According to illegal Bayrak television (16.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozdil-nami-speaks-on-brt), the self-styled minister of economy and energy Ozdil Nami has underlined the importance of introducing a timetable in any future negotiations on the Cyprus problem and for the talks to be structured in a result oriented manner.
Speaking on the hydrocarbon issue on “BRT”, Nami said he was ready to talk hydrocarbons with the Greek Cypriot side under UN auspices or at any other venue. He also said that the Turkish Cypriot side welcomed the idea of bringing electricity to the island [in the occupied area of Cyprus] from Turkey.
On the Cyprus issue, Nami alleged that the Greek Cypriot leader was not ready to return to the negotiating table, adding that any future talks on the Cyprus problem must be subject to a timetable and should be result oriented.
On the hydrocarbons issue, Nami said that the international community supported the idea that any revenues to be generated from the island’s natural resources should be distributed equally to all Cypriots.
“The problem we are experiencing is that we have differences with the Greek Cypriot side on how we shall be structuring this. The Greek Cypriot side must give the green light to agree on this issue”, he argued.
Nami further said that it was possible, as it was done in other issues, to cooperate on the hydrocarbons issue before reaching a settlement on the Cyprus problem.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper 916.03.18) reports that the self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, speaking at the “assembly” during the discussion of the “TRNC budget” stated that the “foreign ministry” started a project aiming to count the Turkish Cypriots who live abroad and to encourage them to return to Cyprus.
He said that he will share more details about this project with the “public” soon and noted that “the Turkish Cypriots who live abroad are important but neglected citizens of the country”; therefore steps will be taken so that to be benefited. He also said that they could be activated to act as a lobby in their country of residence.
“We want all to see this. The Turkish Cypriots are neither few nor a minority and they will not become a minority. If we make the effort to look we will realize that the number of Turkish Cypriots is very important. Not many actions were taken towards this direction but we will make many efforts for them”, he stated. He also added that this issue was discussed during the visit he held with “prime minister” Erhurman in Turkey and noted that Ankara shared the same views towards this issue.
Under the above title, Gokhan Altiner, writes in his column Kulis (Backastage) in the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (16.03.18) that in their recent statements the “minister of energy” Ozdil Nami and the “minister of foreign affairs” Kudret Ozersay imply that the solution of the Cyprus problem is not possible and notes that their statements are in accordance with Ankara as regards the Cyprus problem.
“Perhaps they are right in what they say but listening to them is like it is not them talking but Ankara. Both ministers repeat Ankara’s statements”, he stated adding that what is interesting is that both ministers will be their parties “candidates” for the forthcoming “presidential elections”.
Altiner goes on and writes that this situation reminds him of an interview he took from the former President of the Republic of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias who had stated then that the at the time Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has been Denktashalished (i.e. acted like Denktas as regards the Cyprus problem). “Looking at him is like looking at Denktas”, Christofias told Aktiner who writes that the recent stance and statements of the two politicians reminds him of this. Altiner writes that if the non-solution of the Cyprus problem is determined, then the fate of the “TRNC” is on the table. So it should be cleared whether Nami and Ozersay do not support a federal solution for the Cyprus problem but a solution based on two separate countries.
According to illegal Bayrak television (16.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-to-visit-derinya-tomorrow), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will be visiting Deryneia tomorrow at 10am for an on-the-spot inspection of the ongoing work to open a new crossing point there.
Akinci carried out a similar visit to the Apliki crossing point last week on the 10th of March. He had expressed his unhappiness over the constant delays regarding the opening of the crossing point and had called on the “Greek Cypriot administration” to approach the issue more seriously. He had also called on the “authorities in the south” to speed up the work on completing the Apliki road project.
Under the front-page title: “Nobody is satisfied from the minimum wage”, reports that all trade unions issued yesterday separate written statements, expressing their reaction over the “determination of the minimum wage” for the year 2018, at 2.365TL.
According to the paper, the “chairman” of the “Turkish Cypriot worker’s trade union” (TURK-SEN) said that the new minimum wage is not enough for a “four-members family to live in dignity”, adding that they will raise their objection and file an appeal on the issue.
Also, the “chairman” of Hur-Is trade union, Ali Yeltekin, expressed disappointment over the determination of the “minimum wage” and called on the “minister of labour and social insurance”, Zeki Celer to resign from his pos. “Before his party was stating that the minimum wage should be 3,500 TL. Celer should immediately submit his resignation since he failed to achieve an annual increase of 350 TL to the minimum wage”, Yeltekin said.
Dissatisfaction on the “minimum wage” were expressed also by DEV-IS and BASIN-SEN. The “chairman” of Basin-sen, Ali Kismir called on the “government” to “implement measures in order to reduce the cost of living” and also to change as soon as possible “the structure of the minimum wage determining committee”, condemning the fact that the workers are not part of the “committee”.
Moreover, in statements on the issue, so-called minister Celer pointed out that the “way the minimum wage determining committee” works is wrong and added that steps will be taken so that the workers to attend the committee. Celer further said that “as ministry” they will undertake steps in order to change the way of determining the minimum wage.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-wont-leave-afrin-until-the-job-is-done-erdogan-to-european-parliament-128817), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the European Parliament’s motion calling on Turkey to withdraw from Syria’s Afrin district, vowing that Turkish troops will continue the operation until the mission is completed. “Don’t get your hopes up. We will only leave Afrin once our work is done”, Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on March 15.
“Hey, European Parliament, what are you doing? You should be honest … There is nothing the European Parliament can tell us on this. Your statement will go in one ear and out the other. What burden have you shared with us in hosting 3.5 million Syrians so that you can tell us this?” he added.
The European Parliament approved the motion on March 15. The motion stated that the Parliament is “seriously worried about the escalating situation in Afrin”.
On the same issue, Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik also criticized the European Parliament’s Resolution, describing it as “non-visionary” and “ignorant”. “This Resolution shows how far away the European Parliament is from seeing the developments in the field and from assessing what’s going on in Syria”, Celik told reporters.
“The Resolution also cites ‘Kurdish forces,’ which is simply using the language of terrorists. We condemn this expression of the European Parliament,” he added.
“In our eyes, calling on Turkey to pull back its troops means open support for terrorism. It means simply abandoning Turkey’s security concerns,” Çelik said.
Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.03.18) reports that Turkey on Friday criticized a European Parliament motion urging Turkey to stop its ongoing Afrin operation as "one-sided". In a written statement, the Foreign Ministry said that with the motion, the European Parliament once again showed its one-sided views. The statement said that it is not possible for Turkey to accept the decision of the EP, which the Ministry said is known for its tolerance for terrorist groups.
The Ministry stressed that Operation Olive Branch in Afrin is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council Resolutions, its self-defence rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity.
"These accusations directed against Turkey -- which is taking all kinds of measures during the operation to avoid harming civilians in the area -- are unfair and baseless," the statement added.
According to the official website of Turkey’s presidency (14.03.18, https://www.tccb.gov.tr/haberler/410/91760/turkiye-dunyanin-en-onemli-saglik-merkezlerinden-biri-hline-geldi.html), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, delivering a speech at an event on the occasion of the March 14th Doctors’ Day, commented also on the developments in Syria. Noting that the U.S.A has established in the region 20 bases, Erdogan argued: “Well, why are these bases there? It brings me to mind two things: either Turkey or Iran. In any case, they will not use it against Russia. Anyhow, it means the expression of the Third World War. We always talk about these, but there is a benefit to talk about them on the Medical Day. Because we will be ready for everything”.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ottoman-turkish-should-be-taught-in-schools-erdogan-says-128828), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again said Ottoman Turkish should be taught in schools, accusing the early Republican period’s “language revolution” of “destroying” the Turkish language.
“It is one of the biggest problems in recent history that our language has become a subject of political discussions. In the name of ‘language revolution,’ our Turkish was attacked by unpleasant, dull and soulless words.
The bond between our nation and its old civilization was tried to be weakened,” Erdoğan said on March 15 at the award ceremony of a high school’s composition contest at the presidential complex in Ankara.
Erdogan has long criticized the changes, saying it made Turkey lose touch with its history. “Our bond with our history was cut,” he said.
“If you cut the vein of one nation from its language, then you cut their ties with their grandfathers,” he added.
“I believe the period that destroyed the richness of our language is long gone. But I believe the destruction continues. For this reason, I think it would be good that Ottoman Turkish gets taught in schools,” he said.
Erdogan also criticized the influence of the internet over language, urging Turkey’s citizens to be careful not to use foreign words. He called on shopkeepers to change the names of their shops if they were not in Turkish.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (16.03.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkish-iranian-russian-fms-discuss-syria-in-astana-3136880), the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran met in the Kazakh capital Astana to discuss Syria on Friday.
"I talked with my two counterparts to make the situation better in eastern Ghouta, which was caused by the [Bashar al-Assad] regime. We underlined the need to differ terrorists from civilians," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a joint press conference after the meeting.
The situation in Syria's eastern Ghouta is heading towards disaster and clashes must end, Cavusoglu said on Friday, calling for a ceasefire in the region.
The three Foreign Ministers also issued a joint statement, which stressed the continuity of joint efforts to decrease violence in the field. The statement put a strong emphasis on the territorial integrity of Syria and added that the next meeting in Astana would be held in mid-May.
The meeting was also a preparation for the leaders' summit on Syria in Istanbul on April 4.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (16.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-azerbaijan-georgia-iran-agree-to-create-new-trade-corridors-to-connect-asia-europe-128822), the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran signed an agreement in Baku on March 15 on projects to create a transportation and transit corridor between the Indian Ocean and Europe.
“We have agreed to form a new transportation corridor from the south towards the west,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said at the joint press conference held after the Quartet Cooperation Mechanism Roadmap signing ceremony.
According to his remarks, the Rasht-Astara Railway, which is being built by the Iranian government in cooperation with Azerbaijan, will be connected with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, which was built by Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan and became operational on Oct. 30, 2017.
A transit land corridor will also be built, starting from the Iranian ports of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas and extending to European countries.
“Our cooperation supports regional peace, stability and prosperity … We should fulfil the transit potential of our geographical positions,” said Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze.
“Connecting the Persian Gulf with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean is now a reality. It will take a shorter time to transport cargo from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and to Europe,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.
Mammadyarov, Janelidze, Zarif and Cavusoglu also signed documents to develop cooperation and investments in several areas such as energy, banking, telecommunication, industry, agriculture and tourism.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION