According to illegal Bayrak television (27.02.18), the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative to Cyprus and Chief of Mission Elizabeth Spehar met today with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
The latest developments on the Cyprus problem as well as the hydrocarbons issues were discussed at the meeting held at the so-called presidential palace.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haber Kibris news portal (27.02.18, http://haberkibris.com/cavusogludan-ozersaya-davet--2018-02-26.html) reports that according to a post on Twitter by DHA correspondent in the occupied area of Cyprus Sefa Karahasan, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu invited to Ankara on March 5 the self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay.
Turkish daily Sabah (26.02.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/02/26/erdogan-macron-says-un-backed-ceasefire-needs-to-be-implemented-immediately-in-syria) reported that Turkey’s Predisent Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the United Nations Security Council's ceasefire resolution and the recent developments in Syria in a phone call Monday.
The two leaders welcomed the U.N.-backed ceasefire in eastern Ghouta and agreed that it must be implemented immediately.
Despite the Resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire, the Assad regime bombardment of the opposition enclave has persisted.
Erdogan also shared the latest developments in Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin with Macron and told the French President that refugees will be able to return to their homes after the terrorist elements are cleared from the area.
The Cyprus dispute was also mentioned during the call as the sources said, adding that “Erdogan reiterated Turkey and Northern Cyprus' sensitivities over the hydrocarbon resources off the east Mediterranean island”.
Turkey blames the Greek Cypriots for ignoring the rights of the Turkish side to the island's natural resources by continuing with unilateral hydrocarbon exploration activities.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (27.02.18) reports that the number of applications for passports of the Republic of Cyprus by mixed marriages children (Turkish Cypriots and Turks) submitted to the Turkish Cypriot Primary Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) reached 1,400.
These children were not able to be granted the passport of the Republic of Cyprus until now.
The paper notes that the submission of the application continues and adds that KTOS started to categorize and file the applications in order to start contacts on the issue with the Republic of Cyprus. According to the picture that will emerge after these developments, the legal procedure will follow.
Speaking to the paper, KTOS general secretary Senel Elcil stated that there are people who did not receive the citizenship even before 1960 and some other that they did not receive it after 1974. He confirmed that the applications reached 1,400 until now and added that they receive applications not only from the “TRNC” but also from the free areas of the Republic and from abroad. Elcil also said that they will hold contacts with various officials in the Republic of Cyprus, starting with President Nicos Anastasiades. Finally, Elcil claimed that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci should put the issue at the negotiation table.
Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (27.02.18) reports that the “founding dean” of the illegal Girne American University (“GAU”) Serhat Akpinar, who is currently in Moldova carrying out various contacts, paid a courtesy visit to the newly appointed Ambassador of Turkey to Moldova, Iskender Okyay.
During the meeting Akpinar briefed the Turkish Ambassador in detail on the activities, and works of “GAU” in abroad. They also exchanged views on projects planned to be done in Moldova.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.18-2http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-govt-signals-new-phase-in-afrin-operation-127929) reports that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will soon launch a “new phase” in the ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” into the northern Syrian district of Afrin with the deployment of the Gendarmerie Special Operations (JÖH) tasked with carrying out urban warfare against the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“The deployment of the special forces is a sign of preparations for the new struggle looming ahead. Our struggle is currently ongoing around villages in rural areas away from the city center [of Afrin]. This operation will move towards places where civilians are situated as the battlefield is narrowed,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said during a televised interview on Feb. 26.
Bozdag noted that the country’s army has experience fighting against terrorists in urban areas, especially in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in cities across south-eastern Anatolia in late 2015 and early 2016.
“Turkey has vast experience conducting its anti-terror fight in residential areas without harming civilians, just as it had observed during the Euphrates Shield Operation,” he said, referring to a previous incursion into the northern Aleppo governorate against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the YPG.
“That is why we plan to use our experienced special forces from the police, gendarmerie and army in that region. We are exerting our efforts to accomplish our objective by eliminating all terrorists without harming civilians,” Bozdağ added.
Meanwhile, Ankara has confirmed once again that the Turkish Air Force is still using Syrian airspace to strike YPG positions in Afrin, saying the operation will not be affected by the United Nations’ call for a one-month ceasefire in the war-torn country.
“There is no problem with regard to air operations. Aerial operations are being conducted when necessary. Closure of the airspace is out of the question,” Bozdag said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-submits-files-to-czech-authorities-requesting-extradition-of-former-pyd-head-salih-muslim-127947) reports that Turkey has submitted files to the Czech authorities regarding the extradition of Salih Muslim, the former co-leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), who was arrested in the Czech Republic upon Turkey’s request on February 25.
“[As a part of the procedure] the Justice Ministry had to submit a file including an arrest warrant and extradition request to the Czech authorities. The Justice Ministry has finalized its preparations for the file and the file was submitted to the Czech authorities as of yesterday,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on February 26 in a televised interview with private broadcaster NTV.
Stating that Turkey and the Czech Republic are signatory states of the European Convention on Extradition, Bozdag said this is binding for the two countries. “The regulations for the extradition will be implemented within this perspective. The Czech legal authorities will consider Turkey’s requests within this framework and will decide in favor of extradition,” he added.
According to the extradition agreement between Turkey and the Czech Republic, a demand for extradition should be negotiated between the justice Ministries of the two countries.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry are following the process closely, adding that “necessary steps are being taken.”
“Steps to make sure nothing wrong is done are being taken by holding necessary meetings there,” Erdoğan told reporters on Feb. 26 at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport.
Muslim, the former co-leader of the PYD, was “temporarily detained” in the Czech capital Prague on Feb. 25 upon Turkey’s request.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-mulls-purchase-of-uss-f35-b-for-future-airplane-carrier-127923) reports that Turkey, amid plans to upgrade its naval air forces with light and full-equipped aircraft carriers over the next decade, is now considering procuring new generation F-35B fighter aircrafts with the qualifications of short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), as part of the ongoing Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.
As part of the U.S. Defense Department’s JSF program along with a number of prominent NATO allies including the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has been planning to upgrade its air force fleets with 100 F-35 aircrafts to be jointly produced under this program.
F-35A aircrafts have the Conventional Take Off & Landing (CTOL) qualifications and will therefore be used to replace the Turkish Air Forces’ F-16 fleets in the next two decades. F-35B fighters, however, are planned to be procured in line with Ankara’s growing interest in strengthening its naval forces, mainly for overseas operations.
To this end, the country’s work on building its largest amphibious assault ship (LHD), also known as a light aircraft carrier, TCG Anadolu, are continuing amid plans to be launched by 2021. Over the next decade, Turkey also plans to build its first full-equipped aircraft carrier. Both aircraft carriers will be home to F35B aircrafts.
Turkey is currently in the process of setting up two large military bases, one in Qatar and the other in Somalia. Turkey has been trying to reinforce its naval forces through a project that aims to build new assault ships and submarines through the use of national resources.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(AK / AM)