No. 748 30.11-02.12.2019
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (02.12.19) reports that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in statements during a conference on the Eastern Mediterranean region organized by the youth organization of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey’s Antalya region, referred to the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and said that Turkey’s proposals in Cyprus have not been heard. Thus, we have sent our drillships in the region and we have started drillings. We are showing our strength here in the field and now we are holding on diplomatic efforts and we will continue to do so”, Cavusoglu said.
Stating that Turkey is confronted with several difficulties due to its geographical position in the region, Cavusoglu further said that it also comes across several opportunities and thus it is necessary to follow a human foreign policy by undertaking initiatives against these difficulties and opportunities.
Cavusoglu went on to say that, Turkey would not allow its own continental shelf to become a matter of discussion. “We do not discuss with anyone issues related with our own continental shelf, and we will never allow for this to happen. We should be strong not only at the table but also in the field on the issue of the distribution of natural gas reservoirs surrounding Cyprus. As long as we are strong in the field of battle in Syria we do not have loses in our gains, we change the balances and we have broken the games. We stand in front of the establishment of a terrorist state and we bring peace and stability”, Cavusoglu further alleged.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Vatan (01.12.19) reports that so-called minister of energy Hasan Tacoy, evaluating in a written statement the agreement signed between Turkey and Libya to delimitate their “areas of jurisdiction in the sea”, claimed that this agreement has broken the games of the Greek Cypriot side and the international powers in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Pointing out that Turkey is acting in a way so as to be strong not only at the table but also in the battle field, Tacoy accused the “Greek Cypriot administration”, as he referred to the Republic of Cyprus, of undertaking steps to establish an energy cooperation unity in the region together with Israel, Greece and Egypt. “I consider that Turkey’s initiative to delimitate its borders with Libya will create important developments in the future. The agreement between Turkey and Libya to delimitate the areas of their maritime jurisdiction will give a new perspective to the energy geopolitical area in the region”, Tacoy claimed, supporting that those who undertake steps without taking into consideration Turkey, would be disappointed. Tacoy further said that the “TRNC” welcomes Turkey’s step.
According to Turkish Cypriot online newspaper Cyprus Mirror (02.1.19, http://www.cyprusmirror.com/c128-NORTH_CYPRUS/n7028-deputy-pm-ozersay-comments-on-greek-cypriot-amendments-over), Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, commenting on the Cyprus cabinet’s confirmed amendments of Green line regulations, argued: “We are ready for a collaboration if their motivation is related with the refugees but we will apply counter measures if they aim to damage the Turkish Cypriot economy”.
Commenting on the Cyprus proposition that aims to ban the travel of third country nationals from the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus to the government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus, Ozersay said: “It is obvious that the number of refugees in Cyprus has increased due to the conflict in Syria. However, if the Greek Cypriot administration (as he refers to the Cyprus government) aims to take additional measures in order to o discourage tourists arriving from ports in the south [government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus] from crossing to the north (non-government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus]we shall not refrain from taking reciprocal measures. No need to wait for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus in order to actualize a collaboration over such an issue”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (02.12.19) reports that so-called minister of energy, Hasan Tacoy after attending OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation meeting (ISEDAK) which was organized in İstanbul, went to Brussel for a “series of contacts”.
According to the paper, Tacoy met in Brussels with the Head of the EU Cyprus Settlement Support Office in the European Commission, Kjartan Bjornsson.
Evaluating his meeting with Bjornsson, Tacoy alleged that they discussed possible energy investment that could take place in the “TRNC”. He further said that during the meeting they discussed “interconnection system” between Turkey and the “TRNC”, as well as the under construction waste plant in occupied Koutsoventis village.
Turkish Cypriot Kıbrıs (01.12.19) publishes a survey conducted by COMAR an opinion poll firm regarding the power of the Turkish Cypriot political parties and the “presidential elections”.
The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 804 randomly selected participants, in November 2019.
The respondents were asked to state which political party they would vote for should there be an election tomorrow.
The results were as follows:
National Unity Party (UBP): 47.25%
Republican Turkish Party (CTP): 22.51%
Revival Party (YDP’ Tr. Note: The Party of the settlers): 8.71%
People’s Party (HP): 6.57%
Democratic Party (DP): 5,69%
Socialist Democracy Party (TDP): 5,05%
Communal Liberation Party (TKP) : 4,22%.
In addition, the respondents were asked which candidate they would vote for should there be a “presidential election” tomorrow, according to the political party they cast their vote. According to the results, 45% of CTP voters stated that they would vote for Mustafa Akinci and only 31,8% stated that they would vote for the party’s leader Tufan Erhurman. Akinci also receives votes from the voters of all the Turkish Cypriot political parties.
Asked about what will determine the selection of a certain candidate in the “presidential elections”, 39.4% of the respondents said “forming good relations with Turkey”, 16.9% said “ being able to stand at an equal distance to all political parties” and only 6.5% said “the ability to negotiate with the Greek Cypriot side”.
The poll also revealed that 51.1% of the respondents who were born in Turkey said “forming good relations with Turkey” was the most important factor, while only 34.7% of the respondents born in Cyprus replied the same.
The poll also asked how much Akıncı met the Turkish Cypriot community’s expectations and 42% said that Akıncı was able to form good relations with Turkey and 57.9% said that Akıncı was successful as a negotiator in the talks with the Greek Cypriot side.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (01.12.19) reports that Fikri Atataoglu was elected as the new leader of the Democratic Party (DP).
This is a new era for DP writes the paper which also publishes statements of former DP leader Serdar Denktas who said that he has not decided if he will run for “president” in the forthcoming “presidential elections”.
According to Turkey’s state news agency (01.12.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-libya-not-to-let-fait-accompli-turkish-spox/1660858), Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman on Sunday claimed that the recently inked memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on the maritime jurisdictions complied with the international law.
"Through this agreement with Libya, the two countries have clearly manifested their intention not to allow any fait-accompli [in the eastern Mediterranean]," Hami Aksoy said in an official statement in response to statements by Egypt and Greece.
The agreement determined a portion of Turkey’s maritime jurisdictions in the region, Aksoy said, adding it "is in accordance with the court decisions that create the international jurisprudence and international law including the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea."
Reminding that Turkey has the longest continental coast line in the eastern Mediterranean, the statement said: "The islands which lie on the opposite side of the median line between two mainlands cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters and that the length and direction of the coasts should be taken into account in delineating maritime jurisdiction areas."
Referring to the regional countries, Aksoy said “the Turkish government’s action was based on international law and equity-based approach, while the countries which reject Turkey's legitimate arguments took unilateral steps, accusing Turkey”.
He also emphasized that the mere presence of the Meis Island [Kastellorizo] across the Turkish mainland could not have any effect on Ankara’s maritime territories in contrary to the arguments of Greece and the Greek Cypriots.
Referring to these arguments as "maximalist and uncompromising," Aksoy said a similar approach once had made Egypt lose 40,000 square kilometers (15,444 square miles) of its maritime territory.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (30.11.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/erdogan-calls-for-dialogue-equal-share-in-emed/1660169), Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said the country's policy regarding hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean region was based on equal share among regional countries whereas "some" sought to raise tension. "While there is an opportunity of fair share [of hydrocarbon reserves], threat and blackmailing policies are followed. But no country is above international laws," Erdogan said, speaking at the opening ceremony for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline’s (TANAP) Europe link in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province.
Turkey would never allow anyone to violate the rights of Turkey and the “TRNC” (editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus), he added.
The Turkish leader said humankind fought bloody wars for the sake of controlling energy sources in the past two centuries, leading to global and regional instabilities and disruption of the peaceful environment across the globe.
Stressing that Ankara administration would not turn a blind eye to a fait-accompli, Erdogan said his country would not bow down to any threats. "It is not possible to carry out projects in the region by excluding a country with long maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean," Erdogan added, referring to Turkey. "Our two high-tech drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, and two seismic research ships operate in the region. "We will not withdraw these ships, and they will continue to operate there," he added.
The Turkish navy have protected these operational ships and their crew members, Erdogan said he believed his country's efforts would soon bear fruit.
On Thursday, the Turkish administration and UN-recognized government of Libya inked a memorandum of understanding regarding the delimitation of maritime boundaries between both countries. "Now, they have begun to threaten Libya," Erdogan said.
Noting that Turkey's drilling activities in the region would lead to peace and prosperity, not blood and conflict, Erdogan called on the other countries to have cooperation and dialogue. "Let us turn energy into a cooperation ground, not a conflict instrument," he said, urging regional countries to follow diplomacy over destructive policies.
Under the title “Turkey-Libya deal seen as a game-changer in east Med”, columnist Serkan Demirtas, writing in Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (02.12.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/serkan-demirtas/turkey-libya-deal-seen-as-a-game-changer-in-east-med-149285), argues that “Turkey’s signing a maritime demarcation agreement with Libya is in a bid to protect its legitimate rights in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and to disrupt the plans of Greece and [the Republic of Cyprus] to limit Turkey’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to around the Gulf of Antalya.
A deal with Libya was a rather interesting idea because Turkey has always been drawing its maritime zones in the region by using vertical lines and that was corresponding to potential demarcation agreements only with the “Turkish Cypriot state” [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] and Egypt.
The idea of drawing diagonal lines to determine Turkey’s maritime zones was first brought to the fore many years ago by Rear Admiral Dr. Cihat Yaycı, who is also an expert on maritime law. He recently told a panel, “Turkey’s geographically inclined location stipulates its right to draw diagonal lines to determine its maritime zones and to sign demarcation agreements with Libya, Israel, and Lebanon.”
Columnist Demirtas further writes: “As known, the MoU’s are also considered as legal agreements and there is no need for parliamentary approval on the Libyan side as there is no parliament due to the internal problems. On the Turkish side, it will very soon be ratified at the parliament and will take effect. The Turkish government will later notify the U.N. about the agreement and the coordinates of Turkey’s EEZ underlined by the deal with Libya.
This agreement with Libya is considered to be a historic one as it marks Turkey’s first EEZ deal with a littoral country except for ‘Turkish Cyprus’ [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus]. Thus, it defines the western borders of Turkey’s EEZ in the eastern Mediterranean. Experts believe that it will increase Turkey’s continental shelf in the said area by around 30%. According to the assessment made in Ankara, the deal with Libya has important consequences. They could be listed as follows:
- The demarcation line drawn by Turkey and Libya constitutes a shield between Greece, [the Republic of Cyprus] and Egypt. This shield will prevent Greece from signing maritime demarcation agreements with Egypt and ‘Greek Cyprus’. Greece has the intention to have the shores of its islands in the region from Crete to Meis (Kastelorizo in Greek) as a single and attached shoreline so that it could expand its maritime zone through agreements with Egypt and Greek Cyprus. This deal kills this option, Ankara believes.
-Greece and Greek Cyprus’ long-term plan was to limit Turkey’s EEZ to around the Gulf of Antalya which would cover an area of 41,000 square kilometers. Such plans have already been released through a map published by the University of Seville. Ankara says that these plans have now been disrupted thanks to the deal with Libya.
- The deal has strengthened Turkey’s hands in the region against Greece, ‘Greek Cyprus’ and their plans to further isolate Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. This deal will provide the direct influence of Turkey on the energy geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean.
-The deal with Libya is Turkey’s first maritime demarcation agreement signed with a littoral country except for the Turkish Cypriots. It provides an important political and legal basis for Turkey’s future attempts. It also shows that Turkey is using all necessary diplomatic and legal means to protect its rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
To sum up, it would be no exaggeration to suggest that this deal with Libya stands as a game-changer in an already messy eastern Mediterranean. It shows that the only way for all the littoral countries to resolve pending problems in the east Mediterranean and benefit from the regional richness is an inclusive dialogue and diplomacy.”
According to Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (02.12.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/greek-cypriots-use-cyprus-talks-to-drive-turkey-into-corner-turkish-cypriot-fm-149279), self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, Kudret Özersay, in an interview to CNN Türk reporter on Nov. 28 during his visit in Istanbul to attend the 10th Bosphorus Summit, claimed: “Greek Cypriot side uses Cyprus talks as a tool to drive the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey into a corner, not as an instrument to solve the Cyprus problem”.
Assessing the trilateral meeting held in Berlin, Özersay argued that the Cyprus talks have been going on since 1968 and that half a century has passed without results. “There is nothing about the negotiation process. No date, no calendar,” he said, referring to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s latest statement.
“For example, to ensure the continuation of the drills of companies licensed by the Greek Cypriot administration in the Eastern Mediterranean, they [Cyprus government] can say 'Cyprus negotiations are going on already, there is no situation that you will have to worry. We will agree with Turkish Cypriots, so you continue your work' [to the companies]. There is an instrument in which negotiations are exploited and used to manage the situation,” Özersay claimed.
Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (01.12.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/11/30/opening-ceremony-of-tanap-europe-connection-kicks-off-in-turkeys-edirne) reports that Turkey reaffirms its central role in regional energy security with the successful completion of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and its connection to Europe at the Turkish-Greek border, ready to pump Azerbaijani gas to European markets directly for the first time.
"Today, we're are proud to complete a seven-and-a-half-year long, difficult process with ultimate success in the joint efforts of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday in an address at the inauguration ceremony for the TANAP-Europe connection held at the border city of Edirne. (…)
"The rich natural resources we possess can now be shared with the people of other nations in the region," Erdoğan said, adding that "TANAP does not only guarantee Turkey's energy security, but aims to bolster the energy supply security of European countries as well."
Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev in his address said TANAP would bring peace and prosperity to the region. "I believe TANAP will have a long-serving life and will bring peace and prosperity to Turkish, Azerbaijani and regional people," Aliyev said.
Drawing attention to the significance of energy supply security internationally, the Azerbaijani President indicated that the TANAP had a mediatory function, encouraging cooperation between nations based on shared energy goals. (…)
"The 1,850-kilometer Anatolian journey of TANAP has ended today and the gas' European journey begins," Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said in his speech at the ceremony. "We are now ready for the gas to flow to Europe. From here on, we entrust the project to our European friends," Dönmez added. The minister emphasized that TANAP will meet the strength of the Turkey-Azerbaijan cooperation with new countries and new people. "TANAP is not just an energy project, it is a story of success. This project is vital not only for Turkey's but for Europe's energy supply security as well," the Minister stressed, adding that it will have a major contribution to the energy future of both Turkey and Europe.
Dönmez stressed that thanks to TANAP, Turkey would now be left with no energy supply problem, indicating that Turkey would move forward with more gas investments on its path of becoming an energy hub. He underscored that Turkey would pursue win-win oriented energy policy and that its energy diplomacy aimed to boost regional prosperity.
After the completion of the construction of TAP, Azerbaijan's gas will be transmitted directly from the Caspian Basin to the European markets for the first time in history, said SOCAR President and TANAP Chairman of the Board Rovnag Abdullayev. "Thus, in addition to being Europe's new gas supplier, we aim to become Turkey's second-largest gas supplier," he noted.
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