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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-18-20.08.18


No. 159/18                                                                                                        


 A. Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci argues that the crisis created an opportunity of improving Turkey’s relations with the EU – September is important for the Cyprus problem

2. Kurban Bayram Feast kicks off tomorrow

3. Sener Levent files a “lawsuit” against Recep Tayyip Erdogan

4. No tender offer for the crossing points of Derynia and Apliki

5. So-called council of ministers decides to fix the foreign currencies for renters in the occupation regime

6. The Revival Turkish settlers Party (YDP) continues criticizing the so-called government for the “economic package measures”

7. Turkish Cypriot parties were not invited to AKP’s Congress – The “government’s” stance is criticized

8. Ozyigit says that the religious lesson has not been removed from schools

9. A group of youngsters were prevented entering a beach by the restaurant owner


B. Turkish Press

1.Gunshots fired at the US Embassy in Ankara

2. Ruling AKP hold congress; Erdogan re-elected in the party’s leadership with the majority of the votes

3. Cavusoglu: “Trump wants row with Turkey to linger until US elections”

4. Turkey and France to act against US sanctions

5. China reiterates support for Turkey’s economy

6. Turkish, Qatari Central Banks ink currency swap deal; A Turkish columnist wonders if Cyprus will be the price for the Qatar’s investment in Turkey

7. S&P, Moody’s lower Turkey’s ratings


A. Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci argues that the crisis created an opportunity of improving Turkey’s relations with the EU – September is important for the Cyprus problem  

Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (20.08.18, publishes on its webpage a message issued by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the occasion of the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifices, which begins tomorrow. Referring to the importance of social solidarity for overcoming the economic difficulties experienced because of the devaluation of Turkish lira (TL) against the foreign currencies, Akinci expressed the belief that the Turkish Cypriots will achieve this.

I am sure that when discussing the economy, the foreign currencies exchange rates issue, many of you say that ‘if the Cyprus problem was solved and we passed to the Euro, we would have been saved from these troubles”, he said arguing that this view is partially correct, but reminded that Greece and Cyprus had experienced great economic crises a few years ago in spite of the fact that they use the Euro. He added: “The Greek people and the Greek Cypriot community have faced serious problems. They started getting out of these difficulties slowly after the EU aid and important radical steps which they had taken in their economies. Therefore, I think that it is necessary for me to stress that we also need long term reforms”.

Noting that each crisis brings some opportunities, Akinci argued that it depends on the states and the communities whether they will benefit from these. He added: “I think that this crisis has shown more clearly to Turkey the political and physical geography to which it belongs and the importance of the relations in this geography. More specifically, it seems that the opportunity for an improvement of the relations of Turkey with the EU has been created again. For this, the sides should undoubtedly do their bit. In parallel to this, the Turkish-Greek relations might come to a better point with the release of the two Greek army officers who had been in custody. The development of the Turkish-Greek relations and the continuation of Turkey heading towards the EU will undoubtedly be useful for Cyprus as well. […]”

Referring to the Cyprus problem, Akinci said that September could be important and added that in the end of this month all sides concerned with the Cyprus problem will be in New York. He noted that the UNSG Guterres will separately meet with the “two community leaders” like every year and argued that the meetings this year will be different because Guterres will want to decide what the next steps will be in the light of the report, which will include the results of the meetings held by his temporary special representative with all sides.

“Almost everybody has understood now, that from now on the period of open-ended negotiations which last for years has been closed”, he alleged arguing that the UNSG will investigate whether there is a will to establish a “new common structure”, in which we will live in equality, freedom and security. Akinci alleged that he has no doubts on this issue, but his determination is not enough. He claimed that the Greek Cypriot side should also show the will which it had allegedly not shown until today and all the others sides and the international community should help in this. Arguing that especially the “silent majority of the people” and the civil society should be more sensitive than ever against possible developments at the junction which the Cyprus problem reached after 50 years. “I wish for meeting at what is reasonable and on the way of common sense in the Cyprus problem as well”, he argued.  



2. Kurban Bayram Feast kicks off tomorrow

According to illegal Bayrak television (17.08.18- the occupation regime is getting ready for the celebration of the Kurban Bayram holiday which starts on Tuesday, the 21st of August.

All “public and administrative offices” with the exception of essential services will remain closed until the 27th of August after the “council of ministers declared Monday as an administrative holiday”.

So-called police has announced that it has taken all necessary measures to ensure the public enjoys a safe and secure Bayram holiday.

The “state prison” will also be open to visitors throughout the Bayram holiday.

Illegal Bayrak Radio Television’s English news desk will be closed from Monday to Friday with services resuming on Saturday.


3. Sener Levent files a “lawsuit” against Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Under the title “We took Tayyip Erdogan to court”, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (18.08.18) reported that Sener Levent, the publisher of the paper, has filed a “lawsuit” against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the “district court” in the occupied part Nicosia, because of a speech delivered by the latter in Bursa on 21 January 2018. In that speech Erdogan had called on his “brothers in the TRNC” to take a stand and give the necessary reply to “vulgar” Afrika’s “immoral” title, which said that in Afrin the Turkish army had carried out an invasion like the one in Cyprus.

Afrika recalls that, right after Erdogan’s above-mentioned statements, on 22 January 2018 fanatic supporters of the Turkish President attacked the offices of the paper trying to lynch its journalist by using stones, sticks and iron bars.

In his column under the title “I am suing you sir”, Sener Levent refers to Erdogan and says that he is guilty and he will be tried in Cyprus. He adds: “Your crime is big. You are an instigator! You instigated our lynching, our murder!”      

The paper notes that it is curious about the way by which this “lawsuit” will be conveyed to Erdogan.



4. No tender offer for the crossing points of Derynia and Apliki

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.08.18) reports that no one has applied for the tender, which had been opened for the second time for the crossing points of Derynia and Apliki. It was announced that the devaluation of the Turkish Lira has also influenced the tender, which was opened for the second time, for the purchase of cabins, materials and for the electricity substructure of the crossing points of Derynia and Apliki. No company has submitted an offer for the tender.

Meanwhile, economists said that because there is an increase of visits from Greek Cypriots nowadays to the “north” for shopping due to the depreciation of the TL, the opening of the crossing points of Derynia will benefit the region in every sense. They pointed out that the crossing point should open without delay, adding that the opening is very important for the economy of the area.

Cafer Gurcafer,chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors Association, speaking to the paper, argued that the reason that no company has submitted an offer to the tender is the devaluation of the TL.

Meanwhile, Okan Dagli, one of the representatives of the Famagusta Initiative, in a post in his personal social media account, mocked the “coalition government” and the “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman for the “fake” tenders, which their deadline was on August 15, as he described them.



5. So-called council of ministers decides to fix the foreign currencies for renters in the occupation regime

According to illegal Bayrak television (18.08.18- the so-called council of ministers discussed in a seven-hour meeting the economic crisis and the fluctuation in the foreign currencies rates.

After the meeting was over, it was announced that the “council of ministers” had decided to fix the foreign currencies rates for renters in the “country”.

According to the “decisions” taken, those who have sterling pound rental agreements will pay their rates at 5.20 TL per pound.

Those who have euro rental agreements will pay 4.60 TL per euro and those who have US dollar agreements will pay 3.80 TL per dollar.

In order to promote rental agreements being made in the Turkish Lira currency, some incentives were announced.

On the issue of overtime payments, the “council” has decided to undertake cut backs in some sectors.

While a deduction in title deed fees has been implemented the “council” have decided to use the “Stabilization Fund” to determine alcohol and tobacco prices.


6. The Revival Turkish settlers Party (YDP) continues criticizing the so-called government for the “economic package measures”

Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (20.08.18) reports that the chairman of the Revival Party (YDP) Erhan Arikli condemned the so-called government for the package of economic measures announced concerning the crisis experienced with the remarkable loss of the TL against foreign currencies and in order to deal with the consequences deriving from the devaluation of the Turkish lira (TL).

Referring especially to the “measure” announced by the so-called government to receive 5% allowance on the minimum wage for the children of the “workers who are working in the TRNC with working and residence permit”, Arikli described this measure as inhuman and claimed that it is a shame. He argued that these “people’” work in the occupied area of Cyprus with the minimum wage and pay rents. “What should they supposed to do? Should they not bring their children here anymore?”, Arikli wondered, adding that the Turkish Ministry of Education provides millions every year to the “TRNC” as an aid for transportation and for the maintenance of schools.  “Turkey provides every year 30 million TL only for transportation”, Arikli alleged, wondering if it is the time to account for this. 



7. Turkish Cypriot parties were not invited to AKP’s Congress – The “government’s” stance is criticized

Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (20.08.18) reports that no Turkish Cypriot political parties or politicians from the “government” or the “opposition” in the occupied area of Cyprus were invited to Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Congress, which was held the day before yesterday [in Ankara] with the participation of representatives from 40 states, governments, political parties and leading politicians. Noting that moreover the “government” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus could not take a date to meet with Turkish officials, the paper claims that the reason for this is the fact that the “government” did not take “legal measures” for the attacks allegedly made against Turkey and President Erdogan by Yeni Duzen newspaper, mouthpiece of the major “coalition partner”, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), and by Afrika newspaper, which use “the Greek Cypriots’ language”.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (19.08.18) reported that Mehmet Demirci, AKP’s representative in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, criticized the fact that no representative of the “government” participated in AKP’s congress. Demirci, who was present at the congress, alleged the following: “The people of Anatolia and the Turks of Cyprus are like the flesh and the nail. No one can separate them. We are all in the same ship”.

Referring to the “lawsuit” filed by Sener Levent against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Demirci claimed the following: “Today one newspaper announced that it would file a lawsuit against the President of Turkey Erdogan. This kind of attack against Turkey is very saddening, at a time during which Turkey is under attack in every field. Unfortunately, the administrators of the TRNC state remain spectators against this news which is reported with the language of hate”.



8. Ozyigit says that the religious lesson has not been removed from schools

Under the title “Education in school and not in mosques”, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (20.08.18) publishes an interview with the self-styled minister of education Cemal Ozyigit.

Replying to those who say that the religious lesson has been removed, Ozyigit stressed that they only try to create the ground in order different religious students can take different lessons. He added that it is important to protect the different values and beliefs of every human being. He further explained that the religious lessons should be offered in schools and not under the stairs, in the mosques or other places.  Ozyigit also said that the religious lesson is compulsory on the 4th and 5th grade of primary school.

Ozyigit argued that some have found the opportunity and have presented this issue as a dispute among Turkey and the “government”, but it is an attempt to create the ground in order to bring back the order of looting, profiteering and pillage. He noted that the previous governments used to act by flattering those (Turkish officials) by trying not to appal them in order to remain in their seats and added: “We have not such concerns or such approaches”. He also said that they have an appointment with the Turkish Minister of Education on September 4 and they will travel to Ankara to discuss the problems of education, adding: “We believe that everything can be solved through dialogue”.

Asked to comment whether there are students from private schools who will register to public schools this academic year due to the devaluation of the TL, Ozyigit said that some students have already applied to public schools from private and if the foreign currencies continues to increase then there is the concern that the number of students in public schools to be increased.


9. A group of youngsters were prevented entering a beach by the restaurant owner

Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.08.18) reports that a group of youngsters were prevented entering the beach at occupied Karavostasi yesterday morning by the restaurant owner, a Turk from Mardin, who told them that there is an entry fee and they cannot enter if they don’t pay. When the youngsters attempted to enter without paying, he attacked them with a chair, insulted them and told them that “none can visit the beach without paying”.

The group of youngsters in order not to aggravate the situation left, called the police and filed a complaint. However, the “police” ignored the facts and in its announcement just said that “the beach belongs to the business managers of the Mardinli restaurant in Karavostasi and activists tried to enter the beach without paying the entrance fee”. The paper also publishes photos with the restaurant owner posing with Egemen Bagis, Besir Atalay and Halil Ibrahim Akca.

Commenting on the incident, columnist Sener Levent wrote: “For years we were saying ‘This country is ours’… But we have not done anything to prove this…. Now a person from Mardin says ‘This country is not yours, it is mine’… he came from Mardin… he has settled down here (…) They have become the experts by making benefits from the Greek Cypriot land which was seized by the force of arms…and this is the condition that we have reached today… poor us! Poor Cypriots! How have we sunk so low? (…) In the south, the Greek Cypriots can enter freely in all their beaches, but in the north we cannot… (…) After this we were free! (…) And after ‘no to zero soldiers, zero guarantees…  ”



B. Turkish Press

1.Gunshots fired at the US Embassy in Ankara

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.08.18- reports that the United States Embassy in Ankara has been attacked by unidentified assailants who fired several gunshots from a vehicle early on Aug 20, hitting a window in a security cabin but causing no casualties.

 “We can confirm a security incident took place at the US Embassy early this morning. We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details,” David Gainer, the spokesman of the US Embassy told the Hürriyet Daily News.

 “We thank the Turkish National Police for their rapid response,” he added.

 Private broadcaster CNNTürk reported that the drive-by shooting occurred around 5 a.m. and the assailants fled in a white car after four or five gunshots heard. The Turkish Police has launched an investigation into the attack and its perpetrators.

 The incident comes as ties between Ankara and Washington are in an unprecedented crisis over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson.

 The U.S. administration had imposed sanctions and vows to do more against Turkey in the case the pastor would not be released immediately.

 The U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate in Istanbul have been the targets of attacks by militants and have faced numerous security threats in the past.


2. Ruling AKP hold congress; Erdogan re-elected in the party’s leadership with the majority of the votes

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.08.18 reported that the  ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reshuffled its top management board at its sixth grand congress, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan being re-elected as the party’s chair with almost all the votes.

The AKP determined its new Central Decision and Management Board (MKYK) in its sixth grand congress on Aug. 18, where 29 of the 50-seat MKYK were reshuffled.

The new MKYK included 42 members of Parliament and eight members who are not MPs.

Erdogan was presented as the sole candidate for the leadership post with the signatures of all delegates and was re-elected with 1,380 of the 1,457 votes, making him the leader of the country’s largest party too.

The Central Executive Board (MYK) was also determined with the new MKYK members.

As the new executive presidential system grants executive authority to Erdogan, the ruling party has not included any of its members who have a role in Parliament in its top executive posts.

Six former Ministers who were not elected in the June 24 elections were included in the MYK. Mehmet Özhaseki, Lütfü Elvan, Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, Jülide Sarıeroğlu, Ömer Çelik and Numan Kurtulmuş have become members of the MYK, whose members function as Deputy chairs.

Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım’s “acting leadership” post was handed to Kurtulmuş, while former Çelik became the party’s spokesman.

Party bylaws were also amended in line with the new executive presidential system.

The terms “Prime Ministry” and “Cabinet of Ministers” have been replaced by “Presidency,” after Constitutional amendments last year authorized the abolishment of the Prime Ministry and related organizational structures.

The new bylaw includes a pre-election alliance principle that was brought into force by a legislative change before the June 24 elections.

The ruling party invited nine political parties including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), İYİ (Good) Party and Felicity Party (SP). Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was not invited to the congress, while İYİ Party announced they would not attend.

Besides political parties, the leaders of 52 countries were also invited to the congress. Some 414 foreign guests were also invited.

Marking the 17th year of the founding of his party, Erdogan in his speech said that the AKP will “challenge everyone who’s threatening Turkey over the economy with sanctions, currency fluctuations, interest rates and inflation.”

“We are telling them that we have seen your plot and we challenge them,” he said.

Erdogan was referring to the United States, whom he accused of appearing like a strategic partner but acting like Turkey is its “strategic target.”  “They were not able to make us collapse and they will never be. If they have their dollars, we have our God. We will walk toward the future together with firm steps,” Erdogan told a crowd, referring to what he described as an “economic attack” on Turkey and its national currency.

“God willing, we will give the world a different message with our congress that we will convene for the first time under the new system,” he added.

Erdogan maintained his defiant rhetoric during his opening speech at the congress, vowing to “not surrender.”

“Turkey will never bow before those who set up their own order by exploiting the world,” Erdogan added.


3. Cavusoglu: “Trump wants row with Turkey to linger until US elections”

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (19.08.18- reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of not taking sincere steps in overcoming the latest tension between the two countries, stating that the U.S. President is using the tension for his benefit in the upcoming mid-term elections in the U.S.

“It seems that the U.S. does not want to solve these problems. They want to use these subjects in the elections,” Cavusoglu said in a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic after the opening of the Honorary Consulate of Serbia in the southern province of Antalya on August 19.

“But we do not have any problems with the people of the U.S. who have started to see the reality. It should be the people of the U.S. that will give the necessary response, not us,”Cavusoglu added.

His comments come at a time when Turkey and the U.S. are experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions on two government Ministers and doubling tariffs on aluminum and steel for not releasing American pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

Cavusoglu criticized the U.S., stating that Turkey is “against the understanding of imposition,” and “prefers diplomacy in solving problems,” while the “U.S. prefers threats.”

“I told them that they do not want to solve these problems and that they are manipulating them for their domestic political concerns. I told them that they want to linger this until the elections because it is impossible to explain this attitude against such a constructive attitude,” he said.

Çavuşoğu also stated that the joint venture of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will continue as the temporary postponement of the delivery of the planes will “not bring active restraint.”

“It is not a process that one party can give up by saying that ‘Turkey should be out.’ Turkey might say that it will not be a part anymore but it is not that easy. It is a project that everybody is a partner in and will continue,” he said.

U.S. legislation temporarily banned the delivery of the F-35s to Turkey on Aug. 13, prompting criticism from Turkey.


4. Turkey and France to act against US sanctions

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.08.18- reported that Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire agreed on Friday over the phone to conduct a joint action against U.S. sanctions targeting Turkey, according to the Ministerial sources.

Albayrak and Le Maire discussed economic cooperation, the Turkish Treasury and Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Albayrak and Le Maire agreed to improve bilateral cooperation, the statement said, adding that delegations from both countries would meet in Paris on Aug. 27.

Albayrak also thanked his counterpart and French President Emmanuel Macron for their support.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet Ministers for not releasing pastor Andrew Brunson.

A Turkish court rejected US pastor Brunson's fresh appeal for release.


5. China reiterates support for Turkey’s economy

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.08.18- reported that China is supporting Turkey’s efforts for national security, stability and economy, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said after speaking with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the phone on Aug. 18.

Wang said the Turks led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will overcome their temporary difficulties, adding that China believes Turkey will develop in a stable way.

He added that China remains ready to protect developing countries and the legitimate rights of rising economies.

“Cavusoglu said that Turkey is ready to strengthen its strategic dialogue with China”, a written statement.

“We are expecting to deepen cooperation based on mutual interests with China. We will join the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative more actively,” the Chinese Ministry cited the Turkish Foreign Minister as saying.

The One Belt One Road initiative - which brings together China, 11 EU member states and five Balkan states - has been part of Beijing’s ambitious trade plan; it is also referred to as the New Silk Road.

China has significantly increased its investments in the region since it introduced the One Belt One Road initiative in 2013, which involves grand infrastructure projects to connect Eurasian countries with China.



6. Turkish, Qatari Central Banks ink currency swap deal; A Turkish columnist wonders if Cyprus will be the price for the Qatar’s investment in Turkey

Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.08.18- reports that the central banks of Qatar and Turkey signed a currency swap agreement in the Qatari capital Doha.

According to sources from the Turkish Central Bank, the first step has been taken after Qatar pledged $15 billion of investment package in Turkey last Wednesday.

The agreement aims to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two banks by setting a two-way currency exchange line.

It will provide liquidity and support for financial stability, along with facilitating exchange of trade between Turkey and Qatar. The agreement will also contribute to the enrichment of reserves of both countries. The funding for the first phase of the deal is expected to be worth $3 billion.

Meanwhile, in a commentary in Turkish daily Sozcu newspaper (20.08.18- under the title: “The price of the economic crisis”, columnist Zeynep Curcanli, commenting on the economic crisis in Turkey after the remarkable loss of the value of the Turkish Lira against the foreign currencies, recalls that Turkey has applied and made openings to two different countries, China and Qatar. According to the columnist, the first ‘good news’ came from China after Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak announced China’s decision to provide a 3.6 billion dollars loan to Turkey. The columnist underlines that the price for this gesture will not be paid neither by Albayrak nor by the ruling Justice and Development Party. The price against this gesture by China was announced last week after the meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by expert Gay McDougall who serves in the Committee. McDougall announced according to the columnist that more than 1 million Uygur Turks were taken with by force to political concentration camps in China.

The columnist goes on adding that the second country that the AKP government applied to for financial assistance which was considered by Erdogan as a “brother country” is Qatar. Recalling that Qatar will make $15 billion of direct investment in Turkey, the columnist wonders whether Cyprus will be the price against Qatar’s investment. The columnist wonders what the AKP government will do as soon as the Qatari national petrol company and American Exxon Mobil launches oil/natural gas exploration activities offshore Cyprus.

Recalling that Turkey has sent lastFebruary war vessels in the Mediterranean after the Greek Cypriots agreed with Italian Eni company to start drillings in the area, Curcafer points out that after this attempt by Turkey, ENI’s research vessel withdrew from the area. “Will Turkey show the same toughness in a joint oil exploration activity by the US-Qatar?”, wonders the columnist.



7. S&P, Moody’s lower Turkey’s ratings

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.08.18- reported that the two major global ratings agencies lowered Turkey’s ratings on Aug. 17, saying they could be upgraded with certain economic improvements.

Standard & Poor's said it lowered the country’s long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to 'B ' from 'BB-' while maintaining the outlook at stable.

The agency also said that it affirmed the short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Turkey at 'B'. "We could consider an upgrade if the government successfully devises and implements a credible economic adjustment program that bolsters confidence, stabilizes balance-of-payments flows and brings inflation under control," the agency said in a statement.

Moody's meanwhile downgraded Turkey's long-term issuer ratings to Ba3 from Ba2 and changed its outlook to negative.

The agency said Turkey's rating could be stabilized "if the Turkish authorities presented a coherent and effective economic plan in the near term that involves a material fiscal and monetary policy tightening to induce an orderly slowdown of the economy, leading in turn to lower inflation and inflation expectations as well as a reduction in the size of the current account deficit."

"Significant external financial support would likely act as a supportive factor to the rating," it added.




(AK/ AM)