TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (15.03.18) reports about the opening of the Apliki barricade and writes that the so-called mayor of occupied Lefka Aziz Kaya accused the Greek Cypriot side of dragging its feet as regards the opening of the barricade.
The paper further reports that members of various Turkish Cypriot organizations called on the “government” to exert pressure to the Greek Cypriot side for the opening of Apliki.
Speaking during the discussion of the “budget” at the so-called assembly, “minister of foreign affairs” Kudret Ozersay, also made statements about the issue and said that he supports the opening both of the Deryneia and the Apliki barricades. He also claimed that it is the Greek Cypriot side which postpones the opening of the Apliki barricade and added that a decision was taken by the “government” and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to visit the area soon. Finally, he said that both Deryneia and Apliki barricades carry the same importance and they could open at the same time.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (15.03.18) reports that the “general assembly of the parliament” approved last night the 2018 budget of the “foreign ministry” amounting to 68,482,300 TL.
Speaking during the “budget debate”, Ozersay argued that it is not right to confine the foreign policy only with the negotiations and the buffer zone, adding “of course, the talks for solution take an important place of the foreign policy but the foreign policy does not consist only of this”.
Ozersay further claimed that the contacts abroad will be made in order to make the political will of the Turkish Cypriot “people” visible, adding that no one should have any concerns on this issue. Claiming that at the past the issue of foreign contacts was neglected, Ozersay noted that during this period, he will approach with sensitivity the issue of the foreign contacts and announced the meetings that he will attend. He also said that they support a dialogue process that will benefit the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, stressing that they do not support a relationship model that will ignore their own existence.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Gundem Kibris newsportal (15.03.18, https://www.gundemkibris.com/kibris/bakanligin-butce-gorusmesi-yaklasik-6-saat-surdu-h242574.html), Ozersay, commenting on U.S. Ambassador’s Doherty’s yesterday press conference statement, argued that there is some logic to her following statement “Exploratory activities do not necessarily mean there is a find. Even if there is a deposit, it may not be possible or feasible to commercialize it”, and he continues “if she had said ‘we may search for natural gas without the will of the Turkish Cypriots, we may export it to the market, (…) if it was said like this, then the Greek Cypriot leadership will be even more distant from it”.
Noting that in the international relations, there is a difference between threat and deterrence, Ozersay claimed that during the last days the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey’s foreign policy was revealed to be about deterrence.
He further alleged that “the EU created an erosion of trust within the Turkish Cypriots”.
Under the above front-page title: “The energy resources should be shared in a fair manner”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.03.18) reports that the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Kathleen Doherty, in a press conference yesterday in the buffer zone, referred, inter alia, to the energy resources in the island, stating that these should be shared to both communities in a fair manner with an agreement to be reached between them.
Briefing journalists about the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell visit to Cyprus, Doherty expressed the US’ positions on the issue of the energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus problem.
“The USA recognizes the Republic of Cyprus sovereignty rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone”, Doherty stated, adding that the energy resources in the island should be shared to both communities with an agreement to be reached between them in a fair way.
Pointing out to the need for a comprehensive solution for the energy resources in the island, Doherty stated that reaching to a fair and viable solution on the Cyprus problem will not only benefit all Cypriots in the island but at the same time it will ease the process to utilize the natural resources. “In this point, the political stability, economic development and regional security are very important”, she said.
Asked to comment on the USA stance concerning the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal on the establishment of a fund by the Republic of Cyprus which will be responsible for the sharing of the natural gas resources, Doherty said that this is an issue which should be solved between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. “The USA considers that the best solution on this matter would be found with the solution of the Cyprus problem. For this reason, priority should be given to the efforts for reaching to a solution”, Doherty further said.
Meanwhile, Democrat Bakis newspaper (15.03.18) reports on the same issue under the title: “We are in communication with Turkey and we do not expect any problem to arise”. The paper writes that Doherty stated that they do not expect any problems to appear with Turkey during Exxon Mobil’s activities in the region. She further said that since it will take many years for the natural gas resources around the island to bring revenues, what is necessary at the moment is for the sides to focus on the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (15.03.18) reports that during the “budget discussions” yesterday in the so-called assembly, Nazim Cavusoglu, “deputy” with the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) referred to the issue of the “citizenship” of “YDP's vice president” Bertan Zaroglu, asking the so-called minister of labour and social insurance, Aysegul Baybars to reply whether the “government” had launched an investigation or not about Zaroglu’s “citizenship”. Cavusoglu also called on the “government” to determine its stance about the “citizenship issue”.
Replying to Cavusoglu’s question, Baybars argued that the “government” has not made any statements on the issue of the “Zaroglu’s citizenship”, but indeed, it made statements about the “citizenship issue” in general. She further stated that the “government” will investigate the “cases” where the “TRNC’s citizenship” was “granted in an unjustified manner or without meeting the criteria”.
Meanwhile, in statements on the same issue, Erhan Arikli, “chairman” of the Revival Settler’s Party (YDP) claimed that “an operation of perception is taking place concerning Zaroglu’s citizenship”, alleging that peace and prosperity in the “country” cannot be achieved in this way.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (15.03.18) reports that “the determination committee for the minimum wage ruled the increase of the wage up to 190 TL”.
Speaking on the issue, the so-called labor and social security minister Zeki Celer stated that the minimum wage after this development will reach 2,364 TL.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (15.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-meeting-postponed-due-to-tillersons-exit-128775), a meeting between Turkey and the U.S. that was scheduled to take place on March 19 over Syria’s Manbij town was postponed after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was dismissed, the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s spokesman has said.
The change in the State Department came as ties between Turkey and the United States, which are going through turbulence amid disagreements over various issues. Tillerson paid a key visit to Ankara in February aiming to mend ties, agreeing to form joint mechanisms to resolve differences on Syria and bilateral matters.
The first meeting at the technical level took place last week in Washington, where the two sides discussed a model to be implemented in Syria’s Manbij province. Turkey has long been pressing the U.S. to push the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to withdraw from Manbij to the eastern Euphrates.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (14.03.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/03/14/russia-to-speed-up-s-400-delivery-to-turkey-fm-lavrov-says), Russia will speed up the initial deliveries of the S-400 missile systems to Turkey, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.
In a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Lavrov announced that the delivery of the surface-to-air missile batteries will take place sooner than initially planned. Cavusoglu responded to Lavrov's statement by saying "The sooner we receive the S-400, the better".
Foreign Minister Cavusoglu will discuss the situation in Syria's eastern Ghouta with Russian counterpart Lavrov in a meeting Wednesday, Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.03.18), the Turkish Prime Minister on Wednesday called on the international community to exert pressure on Armenia to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Speaking to state-owned Azerbaijan Television (AZ TV) in Baku, Binali Yildirim said: "We want all sovereign rights of Azerbaijan to be protected. The UN and all other organizations acknowledge that Armenia is wrong. However the necessary sensitivities towards adopting a Resolution are absent."
Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Yildirim reiterated Turkey's support to Azerbaijan. "Whatever is a threat to Azerbaijan, is also a threat to us. The international community and institutions must further pressure Armenia."
Turkey reiterates that the dispute needs to be resolved within the framework of international law and Azerbaijan's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Yildirim is on a two-day visit to the Azeri capital to attend the Sixth Global Baku Forum.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (15.03.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/afrin-city-center-to-be-cleared-of-terrorists-very-soon-presidential-spox-3136799), Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday that the city centre of Syria’s northwestern Afrin region will be cleared of terrorists “very soon”. "Over 70% of Syria’s Afrin region has been secured during Operation Olive Branch," pointed Kalin in a press conference on Thursday.
Kalin also revealed that Turkey has no intention to hand Afrin to the Assad regime after Operation Olive Branch is completed.
Regarding the plan to withdraw U.S.-backed PKK/YPG terrorists from Syria Manbij, Kalin said that due to the fact that newly-appointed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not well-informed on the issue, the plan would be delayed for one to two weeks.
The route terrorists use to enter and exit eastern Afrin will be closed soon, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a gathering of village and neighbourhood heads at the presidential complex in Ankara on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-says-he-hopes-syrias-afrin-district-to-be-captured-by-this-evening-128731) reported that Erdogan stated that the “utmost care” is being taken to avoid harming civilians during the “Operation Olive Branch” against Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants in Syria’s Afrin district. “All care is being taken. Right now the first civilians are being taken out of Afrin in vehicles through a special corridor,” Erdogan added.
Columnist Yusuf Kanli, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/yusuf-kanli/bridging-the-population-gap-in-cyprus-128756), comments on the following article Dogan New agency’s claims that Erdogan advised Erhurman and Ozersay to bridge the population gap in Cyprus:
“There is a claim. It is radical but it has not officially been denied by either the Turkish presidency or the office of the Turkish Cypriot prime minister. Dogan News Agency, quoting unnamed people with knowledge of the recent talks, reported that at their meeting in Ankara President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘advised’ prime minister Tufan Erhurman and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay to work to increase the Turkish Cypriot population to a level to achieve equality with the Greek Cypriot population.
According to unverified claims, the number of British citizens with ethnic Turkish Cypriot background is well over 400,000. British records suggest that number is over exaggerated. So what might be the exact figure? No one knows, but some think it is more than the 265,000 people currently living in northern Cyprus (which includes the post-1974 mainland Turkish settlers). There is a firm belief - shared particularly by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot nationalists - that even if the over 45,000 foreign students and around 18,000 Turkish troops are added to the Northern Cyprus population, the figure would still be lower than the number of Turkish Cypriots living abroad.
The figures related to Turkish Cypriot diaspora in third countries are unverified and unreliable, apparently reflecting a wish rather than the reality. But if the number of Turkish citizens with Cypriot background is included then the overall diaspora might be four times the number of those living on the island. It is often said that if the descendants of those who migrated from Cyprus to Turkey back in 1931 are included, the number of Turkish Cypriots living in the ‘motherland’ might exceed 600,000.
After the 1974 Turkish intervention [Turkish invasion to Cyprus in 1974] both the Turkish Cypriots living in Britain and their investment capability was attempted to be lured to Northern Cyprus. Several hundred rich Turkish Cypriot Londoners returned to the ‘home soil’ with the hope of helping to build a state and increasing their wealth. It ended up being a disaster for them. All lost their investments and returned disappointed, because regardless of its name the Turkish Cypriot state was condemned and excluded by the international community. In contrast to the free land, long-term tax exemptions, easy loans and other such facilities offered for tourism investments today, back then there were lots of pledges but no concrete action.
Now, the tourism sector in Turkish Cyprus in particular has been ‘Turkified’. Very few Turkish Cypriots are involved in the tourism sector, while the hotels and casinos are mostly owned and administered by mainland Turks or third nationals they employ. Irrespective of how numerous they are, could Turkish Cypriots living abroad be encouraged to return to their home land to build a new life there? The distribution of incentives, investment facilities and radical tax exemptions could help. Indeed, the return of the diaspora would be far better than increasing the Northern Cyprus population with population imports from Anatolia.
As opposed to the registered Turkish Cypriot population of 265,000, the Greek Cypriot population is 805,000. Increasing the northern population to that level would mean building at least six or more new cities, as the current towns have expanded so much that the infrastructure no longer suffices. Kyrenia, for example, has turned from a paradise on earth to a very tough concrete city with all kinds of urban problems.
Achieving such development, however, may be easier said than done. But with water and electricity from Anatolia, increased financial support from Turkey and lucrative incentives people might be persuaded to return and build a new life on Cyprus. Such an increased population could also serve as a serious challenge that might force the Greek Cypriots to be more serious in the search for a Cyprus settlement. An increased population would help achieve enhanced economic progress, but the issue is whether Northern Cyprus and Ankara are prepared to pay the price of such a move.”
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