Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (30.03.18) reports that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that the Turkish Cypriots do not accept to be seen as a community, which will take its share from the natural gas in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) after the solution of the Cyprus problem. “We say that we are one of the two equal partners, who have a will and should participate in the decision-making process on this issue”, claimed Erhurman yesterday in statements after his regular weekly meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Referring to the Cyprus talks, Erhurman alleged that President Anastasiades should recognize that their worry is not to sit at the table and pretend that they are negotiating, but to sit and solve the problem once and for all. He also claimed that President Anastasiades should realize that the negotiations should have a meaning and be focused on the result.
The paper covers the issue on its front page under the title “Varosha after the solution, the gas now” and writes: “The Turkish side, which keeps Varosha closed for 44 years by offering it to the snakes and leaving its return to its owners only after the comprehensive solution, demands a share from the natural gas before the solution. Tufan Erhurman has also offered support to Turkey’s demands. […] Erhurman, just like Akinci, expects Anastasiades to fulfil the Turkish terms in order for the recommencement of the talks to become possible”.
Writing in his column today, Afrika’s editor-in-chief, Sener Levent assesses the reason why the Turkish side does not seem willing to consent to the recommencement of the Cyprus talks. He argues: “[…] As long as the supporters of the two separate states in the south increase, the Turkish side does not consider necessary to further negotiate for a united federal Cyprus. Are those who want separate state 20% now? It means that if things continue like this, they may increase further. And after five-ten years, they will become the majority. If such a hope flourishes in the Turkish side’s heart, why it should sit again at this table? In any case, what it [the Turkish side] wants is two separate states. As long as the status quo continues, it somehow reaches this target. […] If there is going to be a change here, it will be a change depending on the developments in the Middle East. While the operation of the Turkish army continues in Syria and Iraq, what difference does it make if a negotiating table is established or not. And especially when the Turkish side’s heart is burning with the desire for a separate state. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.03.18) with the above title reports that the non-governmental organizations of Varosha have invited all to the demonstration that will be held tomorrow regarding the opening of the Deryneia crossing-point at 10.00 at the aforementioned location.
The organizations announced that they will protest because the promises given by the politicians in 2015 for preparing the opening of the Deryneia crossing-point have not been kept. They have also invited the people from all the corners of the island to protest in order the crossing-point to open immediately.
On the same issue, Dr Okan Dagli, spokesman of the Famagusta Initiative, argued that the works for the opening of Deryneia crossing-point have started immediately after the decision was taken with the EU support. However, he added the works have been left behind with different pretexts. He further said that everything is ready for the road in the south, but at the Turkish Cypriot side there are a lot of deficiencies as the superstructure and substructure of the electricity, telephones, staff cabins and pavements. He also accused the Turkish Cypriot side of not having the mobility to do it apart from saying that they will do it.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (30.03.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Trade (KTTO) noted that the energy sufficiency and the prices, as in every country, affects every aspect of life and are the determiner in the competitiveness of the economy.
Noting that the thought of transferring electricity with cable from Turkey is promising from the point of view that it will provide the security of supply, it will lower the electricity prices and it will abolish the factors that affect negatively the environment, KTTO underlined the importance of showing political will on this issue.
In a written statement, KTTO noted that the frequent interruptions due to the high electricity prices and the low quality of the electricity distribution network affect with a negative way the production of goods and services and are the reason for the inefficiency in the economic life.
When these realities are taken into consideration, it was stressed in the statement that it is necessary to pursue a constant search for the solution of the electricity problem in the “TRNC” and that the recent discussions should evaluate positively this reflection of the search.
KTTO concluded by underlining the importance to support every initiative on this matter.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (30.03.18) reports that the “Turkish Cypriot coach association (KTFAD) ” will apply to become member of the Alliance of European Footbal Coaches Association (AEFCA).
The paper writes that “KTFAD” made this announcement during a press conference in which AEFCA chairman Walter Gagg also participated. Gagg is currently in the breakaway regime giving a lecture on football coaching.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (30.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-france-for-offering-to-mediate-between-turkey-and-sdf-129524) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed France after President Emmanuel Macron offered to mediate between Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), calling on Paris to "know your place" on March 30.
“We do not need a mediator. Since when has Turkey been sitting at a table with terrorist organizations? Where did you get this from? You can sit at the table with terrorist organizations. But Turkey fights against terrorist organizations in places like Afrin [in Syria],” Erdoğan said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-presidential-spokesperson-slams-macrons-vow-to-support-sdf-129524) reports that Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın slammed on March 30 French President Emmanuel Macron after he said Paris would support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), saying that Turkey expects its allies to stand “clearly” against all kinds of terrorism.
Macron assured SDF of Paris’ support while also recalling France’s commitment against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its commitment to the security of Turkey during his meeting with an SDF delegation, according to a presidency statement on March 29.
The written statement by the Elysee Palace said the delegation briefed Macron on the humanitarian situation in northern Syria.
Stating that Macron assured the SDF of France’s support against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), it added the support was particularly for “the stabilization of the security zone in the northeast of Syria, within the framework of an inclusive and balanced governance, to prevent any resurgence of ISIL in the waiting of a political solution to the Syrian conflict.”
Recalling the commitment of his country against the PKK and its commitment to Turkey’s security, he said the SDF had “no operational link with this terrorist group.”
Macron also hoped that “a dialogue could be established between the SDF and Turkey with the assistance of France and the international community.”
The statement also added that France would continue to make efforts with the concerned countries to ensure security and make progress toward an inclusive political transition in Syria.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (30.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/procurement-of-patriots-on-agenda-of-us-turkey-defense-trade-dialogue-129522) reports that Turkish and U.S. officials will have a round table meeting on March 30 in Ankara as part of the 5th gathering of Turkey-U.S. Defense Trade Dialogue with procurement of Patriot missile defense systems are on the agenda of two NATO allies.
U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow will be visiting Ankara as part of a regional trip including Iraq.
“In Ankara, Turkey, Ambassador Kaidanow will meet with Turkish officials to discuss bilateral defense trade and security cooperation. She will meet with representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to share U.S. perspectives on bilateral and regional security issues as part of the U.S.-Turkey Defense Trade Dialogue, and will hold a roundtable discussion with representatives from major U.S. and Turkish defense manufacturers,” the U.S. State Department said in a written statement.
Washington has for months urged Turkey to revise its decision to procure Russian S-400 missile defense systems, saying they will not be interoperable with NATO systems.
In December last year, Turkey and Russia signed an accord for Moscow to supply Ankara with S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, finalizing a deal set to deepen military ties between NATO member Turkey and the Kremlin.
However, since then the U.S. Congress has adopted a law to sanction a number of Russian companies, which could also target Turkey due to its procurement of S-400 systems. Ankara argues that it should not be affected because the deal with Russia was struck before the U.S. law was adopted.
During a visit by outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February, the two sides agreed to discuss the issue on technical level.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın is set to pay a working visit to Washington on March 30, aiming to maintain the relative momentum achieved in dialogue through the initiative of Tillerson.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency, (30.03.18 https://aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/turkish-fm-to-follow-deputy-in-visiting-washington/1102628) reports that Turkey’s Foreign M inister will visit Washington soon after a top U.S. diplomat visits Ankara on Friday, according to a senior Turkish lawmaker.
Volkan Bozkir, the head of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, made the remarks when receiving James Jeffrey, a former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and now a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute.
"I think that Turkish-U.S. relations will be better in the days to come," said Bozkir.
Bozkir said that members of the committee recently paid an official visit to the U.S. to hold talks with U.S. Congressmen.
At the meeting, he said, they found the opportunity to tell the congressmen about Turkey's expectations for Turkish-U.S. relations.
Pointing to working group meetings between the two countries held on March 8-9 in Washington, Bozkir said that the two countries are taking important steps to solve issues that have divided them.
"I hope that the U.S. will meet our expectations in the days to come," said Bozkir, evidentially referring to Turkey's possible operation in Manbij, Syria, where U.S. forces have allied themselves with the terrorist YPG/PKK.
He also mentioned how Foreign Undersecretary Umit Yalcin will meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J.
Sullivan in Washington this Friday ahead of the changing of the guard, when Rex Tillerson officially steps down as Secretary of State, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
"After this meeting, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit the U.S.," he said.
Before Tillerson’s exit was announced, Cavusoglu had been scheduled to visit on March 19.
"One of our most important expectations from the U.S. is the extradition of FETO's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen," said Bozkir, also urging a financial probe of the terror group. Bozkir also reminded that Turkey’s Foreign Undersecretary Umit Yalcin will meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in Washington this Friday. Yalcin’s visit may be expected to address some of the issues that were to be tackled at that meeting.
"After this meeting, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit the U.S." he said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (30.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-leaving-syria-very-soon-trump-says-129525) reports that the United States will leave Syria “very soon,” U.S. President Donald Trump said on March 29.
“We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now,” Trump told supporters during a speech in Ohio about his infrastructure proposal.
“We’re going to have 100% of the caliphate, as they call it—sometimes referred to as land. We’re taking it all back quickly,” he said.
Trump continued to slam U.S. spending in the Middle East, calling it futile, and argued that it detracts from domestic spending.
“We spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East, and you know what we have for it? Nothing,” he said.
Shortly after Trump made the comments, the State Department said it was unaware of any policy change to pull the U.S. out of Syria.
There are about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria as part of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coalition campaign.
Prior to being ousted from office by Trump, outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would “maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] cannot re-emerge.”
Turkish daily Sabah (30.03.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2018/03/29/six-top-feto-suspects-in-balkans-arrested-in-kosovo-brought-to-turkey) reports that six executives of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in the Balkans were arrested Thursday in Kosovo and brought to Turkey in a joint operation by the Turkish and Kosovar intelligence services.
Security sources told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the suspects, named as Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem, Osman Karakaya and Yusuf Karabina, were brought to Turkey via a private aircraft by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
The suspects, who were being sought by Turkey, were officially in charge of the FETÖ-run private "Gülistan" and "Mehmet Akif" school networks in Kosovo.
The sources told AA that the suspects were in charge of all FETÖ activities in the region, as well as trafficking FETÖ members from Turkey to the U.S. and European countries, where the terrorist group maintains a strong presence.
Özkan was in charge of collecting tithes from FETÖ members in the Balkans and transferring the terrorist group's shares to the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, where FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen has been residing since 1999.
Günakan was the key figure in hiring teachers to the schools.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.18 https://aa.com.tr/en/europe/erdogan-urges-kosovo-serbia-to-ease-tension/1103182) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday spoke over the phone with his counterparts in Serbia and Kosovo to discuss the detention of a Serb politician, according to a presidential source on Thursday.
Erdogan talked about the tension between Serbia and Kosovo after Marko Djuric, the head of Belgrade’s office for Kosovo, was detained on Monday in northern Kosovo.
Erdogan called on Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and Hashim Thaci to of Kosovo to take utmost care in ensuring that this incident would not harm the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
The dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo is of vital importance, Erdogan said.
Turkey is ready to provide any contribution to the peace between the two countries, he said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (30.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/pkk-cannot-fool-turkey-by-changing-names-pm-yildirim-129497) reports that the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and its affiliates cannot “fool” Turkey by changing their names, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, referring to the Syria’s Future Party (SFP) which announced its establishment in Raqqa on March 27.
The SFP is nothing but the Democratic Union Party (PYD) using another name, Yıldırım claimed on March 29, saying such groups frequently change their names and acronyms to avoid being affiliated with groups listed as terror organizations.
“They might fool some of our friends but they cannot fool the Republic of Turkey,” Yıldırım told reporters at a press conference before leaving for Sarajevo.
Turkey considers the PYD and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as the Syrian extensions of the PKK and a threat to Turkey’s security.
“We have been saying for a long time that they keep changing their names. We come across these groups using different names in Syria, different names in Iraq; but when they take off their cloaks, they show their true selves. We know them very well,” Yıldırım said.
“Terrorist organizations change their names in order to survive,” he added.
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