Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.04.18) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has alleged that in case the “administrators of the Greek Cypriot side” accept that there is a community equivalent to them on these lands and digest the sharing of Cyprus’ administration under conditions of equality, we will be able to live in peace and tranquility in Cyprus.“If they realize this, we can create a new future in peace and tranquility for the future generations. It is not too late. When it is too late, the price will be heavy”, he claimed addressing a feast in occupied Trikomo area.
“We can find ways to fairly benefit from the blessings both of these lands and of the seas around them and create a new future in peace and tranquility for the future generations”, he argued alleging that in order for this to happen “those who administrate the Greek Cypriot side should realize that there is a community equivalent to them” and “digest the sharing of the island administrating it under equal conditions”.
Claiming that on 1 April 1955 Cyprus possessed a multicultural structure and that the Turkish Cypriots were one of the two basic communities of the island, Akinci alleged:
“Those who were directing the Greek Cypriot people in that period and mainly the Church together with Makarios and Grivas, had started a struggle allegedly against the colonial administration, but actually it was a struggle for enosis, the unification of Cyprus with Greece. They launched a struggle in order for one and only community, one and only element, one and only nationality, one and only culture to dominate in the island. […] The period of imposing one and only culture, one and only nationality in the geographical area has been left behind since a long period of time. Recalling of the results brought about by this event, which started on 1 April, I underline how important is for us to exist on these lands showing mutual respect to the multicultural, democratic structures and without giving the slightest concession from the principle of democracy and equality. […]
Today we have people who have come to our island from different cultures, different geographic areas, [and] different ways of life. This wealth of ours is not limited only to the contribution of the 100 thousand students from more than 100 countries. We also have people who have come and permanently settled in this island from various areas of Turkey and the world.There is no need to get irritated for this. We should find ways to see this variety as a wealth and benefit from this beauty”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (31.03.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=leaders-to-hold-informal-meeting-on-april-16) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, speaking at the “presentation of north Cyprus’s 2017-2018 competitiveness report” at the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, once again stressed that the informal meeting set to take place on April 16 between the two leaders was not the resumption of talks, which broke down last summer.
Akinci claimed that there was a need for different modalities and approaches in order for the negotiations to take place.
Akıncı also alleged that a will for coexistence was necessary to resolve the problem and not bold steps.
Akinci was alluding to comments made by UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman who said it would take ‘some bold leadership steps’ to restore confidence in Cyprus and move towards negotiations. “We don’t need courage or bold steps. What we need is an intention and the political will for a settlement. In order words the other side needs to demonstrate to the Turkish Cypriot side that it wants to co-exist and share this island with us. This is what must be done and this is the mentality that needs to be adopted” Akinci alleged.
Touching upon the “Greek Cypriot side’s intransigence”, Akıncı claimed that despite everything, the Turkish Cypriot side is aware of the necessity for dialogue. “The Turkish Cypriot side has never been the side that has shut the door or has refused dialogue. It never will be” Akinci argued, adding that he wanted to discuss the future of the island with the Greek Cypriot leader.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (02.04.18) reports that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that multiculturalism should constitute a wealth and not an element of separation that harms brotherhood. Addressing a feast in occupied Trikomo, Erhurman said:
“I always say this. The folk dances of our brothers from the Black Sea area here […] are a distinct source of enthusiasm. However, together with this, the time has come to add those who come from Adana, Antep, Ordu and Alexandretta. The time has come to bring together their foods with the foods which existed before in the northern part of Cyprus. And to experience this as a wealth. […] Trikomo has become the starting point for us to say that we are one, we are a whole and we are all brothers with those from the East, the South East, the Black Sea, Alexandretta, Antep, Adana, Ordu and of course now with those from Russia and Ukraine […]”.
In its “The Hero of the Day” column, Afrika comments on these statements and describes them as “sounding very ironic, if it is considered that we as Cypriots are a community facing the danger of the annihilation of its own culture”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.04.18) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has referred to Cyprus and Greece using “hard expressions”. Yildirim called on Greece and Cyprus “not to run after pipe dreams” and alleged that “history books write which was the fate of those who made pipe dreams for the Aegean and for Cyprus”. Addressing a local conference of Justice and Development Party (AKP), Yildirim alleged that they will “show absolutely no tolerance to the circles which violate our sovereign rights in the waters of the Mediterranean and the Aegean”. “Those who make piratic dreams in the waters of the Aegean should never forget the 9th of September 1922”, he claimed.
Referring to the relations of his country with the EU, Yildirim argued that Turkey continues having the accession to the EU as target, but “unfortunately we do not see the same sincere approach by our friends in the EU”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (02.04.18), in its front page, reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled deputy with the National Unity Party (UBP) called Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who will meet with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on April 16th, “to tell the realities to the people and to announce to the people whether the Greek Cypriot leader has changed his mentality or not regarding Turkish Cypriots’ rights”.
In a written statement, Tatar argued that only a week ago Akinci announced that the Greek Cypriot leader not only he did not want to give to the Turkish Cypriots their rights, he did not want even to discuss them.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (31.03.18) reports that the “Union of municipalities” participated in the 34th session Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Ahmet Benli, the “mayor” of occupied Gunyeli and chairman of the “Turkish Cypriot municipalities union”, said that their relations with Europe in terms of the “Turkish Cypriot local government” are moving forward.
Noting that they have been working with patience and determination in order the “European Charter of Local self-governance” to be implemented in the “country”, Benli said that they returned with positive impressions from their last meeting in Strasbourg.
Benli was accompanied to Strasbourg by Mehmet Harmanci, the “mayor” of the occupied part of Nicosia, Mahmut Ozcinar, the “mayor” of Morphou, and Huseyin Kole, the general secretary of the “Turkish Cypriot municipalities union”.
According to a press release by the “Turkish Cypriot municipalities union”, the issues of the reflection of the universal human rights to the local authorities and the rights of refugees were discussed at the Congress.
While the Council of Europe had organized again a working office for the Turkish Cypriots to use, during the visit, various contacts with European Mayors and members of the Council were held.
Evaluating the session, Benli noted that “the efforts to follow and evaluate the northern part of Cyprus in the sense of local democracy will be continued as well as to form a calendar towards this direction”. He also added that they will carry out their works with determination to open the way for the European Charter of Local Self-governance.
Benli further argued that “the local democracy in Cyprus is not limited only to the 30 municipalities in the south, but there are also 28 municipalities in the north providing local services to the public and they are represented by the union of municipalities”.
Finally, Benli said that in every visit they have covered a new distance with their relations with Europe.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (02.04.18), columnist Sami Ozuslu refers to the forthcoming dinner between President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci on 16 April and argues that the leaders should discuss what will happen if no solution is found in Cyprus and not the solution itself. “Let them think if their conscience can bear this sin”, he writes under the title “What will happen if there is no solution?”
Arguing that the leaders “gave big hopes during the past three years, but they could not take even one positive step”, Ozuslu alleges that they both lost the trust towards each other and the faith of their communities, “but there is always a way in politics, in case there is a will”. He claims:
“Akinci and Anastasiades do not trust each other anymore. Perhaps they are not offended but I am not sure that they will be able to look each other in the eyes when they meet. Nevertheless, we must preserve the hope that the negotiating process will continue from the point it was left. Otherwise, the non-solution will become permanent. The division will become definite. Very well, however, what will happen after the non-solution is registered on this island? […]
First of all, the population structure of this island will come to a very different point. The population tendency in the north has once more turned into a ‘minority’ the Turkish Cypriots, who had been ‘minority of the Greek Cypriots’ in the past. In case this tendency continues, the number of Turkish Cypriots living on the island might be decreased to a few thousands. With the influence of the economic conditions as well, a big ‘diaspora’ might be experienced once more.
In conditions of a permanent non-solution, those who want the division of the island and even to turn it into a totally Turkish [island], will definitely take some steps. One of these is to ‘turn Cyprus into Alexandretta’. That is, the unification with Turkey. With a referendum just like in Alexandretta. No one can guarantee that ‘no’ will be the result of such a referendum. The dramatic change of the population structure in the north is the preparation of such a referendum. […]
The Greek Cypriots may be at ease saying ‘I do not care’. They may think that they can forget the north and live happily by consenting to the south. However, the substance of the issue is absolutely not like this. Even if the Green Line remains here, even if the UN withdraws from the island, different conditions will be developed on the island. The population in the north might increase to one million of two millions. Who knows, perhaps this big population will demand its ‘majority rights’. It will want to have a say in the entire island and even take the entire island in its hands.Those who say ‘this cannot happen, this is an EU country’, are legally right. However, the political decisions do not conform to the law. Even the example of Syria explains this adequately. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.03.8) under the front-page title: “Has the Greek Cypriot missing in the TRNC being killed?” reported that Greek Cypriot Solomos Apostolides (64 years old) who has crossed into the occupied area of Cyprus last Wednesday from the occupied Zodia crossing point, with his car, was reported by his family as missing.
In statements to the paper, Apostolides’ brother, Kypros Koysides expressed his worries over the fact that his brother is missing and fears for the possibility of him to be murdered. He further called on everyone who knows something about his brother’s missing to help them find him. Koysides explained also to the paper that his missing brother was crossing every day to the “TRNC” with his car in order to meet someone with the initials E.S and after meeting him to go to a casino. “The last time they were seen together was in Keryneia-Gordonboyu”, Koysides claimed adding that the man was with his brother at that night departed for abroad during that night.
Meanwhile, on the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.04.18) under the title: “The car of the missing Greek Cypriot was found”, reports that Apostolides’ car was found in occupied Karavas village. However, no information was found yet about Apostolides’ fate. The car was transferred to the occupied Keryneia “police department” writes the paper, adding that his family was also informed.
Under the title “983 million dollars to Turkey”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.04.18), in its front page, reports that the imports from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus were 983 million dollars in 2017. The imports, which had risen to a billion dollars in 2014, fell in 2015 to 860 million dollars and in 2016 to 846 million dollars.
Meanwhile, the exports from Turkey in the first two months of 2018 reached to 161 million dollars, an increase of 17% compared to the same period in 2017.
Like in 2015, the most imported products from Turkey were the chemical ones. In 2017, 256 million dollars of chemical products were imported from Turkey.
The paper also reports that the imports from Turkey to “South Cyprus” (government controlled area of Cyprus) in 2017 had a 658% increase compared to 2016. The imports from Turkey in 2016 were only 77 thousands dollars, but in 2017, this figure rose to 584 thousand dollars.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.04.18) reports that clashes took place yesterday in occupied Lefka area when a group of Grey Wolves picked a quarrel with a group of Kurds.
According to the paper, the so-called police arrested 11 persons for the incidents while several other are wanted.
The paper adds that the clashes began after the two groups met in the street and started exchanging insults. Soon the two groups started fighting between each other throwing stones.
The clashes were stopped after the intervention of the so-called police.
According to the paper, “inhabitants” in occupied Lefka area expressed their worries over the escalated clashes in the region and called the so-called police to increase security measures and to “deport” those involved in such incidents.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (31.03.18), under the front-page title: “We are infiltrated to cults”, reports that several religious orders (cults) are activated in the “TRNC” and as part of their “actions” which are supported by the “director” of the “Vakif administration”, Ibrahim Benter, they provide religious education lessons for seriat (Muslim religious law) to little children in separate meetings between boys and girls.
According to the paper, Bender who is the biggest opponent of the secularism and of a secular educational system, is the biggest supporter of these cults and provides material and moral support to these “religious orders” aiming to the religious exploitation and abuse of children.
The paper underlines the fact that the so-called government keeps remaining silent concerning this issue and condemns also the fact that Bender utilizes the “money” of the “Vakif administration” and without having the “approval of the administration board of the Vakif administration” in order to fund these “cults”.
The paper publishes several photos showing children wearing headscarves in “Religious order meetings”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (02.04.18) reports that Ali Riza Celikbas and Ali Osman Cini, who were in the list of arrest warrants over suspected links to the movement of FETO, were arrested in their workplace in the occupied town of Famagusta with fake identities. Both of the suspects were in the occupied area of Cyprus to do their military service, but they did not leave when their service was completed.
A three day detention has been decided and it is expected the suspects to be sent to Turkey.
Turan Buyukyilmaz is the new general secretary of the Revival party (YDP), the Tukrish Cypriot Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (31.03.18) reported.
According to a press release by YDP, “deputy” Bertan Zaroglu and Turan Buyukyilmaz, deputy party leader, competed for the general secretary position of the party. Buyukyilmaz received 56 votes from the 106 members of the party centrall committee and became the new general secretary.
Speaking after the contest, Erhan Arikli, the party leader, said that there is no winner or looser, claiming that their party members has to reached 7,500 by the end of this year.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/israel-is-a-terror-state-president-erdogan) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Israel is a “terrorist state and occupier”.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress in the southern province of Adana on April 1, Erdogan once again slammed the killing of 16 Palestinians by the Israeli army during a demonstration on March 30.
Addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Erdogan said: “He says our soldiers are oppressing people in Afrin. Netanyahu, you are very weak, very poor. We [Turkey] are dealing with terrorists. But you are not concerned about terrorists because you are a terror state,” Erdogan alleged.
Calling the Israeli leader “an occupier” in Palestine, Erdogan said that Netanyahu has no right to criticize Turkey.
“You are not popular. The step you took regarding Jerusalem at the United Nations is out in the open. The answer you received is out in the open. Stop bragging about owning nuclear weapons. The time may come when those weapons don’t work,” Erdogan added.
“You are also a terrorist. History is recording what you have done to all those oppressed Palestinians,” Erdogan said, adding that he believes Israelis too are disturbed by Netanyahu’s misdeeds.
His harsh language came after thousands of Palestinians marched to Gaza’s border with Israel on March 30 and at least 16 Gazans were killed and hundreds of other were injured when Israeli forces opened fire on protesters marking “Land Day.”
