Under the title “Bargaining for Jasmine”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (03.04.18) reports that the “Immovable Property Commission” (IPC), established by Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus, decided on 28 November 2017 the payment of 22 million 769 thousand 940 sterling pounds as compensation for the pre-1974 value of Jasmine Court Hotel in occupied Keryneia and the plot of land around the hotel. According to the paper, the hotel, which had been the most luxurious one in the occupied area back in the 1980’s, belongs to Phoros Company and after the 1974 occupation of Cyprus was administrated by Omer Lutfu Topal, known as “the king of casinos”, who had bought the hotel from Asil Nadir during the 1980’s and turned it into casino, but died in 1996.
The decision of the “IPC” was conveyed to Elif Topal, daughter of late Lutfu Topal, who stated that she was ready to buy her share by paying 50% of the amount. In spite of the fact that Phoros Company raised no objection for the sale of the property to Topal family, notes the paper, the process entered into a deadlock because the “state” does not have the recourses to pay its share and is not willing to pay the above-mentioned money. Moreover, in order for the procedure to be materialized, the sides concerned should file a joint application. However, the Bank of Scotland, which is among Phoros Company’s shareholders, does not seem positive to the purchase of 50% of the hotel’s shares by Topal family. Officials of the bank seem reluctant on the issue because they will not be able to transfer the money into the British banking system, due to the fact that it was obtained as a result of gambling.
The paper reports that 6,412 Greek Cypriot applications have been submitted to the “IPC” until today, 1,082 of these applications were concluded and Turkey paid 200 million 898 thousand sterling pounds as compensation to Greek Cypriots for their occupied properties.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (03.04.18) reports that Odul Muhtaroglu, self-styled undersecretary of the “state planning organization” has alleged that they have estimated that the number of the “TRNC” [Translator’s note: The breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] “citizens” is around 230 thousands in the projected population. In an exclusive interview with the paper, Muhtaroglu noted that if the foreign workers and the students are added in this “projected population”, the number of the inhabitants in the occupied area of Cyprus reaches 351 thousand 965. “This is the number which we accept as population”, he said.
Muhtaroglu noted also that they are carrying out a study on their “projected population” in 2018 and added that the above-mentioned number will further increase, because there was an increase in the number of the students. “We will reexamine the number of the workers again and we will announce the population for 2018”, he said.
Moreover, Muhtaroglu recalled that during the last population “census”, which they conducted in 2011, the de jure population [as they call the entire population living in the occupied area including the foreign workers and the students] was found to be 286 thousand 257 persons. He explained that “the persons, who reside in a country for more than one year, are included in the de jure population” and that the tourists and the members of the Turkish occupation army are not included in this number. Muhtaroglu said that since 2011 they have not conducted any other “population census” because these studies are generally conducted once every ten years.
Replying to a question, he said that they estimate that the inflation by the end of 2018 will be 10,2% in the occupied area of Cyprus and explained that during the past few years the inflation in occupied Cyprus is higher than the one in Turkey because the majority of the products are imported, the local production is low and foreign exchange is broadly used.
Responding to another question, he noted that the regime’s net income from tourism was 739,4 million US dollars in 2016 and that they estimate a net income of 743,4 million dollars for 2017.
Muhtaroglu said also that the annual per capita income was 15,302 dollars in 2013, 15,109 in 2014, 13,721 in 2015, 13,902 in 2016 and around 14,000 in 2017.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (03.04.18) reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) stated that the fact that the “government officials” remained silent after the reactions created during a ceremony during the weekend for the opening of the Derynia crossing point, is not acceptable.
Protestors hold banners against Turkey during the ceremony.
According to the paper, UBP claimed that the “Turkish Cypriot people will never forget those who are fed with these ceremonies who are beyond their purposes and where phrases against motherland Turkey are used and also those who do not prevent the pro-Greek Cypriot provocateurs who take advantage of such events”.
UBP also criticize the fact that the “speaker of the parliament and four deputies of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP)” also participate at the Derynia ceremony.
Under the front page title: “Dangerous increase on the university sector”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.04.18) reports that according to the “YODAK’s 2017 activity report”, the “higher education planning evaluation, accreditation and coordination council”, in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, the number of the “universities” operating in the occupied area of Cyprus today is 16 while there are other 16 which are expected to be established.
The report underlines that “YODAK” has suspended for the first time the opening of two “universities”. The paper writes that due to “YODAK’s restricted authorities”, it cannot halt this dangerous growth. The report underlines further that the 16 active “universities” provide totally 1,255 programs. The number of the education staff has reached 4, 529 and the number of students is 100, 911.
Referring to the remarkable increase of the “universities” in the “TRNC”, “YODAK’s report” stresses the need for amendment in the “law” regarding the “universities”, and for the determination of an “action plan in the higher education sector”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.04.18) under the front-page title: “The clashes between students cause fear”, reports on the remarkable increase of the clashes experienced in the “country” especially among “university students” and writes that the “citizens” are worrying about these phenomenon.
Referring to the latest clashes occurred in occupied Lefka area between a group of Grey Wolves who picked a quarrel with a group of Kurds, the paper writes that they caused damages in houses, working places and “public buildings” in the area.
According to the paper, the so-called ministry of education and the so-called higher education planning evaluation, accreditation and coordination council ("YODAK") have started preparing a “regulation code” in order to prevent these incidents. This “regulation code” will include also the “students” from third countries and the establishment of a “committee by YODAK” which will be responsible for the “discussion of problems” experienced by “students”.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (AA) (03.04.18), the ground-breaking ceremony of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), will be held in the southern province of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast on Tuesday (today).
The Akkuyu NPP will be built by the Russian State Nuclear Energy Agency Rosatom and will compose of four units each with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
In the first phase of construction, two units are planned with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts. The plant, with a total investment cost of about $20 billion, will have a working life of 8,000 hours per year.
According to preliminary evaluations, 35-40% of the plant's construction could be undertaken by Turkish companies potentially providing added value to the economy by about $6-$8 billion.
The Akkuyu NPP will produce 35 billion kilowatts of electricity at full capacity, which will cover more than 10% of Turkey's electricity needs, or equivalent to the electricity demand of Istanbul.
The plant has an operational date set for the first reactor by 2023 while the plant is expected to be up and running at full capacity by 2025.
During the peak period of the plant's construction, about 10,000 people will be employed, while approximately 3,500 people will be provided with job opportunities in the operation phase.
Moreover, 248 Turkish students were educated in Russia to work at the plant. Thirty-five of these students graduated last month after 6.5 years of education.
An intergovernmental agreement for Akkuyu was signed between Russia and Turkey in 2010.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.04.18) reports that Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Anadolu Agency one day before the ground-breaking ceremony: “Our company was waiting for a construction license and now we have received information that permission will be given”.
The ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday in Turkey's southern Mersin province will see the participation of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin via video conference from Ankara.
Novak also commended the involvement of Turkish investors during the construction and for the future operation of the project. "We are in talks with Turkish companies and are expecting positive results," Novak said.
Rosatom plans to construct the plant with a capacity of 4,800 megawatts in four units and a working life of 8,000 hours per year, but plans to sell a 49% share of the project.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.04.18) reports that Turkey’s TAEK atomic energy authority on April 2 granted Russian builder Rosatom a construction license to start work on the first unit of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
The grant comes a day before a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Ankara, where Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also attend a ceremony to officially launch Akkuyu’s first unit.
“As a result of the construction license process, an important step in the project started nearly three years ago, being completed ... it has been decided by TAEK to grant a construction license for the construction of the first unit of the Akkuyu Nuclear Plant,” read a TAEK statement.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.04.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-may-hit-targets-outside-its-borders-at-any-time-erdogan-129687), Turkey is capable of carrying out operations against groups it deems terrorists without any “approval” from foreign countries, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed. “These days Turkey is finding terrorist organizations outside its borders and is entering their dens. They try to escape but we pursue them,” Erdogan said at an event to mark the opening of new schools in Istanbul on April 2.
“They escaped to [Syria’s] Afrin and [Iraq’s] Sinjar. We have told Baghdad [the Iraqi government] that either they should deal with it or we will do it. We are not thinking about waiting for any approval from anyone for these [kind of actions],” he added, referring to Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” in northwestern Syria’s Afrin and the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the northwestern Iraqi region of Sinjar.
Ankara has made several calls on the Iraqi government to clear PKK militants and their affiliates from Sinjar, particularly since the Turkish military completed “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s Afrin. “Operation Olive Branch” lasted for 58 days from Jan. 20 and aimed to drive the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of Afrin.
“In Afrin 3,872 terrorists have been neutralized,” Erdogan said, implying that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured. The Turkish General Staff stated that 46 soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces and 163 members of the allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) were killed during the course of the operation as of March 18, shortly after they had taken Afrin.
Erdogan, accompanied by Turkish celebrities including a number of singers and sportspeople, visited soldiers at an outpost near the border with Syria on April 1. “They are in preparation to achieve new targets. You may hear about new targets any time soon,” he said the following day. He also stressed that Turkey “aims to become one of the top democracies and economies in the world.”
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.04.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-issues-arrest-warrant-red-notice-for-journalist-can-dundar-129654), an Istanbul court on April 2 issued an arrest warrant and a red notice for exiled former daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar in a case involving the much-publicized National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks that carried weapons to Syria in 2014.
Cumhuriyet had released footage showing gendarmerie and police officers linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt, opening crates in the backs of trucks which contained what the daily described as weapons and ammunition sent to Syria by the MİT in January 2014 in the southern province of Adana.
Dundar has been living in Germany since June 2016 and faces detention warrants as part of two separate probes in Turkey.
He was arrested in November, 2015 on charges of espionage while also facing other charges, and was released in March, 2016 following a Constitutional Court ruling.
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