying, every now and then. He would not say ‘we want war’. In fact he never said this. He also said it indirectly as did Akinci.
Until today Akinci has been continuously saying that ‘if our rights on the natural gas are not handed over, we will not remain spectators to this’. What does this mean? How will he not remain a spectator? What else is this, other than a war threat? Behold, I am writing it here. If a hot war comes up, Mustafa Akinci will be one of those responsible for this war. It is not only he [Akinci] of course. All the rest of our parties and organizations and intellectuals also. Because no one says to Turkey ‘withdraw your ships’. They are trying to save the situation with gratuitous announcements saying ‘we want solution and peace’, keeping their nose clean. When they find an idiot nationalist in front of them, they attack heartily. However, they never touch Turkey. […]
We have given license to Turkey, we say. For conducting drillings in Cyprus’ seas. Do we have a right for this? Half of the island is in our hands. And we have established a state, which is piratical and Turkey’s puppet. We have carried here a population which is many times more than our population. And now after all this, we are giving a license to occupier Turkey to search for our rights! We do not give to the other side even a place for a grave on the lands which we have conquered, but we want to establish a committee with equal number of members and administrate the natural gas together. We are trying to obtain this with threats, blackmail. And not one of us comes out to say this. Where are our pro-peace bi-communal organizations? We have come to the verge of war and everyone keeps quiet? […]
Look, our prime minister boasts saying ‘if hot war comes out, let the Greek Cypriots be afraid’. You do not have absolutely any fear? […] War should be prevented before starting. Not after it being too late. You will risk everything and say the truths, if you want peace. You also cannot refrain from telling the truths, Mr Mustafa. The other side did not say I will not give you your rights. It said ‘after the comprehensive solution’, just like you do in many matters. Besides, no gas has come out yet. There is no money and things like that yet. What is this fuss? You submitted a proposal. And what happened? If it was Denktas, he would do the same. Your proposals have no relation with reconciliation. In fact, you submitted these proposals knowing that they would be rejected. Why? Is it for boasting that our hand of peace remained in the air again? You are still not able to get rid of the mentality of the conqueror. You are trying to impose your conditions to the other side by relying on Turkey’s military power. Imposing your conditions is more important for you even than a hot conflict which could come up. Unfortunately, there are still people here who did not understand this. […]”
Meanwhile, writing in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (17.07.19), columnıst Ulas Baris refers to the rejection of Akinci’s proposals, noting that actually a group of Turkish Cypriot journalists had been informed last week by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tassos Tzonis that such a proposal would have been rejected, because such a committee could be established between states and that the opposite would degrade the issue to intercommunal level. He recalls that after the rejection of the proposal, the anti-solution front in the occupied area of the island started saying that the Greek Cypriots have rejected a proposal again and that they were always the ones who rejected proposals.
“Thus, it was very well shown that, unfortunately, the submitted proposal served no other purpose than playing into the hands of this anti-solution front”, notes Baris adding that it did not seem that Turkey would stop its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean because of the sanctions imposed by the EU or anyone else.
Noting that Turkey claimed rights over Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the columnists says that according to the briefing given to the Turkish Cypriot journalists at the Foreign Ministry last week, if Turkey’s demands were accepted, 44% of Cyprus’ EEZ which belongs to both the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots, would pass under Turkey’s sovereignty.
“Moreover, in such a case, because the agreements made with countries such as Egypt, Israel and Lebanon will be invalid, these loses will increase further and reach 69%”, he points out. He further underlines the contradiction of the Turkish Cypriots acting together with Turkey to Give Turkey the EEZ areas which “belong to us” and of claiming Turkish Cypriots’ rights over the island based on the 1960’s agreements.
He wonders in what other way we could explain the fact that on the one hand the Turkish Cypriots say that they were “partners in the seas” based on the 1960 agreements and on the other they support another country to ask to be given these seas.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (16.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-to-continue-exploration-in-e-mediterranean/1533293), Turkey will send its fourth ship to the Eastern Mediterranean region to continue its exploration and drilling, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said on Tuesday.
"The MTA Oruc Reis seismic research ship, which has been conducting seismic surveys in the Black Sea and Marmara since August 2017, will be sent to conduct seismic surveys in the Mediterranean Sea," Fatih Donmez said in a Twitter post.
Donmez said Turkey has the capability to search, produce and transmit resources in the region to international markets. (…)
On the same issue, Turkish daily Sabah (16.07.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/07/16/european-councils-restrictive-measures-no-deterrent-for-turkey-to-continue-drilling-in-eastern-mediterranean) reports that the Oruc Reis seismic research ship operated by the General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) was built by Turkish engineers in a local shipyard in Istanbul and has been operating since late June 2017. The 86-meter-long and 22-meter-wide vessel is donned with 35 active cameras located at different angles on board.
Moreover, the MTA Oruç Reis has a propulsion and manoeuvring system with the capacity to conduct 2B and 3B seismic surveys in open seas.
Dönmez further said that “the country will continue hydrocarbon exploration and drilling operations in the region with no interruption in its own continental shelf and in the blocks for which Turkey received a license from the Turkish Cypriot government in the north of Cyprus [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus]”.
According to Turkish state news agency Anadolu (16.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/eu-sanction-decision-has-no-effect-on-turkey/1533320), the EU decision to sanction Turkey will “only deepen division” on Cyprus island and has no effect on Turkey, ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman claimed on Tuesday.
Omer Celik's remarks came a day after the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the Turkish drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. (…)
"It is clear that their approach will serve nothing more than to deepen the division on [Cyprus] island. These sanctions will have no effect on Turkey," Celik told reporters at his party's headquarters in Ankara. He said that Turkey's drilling vessels Fatih and Yavuz would continue their duties on the Eastern Mediterranean. "Turkey will continue defending its sovereignty rights within its continental shelf," Celik claimed. (…)
Moreover, Turkish state news agency AA (16.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-to-send-4th-ship-to-eastern-mediterranean/1533013) reports that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu argued on Tuesday that Ankara would not allow anyone to usurp the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people. "As long as they do not guarantee the rights of the people of Cyprus, we will continue to increase our activities there," Cavusoglu claimed.
He argued that the ‘Greek Cypriot administration’ [as he refers to the Cyprus government] should discuss the matters with Turkish Cypriots for a "fair" sharing.
Commenting on the EU sanction decision on the Turkish drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cavusoglu downplayed the conclusion, pointing out that the EU knows that its decisions against Turkey are not possible to implement. "There is no need to take it very seriously, because there had been times that they cut the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in the past. These are simple things. They are not things that will affect us," he added.
Cavusoglu underlined that EU-Turkey talks on civil aviation had already come to a halt because of the ‘Greek Cypriot administration’.
Dismissing criticism from Brussels on the recent change of the chief official at Turkey's Central Bank, Cavusoglu said: "The EU has always criticized the intervention of politicians in the central bank or the banks."
Emphasizing the EU's need for Turkey, Cavusoglu claimed that the bloc took Monday's decisions only to "appease" the ‘Greek Cypriot administration’. "They will have to come to us, there is no other way. They know it won't be possible to implement the decisions they have taken," he added.
"With their absurd understanding of solidarity, they had to take resolutions under pressure of Greece and the Greek Cypriots," he added.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (16.07.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/main-opposition-leader-slams-eu-sanctions-decision-over-drilling-activities-145014), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu , speaking at the CHP’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on July 16, slammed the European Council’s decision to impose sanctions on Ankara over its drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
“We have rights in the eastern Mediterranean and we will defend these rights until the end. The European Union will supposedly impose sanctions. We do not accept this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his speech. (…)
Kılıçdaroğlu also questioned why the Republic of Cyprus is recognized as a member country by the EU. “What is your justification for this?” he said. “[Turkey] will not value the EU unless it abandons this double-standard,” the CHP leader added.
“I have said this to EU officials with whom I met. But they continue to apply this double-standard,” he added.
He also criticized the EU’s “insincerity” towards Turkey.
A fundamental issue of Turkey is in its foreign policy, according to Kılıçdaroğlu. The foreign policy objectives must coincide with the nation’s interests, he stressed.
“A peace and cooperation organization in the Middle East must be established,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding: “Turkey will have to bear heavy consequences if it follows an ‘adventurous’ foreign policy”.
For peace in the region, relationships with Egypt must be ameliorated, according to Kılıçdaroğlu. “Turkey’s interests are above anything else. Peace with Egypt must be made. We should not be in quarrel with any nation. Why don’t we have an ambassador [in Egypt]?” he said.
The CHP head also urged the government to “stop sending arms to Libya”. “Why do you fuel enmity, when you can be a mediator to end war?” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also stressed the significance of Syria’s territorial integrity for Turkey and said “direct contact must be established” with the neighbouring country.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (17.07.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/north-macedonia-is-natural-ally-says-turkish-fm-3495676), Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a joint press conference with his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov in Skopje on Tuesday, said that North Macedonia was a "natural ally" of Ankara and would soon be its official ally in NATO.
