A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (11.05.18) reports that General Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Turkish General Staff, has alleged that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) will continue to protect Turkey’s and the “TRNC’s” so-called rights and interests in Eastern Mediterranean and be a guarantee for peace and stability in the direction of the treaties of alliance. In statements yesterday, Akar noted that in every occasion Turkey says that it supports the solution of the existing problems in the seas, and mainly in the Aegean, within the framework of the international law and good neighboring relations. He alleged the following:
“[…] [Turkey] exerts every effort with good will in order for the Aegean to become a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. Together with this, TAF, which are determined to protect our country’s and nation’s rights and interests deriving from the international law and agreements, will never permit [the creation of] fait accompli. The TAF will continue to protect Turkey’s and the TRNC’s rights and interests in Eastern Mediterranean and constitute the guarantee of peace and security in Cyprus in the direction of the international treaties of guarantees and alliance. Within this framework, the TAF determinedly take every kind of measures both in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean […]”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.05.18) reports that Recep Akdag, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cyprus Affairs, has alleged that progress cannot be achieved in Cyprus without the acceptance of the equality of the two communities. In statements yesterday in Ankara during a meeting with self-styled education minister Cemal Ozyigit, Akdag referred to the relations between Turkey and the “TRNC”, the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus and claimed that the security of the “TRNC” is at the same time Turkey’s security. He also alleged the following:
“The development of northern Cyprus constitutes, in our view, the most important point for the solution of the problems. The inconceivable stance of the Greek Cypriots, who do not cooperate all along [and] the fact that they behave as if the island is Greek, as if it belongs to them, have unfortunately made finding a solution more difficult. Our position is clearly the following: No progress can be achieved in Cyprus without the equality between the Turkish and the Greek communities is accepted. We are obliged to establish a system in which two equal communities will live together. I believe that the more the TRNC develops, […] the richer northern Cyprus becomes, the closer the Greek Cypriots side will come to the solution”.
Moreover, Akdag reiterated the allegation that per capita income in the occupied area of Cyprus could soon increase to 25 thousand US dollars annually and argued that this is the reason why the “agreements” for economic cooperation and development between Turkey and the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus are very important.
In his statements, Ozyigit argued that Turkey’s aid is the reason of the “TRNC’s” existence and added that they continue their efforts knowing this fact. “The important thing is for this aid to be evaluated in the best and most correct manner and the TRNC to obtain a structure in which it will be able to stand on its own feet”, he added.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (11.05.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2018/05/11/tanap-project-to-enter-into-service-in-june-energy-minister-says), the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project will enter into service as of June 12, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said Friday.
Turkey will launch its first deep sea oil and gas drill in the Mediterranean this summer, Albayrak added.
TANAP is the most important part of the SGC, a multinational European Commission project to transfer gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Gas Field in the Caspian Sea to European markets to reduce the continent's dependency on Russian gas.
Turkey imports some 6.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from Azerbaijan via the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and the amount will go up to 12.6 bcm as TANAP brings in an additional 6 bcm of natural gas. Therefore, the share of Russian gas in Turkey's energy imports will decrease.
TANAP will initially provide 2 bcm of natural gas before gradually reaching 6 bcm by the end of June 2021.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (11.05.18) reports that the general secretary, Deputy in Izmir and spokesman of the Good (Iyi) Party in Turkey, Aytun Ciray, in a post in his Twitter account, commented on the recent statements made by Umit Yalim, Retired Colonel and former general secretary at Turkey’s Ministry of Defence, against the statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci regarding the Guterres Framework and wrote the following:
“Colonel Umit Yalim says the following: Turkey, while is moving forward to snap elections, considers the proposal made by the president of the TRNC, Mustafa Akinci as unreasonable and illogical. Akinci has made a calling to the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration to accept the Guterres Framework. The Guterres Framework envisages the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Cyprus and its replacement by UN multinational forces. The Guterres Framework envisages more crucial concessions than the 2004 Annan plan”.
Ciray went on claiming that in addition with the the concessions included in the Annan plan, with Akinci’s proposal to accept the Guterres Framework, Akinci is in fact accepts that other areas in the “TRNC” such as occupied Rizokarpaso and the open and fenced off city of Varosha [Maras] will be surrendered to the Greek Cypriots. “That means that the half of the TRNC’s territories will be surrendered to the Greek Cypriots. This affects the lives of our Turkish soul brothers living in the TRNC. This is a fabrication by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Ciray alleged.
Meanwhile, Umit Yalim in his statements condemned Akinci for his proposal, alleging that the number of the Turkish troops in Cyprus will be reduced to 650 soldiers and Turkey’s right of intervention as a guarantor country will be abolished.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (11.05.18) reports that the self-styled council of ministers of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus has examined 1,200 “citizenships” given “by exception” by the former National Unity Party (UBP) “government” and decided to revoke 175 of them which were found to be “contrary to the law”. In order for these 175 persons not being “victimized”, the “council of ministers” gave them the opportunity to apply for a work “permit” or a “permit” to establish a business, by considering them as having “migration permit” for 90 days.
After the meeting of the “cabinet”, the spokesman of the “council of ministers” and self-styled foreign minister, Kudret Ozersay said that there were no documents for some of these “citizenships” and that they found cases which are obviously contrary to the “law”. He argued that these “citizenships by exception”, which have been given “contrary to the “law”, harmed the sense of justice, when persons who have been living for years in the occupied areas could not take “citizenship”. He said that in case other cases which are contrary to the “law” are found during the ongoing examinations, these “citizenships” will also be revoked.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.05.18) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu stated that he does not support the candidacy of his daughter Gencay Eroglu for the position of the “mayor of Lefkosia”. Gendcy Eroglu is running with the Democratic Party (DP) of Serdar Denktas.
Eroglu, who serves as the National Unity Party’s chairman for 23 years and is still honorable president of the party, issued a statement noting that he expressed openly to Denktas that he is against the candidacy and stressed that he continues to support Hasan Sertoglu who is UBP’s candidate for the “mayor of Lefkosia”.
The forthcoming “municipal elections” will be held on June 24.
Under the title “Keryneia flied”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (11.05.18) reports that due to the control of the constructions in the occupied region of Keryneia and Agios Epiktitos with the “city development (zoning) plan” and the intense demand from abroad, the real estate prices in the occupied town of Keryneia have hit the ceiling.
According to the paper, the implementation of the “city development (zoning) plan” in the occupied region of Keryneia and Agios Epiktitos, the increase of the investment demands from abroad, the land shortage and the increase of the pound sterling are the reasons that the real estate prices in the occupied town of Keryneia have been increased. For example, the two bedroom apartments cost now an average of 75 thousand pounds from 45 thousand pound sterling and the price of a plot, which used to cost 100 thousand pound sterling, now it costs 300-400 thousand pounds.
Meanwhile, it is stressed that the increase of the prices has not affected the interest of the overseas investors. The investors are still keeping their eye firmly on the occupied town of Keryneia. Despite the increase of the real estate prices, the real estate agents found the real estate prices in the occupied area of Cyprus cheaper than Turkey. While the real estate agents and the property owners are satisfied with the price increase, the citizens suffer. Not only the residents of the occupied town of Keryneia cannot buy a house due to the increase of the real estate prices, they cannot afford to pay the rent due to the increase of the pound sterling either.
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (11.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/foreign-ministry-slams-un-statement-questioning-turkeys-motives-in-snap-polls-131613) reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has slammed the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for questioning the Turkish government’s motives in calling snap elections on June 24, rescheduled to be held under the state of emergency a year-and-a-half before the original date.
“The state of emergency does not constitute an obstacle to holding democratic elections,” a statement released by the ministry read on May 10.
Describing the OHCHR’s remarks as “unfortunate,” the ministry said it would not “take [the] statement seriously” as it was made “on the basis of purely political motives.”
“In fact, the High Commissioner should know that the elections were also held in France during a state of emergency. Furthermore, it was confirmed by the international observation missions that the elections in Turkey, including the referendum that took place in April 2017, were held in a democratic, free, fair and transparent manner,” it added.
The state of emergency, which has been in place since the deadly coup attempt of July, 2016, is a necessity and is “a legal right granted to states by the international law,” the ministry stated.
“In Turkey, state of emergency measures are implemented only against terrorists and terror related circles. There are no measures restricting the rights and freedoms of our citizens,” the statement added.
On May 9, the OHCHR had released a written statement titled “Turkey must lift state of emergency restrictions for credible elections to take place.”
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (11.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opposition-presidential-candidate-ince-vows-peace-development-and-sharing-in-turkeys-southeast-131650) reports that Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on May 10 promised to solve the country’s Kurdish issue through “peace, growth and sharing.”
“The Kurdish issue is a problem. We will be frank about this. What is the Kurdish issue? It is a political, economic and cultural problem. We will solve this problem through peace, growth and sharing,” İnce said at a rally in the eastern province of Hakkari, where 84 percent of the votes in the 2015 general elections went to the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“I stand by the words I utter here even when I go to [the northwestern province of] Edirne,” İnce said, criticizing other politicians for coming to address crowds before forgetting about them after elections.
“Sometimes people in Edirne may get upset with us; sometimes people in Hakkari may get upset with us. But we will find the right way,” İnce added.
İnce also referred to his recent visit to Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former HDP co-leader who is the party’s presidential candidate, at Edirne Prison on May 9.
“Let all candidates stay in jail for one week. I shouldn’t be the only [candidate] doing all this jail time,” İnce quoted Demirtaş as saying in a jovial manner.
Demirtaş has been in jail for a year-and-a-half on “terror” charges and faces up to 142 years behind bars if convicted.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (11.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-opposition-objects-to-unconstitutional-authorization-of-cabinet-to-issue-decrees-131649) reports that a Parliamentary commission has passed a law authorizing the cabinet to issue decrees and to change legislation without any legislative supervision, amid opposition criticism that the move violates the C onstitution.
The law authorizes the cabinet to make legislative changes and issue decrees regarding public institutions, their organizations and duties, was passed in the commission and was submitted to Parliament on May 10. It will be valid until the snap presidential and Parliamentary elections to be held on June 24.
With the law, the cabinet will be able to pass harmonization of current legislation in line with the controversial constitutional amendment approved in the April 2017 referendum, to make regulations on the establishment of public institutions and associations, and to redefine institutions under the Prime Ministry. It also authorizes the C abinet to make changes and regulations on articles regarding the president’s executive authority
According to the Constitution, legislative changes must first be submitted to Parliament before being referred to the related constitutional Parliamentary commission. After due assessment by the commission, the draft is submitted to Parliament’s General Assembly for MPs’ discussion and then voted on.
After the June 24 elections the new Constitution that was narrowly approved in the April 2017 referendum, which marred by allegations of voting irregularities, will go into full effect and the President-elect will have the executive authority to issue presidential decrees on the subjects referred to in the latest, while the post of Prime Ministry will be lifted.
During debates in the General Assembly opposition Deputies blasted the empowering law, saying it is against constitutional procedures.
“This authorization has no limit … The authorities outlined by the Constitution should not be violated. We are lifting tradition of thousands of years. Who will replace the Prime Minister?” CHP Deputy Bülent Kuşoğlu asked.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (11.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chps-15-resigned-deputies-return-from-iyi-party-131622) reports that fifteen lawmakers who resigned from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to join the İYİ (Good) Party and ensure the latter’s participation in snap elections have returned to the CHP after the İYİ Party’s participation was secured.
“Mission accomplished, our friends are returning to their home … We thank them, history will remember them with this grand gesture,” CHP Deputy Group Chair Özgür Özel told reporters at Parliament on May 10.
After resigning from the İYİ Party, the 15 deputies will apply to be candidates for the upcoming June 24 elections on the list of the CHP.
The lawmakers temporarily joined the İYİ Party in a bid to allow it to form a 20-Deputy party group in Parliament, constitutionally gaining the right to enter elections.
“Upon the instruction of our party’s leader, 15 of our friends joined the İYİ Party as a precautionary measure to avoid possible problems occurring right at the start of the election period,” CHP spokesman Bülent Tezcan had announced on April 22.
Doubts about the İYİ Party’s participation in the election had been raised as the party had not completed its required general congresses over six months before the election, which is a constitutional necessity to participate in national elections in Turkey.
İYİ Party spokesperson Aytuğ Çıray thanked the CHP and the 15 Deputies for their move, adding that the necessity for such a gesture is a “shame” for Turkey’s democracy.
“This picture today is a proud picture for us but it is a shame for those who rule Turkey, for Turkish politics and for democracy,” Çıray said.
“We wish the election was not held being under the state of emergency, and wish Turkish democracy and election procedures did not necessitate such measures,” he added.
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (10.05.18) published an opinion poll conducted by Metropol research firm in April (dates are not specified)regarding the power of the Turkish parties in the forthcoming Presidential and Parliament elections on June 24.
According to the opinion poll, if elections were held this Sunday the parties will receive the following:
Justice and Development Party: 43,3%
Republican People’s Party: 18,9%
National Movement Party: 5,2%
People’ Democracy Party: 9,4%
Good Party: 11,1%
Felicity Party: 1,3%
Other parties: 0,7%
Protest vote: 1,5%
No answer: 1,2%
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION