No. 733 08.11.2019
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
2. Jump in irregular migrants held in Turkey
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Güneş (08.11.19) reports that former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has claimed that he wanted a solution to the Cyprus problem and not negotiations for the sake of negotiations. In statements to Kanal T television, Talat alleged that President Anastasiades had told him that the community leaders would go in vain to the tripartite meeting with the UNSG Antonio Guterres, which will be held on 25 November in Berlin. Talat claimed the following on the issue:
“Perhaps you will do something, I said to Anastasiades, whom I met at a cocktail [party] last week. And he leaned over and whispered to my ear: This is an informal meeting Mehmet Ali. What do you expect from this meeting? We are going in vain, the expenses are in vain”.
Talat reiterated the view that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) should have its own candidate in the “presidential elections” to be held in April 2020 in the occupied area of Cyprus and criticized Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci arguing the following:
“There should be a president of the republic who will not interrupt the dialogue with Turkey. Debates through the press should never happen. What does Turkey say? ‘Positions outside federation should also be at the table’, it says. Your duty should be to explain to Turkey that the other positions are unrealistic, to convince it and harmonize Turkey’s line with your own. Mr Akinci could not do this. Nothing is solved by staying at one place. You should have visited countries such as Brussels, London, New York, France, and even Russia. During my presidency we carried out lobbying activities in many EU countries. We even made agreements with the press in south Cyprus in order to reach a better understanding with them. As a result of these agreements, we were continuously receiving invitations from the EU. During my period, three US Foreign Ministers changed. I met with all three of them. I was invited even to Russia. Akinci, however, did not carry out any lobbying activity in five years. He went nowhere”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (08.11.19) reports that it has obtained the results of the first public opinion poll carried out in October by Turkish Company Gezici regarding the “presidential elections” which will be held in April 2020 in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. The paper notes that the results of this poll were not published.
According to these results, the “elections” will have two rounds. In the first round, Mustafa Akinci receives 31,1%, Ersin Tatar 25,3%, Tufan Erhurman 17,1%, Kudret Ozersay 12,7%, Serdar Denktas 8,6% and Erhan Arikli 5,2%. In the second round, Akinci reaches 47,4% and Tatar 33,5%.
According to the paper, Gezici Company has been paid 180 thousand Turkish liras from a businessman for this public opinion poll. Afrika writes also that a few weeks ago, Murat Gezici, owner of Gezici Company, had held a “secret meeting” in Ankara with Tatar. It is said that the meeting was held at the place where Tatar was staying during a panel under the title “Last Word in Cyprus”.
According to illegal BRT television (08.11.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-comments-on-gezici-survey), Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) and “prime minister”, expressed the belief that “the Turkish Cypriot people will uphold their state and that this will be revealed at the upcoming presidential elections”.
Tatar also said that he would be respectful of the UBP assembly’s decision if he were to be nominated as the party’s “presidential candidate”.
Speaking to ADABASINI, Tatar claimed that not just the majority of UBP members but the Turkish Cypriot “people” wanted him to run for “the office of the president”. “This should not be misunderstood in any way. I’m not announcing my candidacy. It is the party assembly which will decide. All I will do is respect the decision that it will produce,” he added.
Commenting on the results of the latest survey conducted by Gezici polling company, Tatar said that even if surveys did not give 100% accurate results it was still important data. “As a politician, I give importance to these survey results,” he added.
Stressing that the results of the survey gave an important message, Tatar said: “I’m not saying this by looking at the survey. I’m someone who tours the entire country and shakes hands with everyone. This was how I was before I became prime minister and I’m still continuing”.
Tatar added that “the Turkish Cypriot people want a president that was on good terms with Turkey”.
Under the title “Arikli is a candidate”, Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Haberci (08.11.19), on its front page, reports that Erhan Arikli, leader of the Revival Party (YDP) said that he will announce his candidacy for the upcoming “presidential elections” after the approval from his party’s base. He explained in the paper that there is an intense pressure from his party committee to enter the race.
In an exclusive interview to the paper, Arikli claimed that the Revival Party is the only party that can change the fate of the “presidential elections”, arguing: “The voting rate for YDP is between 15% and 20%. However, the voting rate that our party can influence is around 30%.”
Commenting on Gezici’s results, Arikli said that the opinion poll conducted by Turkish research company Gezici was not “innocent”, adding that this opinion poll has eliminated his call for a union of the right-wing parties. He further claimed: “The United States, the European Union and even south Cyprus [translator’s note: the Republic of Cyprus] are preparing a serious operation. What I say may be considered a conspiracy theory. However, in my opinion, as it happened in the previous elections, the same operation has started now. That’s why I made a call for cooperation on the right-wing parties.”
Referring to the results of another opinion poll, Arikli argued that according to that opinion poll, Tufan Erhumran, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) receives 26.8%, Mustafa Akinci 24.3%, Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) 23.7%, Erhan Arikli 14.1%, Kudret Ozersay, leader of the People’s Party (HP) 7.8% and Serdar Denktas, “deputy” with the Democratic Party 3.3%. Arikli noted that the results of this opinion poll are more “realistic” and more “correct”.
Commenting on the Cyprus problem, Arikli said that the property issue is the main problem, adding: “If the property issue is being solved, then 95% of the Cyprus problem would have been solved”. He noted that political will is needed and the politicians could not vote until now the “land value tax”. He argued that if this “law is approved” then with these money they could compensate the Greek Cypriots, who apply to the “immovable property committee” and the issue would be closed, adding: “In my opinion the problem is here and not in Turkey. The politicians have no concrete idea on this issue».
According to illegal BRT television (08.11.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=olgun-ertug-send-letter-to-unsg), former Turkish Cypriot negotiators Ergün Olgun and Osman Ertuğ have sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling on him to encourage the two leaders to produce new alternative formulas which will not lead to a repetition of past disappointments and failures in Cyprus.
According to a statement issued by the two former negotiators, the letter was delivered to the UN Secretary-General at the 6th Istanbul Mediation Conference held in Istanbul on October 31.
Olgun and Ertuğ claimed that over 50 years of failed negotiations had proven that a federal settlement in Cyprus was not possible, adding that the time had come to stop presenting a federal solution as the only option for an agreement on the island.
They also reiterated their view that the Greek Cypriot side had no intention of sharing the power or wealth with Turkish Cypriots and was comfortable with the status quo.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.11.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-attitude-toward-turkey-far-from-constructive-erdogan/1638679) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Thursday the European Union for its attitude toward Turkey, calling it “far from constructive”.
"Recently, the EU's attitude toward our country is far from constructive," Erdogan said at a news conference in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, alongside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
"With this attitude, the union essentially damages its own interests," the Turkish president said, adding that the EU needs to understand that Turkey's full membership will contribute to the bloc.
Erdogan said bilateral problems of some EU member countries with Turkey should not hinder the relations between Turkey and the EU.
His remarks came after co-chairing the 4th meeting of the Turkey-Hungary High Level Strategic Cooperation Council with Orban.
Erdogan also hailed Hungary's support to Turkey's EU membership bid.
The Turkish President reiterated that Turkey hosts 4 million refugees and a "significant number" of them are "likely to migrate, especially to Europe."
Erdogan said Turkey will continue hosting Syrian people "whether or not support comes" from the EU. However, he said, "if it gets out of hand, we are to open the [border] gates."
Orban, for his part, said it is not possible to stop migration flow to Europe without Turkey. He said Turkey should be supported in its efforts for the return of refugees to their homeland. "It is highly important to help those people who had to leave their countries return home," the Hungarian premier stressed.
Orban also said Hungary will do its part in reconstruction projects to be carried out in planned safe zone in northern Syria
Erdogan said Hungary's solidarity with Turkey «in its fight against terror groups» shows that the two countries are strategic partners.
However, he said, some of Turkey's strategic partners have ties with terrorist organizations. "This makes us really sad.”
Erdogan said there is not any other country that adopts a strong stance against Daesh/ISIS.
He said over 3,000 Daesh/ISIS terrorists were neutralized in the Syrian town of al-Bab alone.
"Currently there are at least 1,149 Daesh members in our prisons," he added.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (08.11.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/jump-in-irregular-migrants-held-in-turkey-minister-148443) reports that the number of irregular migrants held in Turkey has “visibly” increased in the last five years, the country's interior minister said on Nov. 8.
Süleyman Soylu made the remark while briefing the national assembly on “Migration Management in Turkey,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
Turkey has become a target country for irregular migrants in addition to its being a transit point for them to reach Europe, Soylu said.
“There has been a visible increase in the number of irregular migrants [caught in Turkey] in the last five years, while it averaged 50,000 [a year] until 2014,” he said, adding that a total of 373,468 irregular migrants were held so far in 2019.
Soylu said 171,967 migrants including 93,123 Afghans, 13,549 Pakistanis and 65,295 of other nationalities have been sent back to their countries in the last three years.
He said there are 5,074,908 foreigners in Turkey, noting of these, 3,680,603 are Syrians under temporary protection, 1,070,144 are foreigners with residency permits and 324,161 are under international protection.
Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION