Under the title “Chaos”, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (29.08.18) reports that trade unions in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus have asked from the “government” to withdraw its decision for stopping the overwork payment, but this demand was not accepted during the meeting of the “council of ministers” held yesterday. Therefore, the trade unions decided that their members should not work overtime and will take the issue to “court”.
Last night the “air controllers” in the illegal airport in Tymbou joined the actions of the trade unions and did not work overtime. The “government” banned the strike but the workers used their right of not starting to work, as a result of which 18 arrivals and 16 departures of flights were influenced, thousands of passengers were devastated and chaos was caused.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.18) reports that the chaos lasted for five hours, since the implementation of the decision of the trade unions started on 19.00 hours and ended at midnight, as self-styled minister of transport and public works Tolga Atakan stated though his social media account. Atakan said that the strike ended as a result of consultations he had held with the air controllers’ trade union.
Meanwhile, trade unions such as KAMU-SEN and KTAMS (“civil servants” trade unions), TIP-Is (the trade union of the doctors), GUC-Sen (the “customs’” workers’ trade union) and Turk-Sen have announced that they decided that their members will not work overtime. The secondary school teachers’ trade union announced that it would hold a protest today in front of the “assembly” about the fact that the cost of the economic crisis is burdened on the shoulders of the employees. Moreover, the trade union of the employees in the “assembly” (MEC-SEN) decided to go on a strike for an indefinite period of time as of Monday to show their protest against the events happening after the devaluation of the Turkish lira and to demand the lifting of the price increases.
Sener Elcil, general secretary of the teachers’ trade union (KTOS) said that campaigns and sacrifices would be meaningful only with an equal and fair adjustment and added that according to the statistics, the purchasing power of a “civil servant” decreased by 61% based on the foreign exchange rate and the purchasing power of the people paid with the minimum wage by 56%. He noted that the salary of a teacher who had newly started working in 2011 was been 780 euros and decreased to 482 euros in 2018. He added that the minimum wage was 558 euros in 2011 and fell to 314 euros now.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (29.08.18) reports that the leader of the Revival Party (YDP) (TR. Note: The party of the settlers) Erhan Arikli made statements regarding the economic crisis in the breakaway regime and called on the “government” to adopt an emergency rule. As he stated, in this way drastic measures can be taken against the crisis.
Commenting on the same issue, the leader of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Izzet Izcan said that the crisis deepens with the passing of time and things are getting very difficult for low paid and retired persons. He accused the foreign policy followed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey for the falling of the Turkish lira which led to the crisis and said that this development will continue if things are not changed.
On his part, the leader of the Communal Liberation Party (TKP) Mehmet Cakici accused the “government” for not taking the necessary measures on the price increase of several goods and services.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.08.18) reports that during a meeting held yesterday the self-styled council of ministers decided new economic measures, “formalized” some of the 23 measures announced earlier and announced some additional measures for dealing with the economic crisis deriving from the devaluation of the Turkish lira.
After the meeting, Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, stated that the “country” is passing through extraordinary conditions and asked from everyone to act responsibly, think of the entire society and ask themselves which things they could abandon temporarily.
On its front page, the paper publishes 16 measures announced yesterday. Imposing an additional tax of 20% on the casinos and the betting offices and the stabilization of the foreign exchange rates for six months in the leasing agreements (the exchange rate of pound sterling is stabilized for 6,30 TL, euro for 5,60 TL and dollar for 4,75 TL) are some of these measures. Furthermore, for a period of six months, the transfer fee for a first residence smaller than 140 square meters is reduced to 1% and for immovable properties other than the first residence to 4%. Moreover, for a period of six months foreigners are given the right to purchase a second and a third apartment. For the second apartment they will pay 9% transfer fee and for the third 10%.
Turkish Cypriot daily Democrat Bakis newspaper (29.08.18) reports that the paper will stop being printed on paper as of tomorrow.
The paper will be only being published on line at www.demokatbakis.net.
Democart Bakis, which is the paper of the Democratic Party of Serdar Denktas writes in its last paper edition today that this decision is in accordance with the developments of modern times and the speed that the news circulated nowadays.
Turkish Cypriot daily Nacak (29.08.18) reports that the remarkable loss of the Turkish Lira against the foreign currency had as a result the reduction of the Turkish Cypriot newspapers’ circulation. This is due to the fact that the papers are buying in foreign currency the tools for their publications.
The circulation of the 20 Turkish Cypriot newspapers was reduced from 15,000 to 5,000, the paper writes, noting that many papers face deep debts. At the same time they have to compete with the on-line papers and the news published in various social media accounts. It also writes that many papers consider to stop being printed in paper and start publishing the newspapers on line.
Under the title “Why Turkey should establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus”, Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (28.08.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/why-turkey-should-establish-a-naval-base-in-northern-cyprus-3439674) alleged that “Turkey has continued to voice a strong stance against violations in the Eastern Mediterranean on various platforms, and has prepared a precautionary plan”. The paper claimed the following:
“Turkey has engaged in preparations to protect its sovereignty as various countries boost military deployments in the Mediterranean using the Syrian war as an excuse, as the Greek administration of the Republic of Cyprus splits energy reserves. In this context, the Turkish Naval Forces Command submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Subtitle: To protect sovereign rights
The base will enable the protection of Northern Cyprus’ sovereignty as well as facilitate and fortify Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, preventing the occupation of sea energy fields, and strengthening Turkey’s hand in the Cyprus peace process talks.
It is recommended that the proposed naval base be established as an independent facility, similar to the British base in the region.
Subtitle: Mediterranean teeming with Western powers
Western powers – mainly the U.S. and Britain – working to extend the Syrian war have boosted their military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Warships from Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Portugal, Greece and Denmark have also anchored in the area.
Subtitle: Arena for energy struggles
The Greek administration of the Republic of Cyprus is working to establish control over the Eastern Mediterranean energy fields.
It is cutting deals with all countries except Turkey, namely Israel, in order to limit Ankara’s naval authority.
Subtitle: Turkey’s precautionary plan is ready
Actors have already started to take sides in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is of critical importance because of its energy reserves worth billions of dollars. The area is also significant because it is a key route in world trade and energy traffic.
Turkey has continued to voice a strong stance against violations in the Eastern Mediterranean on various platforms, and has prepared a precautionary plan.
Subtitle: All eyes on Cyprus
The island of Cyprus is at the center of the oil and trade routes as it stands out with its presence on the energy basin in the Eastern Mediterranean. The island controls the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean.
Cyprus is located on the maritime trade route between the East and West, and controls the transportation routes of Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil, which constitutes more than half of the world’s petroleum.
As a result, Turkey has prepared precautionary measures to implement in the face of any issues that may arise regarding this strategic location in the following years.
Subtitle: Turkey to ensure safety of Northern Cyprus
A Turkish naval base in the area will ensure the safety of the people of Northern Cyprus, and show once more that Ankara stands by the island. The naval base will allow Turkey to protect its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The base will contribute greatly to military precautions taken against the maritime jurisdiction declared by the Greek administration of the Republic of Cyprus, the deals it is dishing out, and the hydrocarbon exploration grants it is allowing by ignoring Turkey and Northern Cyprus.
Subtitle: Air base in Northern Cyprus
Turkey already has the Geçitkale [Editor’s note: occupied Lefkoniko] air base in Northern Cyprus. The base was previously home to F-16 fighter jets, but has been closed for an extended period of time. The base could be restored and reopened, however for this to occur, the high voltage line and electricity cables must be moved underground.
Although this matter was once on the agenda, no steps have yet been taken. If the high voltage line is moved underground, it will no longer pose a danger to aircraft landing at the base, thus Geçitkale [Editor’s note: occupied Lefkoniko] would become a highly likely candidate for Turkey’s air base in Northern Cyprus.
Turkish base to reduce reaction time
A Turkish base in the region would reduce the reaction time for military and humanitarian action. A naval base established by Turkey would also enable the region to become more peaceful, as it would quell efforts by other actors to stir up unrest”.
Turkish daily Milliyet (28.08.18-http://www.milliyet.com.tr/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-kktc-siyaset-2732147/) reported that so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman in a phone conversation he had yesterday with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked for an appointment with him.
According to the paper, during the phone discussion, Erdogan and Erhurman agreed that Erhurman will hold a meeting in Ankara either this week or the next one. As it was made known, Erhurman asked for Ankara’s support in order to overcome the problems faced in the “TRNC” as a result of the remarkable loss of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies. Also, during Erhurman’s visit to Ankara, the “economic protocol” between Turkey and the occupation regime will be further discussed.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-reforms-still-a-priority-for-turkey-fm-cavusoglu-says-136242) reports that the Turkish government will resume the “Reform Action Group” meetings on Aug. 29, after a three-year break, in a sign showing Ankara is stepping up efforts to revive ties with the EU.
Stressing that problems in relations between the EU and Turkey are mainly on political issues, rather than technical, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara “prioritizes reform in Turkey’s EU path” and the Reform Action Group will gather in Ankara with the attendance of Turkey’s Interior and Justice Ministers.
“Turkey aims to meet certain criteria in the EU path”. Cavusoglu said, adding: “After the lifting of the state of emergency, our priority is reforms.”
The Ministers “will evaluate a road map for reform and action plans,” Cavusoglu said on Aug. 28, speaking at a joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius.
“Turkey’s expectation from the EU is very clear. We don’t want any gestures that are not deserved. We just want the ones Turkey deserves and the ones promised,” he said.
The Reform Action Group last gathered in 2015. Since then talks on Turkey’s accession into the bloc has been at a standstill.
Cavusoglu further stressed that Turkey’s ties with Russia “is not an alternative” to relations with the EU or the United States. “Our relations with Russia are not an alternative to our relations with Lithuania, the European Union or our relations with the United States... Turkey can perfectly balance its foreign policy in the region”, added Cavusoglu.
Earlier, Cavusoglu met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.
“At our meeting with President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, we conveyed [to her] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s best wishes and congratulations on the occasion of the Centennial of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
Also on Twitter, he announced the signing of the “Turkey-Lithuania Agreement on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments.” “We appreciate Lithuania’s support in Turkey’s EU accession process,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Aug. 28 that Cavusoglu will attend the Gymnich meeting in the Austrian capital Vienna on Aug. 30-31.
The Gymnich meeting will be held with the participation of the Foreign Ministers of the EU member and candidate countries and Cavusoglu will attend the informal meeting upon the invitation of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.
The Gymnich meeting “gives the opportunity for an exchange of views on foreign policy developments. During the meeting, the participants will mainly exchange views on multilateralism, digitalization and critical infrastructure areas, as well as on current regional and global developments and challenges,” the Ministry said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-slams-french-president-over-eu-accession-process-136231) reported that Turkey has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his definition of the current government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “Islamic and anti-European,” stressing that the European Union will be stronger with Turkey’s participation.
“Statements issued by Macron have shown once again he is far from understanding the realities of Turkey although they have been explained to him repeatedly in almost all platforms,” Hami Aksoy, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Aug. 28.
Macron, in an address to French Ambassadors in Paris on Aug. 27, suggested the EU should construct strategic partnership with Turkey without considering its full membership because of the country’s anti-European and Islamic vocation. “We have left the Cold War behind and President Erdogan’s Turkey is not President Kemal’s Turkey. These two realities are there and we must draw all the consequences,” Macron also said, referring to Turkey’s founding President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
“We deeply deplore of some remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on our country and our accession process,” Aksoy said.
Recalling that Turkey had passed from a difficult era in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016 but lifted the state of emergency last month and entered into a normalization process as the presidential governance system started to function, Aksoy suggested Turkey has moved into an era of improvement on the EU reform process.
“Describing our country, which is an inseparable part of Europe from political, geographic and historical perspectives and which has done its share exceedingly for the security of the European continent, as anti-European, does not fit with the reality,” read the statement.
Aksoy recalled that NATO member Turkey is already the EU’s strategic and privileged partner and holds various cooperation and partnership mechanisms with the EU on many issues varying from anti-terror fight and migration. “But it is obvious all these cannot be counted as an alternative to Turkey’s accession process with the EU. Stronger thanks to the presidential government system, Turkey, as a democratic and secular country, is determined to proceed on the path to full membership to the EU,” Aksoy said.
Also criticizing Macron for using the term “Islamic terror” in his address, Aksoy underlined that unpredictable and dangerous challenges of this new era after the collapse of the Cold War have further increased the importance of the EU, which includes Turkey.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-responds-to-us-over-linking-s-400-purchase-with-f-35s-136218) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said after a U.S. Congress delegation urged Ankara to give up purchasing S-400 missile systems from Russia to receive the F-35 fighter jets, that Turkey has to protect its airspace and the United States has failed to guarantee the sale of Patriot missile defense systems.
“We have to protect our airspace. This is a must for us. They should understand it. Can the U.S. give us a guarantee to sell Patriots?” Cavusoglu said in a press conference in Lithuania on Aug. 28.
Cavusoglu also stressed international law regarding the U.S. reluctance to transfer F-35s to Turkey. “We are a partner in the F-35 program and some parts are produced in Turkey,” he said, calling on the U.S. to “leave the language of threats” and to solve the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
“If they say they can do anything they want, like in cowboy movies, then they will get a response,” Cavusoglu added. “[The fact that] Congress members are coming to Turkey is important. Because there are different institutions in the U.S., different positions, different beliefs [...] Of course, there are also members of the Congress who know the importance of Turkey and those who strive for the strengthening of Turkey-U.S. relations,” Cavusoglu further said.
“Our relations with Russia are not an alternative to our relations with Lithuania or the European Union or our relations with the United States... Turkey can perfectly balance its foreign policy in the region,” he stated.
A three-member delegation headed by Congressman Michael Turner, a member of NATO Parliamentarian Assembly, visited Turkey on Aug. 27. The delegation met with Turkish parliamentarians and discussed the issues of Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 systems and delivery of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.
The Congressmen urged Ankara to abandon procurement of S-400 systems to guarantee the delivery of the F-35s, while the Turkish side stressed further cooperation against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-pilot-carries-out-first-f-35-jet-flight-in-us-136244) reports that a Turkish fighter pilot has carried out the first flight of the F-35 jet in the U.S. as part of ongoing training, the Turkish General Staff said on Tuesday.
Early July, the Pentagon said that Turkish pilots and maintenance personnel were being trained on the F-35 fighter jet in the state of Arizona.
Late June, Turkey took delivery of its first F-35 fighter jet at a ceremony in Forth Worth, Texas.
Turkey plans to get 100 F-35 fighter jets in the upcoming years.
Turkey has been in the F-35 program since 1999. The Turkish defense industry has taken an active role in the production of the aircraft; Alp Aviation, AYESAS, Kale Aviation, Kale Pratt & Whitney and Turkish Aerospace Industries have been producing parts for the first F-35 fighter jet.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (29.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/government-sees-no-big-risk-in-turkish-economy-financial-system-albayrak-136241) reports that Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the government sees no big risk regarding Turkey’s economy or financial system, as the economy’s foundations are robust in mainly three areas.
Speaking on plane en route upon his return from Paris to Ankara, Albayrak told a group of journalists that the government has been seeing the recent fluctuations as an opportunity to strengthen the country’s economy and financial system.
In elaborating on the strong fundamentals, Albayrak said the public sector’s debt levels were low, household indebtedness was among the world’s lowest and the financial sector was quite robust.
“We do not see a big risk regarding the Turkish economy and financial system, as our economy has strong fundamentals. The main point here is for us to examine what our deficiencies are … In this regard, we will realize the required structural reforms,” Albayrak said on Aug. 27 when he was returning from Paris, where he held a meeting with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.
According to Albayrak, the Turkish economy has three characteristics which will enable it “to minimize the risks of any global crises.” “First of all, our public sector’s debt is one of the world’s lowest in terms of net indebtedness. There is not any risk in this area,” he said. “Secondly, Turkey also has one of the lowest levels of household indebtedness,” Albayrak added. “Thirdly, our financial system is quite robust. Despite all recent tests, the system functions very well. The capital adequacy rate of our banks is at 16%, much higher than the European limit at 8 percent,” he said, adding that “the government does not see a big risk in general thanks to these strengths.”
Albayrak noted that the government saw the recent fluctuations in Turkish markets and the lira as an opportunity to do better. “We must build a much stronger structure to evade any future economic or financial fluctuations. We have taken the required lessons from the recent developments. We see this process as an opportunity to build do better,” he said, adding that there were political reasons behind the recent fluctuations.
“The recent process was completely political, as there is not any change in Turkey’s strong economic fundamentals,” he said, while signalling further cooperation in economic terms with new actors after Qatar.
A row with Washington over an American evangelical Christian pastor detained in Turkey on terror charges has accelerated losses in the lira, which is down about 38 percent against the dollar this year.
Investors have now eyed the medium-term economic program, which is slated to be announced by Albayrak early in September.
After a meeting with his French counterpart in Paris, Albayrak highlighted Ankara’s push for better ties with Europe and took aim at the United States, saying U.S. sanctions could ultimately aggravate the region’s terrorism and refugee crises.
In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.08.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/serkan-demirtas/lets-not-fool-ourselves-on-eu-accession-136239) under the above title, columnist Serkan Demirtas writes the following:
“The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has led to consecutive impacts on the world’s political and economic order, sparking fresh global and regional instabilities. The world was not safe before Trump, but it risks being in much more danger due to his reckless, arrogant and selfish policies.
He has long been bullying the world, even the U.S.’s allies, through economic sanctions and the use of the power of the U.S. dollar, causing outrage in the world and opening quests on how the U.S.’s economic dominance could be avoided. A BRICS’ summit in July, the EU’s internal discussions and negotiations with Washington were only a few of these efforts.
Equally important is the fact that Trump’s presidency came as the world capitalist order was also in the middle of a big transformation process. Bags of money which have been floating around emerging economies over more than a decade are now returning home, leaving many of these countries, like Turkey, without sufficient amount of dollars to pay its debts.
Countries like Russia, Iran and China who have been immediate targets of the Trump administration have long been in an effort to break the dollar-dominated trade in the world. They seem to be joined by prominent European countries, like France whose President Emmanuelle Macron announced that Europe could no longer rely on the U.S. for its security.
Turkey is not exempt from Trump’s bullying policies. The U.S. decision to ally with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria has long been causing a major security issue for Turkey. On the other hand, imposing sanctions against Turkey over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson instead of using necessary diplomatic means has hit the already fragile Turkish economy.
This picture necessitates Turkey to engage in talks with other countries that wish to set up a new order in the world to avoid the Trump-led crisis.
It’s not up to this columnist to argue what kind of an order will be shaped and how long this process will take, but one still can discuss where Turkey should locate itself in such a new order.
Let’s be straight forward: The place Turkey will occupy will not be EU membership. So, we should not fool ourselves over the EU accession process.
Unfortunately, this government’s recklessness toward the EU in the last four years and abandoning reforms almost irreversibly led to the suspension of this process. Macron has long been very blunt on this and repeated his point in his address to ambassadors on Aug. 27.
“President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s Turkey is not the Turkey of Kemal [Atatürk],” Macron said, at the expense of drawing Ankara’s reaction. More interestingly, he made this statement on the day his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire hosted Turkey’s Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak and voiced support to Turkey’s economic stability.
The French President suggested the establishment of a “strategic partnership” with countries like Turkey and Russia whose cooperation would bring about a safer European continent.
Turkey’s perception among many EU countries is mainly about its geopolitical significance –especially in the joint fight against terror and stopping irregular migrants – not over the joint shared democratic values.
It’s important that Turkey is about to convene its EU Reform Action Group after a three-year break but it may be too late to convince Brussels if the government will continue its reluctance of a genuine return to its democratic agenda.
However, Turkey still needs to revive the democratic reform process not for Brussels but for its citizens. Turkey and the Turkish people deserve to be placed among decent and respected countries of the world, and the only way to do so is to upgrade its democratic standards”.
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