A.Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.06.18) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has claimed that no concessions will be made in Cyprus or the Aegean and that the rights of the Turkish Cypriot “people” will be defended until the end. Cavusoglu alleged the following:
“Now we are also starting drilling activities around Cyprus. Turkey possesses a drilling vessel now. Turkey’s potential is great. You know, during the past months we prevented some drillings, including the Italians. However, we are also carrying out drilling activities in this area. We will allow no one to absorb the rights of the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot people both from the point of view of economic interests and from the point of view of the natural gas and oil and the wealth around Cyprus”.
Referring to the relations with Greece and the issue of the Aegean islands, Cavusoglu alleged that the issue of the islands is manipulated and argued: “There has been no change in the legal and de facto status of the islands since the Imia crisis, not only in our period. We do not allow this. Even a bird cannot fly here without Turkey’s permission. Even a single rock has not been given”.
Illegal Bayrak television (14.06.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-on-cyprus-issue-4) broadcast that these statements were made during a radio program.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.06.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot “hoteliers’ union” has alleged that the Greek Cypriots, as he described the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus, prevent tourists, who come to the island through the International Larnaca Airport, from visiting the occupied area of Cyprus. The vice chairman of the “union”, Ercan Turhan claimed yesterday that the EU citizens cannot be prevented, but tourists from Russia and Middle East countries are not allowed to enter Cyprus, in spite of the fact that they possess a visa, on the grounds that they intend to visit the occupied area of the island.
He argued that in spite of this, the breakaway regime’s “authorities” allow the Greek Cypriots to hold religious services in occupied churches and do not impose “tariffs” on goods sent from the government-controlled area to the enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronite Cypriots. He said that they cannot accept the fact that the breakaway regime’s “authorities” remain silent and unresponsive to the “bad treatment” towards the tourists and the fact that they are sent back.
“We demand that active initiatives are immediately launched towards the UN and foreign countries’ Ambassadors on this issue”, he said arguing that in case these initiatives give no results, they expect “counter steps to be taken by reexamining the possibilities offered to the Greek Cypriots” in the occupied area of Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (14.06.18) reports that the number of the persons, who have the “right to vote” in the forthcoming “municipal elections” to be held on 24 June, 2018, in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, reached 191,153 and increased by 600 persons since the recent “early parliamentary elections” held on 7 January, 2018 when 190,553 persons had the “right to vote”. The voters are distributed as following in every occupied area: Nicosia: 60,938, Famagusta 48,331, Keryneia 40,548, Morfou 14,699, Trikomo 19,830 and Lefka 6,771.
The total number of “municipalities” is 28, notes that paper adding that the numbers of the candidates who will be competing for each position are the following: 111 for 28 “mayors”, 1,092 for 280 “municipal council members”, 425 for 184 “mukhtars [head of a village]” and 1,043 for 596 “member of village council”.
The chairperson of the “high election council”, Narin Ferdi Sefik said that the results of the voting regarding the “mayors” will be known within a few hours after the ballot boxes are closed, but the other results will be announced on Monday morning.
According to illegal Bayrak television (14.06.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=3-day-eid-al-fitre-holiday-begins-tomorrow-2), Muslims in the occupied area of Cyprus, alongside Muslims all around the world, are set to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr starting tomorrow until Sunday, the 16 of June, marking the end of 30 days of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and his wife Meral Akinci will receive well-wishers at their residence tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, the “police and municipalities” are also taking precautionary measures so that “citizens” can celebrate the holiday comfortably.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-vows-to-lift-state-of-emergency-if-re-elected-133263) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to lift the ongoing state of emergency if he gets re-elected in the June 24 election.
“If I continue working [as the President], the first thing to do after June 24 would be, God willing, is lifting the state of emergency,” Erdogan said during an interview on private broadcaster 24 TV-360 late on June 13.
(…)Erdogan had said last year that the state of emergency “will not be removed until peace is restored.”
He also claimed on June 13 that the state of emergency has not affected the election campaigns of his opponents. “There is not a single effect of state of emergency on election campaigns. If there is one, they should give me one single example,” he said.
Erdogan added that lifting the state of emergency “would not mean completely abolishing it with no return.” “When we see terrorism, we take the strictest measures to stop it. Did France completely abolish its state of emergency?” he said.
Erdogan also praised the role of the recently opened Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), a natural gas pipeline that stretches from the Turkish-Georgian border to the Turkish-Greek border and supplies natural gas to Turkey and also European countries.
The 1,850-kilometer pipeline is the largest section of the 3,500-km Southern Gas Corridor, which was inaugurated on May 29 in Baku.
Erdogan further referred to the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline, which will carry gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkish Thrace. The project agreement between Ankara and Moscow for the Turkish Stream pipeline was signed on Oct. 10, 2016 and was ratified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 7.
One of the pipelines, with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters, is expected to supply the Turkish market, while a second pipeline will carry gas to Europe. “All of these are making Turkey a [gas] hub. We are distributing it to Europe from here,” Erdogan said, adding that natural gas will no longer be an issue for Turkey as it would have the authority to increase or decrease the amount of gas flow.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (13.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-jailed-hdp-presidential-candidate-demirtas-133235) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blasted Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed presidential nominee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying his nomination should be “corrected.”
“[The opposition says Demirtas] should be released because he is a presidential candidate. What does that mean? There should be some criteria for being a presidential candidate ... It should be corrected, God willing,” Erdogan said at a campaign rally in the northern province of Trabzon on June 13.
He suggested that the HDP candidate is being tried for “serious crimes that necessitate the dismissal of his nomination.”
Demirtas has been in prison since November 2016 in a case in which he is being tried for “leading a terrorist organization.” As his trial is still ongoing and there is no conviction against him yet, the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) has approved his candidacy and opposition parties have supported his release for the campaign period.
Erdogan criticized the YSK’s ruling, saying “it has been argued that he is not convicted, he is only imprisoned. But the reason for imprisonment is very important.”
Erdogan accuses the former HDP co-leader of inciting deadly street protests in October 2014, arguing that “he called on Kurdish people to hit the streets after the June 7 election [in 2015] and 53 of our people then died.”
Demirtas had responded Erdogan’s accusations on June 11, saying the street protests long pre-dated the June 7, 2015 elections as they took place on Oct. 7, 2014 and there has been no criminal case filed against either him or any HDP officials regarding the incidents.
“There isn’t a single case filed against either me or HDP officials for the Kobane incidents. All of our [HDP deputies] demanded an official parliamentary investigation into the instigators behind the Kobane protests but this request was denied by AKP lawmakers,” he added in a statement issued via Twitter.
“The number of people who died in the protests is 43, not 53,” Demirtaş said, noting that no investigation has been initiated over any of the deaths apart from those of the six members of the religious Kurdish party Hüda-Par.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (13.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/istanbul-court-orders-chp-leader-kilicdaroglu-to-pay-142-000-liras-in-offshore-case-involving-erdogan-133234) reported that an Istanbul court has ordered the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroglu to pay immaterial compensation of 142,000 Turkish Liras in a criminal complaint case filed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The complaint filed by Erdogan was the second in a row over offshore accounts that Kılıcdaroglu alleged the President and his relatives hold in the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.
Kilicdaroglu said late last year that the Erdogan’s close circle engaged in multi-million dollar traffic through an off-shore company in the tax haven Isle of Man, later providing receipts of the transfers too.
The ruling AKP responded harshly to Kılıcdaroglu, dismissing the documents as “fake” and saying they should either be either revealed fully to the public or handed to prosecutors for further investigation.
One day after the accusations were made, Erdogan accused Kılıcdaroğlu of “lying,” saying the five people named “received money because they had sold their existing companies.” “Money was not sent there,” he said.
Erdogan also demanded 1.5 million liras in compensation over Kılıcdaroğlu’s statements.
The first court order issued regarding the allegations on June 7 demanded that the CHP leader to pay 185,000 Turkish Liras in compensation for “insulting” President Erdogan.
The latest “insult” case against the CHP leader is the latest in a series of such criminal investigations into Kilicdaroglu, including one launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 6.
Erdogan’s lawyer, Hüseyin Aydın, had at that time posted the letter of complaint on his official Twitter account, quoting a speech Kılıcdaroglu delivered on Dec. 5.
The letter accused Kılıcdaroglu of voicing statements “that are part of a perception operation that the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ] has long been carrying out against our president.” The authorities today refer to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen as “FETÖ,” although it was once a close ally of Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“The statements of the accused and the political party that he leads about our president overlap with the discourse of FETÖ,” the letter added.
In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/barcin-yinanc/euro-court-has-rung-the-alarm-bell-for-turkish-cyprus-133248) under the above title, columnist Barcin Yinanc, writes the following:
“Attending the inauguration ceremony of Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) on Jan. 12, the president of Turkish Cyprus drew attention to tension about energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. ‘What is rational is to benefit from these natural resources with common wisdom. It our greatest hope for TANAP to inspire everyone’, said Mustafa Akıncı.
By now it has become clear that the natural gas resources off the shore of Cyprus are not going to serve as a motivation to find a solution to the divided island. It has also become clear that the Greek Cypriot administration under Nicos Anastasiades is not willing to take the painful required steps to accept a solution based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. He will continue the strategy of his predecessors to continue negotiations forever and play for time, in the belief that time is on the side of Greek Cyprus.
Although resentful and frustrated, the Turkish Cypriots may continue to live with the status quo while praying for a miracle to one day see the embargo implemented on them lifted, despite the absence of a solution. The problem is that the Greek Cypriots are not going to sit with their hands tied. They are likely to make every effort to make life even more difficult for the Turkish side.
They have already started to turn away non–EU nationals arriving at airports in the south with the intention of staying in hotels in the north. In April 2017, a group of Serbian pupils who arrived at Larnaca Airport in order to participate in a cultural event in the north were turned away. The same happened to a group of Lebanese tourists in September 2017. Until recently, Greek Cypriots did not dare to do the same to Israeli tourists who have shown great interest in visiting the north. Amid strains in Turkish–Israeli relations, the Greek Cypriot administration does not fear any reaction from Tel Aviv and last November 40 Israelis were expelled when they said they wanted to go to the north.
But more importantly, Greek Cyprus is trying to erode the diplomatic gains that Turkish Cyprus has acquired by setting up the Immovable Property Commission (IPC). Established in the mid-2000s to evaluate the Greek Cypriots’ claims, the IPC was recognized as an effective remedy in 2010 by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which told all the Greek Cypriots with properties in the north to first apply to the commission in Turkish Cyprus.
Despite obstructions from the government, Greek Cypriots applied to the IPC in the thousands. But when the prospect of peace due to intercommunal negotiations slowed the work of the commission, this also suited the Turkish government, which did not want to earmark such a budget for compensation. Due to a halt in the flow of money, the IPC cannot take any decisions about all the applications in front of it.
In a decision it took last December, the ECHR condemned Turkey for the first time over the committee’s ineffectiveness. After applying to the IPC in 2008 and getting no result, Greek Cypriot citizen Andriani Ioannou decided to apply to Strasbourg in 2014, which ended with the ECHR sentencing Turkey to pay 7,000 euros.
This should ring alarm bells for both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus. The Turkish side has to set up the financial mechanism to reactivate the IPC. Otherwise Ankara is going to be forced to earmark a much bigger budget for Cypriot properties in the north anyway, because if the ECHR decides on the ineffectiveness of the IPC and reverses its decision we will be back to 1996.
Following the ECHR’s landmark decision in 1996 in the Loizidou case, thousands of Greek Cypriots with properties in the north applied to the Strasbourg court, which would have resulted in billions of euros in compensation paid by Turkey. The IPC was set up precisely to prevent this storm.
Not only will the IPC’s compensation rates be much lower than those of the ECHR, it can also prioritize cases. If it were to compensate all of the applications in Morphu/Güzelyurt, the Greek Cypriot administration could no longer insist on the return of the province in the next round of negotiations. If the IPC were to decide on the return of some properties in former tourist attraction Varosha, the construction and tourism sectors would be boosted in the north. Compensating the Greek Cypriots will lead to a de facto solution for partition.
Ankara may currently be too preoccupied and, in addition, unwilling to start the flow of money in view of economic troubles. It should be up to the Turkish Cypriot government to take the lead and generate the necessary financial resources by introducing a tax system for Turkish Cypriot owners who will see a huge increase in the value of their properties, which used to belong to Greek Cypriots. These properties would therefore no longer be controversial. And that in turn would motivate Ankara to provide the main bulk of the financing”.
Turkish daily Milliyet (14.06.18) reports that Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak has stated that Turkey will make its third nuclear power plant in Thrace after Akkuyu and Sinop.
Albayrak said further that Akkuyu, the first nuclear power plant will be operational in 2023 in the CNN Turk TV channel. Minister Albayrak said that the 3rd nuclear power plant will be built in Thrace because of the high electricity consumption in this plant.
Turkish daily Sabah (13.06.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/06/14/polls-suggest-erdogan-likely-to-win-presidential-election-in-first-round) reported that Bloomberg poll has placed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the likely winner of the upcoming presidential elections on June 24.
The poll, carried out by Foresight Danışmanlık and commissioned by Bloomberg, also revealed that Erdogan may win the elections in the first round. It involved 500 people between June 7 and 11.
The survey found that Erdogan, the presidential candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would receive 50.8%of the votes in the presidential elections. It also revealed that the People's Alliance between the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would get a majority in Parliament.
The sample was drawn from districts based on various demographic and socio-economic characteristic of Turkey and the margin of error was announced as 3.5 percentage points.
In the poll results, Erdogan was followed by Republican People's Party (CHP) presidential candidate, Muharrem İnce with 30.1% of the votes, and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Selahattin Demirtas with 10.5%. While the Bloomberg poll substantiated the results of a number of earlier surveys, another poll by MAK Consultancy also placed Erdogan as the winner in the first round. According to the survey that involved 5,400 people from Turkey's 21 provinces between June 1 and June 6, Erdogan would receive 51.5% of the votes.
Several other pollsters have also shown Erdogan would lead the race in the first round of the presidential elections while indicating that he would still not garner enough votes to win in the first elections.
Another recent survey conducted by Remres Research pointed out that Erdogan may receive the highest percentage of support but there might be a second round of the elections. It estimated for Erdogan would get 42.2%, İnce 24.6%, Aksener 16.9% and Demirtaş 12.3%. Recent election polls have not also been able to clearly indicate who will come second in the elections.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(AK / AM)