TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 42/18
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (01.03.18) reports that Recep Akdag, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cypriot Affairs, has said that an important part of the 3,5 billion Turkish liras (TL) provided by Turkey to the “TRNC”, [Translator’s note: The breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] during the past few years was not used. In statements to Anatolia news agency, Akdag announced yesterday that among their future targets is the irrigation of the agricultural fields in occupied Masaoria and Morfou plains and transferring electricity to the island with cables.
Replying to a question on Cyprus Akdag alleged:
“We jointly determine the administration of the economic and growth cooperation between the TRNC and Turkey and the work to be done within this framework. As Republic of Turkey, we provide financing to the TRNC. We had a package of 3,5 billion TL support including this year. The whole of this was not used. We will try to use it a little bit more this year. We will work for the development of the environment for investments. There are things to be done in the TRNC both from the point of view of the banking sector and from the point of view of fiscal discipline. We have transferred water to the TRNC. The citizens drink very high quality water. The infrastructure of the municipalities should be built. This is one of the first things to do. Secondly, 40% of the transferred water is enough for drinking water. We are planning to develop agriculture by using the rest in the Masaoria and Morfou plains. The Energy Ministry plans to transfer electricity to the TRNC with a separate line. There are the roads on the agenda, the development of the social security system in the TRNC, [and] the health reform. There are also things to facilitate the situation in Cyprus especially with city hospitals [like] in Turkey. The people living in the TRNC have really strong ties with Turkey. They stand strong both regarding their national stance and their beliefs. I believe that the TRNC will continue growing either with a political solution or without one. Let the people there get rich and live in prosperity”.
Referring to the same statements, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (01.03.18) reports that Akdag also alleged that the ties between the “TRNC people” and Turkey are very strong and added: “We are facing problems. There is the shamelessness of a newspaper. It attempted to present Turkey as an occupier. This newspaper opposes the TRNC’s interests. There are marginal groups similar to it. However, the people living there are children of the Turkish nation”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.02.18-https://aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkey-defends-afrin-operation-at-un-rights-council/1076359) reported that Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz, speaking on Wednesday at the 37th annual session of the UN Human Rights Council, referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and alleged the following: "The Greek Cypriots regrettably still cannot digest the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality. Therefore, any settlement process in the coming period can only be successful if it is based on the realities of the island."
According to illegal Bayrak television (01.03.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-erhurman-hold-first-weekly-meeting), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with the so-called prime minister Tufan Erhuman today, the first of their weekly routine meeting.
The two discussed both “domestic and foreign issues”, at the meeting which took place at the so-called presidential palace.
In a short statement to reporters after the meeting, Erhurman said that he and the “president” had discussed the latest statements made by the Greek Cypriot leader, as he called President Nicos Anastasiades.
He said that Anastasiades had placed a wedge in the Cyprus negotiations process. “It’s not possible to accept Mr. Anastasiades’ statements as constructive. His statement that the current conditions are not conducive for the negotiations to continue is a clear indication that there has been no change in his stance. We shall continue to evaluate the developments together with the president. But I can clearly say that Anastasiades has struck a wedge in the Cyprus talks”, Erhurman claimed.
On the issue of the opening of the Aplıki and Derinya crossing points, Erhurman said that “he shared with the president the view that there was a need for coordination between their respective offices”.
Asked about the process of Maronites returning to their villages, Erhurman said “that coordination on the issue between the president’s office and the prime ministry is continuing”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (01.03.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=mfa-slams-tusks-statements), the “deputy prime ministry and foreign ministry” in a written statement, described the President of the European Council Donald Tusk’s stance as unacceptable, claiming that it favours the “Greek Cypriot administration”, as it called the Republic of Cyprus.
The “ministry” alleged that the statements by Tusk, following the EU’s unofficial meeting in support of the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral hydrocarbon exploration activities and unjust claims were regretful.
Alleging that Tusk’s description of Turkey’s presence and work carried out in the Eastern Mediterranean with the Turkish Cypriot side’s consent as illegal was inconsistent with the realities in the region and international law, the “TRNC foreign ministry” claimed that “any attempt to ignore the rights of Turkey as a state which has the longest coastline in the region was totally unacceptable”.
Claiming that Tusk’s ignorance of the Turkish Cypriot peoples’ legitimate rights was another serious matter”, the “ministry” added: “The EU’s continued ignorance of the Turkish Cypriot people, its leadership and its rights is nothing more than repeating its wrong approach towards the Turkish Cypriot side”.
The statement also alleged that “the EU’s favouring stance for the Greek Cypriot side not only hindered efforts to reach an agreement on the hydrocarbons issue or to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots but also pushed the Greek Cypriot administration, which had been unconditionally granted EU membership, to become more intransigent and unwilling towards a solution”.
The “ministry” further called on the EU to immediately acknowledge its mistake and abandon its stance if it truly desires a mutually acceptable and just settlement on the island.
The statement concluded “by reminding that the Turkish Cypriot people will never abandon its rights”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.03.18) reports that the discussion of the “draft-law” regarding the breakaway regime’s “budget” for 2018 started yesterday at the relevant “parliamentary committee”. According to the paper, numbers show that the “country” is in a debt binge. Internal debt is 5 billion TL and external debt 13,5 billion TL.
Turkey’s aid for this year will reach 635 million TL, of which 200 million TL will be given for infrastructure investments, 135 million TL for the real sector and 300 million TL for the “defense” budget.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.03.18) refers to statements by “finance minister’, Serdar Denktas under the title “The state’s debt burden: 18 billion 800 million TL” and reports that Denktas said that “budget” surplus was 20,8 million TL in 2016 and increased to 78,5 million TL in 2017. Denktas also noted that the overtime payments are continuously increasing and argued that “the overtime payment of 120 million TL made in 2017 is not sustainable”. Denktas said that the personnel expenses and the current transfers constitute the main share in the “budget” adding that the personnel, the social security and the current transfers expenses is 76,73% of the general “budget”. He noted that his team believes that the “budget” deficit of 83 million TL will be covered this year.
According to illegal Bayrak television (01.03.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-shares-vision) the so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, in statements yesterday during a meeting of the “economy, finance, budget and planning committee”, shared his vision regarding the Cyprus problem and the “TRNC’s representation offices abroad”.
Ozersay alleged that the “general vision of the ministry was to protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people at every platform”.
Alleging that to achieve this they will be using diplomacy as well as political, economic and “legal” arguments as tools to begin with, Ozersay claimed they were in favour of a diplomatic solution for conflicts but added that they would also resort to deterrence as a method when dealing with certain situations such as the hydrocarbon issue.
Pointing out that the policy they will be carrying out will not be limited or restricted to the Cyprus issue and the negotiations, Ozersay said that “in addition to be the interlocutor of the UN, the foreign ministry will also aim to carry out an active policy on other issues, such as the natural gas issue”.
Stating that they will also be active in areas like culture, art and economy, Ozersay added: “While carrying out consulate work via the foreign representation offices we will also take steps to introduce the e-state system at all our offices abroad”.
Explaining that “different ministries will provide the necessary support to the foreign representation offices”, he alleged that they will be working towards becoming more visible abroad.
Stating that “the promotion and information departments under the ministry of foreign affairs should be more productive and that new personnel could be recruited there”, Ozersay also added that “they aim to provide minimum health insurance to staff assigned at representation offices abroad”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (01.03.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot business community has announced that it does not want the hydrocarbon potentials, which are supposed to exist in the Eastern Mediterranean, to be the reason for new tension and it believes that this potential should be the source of a new cooperation for the benefit of all the people living in the region.
The “chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry (KTSO)” Canan Avunduk and the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Trade (KTTO) Turgay Deniz made a joint statement regarding the Greek Cypriot side’s “unilateral” natural gas exploration activities.
In the joint statement, it was stressed that a sustainable solution for the Cyprus problem should be found the soonest possible in order a cooperation to be safeguarded or if this cannot be achieved, the representatives of the two “peoples” for the Cyprus problem should reach a consensus on the issue of the hydrocarbon potentials.
It was also noted that the attentions and the efforts of all the international actors, especially the European Union, should be concentrated on this goal and its impact should be used in this direction.
The statement also read: “We will once share with the public that we are committed to the aim of finding a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem, as the organizations of the Turkish Cypriot business community, however, we will continue to struggle against this stance, which ignores the Turkish Cypriot people”.
The two chambers in their joint statement claimed that the efforts of the Greek Cypriot side, which have been continued for years now, on “unilaterally” natural gas searches around Cyprus have carried the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean to an undesirable dimension.
Finally, in the joint statement, the chambers accused the Greek Cypriot side that does not want a Cyprus settlement and that it exploits its title as the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey.
Under the title “To change the image of ‘gambling island’”, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (01.03.18, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/kumar-adasi-imaji-yikilacak-gundem-2618762/) reports that an effort is going on to change the image of the occupied area of Cyprus, which is known as “gambling island”, due to the casinos, which are an important part of the tourism sector there.
According to the paper, a new step was taken for the cultural diversity of the “TRNC tourism” with the cooperation of Turkey’s General Directorate of Foundations Administration (Vakif) and the “Cyprus foundation administration” (EVKAF). The project “Vakif town” will be realized with an event to be held on April 15th in the “TRNC”.
The General Directorate of Foundations have completed the majority of the Ottoman monuments, which are the 70%. Within the framework of the civilization training seminars, which have started since 2014 by the General Directorate of Foundations with the cooperation of the Association of Turkey’s Tourism Guides (TUREB), a thousand licensed professional tour guides, who are working in Turkey and “TRNC”, were trained.
As a result of the work carried out in cooperation with Turkey’s General Directorate of Foundations Administration (Vakif) and the “Cyprus foundation administration” (EVKAF), the tour project “Vakif town” was prepared. The tour is formed on 26 monuments which are historic.
On the April 15th, “the tourism week” and the “vakif week” in “north Cyprus” will be launched with a walking tour with the participation of Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu. In the project, the tour of “Vakif town: Lefkosia” was described as follows: The tour will start near the Centikaya club, they will walk to the Armenian Church, and later to the Arabahmet mosque. They will visit the Dervis Pasa mansion museum. There will be also a tour at the checkpoint in Ledra str, a visit at the Dr Fazil Kucuk museum and the Mevlivihane musem and finally the tour will be ended a the Keryneia gate in the occupied part of Nicosia.
Within the scope of the project aiming to diversify the tourism in the occupied area of Cyprus, it was an interesting coincidence that one of the historical monuments to be visited carried the name of “gambling inn/ gamblers’ house” (Kumarcilar hani). Meanwhile, Hakan Cavusoglu, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister asked the administrators of the “Cyprus foundation administration” (EVKAF) whether they could change or not the name of the Kumarcilar Hani.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (01.03.18) reports that Hakan Cavusoglu, speaking in the meeting where the Director of Turkey’s General Directorate of Foundations Administration (Vakif) Adnan Ertem, the director of the “Cyprus foundation administration” (EVKAF) Ibrahim Benter and a delegation from the “Turkish Cypriot tourism agencies union” also participated, stated that with the prepared project a promotion of the vakif monuments that exist in the occupied area of Cyprus will be done and will be also supported
Cavusoglu argued that the island of Cyprus has always been known as a “foundation (vakif) island” since the conquest of Cyprus in 1571, this was also the most important reason that the feudal state of the Venetians after this saw Cyprus only as a military base.
Cavusoglu also said that the “vakif monuments” general in Cyprus were 202 mosques, 15 tekke (Islamic monastery), 8 medrese (Muslim theological schools) many inns and hamam (Turkish baths), adding that an important part of these monuments are in the “TRNC”.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.03.18), columnist Sami Ozuslu comments on the decision to promote the occupied part of Nicosia as “City of EVKAF” religious foundation. Ozuslu points out that this was announced in Ankara. “The EVAKF administration took the Turkish Cypriot press to Ankara. The Turkish media were also invited and the project was shared with the press”, notes the columnist adding that big words were said such as that “the project will bring a new breath to Cyprus tourism”.
Noting that he asked persons who work in the field of tourism whether they think that this project will yield benefits, Ozuslu says no one replied positively and wonders where the so-called ministry of tourism had been and why it was not present at the presentation. According to the columnist, it is said that a similar project had been carried out successfully in Anatolia and this is why they attempt to implement it in the occupied area of Cyprus.
He notes the following: “The actual question I want to ask is the following: Who dares to consider that a history of a city, which has a past of five thousand even six thousand years and many civilizations have passed from it, started in 1571? What does it mean to present the only cultural heritage of […] Ledra, Lefkothea […], that is of today’s Nicosia, in which people have been living since 3000 and 4000 BC and was submitted to many changes including its name, as fitting in the last 600 years? I asked questions, but actually the answer is known. They want to erase the history of 5-6 thousand years. It is really not believable! The issue is far from being ‘a contribution to tourism’, ‘an alternative kind’ [of tourism]”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.03.18) reports that the "chairman" of the "Turkish Cypriot football federation” (KTFF) Hasan Sertoglu, in exclusive statements to the paper, alleged that they continue holding “secret contacts” on the issue of the “international status of the federation”, adding that they will evaluate with the football clubs in the “TRNC” the situation which will be clarified in the near future.
The paper adds that the “secret talks” are taking place after the talks between the “Turkish Cypriot football federation” and the Cyprus Football Association (CFA or KOP) were collapsed.
Sertoglu explained that “the responsible for foreign relations” of the “KTFF”, Orcun Kamali is holding very frequently contacts abroad. “Within the next months the picture will become clear and we will share with everyone the roadmap to be followed on the issue of making openings. No one should consider that we are taking it with ease. We will continue our efforts and our vision to bring together our football with the world”, Sertoglu alleged.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (01.03.18) reports that the “founding rector” of the illegal Kyrenia American University (“GAU”) Serhat Akpinar held a series of “high level contacts” in Moldavia.
According to the paper, Akpinar who is the “president of the Cyprus universities association” and also having the title of “travelling ambassador of the TRNC” met with the President of Moldavia, Igor Dodon and the “President of the Republic of Gagauzia”, Irena Vlah.
In statements after his meeting, Akpinar stated that during his “contacts” he had the opportunity to give details not only about the “TRNC” but also about the “higher education” provided by the illegal GAU.
Referring to his meeting with the “President of Gagauzia”, Akpinar claimed that he held a constructive meeting with Vlah. He added that both Vlah and Dodon “supported as states the opening and expansion of GAU to both Moldavia and Gagauzia”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (01.03.18) under the front-page title: “Mosques are surrendered to religious orders”, reports that some persons who are connected with Turkey’s Islamist religious order called Ahmet Hoca are reading the Islam, khutba, (Translator’s note: sermon delivered at the noon prayer on Fridays and on certain other occasions) and several important mosques in the occupied area of Cyprus with the permission of the “religious affairs department”.
According to the paper, 35 hodja, (Translator’s note: teacher, devout Muslim man who is respected for his knowledge of Islam and who may perform a specific duty within an Islamic community) which belong to the Ahmet Hoca cult, settled in the occupied area of Cyprus on February and started reading the “khutba” at several mosques in the occupied area of Cyprus, while at the same time they started making religious propaganda to the community.
According to the paper, reactions were expressed by some religious men in the occupied area of Cyprus, while at the same time there are allegations that Vehbi Agan has been “appointed” on behalf of the “ILKEM-science, culture and education center” as “the representative” of the religious sect in the occupied area of Cyprus.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.02.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-us-committees-to-meet-in-washington-in-march-128022) reported that the first of the three technical committees formed of senior Turkish and U.S. officials, aiming to address the many disagreements between the two countries, will meet on March 8-9 in Washington, the Turkish authorities stated on February 27.
During U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Turkey on February 15-16, it was agreed that “three mechanisms” would be established between Ankara and Washington with a view to normalizing bilateral relations.
For Turkey, the primary agenda of the committee on issues related to Syria is its demand to remove the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara sees as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), from Manbij, which lies to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal will reportedly head the Turkish delegation in the committee.
A second committee will discuss issues related to Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, whose network Turkey believes was behind the July 2016 coup attempt. It will also address Turkey’s procurement of S-400 missile systems from Russia, migration and visa issues. Deputy Undersecretary Cihad Erginay will head the Turkish delegation in this committee.
The third committee will focus on the situation in Iraq and will be led on the Turkish side by Fazlı Çorman, director general for South Asia at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(AK / AM)