Land Day is an annual Palestinian commemoration of the deaths of six Arab citizens of Israel killed by Israeli forces in 1976 during demonstrations over government land confiscations in northern Israel.
March 30’s rallies were the start of a six-week protest that culminates on May 15, the day the Palestinians call “Nakba,” or “the Catastrophe,” when Israel was founded.
The demonstrators are demanding that Palestinian refugees be allowed the right of return to towns and villages which their families fled from, or were driven out of, when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also raised his voice and hit back at Erdogan on April 1 over his sharp criticism of Israel. “The most moral army in the world will not be lectured to on morality from someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Erdogan said that a total of 3,844 terrorists have been “neutralized” since the start of “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s Afrin region. “We will not stop until the last terrorist is wiped out from our region,” Erdogan said on April 1.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-host-syria-summit-with-russia-iran-on-april-4) reported that the Presidential Press Office stated on March 31 that Turkey will host a trilateral meeting on Syria, gathering leaders from Turkey, Russia and Iran next week.
The meeting hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 4 will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, according to a statement.
Besides regional developments and the ongoing Syrian war, the Turkish and Iranian leaders are also expected to hold talks to discuss bilateral relations.
Turkey, Russia and Iran are the guarantor countries who brokered a cease-fire in Syria in December 2016, leading to the Astana talks in the Kazakh capital, which are being held parallel to United Nations-backed discussions in Geneva, to find a political solution to the conflict.
Ankara will also host the seventh meeting of the Turkey-Russia High-Level Cooperation Council with participants from Ankara and Moscow on April 3, the statement read.
During the meeting, the leaders will also exchange views on regional and international issues as well as bilateral relations.
As part of his visit, the Russian President will also attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant on April 3.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-erdogan-recites-islamic-prayer-at-the-hagia-sophia-129594) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited an Islamic prayer on March 31 in the Hagia Sophia, a historic Istanbul landmark that has become a symbol of interfaith and diplomatic tensions.
Erdogan called on guests attending the opening of a festival to join him in silently reciting the first verse of the Quran, dedicating the prayer to the “souls of all who left us this work as inheritance, especially Istanbul’s conqueror.”
The Hagia Sophia was built during the 6th century Christian Byzantine Empire and served as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was converted into an imperial mosque with the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453.
Turkey’s secular founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk made the structure a museum in 1935 but there have been calls in recent years to turn it back into a mosque.
Thousands of Muslim Turks have prayed outside the Hagia Sophia over the years to demand that it be restored as a place of worship. In 2015, a cleric recited from the Quran inside the building, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for the first time in 85 years.
The following year, Turkey’s religious authority began hosting and broadcasting religious readings during the holy month of Ramadan and the call to prayer was recited to mark the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.
Speaking at the opening of the first Yeditepe Biennial, focusing on classical Turkish art, Erdoğan said on March 31 that it was “difficult and emotional” to be speaking at the Hagia Sophia, which he described as “magnificent and holy.”
Greece has protested the Turkish government’s religious use of the venue, calling it last summer an “affront to the international community,” the Associated Press reported.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the Greek statement, saying it distorted the events and arguing that Greece made it difficult for Muslims to practice their faith.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/iyi-party-holds-first-congress-in-ankara-129619) reported that the İYİ (Good) Party, which is currently not on the list of the “parties to participate in elections” published by Turkey’s Higher Election Board (YSK), held its first extraordinary general congress on April 1 in order to fulfil a necessary condition for inclusion on the list.
Meral Aksener was again elected as party chair at the congress, the theme of which was: “The good ones to win.”
In her speech to delegates, Aksener said that people are currently “silent because of fear,” vowing that the İYİ Party will “destroy the wall of fear.”
“Today, our rulers have ruined the order of our country in order to establish their own order. There is nothing they wouldn’t do to protect their own future and their authority. Anyone who touches their authority is labeled as traitor and an enemy. The rulers of the country have delivered our shining youngsters to [the Fetullahist Terror Organization] FETÖ,” she added.
Aksener also blasted the government for “disrespecting” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, at recent commemoration ceremonies of the Battle of Gallipoli, which lacked references to the country’s founder. She also criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his recent call to change the composition of Turkey’s national anthem “İstiklal Marsı” (Independence March).
The İYİ Party leader said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was “fearful” ahead of the upcoming elections, which is what lies behind its alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Aksener, who was once an MHP Deputy, announced the foundation of the İYİ Party on Oct. 25, 2017. She and a number of other Deputies were expelled from the MHP amid a series of disagreements with long-running MHP chair Devlet Bahceli, who has sided with Erdogan on key issues including the shift to an executive presidential system.
The AKP and the MHP recently announced a “People’s Alliance” endorsing the candidacy of Erdoğan for reelection as President and pushing for a legislative amendment formally allowing pre-election alliances.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION