Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (30.09.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci will meet with UNSG Antonio Guterres today at 12.20 New York time (19.20 Cyprus time). The paper notes that in statements regarding this meeting, Akinci said that he would go with a “constructive stance as always” and that he would remind the UNSG of the proposal he had submitted on 13 July regarding the hydrocarbons, which could allegedly be a way for overcoming tension in the area.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (29.09.19) reports that in statements to illegal TAK and Bayrak, Akinci said that the Cyprus problem could not remain unsolved and argued that clarity and clearness was needed the most. He alleged that the things defended by the Turkish Cypriot side had become UN principles and parameters and argued that the UN should defend its own parameters and prevent the Greek Cypriot side from diverting from them.
Akinci said that during his meeting with the UNSG they would “seek a result on the issues which we have been emphasizing for the past two years”. He alleged that saying that you accept political equality and rejecting effective participation and rotating presidency meant that you do not accept the political equality as it was included in the UN reports and the existing agreements. “In the same manner, saying that we are committed to the agreements of the past and rejecting the elements of political equality which are included in the agreements of the past, also means that you do not accept political equality”, he claimed adding that words should not differ from actions.
Replying to a question regarding the terms of reference, Akinci reiterated that from the very first moment, the Turkish Cypriot side had put forward the three basic elements for concluding the terms of reference and reiterated that these are the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014, the agreements of the past and the Guterres Framework of 30 June 2017.
Referring to the Guterres framework, Akinci alleged that if President Anastasiades accepted its content “as it is without watering it down and without distortions”, this was a positive development. “The important thing here is to accept article 6 as it is in the UNSG’s document and to advance the negotiations within this framework”, he argued adding that “we are not seeking a process which is based on the mentality of negotiating for the sake of negotiations with an open end”.
He noted that “if it is possible to begin a new process focused on the result with the target of a strategic agreement our target is for this process to begin clearly and on a sound basis and conclude successfully”. He further said: “Of course, we have said it before that we will evaluate positively three-party or five-party meetings provided by the UNSG and include the possibility of taking us to a positive result, in case they are well prepared. We stand at the same point today. We will again remind of our proposal of 13 July, which we have sent to him as well and which constitutes a way out of the tension on the hydrocarbons issue. We are here to contribute to peace and stability and not to tension”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (29.09.19) reports, that referring to the Cyprus problem, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Turkey had submitted a proposal for an unofficial 5+1 type conference for Cyprus, in which the three guarantor powers, the two communities on the island and the UN would participate. “We will unofficially discuss what we will be negotiating, then we will decide and shape the document of reference”, he noted speaking to Turkish journalists in New York. He then reiterated that “it is definitely not possible to continue from the point where we left off at Crans Montana, because the result was extremely unsuccessful”.
Referring to the hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cavusoglu expressed the view that the resources should be shared fairly and reiterated Turkey’s support to what he called “the TRNC’s proposal” for establishing a joint committee on the issue. Referring to this proposal, he claimed that “there was a great interest and support by the international community, even though they are not saying it openly, because this is a solution proposal”.
Cavusoglu alleged also the following: “Now two issues regarding Cyprus exist. The one is making use of the hydrocarbon resources. By sending our ships there, we have changed the balances. Until today we said to the Greek Cypriot sector, Greece and the international community including the EU and Britain, that the Greek Cypriot sector should stop its unilateral actions and that these could continue after Turkish Cypriot people’s rights were guaranteed. However, no one listened to us until today. […] After we sent our ships, however, they understood the seriousness of the issue. […]”
Cavusoglu claimed that Turkey would discuss with no one the activities it was carrying out in its own continental shelf and that this was an issue of sovereignty.
Asked whether the Cyprus negotiations would resume, Cavusoglu reiterated the allegation that a solution could not be found because the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share anything with the Turkish side “under a federal roof”, including political equality.
“What should be done? Negotiations should be focused on the result now. We cannot enter into a process which will end with failure now. This would be an adventure, we would give false hope to the Turkish Cypriot people”, he alleged claiming that first we should determine what we would be negotiating and that the basic issue was the political equality.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Düzen (29.09.19) reports that the so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay stated that Turkish Cypriots do not want to be administrated by others. “We will never accept this. We will neither get under the Greek Cypriot administration nor will we unify with Turkey”, he state speaking to Euronews.
Referring to the Varosha issue he stated that they took steps so as to change the status quo that has been created for years. “From this aspect the step we took is both symbolic and important”, he said, adding that they believe that things in Cyprus must change and they will do anything possible in this direction. He also said that they are determined to open Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration and that they have Turkey’s support for this. “Greek Cypriots started to realize how serious we are on this subject, he said adding that the Greek Cypriots will however take measures against them.
In addition, the Diaylog (28.09.19) reports about the contacts of Ozersay in New York and writes that he participated in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
Moreover, Haberci (29.09.19) reports that Ozersay also met with Jean-Pierre Lacroix the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. Speaking about the meeting, Ozersay stated that they discussed in details and exchanged views with Lacroix.
According to illegal Bayrak television (30.09.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-speaks-on-cyprus-problem-2), self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar has claimed that it is not possible to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem due to the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo’s stance, adding that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı must convey this to the UN Secretary-General when he meets with him later today and call on him to take action to end the injustices committed against Turkish Cypriots.
In a written statement issued yesterday, Tatar criticized the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis for their remarks in their addresses at the UN General Assembly, noting that the system of guarantees were outdated.
He argued that if this system had been outdated, it would not have become part of the EU acquis when the Greek Cypriot side was unjustly allowed to join the European Union in 2004, adding: “What the Greek Prime Minister is actually saying is that unless you create the means for us to transform Cyprus into a Greek island there will be no solution. I’m calling on the Greek Prime Minister to stop attacking the system of guarantees. The guarantees provide our security and we definitely want its continuation”.
Tatar alleged that both Anastasiades’ and Mitsodakis’ statements proved that the Greek Cypriot duo have not abandoned their goals for achieving “enosis” [or union] with Greece.
In relation to the meeting to be held between Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Tatar said: “We expect the president [Akinci] to tell the UN Secretary-General that Turkey’s active and effective guarantee is a redline for the Turkish Cypriot people. He must tell him that a settlement will not be possible as long as the Greek-Cypriot duo maintains its current stance”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (30.09.19https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=saner-and-candan-attending-pace-meetings), the head of the “parliament’s delegation” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus for the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Ersan Saner – “deputy” with the National Unity Party (UBP) - and Armağan Candan – “deputy” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) - are taking part in the general assembly and committee meetings in Strasbourg.
Saner and Candan will attend the meetings until Friday October 4.
Turkish Cypriot daily Güneş (28.09.19) reports that the Turkish Minister of Energy Fatih Donmez stated that the Turkish Ship Yaviz has completed its drilling on Karpassia and is getting ready for its new operation in Mersin.
Donmez, who was speaking to NTV television, stated that Fatih is continuing its operation in a spot they named “Morfou”.
He stated that they are in favor of a fair sharing of the hydrocarbon sources in the island and that they will contribute to the procedure as guarantor country if this is needed. “The Greek Cypriot administration continues to act as if it is the sole owner of the island. We will continue our operations in our own continental shelf and at the areas that the TRNC granted license”, he stated.
Under the title “Kyrenia was awash with concrete”, Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Havadis (30.09.19), on its front page, reports that occupied town of Kyrenia has become the locomotive of the construction sector, adding that 38 thousand 409 constructions were built in only 1 year across the district of occupied Kyrenia. The paper also reports that traffic, sewerage and parking problems caused by the increasing population and constructions in Kyrenia have made the city uninhabitable.
According to the statistical data of the Turkish Cypriot constructors’ union regarding the “construction files of Kyrenia district license authorities in the Kyrenia district”, a total of 38 thousand 409 constructions were built in the occupied Kyrenia district in 2018, of which 34 thousand 969 were residential and 2 thousand 301 were workplaces.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (28.09.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/09/28/greek-cypriot-policies-contrary-to-intl-law-turkish-foreign-ministry), Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy, in a statement on Saturday, alleged that Cyprus and Greece's policies in Eastern Mediterranean are contrary to international law.
Ankara rejected the "baseless claims" about Turkey mentioned in a joint statement of a recent trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt. "The latest efforts of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration [as he refers to the Republic of Cyprus] involve the countries in the region, in addition to the EU countries, in their maximalist national policies do not serve peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy claimed in a statement.
"Countries in the Eastern Mediterranean neither have authority, nor responsibility nor a word to say concerning the Aegean problems and the Cyprus issue," he alleged.
The trilateral statement, which came after Greece, Cyprus and Egypt's foreign Ministers met in New York on Sept. 27, condemned what it said were Turkey's unlawful actions in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, calling its drilling activities in the region illegal.
Rejecting the trilateral statement, Aksoy argued: “It is also insincere on the part of Greece to make baseless claims against Turkey at a time [when] it extends messages of cooperation to us. We invite these countries to face the political, economic and geographic realities of the region, and to pursue policies of cooperation in conformity with these realities. There is no other way for stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, and for a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue”.
Claiming that steps with political expediencies aiming to isolate and ignore Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean "have no chance of success", Aksoy reiterated: "Projects which do not include Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in this region will never be efficient and effective", and further stressed that Turkey's determination to continue to defend resolutely both its own and the Turkish Cypriots' rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (29.09.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/ship-enters-navy-pak-bound-ship-being-built/1597298), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attending a dual ceremony commissioning a new Turkish naval ship TCG Kinaliada, while starting construction of a MILGEM (Turkish national warship program)-class ship to be sold to Pakistan’s navy on Sunday, said that he hopes the Kinaliada, an Ada-class corvette, will benefit the Turkish nation and its sailors and further hopes Pakistan, a friendly sister nation to Turkey, will also benefit from the ship whose construction started today. (…)
"Our navy, rich with glorious victories, is carrying this legacy into the future by further strengthening it,” said Erdogan, adding: “Its top-class ‘equipment, discipline, qualified personnel and all the accomplishments it undertakes’ make Turkey proud”.
Erdogan said recent events globally and especially in the Mediterranean point to the need to strengthen Turkey at sea, as in all other areas. (…)
Pakistan Navy Commander Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and Erdogan cut the first metal plate of the first of the four MILGEM Ada class corvette during the ceremony. Erdogan told the audience that Pakistan-Turkey relations had great potential for cooperation in the field of defence production. (…)
MILGEM anti-submarine combat frigates, which can be hidden from the radar, will join the Pakistan Navy, which will further enhance the defence capability of the Pakistan Navy. While two corvettes will be built in Turkey, the next two will be built in Pakistan through technology transfer.
Erdogan said the time is also close for Turkey to build its own fighter jets, just as it has built its own manned and unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites. "We have not forgotten the time when we could not buy ships, planes and tools that we wanted, even when we wanted to pay for them," he said.
Erdogan stressed that the corvettes that have been put into service to date have successfully fulfilled their duties by taking part in numerous national and international exercises. "We have many more projects to strengthen our navy, and work on the diesel-electric submarine project, which will meet the needs of both our country and friendly states, is ongoing," Erdogan said.
Stressing that Turkey’s dependence on foreign trade in the defence industry has dropped from 80% to 30%, Erdogan said: "Today, we have five firms among the world’s top 100 defence companies, and hopefully this number will continue to climb. Our goal is to eliminate our dependence on the foreign defence industry completely by 2023".
According to Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (28.09.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-dissatisfied-with-state-of-syria-safe-zone-fm-cavusoglu-146941), Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Causoglu voiced displeasure on Sept. 27 about a planned safe zone in northern Syria. "We are not satisfied with the current state and we have said this to the Americans, clearly," Çavuşoğlu told reporters in New York.
He detailed the safe zone should have an operation center, joint patrols, should clear the area of terrorists and the establishment of facilities for residents. It should also ensure the return of Syrian refugees. "It will be deceptive to look at the issue just in respect of Syrian refugees. It is an issue of national security for us as the terror groups here pose a threat to Turkey," said Çavuşoğlu, as he warned Turkey may face "bigger threats" if terror groups are not cleared of the region. (…)
Meanwhile, Turkey’s desire to establish a safe zone in northern Syria is justified, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sept. 27. “They are suffering from the infiltration of terrorists coming from territory controlled by the U.S. right now,” Lavrov told reporters in New York on the sidelines of the 74th U.N. General Assembly.
Russia is not indifferent to the issue of the safe zone as it is related to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria and they are meeting with both countries, he added. (…)
Columnist Serkan Demirtas, writing in Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (30.09.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/serkan-demirtas/a-hot-political-season-begins-in-turkey-146982), argues that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue to prioritize the security and foreign policy matters in this new era as he needs a continued consolidation of the popular support and a probable unilateral action into northeastern Syria –although on a limited scale- would be a strong option on his table, in the following commentary:
“(…) the Turkish Parliament will resume its works in the legislative year starting from Oct. 1(…) deal with many pending key issues, but the priority seems to be given to the judicial reform package.
In line with a roadmap announced as part of the judicial reform strategy late May 2019, the government has drafted two reform packages. (…) As this column detailed, the objective of the first package is to expand the freedom of expression, although the opposition parties have found amendments insufficient to this end.
Although its initial assessment on the package is not positive, the head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has instructed his parliamentary group to engage with the ruling party and contribute as much as possible in regards to the judicial package. This also reveals something about the strategy of the opposition alliance in the new legislative year. They will follow a constructive path when it comes to issues that would serve the interest of the nation.
The second package on justice reform will likely be more controversial. It is expected to amend the law on the execution of sentences in line with the demands of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The opposition alliance has already characterized the move as ‘amnesty law’, which will release tens of thousands criminals from the prison. (…)
Eventually, eyes will be on the AKP in this new period as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had implied that a reshuffle at the party brass and the cabinet would be likely. However, according to senior party officials, Erdoğan will not rush for a change at this point.
First, he does not want to give the impression that his government has failed to deliver under the executive-presidential system. That would be regarded not only as the failure of his government but also the government system. Instead, he is expected to announce some minor changes within the system in a bid to make it more efficient.
The second reason is related with the changing political landscape after Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan have expressed their intentions to form separate political parties before the end of this year. Erdoğan would prefer to see what these political parties will look like before he would opt for changes at the AKP. The fact that the AKP plans to hold its extraordinary convention next year means Erdoğan has plenty of time before mulling over who to appoint as the new AKP brass.
For many in Ankara, the same applies for the cabinet. It won’t be a surprise if Erdoğan would not touch his Ministers before they could have their budgets approved at parliament. If this assumption is proven to be right, any cabinet reshuffle before 2020 should not be expected. But, on the other hand, it’s no longer a secret that some prominent cabinet members are in fierce clashes with each other. Erdoğan seems to be able to contain it so far. Time will show how long it’s sustainable.
This new era will probably observe the birth of two fresh political parties by Davutoğlu and Babacan, two senior former AKP officials. Both men are expected to unveil their programs, their cadres and roadmaps in the coming months with hopes to attract the attention of the public opinion. It will be worth seeing whether they will be able to change the political landscape.
Having said this, it should not be thought that Erdoğan will devote more time to the domestic front. He will continue to prioritize the security and foreign policy matters in this new era as he needs a continued consolidation of the popular support.
That’s why a probable unilateral action into northeastern Syria –although on a limited scale- would be a strong option on his table, despite the objections of the United States.”
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (28.09.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/09/28/turkey-planning-27-bln-housing-project-in-syria-for-relocating-refugees-report/), Turkey’s draft plan for a construction project to settle 1 million Syrian refugees in a “safe zone” in northeast Syria would cost around 151 billion lira ($27 billion), state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Friday, according to Reuters. (…)
Turkey’s stat television TRT Haber said foreign funds would be established to build a total of 200,000 homes. It was not immediately clear whether international funding would be made available for the project.
The European Union has promised 6 billion euros, most of which it says it has already disbursed, to support Turkey hosting refugees on its territory. Erdogan has said the EU aid has been slow and has called on France and Germany to provide additional financial aid for the project. (…)
TRT Haber also reported that the building project in the planned “safe zone” would involve construction of 140 villages with populations of 5,000 and 10 towns with 30,000 inhabitants. It published mock-up photos of housing projects set against the backdrop of a Syrian countryside.
Each town would also have hospitals, football pitches, alongside 6,000 homes, 11 mosques, nine schools, and other facilities, it said.
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (28.09.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/09/28/erdogans-akp-membership-seen-sliding-further-as-dissent-grows-report/), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) faces more defections after losing 840,000 members in the last year, former loyalists say, compounding its difficulties after two founding members broke ranks aiming to set up rival parties, according to a Reuters report on Friday.
Erdoğan, modern Turkey’s longest serving leader, has already faced a series of setbacks this year including an economic recession that has eroded AKP support and defeat for his candidates in mayoral elections in Ankara and İstanbul.
The June loss in İstanbul prompted ex-economy minister Ali Babacan to resign and call for a “new vision” for Turkey. Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, once Erdoğan’s closest ally, also resigned from the party two weeks ago, saying it had lost the ability to solve the country’s problems.
The defections pose a serious challenge to Erdoğan’s 16-year rule in Turkey, a NATO member bridging Europe and the Middle East that wields regional power despite the downturn that hit its $722 billion economy.
The AKP already relies on an alliance with nationalists for its parliamentary majority, leaving it vulnerable if it loses even a small proportion of votes to new parties set up by either Babacan or Davutoğlu. (…)
A senior official at AKP headquarters who asked not to be identified played down the defections, saying figures like Babacan and Davutoğlu did not enjoy the popular support that Erdoğan still attracts. “The AKP is a powerful party and will overcome this period,” he said. “I do not expect large-scale, mass resignations.” (…)
However, official data show the huge membership of the party as a whole slid to 9.87 million by early September, from 10.72 million in August of last year. (…)
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(DPs / EH)