Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-putin-attend-ground-breaking-ceremony-of-turkeys-first-nuclear-plant-129709) reports that Turkey and Russia launched construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in the southern province of Mersin with a ceremony in Ankara on April 3.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin jointly lay the ground for the plant on the Mediterranean coast via a video teleconference held at the presidential complex.
“The Akkuyu plant will become the 56th nuclear plant under construction in the world. When the first reactor of the Akkuyu plant is put into operation in 2023, Turkey will join the family of nuclear energy producers,” Erdogan said.
“The distance we have covered in our relations with Russia in the last 15 years is very important,” he added, also referring to an agreement for Ankara to purchase long-range S-400 missile defense systems from Russia and the Turkstream natural gas pipeline project to transport Russian gas.
“We are not just kick-starting the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear plant, we are founding Turkey’s nuclear sector,” Putin said at the ceremony.
“We aim to produce the first energy unit in 2023. We will be doing so on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. When all units are in operation, the nuclear plant will supply 10 % of Turkey’s electricity demand,” he added.
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, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
“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.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s approval for Gazprom’s onshore portion of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s second line is still pending, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on April 3.
Akkuyu nuclear plant will be built by Russia’s Rosatom on the Mediterranean coast for a price tag of $20 billion.
Rosatom holds a majority share in the plant with 51 %. The remaining 49 % stake was originally planned to be divided between a Turkish consortium of three contracting conglomerates under the name Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon (CKK). However, Kolin and Kalyon recently decided to pull out of the project, citing an inability to agree on commercial terms.
Erdogan will host Putin and Iranian counterpart Hasan Rouhani on April 4 to discuss the ongoing Astana and Sochi processes to bring an end to the conflict in Syria.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/s-400s-will-be-deployed-to-turkey-in-july-2019-official-129749) reports that Russia will deliver the first batteries of the S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems in July 2019 after Turkey’s demand to bring forward the time of delivery, the head of the Turkish procurement agency has said upon a joint decision by the Turkish and Russian Presidents to prioritize cooperation on augmenting Turkey’s air defense.
“The time of delivery cited on the agreement for the procurement of S-400s has been brought forward to July 2019,” İsmail Demir, the head of the Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries (SSM) was quoted as saying by daily Hurriyet on April 4.
Demir’s statement followed an agreement voiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 3 after a lengthy meeting in the Turkish capital. Russia was planning to deliver these systems to Turkey in early 2020.
Turkey has long been under pressure from its main NATO allies, particularly the United States, to cancel the agreement for the procurement of the S-400s systems, as they cannot be interoperable with existing NATO anti-ballistic defense architecture. There were also concerns that Russian involvement in operating the S-400s will allow Moscow to have access to the allied codes and information about NATO facilities on Turkish soil.
Erdogan, however, was defiant against pressures and reactions from the allied countries.“We have made our agreement on the S-400s. We have closed this chapter. This job is done,” he said at the joint press conference with Putin.
There are concerns that Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made sophisticated air defense systems could trigger punitive measures, as stipulated in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill that was passed by the United States Congress in 2017.
“We have decided with President Erdogan in our meeting to speed up the delivery of the S-400 systems,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, referring to the purchase that has raised concerns among Turkey’s NATO partners.
“Our Turkish colleagues made a request in the meetings. We will accelerate the process,” the Russian President added.
“This is an issue of commerce. Companies are working on it,” Putin said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (04.04.18) reports that the so-called foreign minister and deputy prime minister Kudret Ozersay stated that a custom duty on the humanitarian aid sent by the Republic of Cyprus to enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites who live in the breakaway regime should not be imposed.
He made these statements speaking yesterday during a meeting of the “council of ministers”.
As he stated a new procedure regarding the issue will be followed.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.04.18) reports that so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, speaking yesterday in the so-called assembly announced that Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cyprus Affairs, Recep Akdag will probably hold a “visit” in the “TRNC”. However, Erhurman did not gave more details about the date and the reason of the “visit”
Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (04.04.18, http://www.brtk.net/nami-niyet-varsa-hidrokarbon-firsata-donusturulebilir/) broadcasts that Ozdil Nami, self-styled minister of economy and energy of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that the hydrocarbons issue could be turned into an opportunity and not a threat, in case there is a will. Addressing today a panel on planning and administrating the electricity production in the occupied area of Cyprus, Nami claimed that his call for cooperation with his “Greek Cypriot counterpart”, as he described Energy Minister George Lakkotripis, is still valid.
Noting that the “government” attaches great importance to the field of energy, Nami said that in their “program” they gathered the issue under five chapters: the energy production to serve growth, the reduction of the input costs in the production, the production of high quality energy, the diversity in the production and the production of environment-friendly energy.
Recalling that an “agreement” to transfer electricity to the occupied area of Cyprus from Turkey with undersea cables was signed in 2016, Nami noted that the interests of the consumer should be taken into consideration in the energy production.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (04.04.18) reports that Aysegul Baybars, self-styled minister of interior of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that they have reached the final stage of examining the issue of 2,000 “exceptional citizenships” granted during the National Unity Party (UBP) – Democratic Party (DP) so-called government. In statements to the paper, Baybars noted that during this month they will submit a proposal to the “council of ministers” regarding the annulment of the “citizenships” which will be considered as “illegal” and added that they will take the advice of the “law department” regarding cases on which uncertainty exists. She pointed out that they know the number of the “illegal citizenships” but refrained from revealing it.
Referring to the rural plots of land allotted by the regime, Baybars said that intense demand continues for these plots of land and added that the applications regarding some “irregularities” are being examined.
Under the front-page title: “Murder suspicions”, Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (04.04.18) reports on the case of the Greek Cypriot missing in the occupied area of Cyprus, Solomos Apostolides and writes that the so-called police has serious suspicions for Apostolides that he was murdered.
According to the paper, Apostolides had crossed into the occupied area of Cyprus last Wednesday from the occupied Zodia crossing point with his car and since then he was reported by his family as missing.
The paper speaks about the possibility of him to be murdered. Invoking reliable sources, the paper writes that the “police” have launched investigations starting from the fact that during the night of the 28th of March when he had crossed into the “TRNC” with his car with license plate (MET 470), Apostolides met a 35-year man with the initials E.S. The police launched an “investigation” into the house of that person who has reportedly departed for abroad and found out a bloody shirt. The paper adds that Apostolides was frequently crossing into the “TRNC” and meeting with this man. The “police” continue its “investigation” and examines the possibility on the Apostolides’ assassination.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (04.04.18) reports that the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) leader Huseyin Ozgurgun, speaking in a televised program yesterday, evaluated several issues which are in the daily agenda of the occupied area of Cyprus and also the Cyprus problem.
Referring to the internal situation in the party, Ozgurgun claimed that there are some who are trying to divide the party. “We will not give them this opportunity”, Ozgurgun said, adding that he will be candidate for the party leadership during the party’s congress in autumn.
Referring to the Cyprus problem and the Cyprus negotiation talks, Ozgurgun said that his party’s positions are clear and known. Ozgurgun stressed the need not to proceed to negotiation talks if they are going to be open-ended, claiming that again will yield no result. “But if a deadline is given, we have no objections concerning the negotiation process. There is nothing left which has not been discussed. But if we say again ‘let’s meet to talks, let’s drink coffee, let’s eat meatballs and we will see later, this is nothing else but serving the games of the Greek Cypriot side”, Ozgurgun alleged.
Writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (04.04.18), columnist Gokhan Altiner reports that a crisis exists between the two of the four “coalition government partners”. “The four parties held a group meeting last week and Kudret Ozersay, chairman of the People’s Party (HP) was warned by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) on some issues during this group meeting”, notes the columnist adding:
“A CTP source of mine commented on this by saying ‘everyone should know his position’. […] On the other hand, another crisis came up having as source Asim Akansoy, CTP’s deputy in Famagusta. During some television programs he had participated last week, Akansoy criticized minister of foreign affairs Kudret Ozersay, because of his political stance on the Cyprus problem. This situation annoyed the People’s Party wing and this was shared with the CTP. […] On the other hand, another crisis was experienced yesterday and, if I may say so, the HP ‘fixed’ its coalition partners on the issue of the consultants and moreover instead of doing this behind closed doors, it did it openly and publicly. This was truly Ozersay’s stake to spoil the government. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (04.04.18) reports that Narin Ferdin Sefik, chairperson of the so-called high election council, told illegal Bayrak yesterday that holding “municipal elections” on 1 July, 2018 will not create any “constitutional” problem and that the other Sundays of July might raise discussions regarding “unconstitutionality”.
Furthermore, yesterday the “parliamentary committee” on “legal, political and external affairs” approved with majority the “draft-law” regarding “the elections and referenda (provisional rules)”.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/journalist-hasan-cemal-receives-suspended-jail-sentence-129743) reports that Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal on April 3 received a suspended jail sentence of one year and six months on charges of “conducting terror propaganda” over columns he published in 2013.
Taking into account that Cemal was previously sentenced to one year and three months in prison on the same charges, the Istanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court reduced the term to three months and 22 days, and ruled for the suspension of the sentence.
Cemal was tried for “conducting terror propaganda” through his serial column titled “Withdrawal Diary” published on the T24 news website on May 15, 2013.
He was previously acquitted of charges on “conducting terror propaganda” in March 2017, but a court of appeal reversed the decision and ruled for the continuation of Cemal’s trial in October 2017.
Cemal’s series “Withdrawal Diary” charted the withdrawal of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants from Turkish soil during the peace process, which collapsed in 2015.
The decision comes after an Istanbul court on April 2 issued an arrest warrant and a red notice for exiled former daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar.
He was arrested in November 2015 on charges of espionage while also facing other charges, and was released in March 2016 in a case involving the much-publicized National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks that carried weapons to Syria in 2014.
Dundar has been living in Germany since June 2016 and faces detention warrants as part of two separate probes in Turkey.
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