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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-15.06.18


No. 114/18                                                                                                                       




A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Ozersay: “The international community, which tolerates the Greek Cypriots, is responsible for the situation in Cyprus”

2. The Chamber of Commerce aims to collect 100,000 signatures for launching direct flights

3. Eroglu: “The time has come to continue our path with a re- evaluation of the Cyprus problem”

4. The first Turkish Cypriot culture and art festival took place in London


B. Turkish Press

1.Erdogan announces that Turkey proposes to Russia the ‘joint production of S-500 missiles’

2. Leaked video showing Erdogan calling for ‘tight marking’ of HDP goes viral

3. Erdogan: “Rules to change for presidential candidacy”

4. Four killed in armed clash amid election tour in southeastern Turkey

5. Turkish and US soldiers agree on implementation of Manbij road map

6. “Why has Erdogan vowed to lift the state of emergency?”

7. Electoral bans and restrictions in Turkey were set into force as of yesterday for June 24 elections



A.Turkish Cypriot Press


1. Ozersay: “The international community, which tolerates the Greek Cypriots, is responsible for the situation in Cyprus”

Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (15.06.18) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that making the Turkish Cypriots’ life difficult and preventing them from becoming a part of the international community is in the genes of the “Greek Cypriot state”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus. Commenting on a letter reportedly sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foreign Embassies in Cyprus, asking them not to visit historic monuments in the occupied area of the island because they are illegally used, Ozersay alleged also that the current situation is a result of the behavior and the tolerance of the international community towards the Greek Cypriots.  

“The tolerance exhibited by the international community towards the Greek Cypriot side has come to the point of harming the international community itself”, he claimed, arguing that the international community “has come face to face with a situation which does not allow them to hold an activity in a monument that is part of the [global] cultural heritage, the restoration of which they have financed”.   

Alleging that the Turkish Cypriots always come face to face with this mentality, Ozersay recalled that the bi-communal committee for cultural heritage has restored many monuments both in the occupied and in the government-controlled area of the island and described what he called the approach of “we can restore them together but you cannot use them”, as “an indication of an unacceptable mentality and a worrying situation”.

According to Ozersay, a more sincere effort is needed not only for finding a comprehensive solution [to the Cyprus problem], but also for the development of the relations and the cooperation between the two communities. He alleged that the Greek Cypriot side adopts the “unitary state” as “something ordinary” and that this is an element which makes the sharing of administration in Cyprus more difficult.

Referring to the international community, he argued that it should remind the Greek Cypriot side that the situation is not normal and claimed that if the international community continues to allow the normalization of the situation, the Greek Cypriot side’s habit will become stronger and it will be more difficult to change “an element which became embedded into the genes of the institutions in the Greek Cypriot side”. “For this reason, the way out is not to accuse the Greek Cypriot side; but the international community should change its stance and attitudes”, he alleged.



2. The Chamber of Commerce aims to collect 100,000 signatures for launching direct flights

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (15.06.18) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Turgay Deniz, has said that they will start a campaign to collect signatures for launching direct flights to and from the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and that their first target is to collect 10,000 signatures aiming to reach 100,000 signatures eventually.

The Chamber will participate in the 2nd Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival, which will be held in London on 17 June, where the campaign will be launched. Deniz described the issue of direct flights as the biggest problem of the Turkish Cypriots living both in London and Cyprus. “Our first target during the campaign, which we will start during the 2nd Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival, is to collect 10,000 signatures. Our target is to increase the signatures to 100,000 later”, he noted. 

Moreover, Deniz argued that they should revive their relations with the Turkish Cypriots living abroad and take steps for exempting them from military service as well as giving them the “right to vote and be elected”. He said that the breakaway regime’s economy will benefit, if these Turkish Cypriots spend their holidays in the occupied area of Cyprus, purchase houses and make investments.

During his stay in the British capital, the Turkish Cypriot chamber of Commerce will sign a protocol of cooperation with London’s Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.


3. Eroglu: “The time has come to continue our path with a re- evaluation of the Cyprus problem”

Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (15.06.18) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader and honorable chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dervis Eroglu issued a statement for Ramadan, where he spoke about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem.

Eroglu claimed that the time has come to continue their path with a new evaluation of the Cyprus problem. He said that a new road map must be drawn for the Cyprus problem.

He also claimed that it is in vain that the Turkish Cypriot side is waiting for the Greek Cypriots to respect their rights. He also claimed that the conditions put forward by the Greek Cypriot leader cannot be accepted.



4. The first Turkish Cypriot culture and art festival took place in London

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (15.06.18) reports that the “1st Turkish Cypriot culture and art festival”, which was organized by the “Turkish Cypriot Trust UK”, took place in London.

The aim of the festival was to introduce the Turkish Cypriot culture to children and young persons who live in the UK

Among the persons who visited the festival were inter alia, Barones Meral Ece, Deputy with the Labor party Joan Ryan, the Mayor of Enfield Nesil Caliskan and the so-called representative of the TRNC” to the UK Ulku Alemdar.



B. Turkish Press

1.Erdogan announces that Turkey proposes to Russia the ‘joint production of S-500 missiles’

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.18- reported that Turkey has proposed to Russia the joint production of S-500 anti-ballistic missile systems, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has revealed, reiterating his government’s determination to deploying the S-400 missile systems on Turkish soil, despite opposition by the United States.

“Besides [the S-400s], I have made a proposal to Russia for the joint production of the S-500s,” Erdogan said in a televised interview late June 13.

The S-500s are still under development and believed to be deployed by 2020 as a supplement but with a longer range to the existing S-400s sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. Turkey will procure the S-400s to augment its air defence by July 2019.

In reaction to some countries’ opposition against the Turkish purchasing of S-400s, Erdogan recalled that Greece has an earlier version of Russian air defence systems, the S-300s, on its soils.

“Greece has S-300s. You do not say anything to them even though they have S-300s. These systems are also deployed in Syria, outside NATO, and you do not say anything. But when it comes to Turkey, it is hard to understand,” Erdogan said.

Without directly naming the U.S., Erdogan criticized Washington for not delivering the weapons, although Turkey has made their payments and hailed Russia for granting a loan on very good conditions.

“We will also undertake in the joint production in the second and third stages [of the S-400s],” he added.


2. Leaked video showing Erdogan calling for ‘tight marking’ of HDP goes viral

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.18- reported that a leaked video showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructing his party’s local organizations to put “tight marking” on voters in order to bring the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) below the 10% threshold has gone viral on social media.

The one minute, 39 second-long video was recorded during a June 9 meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) neighbourhood heads at the party headquarters.

Although the meeting was closed to the public, the AKP’s Topselvi neighbourhood head Ahmet Öztürk reportedly shared the video on his own Facebook account.

Öztürk later deleted the post but the video had already gone viral. “Friends, our party organization must conduct very different work on the HDP. I can’t speak these words outside [publicly]. I am speaking them with you here. Why? Because if the HDP falls below the election threshold it would mean that we would be in a much better place,” Erdogan is heard saying in the video, before telling his party cadres to put a “tight marking” on the voters in each district.

“You know who is who ... If our neighbourhood representatives do not know who is who, they should resign. You will take the voter lists for each ballot box and conduct special work,” he adds.

In another video from the same meeting, Erdogan could be seen telling party representatives to secure AKP majorities on ballot box monitoring committees in order to “finish the job in Istanbul before it has even started."

"We shouldn't repeat the experience of June 7," Erdogan also warned, referring to the 2015 election that the AKP lost its parliamentary majority.

Every party must pass the 10% threshold in order to enter parliament.

The HDP slammed Erdogan over the leaked video. “AKP chairman Erdoğan openly incites people to commit crime. He plans to steal our votes by cheating and pressure to bring us below the election threshold,” the HDP’s official Twitter account stated on June 14.


3. Erdogan: “Rules to change for presidential candidacy”

Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.06.18- reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that eligibility requirements for presidential candidates will be changed after the upcoming elections.

Not only convicts but also those under arrest will not be able to run for president after the elections, said Erdogan addressing his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party rally in the northwestern Yalova province.

“Eighty public buildings, around 300 schools, over 70 political party buildings, and more than 2,100 houses have been attacked, destroyed, vandalized. Where? In Diyarbakir, in the southeastern [Turkey]. All this happened because of the provocation of the person in Edirne prison,” Erdogan said, referring to the jailed ex-chairman of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas who is one of the presidential candidates.

In November 2016, Demirtas along with 12 HDP lawmakers was arrested on terror-related charges. Demirtas remains in custody pending trial.

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.18- reported that the Constitutional Court Commission has rejected the imprisoned Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate’s individual appeal for an urgent examination of the local court’s imprisonment decision, as the HDP criticized the decision as being grounded on a bylaw, which is not in the application.

The HDP candidate Selahattin Demirtaws appealed to the top court on May 29, after the Ankara 19th Heavy Criminal Court ruled for the continuation of his imprisonment for the case, where the former HDP co-leader was tried over “being a member of a terrorist organization.”

The Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) has approved his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections that will be held on June 24, Demirtas said and demanded that the top court bring forward the examination of the file that he is currently in prison for.

Demirtaş’s lawyer Ramazan Demir told Hürriyet Daily News that they appealed to the court because “as a person who is a candidate for presidency, he cannot carry out an election campaign like the other five candidates, and this situation violates the free election rights of him and his voters, casting a shadow on the impartiality and legitimacy of the elections.”

The Commission sent the file to the court for examination, which will give the final decision on the appeal over imprisonment.

The related commission of the top court rejected the appeal for an urgent examination of the file, referring to the Constitutional Court’s bylaw, which indicates that injunction decisions can only be given where there are serious threats against the applicant’s life and property.

The HDP has criticized the Commission’s rejection, arguing that the application did not refer to the bylaw upon which the commission based its decision.



4. Four killed in armed clash amid election tour in southeastern Turkey

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (1.06.18- reported that four persons were killed and eight injured in an armed clash during an election tour of a delegation from the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) in the south eastern Turkish province of Sanlıurfa on June 14.

According to Dogan News Agency, the delegation, led by AKP Deputy İbrahim Yıldız, was visiting local shopkeepers in Sanlıurfa's Cumhuriyet neighbourhood in the Suruc district ahead of the June 24 elections.

A group of shopkeepers initially engaged in a heated argument with the AKP delegation, which quickly turned violent. Guns and clubs were used in the ensuing clash, reports said.

Four people, including a brother of Yıldız, were killed and eight, including four other brothers of Yıldız, were reportedly injured in the attack.

Several officials of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), a local affiliate of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), are among the casualties, local media reported.

According to Yıldız, the assailants told the delegation that they are supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and asked why AKP members went there although they knew it.

"This is how the argument started. They attacked our delegation with rifles after I left there," the AKP MP added, stressing that their delegation included some relatives of the other group, too. 

Commenting on the incidents, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "An elder brother of our MP has been killed by PKK supporters. This incident is an obvious example depicting the PKK and the HDP's strategy. We have no problem with our Kurdish brothers, but we have a problem with the PKK. I believe that our Kurdish brothers will spoil their game".

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım described the clash as a "perilous incident." Citing initial findings of the police, Yıldırım claimed that the suspects are "sympathizers of the PKK." "I hope that this was only a petty crime and there is nothing political behind it. If there is something political behind it, though, then the consequences will be different," he said.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the AKP delegation was targeted in "an attack planned before the visit."

AKP spokesperson Mahir Unal condemned the assailants. "I am calling for restraint to all our party members and voters in Suruc," Unal said.

HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan also condemned the incident. "As the HDP, we will not create any ground for any kind of provocation," she said.


5. Turkish and US soldiers agree on implementation of Manbij road map

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.18- reported that Turkish and U.S. military officials have agreed on the implementation of a road map that brings about the withdrawal of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the north western Syrian city of Manbij in accordance with a political agreement between Ankara and Washington early June.

“In accordance with the Manbij Roadmap and Manbij Security Principles, a series of meetings were held by Turkish and U.S. military representatives at the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, June 12-13,” read a joint statement made by the Turkish Armed Forces and the U.S. European Command early June 14.

“The U.S. and Turkish military officials who participated in the discussions agreed on a proposed Manbij implementation plan that will be recommended to senior U.S. and Turkish leadership for further discussions,” it read.

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Commander of the European Command of the U.S. Curtis Scaparotti held a phone conversation earlier in the day about the results of the military talks in Stuttgart.

The military-to-military talks followed a deal between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on June 4 over the Manbij road map.

The road map, which has a certain timeframe, suggests the withdrawal of the YPG from the city and the establishment of a new local council to be composed of mainly Arab locals.

The road map, whose timeline has never been formally announced but leaked by diplomatic sources to the media, foresees a three-stage process. The first stage from 0-10 days is about the completion of initial preparations between the military and intelligence officials from the two sides, the second stage from the 11th to the 30th day needs to finalize initial preparations and the final stage requires the full implementation of the road map within 60 days.

The joint statement by the Turkish and American militaries shows that the road map agreed by Cavusoglu and Pompeo is functioning well within the timeframe.


6. “Why has Erdogan vowed to lift the state of emergency?”

In a commentary under the above title, columnist Murat Yetkin writes in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15-06.18- the following:

“President Tayyip Erdogan said on June 13 that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) will lift the state of emergency if he is re-elected in the June 24 snap elections and keeps its dominant position in Parliament.

His words were one of the biggest surprises of the election campaign so far. Because until now it has been the opposition parties that have been pledging to lift the state of emergency as soon as they come to power, if they can beat Erdogan. Until June 13, Erdogan accused those asking for the state of emergency to be lifted of supporting terrorism and praising the toppling of the government through a coup. The state of emergency was declared by the government on July 20, 2016, days after a military coup attempt blamed on the illegal network of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamist preacher living in the U.S.

With Erdogan now pledging to lift state of emergency, the only political figure left saying it should be kept in place is Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahceli. Bahceli supported last year’s constitutional shift to further empower the president and he is now in an alliance with Erdogan for his re-election.

The opposition leaders have been quick to respond to Erdogan. Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), called on Erdogan to lift it immediately without waiting for the election. “Is there anything stopping you now?” he asked.

But why on earth has Erdogan decided to change his mind about this extremely important issue? He had until now defended emergency rule on the basis of fighting terrorism and clearing any remaining pro-putschist tendencies from the state apparatus. But there was another reason for the government to keep it in place, which has not been widely spoken about: The state of emergency allows the government to issue decrees with the force of law, bypassing parliament on issues related to security. In today’s world, not only in Turkey, almost everything can be related to security by all governments across the world.

On the other hand, the state of emergency is widely seen as the main reason for the regression of democratic rights in Turkey, the decrease in the quality of justice, the growing gap between Ankara and the EU, and the slowdown in foreign investments to Turkey. The recent depreciation of the Turkish Lira against the U.S. dollar and the euro, the rise in interest rates following strong statements by Erdogan in his recent trip to London, and the feedback that Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek brought back from financial circles may have convinced Erdoğan that defending a further extension of emergency rule could work against the government and his re-election.

There may have been another factor leading Erdogan to promise to lift emergency rule. The Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is on a knife edge to exceed the 10% national threshold for the parliamentary elections. It is true that Kurdish voters are not particularly happy about the further extension of the state of emergency. As a party that can attract both Kurdish and conservative votes, the AK Parti may lose a great deal if the HDP exceeds the threshold. 

Estimates show there could be a difference of around 60 to 66 seats in Parliament, depending on whether the HDP is inside or outside Parliament. If the HDP is not in Parliament, it would work to the AK Parti’s advantage; if it is in Parliament it would work to the AK Parti’s disadvantage. In recent days, amateur videos have gone viral on social media showing Erdogan recently talking in a closed-to-media meeting in Istanbul, saying the necessary precautions must be taken by the AK Parti’s ballot box observers so that the HDP does not exceed the threshold.

So it seems that Erdogan’s change in rhetoric about lifting the state of emergency may have links to both the state of emergency and his expectations from the coming elections”.


7. Electoral bans and restrictions in Turkey were set into force as of yesterday for June 24 elections

Turkish daily Sabah (14.06/18- reported that electoral laws barring certain campaign based activities for the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on June 24, will be enforced Thursday until June 23.

Accordingly, broadcasts in favour of or against a political party or candidate, or done in a manner that affects the public opinion, such as a mini-referendum, public opinion surveys, polls and estimates in any form, is prohibited.

Also, civil servants may not participate in trips by the Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputies and candidates in relation to campaigning during this time period.

Additionally, the Prime Minister, Ministers and Deputies, who make election propaganda or participate in election campaigns, cannot assign official services for their visits for campaigning purposes within this period. They are also barred from using official banquets and ceremonies as tools for their election campaigns.

Presidential candidates will have a chance to appeal to voters on Turkey's public broadcaster TRT, on June 17 in 10-minute campaign speeches.

The public broadcaster will feature speeches by the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) candidate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Vatan Party's (VP) candidate Dogu Perinçek, the jailed candidate of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas and the Felicity Party's (SP) candidate Temel Karamollaoğlu.

Another broadcast will be on held on June 23, the night before the elections, where Erdogan, Perincek, Demirtas and Karamollaoglu will get a chance to speak again on TRT.

The Republican People's Party's (CHP) candidate, Muharrem İnce, did not apply to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to make a campaign speech. Also, the Good Party's (İP) candidate Meral Aksener reported that she will not speak on TRT.

Aksener has criticized the media, saying that she would sell the TRT public broadcaster if she wins.

On the other hand, the YSK allowed HDP's presidential candidate Demirtaş to record his speech for TRT in prison on Monday in Edirne province.




(AK / AM)