A. Turkish Cypriot press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (08.05.18) reports that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has alleged that instead of the Greek Cypriot side accepting Mustafa Akinci’s proposal regarding the Guterres Framework, it refers to another non-existing document with the date of 4 July 2017. In a statement yesterday, Burcu claimed that he does not want to enter into a blame game and that what he wants is to put an end to this debate underlining the official report of 28 September 2017 announced by the UNSG. Burcu argued that in paragraph 19 of this report, the UNSG says that on 30 June 2017 he had submitted a framework to the two sides which he believed would lead to the solution of the six core issues remaining at the table in the form of a final package. “There is no other framework except for this. Therefore, there is no reason for further distorting this proposal”, he alleged.
Burcu also claimed that Akinci acts knowing that a mutually accepted solution in Cyprus will be for the benefit of all sides concerned, that it will turn Eastern Mediterranean into a field of cooperation and not tension and that it will be positive from the point of view of the relations between Turkey and Greece and Turkey and the EU.
Noting that the UNSG conveyed to the sides his wish to appoint a temporary special adviser on Cyprus to sound the ground in the two sides and the three guarantor countries, Burcu said that the Turkish Cypriot side has given a positive response to this proposal, but underlined that it should not be seen as part of an open-ended negotiating process. “Our president has many times stressed that the old open-ended process had ended and that we should act with an understanding focused on the result with a concrete time table and strategic package”, he alleged arguing that Akinci is ready to meet with the official to be appointed by the UN and share his assessments having an “understanding focused on the solution within an honest framework”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (08.05.18) reports that Dr Niyazi Nefi Kara, Deputy with Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), referring to the Cyprus problem, argued that while it has been always supported that the Cyprus problem should be solved on the basis of understanding two sovereign and equal states, he cannot understand the out of the blue Akinci’s statement that the Guterres Framework may be accepted now. He further argued: “We find useful to remind that the Guterres Framework was drawn a frame for Turkey’s active and effective guarantees to be lifted, the Treaty of Guarantees to be abolished and serious concessions on territory to be granted to the Greek Cypriot side, and North Cyprus was left faced with serious security worries”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (08.05.18) reports that former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, in an interview to Dogan News agency (DHA), argued that intense efforts are continuing in order to remove Turkey from Cyprus, adding that “those, who do not want a strong Turkey, the enemies of the TRNC, estimate that they can gain advantages with the withdrawal of Turkey from Cyprus”. Stressing that “a game is playing against Turkey”, Eroglu claimed: “No one should dream like this, this will not happen. The reasonable Turks of Cyprus will not let this happen, they will not jeopardise their own security and future”.
Referring to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s proposal regarding the “Guterres document”, Eroglu described it as “wrong, untimely and damaging”. He also argued that Akinci should not have played this game of the Greek Cypriots, adding that no one should try to present as equal value the abolition of the guarantees with the rotating presidency. Eroglu additionally alleged that nothing can replace the continuation of Turkey’s active and effective guarantees in Cyprus, adding: “We have all along the same opinion with Turkey. It is very dangerous for Akinci to disrupt this. I hope he will correct his mistake. It is virtue to correct a mistake”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (08.05.18) reports that the “TMT veteran’s association” expressed their grief, surprise and concern regarding Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s proposal to resume the Cyprus talks on the basis of the Guterres Framework.
In a written statement, the chairman of the association, Yilmaz Bora, called on the “parliament” to suspend Akinci from his duty as a negotiator.
Under the title “’Violence does not bring solutions’”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (08.05.18) reports that Oguzhan Hasipoglu, self-styled deputy with the National Unity Party (UBP), has told the paper that last week they had met last week at the European Parliament (EP) with Takis Hadjigeorgiou, member of the European Parliament (MEP) with AKEL left wing party, who undertook the initiative regarding the visit of MEPs to the occupied fenced off city of Varosha today. Hasipoglu said that they told Hadjigeorgiou that the MEPs should hold contacts with the breakaway regime’s “authorities” if they would make an assessment of the situation and that otherwise the study would not be objective. Noting that in spite of this the MEPs met with no “TRNC officials”, Hasipoglu alleged that “therefore this situation has been totally turned into an activity held for provocative purpose”.
Hasipoglu said also that UBP’s “deputies” in occupied Famagusta have prepared a letter which explains the “realities” in Cyprus and in the occupied fenced off city of Varosha and added that they would convey this letter today to the MEPs.
Hasipoglu claimed that they do not wish for any incidents to happen during the visit of the MEPs today and argued that both sides should sit and make an assessment for the occupied closed city of Varosha. He noted that violence and incidents do not serve the solution of the issue.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.05.18) reports that the “trial” against Afrika newspaper’s editor-in-chief Sener Levent and journalist Ali Osman Tabak started yesterday. They are accused of publishing a caricature which insulted Turkish President Erdogan and two other articles insulting “officials of a foreign state”, “insulting religion” and “having the intention of creating fear and concern among the people with not real articles”. The journalists rejected all accusations.
The hearing was postponed for 24 May. Erdogan’s caricature was published in Afrika on 8 December 2017. The other accusations concern the paper’s front page title on 21 January 2018 and Sener Levent’s articles published on 21 and 23 January 2018.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (08.05.18) reports that new “lawsuits” were filed yesterday against the paper and that these concern Sener Levent’s articles under the title “Zorba the Cypriot” and “From Peace Operation to the Olive Branch Operation”. It notes that the paper had not been informed beforehand of these “lawsuits”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (07.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-israeli-tyranny-over-palestinians-131468) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 7 that the Palestinians were the “symbol of all oppressed people” in the world and Israeli attacks on them showed that “tyranny’s boldness is increasing every day.”
“What is happening in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem, is nothing other than the efforts of tyranny to justify its oppressions, even to institutionalize them. The violence that the Israeli administration has recently inflicted on the Palestinians … shows that tyranny’s boldness is increasing every day,” Erdogan said in a speech at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards in Istanbul.
“The Palestinians are the symbol of all oppressed people in the world because of the persecution, massacres and injustices they have been subjected to,” he added.
(…) “A significant number of Palestinian children are continuing their lives outside their homeland, in refugee camps or in other countries. Those who are able to stay in their homeland, meanwhile, are exposed to psychological and physical discrimination everywhere, from the moment they leave their house on the way to their schools, at checkpoints, in public transport, in educational institutions,” Erdogan said.
He also slammed the international community’s “indifference over the sufferings of Palestinians.” “The indifference of the international community towards the Palestinians, who have had tens of martyrs and thousands of injured people in these [Israeli] attacks, is the sign of a future in which no society or individual will be safe,” Erdogan said, accusing international institutions responsible for ensuring peace and security in Palestine of “hypocrisy.”
Erdogan praised Turkey for its humanitarian aid work, contrasting the country with “great economic powers” motivated only by “economic, political or military interests.”
“Humanitarian aid, entirely an issue of conscience and morality, does not rely on money, oil, gold, or political power,” Erdogan said, noting that Turkey has so far spent $31 billion on Syrian refugees living in Turkey.
“Whatever anyone else does, as Turkey we will continue to use the facilities and opportunities we have in our hands for the benefit of humanity, especially our Palestinian, Syrian and African brothers. In a way appropriate to the orders of God and the inheritance left by our ancestors, wherever there is a victim we’ll worker harder to stand by them,” he said.
The Palestine cause is not an issue exclusive to any nation or city, Erdogan said, suggesting that “the future of humanity will be determined according to the stance taken regarding the cause of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
“If the opposite happens a dark future awaits us in which all rights, freedoms, moral and conscientious measures are absent or eliminated and in which tyranny prevails,” he added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eight-injured-after-mhp-supporters-attack-iyi-party-booth-in-istanbul-131432) reported that eight people were injured after supporters of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) attacked an election campaign booth of the opposition İYİ (Good) Party in Istanbul’s Bagcılar district on May 6.
Four İYİ Party supporters were reportedly stabbed and four sustained wounds from beating in the attack. All eight injured received medical treatment at nearby hospitals after the attack.
State-run Anadolu Agency reported on May 7 that eight people have been detained in connection with the incident.
İYİ Party leader Meral Aksener, standing as the party’s presidential candidate in the upcoming election on June 24, condemned the incident. “No threats and no attacks will intimidate us. With patience we will build the goodness and common sense that Turkey needs,” Aksener wrote on Twitter.
İYİ Party Deputy Chair Musavat Dervisoglu stated on Twitter that MHP leader Devlet Bahceli is responsible for “every drop of blood spilled.”
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce also condemned the incident. “I condemn the attack on the İYİ Party booth. I wish those injured a quick recovery,” İnce tweeted on May 6. “Political competition is no war. We are all children of this country,” he added.
Meanwhile, CHP Deputy group leader Ozgur Ozel condemned a recent attack on İYİ (Good) Party members in Istanbul, accusing the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of creating a hostile environment for opposition parties. “İYİ Party members have been attacked while campaigning for their party. The President of this country, the Prime Minister and the leader of a party have been calling them terrorists for a year. They’ve mentioned their names alongside terror organizations; they’ve shown them as a target,” Ozel said on a private radio station on May 7.
Ozel further said that the attack came after MHP leader Devlet Bahceli accused supporters of the İYİ Party, who signed a petition in support of party leader Meral Aksener to run for President, of being influenced by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“If you are saying that those who have signed the petition are FETÖ members, it means you are showing all these innocent people as targets,” Ozel said. “They are trying to seize their seats through threats and smears,” he added.
Özel refuted claims the alliance between the CHP, İYİ Party, Felicity Party (SP) and Democrat Party (DP) excluded the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). “The CHP put a great effort into establishing a zero-threshold alliance. But it is not the time to discuss that anymore,” Ozel said.
“It is apparent what Erdogan has done to the HDP members and its co-leader. Under Muharrem İnce’s presidency and the CHP’s rule, there will no longer be lawmakers imprisoned,” he said.
Nine HDP members, including former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, are currently behind bars on terrorism charges. İnce has vowed to visit Demirtas in prison and promised to take “bold steps” to solve Turkey’s long-time Kurdish issue if he becomes President.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (08.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/jailed-presidential-candidate-demirtas-unveils-election-promises-131470) reported that Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has unveiled his plans for pensioners, women and youth if elected President.
Fatih Portakal, FOX TV anchorman, asked all presidential candidates about their plans.
Demirtas responded to Portakal’s question in several Twitter posts on May 7.
“The biggest problem for the country’s youth is the deepening poverty. Ending poverty and inequality of opportunity will unleash the potential of youths,” Demirtas said, adding that one in five young people are unemployed.
He promised to issue what he called “Youth Cards” to support young people. With those cards, the country’s youth will receive 500 Turkish liras ($117) worth of allowance each month to spend on transportation, food, cultural and social activities. “Those cards will be distributed to every youth”, Demirtaş said.
He also promised to establish the Youth Ministry, which will be responsible for coordinating youth-focused projects with other Ministries. “We will protect women’s constitutional, legal, administrative rights. We will mobilize society to change the male-dominant mentality,” Demirtas said.
“Society cannot be free unless women are free and equal. We will create a presidential administration mechanism where women will constitute the majority. We will take more decisive legal, administrative, and cultural action against sexual assault and violence against women,” he added.
“The ultimate target is to fight against gender inequality, which produces violence”, Demirtaş said.
He also promised to open more daycare centers to help women participate more actively in the country’s social, economic and political life.
As far as pensioners are concerned, Demirtas pledged a hike in pensions. “The minimum pension will be raised to 3,000 liras ($704). Every retiree without a pension will receive 1,000 liras each month. We will ensure severance pay and retirement bonus, thus people will not hesitate to retire when they are ready. This way, we will create more jobs for young people,” Demirtas said.
He promised to offer 50% discounts on local and international travels, including flights, for elderly.
According to Demirtas, inter-city transportation, museums and historical sites will be free for pensioners. Demirtas also vowed to provide free health care for pensioners. He also said pensioners will have the right to have unions that will negotiate their social and economic rights with the government each year.
Also, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.05.18-hurriyetdailynews.com/iyi-party-chair-aksener-vows-to-restructure-8-billion-lira-debts-of-4-5-million-citizens-131472) reported that the İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Aksener revealing her party’s economic program ahead of the June 24 snap elections, has vowed to restructure the debts of 4.5 million Turkish citizens, worth 8 billion liras, through a project called the “Turkey Solidarity Fund.”
“We will purchase the debts from consumer loans, credit card and overdraft accounts of 4.5 million citizens whose debts are under legal supervision of banks or consumer financing companies and whose debts have been sold to collection companies as of April 30, 2018,” Aksener said in a press conference on May 7, introducing the İYİ Party’s economic program.
Naming the project the “Turkey Solidarity Fund,” she said “we will erase the debts that fit this criteria of all unemployed people, retired people and minimum wage workers.”
“Some 80% of the debts of citizens and students with low wages will be erased through certain criteria, while the remaining debt will be paid with deferred payments up to 10 years, Aksener added.
“We will free the unemployed and the retired of their unpaid debts, as well as veterans and the families of killed soldiers,” she said.
Aksener, who is also running as the party’s candidate in the presidential election, added that the fund will cost 8 billion liras to the budget “for once only in 2018.”
(…)“It is our duty to help our citizens with this condition, as the state has helped big companies in difficult situations,” she added, noting that the “Credit Guarantee Fund” granted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “has undertaken a 15 billion-lira loss” in recent years.
Turkish daily Milliyet (08.05.18-http://www.milliyet.com.tr/millet-ittifaki-na-buyuk-sok--siyaset-2664382/) under the title: “Millet Party (Nation Party) caused a big shock”, reports that the Nation (Millet) Party has filed an appeal to Turkey’s Higher Election Board (YSK) against the “Nation Alliance” which is composed by the four opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Saadet Party (Felicity Party), the Iyi (Good) Party and the Democrat Party (DP). The “Millet Party” argues in its objection appeal that the “Nation Alliance” cannot utilize the name “Nation” in the formation of its alliance, since, according to the Political Parties’ Law, this name belong to the party.
According to the paper, the YSK will evaluate in the forthcoming days the objection submitted by the Millet Party and will announce its decision.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/muharrem-ince-challenges-other-presidential-candidates-to-tv-debate-131473) reported that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has challenged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other candidates to take part in a televised debate.
“Mr. Erdogan, you’ve spoken about modern civilizations; let’s do it like modern societies. Let’s debate on TV and tell Turkey about our visions with other candidates,” İnce told a group of reporters in Parliament on May 7.
Erdogan on May 6 had vowed his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “will bring Turkey above the level of contemporary civilization.”
“[What Mr. Erdogan said yesterday] was very nice. I am very happy. But in contemporary societies and in the West, candidates appear on television together; they debate. And I am ready,” İnce said.
Speaking of his election promises, İnce said he will ensure Turkish citizens receive 500 Turkish Liras every May 19 Youth and Sports Day and Oct. 29 Republic Day.
He said he would generate the income to make such payments by closing the presidential complex where Erdogan lives “for six months.”
He also promised to make the presidential complex “a place used for academic purposes.”
“The smartest youths will study there. I will make the place a center for science. And with the savings, I will go to the Cankaya Palace,” he said.
In a commentary under the above title, columnist Murat Yetkin writes in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/murat-yetkin/a-crucial-turn-for-turkey-131477) the following:
“Early elections on June 24 will likely mark a crucial turn for Turkey not only regarding the country’s administrative system but also in domestic and foreign policies.
Regarding the systemic change, Turkey will either officially shift to an executive presidential system, as decided in the April 2017 referendum, or abandon that system as promised by the rivals of President Tayyip Erdogan if any one of them wins. If Erdogan is re-elected and the alliance of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Greater Unity Party (BBP) wins a parliamentary majority, then a new government will be established without a Prime Minister. Erdogan would be able to establish that government without needing a vote of confidence in Parliament, and he maintains that this would mean a real separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of state.
If Erdogan is not re-elected, or his alliance does not win a parliamentary majority, then a majority bloc could take immediate steps such as lifting the state of emergency. It could also start working to change the system back to a parliamentary or perhaps semi-presidential model, in which all executive power is not in the hands of the President alone.
In either case, the election is likely to lead to shifts in the domestic political scene, which will be closely linked to the current state of the economy. If the state of emergency is kept in place, with restrictions on rights and freedoms, it would mean that the government could continue bypassing Parliament through decrees with the force of law, especially on security-related matters that can be stretched to cover a number of fields.
Amid warnings of ‘overheating’ from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Turkish government has made a number of generous offers and lucrative promises to voters ahead of the election. Seasoned economist Mahfi Egilmez noted in a televised interview on May 7 that it was extraordinary to observe inflation, interest rates and the current account deficit rising all at the same time, as they are currently in Turkey.
In foreign policy, a big change could be expected in Ankara’s Syria policy if Erdogan is not re-elected. But even if he is re-elected, which seems most likely, a fine-tuning of policy regarding Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries could be expected. If Erdogan is re-elected and decides to lift the state of emergency, it could help bring some moderation in Turkey’s relations with the European Union. No big changes would be likely in relations with Russia, China and Japan.
But the key factor in Turkey’s foreign policy is likely to remain relations with the U.S., with all their angles in relation to Syria, terrorism, Russia and European security. The expected visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Washington for talks with new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will give some idea about the way relations may evolve, for better or worse. The current state of tensions can certainly not be sustained between the two NATO allies for much longer”.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION