No. 194/19 15.10.2019
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs(15.10.19) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has alleged that the reactions during the last week regarding the Turkish military operation in Syria showed whose plans Turkey had spoiled. Addressing the World Turkish Business Council at the Hilton Hotel, Erdogan claimed, inter alia, the following:
“With the Peace Spring Operation Turkey has taken a step at least of such vital importance as the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974. We are determined to continue until the end our operation without taking threats and pressures into consideration. I am saying it clearly. We will definitely end the job we have started. […] Just like late Mehmet Emin Resulzade said, ‘the flag which is raised once, does not come down again’. And we will continue our struggle until we reach the final victory. […] I am saying the following to those who say that the Peace Spring Operation target are the Kurds, that it will weaken the struggle against DEAŞ, that it will change the demographic structure, that it will close the way towards the political solution and that we are facing a tragedy at this point: All your allegations are a lie, slander, defamation […]”.
Illegal Bayrak (15.10.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=trnc-reacts-to-eu-affairs-council) broadcast that the so-called foreign ministry in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus has criticized “the EU Foreign Relations Council’s decision on Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as the military offensive in Syria”.
In a written statement on Tuesday, the so-called ministry said that “the decision once again ignored the rights of the Turkish Cypriots”.
It accused the Greek Cypriot side of pursuing maximalist and provocative policies on the issue of hydrocarbons while rejecting the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal to cooperate on the issue.
“All decisions which exclude the Turkish Cypriots are a violation of international law and are unacceptable,” the so-called ministry’s statement said.
Furthermore, it was claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side has been pursuing a policy of good will and cooperation on the island’s natural resources for years.
“We have been repeating our proposal for cooperation to the Greek Cypriot leadership since 2011. Just this July, the Turkish Cypriot side took a step to reduce tensions arising from the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral hydrocarbon activities by proposing the co-management of the island’s resources. This proposal was also rejected and the Greek Cypriot side continued to take one-sided steps,” the statement read.
The “ministry” further claimed that Cyprus did not only belong to Greek Cypriots and that no decision could be taken on the future of the island by excluding the Turkish Cypriots.
“The Greek Cypriot administration […] is not legitimate and does not represent all rights on the island. There are two administrations, two separate peoples and two political wills as demonstrated during the referendum on the UN sponsored Annan Plan, the statement read, adding that the EU continued to spoil the Greek Cypriot administration”, it was stated.
It was also claimed that the EU’s stance against Turkey which had launched a military offensive in Syria on grounds of self-defense under UN Security Council resolutions, was disappointing.
“Terrorism is one of the biggest problems which targets humankind today. The fight against terrorism should be every country’s top priority. On this notion, we support Turkey in its justified struggle and express our hope that the operation is concluded with success in the shortest period of time,” the statement concluded.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis(15.10.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci issued a new written statement yesterday noting that the views he had expressed as regards Turkey’s military operation in Syria were sincere.Pointing out that after his recent post on his social media account he was unjustly criticized, Akinci said that organized attacks full of swearwords and threats were held against him and insulting expressions were used.
“Since when did defending peace become a crime”, he wondered. Noting that their common desire was for Turkey to be rescued from the “trouble of terrorism”, Akinci expressed the view that the war, which has been going on for almost ten years in Syria, should end. “It is inevitable for the peoples of the area to build, through dialogue, an order of things in which they will be able to live in peace and tranquility”, he added.
According to the paper, replying to Turkish President Erdogan’s statement that the post he held had been earned with Turkey’s struggle, Akinci argued:
“Of course the contribution and support which Turkey offers for years have a great share in the Turkish Cypriot people and their state reaching the position they are in today. At the same time, the Turkish Cypriots reached the present days with their own great struggle as well. If the Turkish Cypriots had not resisted in order to be able to exist on this island, it would not have been possible for us to come to the present days. The official posts which exist in our republic, and mainly the presidency of the republic, are shaped with our people’s free will. I believe that the Turkish Cypriot people have reached the maturity to be able to decide with their own will and not with suggestions”.
Akinci reiterated the view that the relations between Turkey and Syria should be re-established and that diplomacy and dialogue were needed for this. “Within the same framework, I believe that a Turkey which develops its relations with the other countries of the region and the EU will be much stronger”, he said and added: “To show the need for diplomacy and dialogue, to which I referred in this sense, as a call for a dialogue with terrorist organizations and following a policy over this is nothing but distortion”.
Referring to the relations of the Turkish Cypriots with Turkey, Akinci said that the Turkish Cypriots attached great importance to the historically friendly and brotherly ties with Turkey and that during his term in “office”, realizing this importance, he exerted efforts in the direction of the development of these relations on the basis of mutual respect. However, he added that it was not possible for them to think and behave always in the same manner and that respecting the different views was necessary in a healthy relation.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Bakis (15.10.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s post on social media regarding Turkey’s military operation in Syria was discussed yesterday in “parliament”. The “parliamentary session” began with a moment of silence in memory of “those who were martyrized in the peace spring operation” [translator’s note: Turkey’s military operation to Syria] and “peace operation” [Turkish invasion to Cyprus].
Addressing the “parliamentary session”, self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar expressed his sorrow regarding Akinci’s statement, adding that he did not understand exactly the purpose of this statement that has changed the agenda. Claiming that this statement has created confusion and disrupt among the Turkish Cypriots, Tatar added: “Akinci’s statement did not represent the Turkish Cypriots. I wish he did not make any statement. (…) A joint committee should be established immediately in the parliament and evaluate all this. The parliament should wish success to the Turkish army. If needed, the statement by the president of the republic should also be discussed”. Finally, he said that the steps for founding a joint committee in the parliament will be taken today and the latest tomorrow a joint declaration will be issued on this matter.
Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister and deputy prime minister, reiterated his criticism against Akinci’s statement, claiming that it is not right to make statements ignoring the respect that Turkey has shown to the territorial integrity of Syria. He further said that Akinci should avoid making statements that could be taken wrongly in such atmosphere. Ozersay also said that everyone is responsible not to permit such kind of tension. He added that he does not consider that the language which was used in the criticisms against Akinci was right. Because for him, he added, the “TRNC state” is very important and should not be criticized.
Addressing also the “extraordinary parliamentary session”, Erhan Arikli, leader of the Revival Party (YDP), said that the “president may have made an unfortunate statement, but everyone should know that insults to Akinci are unacceptable”. He added: “Anyone who respects the state, must respect also the president”. Examining the contents of Akinci’s statement, Arikli criticized especially the call for dialogue. Claiming that it would be pointless for Akinci to participate in the trilateral or five-party meeting, which will be held within the framework of the Cyprus talks, Arikli argued that “Akinci should get approval from the public by resigning as soon as possible in order to renew the vote of confidence”.
Social Democratic party (TDP) “deputy” Zeki Celer, speaking also at the “parliament”, said that Akinci has called to a dialogue the Syrian state and not the terrorists. He also said that Akinci’s statements have been distorted and that the attempts to divide the “country” to camps are continuing, adding: “You are destroying the calm in the community. If we really want peace in this country, we should pay attention to the words that we will say. We have to ensure social cohesion. … No one wants a war. (…) If you don’t want to read these statements correctly, don’t.”
The leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman made a call to everyone to tone down the tension, adding that they are going through a sensitive period, they all need to be careful and they should abstain from polarizing or dividing the society. He further said: “Even the presidency could be criticized, but reaching to the point of lynching or insulting is unacceptable”. Underscoring what has already been said, he argued that the common points should be promoted and not discriminating statements. Instead of being stuck to the differences in Akinci’s statements, Erhurman said that they should defend the common view that the Turkish operation is based on the aim to ensure security.
Serdar Denktas, “deputy” with the Democratic Party (DP), said that he wishes for this military operation to be ended the soonest possible. Claiming that sometimes war, as it happened in Cyprus, may mean a “positive cease-fire”, adding that he does not consider correct this attempt of lynching Akinci and this division in camps will harm everyone. He also said that he wished Akinci had not made such a statement that could be easily distorted, adding that his second statement aimed to clarify his remarks was a step in the right direction. He argued that it is important to support Turkey in this operation and expressed his hope that it will be completed soon with the fewest number of casualties possible.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.10.19) reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) conveyed in an extra ordinary meeting yesterday in which it declared its full support to Turkey’s military operation to Syria and condemned the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the issue.
According to the paper, the party announced a nine-point decision after the meeting, in which it was stated that Akinci does not represent the will of the Turkish Cypriot people anymore and noting that “he should not be in the Cyprus negotiations since a little time has remained until the presidential elections”. It was also stated that Akinci has lost the trust of the Turkish Cypriot community as regards the Cyprus talks.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (15.10.19) reports that Muhammed Levent Bulbul, Deputy with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in a written statement said that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s statements on Turkey’s Peace Spring Operation are not different from the statements of other countries against Turkey.
Expressing reaction over Akinci’s proposal for Turkey to proceed to dialogue and diplomacy in Syria, Bulbul said: “While the country is under attack, that one who wants peace should be either foolish or traitor”. “How can would be called someone who wants dialogue with terrorists and supporters of EOKA while honor, the souls and the country are under attack? It should not be forgotten that this nation was rescued due to its willpower. […]”.
Referring to the “struggle and the sacrifices of the Turks of Cyprus and Anatolia”, Bulbul claimed that Akinci statements both for Turkey’s Peace Spring Operation and the “peace operation in Cyprus” are not different from other countries which consider Turkey an occupying country.
Also, in a separate statement, Mustafa Destici, leader of the Great Unity Party (BBP) in Turkey, called on Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to resign. “So called President of the TRNC has no dignity and legitimacy. He should resign the soonest possible or to be dismissed from his position”, Destici alleged.
Illegal Bayrak (15.10.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-speaks-at-turkic-council) broadcast that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that “until a political solution is found to the Cyprus problem the Turkish Cypriot people’s legitimate rights needs to be protected”.
The Turkish Foreign Minister made the statement in the Azerbaijani Capital of Baku where he attended the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Turkic Council.
He also made an evaluation of the Cyprus problem. He also called on the Turkic Council “to break the unjust isolations imposed against the Turkish Cypriot people and to show solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots in order for a just solution to be found to the Cyprus problem”.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu also thanked Hungary for allowing the “TRNC” to open a “representative office” in Budapest.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.10.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-implement-its-decision-on-manbij-erdogan-147470) reports that Turkish troops are ready to implement a plan on the northeastern city of Manbij in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, implying that Turkish-backed Arab fighters could enter the town from which U.S. troops are expected to withdraw.
“There are a lot of rumors. As of this moment, it seems like there will be no trouble in [northern Syrian town of] Kobane with the positive approach of Russia. As for Manbij, we are ready to implement the decision we have taken,” Erdoğan told reporters on Oct. 14 at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport before his departure to Azerbaijan where he will attend the 7th Summit of the Turkic Council.
Erdoğan also recalled Turkey’s deal with the U.S., saying the commitments were not fulfilled. “Terrorist organizations were supposed to be cleared from Manbij in 90 days. It’s been over a year, but Manbij is still not cleared of. Turkey will not enter Manbij if it gets cleared,” he said.
Regarding the reactions from foreign press on Turkey’s Syria operation, Erdoğan said, “Turkey will continue to tell the truth,” while others “deceive.” “Are you going to stand by your ally, a NATO member, or the terrorists? Of course, they cannot answer this,” Erdoğan said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.10.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-condemns-eu-foreign-affairs-council-decisions/1613770) reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement replying to statements by the European Union on recent Turkish moves in northern Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We fully reject and condemn the calls made towards our country and the conclusions adopted in the EU Foreign Affairs Council today in Luxembourg under the title of 'North East Syria' and 'Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean',” was said by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
The Ministry said Turkey’s ongoing anti-terror operation in northern Syria -- Operation Peace Spring -- is being carried out on the basis of international law, its right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolutions on the fight against terrorism.
It is “unacceptable” for the bloc to take a protective attitude towards the terror elements behind the threats and attacks of the PYD/YPG terror group, an offshoot of the PKK, against Turkey’s national security and Syria’s territorial integrity and national solidarity, it said.
The Ministry said the silence of the EU on the killing of 18 innocent civilians, including an infant, in the last two days in Turkey by the PYD/YPG -- which is supported by some EU countries -- shows this twisted approach.
It called on the EU, which “serves the separatist agenda of another terror group under the pretext of fighting Daesh,” and the EU countries that support the terror group to engage in self-criticism. The bloc has "no right to give lessons to our country" on the fight against terrorists, said the statement.
On Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council said Turkey's security concerns in northeast Syria should be addressed though political and diplomatic means, not through military action.
The Council said in a statement that Turkey should cease its anti-terrorist Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria and withdraw its forces.
The Ministry also said it is unacceptable to characterize as "illegal" Turkey’s research and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean to protect both its rights and the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
The Ministry said the EU’s failure to mention the Turkish Cypriots and once again ignoring them in the conclusions is “worrisome.”
“We would like to emphasize once again that we will resolutely carry on with our hydrocarbon activities together with the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] and, should the EU apply certain preventive measures, we will retaliate accordingly,” the Ministry said.
Forging peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean is possible by creating an environment of cooperation in which every party wins, respecting Turkey and Turkish Cypriots’ legitimate rights and interests and taking the political, legal, historical and geographical realities of the Eastern Mediterranean into consideration. “We will seriously reconsider our cooperation with the EU in certain areas due to its unlawful and biased stance,” it added.
Turkish Daly Sabah (15.10.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/10/14/president-erdogan-french-counterpart-macron-discuss-syria-in-phone-call-1571093292) reports that President Tayyip Erdoğan explained to French President Emmanuel Macron the aims of Turkey's operation in northeastern Syria in a phone call, the Turkish presidency said on Monday.
Erdoğan told Emmanuel Macron “about the threat that PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria pose to both Turkey's security and Syria's territorial integrity”.
Erdoğan claimed the operation would contribute to regional and global peace and stability, the presidency said.
Before the phone call, Macron had criticized the operation, claiming in particular it could help a revival of terrorist group Daesh.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.10.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/tal-abyad-ras-al-ain-towns-under-control-defense-minister-147478) reports that Turkish troops have taken control of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain border towns of Syria, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Oct. 14.
“Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain are under control. Work for the control of the region is ongoing,” he told reporters after his meeting with the leader of opposition İYİ (Good) Party, Meral Akşener.
Akar had a round of meetings with the political parties in parliament. He also visited the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and was to meet with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli after the Daily News went to print late Oct. 14.
“We are pleased to see the support given by the citizens in Tel Abyad in Ras al-Ain in favor of our country,” he said.
Turkey is determined to do its best on the issue of captivity camps for ISIL members in Syria, Akar said. Reports show that only one prison with ISIL members is in the area of Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring.”
“We got there, we have seen that the Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIL] prison was emptied. We have detected that YPG people have taken Deash members,” he said. The Turkish security forces took visuals of this situation and discussed it with the “interlocutors there,” he added.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/operation-peace-spring/turkish-russian-defense-ministers-talk-on-phone/1613750?fbclid=IwAR2DAFKWpZ7QF2n8rF1oBo5YynouFBMbWBELbTiVWLC5Dz1pe9pyRD7HI0g) reported that the Turkish and Russian Defense Ministers had a “constructive” telephone conversation on coordinating and developing activities, said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Speaking with reporters in the Turkish capital Ankara, Akar said he and Sergey had exchanged information on Syria and their agenda there.
“We discussed what needs to be done [in Syria] to coordinate activities and develop them appropriately," Akar said.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION