According to illegal Turkish Cypriot television Bayrak (19.07.19), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has alleged that the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus had prevented the island’s unification with Greece and created a new bi-zonal basis on which it was possible “to live in peace and security”. In his address by which the occupation regime started celebrating the 45th anniversary of the invasion that took place on 20 July, 1974, Akinci claimed:
“For years, we have been exerting efforts to build a future on this existing infrastructure. There have been periods during which we had come close to achieving a result. The referendum in 2004 and the conference at Crans Montana are examples for this. However, it was not possible to reach a result in either case. The negative stance of the Greek Cypriot leadership did not give a chance to this”.
Referring to the hydrocarbons, Akinci said that the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean has become tense because of the natural gas resources, and alleged:
“Taking into consideration the escalating situation and with the aim of shortening the way towards the solution via cooperation, I have made a proposal to the Greek Cypriot leadership. Actually, in 2011, as well, proposals had been submitted encouraging the Greek Cypriot side to build a partnership. Now I have submitted in the form of nine points the idea of establishing a joint committee, by developing, updating and detailing it upon consulting with officials from the government and Turkey. The substance of our proposal provides for acting together by avoiding unilateral initiatives. We have suggested that since it is accepted that these resources are our common wealth, let us establish a joint committee to make use of them and let us decide there on these issues. However, our proposal was not responded to positively. The Greek Cypriot leadership, by exploiting the identity of the only internationally recognized owner of the Republic of Cyprus, is not coming close to equality and partnership. In this situation, they leave to us and Turkey no other choice but to exhibit similar behaviors, which will balance the Greek Cypriots’ unilateral initiatives.
However, both our island and our seas and our region may become an area of tranquility and stability, in which all sides will benefit by exhibiting common understanding and cooperation without excluding each other. […]”
Noting that they were determined to continue their stance on this issue and claiming that they wanted peace on the island and in the region, Akinci alleged that they were aware of the fact that achieving this passed through being strong and determined to protect what he called their “legitimate rights”. “Therefore we will continue our efforts to become a community and a state with a strong economy and democracy in every aspect”, he argued and added:
“We will also continue our initiatives before the international community. I have conveyed to the international community our proposals which the Greek Cypriot side rejected. The United Nations and the European Union are informed about these proposals. Moreover, before the proposals which we submitted to the Greek Cypriot side, we have sent a letter to the UNSG which includes our views regarding the current situation. We will use the diplomatic channels until the end.
We will also meet with the esteemed Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades as soon as he recovers from the unfortunate accident he had suffered. In the letter which I have sent to the UNSG, I am asking for him to undertake an initiative for an unofficial five-party meeting. Turkey’s expectation is also for this meeting to be materialized the soonest.
All of us want clarity from the Greek Cypriot leader. We see that the wish of increasing number of members of the Greek Cypriot community is also in this direction. What does the Greek Cypriot leader want? What is his aim? What kind of a future does he see in Cyprus? The period of saying different things in different environments should end now. He has created blurriness by referring at different times to two states […], […] to confederation, […] to loose federation and […] to decentralized federation and afterwards to a parliamentarian system instead of a presidential system, a rotating prime minister instead of a rotating president. How long will the Greek Cypriot leader’s lurches continue before our own consistent stance? The Greek Cypriot side should finally decide. Will they digest a reasonable solution in which the two communities will live in equality, security and freedom and at the same time share power and wealth? Or do they want to register the permanent division of the island? All these issues should be clarified in the five-party unofficial meeting which we have asked from Mr Guterres. […]”
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.07.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-speaks-to-aa-on-maras), self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Özersay said that the fenced-off city of Varosha through the years has become the symbol of the status quo on the island, adding that it was necessary to break the wheel on the issue of Varosha.
In an interview with the Anadolu News Agency, Ozersay said that the government was not linking the issue of occupied Varosha with the issue of hydrocarbons.
“The Greek Cypriots are telling us to sit down and discuss Varosha with them. They are telling us that the fenced-off city needs to reopen under the supervision of the UN. But when we tell them that we should do the same with the issue of natural gas, they argue that this is a different matter which concerns their sovereignty and refuse to talk with us on this issue. Then I ask why should I sit down and discuss Varosha which is part of my sovereign territory with you? If the Greek Cypriots want things to be different then they have to revise their actions and stance,” he argued.
Recalling that negotiations in Cyprus have been going on since 1968 and that all efforts have failed, Ozersay claimed that prospects for a settlement were currently zero.
“The Greek Cypriot community is not ready to share power or the island’s wealth with the Turkish Cypriot community, whereas the most important aspect of any federal settlement is to share everything,” Özersay added.
He further said that the two sides’ understanding of various concepts were very different from each other, adding: “There is a lack of joint vision on the island”.
On the issue of hydrocarbons, Özersay alleged that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side were taking justified and fair steps to balance the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs (19.07.19) publishes an interview by the so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay who stated that a common denominator among the Turkish Cypriots is their will of self-administration.
Ozersay made these statements speaking at Kibris TV where he said that in case a partnership is established the Turkish Cypriots want neither Greek Cypriots no Turkey to administrate them. “We want to administrate our self”, he stated.
Ozersay said that the Turkish Cypriots have been struggling to survive in this soil “as Turkish Cypriots” from the 1950s until today, adding that this is another common denominator among them.
Another common denominator among the Turkish Cypriots that Ozersay referred to was their wish to become a “piece of the world” a development that according to some of them can take place with the lifting of the “embargo”, according to some others with the solution of the Cyprus problem and according to others with the recognition of their “state” even without a solution of the Cyprus problem.
According to Ozersay, Turkish Cypriots have contributed greatly to the determination of Turkey’s policy in Eastern Mediterranean since 2011. As he said they put down certain proposals saying that the Greek Cypriots are making agreements which determined the sea zone. “We said that this cannot happen until a solution is reached. We said that since this is taking place we should at least determine our borders with Turkey and we can make Greek Cypriots do some things. It is from here that the continental agreement that took place with Turkey in 2011 comes”, he stated adding that he is a person that participated in the negotiations and supported that such an agreement should take place.
Referring to reports that the breakaway regime will become like Monaco, and will transfer its foreign policy to Turkey, Ozersay said that this is not going to happen. “We came to government to run this country. Even if we are not recognized, will make our voice heard on the international platform. We do not think it is rightfor someone else to represent us”, he stated.
Referring to the efforts for reaching an agreement, Ozersay reminded his proposal for co-operation between the two sides in Cyprus, adding that under the current circumstances it seems that there is not a great possibility for establishing a federal state. He went to add that the Greek Cypriots are not sincere and want to delay or put obstacles to the situation.
On the issue of fenced off Varosha, he stated that they will take more steps after inventory. “There is an agreement in the government on this issue but we have not transformed it into a decision because we want to see the results of the inventory in the framework of scientific standards”, he stated. Asked about what will determine this decision, Ozersay stated that the elements that will determine the steps that the occupation regime will take will depend on whether the residences or the places used for touristic or commercial use can be fixed, if they can be opened for use immediately, or after some years or if they need to be demolished. “It will be more realistic to form our policy taking all these into consideration”, he stated adding that his statement is not in contradiction with the UN Security Council’s resolutions. “When we announced our position we were actually referring to an area that is part of the TRNC, a military area”, he claimed. “When we said that we will take some steps related to this place we never said that we will take steps in accordance with the UN Security Council’s resolutions”, he stated.
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.07.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=foreign-parliamentarians-visiting-state-officials), a group of parliamentarians who are in the occupied area of Cyprus, as guests to participate in the celebrations of the 45th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, are paying visits to “state and government officials” of the breakaway regime in occupied Cyprus.
The parliamentarians from North Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Jordan and Chad met today with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, self-styled speaker of the assembly Teberrüken Uluçay, the self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar and “foreign minister” Kudret Özersay.
The parliamentary delegation’s first visit was to Akıncı. No statement was issued before or after the meeting.
The group of the parliamentarians is made up of North Macedonian MP Enis İbrahim, former Speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament Cynbai Tursunbekov, Azerbaijan MP Eldeniz Selimov, the President of the Jordanian Senate’s Friendship Group Münir Sobar and the President of the Turkish-Chad Friendship Group Ahmad Azaim Barkatallah.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (19.07.19) reports that the Vice President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay will arrive tonight in the occupied area of Cyprus in order to represent Turkey to the “celebrations” on the 45th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. According to the paper, Oktay will be accompanied by the Turkish Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Cahit Turan, as well as by the Deputy Speaker of the Turkish National Assembly, Sureyya Sadi Bilgic. Besides Turkey, representatives and delegations from foreign countries, such as North Macedonia, Kirgisia, Azerbaijan, Jordan and Chad will be attending the “celebrations”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Bakis (19.07.19) reports that the “speaker” of the so-called assembly Teberruken Ulucay met with the former Speaker of the Assembly of Kyrgtyzstan Chynybai Tursunbekov who is illegally visiting the occupation in order to attend the “celebrations” for the 45th anniversary of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus.
According to a written statement issued by the so-called assembly, Tursunbekov expressed pleasure for his “visit” to the occupied area of Cyprus supporting that it is an indication of “friendship” between the occupation regime and his country.
In his turn, Ulucay thanked Tursunbekov for “visiting the TRNC” and also pointed to the fact that Kirgizia is always by the side of the Turkish Cypriots.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (19.07.19) reports that so-called minister of education and culture Nazim Cavusoglu met with the Minister of Agriculture of Somalia, Dr Said Hussein Lid, who is also illegally visiting the occupation regime for the “celebrations”.
Speaking during the meeting, Lid referred to the good ties he established with “TRNC officials” and said that there are 253 Somali “students in the universities in the TRNC”. He then called on the occupation regime “authorities” to provide more support to the students.
Also speaking, Cavusoglu claimed that the students who follow education in the occupied area of Cyprus “are very lucky since they follow education in a democratic and free environment of education”. “In our country there are totally 20 universities and students from 80 countries. Thus, the students who follow education in our country return back to their countries with sufficient education and high level standards”, Cavcusoglu alleged, claiming that they will continue providing scholarships to “students”.
Cavusoglu further argued that they will continue developing their ties with Somalia in all fields and argued that they will also undertake steps in order to the increase the number of university students from Somalia.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (19.07.19) reports that within the framework of the “celebrations” in the occupied area of Cyprus for the 45th anniversary of the Turkish invasion, the TCG Frigate, the TCG torpedo boat and the TCG Gur submarine of the Turkish Naval Forces, were docked off occupied Keryneia port and are open to public visits.
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.07.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=dawn-vigil-to-be-broadcast-on-brt-hd-2), two Turkish F-16 fighter jets, which are currently in the occupied part of Cyprus to take part in the celebrations of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus, will fly over occupied Pente Mili beach at 2.15am. It will be the first time the jets will be conducting a night flight on July 20. (…)
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.07.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/greek-cypruss-statements-on-east-med-are-attempt-to-stall-minister-of-energy-145072), under the title “Minister of Energy Donmez: Greek Cyprus’ statements on east Mediterranean an attempt to stall”, reports that the Republic Cyprus is in a bid to “stall for time” by rejecting the Turkish Cypriots’ proposal for cooperation on the joint exploration and profit-sharing of hydrocarbon resources while suggesting cooperation with Turkey, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez has claimed.
“We do not approve an offer that ignores the Turkish Cyprus [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus]. Greek Cypriots need to seriously evaluate the proposal for a cooperation committee. I think the statements of Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister are stalling for time,” Dönmez told reporters on July 18.
“Greek Cyprus has been acting like they own the island. The most serious measure is Turkish Cyprus’ offer for a joint committee,” he alleged. He was referring to a recent statement by Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides on suggesting cooperation with Turkey.
“Cooperation with Turkey will benefit all sides. The tension in the region must be decreased. We cannot change geography, but we have to find solutions to regional problems, with regional countries,” Christodoulides said on July 17, during his speech at a conference in Greece.
Dönmez also recalled the Annan Plan, a U.N. proposal for the reunification of Cyprus, was accepted by Turkish Cyprus, yet the Greek Cypriots did not reciprocate the move. “If that plan was accepted then, maybe, we would not be witnessing such disputes today,” he argued.
The sanction decisions by the European Union are “legally baseless,” according to Dönmez. “There were also some threats towards the drilling vessel crew, yet we see this as legally groundless.”
“Our work is ongoing. The [sanctions decision] did not cause any trouble. These actually aim at intimidation. We are aware of the fact that these have been done to halt the operations,” he added.
The Fatih drilling vessel has a one-month mission in the eastern Mediterranean, the Minister conveyed, adding that Yavuz, the second vessel from Turkey, has recently reached its destination. After completing its duties in the Black Sea and Marmara, seismic research vessel Oruç Reis, will set sail to the eastern Mediterranean next month, Dönmez said and added: “We have some regions in the south that we did not make seismic research, and we will direct it on those areas”.
Dönmez also refuted claims by a Greek Cypriot newspaper, Phileleftheros, regarding alleged Turkish discovery of natural gas in the region. “We think this can be provocation [for the EU sanctions decision].”
“It is early to say something without having reached the target. We will announce when we find it. Fatih still has three or four weeks of work,” he said, elaborating on the vessel’s drilling activities. “It would be misleading to give figures in this very day”, he added, referring to possible hydrocarbon reserves that the vessels are seeking.
The Minister also apprised that Turkish Petroleum has been conducting meetings with other companies concerning the drilling activities. (…)
On the same issue, Turkish daily Milliyet (19.07.19, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/ekonomi/dogu-akdenizde-rusya-ve-cine-yesil-isik-6002192), under the title “Green light to Russia and China in the Eastern Mediterranean”, reports that Donmez, replying to a question on the possibility of cooperation with countries such as Russia and China in the eastern Mediterranean, said: “Oil exploration and production is different; the transmission and distribution is also different. After finding oil, it should reach the market with the shortest route. Turkey, actually, is the most economical place where the gas in the eastern Mediterranean may reach to the markets through Anatolia. As to the issue for collaborative work with other countries, Turkish Petroleum has already been conducting meetings with some companies, there are some steps that may be developed in joint projects. It is not correct, of course, to announce in advance the names, but Turkish Petroleum has some meetings.
Following a decision by the European Council to impose sanctions on Ankara over its drilling activities in the east Mediterranean, Ankara announced that Turkey will send a fourth ship to the eastern Mediterranean as part of its hydrocarbon drilling activities.
According to Turkish daily Sabah (18.07.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/legislation/2019/07/18/political-parties-support-turkeys-hydrocarbon-activities-in-east-mediterranean), four Turkish political parties in the parliament issued a joint declaration of support for Turkey's gas exploration efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The declaration jointly signed by the group deputy chairpersons of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Good Party (IP).
"We, as the political parties represented at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, hereby underscore our objection to any fait accompli policy regarding the share of hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean," the statement read.
"It must be known that Turkey and the TRNC [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus] have the capacity to protect their legitimate rights provided by international law, without submitting to any sort of pressure." (…)
On the same issue, Turkey’s state news agency (18.07.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-parliament-condemns-eu-suspending-talks/1535551), reports that four major parties in Turkey's parliament on Thursday issued a joint declaration condemning this week’s EU decision to suspend high-level talks with Ankara.
"We strongly curse the ignorance and omitting the legitimate rights and benefits of the Turkish Cypriots and the Republic of Turkey based on international law," said the declaration.
"It should be known that Turkey and Turkish Cyprus have the capability to protect their rights based on international law without bowing to any pressure," it added.
The declaration calls on the EU "to exhibit a fair and impartial attitude and abide by international law."
The declaration followed a conclusion by the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. (…)
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) did not put its signature on the parliament's declaration.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet (18.07.19, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/tbmmde-4-partiden-dogu-akdeniz-icin-ortak-bildiri-41277996), reports that Hakki Saruhan Oruc, group deputy chairman of HDP, explaining the reasons for not signing the joint declaration, said that they support that the hydrocarbon exploration and drilling projects in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone should stop, as long as a political consensus among the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot “people” has not been reached yet. He further said that the all the natural wealth around the island belong jointly to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot “people”, adding that they should benefit from those resources simultaneously and together.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.07.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-discuss-ousting-from-f-35-program-145073), senior Turkish and U.S officials on July 18 discussed Turkey's suspension from the F-35 program, according to an official statement.
Turkey's Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın had a phone conversation with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, said the statement by Turkey's presidential office.
Kalın expressed Turkey's “discomfort” over the recent U.S. decision, which he said is not compatible with the previous statements of the two country leaders, it noted.
Kalin said the suspension is not compatible with previous statements from Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a statement from the Turkish presidential office.
On July 17, Washington announced it was taking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter jet program, following the threats to do so over Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-air system.
The statement underlined that the Turkey-U.S. relations will not follow healthy progress with the unilateral impositions. (…)
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump made a series of contradictory remarks on July 18 on whether or not the U.S. will be imposing sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-air system.
Trump initially said the sanctions are not under consideration "right now," before later telling reporters "we're looking at it". The President said the situation is "very very difficult," continuing to blame his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, for the row. (…)
According to Turkish daily Sabah (18.07.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/defense/2019/07/18/turkeys-removal-from-f-35-program-to-harm-natos-strength-defense-min-akar), Turkey's removal from the F-35 program will negatively affect the strength of NATO's southern wing in particular, Turkey’s Defence Minister said on Thursday.
“Expecting from the U.S. to avoid steps that could harm relations of two countries is a most natural right of Turkey as a strategic partner,” Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency after an inspection of troops deployed along the country’s border with Syria. "The unilateral and unfair decision to try to remove Turkey from the F-35 project is not based on legitimate justification," he added. (…)
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (19.07.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/turkey-says-defense-firms-face-temporary-losses-after-f-35-removal-but-will-emerge-stronger-3495793), Turkish defence companies may face temporary losses after a U.S. decision to remove Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet programme but the industry will emerge stronger as a result, the head of Turkey's Defence Industry Directorate said on Thursday. (…)
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Ismail Demir said the move was unilateral and not in line with the agreement signed between the parties, and added that Turkey would continue meeting its commitments until its exclusion from the programme is finalised.
"It is a controversial decision that has no place in the signed agreements. We are waiting for this to become official," Demir said.
"Our companies may face losses initially, and even though issues like sanctions and more may lead to temporary losses for the defence industry, we think it will result in our defence industry becoming stronger," he said. (…)
Demir said Turkish defence companies would evaluate how to compensate for their losses from Turkey's removal, but added that other countries involved in the F-35 programme would face extra costs of $7-8 million per jet as a result of the move. He also said Turkey would not purchase foreign defence equipment from now on unless it was absolutely necessary, but did not elaborate further. (…)
According to Turkish daily Sabah (19.07.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/economy/2019/07/19/turkeys-parliament-ratifies-11th-economic-development-plan), Parliament ratified Turkey's 11th economic development plan late Thursday by a large majority. A total of 268 lawmakers in the 600-seat legislature voted in favour of the plan, with 44 voting against it.
According to the government, the plan is a road map for improving the country's position in the international arena and enhancing its welfare.
Under the plan, Turkey aims to increase the country's gross domestic product to $1.08 trillion by 2023, the centenary of the Turkish Republic, with a per-capita income goal of $12,484.
Under an economic program announced last September, Turkey aims to achieve $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.
During his introduction in the planning and budget committee, Vice President Fuat Oktay said they attach importance to the country's energy and development policies during the period of the development plan.
"Our main aim will be to provide energy with qualified, sustainable, secure and bearable costs. Within this scope, the focus will be on seismic oil and gas detection and drilling activities in the sea," he added, referring to Turkey's ongoing drilling efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean. (…) Parliament will be in recess until Oct. 1.
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (18.07.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/07/18/turkeys-top-appeals-court-refuses-to-uphold-verdict-of-cumhuriyet-journalists/), a criminal department of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has refused to uphold prison sentences handed down to several journalists and media staff in the Cumhuriyet newspaper case, sending the file back to the lower court for recommended acquittal, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Thursday.
The ruling recommended acquittal for Murat Sabuncu, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Orhan Erinç and Akın Atalay, who all received prison sentences longer than five years.
The court also recommended the acquittal of seven others including journalist Kadri Gürsel and cartoonist Musa Kart, whose files were previously upheld by a mid-level court of appeals as their sentences were shorter than five years.
Under normal circumstances, a petition for review for sentences of less than five years cannot be filed with the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The ruling ordered a retrial for journalist Ahmet Şık, who had received seven years, six months for allegedly aiding terrorist groups. The court said Şık’s sentence must be vacated and that he should instead be tried for spreading propaganda on behalf of terrorist groups and openly denigrating state institutions. (…)
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (19.07.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/07/19/top-court-upholds-prison-sentence-handed-down-to-singer-on-erdogan-insult-charge/), Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has upheld a prison sentence of 11 months, 20 days handed down to famous pop Turkish Zuhal Olcay on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Olcay was given the jail sentence by the İstanbul Regional Court’s 2nd Penal Chamber in July 2018. The sentence was suspended on condition that she not commit the same crime for a year and a half.
Olcay was reported to the police on Aug. 5, 2016 after a concert in Kadıköy, İstanbul, for making an insulting hand gesture in reference to Erdoğan.
After examining footage from the concert, the Anadolu Republic Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted Olcay, demanding a sentence of between one year, two months and four years, eight months. (…)
Thousands of people in Turkey are under investigation, and most of them are under the threat of imprisonment, over alleged insults of President Erdoğan. The insult cases generally stem from social media posts shared by Erdoğan opponents. The Turkish police and judiciary perceive any tiny criticism targeting Erdoğan or his government as an insult.
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