A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (28.05.18) reported that retired General Ilker Basbug, former Chief of the Turkish General Staff, has alleged that the Treaties of Alliance and Guarantees in Cyprus concerns Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom as the guarantor powers [of the Republic of Cyprus] and that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has no say on this issue. In statements during a television program, Basbug claimed:
“He [Akinci] has no legal authority. […] These treaties concern three states: Turkey, Greece and Britain. There is a proposal for totally lifting the Treaty of Guarantees and partially lifting the Treaty of Alliance in Cyprus. The TRNC president has no right to have a say on the Treaties of Guarantees and Alliance. The UNSG says that the guarantees should be lifted and the president says ‘we can discuss this’. No one comes out to ask him: ‘Do you have the authority to have a say on this issue?’ The issue of guarantees and alliance is neither an issue of the people living in the TRNC nor of the TRNC parliament. This is an issue of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) and it [the TGNA] is the only one who will have a say”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.05.18) reports that Izzet Izcan, chairman of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), has described as wrong, unfortunate and unacceptable the statement made by retired General Ilker Basbug, former Chief of the Turkish General Staff who alleged that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has no say on the issue of the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance. In a written statement issued yesterday, Izcan said that the Cypriot people should be put in the center of politics and their future without allowing the foreign powers to interfere. “The president of the republic has the right to talk, express views and submit demands on every issue which concerns this country”, he noted.
Under this title in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (28.05.18), columnist Sami Ozuslu refers to the statement made by retired General Ilker Basbug, former Chief of the Turkish General Staff, who alleged that the Treaties of Alliance and Guarantees in Cyprus concern Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom and that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has no say on this issue. Noting that these statements made during a program of the TRT, Turkish state television, justify the positions of President Anastasiades, Ozuslu argues, inter alia, the following:
“[…] These words justify Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades. The position that ‘Akinci may have good intentions, but Ankara is the one which says the final word’ is an argument which is always set forward by the Greek Cypriots. Instead of denying this, the Turkish Cypriot leadership acts usually with the position that ‘we are in consensus with Ankara’. Sometimes this is correct. Sometime, however, it is not. If Nicosia comes into conflict with Ankara, the one who sits in the presidential palace will catch the blame for this. In this situation, the Greek Cypriot political elite will relax for good.
Ilker Basbug is a retired army officer. What he says does not bind the state very much. However, the stance of those who bind the state in Turkey is not very different. What is known in the clearest manner is the stance of Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during his last visit […] during which he met with Akinci and the leaders of the political parties in the presidential palace and left the island without making a single statement. It is said that the climate inside [the meeting] was cold. Some even say that Cavusoglu ‘hit the door and left’. Why? Because president Akinci, prime minister Erhurman and national education minister Cemal Ozyigit instantly opposed the proposal of bringing confederation onto the agenda. When this happened, Cavusoglu abandoned both the palace and the island without making a statement, they say. It is obvious that Ankara got very angry with the situation.
Cavusoglu, who played a leading role in Crans Montana, with every action he makes, shows to us that Ankara acts with the understanding of burdening Greece and the Greek Cypriot leadership with the cost for the non-solution, of the continuation of the status quo until it obtains a profit from the natural gas and of maintaining its presence forever if it does not obtain this gain. Those who say that Ankara made a move on the issue of guarantees during those days and that it is ready to make a move, have a good intention, of course. Good intention, however, could prevent us from seeing the realities sometimes. Ilker Basbug’s statements are clear. Akinci, who took courage from the oral reference by Cavusoglu and made a call on Anastasiades saying ‘come and let us accept the Guterres Framework and sign it’, receives the one blow after the other from Ankara. Not only the government, but also the main opposition which is in a social democratic line, see the Cyprus problem with outmoded glasses from the 1950’s. As for Ilker Basbug, he expresses the stance of the army. […]”
Meanwhile, commenting on the same issue, columnist Ali Baturay in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.05.18) described as “problematic” the point of view of the great majority of the people in Turkey, including government officials. He argues:
“[…] Generally there is even an opposite point of view for Cyprus. […] It is as if there are no people living in Cyprus, Cyprus is only a piece of land and it is not important whether people live on this land. It is not important what the people living on these lands think, what they wish, how they want to live, what their plans for the future are. In any case, they have been rescued by Turkey. If they had not been rescued, they would not have been alive. They are alive because of Turkey. Therefore, it is not important what those who live there [in Cyprus] want. Turkey can think, decide, [and] design a future for them. The Turkish Cypriots will keep quiet and implement quietly whatever Turkey decides. […]”
According to illegal Bayrak television (26.05.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=europe-day-event-in-selimiye-square), an event was held on Saturday at the Selimiye Square in the walled city of the occupied part of Lefkosia to Mark the 9th of May Europe Day.
The event organized by the European Commission’s Representation Office in Cyprus was attended by the self-styled minister of economy and energy Ozdil Nami, the self-styled minister of national education and culture Cemal Ozyigit, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s wife Meral Akıncı and other “deputies”.
Projects carried out or financed by EU member countries and institutions were promoted at stands set up in the square.
Delivering the opening speech at the event, the Director of the EU Structural Reform Support Service Mary Mc Carthy reminded that the EU had provided 480 million Euros in support to the Turkish Cypriot community since 2006.
Mc Carthy expressed her personal hope that a settlement will be reached and the division on the island will end. She said that the EU was prepared to support any steps to be taken by the two leaders in that direction.
Also speaking, Nami reminded that the EU was a project of peace and that the Turkish Cypriot community had taken a number of concrete steps showing that it wanted to be a part of that project. “We as Turkish Cypriots have done more than our part for the reunification of Cyprus. It is now up to the EU. It is up to the EU to increase its support to the Turkish Cypriot people which have displayed a will for the reunification of the island. The EU should not be held hostage by the Greek Cypriot Administration”, Nami argued.
Ozyigit, for his part, said that the EU was an excellent example of support and good relations between countries and added that the support provided by the EU was extremely important for the Turkish Cypriot “people”. “Unfortunately the support provided does not change the fact that we are living in a divided EU country. It should not be forgotten that the greatest support to be given to this community is to include it in the European Union” he added.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (26.05.18) reported that the bi-communal United Cyprus Now organization stated that is appalled by the fact that the Deryneia beach has once again opened to Turkish Cypriot and Turkish nationals only.
“This ethnically segregated beach is a shameful display of discrimination and racism in the 21st century. We condemn the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities for this gross violation of human rights and freedoms, and call on all Turkish Cypriot and Turkish people, who believe in the right to equality and non-discrimination for everyone, to boycott the Deryneia beach”, a statement by the organization said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (28.05.18) reports that due to the value of the foreign currencies increased yesterday comparing to the Turkish Lira (TL) the cost of basic goods has increased dramatically and as a result, the persons living in the breakaway regime had to reduce their shopping.
According to Havadis, the price of foods, cleaning and personal care items has increased up to 10-30% leaving both the consumers and the market owners to go off the deep end. In many caseσ consumers leave many items they intended to buy at the cashier due to the items’ high prices. The paper notes that the fact that the money of the “citizens” is losing its value every day is reflected clearly from the profits of the shops.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (29.05.18) reports that the decrease of the Turkish Lira put a brake to the construction in the breakaway regime.
The paper writes that between 2015-2017, 30,140 real estates were sold but this number is reduced now because of the fast Turkish Lira decrease. According to the paper, 12,272 real estates were sold in occupied Keryneia, 8,627 in the occupied part of Lefkosia, 8, 820 in Famagusta, 409 in Trikomo and only 12 in Morfou during the above mentioned period.
Speaking to the paper, the chairman of the “Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors' Union” Cafer Gurcafer stated that the foreign investments in the occupied area of Cyprus will not be affected, however the issue of the Turkish Lira decrease will affect the industry and its results can already be seen.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (28.05.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/economy/turkish-central-bank-completes-simplification-process-3412378), the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) on Monday announced that it had decided to complete a simplification process for the operational framework of its monetary policy. "One-week repo rate will be the policy rate of the Central Bank," it said. "This rate will be equal to the current funding rate (16.5%)."
"Central Bank overnight borrowing and lending rates will be determined at 150 basis points below/above the one-week repo rate," the bank added.
Currently, the bank's policy rate, also known as the one-week repo rate, stands at 8%. Last week, the bank raised the late liquidity window interest rates -- from 4-5 p.m. (1300-1400GMT) -- by 3% points.
At a May 23 unscheduled Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the bank, the borrowing rate was kept at 0% while the lending rate was raised from 13.50 to 16.50%, following sharp fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.05.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/lira-firms-as-central-bank-says-it-will-complete-policy-simplification-132463), the new framework will take effect on June 1 and the whole process is expected to be completed by June 7, the Bank stated. “We think conducting funding through a single rate, the weekly repo rate, has increased predictability and sends a powerful signal to the markets that the tight stance will continue,” said İŞ Investment economist Muammar Komurcuoglu.
Under the title “George and Hans cannot defeat us, says Erdogan”, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.05.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/george-and-hans-cannot-defeat-us-says-erdogan-132506) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused foreign powers of trying to “weaken” the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), after the Turkish government criticized Germany for allowing opposition rallies and a French magazine for portraying Erdogan as a “dictator”.
“You George, you Hans, you cannot defeat us. You cannot put a distance between us. I love my people for the sake of God, and my people love me for the sake of God,” Erdogan said in a public rally in the western province of Manisa on May 28.
His comments came as the Turkish government criticized the German authorities for allowing the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to hold a rally in the German city of Cologne on May 26. (…)
The Foreign Ministry defined Germany’s approach as “hypocritical” in a written statement on May 27, stating that Germany’s permission for an HDP rally “cannot be reconciled with democracy, the fight against terrorism and expectations of normalization in Turkish-Germany relations”.
Erdogan also blasted French magazine Le Point for its recent cover describing Erdogan using the headline “The Dictator: How far will Erdogan go?” “Those who are allowing terrorists to rally under police guard, while preventing all of our friends in every step they have taken, are also protecting with police the posters that are against us under the name of magazine cover,” Erdogan said.
“I have a bond with my people, no matter what poster you hang and no matter what you say,” he added.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.05.18, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-germany-to-hold-political-consultations/1158564), reported that Turkey and Germany will hold political consultations in Ankara on May 29.
In a written statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said political consultations will be held under the co-chairmanship of the Ministry's undersecretary Umit Yalcin and German State Secretary of Foreign Ministry Andreas Michaelis in Ankara on 29 May 2018. "During the consultations, bilateral relations between the two countries as well as regional and global issues of common interest will be discussed," said the statement.
Furthermore, HDN (28.05.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-foreign-minister-to-visit-germany-for-solingen-arson-attack-commemoration-132465) reported that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is set to attend a commemoration ceremony on May 29 marking the 25th anniversary of a 1993 racist arson attack in Germany’s Solingen city. The Foreign Minister was invited by Armin Laschet, the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Cavusoglu was expected to deliver a speech at the State Assembly, but some parliamentarians at the Assembly objected to him delivering a speech due to the upcoming elections in Turkey.
However, Cavusoglu, during his visit, is also expected to meet with Foreign Affairs Federal Minister Heiko Maas and Laschet.
Commenting on Cavusoglu’s visit to Germany, columnist Murat Yetkin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily New (29.05.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/murat-yetkin/f-35-ban-could-become-a-rally-around-the-flag-issue-in-turkey-132507), argues that “Cavusoglu could try to use the anniversary commemoration to deliver messages to the Turkey-origin population in Germany”.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (26.05.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/05/26/mhp-vows-to-expand-economic-relief-programs-in-election-declaration), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) revealed Saturday its election promises ahead of June 24 elections with economic support programs being at the forefront.
Held under the slogan "Strong MHP, strong Turkey in the new period," the event in Ankara also presented the party's candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections to party members and the press.
Chairman Devlet Bahçeli began his speech in the event by saying that the People's Alliance, formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the MHP, will lay the groundwork for future Turkey.
Regarding the recent economic worries and the tumbling of Turkish lira, Bahceli said it was a move from speculators trying to affect the outcome of elections by artificially increasing the currency rates. "The Republic of Turkey was not founded by foreign currencies, it will not fall with foreign currencies," he said.
The opposition, which formed the Nation Alliance ahead of the vote, was also harshly criticized by Bahceli who accused them of cooperating with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and PKK, and creating an artificial union. He also said that he is ready to reconcile with nationalists who regret leaving the MHP and admit their mistakes. Bahceli was referring to those who departed the MHP after a heated leadership race and founded the Good Party (IP).
Bahceli then announced the MHP's election promises presented under the tagline "National Revival, Blessed Uprising," calling for reforms to bring economic relief to farmers, retired people and families of disabled, martyred people and veterans. He began his words with a general amnesty excluding terrorism, child abuse, rape and victims that he proposed last week but was rejected by the AK Party.
The MHP election manifesto emphasized five topics, including "Smart state and public administration," "justice," "combatting corruption," "multifaceted and multi-dimensional foreign policy" and "industrialization and SMEs." (…)
The party announced its long-term strategic goal to bring Turkey to the position of "Global Power and Leading Country" till 2053.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.05.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/relocated-ballot-boxes-to-affect-144-000-voters-in-turkeys-election-132491), the controversial relocation of ballot boxes will affect a total of 144,000 voters in the June 24 snap elections, Supreme Election Board (YSK) chairman Sadi Guven stated on May 28.
A contentious 26-article law that was approved by a majority vote led by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in Parliament on March 13 allows the relocation of ballot boxes for “security reasons,” while constituencies will be able to be “merged” by the authorities.
Güven said the YSK received “requests” from 19 provincial governors’ offices regarding the relocation and the board examined these requests one by one to make a decision. “This is not the first time the YSK has received such requests. Ballot boxes have been relocated before. In the past, district election boards ruled for relocation when deemed necessary,” he added, noting that the YSK takes into account several criteria when it orders relocation. (…)
Most of the provinces affected are critical Kurdish-majority provinces where the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is strong. Güven stressed that not all ballot boxes in these 19 provinces will be relocated, but only certain ballot boxes.
“Election security is important. But equally important is the fact that voters will be able to cast their votes with their free will. We at the YSK very carefully studied the requests for relocation. One criterion was that the maximum distance the electorates need to walk to cast their votes should be now longer than 5Km. Half of the ballot boxes that will be relocated are just 2.5km away from the original location. Therefore 73,500 eligible voters will cast their votes in ballot boxes that will be moved a distance of 2.5km”, Guven said.
Turkish news portal Ahval (https://ahvalnews.com/2018-elections/opinion-polls-show-opposition-winning-majority-turkish-parliament) reports that according to pollster Mediar, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not receive enough votes to win the presidency in the first round of elections on June 24, news site Duvar reported on Friday.
Mediar’s survey was conducted on May 22–23 in 26 provinces in Turkey among 4,268 people. According to the results, Erdogan will receive 43.50% of the votes in the first round of presidential elections. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce will receive 22.20% in the first round and will be Erdogan’s rival in the second round on Jul. 8.
Voters in Turkey will also elect 600 members of the Parliament on Jun 24. According to Mediar, Turkey’s Cumhur Ittifaki (the People’s Alliance), an election alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), will receive 45.63% of the vote, but will lose its majority in the Parliament. Millet İttifakı (the Nation Alliance) composed of the CHP, the nationalist Good Party, Islamist Felicity Party, and right-wing Democrat Party will receive 42.5%, while the mainly-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will pass the election threshold with 11.39%.
Another pollster Remres also shared its updated predictions for the upcoming elections with the public on Friday. Remres’s survey was conducted between 6–9 May in 28 cities on 3,653 people.
According to Remres, Cumhur İttifakı will receive 43.9% of the votes on Jun. 24, while Millet İttifakı polled 43.5% after the reallocation of ‘don’t know’ votes. The HDP will pass the election threshold, with 12.2%. Remres also predicts that the winner of the executive presidency will be decided in the second round, as President Erdogan is expected to receive 42.1% of the votes in the first round, followed by Muharrem İnce with 24.1%.
The latest Turkish opinion poll said support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is lower than he needs to secure a new executive presidency to start after elections to be held before November next year, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said .
With the vote of those undecided redistributed, SONAR gave Erdogan 46.3% of the vote in the presidential elections, lower than a poll by Konsensus five days ago that showed his support at 48.1%.
Candidates need to secure more than half the vote in a first round of presidential elections to avoid a second-round run-off. Turkey is to move from a parliamentary system of government to an executive presidency under changes narrowly approved in a referendum in April last year.
SONAR said support for Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliamentary elections to be held at the same time was 40.1% and Konsensus said it was 44.9%.
The two polls also returned widely different predictions of what would happen to the political opposition, with SONAR expecting the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the nationalist Good Party and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to gain the necessary 10% of the national vote to take up seats in Parliament.
But the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), SONAR said, would fail to gain entry to the national assembly. Konsensus said both the CHP and MHP would pass the 10% threshold to enter Parliament, but said the HDP and Good Party would not.
Particularly striking is how SONAR puts support for the newly formed Good Party at 14.2%, while Konsensus sees it at only 2.7%.
One possible factor that could have caused this shift is the announcement by the MHP of formal support for the AKP government. Even so, it looks like the different companies are tapping into different trends in Turkish nationalist circles in their research.
Turkish polling agency SONAR’s most recent poll puts the four main opposition parties combined 2.7 points ahead of the two parties of the governing coalition ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, independent news site Diken said .
Fidel Okan, a lawyer representing the polling agency, said the governing coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) were combined polling 46.9%, while the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was on 23.8%, a nationalist-Islamist Good Party-Felicity Party alliance would be on 14.5%, and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party was on 11.3%.
SONAR polling company has released its latest figures, showing that the Turkish presidential race is unlikely to be decided on the first round, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said.
Of 3,000 people surveyed in 26 provinces around Turkey, 42% said they would vote for current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 22% for his secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) rival Muharrem İnce, and 21% for nationalist Good Party head Meral Aksener.
Jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas polled 11%, while Temel Karamollaoglu, who heads the Islamist-origin Felicity Party, polled 2.1% and Dogu Perincek of the left-nationalist Patriotic Party polled 2%.
In terms of the parliamentary elections, Cumhuriyet said that calculations of seats was much more difficult this time around, as they are being determined by a two-step process: first each alliance’s number of seats will be calculated in each province, and then each individual party’s number of seats within the alliance.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(DPs / AM)