Under the title “We will never break off from our Turkey”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs (21.08.19) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that they were after the “rights of the Turkish nation and of the TRNC people” over the wealth in the Eastern Mediterranean and would never allow anyone to usurp them. In statements during his visit in Mersin yesterday, Tatar referred to the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and expressed his satisfaction with the decisions taken by the Turkish government in the direction of what he described as “protection of our rights and interests”. He argued that they were relieved by the fact that Turkey and the breakaway regime worked together “on what we call blue homeland”. He alleged:
“We believe that we seek our rights as Turkish nation and of course as TRNC people in the sharing of this wealth in the future. We will allow no one to usurp our rights. Therefore, the fact that we act together and our determination are extremely important for our nation”.
Moreover, Tatar claimed that the recent developments showed what an important “state” the TRNC” was and alleged: “Battles or conflicts for the hydrocarbons, oil and natural gas are currently being conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean. We are happy that Turkey, the motherland is very assertive there. Drillings are being conducted there with the determination of the Turkish government. […] The struggle we are conducting as TRNC together with the Turkish government for the protection of our rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean which we call ‘blue homeland’, is very important for our nation and our people. […]”
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Güneş (21.08.19) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that occupied fenced-off Varosha was a continuation of the city of Famagusta and argued that opening fenced-off Varosha under Turkish administration through the so-called “immovable property commission” would secure a great benefit to the regime’s economy. In statements during his visit in Mersin yesterday, Tatar alleged:
“Famagusta is a very important city for us. Ships from the Port of Mersin go to the port of Famagusta. We have a direct connection between the two places. One area of Varosha is open anyway. The closed area of Varosha is the place which has a beach. It is a place with a great value. Creating the climate that will give the possibility to the former owners to come with some initiatives within the framework of international law and to make Famagusta more complete and viable will secure a great benefit to the TRNC’s economy.
Some difficulties from the point of view of international law might exist, because some former owners, due to the fact that it is closed, seek compensations at international courts for not being able to go to their properties. These difficulties will be overcome. This was brought onto the agenda by our government. A procedure will be followed after the inventory study which is being held currently. Therefore some works and initiatives are being conducted. Of course, consultations with the Turkish government will also take place. We think that this is a correct road and procedure. […]”
Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (21.08.19, https://www.brtk.net/amcaoglu-ankarada/) broadcasts that Olgun Amcaoglu, self-styled finance minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, arrived in Ankara this morning. In statements at Esenboga airport, Amcaoglu said that the reason of his visit to Ankara was to discuss issues regarding the so-called “protocol for economic and fiscal cooperation” between Turkey and the breakaway regime. He noted that he would discuss the outilne of this “protocol”, the transferring of the resources and their distribution to various sectors of the economy. He also said that they would discuss how the 750 million Turkish liras for 2019 would be transferred and when the negotiations as regards the three-year 2020-2022 “protocol” would begin.
According to illegal Bayrak television (21.08.19, https://www.brtk.net/tatar-ve-ozersay-ankaraya-gidecek/), self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar will pay his “first official visit since coming to office” to Ankara tomorrow upon an invitation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to a press release by the “prime ministry’s directorate of press and public relations”, Tatar, who will be accompanied by “deputy prime minister and foreign minister” Kudret Özersay, will be departing for Ankara tomorrow morning.
Tatar and his accompanying delegation, in line with “state tradition”, will visit Anıtkabir prior to his meeting with the Turkish President.
Following the meeting with Erdoğan at the Presidential Complex, the delegations will be coming together for a working lunch.
Tatar and his accompanying delegation will be returning to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus on Friday morning.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (21.08.19) reports that citizens reacted positively to the proposal made by Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci to President Anastasiades during their unofficial meeting on 9 August providing for the car insurance policies being valid in both the government-controlled and the occupied area of the island. Citizens told the paper that crossings would increase if this Confidence Building Measure (CBM) was implemented and this would help in the two communities’ coalescence.
Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, told the paper that having two different insurances was a burden for many people. He argued that if Akinci’s proposal was accepted in principle, a work would be launched by the technical committees of the two sides together with the insurance companies and the crossings would increase. Noting that many people did not want to pay 25 euros monthly to cross over to the government-controlled area of the island, Burcu said that many people faced difficulties even in issuing insurance for one month.
Meanwhile, Raif Cukurovali, vice chairman of the so-called northern Cyprus insurance and reassurance companies’ union, said that the proposal for the car insurances being valid in both sides of the island was not as simple as it seemed, adding that the materialization of this proposal was very difficult. He noted that if this proposal was materialized, the insurance companies would have to reexamine the contracts they made every year and that insurance companies in both sides would have reservations on this issue. He also said that the insurance companies would face competition problems and argued that the Greek Cypriot companies were in a more advantageous position from the point of view of taxation.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Diyalog (21.08.19) reports that Hasan Tacoy, self-styled minister of economy and energy of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that the so-called electricity authority of the regime (KIB-TEK) owed 400 million Turkish liras (TL) and that the “government” thought that it was not necessary to purchase four new power plants by taking a new loan of 28 million dollars.
In statements to Diyalog TV, Tacoy noted that “KIB-TEK” owed 180 million TL to the banks and 215 million TL to AKSA private company. He also said that “KIB-TEK” had to receive 40 million TL from the “state” and 60 million from the army.
Referring to the demand of “KIB-TEK’s” employees’ trade union (EL-SEN) as regards inviting tenders for purchasing four new power plants by the end of the month, Tacoy expressed the view that the existing power plants could cover their needs and they did not need new ones by spending 28 million dollars.
Asked whether he knew the reason why 250 million TL had not been transferred yet to the breakaway regime from Turkey, Tacoy noted that there was a disagreement between the sides as to how this money would be spent and added that differences existed in Turkey’s budget law and the “budget law” of the breakaway regime. “Without taking into consideration these differences, a demand was submitted in the direction of paying some investments related to the past within this money to be given by Turkey”, he noted adding that this was technically not possible for the Turkish Cypriots. He said that the regime’s “finance minister” was going to Ankara to overcome these problems.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberator (21.08.19) reports that Mehmet Davulcu, general secretary of the Communal Liberation Party – New Forces (TKP-YG), commenting on the removal of the three HDP Mayors in Turkey by the Turkish government and their replacement with state-appointed trustees, said that this decision was a blow to democracy by the Turkish government.
Noting that democracy in Turkey is rather troubled, Davulcu added that it would not be easy anymore to speak of the existence of democracy in Turkey.
According to illegal Bayrak television (21.08.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=handover-ceremony-at-4th-infantry-regiment), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci attended yesterday evening the hand-over ceremony at the 4th Infantry Regiment of the so-called security forces (GKK).
Colonel Kadir Bayraklı has become the new commander of the 4th Infantry Regiment of the so-called security forces replacing Staff Colonol Ali Koruk.
Commander of the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus Major General Yılmaz Yıldırım, the Commander of the so-called security forces Brigadier General Tevfik Algan, the self-styled speaker of the assembly Teberrüken Uluçay and self-styled deputy speaker Zorlu Töre were also present at the ceremony.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Haber Kibris (21.08.19, https://haberkibris.com/bocce-takimi-uluslararasi-turnuvaya-katiliyor-2019-08-21.html), the “Bocce national team” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus will participate in the 2019 Central European Cup for Clubs PRV Bocce Tournament, which will take place in Slovakia from August 21st – 25th .
Teams from Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and Poland will also participate in the tournament.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.08.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syrian-regime-shouldnt-play-with-fire-fm-cavusoglu-145918), Turkey warned Damascus on Aug. 20 “not to play with fire” a day after a Turkish military convoy was attacked by an airstrike in northwest Idlib province of Syria.
“The regime should not play with fire... As we have previously said, we will do whatever is necessary to ensure the security of our soldiers and observation posts. We hope it will come to this point,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference with his El Salvadorian counterpart Alexandra Hill. “We should focus on the political process. We will accelerate our efforts in this bid in [the] upcoming period,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu further said that the Syrian regime insists on a “military solution because it does not believe much on the political process”.
An airstrike on the Turkish military convoy on Monday moving south towards the ninth observation point killed three civilians, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said. The ministry said the convoy had been sent to keep open supply routes and ensure the safety of the observation post, which could become cut off by the latest Syrian army offensive.
Cavusolgu said Turkey would not remove its observation post located near Morek at the moment, which a Turkish convoy was trying to reach on Monday when it came under attack. “Right now we have no intention of moving it elsewhere. It will continue its mission. Our friends take the necessary military measures for security,” he stated. (…)
Asked about discussions with Russia after the attack on the Turkish convoy, Çavuşoğlu said Ankara and Moscow are in dialogue on all levels and Turkey’s chief of general staff, Yaşar Güler, had a phone conversation with his counterpart along with other contacts.
Recalling Russia’s argument that rebels in the region have been attacking its Hmeymim airbase, Çavuşoğlu said: “Russia’s statement that harassment is coming from there is not valid now. It’s quite far away in terms of range”. (…)
Meanwhile, Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (20.08.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/08/20/turkey-notified-of-attacks-on-hts-militants-in-idlib-lavrov/) reports that Turkey has been notified about attacks on Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militants in Syria’s Idlib region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to Sputnik International, in response to a Turkish Defence Ministry statement on an airstrike that hit a Turkish convoy near Idlib region.
“Jointly with our Turkish colleagues, in order to stop regular violations by these terrorists of the cessation of hostilities agreement, although it does not extend to them, we have made clear that if they carry out attacks from this zone they will be harshly suppressed. These provocations have continued throughout the year,” Lavrov said at a press conference held after talks with his Ghanaian counterpart, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey. (…)
Lavrov added that in all cases Turkish colleagues were warned that “we will respond, and that will continue because the agreement on Idlib does not provide for the extension of the ceasefire to terrorists.” (…)
The statement comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said earlier in the day that Turkey was in contact with Russia over the Syrian Air Force’s recent attack on a Turkish military convoy in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
The Turkish minister stressed that it was necessary to focus on a political settlement and transition period in Syria. “We will discuss this at upcoming meetings with the Russian and Iranian leaders. … It is difficult to ensure a political settlement without the participation of the guarantor states,” Çavuşoğlu added.
Columnist Sedat Ergin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.08.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/sedat-ergin/turkish-russian-relations-on-a-stress-test-in-idlib-145922), comments on the latest airstrike on Turkish military convoy in Idlib and how the Turkish-Russian relations develop, in the following commentary:
“Turkey and Russia have indirectly been at odds amid developments in Idlib in Syria’s northwest. This was happening in contradiction to the great rapprochement in Turkish-Russian relations thanks to the arrival of the S-400 air missile systems.
The alarming situation in the field has now been taken into a new verge with the air attack launched towards an on-the-go military convoy of the Turkish Armed Forces on Aug. 19 in Idlib. The Aug. 19 incident is a first in the sense that it was the first time a Turkish convoy has been subjected to an aerial attack in Idlib.
Turkey’s many military bases in the region have been subjected to attacks as Bashar al-Assad launched a systematic military campaign towards radical groups in Idlib last May, with the overt support of Russia.
The previous ones, however, were artillery attacks. For instance, on June 27, the Syrian army launched an artillery attack on Turkey’s 10th observation post in the southern rural Zawiya region in Idlib. In the attack, a soldier was killed and three soldiers were injured.
These actions of the Assad regime have been putting Turkish-Russian relations on a stress test at every turn. Because after every incident, Turkey has been demanding Russia to keep its ally Syria at restraint, yet, these attempts have been doing no good to the attitudes on the field. Seemingly, Moscow, which has the influence to easily affect the regime - if it wants to - has been setting Damascus hands’ free. This situation, taking place under the shadow of the warm climate of the S-400s, was becoming a source of trust problem, which was not openly revealed.
A very similar one to this problem was repeated on Aug. 19, on the field, on a very dangerous verge.
The fact that the Turkish convoy was attacked, despite Russia being told in advance about the convoy, makes the situation quite serious in all respects. It is worth noting that the Turkish Defence Ministry’s statement on Aug. 19 used a rhetoric attributing the incident’s responsibility to Russia.
In fact, the security crisis here should be seen as a result of the de facto termination of the Sochi Agreement, signed between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sept. 17, 2018.
Article 1 of the agreement stipulates that ‘Turkey’s observation points will be fortified and continue their activities’. Today, the observation points are under attack.
According to article 2, Russia will ‘take all precautions to avoid military operations and attacks in Idlib’. This article also asserts that ‘the current status quo in Idlib will be protected’.
According to article 3 of the same agreement, ‘a 15 to 20-kilometer-deep demilitarized zone in Idlib’ was supposed to be established. Articles 5 and 6 of the agreement oversaw the ‘removal of all radical groups, as well as tanks and cannons, within October 2018 in this region’.
In practice, Russia’s support for the Syrian army’s military operations that commenced in May, and the fact that Russian air forces ipso facto participation in the war, clearly shows that article 2 of the agreement is not being implemented. Russia, on the other hand, was voicing complaints from its own perspective about the implementation of the agreement, saying radical groups are not leaving the demilitarized zone and attacking the Russian military base in Khmeimim.
With the ongoing reciprocal criticisms, Russia has put its weight in favour of the regime capturing Idlib, therefore, in favour of changing the status quo. After that, groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, which Turkey supports, entered the stage in Idlib, in a more distinguishable way, after May. This alteration bore the message that Ankara would not accept the change of the status quo in Idlib.
This tension, which has been accumulating for some time, has morphed into a critical stage in the last week, when the regime entered the range of seizing Khan Sheikhun, in the south of Idlib. It is critical, because Turkey’s ninth observation post is situated in Morek, about 10 kilometers south of Khan Sheikhun. As the regime captures Khan Sheikhun, it will create a situation such that this observation point will be surrounded by regime forces, from all sides, and land route with Turkey will be cut off.
Since the observation posts were established within the framework of an agreement signed with Russia during the Astana process, the continuation of their presence is under Russia’s guarantee. As a matter of fact, Russia also has observation posts, across the other side of the border.
We can say that a sensitive, critical diplomatic process between Turkey and Russia awaits with the incident of Aug. 19. It should not be surprising if this comes up on the agenda of the close dialogue between Erdoğan and Putin, in the forthcoming days.
Taking this crisis under control is also important with regards to the fate of the trilateral summit in Turkey, between Erdoğan, Putin and the participation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani mid-September.
It is inevitable that the convergence process of Turkey and Russia would be overshadowed, if the said situation fails to be taken under control and besetting outcomes come up in Idlib, like the Aug. 19 incident.
It is obvious that a route full of high risks that needs to be managed really carefully is being followed in Idlib.”
Under the title “Kilicdaroglu’s reaction to state-appointed trustees: This issue is not just a HDP issue”, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (21.08.19, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/1542491/Kilicdaroglu_ndan_kayyim_tepkisi__Bu_mesele_HDP_meselesi_degil.html) reports that the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, criticizing the dismissal of the three HDP (pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party) mayors of the provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van and their replacement with state-appointed trustees, said: “This is not a matter for the HDP or any other party. This is disrespect to the will of the nation”.
Meanwhile, Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (20.09.18, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/08/19/turkish-police-intervene-in-protests-against-govt-removal-of-3-kurdish-mayors/) reports that Turkish police on Monday intervened with force in demonstrations in several cities protesting a government decision to remove the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, according to Turkish media.
Mardin Governor’s Office issued a ban on protests and demonstrations in the province for a month. The reports said some protestors were briefly detained by the police, while others were dispersed by pepper spray and water cannon. (…)
HDP Co-chairperson Sezai Temelli said in a statement that his party would not abandon the use of democratic means and would continue their fight for democracy. “It is time to take the side of democracy and democratic politics. It is time to stand behind the will of the nation. Let’s stand side-by-side against this ignoble way of doing politics,” he said.
On the same issue, Turkish online newspaper T24 (20.08.19, https://t24.com.tr/haber/istanbul-da-kayyim-eylemine-polis-mudahalesi-cok-sayida-gozalti-var,835743) reports that the demonstrations in Turkey protesting the dismissal of the HDP mayors continued yesterday in Istanbul with more detains and severe intervention by the police.
Meanwhile, the central committee of the HDP, in an extraordinary convene on Monday evening due to the recent events, decided for a “continuous action”.
Under the title “6 journalists detained amid protests against removal of Kurdish mayors”, Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (20.08.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/08/20/6-journalists-detained-amid-protests-against-removal-of-kurdish-mayors/) reports that six journalists in Mardin and Diyarbakır were taken into police custody while following protests against the government removal of three Kurdish mayors on Monday, according to the Mezopotamya news agency.
Police detained Ahmet Kanbal, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Rojda Aydın, Nurcan Yalçın and Halime Parlak in Mardin, and Yelda Özbek in Diyarbakır, the report said.
The Mezopotamya agency’s Kurdish service editor, Ziyan Karahan, was among those detained in the investigation.
Following Turkey’s removal of the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van over alleged terrorist links, thousands, including Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, took to the streets to protest.
Three HDP deputies were among the protestors who received medical treatment due to injuries sustained when the police intervened in the demonstrations.
Turkish police on Monday also detained 418 people in 29 provinces as part of a massive terrorism investigation.
Moreover, TM (20.08.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/08/20/turkish-journalist-detained-on-terrorism-charges/) reports that Ayşegül Tözeren, a columnist for the Evrensel daily and a poet, was detained by police early Tuesday on suspicion of terrorist links, according to Fatih Polat, the editor-in-chief of the daily. (…)
Her lawyer was later told by officials that Tözeren was being investigated for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, which has been waging an insurgency in Turkey’s Southeast for decades.
In a column on Tuesday Polat criticized the detention, saying that such investigations into journalists could be conducted without a police raid on their homes. (…)
According to Turkish daily Sabah (21.08.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/08/21/turkey-el-salvador-to-reciprocally-open-embassies), El Salvador will open an embassy in Ankara while Turkey is also considering making a mutual move in the capital of the Central American country. During a conference that took place in the Foreign Ministry Residence with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his El Salvadorian counterpart Alexandra Hill, the main headlines were the strengthening of relations of both countries and the establishment of diplomatic missions to boost cooperation.
The visit marked the first one at a foreign ministry level and Hill announced El Salvador's wish to open an embassy to further relations in several aspects. President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador previously stated his wish in this regard with an official letter.
"In the face of this step, we cannot remain indifferent. Thus, as Turkey we will also start our works regarding the opening of a Turkish Embassy in El Salvador," said Çavuşoğlu while adding that relations with Latin American, Central American and Caribbean countries will likely be further enhanced.
Underlining that the economy is a significant element for every country, Çavuşoğlu said that the two countries intend to augment trade and sign the necessary agreements in this regard as soon as possible, and that the current trade volume of $30 million does not reflect the two countries' potential. In the conference, which focused on the areas where relations could be enhanced and by what means, Çavuşoğlu said, "I will be returning the favour by visiting El Salvador in a short time. While we will be in contact with regional organizations as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), El Salvador will remain our most significant partner [in the region]."
Stating that Turkey already has 17 diplomatic missions in Latin America and the Caribbean, he added that more are projected to be established. (…)
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