A press release was published by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (11.02.18 http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_-43_-gkrynin-dogu-akdenizdeki-hidrokarbon-faaliyetleri-hk.en.mfa) regarding the hydrocarbon-related activities activities of the Republic of Cyprus.
The statement is as follows:
“Despite all our warnings, the Greek Cypriot Administration continues its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. It does so in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island. Within this context, we have most recently observed that there is an intention to commence activities in block number three in the Greek Cypriot Administration’s so-called exclusive economic zone.
Turkey shares the justified concerns of the Turkish Cypriot people on this issue and supports the statement made on 10 February 2018 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. As we have repeatedly emphasized in the past, not only will we continue to protect our own rights and interests in our continental shelf, but we are also determined to take the necessary steps together with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus within the framework of our support to the Turkish Cypriot side. The sole responsibility for any situation that could arise as a consequence falls on the Greek Cypriot side, which, instead of expending efforts towards a just and lasting comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, persists in acting as though it were the sole owner of the Island and in continuing its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities.
This attitude of the Greek Cypriot side, which does not shy away from irresponsibly jeopardizing the security and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean region, is actually the fundamental reason behind the failure of the Cyprus settlement negotiations to produce an outcome for the past half-century. It will be recalled that during the Conference on Cyprus which convened last year, the Greek Cypriots demonstrated once again their unwillingness to accept a partnership with the Turkish Cypriots on the basis of political equality, and that because of this, the Conference closed without a settlement. And as long as the Greek Cypriot Administration continues its unilateral hydrocarbon-related activities, it will remain evident just how far removed the Greek Cypriot side is from perceiving the Turkish Cypriots as their equal partners.
We also make use of this opportunity to strongly emphasize our expectation that companies centered in third countries refrain from supporting, through cooperation with the Greek Cypriot Administration in the area of hydrocarbons, this unconstructive Greek Cypriot attitude which also constitutes a major obstacle to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.”
Under the title “The Greek Cypriot leadership is trying to escalate tension”, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (11.02.18) reported that the self-styled foreign ministry and “deputy prime ministry” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus has alleged that the Greek Cypriot leadership, as it described the leadership of the Republic of Cyprus, insists on escalating tension in the area on the issue of the natural gas.
In a written statement issued the day before yesterday, the “ministry” claimed also that “as long as steps which ignore our rights are taken and cooperation is avoided, we as TRNC will not refrain from taking counter steps together with Turkey”. “We feel the need to once more stress our determination to take concrete steps within the forthcoming period by taking into consideration the international agreements we have signed in the past and the licensing made”, alleged the statement.
Furthermore, the “ministry” alleged that the Greek Cypriot leadership has turned the natural wealth in Eastern Mediterranean into a “means of inviting tension” and claimed that “the fact that all our statements and calls, which are based on the logic of cooperation and reconciliation are ignored, is saddening”. The statement alleges also the following:
“[…] It is seen that the natural gas research activities of Italian ENI energy company are this time sliding into the area they have called as Parcel 3 in the ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’, which the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally declared. This action, which is unacceptable for us, in spite of all our warnings, shows that the Greek Cypriot leadership insists on increasing tension in the area. […]
The only reason for the fact that the constructive proposals made by the Turkish Cypriot side in the past on the issue of the fair and just sharing of the natural resources in the sea surrounding the island were not materialized, is the fact that the Greek Cypriot side opposes to making a cooperation and follows an rejectionist stance. This approach of the Greek Cypriot side does not only remain limited with the natural gas, it deals a blow to the searches for reconciliation between the two sides and mainly the Cyprus problem. The Greek Cypriot leadership confirms that it is not ready to share the administration and the wealth with the Turkish Cypriot people, not only with its stance in the Cyprus negotiations but at the same time with its approach on the issue of the natural wealth around the island. These latest developments show that unfortunately the findings which were included in the UNSG’s report 14 years ago are still valid today. A partnership, however this will be, is possible only by sharing and cooperating and not by ignoring the legitimate interests and rights of the sides concerned. […]”
Some Turkish Cypriot newspapers today (12.02.18) cover on their front page the tension created by Turkey in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the statement made by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue.
Under the title “We will take the necessary steps”, Halkin Sesi reports that Turkey reacted to the activities by the “Greek Cypriot side”, as it describes the government of the Republic of Cyprus, in Eastern Mediterranean. The paper notes that as it has been reported six Turkish war ships are near Parcel 3 of Cyprus’ EEZ and that the Republic of Cyprus has filed a complaint on the issue to the EU and the US.
Kibrisli refers to the issue under the title “Full support by Turkey to the statement of TRNC’s foreign ministry” and notes that in the statement issued yesterday by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Turkey expresses full support to the statement issued by the breakaway regime’s “foreign ministry” on the same matter two days ago.
Vatan covers the statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry under the front-page banner title “Hard reaction by Turkey to the Greek Cypriot administration!” Moreover, in his commentary in the same paper under the title “Drilling in the Mediterranean”, Osman Guvenir wonders who will believe the Greek Cypriots when they say that the Turkish Cypriots will also benefit from the island’s resources and argues that the Greek Cypriots should, however, know that they will not have to face the Turks of the island, but “in front of them there is a huge Turkey which defends our rights and takes a stand with its warships”. “There is an expression I have always been using: ‘Cyprus is not ours anymore, it belongs to Turkey’”, he alleges.
Demokrat Bakis publishes the statement under the front-page banner title “Reaction by Turkey to the Greek Cypriot administration”.
Under the title “Waters do not calm down”, Star Kibris reports that while the Turkish Foreign Ministry has once more warned the Greek Cypriots for their activities on the hydrocarbons issue in the Mediterranean, the “Greek Cypriot government”, as the paper calls the government of the Republic of Cyprus, stated that it would undertake initiatives in various directions.
Ortam covers the developments under the title “The waters became warm again” and reports that tension in the Mediterranean increased after the statement by the Republic of Cyprus that the Italian ENI company has found a significant quantity of natural gas in Parcel 6, which is located in Antalya’s open sea. The paper notes that ENI’s vessel proceeded towards Parcel 3 in occupied Famagusta’s open sea, but it faced the obstacle of Turkish warships. The vessel stopped and decided to wait until a new direction comes from ENI’s headquarters in Italy and “tension was created for a short period”.
Writing in his column in Kibris Postasi, Gokhan Altiner notes that the statement made the day before yesterday by the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs reminded him of Tahsin Ertugruloglu, former “foreign minister” known for his “hawkish stance” on the Cyprus problem. Under the title “Ozersay reminded me of Ertugruloglu”, Altiner reports that the newly appointed “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay had created the impression to many that he was a “solution supporter” in Cyprus, because he had been the negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot side for a long time. “However, contrary to what is believed, Ozersay has a conservative view”, he notes and explains: “I do not want to say that he does not want a solution. I want to say that his line is hawkish and on rightwing point. Because nowadays president Akinci makes statements against the Greek Cypriots – and Akinci is saying the realities- I am sure that Ozersay is very uncomfortable due to the fact that he cannot attack Akinci in any manner. The recent statement made by Ozersay as regards the Greek Cypriot side almost reminded me of former foreign minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu. Mr Tahsin […] was making a statement attacking the Greek Cypriot side every week. […] Ozersay is also continuing this habit, as I understand. […]”
Illegal Bayrak television (10.02.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-to-meet-with-pol-parties-in-parliament) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will meet with the leaders of the 4 political parties of the “coalition government” as well as the main opposition National Unity Party and the Rebirth Party in the coming days to exchange views on the Cyprus problem.
The meetings are expected to take place immediately after the “new government receives the vote of confidence in parliament”.
Akicni is expected to step up his evaluations with his negotiating team, the representatives of the “coalition government” and the opposition following a heightened expectation that diplomatic activity regarding the Cyprus problem will increase now that the elections in the Republic Cyprus have been held.
Akinci is also expected to hold consultations with Turkish officials.
In addition, Cyprus Today newspaper (10.02.18) reports that Baris Burcu, the spokesman of Akinci, stated that the next step of the Turkish Cypriot leader “is to call the leaders of each party and discuss the different dimensions of the Cyprus problem that will include the natural gas issue”.
Under the title “Emphasis on secularism and scientific education”, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (10.02.18) reported that self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman read out on Friday the “government program” of the four way “coalition” of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) - People’s Party (HP) - Social Democratic Party (TDP) - Democratic Party (DP).
The “government program” includes the following issues: “new population census, the right of the conscientious objection, the use of civilians in some military areas for the public interest, effective control of Ercan airport (the occupied airport of Tymbou) and the functionality of Gecitkale airport (the occupied airport of Lefkoniko), zero tolerance on workplaces for health and security issues, the traffic security system, private-public partnership for the telecommunications, cable car for St. Hillarion”.
Under the subtitle “A slight touch on the Cyprus problem…”, the paper reported that it drew the attention that the Cyprus problem was slightly touched at the “government programme”, when the works of the “deputy prime ministry and ministry of foreign affairs” were explained. During the “establishment of the government”, it was stated that every political party will have its own views regarding the Cyprus problem and the Cyprus talks will be carried out by the “presidency”. Both the “military agreement” and the “judicial assistance agreement” with Turkey came into the agenda with the new “government” and were included in the program.
On the same issue, the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.02.18) published the whole “government program” as read by Erhurman. Regarding the program on the works of the “deputy prime ministry and ministry of foreign affairs”, it was stated that within the framework of the “ministry of foreign affairs”, each of the “representation offices in abroad” will organize promotional activities for Turkish Cypriot culture art. It was stressed that every kind of efforts will be made in order to attribute importance to the relations with the EU, for this purpose to ensure that the political dialogue is at the top level, to implement effectively the regulation for the “Financial Aid”, to develop the Green Line Regulation and the regulation of the Direct Trade to be implemented.
The program also read: “Necessary steps will be taken in order to develop the relations with the UN Security Council countries, the member States of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and other countries which are outside the EU, and to establish direct economic, touristic, cultural and sporting relations with all regional countries. (…) In the field of sports, culture and arts, efforts will be taken to overcome the problem of the international representation.
In order to develop the sectors of higher education and tourism, the activities of representation offices in abroad will be shaped by considering the needs from this point of view.
The foreign policy will be shaped by an understanding that there is an international and humanitarian point of view in the resolution of problems with asylum seekers and refugees in an environment where conflicts in the immediate region affect them”.
The program regarding the “immovable property commission” noted: “Within the framework of the criteria developed by the European Court of Human Rights within the scope of the European Convention on Human Rights, the necessary arrangement should be made immediately, and the necessary international relations will be established in order the immovable property commission to be made into an effective domestic legal mechanism. The works for the immovable property regulation will be among the priorities. Measures will be taken to support the immovable property commission with a new and reasonable financing model. Necessary changes will be made to enable the commission to be brought into working status and to be able to resolve the applications in front of them much more quickly.”
Furthermore, the paper noted that they will act in order to have a “military cooperation treaty” between Turkey and the “TRNC” and in this way the “legal ambiguity” that exists today to be eliminated, as well as, some military areas to be used for projects which will be for public benefit.
“In the areas of money laundering, corruption, human trafficking and corruption, fight against terrorism, the legislation will be harmonized with international law and cooperation with international organizations and foreign states.
Diplomatic efforts will be made at all levels to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots on natural resources located within the maritime jurisdictions of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The participation in international organizations and in such kind of events will be financially supported in order to ensure that the youth will take part.
Taking into account the importance of the universal character of art and the artist in overcoming the international isolation faced by our country, the representations of our artists on international platforms will be supported from every angle.
The process for the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU will be followed closely and diplomatic attempts will be made to develop a policy for transforming this development into an opportunity in order to lift the isolation facing for many years on the sector of exports from the TRNC”, the program noted.
Referring to the “amendment of the citizenship law and the labour law”, the program read: “The citizenship law and the labour law will be amended. The criteria for granting citizenship will be reorganized to prevent arbitrary applications; some restrictions will be placed on granting citizenship. The foreigners, who are in the country with working permission and with the white identity application, will be allowed to earn all citizenship rights except for the right to elect and be elected. (…)”.
It was also reported that “the meeting of the Meteorological General Directors of the Islamic countries that will be held in the TRNC, will contribute to the promotion of th e country”.
Illegal Bayrak television (10.02.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ulucay-elected-as-new-speaker-of-parliament) broadcast that Republican Turkish Party “deputy” Teberruken Ulucay has been elected as the new “speaker” of the so-called assembly.
Zorlu Tore from the main opposition National Unity Party has been chosen as the new “deputy speaker”.
Ulucay was elected by 40 votes in favor, 7 against and one vote of abstention.
“Deputy speaker” Zorlu Tore was elected by 27 votes in favor, 20 against and one abstention.
The “Parliament” will reconvene today the 12th of February for a debate on the “government program”.
According to procedure, “a vote of confidence will be held 24 hours after the debate on the new government program is completed”.
Under the title: “Massive lawsuits against the Republic of Cyprus”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.02.18) reports that the “Turkish Cypriot teachers trade union” (KTOS) and the “Turkish Cypriot secondary school teacher’s union” (KTOEOS) continue their common “struggle” in order for the children of mixed marriages in Cyprus to be able to obtain the Republic of Cyprus’ citizenship.
After a calling by KTOS, around 1,000 persons applied to the trade union for assistance. Among the applicants are also people who live in different countries abroad such as in France, Canada and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, KTOS and KTOEOS will organize on Thursday 15 a briefing meeting at the Ataturk cultural center in order to inform the appliers about the situation. A Greek Cypriot lawyer will be also attending the meeting, writes the paper.
In statements on the issue, the general secretary of KTOS, Sener Elcil, explained that around 1,000 persons who are children of mixed marriages and confront certain difficulties in obtaining the Republic of Cyprus citizenship, have applied to the trade union. He further said that during the meeting to take place, these persons will be able to be informed by a Greek Cypriot lawyer about the “legal procedures” that should follow. He added that during the meeting, the applicants’ information will be registered, all the applicants will be categorized and afterwards coordination will be made in order to proceed to massive lawsuits against the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.02.18) under the front-page tittle: “Why the police could not arrest them?”, reports on the nine persons who are still wanted by the so-called police in the occupied area of Cyprus for being involved in the incidents occurred on February 22 and the attacks against Afrika newspaper and writes that the fact that the “police” was not being able to arrest those persons, creates a lot of questions in the public opinion.
Invoking reliable sources, the paper writes that some of the attackers who are wanted cannot be arrested by the “police” since they are civil personnel at the military establishments” in the occupied area of Cyprus.
The paper goes on and writes that the public opinion waits for a “statement by the police chief” on the issue, adding that it is not right to remain silent.
Under the title: “Disintegration” (COZULME), Aysemden Akin publishes an article in Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen newspaper (10.02.18) about Erhan Arikli, the leader of the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP) in the breakaway regime.
Akin writes that Arikli, who came to the island in 1975 from Kars, Turkey and 20 years ago was arrested ατ the airport of Kirgizstan for the murder of Solomos Solomou at the Deryneia events, is now having a new mission aiming to create a new conflict between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. This time is taking a step at the so-called assembly claiming to represent the settlers.
According to the columnist, Arikli, who managed to gather the settler’s vote with the slogan "Enough of what the Cypriots have done to us, now we will take them", finally tried to intervene in the “judiciary” as well, following the events taking place in front of Afrika newspaper and the attack against the “parliament”.
“What triggered the 22 January demonstrations was the speech made by Mr Erdogan. In his speech Mr President had strongly reacted to Afrika newspaper, which described the Afrin operation as an ‘invasion’ and after that the 22 January demonstration was organized. Almost all of those who held the 22 January demonstrations were refugee citizens of 1975 [Translator’s note: This is how he describes the Turkish settlers illegally transferred to the occupied area of Cyprus in 1975]. However, in the past those who had been holding similar demonstrations were our brothers of Cypriot origin. […] I do not know which punishment will be imposed on the demonstrators after this. The only thing I know is that the message which will come out from here will be given to Turkey’s institutions here, to President Erdogan and to the whole of the citizens who are 1975 refugees”, Arikli stated.
Akin furthermore writes that Arikli’s statements are actually dangerous and notes that nothing is without reason or unplanned.
“Those who threw stones to Afrika and attacked the roof of the assembly are sent to the lower court with the instructions of the prosecutor. […] Attorney General Askan Ilgen always takes his place in the headlines to be remembered badly. The judiciary is given police protection. The Supreme Court cannot show its brave attitude this time. After the attack, the AKP Cypriot representative Mehmet Demirci brings the case in an envelope. […] The lawyers of the country, the Bar Association tells us, "the judicial independence is being struck. […] Nine people still cannot be found. […] Even the President is alienated from his home, his identity is in crisis. The dissolution is so great that the facts separate us from the unity and make us sleepwalkers”, writes Akin expressing her worries regarding the situation occurred.
She sums up saying that Arikli is right on saying that “the decision that the judge will make on the case will be very important and sent a message”, adding that it will be clear soon if this will be another case of a castle built in the sand for the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (12.02.10 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/we-will-either-fix-us-relations-or-they-will-break-down-completely-turkish-fm-127161) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Turkey –US relations will either be fixed US or they will break down completely.
He made these statements days before U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ankara. "Ties with the United States have been at a very critical point," he added.
The countries are at odds on various issues, with the biggest problem being U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.02.18 http://aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-to-explore-legal-routes-against-us-justice-min/1060390) reported that Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said that Turkey will explore all legal avenues against U.S. support for PYD/PKK terrorist organization.
Speaking to Turkish broadcaster Kanal 7, Gul said it is a pity that a country like the U.S. takes a terrorist organisation's side.
“A country which we call our ally should prioritize Turkey’s preferences, interests and security of its citizens, not a terrorist group. It is a pity if it is taking side of a terrorist group,” Gul said.
He added that relatives of soldiers who had been martyred in PKK attacks and wanted to file a lawsuit against the U.S. had every right to do so.
"Turkish citizens should not refrain from using legal ways to demand their rights."
Gul said necessary steps were being taken to complete hearing of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO)-related cases in Turkish courts in 2018. "As of today, 38,470 FETO members have been remanded or convicted in Turkey,” Gul said. He added: "A total of 4,170 people were actively involved in the coup attempt." He said 5,704 members have been convicted while 480 have been released.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (12.02.10 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/hdp-elects-its-new-co-leaders-127145) reports that the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) elected Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli on Feb. 11 as its new co-leaders in the party’s third ordinary convention held in the absence of former HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and six other lawmakers, who are under arrest.
“We are taking an open stance for peace in the homeland and abroad. We defend peace,” Buldan said on Feb. 11 in Ankara in her speech as a candidate.
“The year 2018 will be a year when the HDP will contribute to the struggle of peace and democracy,” Temelli said.
Apart from its co-leaders, the party also elected its 100-member party council.
As a coalition of several political parties, HDP elects its co-leaders to represent both Turkey’s left and Kurdish political movements, while also carrying out a gender equality policy by electing one man and one woman to the posts.
Buldan has been a lawmaker since 2007 and serves as a Deputy Parliamentary Speaker.
Temelli, an academic dismissed from his post at Istanbul University with a state of emergency decree, has been the party’s deputy leader since 2013.
Before joining the HDP in 2009, he was a member of the socialist Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP). He is also known to be defending constitutional change under the “Not enough, but yes” movement in 2010 that paved the way for the President to be elected by the public.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION