According to illegal Bayrak television (21.09.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=mfa-criticizes-gca-pipeline-deal-with-egypt), the so-called foreign ministry of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus has reacted to the agreement signed between Egypt and Cyprus for the construction of an underwater pipeline to export natural gas to Egypt.
In a written statement, the “ministry” claimed that “the agreement signed was a direct usurpation of the Turkish Cypriot peoples’ rights”. It argued that retaliatory steps will be taken in consultation and cooperation with Turkey in the coming days.
Claiming that the Greek Cypriot leadership’s move regarding the future of the region’s wealth as unlawful, the “ministry” alleged: “The Greek Cypriot side does not have any authority to decide on the future of these resources that also belongs to the Turkish Cypriots. While all relevant sides have openly accepted the rights of the Turkish Cypriots over these resources, the unilateral decisions given by the Greek Cypriot side on when, how and via which channel the resources will be transferred to the global markets have no legal basis”.
The statement further argued: “These decisions poison relations between the two sides. Without meeting or discussing the matter with the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community, without seeking the consent of the Turkish Cypriot side, these steps, which are taken at a very critical juncture of the half-century long Cyprus negotiations process and its future, once more prove the Greek Cypriot leadership’s lack of political will for a comprehensive settlement on the island”.
The Foreign Ministry also claimed that the move was clear proof that the Greek Cypriot leadership, which ignored repeated calls by the Turkish Cypriot side to act jointly on the issue of hydrocarbons, was not only against sharing power with Turkish Cypriots but the island’s wealth as well.
“The Greek Cypriot side, which did not even respond to the Turkish Cypriot side’s to collaborate on the issue, has once more confirmed that they do not want to share the governance or the wealth around the island. We wish to reiterate that in the steps to be taken soon in collaboration with Turkey, we will not allow the rights of the Turkish Cypriots to be seized by anyone and we urge all relevant actors to stop disregarding and tolerating the unilateral steps taken by the Greek Cypriot side”, the statement claimed.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (21.09.18), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday with the leaders of the four political parties of the “coalition government” to consult with them ahead of his contacts in New York next week.
The meeting was attended by all leaders, “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman, “deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister” Kudret Ozersay, “national education and culture minister” Cemal Ozyigit and “finance minister” Serdar Denktas.
No statement was issued after the meeting which lasted for one and a half hour.
Akinci and his accompanying delegation will be departing for New York on Tuesday.
Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (21.09.18) reports that reactions against the “government” started to pour by trade unions and parties who call it to resign due to the price hikes in the breakaway regime.
The leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Huseyin Ozgurgun accused the “government” for its actions and stated that when UBP was in power there was falling of the price of the Turkish Lira as well by they managed to control the price hikes. He also said that more increases in prices are to be expected, especially in the price of electricity and added that more difficult days are waiting the Turkish Cypriots.
The chairman of the Communal Liberation Party (TKP) Mehmet Cakici said that “in the beginning the price hikes was a storm, now it became a hurricane”. Cakici said that the crisis faced in the country comes from the use of the Turkish Lira as the “official currency” and said that both the “businessmen” and the “government” should find ways to turn around the situation.
The chairman of the KAMU-SEN Trade Union Metin Atan said that until now the syndicates acted thoughtfully hoping that things will improve. “But now we believe that it is time the government should go. We will do anything possible for it to go”, he stated and called on the “government to resign.
The deputy chairman of the HUR-IS Trade Union Ali Teltekin stated that the “government’ should decide if it is a profiteer and a bloodsuckering organization or if it stands by the “people”.
The chairman of the KTAMS Trade Union Guven Bengihan strongly criticized the price hikes saying that the situation put the “people” to the point of rebellion since the prices of goods almost doubled in the last few months. He also blamed the “government’s action” for this development.
Issuing a written statement on the name of the “Left Movement” (SH) Abdullah Korkmazhan also criticized the price hikes and held the government responsible.
On its part the United Cyprus Party (BKP) stated that the people are becoming poorer day by day and blamed the economic policy followed by the ruling in Turkey Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the situation in the breakaway regime.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (21.09.18) under the title: “Tacan Reynar is Afrika’s lawyer”, reports that the Turkish Cypriot former “judge” Tacan Reynar, who tried the men who attacked Afrika newspaper and afterwards resigned from his “position” after receiving threats against his life, has now undertook duties for defending the lawsuits against Afrika newspaper.
Reynar, who opened a private “law office” in the occupied part of Lefkosia, will voluntarily defend the suits against the paper as its “lawyer”. The examination of the lawsuits has started yesterday in the occupied part of Lefkosia and will continue on October 16. Reynar has been presented in the case as the lawyer of the paper’s editor in chief Sener Levent and reporter Ali Osman.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (21.09.18) writes that there is consensus regarding the opening of the Famagusta barricade which is located near the Famagusta Gate in Lefkosia, noting that this was the main entrance point for Lefkosia prior 1974.
The “mayor” of the occupied part of Lefkosia Mehmet Harmanci stated to HAVADIS that when the Cyprus negotiations started between President Nicos Anastadiades and Mustafa Akinci, the two leaders visited the markets in Lefkosia and at the time himself and the Mayor of Lefkosia Constantinos Yorkatzis gave them a letter asking for the opening of the Famagusta Gate and of the Pafos Gate.
In addition, Okan Dagli, member of the “Famagusta Initiative” stated also to the paper that the opening of the barricade at the Famagusta Gate will help towards easing the traffic problem and transportation to, from and inside Lefkosia.
Turkish daily Yeni Şafak newspaper(21.09.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/mgk-toplantisi-sona-erdi-3396943) reports that the Turkish National Security Council (NSC) convened last night under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a written statement after the 5-hour meeting, the following reference was made to the developments in the Aegean and the Mediterranean:
“The Council was briefed on the developments in the Aegean and the Mediterranean and on this issue it was reiterated with determination that the country’s interests and rights will be protected by using all means against the initiatives which aim at the TRNC’s and Turkey’s interests”.
The statement also noted that the NSC discussed all important internal and external developments regarding the security of the country and mainly the issue of so-called “terrorist organizations” such as FETÖ/PDY, PKK/PYD-YPG and DEAŞ, which allegedly threaten Turkey’s “national unity”. NSC was briefed on the operations held inside and outside the country on this matter. The issue of Syria was also discussed and the importance of the agreement with the Russian Federation for ending the attacks against Idlib was underlined.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.09.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-protect-its-energy-rights-in-mediterranean-minister-137053), Turkey will not allow any unilateral hydrocarbon drilling or exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Turkey's Energy Minister said on Sept. 20.
Speaking at the 9th Exploration and Production Activity Consultation meeting in Ankara, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said that Turkey would not allow any parties to breach Turkey's rights or those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) based on international law.
Turkey on many occasions has contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s (editor’s note: Cyprus Government) unilateral drilling activity for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources around the area. (…)
The paper further argued:
“Turkey, in its capacity as a guarantor on the island, has also strengthened its presence in the Mediterranean Sea with its seismic and drilling vessels - the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, Oruç Reis and Fatih.
The Fatih vessel will conduct its first drilling in the Mediterranean in the next few months, he revealed. This drilling is based on the success from Turkey's exploration and production industry, which has spent over $10 billion in the past 16 years.
"The exploration and production industry is creating $5 billion in value with its subsidiary industries today, but our potential is far above that," he said.
"We prevented imports of $20 billion in return for these investments, however, we are not at the point we want to be," he added.
He also vowed that domestic production would increase to support a strong economy and encourage more energy independence through utilizing Turkey's local resources.”
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (20.09.18 -http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/1088876/iYi_Parti__Hukumet__cozumun_tek__D__de_oldugunu_gormeli.html) reported that the “presidency council” of the IYI (Good) Party, issued yesterday a written statement after its meeting.
The party evaluated the recent statements made by Turkey’s Minister of Finance Berat Albayrak, Turkish President Erdogan’s latest agreement with Russia on Syria, the issue of local elections and Turkey’s foreign relations.
The party evaluated further the recent statements made by Erdogan upon his return from Azerbaijan, where he said that Turkey would increase its occupation troops in Cyprus and it also might establish a naval base.
“Taking into consideration the geostrategic position of Cyprus, our military existence in the TRNC and at the same time our ‘guarantor country status’, such statements concerning the necessity of the establishment of a base in the island, cannot be made since it is not reasonable. Such statements by the President constitute a message to those circles who watch closely the issue in Ankara and also to the Ambassadors in Turkey in order to send this to their countries. The sufficient army troops of the Turkish Security Forces in the island and the existing naval forces of the Turkish Naval Forces, provide their services as the most effective forces in the region against any possible risks that may appeared in the territories belonging to the TRNC. Thus, as Good Party, we oppose against any kind of approach concerning the imposition of a solution in the TRNC. It is out of question to accept disclaiming our status as a ‘guarantor country’ in return for the establishment of a base in the TRNC and we want to express once against the position that we will not accept any attempts that may threat the security of our soul brothers. We call on the opposition parties in Turkey and all those who remain silent to keep away from concessive approaches on issues which have the meaning of a ‘national cause’ for us. Turkey’s active and effective guarantees in Cyprus, the existence of the Turkish troops in Cyprus, the bizonality and the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot people, are our red lines. The negotiations are not. Any concessions on these, would mean the return to the pre-1974 conditions in Cyprus”, read the statement.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.09.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/albayrak-announces-turkeys-medium-term-economic-plan-137046), Turkey has sharply cut its growth forecasts for this year and next year in its new economic program, naming “stabilization, discipline and transformation” as the main pillars of the economic outlook.
In a presentation in Istanbul on Sept. 20, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said economic growth would be 3.8% this year and 2.3% in 2019, both revised down from forecasts of 5.5%.
The Minister also promised “realistic macro targets” and “right action plans” and added: “We will be balancing the economy. In this vein, we will see a gradual growth increase from now on. Our main goal is to establish 5% growth from 2021 onwards”.
The Turkish economy grew by 5.2% this April-June, preceded 7.3% in the first quarter of this year, 7.3% in October-December 2017, and 11.5% in the third quarter of last year.
“Our second pillar is fiscal discipline, and our third pillar will be change in economy to take it toward value added areas to increase production capacity and exports in the long term,” Albayrak noted, adding that a new unit, called “Public Finance Transformation and Change Office,” in the Ministry was established. “It has members from other ministries. It will not only execute austerity measures and determine new ones, but it will also be responsible in finding new revenue boosting measures,” he said.
According to the new program, Turkey is targeting a 1.9% budget-deficit-to-gross-domestic-product (GDP) ratio this year, and 1.7% in 2021. “We will realize the necessary policies and measures to ensure economic hardships are overcome,” Albayrak noted.
“We are aware of the economy’s strong and weak points,” the Minister said.
One of the biggest obstacles of the Turkish economy has been high inflation, which created a fatal circle with a falling Turkish Lira against the dollar. “We will realize a program to totally fight against inflation,” Albayrak said.
The economic program forecasts that inflation would rise to 20.8% this year before dropping to 15.9% in 2019 and 9.8% in 2020.
Albayrak said Turkey will prioritize investments in pharmaceuticals, energy, and petrochemicals to reduce its current account deficit, which was seen falling to 2.6% of gross domestic product by 2021 from 4.7% seen in 2018. He also said Turkey would suspend all investment projects for which the tender process has not been finalized.
“Mega projects will be realized through foreign direct investment and international financing,” Albayrak added. He also said Turkey would revise its social insurance schemes and restructure its incentive scheme for exports.
Turkey’s unemployment rate was expected to rise to 11.3% in 2018 and 12.1% in 2019 before falling to 11.9% in 2020, the presentation also showed.
The support for the banking sector was one of the main points that investors awaited to hear. “Our policies will help the banking sector to strengthen, and the real economy to have access to credit at affordable rates, while creating room for credit restructuring if needed,” Albayrak said. “Making sure that the lenders continue financing businesses is one of our priorities,” he said, without giving further detail.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.09.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-court-of-cassation-rules-to-release-chp-mp-berberoglu-while-upholding-jail-sentence-137064), Turkey’s Court of Cassation has ruled for the release of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Enis Berberoglu, while upholding his jail sentence.
Berberoğlu was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017 for espionage over charges of providing daily Cumhuriyet with a video purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucking weapons into Syria.
In a retrial that finished on Feb. 13 of this year, Berberoglu, who has denied the charges, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail.
The Court of Cassation approved the conviction and the jail term on Sept. 20, but ruled for Berberoglu’s release until the end of his parliamentary term. Berberoglu was released from prison late Sept. 20.
The court’s ruling came after Berberoğlu’s lawyers said the MP was granted immunity from prosecution in the last election and that such a situation would stop the continuation of proceedings against him.
The Court of Cassation’s 16th Civil Chamber had rejected Berberoglu’s appeal on Sept. 10, ruling that “being elected as a Deputy for the second time does not grant immunity [from prosecution].
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