"We have excellent political relations. We are natural allies, but we will become allies officially within NATO. As I said earlier, we had a natural alliance before North Macedonia was invited to join NATO," said Cavusoglu.
He expressed his satisfaction with the ratification of North Macedonia's NATO accession protocol in Turkey's Parliament, adding that Ankara would continue its support for Skopje in the future as well.
Cavusoglu stressed that the integration of North Macedonia and the Western Balkans into Euro-Atlantic institutions was vital not only for these countries, but also for the stability of the region. "Northern Macedonia is a friendly country for us. Turkey has supported North Macedonia's accession to NATO membership in the strongest way," said Cavusoglu.
Speaking about regional issues related to Turkey, Cavusoglu urged North Macedonia to take concrete steps against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). (…)
Meanwhile, North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said problems afflicting Turkey were also of concern to Skopje. "The problem of our friend is our problem. We will do everything we can to help in terms of political will. There is incredible cooperation between our intelligence agencies. In this context, our hands are tied because we must comply with the local and international legal system", Dimitrov added. (…)
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (16.07.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-runs-14b-budget-deficit-in-h1-145008) with the above title reports that Turkey's central government budget balance posted a deficit of 78.6 billion Turkish liras (some $14 billion) in the first half of the current year, the Treasury and Finance Ministry announced on July 16.
The country's budget revenues totalled 403 billion Turkish liras ($71.7 billion) in the first six months of this year, up 14% year-on-year, data showed.
Budget expenditures rose 20.5% to nearly 481.6 billion Turkish liras ($86 billion) -- marking a 78.6 billion Turkish liras (some $14 billion) deficit.
The budget balance, excluding interest payments, saw a deficit of 27.8 billion Turkish liras ($5 billion) from January to June.
Official figures showed that tax revenues rose 4.4% to 307.7 billion Turkish liras ($54.8 billion), while interest payments were 50.7 billion Turkish liras ($9 billion) over the same period.
In June, the budget balance also saw a deficit of 12 billion Turkish liras ($2 billion).
Last month, Turkey's budget revenues totalled 55.5 billion Turkish liras ($9.6 billion), up 7.6% on a yearly basis, according to official data.
Budget expenditures in June were 67.5 billion Turkish liras ($11.6 billion), a decrease of around 12.5% annually.
Excluding interest payments, the central government budget balance saw a deficit of 7.7 billion Turkish liras ($1.3 billion) last month.
The average U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate in June was 5.8, while one dollar was trading for 5.6 liras on average in the first half of this year.
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (16.07.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/07/16/turkey-ranks-first-in-arms-deliveries-from-germany/), Turkey led among countries receiving weapons shipments from Germany, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday.
In the first four months of the year, Turkey received weapons worth some €184 million from Germany, accounting for nearly 60% of all German deliveries.
The figures were released by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in response to a parliamentary question directed by Die Linke deputy Sevim Dağdelen.
The Ministry said the period in question only saw shipments of naval equipment, specifically for Type 214 submarines manufactured in Turkey with the participation of Germany’s Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS). The German government had approved the shipments in 2009.
German arms manufacturers need government approval to export arms and military materiel.
Turkey’s military imports from Germany were restricted after a failed coup in July 2016 due to widespread human rights violations and continued military campaigns in the Kurdish-dominated Southeast as well as military offensives in Kurdish-held northern Syria.
Despite the limitations, sales that were previously approved went ahead as planned. Weapons worth some €243 million were delivered to Turkey last year, a third of German arms exports.
After two years of decline, Germany’s approvals for weapons sales started to increase in 2019. In response to a parliamentary question by Omid Nouripour from the Green Party, the BMWi said the German government had approved the sale of arms valued at €23.3 million as of June 5 of this year, almost twice the €12.9 million approved in all of 2018.
Dağdelen criticized the shipments, pointing out the hydrocarbon drilling activities Turkey is conducting in the eastern Mediterranean that have led to tensions with the European Union, which considers them a violation of Cyprus’ sovereignty.
“It is irresponsible that the German government keeps sending weapons of war to Erdoğan’s navy despite his aggressive policies against EU member Cyprus,” she said, adding that Germany would be complicit in the event German weapons were used against Cyprus.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION