Illegal Bayrak (29.03.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-says-gc-side-needs-to-change-mindset broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci claimed that the Greek Cypriot side needs to change its mindset on the Cyprus problem.
He said that he is open to the possibility of coming together with the Greek Cypriot leader for a social meeting but added that any such meeting should be of essence.
He was speaking to reporters today following his routine weekly meeting with “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side remained committed to doing what is necessary for a solution in Cyprus, Akinci said that contrary to claims, he was not against the idea of coming together with the Greek Cypriot leader for a social meeting.
He however added that any such meeting needed to have a purpose.
“There is no decision not to meet with Anastasiades. However we need a green light from the Greek Cypriot side. The Greek Cypriot side needs to adopt a positive stance regarding the future. We need to see signals or messages demonstrating to us this change” Akinci argued, expressing his view that the social meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades will most likely take place in the near future.
Akinci said that the issue of the Derynia and Apliki crossing points had also been discussed during his meeting with Erhurman.
He stated that he had received a reassurance from the “prime minister” that the necessary steps to complete the crossing points will take place now that the budget had passed.
“Delays on the issue are out of the question” he added, stating that claims by various circles that the “government” was deliberately dragging its feet on the issue were not true.
Also touching upon the issue of the “Immovable Property Commission”, Akinci said that “the government has launched work to increase the effectiveness of the commission”.
He said that once the work is completed, “all related parties and authorities would be invited to a broad meeting during which the IPC would be put on the table”.
Responding to a question regarding the social meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Akinci said that the meeting will be useful in listening to what the Greek Cypriot side has to say, how it perceives the latest developments and how the period of reflection that the two sides have been in since the talks collapsed in Crans Montana last year has passed.
He however stated that the meeting in no way should be acknowledged as the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations process.
“I am interested to hear to what Mr. Anastasiades has to say. He has been eager to meet with me since the elections and the UN has stated that it is prepared to facilitate such a meeting. I’m sure he would also like to hear as to what I have to say and my views on the outstanding issues”, he said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (29.03.18, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n246706-ozersay-rumlar-kazi-yaparsa-biz-de-yapacagiz-fiziki-guc-enge) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that if the Greek Cypriots carry out drillings in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Turkish Cypriots will also do so and if they face “the obstacle of physical force, a physical crisis will come out”. Speaking to Diyalog TV, Ozersay claimed the following:
“Even though in our daily life we do not realize this, when we look at the field of the Middle East, when we follow the events, it is obvious that the area in which we are located is a field of fire. […] We are living in an area in which we should be careful in the foreign policy sense. […] These developments have made Cyprus more important. Because this place has become a field in which military flight activities are wandering around. When we put all together, both in the sea and in the air as well as in politics there is a tremendous activity which we cannot see at the first sight. Perhaps we would not prefer oil and natural gas to be found in this area, but the area’s importance increases from day to day.
When we see the Greek Cypriot side’s activities, no one can say that the Turkish Cypriots have no rights here. In any case, everyone, the Greek Cypriot leadership, the EU and the UN say that this belongs to the Turkish Cypriots as well. The resources here are our right as well. However, the Greek Cypriot side has not changed its stance and gave authority to some companies to carry out explorations. After this, we also gave authority to some companies. Just like the Greek Cypriots declared fields such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, we also declared fields such as A, B, C, D, E, F, G. In fact, some of them coincide. Our rights here are not an issue of debate. There is no agreement on the issue of how it will be extracted, but there is an agreement on the issue that it belongs to both sides. Therefore, either we will sit and decide together, or both of us will make agreements over the same resources. However, if the Greek Cypriots pass to drilling activities, we will also pass to drilling activities. Behold, if then the Greek Cypriots attempt to prevent us with physical power, a physical crisis will come up”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (29.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-erhurman-hold-weekly-meeting), self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman has repeated that any natural resources discovered off the coast of Cyprus must be shared equally between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
Speaking to reporters following his routine weekly meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Erhurman said that he and Akinci had held a useful exchange regarding the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and other domestic issues.
Noting that the possibility of a social meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader had also been discussed at the meeting, Erhurman said that the important thing is that any such meeting with the Greek Cypriot side needed to be of substance and that the two sides should not just meet for the sake of meeting.
Responding to a question, Erhurman alleged that the Greek Cypriot side needed to change its approach on the Cyprus problem. “Mr Anastasiades must stop trying to portray president Mustafa Akinci as intransigent and to create the image that he is even unwilling to attend a social meeting. The two leaders should meet to achieve results and not just for the sake of meeting”, he added.
Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (29.03.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2018/03/28/turkey-vows-action-should-ypgpkk-terrorists-not-leave-syrias-manbij) reports that
Turkey will take initiative should terrorist PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) not leave Syria's Manbij, a statement released upon the meeting of National Security Council (MGK) reiterated late Wednesday.
The meeting was chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and lasted for four hours and 20 minutes.
The statement added that the international community should be informed that the YPG works in cooperation with Daesh terrorists, including in crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing.
The council went on to say that the Iraqi government is expected to counter PKK activities; otherwise, Turkey will take steps to stop terrorists on Iraqi soil.
The statement also touched upon the tensions in the Aegean and Cyprus: "In particular, the moves of Greece that have no place in a good neighborly relationship are followed closely, and it was decided once again that Turkey's interests will be protected at all costs."
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (29.03.18) reports that the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, speaking at the parliamentary committee of his party, evaluated the EU Summit in Varna and accused the EU of not behaving honestly towards Turkey.
He claimed that the fact that the EU did not keep its promises towards Turkey after the Annan Plan is a typical example of how the EU treats Turkey.
“They said that they would re-new the customs agreement and this did not happen. We have a right for visa but we were not granted one. […] Europe has double standards as regards Turkey. We are annoyed for this and I told this to the EU Ambassadors when I met them. […] The most typical example was the referendum held in Cyprus. They told us to say yes and if the Greek Cypriots vote no then they would have started direct trade with the Turkish side. This never happened”, he stated.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.03.18) reports that Teberruken Ulucay, “speaker” of the self-styled assembly, has alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side continues to express on every occasion its will for a solution to the Cyprus problem and says the steps which the Greek Cypriot side should take. Speaking yesterday during a meeting with a delegation from the Turkish Cypriot “civil” servants’ trade union (Kamu-Sen), Ulucay argued that the Cyprus problem had a very important place in the decisions taken during the recent summit between Turkey and the EU in the Bulgarian resort of Varna regarding the improvement of bilateral relations. He claimed: “We, as Turkish side, are at the same point that our will for a solution continues. We always say the steps which south Cyprus should take on this issue. If they do not take steps on this issue, we will not take more steps for them”.
Furthermore, Ulucay argued that the leaders of the two communities will most probably meet at a social dinner very soon and that after this meeting the Turkish Cypriots want the continuation of the “high level meetings” held in Crans Montana but this time these should be result focused. He further alleged that the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots should use their rights in the world not only as individuals but also as communities.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (29.03.18) under the above title, columnist Serhat Incirli expresses the assumption that even if we accept as “optimistic” all statements made after the meeting between the EU and Turkey in Varna, there will be no development in Turkey’s EU accession process or a positive influence of this process on Cyprus. Arguing that “nothing which gives hope came out from this summit”, Incirli expresses the view that the better the relations between Turkey and the EU are, the more we approach to a solution in Cyprus.
Noting that Turkey’s and the Republic of Cyprus’ positions are totally opposite on the hydrocarbons issue, Incirli argues that currently there is no hope for an agreement and that the solution of the Cyprus problem seems impossible under the current conditions. Asking which the current conditions are, he replies: “The current conditions are that the ‘interests of the Turkish Cypriots’ are not on the table or there. […] The demands of Turkey are on the one side. And the rights of the Republic of Cyprus which are totally supported by the EU are on the other. While Turkey on the one hand claims rights on Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone by saying ‘I am the guarantor, guardian, big brother, the mother of the Turkish Cypriots’ or by giving this message, on the other it aims to in an absolute sense control the natural gas’ course to Europe by saying ‘I also have direct rights’. […] Turkey says to the Turkish Cypriots that ‘I will attend everything on your behalf’, while the Republic of Cyprus gets away by saying ‘the benefits to be gained from the natural gas belong to the state and the citizens, Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots’.
[…] The Turkish Cypriot side is not a ‘side’ in this game, on this table, in this trick. It acts as if it is aside. I think that the statements made by Kudret Ozersay and Mustafa Akinci on issues such as the natural gas and the relations between the EU and Turkey, are not taken seriously into consideration even by themselves. […]
What about the solution of the Cyprus problem? Really, is there anyone who sees a hope, who hopes for help from Akinci or the current TRNC government? I think that there is not. […]
If it is asked ‘what should be done’, what will the answer be? The answer to this question is that ‘Even only for using the euro I agree to a solution’. Am I selfish? No, I am not. The Turkish Cypriot community has no other salvation than the solution. The rest […] is a fairytale.
Currently, both the government and Akinci do not trouble themselves on the question ‘how can a solution happen?’ While saying that ‘a solution does not happen because of the Greek Cypriot side’, Akinci does not put forward even a single plan regarding the concerns of the future or the future. And, excuse me, this is a weakness. He totally ignores the existence and the future of the community. This is an absolute surrender”.
Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (29.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/barcin-yinanc/greek-cyprus-has-begun-to-pay-for-its-failure-at-the-peace-talks-129464 ) publishes the following article by Barcin Yinanc:
“Do Greek Cypriot ruling elites think Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left the EU summit in Varna with a deep sense of intimidation that would be enough to keep him from sending warships to the island’s waters?
If they do, they are delusional, just as they might be when they make their analyses on the new international and regional realities on the ground.
It might be hard to digest, but they should have listed to Harry Tzimitras, when he said the United States and the EU have zero leverage on Turkey. The director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Cyprus Center did not chew his words when he spoke at a panel for the Bosphorus Energy Club on March 27.
“The U.S. has mentally checked out of the East Mediterranean,” said Tzimitras. This, coupled with the fact that the Department of State has become so understaffed, Washington can no longer play the role of “fire extinguisher” that it has been expected to play during times of escalating tension.
The events of the last few weeks have shown that Greek Cypriots cannot count on the EU or on individual EU members either. Turkish warships prevented the drillship of Italian oil giant ENI from reaching its drilling target off the shores of Cyprus. This did not cause a crisis in Turkish-Italian relations nor was the Turkey-EU summit postponed due to Turkey’s act, which was only met with a statement of condemnation from Brussels. Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General and foreign governments all spoke of the need to reach a settlement so the natural gas dispute would be resolved.
The Greek Cypriot administration had little consolation from the fact that the gas dispute was brought up at the Varna summit, as there was nothing suggesting that Turkey would not take the same action if ENI were to test the waters again, which it will not, as the company’s CEO has made clear in his statement.
Bringing the issue to the agenda of the Varna summit was the least the EU could do. After all, what good is the EU if it does not support a member against “aggression” from a non-member?
However, this is the gist of Greek Cyprus’s delusion. Previous Greek Cypriot administrations have failed to turn EU membership to their advantage by securing a settlement in their favor. Thanks to the Loizidou case in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Greek Cypriots were supposed to regain their properties and the EU’s pressure on Turkey was to make the latter accept a compromised solution.
Nevertheless, the Greek Cypriot administrations strategy to use the EU’s leverage as a stick rather than a carrot did not pay off.
The same approach had been adopted with the gas discoveries in the East Mediterranean. Instead of turning the energy issue to an incentive for settlement, Greek Cyprus chose to use it as additional leverage against Turkey.
Greek Cyprus thought Western powers with giant energy companies would stay by their side when they were challenged by Turkey over gas exploitation, especially at a time when Ankara’s relations were in a deteriorated state with the U.S., the EU, Israel and Egypt. The latter two were also stakeholders in the regional energy issues. However, Greek Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades’ strategy of testing Turkey’s resolve backfired.
In the end, politics have high jacked energy issues. Not only have energy resources not served as an additional incentive, Greek Cyprus has ended up in a situation where it cannot even engage in exploitation activities.
This is the result of a zero sum game in politics.
Anastasiades’ strategy of separating the two issues has failed, and without a settlement of the Cyprus problem, his energy plans will go nowhere.
The Greek Cypriot administrations have never paid for their failures in peace talks. On the contrary, they were awarded with EU membership when they turned down the U.N. brokered plan for which they held a referendum.
When the latest settlement talks in Crans-Montana failed again, Anastasiades probably thought he could walk away without having to pay for it. But it looks like this time there will be consequences for failing to cease the window of opportunity.”
Under the title “Kismir: The chief of police should be dismissed”, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (29.03.18), in its front page, reports that the Press Workers’ Trade Union (BASIN-SEN), reacted that Ali Baturay, editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper, was included by the “police” in the list of witnesses against Afrika newspaper in the “trial” against the paper and its editor-in-chief Sener Levent due to a caricature/collage published by Afrika on 8 December, 2017.
In a written statement, Ali Kismir, president of BASIN-SEN, said that Baturay was included in the list of witnesses with fraud, adding that “the chief of police should be dismissed by prime minister Tufan Erhurman and in addition the law, which provides that the police should be bound with civilian authority, should be passed from the parliament”.
Kismir made a call to “the government that the necessary law regarding the civilianization of the autonomous structure of the police should be approved by the parliament the soonest possible”.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (29.03.18), Yenal Senin was assigned as the new General Secretary of the People’s Party (HP) in yesterday’s meeting of the central executive organ of party.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (29.03.18) reports that the “association of Cukurova”, under the leadership of Sebahattin Kurt visited yesterday the former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
During the meeting, Kurt briefed Eroglu regarding the works of the association, adding that they have approximately 780 members.
Eroglu, for his part, said: “We have all come from the same land and made it homeland”, stressing the importance of maintaining the “state” with everyone who calls this land homeland.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (29.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-foreign-ministry-undersecretary-due-in-us-on-march-30-129425) reports that Turkey and the United States will continue talks on key bilateral issues, including cooperation in Syria and Iraq, with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Umit Yalcin set to pay a working visit to Washington on March 30.
Yalcin’s visit will aim to maintain the relative momentum achieved in dialogue with the initiative of outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
During the visit Yalcin will meet U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and “discuss Turkey-U.S. relations along with international and regional matters,” the Foreign Ministry stated.
It added that the results of working group meetings held on March 8-9 in Washington will also be assessed during the meeting.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (29.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lira-keeps-sliding-against-dollar-euro-129460) reports that the Turkish Lira dropped past 4 per U.S. dollar for the second time in its history early on March 28, coming closer to record levels. The lira plunged to 4.0012 against the U.S. dollar, falling 0.45 % in the early hours of the trading hours in Turkey, according to Dogan News Agency.
The lira also slumped to 4.9643 Euro with a fall of 0.31 % in the morning, coming to the edge of the record level.
The Turkish currency fell to a record low of 4.0375 against the dollar on March 23 in the Asian markets, according to Reuters.
The lira’s weakness has been in a slump since the credit agency Moody’s downgraded Turkey’s sovereign rating to Ba2 from Ba1 on March 7. On March 8, the lira fell as much as 0.4 % to 3.81 per dollar.
Ongoing concerns of trade wars between the U.S., China and Europe, drops in technology stocks, and other geopolitical developments are pointed as other reasons of currency fluctuations in the international markets. On March 28, a higher-than-expected U.S. growth data also fueled the dollar’s hands. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.9 % annual rate in the final three months of 2017, the Commerce Department said.
In addition, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (29.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-govt-announces-new-plans-to-boost-investment-ease-doing-business-129463 ) also reports that the Turkish government has announced new schemes that officials hope will boost investments and ease doing business in Turkey.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the government approved an incentives scheme worth 128 billion Turkish Liras ($32.01 billion) for strategic investments.
“The cabinet recently approved a 128 billion lira incentive plan for strategic investments,” Yildirim said in Ankara at a meeting on March 28 to announce the results of a Coordination Board to Improve Turkey’s Investment Climate study.
The authority to offer “open-ended” incentives to investors in seven key sectors deemed of strategic value and highly dependent on imports was given to the cabinet last year.The economic administration hopes to address Turkey’s widening current account deficit in the medium-term through the latest measures. “We will soon announce more details of this scheme,” Yildirim said, adding that the cabinet would send a comprehensive package to Parliament aiming to ease doing business, increase investments, increase exports, boost employment and battle inflation.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION