Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (07.07.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci has said that the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties which are represented in the “assembly” described as “important” and “constructive” the proposal he had submitted to the Greek Cypriot side on 13 July regarding the establishment of a joint committee on the hydrocarbons issue. Speaking after his meeting with the political party leaders in view of the meeting he will hold on Friday 9 August with President Anastasiades, Akinci said that the agreement achieved with the party leaders underlined that in case we come to the point of starting any process regarding the Cyprus problem, the negotiations should be focused on the result and the process should not be open-ended.
Arguing that the Turkish Cypriot side would attend the meeting with good will and in a constructive manner, Akinci alleged: “The Turkish Cypriot people have very important indispensable conditions in whichever solution, whichever its name will be. One of them is the political equality and the effective participation in the decisions. Our sensitivity on this issue was underlined during the meeting. The party leaders and I wanted for the importance of this issue to be understood once more. I want to underline it once more. I want to note that the time has come for the Greek Cypriot leader to be clearer on this issue”.
Referring to his proposal on the hydrocarbons, Akinci argued: “We want to send one message all together from here. The Greek Cypriot side rejected the proposal in an absolute manner and early. This was an extremely wrong behavior. Our common view is that it would be useful for them to look at our proposal once more”. Furthermore, Akinci made a call on “third parties” to help, examine his proposal well and give the “necessary messages” to the Greek Cypriots, so that the hydrocarbons may become a source of cooperation and not of tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Akinci said that after his meeting with President Anastasiades he would meet again with the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders. Except for Akinci no one else made a statement after the meeting.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (07.07.19) publishes statements made by leaders or representatives of the parties which are represented in the “assembly” prior to the meeting with Akinci.
Cemal Ozyigit, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said they hoped that the 9th of August would be the start for a new negotiating process. Noting that the meeting between the leaders was very important, he said that he was cautiously optimistic and added: “I hope that the picture which will come up would make our hopes flourish again”.
Erhan Arikli, chairman of the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP), argued that neither in Cyprus nor in the Eastern Mediterranean a positive climate for the recommencement of the negotiations existed.
Ersan Saner, general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), argued that there would be no result from the meeting.
Erdogan Sorakin, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that they expected a date for the recommencement of the negotiations to come up from this meeting. “We think that the necessary initiative should be undertaken for us to enter in depth in to the points that created a deadlock at Crans Montana and materialize the solution”, he added.
Yenal Senin, general secretary of the People’s Party (HP), expressed the view that it would not be correct for the negotiations to begin from the point they had left off. He also alleged that the Greek Cypriot leader should not participate in the process regarding the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha and reiterated that consensus among the “government” and the main political parties continued to exist on the natural gas issue.
Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP) said that he would make his assessments on the issue after the meeting with Akinci.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (07.07.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci has said that three options existed on the hydrocarbons issue. In statements yesterday after meeting with Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Donmez, Akinci argued that these three options were: not to carry out unilateral drilling activities (a moratorium), to establish a common committee and to carry out separate drilling activities, as is the case today. He alleged that the behavior of the Turkish Cypriot side was developed based on the stance of the Greek Cypriot side on this issue and that no one should accuse the Turkish Cypriots. He claimed:
“There is no partnership. There is no moratorium. Then everyone will go their own way. Meeting on the path of reason would create an environment more beneficial for everyone. On 9 August, I will propose again for us to meet at this common path of reason. I hope that this will find a satisfactory response”.
Moreover, Akinci wished for the Greek Cypriot side to feel the need to reexamine the issue after the meeting of 9 August. He alleged that foreign diplomats assessed his proposal on the hydrocarbons as correct and a proposal which could not be “dismissed” easily. He also claimed the following: “I hope that this will happen. We will continue walking the way of reason together with Turkey, but everybody should know the following: If the Greek Cypriot side, insistently and stubbornly, does not approach this proposal for partnership and walks its own way, they should know that they will leave us no other alternative but to also walk our own way”.
In his statements, Donmez said that during his illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus, he would have the opportunity to discuss the “license” granted by the occupation regime to Turkish petroleum (TPAO) for conducting research for oil and natural gas and to visit Yavuz drilling vessel for evaluating its works on site.
Donmez reiterated that they would stand by their kinsmen in the occupied area of Cyprus side for “protecting their rights and interests”. He argued that they did not accept the fact that the Greek Cypriot side sees itself as the sole owner of the island and what he called “its unilateral steps”.
Donmez reiterated that Turkey supported Akinci’s proposal for the establishment of a common committee on the hydrocarbons and alleged that they saw hydrocarbons as a factor, which would contribute to peace and prosperity on the island and not to tension. He argued that if needed, his country was ready to contribute in the process.
According to illegal Bayrak television (07.08.19-https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=yavuz-drilling-vessel) Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez who was on a one day illegal visit to the “TRNC”, visited yesterday the Yavuz drilling vessel that is carrying out drilling efforts off the shores of the Karpaz peninsula.
Donmez boarded a helicopter together with so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar and so-called minister of economy and energy Hasan Tacoy. All were briefed regarding the efforts being carried out on the vessel.
Both Tatar and Donmez emphasized that “the rights and interest of Turkey and the TRNC will be protected in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
Making a statement after the inspection, Tatar alleged the work being carried out by the vessel is vital and added that there were predictions that there was certain wealth in the region. Hopefully both Turkey and the TRNC will gain their share of this wealth”, Tatar claimed.
For his part, Fatih Dönmez announced that the second seismic research vessel MTA Oruç Reis will be sent to the Mediterranean in August, meaning that there will be 2 seismic vessels in the area at the same time.
Criticising the Greek Cypriot side’s stance on the hydrocarbon issue, Donmez called on the Greek Cypriot side to evaluate the proposals put forward by the Turkish Cypriot side.
He reiterated once again that “Turkey will always protect the rights and interests of the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Under the title “Yavuz started drilling”, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (07.08.19, http://www.yeniduzen.com/yavuz-sondaja-basladi-117605h.htm) reports that Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said that Yavuz drilling vessel started drilling at “Karpaz-1 well”, adding: “As of today, we have reached a drilling depth of approximately 1710 meters.”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (07.08.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=donmez-chatted-with-citizens), Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez, during his one day illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus, met yesterday with citizens in the occupied village Kythrea.
Speaking there, Dönmez, who was accompanied by the “Turkish ambassador” to occupied part of Nicosia Murat Başçeri and the self-styled minister of economy and energy Hasan Taçoy, touched upon the importance of Cyprus for Turkey and said: “We did not meet with the people living in Cyprus in 1974. Our relations and friendship date back to 1571. When you are sad we also feel sad and when you are happy we are also happy. Our common worries, pride and future unite. We stood by you until today and you don’t have to worry because we will continue to do so. We are determined to protect your rights and benefits up to the end.”
Reminding that discussions were continuing on the sharing of natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, he alleged that the Greek Cypriot side was acting as if it is the only ruler of the island.
Claiming that the Eastern Mediterranean issue was now a national cause, Dönmez claimed that this was a national cause not only for the “TRNC” but for 80 million Turkish citizens residing in Turkey also. (…)
Donmez further argued: “We should walk through this joint vision together and without disrupting our unity and solidarity. (…) I believe with all my heart that you share the same worries and vision and believe in the same purpose. I hope our unity and solidarity will not be disrupted.”
Under the title “An encouragement phone call from Lute to leaders”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (07.08.19) reports that UN Secretary-General's special envoy Jane Holl Lute called yesterday both leaders, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, to convey her wishes for success on their meeting on Friday.
According to a press release by Akinci’s office, Jane Holl Lute underlined the importance that the UN Secretary General attaches to the informal meeting of the leaders on 9 August, adding that the UN’s support and interest for the Cyprus settlement continues.
During the phone conversation, Akinci claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side is known to act with constructive attitude and political determination, adding that he will also attend the meeting on 9 August with good intention and constructive stance as always. He also argued that the political determination and the goodwill should be reciprocated in order to be able to get result from the meeting.
According to illegal Bayrak television (07.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-returns-to-trnc), so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay briefed the foreign country representatives at the 11th Ambassadors Conference in Turkey regarding the Cyprus issue.
After completing his “contacts” in Turkey, Ozersay returned to the “TRNC” and evaluated his contacts to the BRT.
Stating that more than 200 Ambassadors from all around the world attended the conference in Turkey, Ozersay said that he was honored to be invited to take part in the meeting and give his perspective regarding the future of the Cyprus problem.
Noting that Ambassadors were the ones who actively enforce foreign policies, Ozersay said that considering the fact that the “TRNC” has a limited amount of representative offices since it is not recognized, it is difficult to make its voice heard.
“Therefore when I take part in meetings I try to make our voice heard even more. Turkey has representative offices all over the world, so if we work together, we can also make our voice heard around the world. They can make us more visible around the world that’s why this visit and invitation was vital”, Ozersay claimed.
Explaining that during his visit he had the opportunity to give interviews to a variety of local and foreign media institutions, Özersay argued that he spoke about the closed city of Varosha, the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the future of the Cyprus issue.
He also said that during his visit to Turkey, he came together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We not only spoke about the Cyprus issue but we also took up economic issues as well and discussed the economic protocol that was signed between the two countries” Özersay supported.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (07.08.19) reports that according to data by the “state planning organization” (“DPO”), there was a decline in the total occupancy of tourist accommodation establishments in the occupied area of Cyprus the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. It is estimated that the occupancy rate in touristic accommodation facilities is 41.6% in the first six months of 2019, compared to 47.0% in the same period in 2018.
The paper also reports that the number of foreign tourists, who stay overnight in tourist accommodation facilities during the period January-June 2019 was 829.004, compared to 795.532 in the same period in 2018. While the number of Turkish citizens, who stay overnight in tourist accommodation facilities during the period January-June 2019 was 959.248, compared to 1.037.397 in the same period in 2018.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.08.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/-turkeys-op-in-n-syria-to-move-different-phase-soon-/1550895) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey’s counter-terrorism offensives will move forward to a “different phase” in northern Syria very soon.
“We’II move the process which we started with the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations forward to a different phase very soon,” Erdogan told the 11th Ambassadors' Conference in the capital Ankara referring to Turkey's planned military operation in northern Syria.
"If needed, Turkey will absolutely protect its national interests [in Syria] either via dialogue, soft power, coercive diplomacy instruments or practical politics," Erdogan stressed.
Erdogan said that Turkey's military operation in Syria would not only resolve the irregular migrant issue, but also accelerate the return of homesick Syrians to their country.
"We expect clear steps from the U.S. over extradition of the FETO ringleader to Turkey and halting the arming of the PKK/YPG terror groups," he added.
Erdogan also went on to say that Turkey is determined to tear off PKK from the Iraqi territory as well.
Erdogan also commented on Turkey's EU membership and said that Turkey still wants to avail "full membership".
"If the European Union wants to be a global actor, they first need to win Turkey. Turkey's membership should not be sacrificed for the ambitions of a few countries. We, despite everything, try to continue our half-century full membership struggle with a positive agenda," Erdogan said.
Erdogan went on to say that the country’s procurement of the Russian S-400 missile defense system was a “commercial” rather than a “strategic” move.
He criticized the U.S. and the EU for their biased attitude as they did not adopt a hardline in response to other NATO members who had previously bought the S-300 system.
Erdogan said further that there was no concrete evidence suggesting that the S-400 missiles would put the F-35 fighter jet program in danger.
Referring to Turkey’s ties with Russia, Erdogan said that the two countries enjoy close ties in a variety of fields such as trade, energy, tourism and defense industry.
He said that the TurkStream project, which will enable the transfer of Russian gas to European countries through Turkey, will be completed by the end of 2019 and Akkuyu Nuclear Plant, being built in Turkey with Russian assistance, was making progress.
Erdogan said that concrete results were obtained in Astana talks, paving the way for permanent peace in Syria, and the Sochi deal prevented a great humanitarian tragedy from unfolding in northwestern Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone.
Erdogan went on to say that the trouble in Palestine was a never-healing wound galvanized by unilateral actions, which jeopardize the two-state solution.
“Establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital is not a preference but an obligation.
"As Turkey, we will continue to defend justice and righteousness in the Palestine issue until the very end. We will not abandon our first Kiblah, our beloved Jerusalem to the mercy of occupants," he asserted.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.08.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/asia-becoming-center-of-power-says-foreign-minister-145572) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Aug. 6 emphasized the significance of Asia, as an emerging power center.
Addressing theTurkish Ambassadors at a dinner hosted by Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) and Turkey Exporters Assembly (TIM) in capital Ankara, Cavusoglu said that economic power was shifting from the West to the East.
“We see that the power of economy is heading from the West to the East and Asia has started to emerge as the center of power,” said Cavusoglu.
He also said that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has launched a new initiative called “Asia Anew” that would aim to improve ties with Asian countries in different regions.
The initiative would include cooperation on education, defense industry, investments, trade, technology, culture and political dialogue.
“The world is going through a process of change,” he said, adding that “the unpredictable transition period” and “domination of uncertainties” are the most challenging aspects of the process.
Noting that unpredictability was making it hard to set a target, he expressed confidence that the country will overcome these problems.
Describing trade wars as new “technology wars,” Çavusoglu said that those who invest in innovation and technology, will be the winners.
“This year, we give importance especially to digital diplomacy. We know that strong economy (…)
Turkish daily Sabah (07.08.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/08/07/defense-minister-akar-deputy-pm-of-qatar-discuss-bilateral-cooperation) reports that Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met on Tuesday with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah.
Akar welcomed his counterpart at the Defense Ministry in Ankara, where they discussed bilateral ties and cooperation between Turkey and Qatar.
After signing a private ledger, the two Ministers held a meeting that focused on bilateral cooperation in the military and defense sector. They also discussed regional security.
Relations between Turkey and Qatar have reportedly improved in every area. Turkish contractors undertook projects worth $2 billion in the Gulf country last year. They have undertaken 137 projects in Qatar to date, totaling $14.8 billion. The two countries have also agreed on various future projects.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.08.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/visa-free-travel-starts-between-turkey-russia-145587) reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement on August 7 said that the visa-free travel between Russia and Turkey goes into effect starting today.
“The measure is valid on a reciprocal basis for official and service passport holders as well as for international transport drivers”, the statement said.
It also includes Turkish special passport holders.
"The agreement on visa exemption signed on May 12, 2010 was partially re-enacted as of Aug. 7, 2019. We expect the full implementation of the agreement," added the statement.
Russia had suspended the visa-free regime in late 2015, amid tensions over the downing of a Russian jet along the Turkish-Syrian border.
This July, Russian President Putin ordered the Foreign Ministry to send a notification to Turkish officials about this partial restoration of visa-free travel.
"The Russian move allowing visa-free travel to Turkish citizens is a result of warm relations and dialogue," Turkish President Erdogan said, hailing Russia's decision.
According to the Turkish website (07.08.19-https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/08/07/access-to-bianet-news-website-blocked-in-turkey-upon-demand-from-gendarmerie/), a Turkish court has imposed a ban on access to independent news website Bianet along with other news websites upon a demand from the Gendarmerie General Command, Bianet reported.
The ruling was made by an Ankara court upon a petition from the Gendarmerie General Command dated July 16. The court provided no justification for its decision.
With the court’s verdict, more than 200,000 articles on Bianet, which has been operating since 1998, will become inaccessible.
Meriç Eyüboğlu, a lawyer representing Bianet who filed an objection to the verdict, has said that access bans were imposed on some individual articles on Bianet in the past and that the site challenged the rulings at the Constitutional Court. He said a total ban on access to the website is now the issue.
Eyüboğlu described the court’s decision as a legal scandal since it lacks any legal grounds as well as being an act of censorship.
Bianet, which is affiliated with the Independent Communication Foundation (BIA), is not only a news website but also holds journalism workshops for the improvement of free speech and independent journalism in Turkey. Bianet also documents violations of freedom of expression and violence against women with its Media Monitoring Reports and Male Violence Monitoring Reports.
Along with Bianet, an access ban for 15 other news websites is mentioned in the court ruling: Etha, Halkın Sesi TV, Özgür Gelecek, osp.org, geziyisavunuyoruz.org, Gazete Fersude, Yeni Demokratik Gençlik, Umut Gazetesi, Kızıl Bayrak, Marksist Teori, Direnişteyiz, Mücadele Birliği and Antakya Sokak.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Oya Ersoy’s Twitter account is also included on the list. A total of 136 URLs are listed, including accounts on Facebook and Instagram.
Turkey, where more than 150 journalists and media workers are currently jailed, was ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released in April by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
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