According to illegal Bayrak television (05.04.18) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci repeated that the informal meeting he will be holding with President Nicos Anastasiades on the 16th of April will not be a resumption of the Cyprus negotiation process.
In statements to reporters today following his routine weekly meeting with so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, Akinci stated that the upcoming meeting with Anastasiades will be held with the sole purpose of feeling out the current situation and assessing future steps to be taken.
Referring to recent statements made by Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou, Akinci alleged that there is no agreement or understanding that more meetings will follow the social gathering.
Highlighting the importance of dialogue in overcoming differences that exist between the two sides, Akinci said that he and his Greek Cypriot counterpart as elected leaders of their respective communities had a responsibility towards working on resolving the Cyprus problem. “I have been stating the need and importance of holding such a meeting from the beginning. The Greek Cypriot side, now that they held elections also expressed the desire to meet. The UN did all it could to facilitate such a meeting. I believe that this meeting will be good for both sides in terms of seeing now to proceed in the future”, Akinci further said, adding that there is no need to speculate on the meeting to undermine it or put too much meaning into it. “We do not need to have prejudices before the meeting. To undermine it, to trivialize it, to overplay it or to read into it”, he said, adding that the meeting is just an opportunity to listen and learn about the other sides’ perspective regarding the future.
“The Greek Cypriot leader has five years ahead of him without any political concerns. I myself have never had such concerns. So we are at junction. Which path will we take? Will we walk the same path or will we go our separate ways?. This meeting will be important in terms of understanding all of that”, Akinci claimed.
Also, touching upon President Anastasiades’ most recent remarks on political equality, Akinci alleged that never in the history of the negotiations has the Turkish Cypriot side insisted on numerical equality for the exception of various federal institutions. He further argued that it is important for the Turkish Cypriots to be allowed to have effective participation in decision making in areas where numerical equality will not exist.
“However, currently the bigger problem is the issue of rotational presidency. Anastasiades has failed to give a clear and open message to his community on this issue that a system of rotational presidency based on 2 to 1 will be an important part of any settlement to be reached. This issue is an absolute must for the Turkish Cypriots”, Akinci further argued.
Under the title “’Cyprus and the Mediterranean under very serious risk’”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.04.18) reports that experts warn that the nuclear power plant which will be built in Mersin’s Akkuyu area will influence Cyprus and the Mediterranean from every aspect.
Dogan Sahir, general secretary of the Green Peace Movement, Dogan Sahir told the paper that accidents could happen in nuclear power plants even in countries using the highest technology and that the first accident happened in the USA. He noted that the nuclear wastes constitute another serious problem and that no solution was found regarding the disposal of these wastes. “There is no other solution than burying the wastes”, he added. According to Sahir, the Akkuyu power plant will directly influence Cyprus and serious danger for a fatal leakage exists in case there is the slightest leak into the water transferred from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus.
Furthermore, Hasan Sarpten, member of the administrative council of the Turkish Cypriot biologists’ association, warned that the tragedy could obtain tremendous dimensions under normal conditions as well and not only in case of an accident. He noted that the nuclear power plant threatens Cyprus more than Turkey and added that “we will live with a nuclear bomb in our arms”. Pointing out that we will have a “time bomb above our head”, Sarpten said that this is unacceptable.
Moreover, the chamber of environmental engineers issued a written statement expressing the view that the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu puts Cyprus and the Mediterranean in a “very serious danger”.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.04.18) reports that Murat Kanatli, general secretary of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), has argued that in case an accident happens, occupied Keryneia and Cyprus’ northern coastline will be influenced more than any other place. He noted that Cyprus’ fishing and marine ecosystem will be directly influenced and added that no one knows what will happen with the nuclear wastes, which it is estimated that will reach 120 tons.
Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (05.04.18) reports that the “Immovable Property Commission” (IPC), established by Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus, has decided the payment of 22 million sterling pounds as compensation to the Greek Cypriot company which is the legitimate owner of Jasmine Court Hotel in occupied Keryneia. Noting that the compensation has not been paid, the paper writes that Romans Mapolar, “vice-president” of the “IPC” argued that “the attorney general’s office will evaluate the issue of whether the purchase is possible”.
Ergin Ulunay, the lawyer of Elif Topal who is the administrator of the hotel, stated that his client wishes to purchase the entire property and that contacts are being held with Turkey on the issue. Asked to clarify what contacts are being held with Turkey, Ulunay did not want to give more details. He only recalled that Turkey is the one which gives the money on the issue [for the “IPC” to function] and added that “contacts are being held with the authorities who give the money”.
Sinan Semiler, lawyer of Pharos Estates Ltd, the owner of the property, and its basic shareholder the Royal Bank of Scotland, said that the Topal Group [of Companies] did not pass the money laundering criteria of the European Central Bank and the Central Bank of England and that it wishes to purchase a property, the worth of which varies between 60 and 100 million dollars, for only 11 million sterling pounds.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (05.04.18) refers also to Semiler’s written statement under the front-page title “We do not sell to Topal family”. The paper reports that Semiler noted that the “IPC’s” decision concerns the payment of compensation in return for the transfer of the property to the “TRNC’s” self-styled ministry of interior and that they held meetings with the Topal Group, which offered them the ridiculous amount of 13-14 million sterling pounds for a property of 42 donums [Translator’s note: A land measure of 1,000 square meters].
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (05.04.18) reports that the occupation regime continues discussion about possible measures that could be taken concerning the increase of foreign currency and the loss of the value of the Turkish Lira (TL).
Speaking to the paper on the issue, so-called minister of finance Serdar Denktas admitted that there are not a lot of things to be done concerning the loss of the value of the TL. “I speak very clearly, there are not a lot of things that we can do about the increase of the currency”.
Replying to those asking them to take measures in order to change currency and pass from the TL to euro, Serdar Denktas said: “This discussion is out of question. We are not able to change our currency. It is out of question to pass to euro”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.04.18) under the title: “The bloody shirt does not belong to the Greek Cypriot missing person”, reports on the case of the Greek Cypriot in the occupied area of Cyprus, Solomos Apostolides who crossed into the occupied area of Cyprus last Wednesday from the occupied Zodia crossing point and since then is considered as missing and writes that according to reliable sources closed to the “police”, the bloody shirt which was found the other day in occupied Keryneia does not relate with Apostolides case and it does not belong to him.
According to the same sources, the bloody shirt is probably related with another case and it will be considered as evidence for another case. However, the so-called police declined on providing more details about this matter.
Meanwhile, the so-called police have intensified its investigations for Apostolides’ missing after his family suspicions that he might be murdered. The paper adds that while Apostolides’ car was founded in occupied Karavas area locked, his car’s keys were founded in occupied Lapythos.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (05.04.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Co-Chairman of the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters Celal Önen stated that the “police” continues the investigation concerning the case. He went on saying that the allegations saying that “Apostolides’ bloody shirt was founded” are wrong and added that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is very closely interested on the case.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (05.04.18) reports that according to data provided by the “state planning organization” (“DPO”), the cost of living in the occupied area of Cyprus for March went up by 0,87%, bringing the “annual inflation rate” to 12.11%.
According to the “data” the cost of living went up by 2,26% (during the first three months of 2018) compared to the same period of last year.
According to the paper, a rise was recorded in March in the price of totally 353 goods and a drop in the price of 100 goods.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-russia-iran-urge-lasting-syria-truce-129791) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Ankara on April 4 for a second summit, during which the next stage of the Astana Process was discussed.
The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran have said that they are committed to achieving a “lasting ceasefire” in Syria as guarantor countries, while also stressing on securing the territorial integrity of the war-torn country.
They “reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of a lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process envisaged by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254,” according to a joint statement.
The Presidents “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combatting terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighbouring countries,” read the statement.
It emphasized the guarantor countries’ strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character of Syria and said “none of the actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine these principles, confirmed by relevant U.N. resolutions and by the will of the representatives of all segments of the Syrian society.”
“As guarantor countries, we have a common understanding for Syria’s territorial integrity and rebuilding,” Erdogan said at a joint press conference following the three-way summit on Syria with Rouhani and Putin in Ankara.
“We determined steps to be taken in the coming days and shared consultation,” Erdogan said, noting that they will continue efforts without giving credibility to “traps, games and provocations.”
“Turkey will not stop until all regions under PYD/PKK [Democratic Union Party/Kurdistan Workers’ Party] control, including Manbij, are secured. We will never allow either Syria or our region to be attacked by some terrorist groups,” he stated, stressing that maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity depends on keeping distance from all terror groups.
“Turkey values Russia and Iran’s solidarity with its Afrin operation, we will establish grounds for peace in Afrin,” he said.
Erdogan said also that he proposed the construction of new housing for Syrians returning in the “safe zones” established by the Turkish army. Another proposal he said he made was to build a hospital for the injured coming from Eastern Ghouta, a besieged Damascus suburb, in cooperation with the Russian armed forces.
Rouhani, for his part, said Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty should be the main objective. “The fight against terror should continue and the residuals of these groups should be removed from Syria,” he added.
“Syrian people should decide on their own future through “constitutional reform efforts and free elections,” the Iranian President said.
Putin also supported the importance of Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and warned against attempts aiming “to fuel ethnic and sectarian clashes.”
He urged immediate humanitarian assistance to Syria and said it should not be “politicized.”
The three leaders discussed ways to realize decisions made in the National Dialogue meetings in Russia’s Sochi, Putin said, noting efforts to form a constitutional committee to establish Syria’s new constitution.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-to-send-team-to-turkey-for-visa-exemption-talks-129754) reported that Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik told members of the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee at a meeting on April 4 that the EU will send a technical team to Turkey in April to convey its assessment on the Turkish proposals for granting a visa exemption for Turkish nationals.
“They will send a technical team to Turkey this month and give us their assessment on the position paper we have presented them,” Celik said, adding that Turkey had introduced a position paper to the European Commission outlining how the Turkish government will fulfil the remaining seven out of 72 criteria required for granting a visa waiver for Turks to travel to the Schengen area.
The technical team to be deployed to Ankara will officially discuss the content of the Turkish proposals, which include an amendment on the anti-terror law and the data protection law. Visa liberalization in return of Turkey’s implementation of the Readmission Agreement was part of a massive migrant agreement Turkey and the EU negotiated in March 2016.
Celik further slammed recent remarks from Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who called on the EU to end accession negations with Turkey, suggesting Kurz has shown an approach “more racist than racists.”
“A sentence like ‘let’s end Turkey-EU relations, but let’s improve our relations in other areas’ is the biggest lie spoken in Europe at the moment,” he said.
“The main issue with regard to Turkey is the perspective of full membership. I want to state here once again that we will never accept an approach other than full membership,” Çelik added.
Ties between Austria and Turkey also soured in late 2016 amid Austrian restrictions on Turkish government figures who wanted to campaign in the country ahead of a key referendum shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.
In the meantime, Celik has travel to Paris on April 4 for talks with French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian, in a first in-person meeting since ties had been strained over French President Emmanuel Macron’s reception of representatives of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) at the Elysée Palace.
Celik will meet both Le Drian and France’s EU Minister Nathalie Loiseau in Paris, his office said in a written statement on April 4. The meeting is expected to address recent developments in Turkey-EU relations, bilateral ties, as well as regional developments.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/german-ambassador-turkeys-place-is-with-west-129807) reported that Martin Erdmann, the German Ambassador to Ankara, said on April 4 that there was “no logical place for Turkey’s geopolitical location other than the Euro-Atlantic sphere,” adding that he wanted to say this “on the next day of the laying ground for a Turkish-Russian nuclear power plant.”
Erdmann was referring to Turkey’s first nuclear plant in Akkuyu with Russian technology, whose ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 3.
“Turkey has no place other than the Atlantic alliance thanks to its geopolitical positioning. And I tell you this only one day after Turkey and Russia laid the foundation for the construction of a nuclear power plant in southern Turkey,” Erdmann said in a press-lunch with a group of reporters in Istanbul.
The Ambassador highlighted the strong trade and business ties between the two NATO allies.
“Bosch is a German company that offers jobs to 17,000. It exports some 90 percent of its production in Turkey, which roughly refers to some 1.5 percent of the country’s overall exports. The German automotive industry would halt if Bosch Turkey stopped production only for one week. This is a good example that showcases how the economies of the two countries are connected,” he said.
“The German economy would be harmed without Turkey and vice versa. There are some 90,000 companies in Germany with Turkish capital. Their revenues add to 50 billion euros. This is a matchless success story.”
“A discourse that suggests replacing the European Union with Russia or China is “nothing but a fantasy, which is not connected to Turkey’s reality,” he said.
“Germany has supported Turkey’s fight against terrorism and that may include the right to defend itself against attacks from Syria”, Erdmann said.
“Turkey has the right to defend itself against terror attacks from Syria and we think that the capture of Afrin in the Olive Branch Operation can be seen as part of Turkey’s anti-terror operation. However, Turkey’s military presence in Syria must be temporary.”
Answering questions regarding those alleged members of the U.S.-based Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen who asked for asylum from Germany after the 2016 military coup attempt in Turkey, Erdmann said his country was ready to cooperate with Turkey on criminals but needed “individual, solid evidence.”
”We have had difficulty in grasping the role of the Gülen movement in the 2016 coup attempt. We are ready to negotiate with the Turkish government regarding the extradition requests or accusations regarding individuals allegedly linked to the Gülen movement,” he said.
“When there is an extradition request for an individual allegedly linked to the Gülen movement, we need individual criminal responsibility and provability, which is valid for all countries that are member of the Council of Europe. Reasons like an account in a bank, an application on a mobile phone or a school that a person went to are not enough to be a proof for a crime. We need documents and proof to be able to carry out investigations into such cases. On the other hand, we cannot forget the fact that the Gülen movement and the AK Party acted hand in hand for a long time. In such a case, Turkey needs to understand that foreigners may not be able to understand a situation in which a partner suddenly turns into an enemy.”
The new German government did not elaborate on its Turkey policy; however, “we expect that our bilateral relations will continue to be good,” the diplomat said.
“On tourism, a boycott on Turkey is out of question:, he added.
“Our citizens travel to everywhere that they think they will enjoy their time, paying their own money. However, they wouldn’t go to places where they are concerned over their security or freedom. The numbers of German citizens visiting Turkey dropped in 2016, 2017 but we are hopeful of this year. I think the figure will near 4 million.”
Erdmann also said that Germany wanted better relations with Turkey and better Turkish-European Union (EU) relations but Turkey had to take certain political steps to fulfil its undertakings. “We do not want the accession negotiations for the EU-Turkey relations to be stopped or suspended. These negotiations, which seem to be ‘de facto’ suspended, should continue. This way, Turkey will become more modernized and adapt to the EU acquis”, he added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lira-again-plunges-to-over-4-against-us-dollar-129767) reported that the Turkish Lira has once again weakened against the U.S. dollar and the euro amid worries over a trade war and a series of geopolitical and economic risks.
The lira touched over 4.01 against the dollar and 4.93 against the euro early on April 4.
The loss in the Turkish currency’s value came after China plans to impose tariffs on more than 100 different American products with a trading value of over $50 billion, swiftly firing back at the U.S. just hours after the Trump administration made similar proposals.
The latest weakening trend also came one day after official data showed the country’s annual inflation rate was still above 10%.
According to analysts, Turkey’s high inflation and current account deficit, as well as an escalation in its geopolitical risks, have played a key role in pushing down the lira’s value.
The lira has weakened nearly 5% against the dollar since the start of the year and nearly 10% against South Africa’s rand.
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