Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (02.10.18) reports that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to Cyprus, speaking at the opening session of the new legislative year in the Turkish Assembly on October 1.
Erdogan said the following: “I want to repeat for one more time that no steps can be made in the Aegean and in Cyprus against Turkey’s will. Like any other issue, our preference in Cyprus and in the Aegean is a win-win situation. They will be accountable to their own people those who want to make things go to tension and crisis”, he said.
According to illegal Bayrak television (29.09.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=pr-akinci-holds-press-conference-2-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-and-guterres-meet), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York at the UN headquarters.
The meeting lasted for 25 minutes and the Cyprus problem was discussed.
During the meeting, the so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, the so-called presidential spokesman Baris Burcu, the “TRNC representative in New York” İsmet Korukoglu, the “president’s special adviser on diplomacy and EU affairs” Erhan Ercin, the “chief of staff to the president” Cenk Gurcag and the “representative” of the occupation regime in New York, Sertac Guven also attended the meeting.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres entered the meeting with his temporary advisor to Cyprus Jane Holl Lute, the UN’s Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, the Chef de Cabinet to the UN Secretary General Maria Luiza Riberio Viotti and other UN bureaucrats.
After the meeting was completed, Akıncı held a press conference at the “TRNC’s representation office” in New York.
Speaking during the press conference, Akinci alleged that “during all of the courses carried out for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the positive stance carried out by the Turkish Cypriot side and its contributions have been recognised and confirmed by the UN Secretary General”.
Explaining that they did not want the removal of the UN parameters that had brought the process all the way up to the Crans-Montana summit, Akıncı said that they did not approve of those who called for its removal. “It entails bizonality, the political equality of two constituent states and the Turkish Cypriots active participation. Even if some don’t want to accept the Crans-Montana summit it also entailed the UN Secretary General’s rotating presidential system. We will not allow this to pass. We do not approve of those who want to prevent this” Akıncı alleged.
Emphasizing the fact that previous negotiation processes had come to an end, he argued that it was not possible to reach a different outcome by repeating the same old methods. “Therefore the Greek Cypriot side insisting on open ended talks just proves that they are insisting on the non-solution of the Cyprus problem” Akinci claimed.
Noting that they must aim to come to an understanding on a package agreement that is result orientated, strategic and within a timeframe, Akıncı reiterated claiming that anything contrary to this will not yield an agreement. “If a package that has a timeframe, is result orientated and strategic is put forward it is also important for the UN Secretary General to be a part of this himself”, Akinci argued.
According to illegal Bayrak Television (02.10.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-on-cyprus-issue-2), the so-called prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, in an interview to Anadolu Agency following a meeting between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, evaluated the report to be presented by the Permanent Consultant Jane Holl Lute, following her consultations with the related sides.
Ozersay said: “I don’t expect from Ms. Lute to pull a rabbit out of a hat after 50 years because what’s inside that hat is more or less known.”
Underlining that the UN Secretary General Guterres knew the positions of the sides, he reminded that Guterres listened to the two sides in Cyprus and two guarantor powers, Turkey and Greece.
“There are two critical issues. First, the question of whether the two sides have the same vision is in the air. The answer to this question is not clear yet. Secondly, there is a question which tests whether the sides have a will to solve this problem. If these are OK, there is a question of ‘which methodology should we use to solve this problem?’” Ozersay said.
Pointing out the need for answering the question whether there was a sincere effort for the same thing in Cyprus or whether if the rhetoric was the same but the expectations were different, he said everyone in Cyprus supported a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, however in reality there were differences between what the Greek Cypriot leadership and the Turkish Cypriot leadership understood from such a federation in general.
Alleging that resuming the negotiations from where were left off will mean the continuation of the status quo, Ozersay expressed the concern that if the negotiations continue from where were left off, then this would retain the Turkish side to do what it should on the natural gas issue and on other similar issues.
Asked “what kind of a path will be followed after the closure of the old negotiations process and whether there was a B plan or not”, he argued the following: “The answer to how the negotiations could be from now on is two legged. It is so important to make this distinction. The first one is related with the methodology; the date, the timetable and at what level. Will it be a conference which will be attended by the guarantors from the beginning? A result oriented methodology is being referred to. You can also add what would happen if the negotiations fail, whether the isolations on Turkish Cypriots and embargoes etc. will be lifted.
“Another important point is whether there is a common vision. I don’t think the negotiations will start before this will be made clear. There is a need to question sincerely whether the two sides intend to negotiate a partnership with a same share-based. Lute’s report is important at this point however I don’t expect her to pull a rabbit out of a hat”, Ozersay added.
Asked whether they will seek for the recognition of the “TRNC” or not, he alleged this was associated with the consent of other sides than the Turkish Cypriots. “Recognition is based on the consent of sides other than you. Of course we would be happy if other states recognize the TRNC however we should not sit and wait for this. What we need to do as TRNC is to be a part of as many international rules of law as possible”, Ozersay added.
Under the title “Cultural treasure in danger”, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper(01.10.18) reported that thousands of icons, which have been taken from occupied Greek orthodox churches during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, are kept in occupied Keryneia Castle under “improper conditions”. According to the paper, the worth of the icons is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars and they are protected with a security system, “which has been left to antiquities smugglers’ mercy”.
Archaeologist Tuncer Bagiskan told the paper that they had made an inventory of these icons in 1985 and that these historical artifacts should primarily be saved from the excessive heat and dust. “Measures should definitely be taken against their stealing and being changed with fake ones”, he noted.
The paper publishes pictures of some of these icons. The icon of Panayia Eleousa (Saint Mary), which belongs to the Panayia Eleousa Monastery in the Karpasia Peninsula, the icon of Saint Spyridon, which belongs to Saint Spyridon Monastery in occupied Tremetoushia village and the icon of Apostolos Andreas from Apostolos Andreas church are seen among these pictures.
The paper recalls that in the past, well-known Turkish smuggler Aydin Dikmen had been caught with 140 icons, 10 frescos, wood works, silver crosses, handwritten Bibles and various historical artifacts of religious value. Only the value of these artifacts in the market exceeded three million US dollars, notes the paper.
Meanwhile, Havadis continues covering the issue today (02.10.18) by publishing statements made by Talip Atalay, head of the so-called religious affairs department, who told the paper that the return of the icons to the Greek Cypriots is a political decision. He said, inter alia, the following: “[…] It is not possible for us to say anything on the issue. We have assets in the south and they have assets in the north. If a decision is taken in this direction as a sign of mutual respect, we will support it. […] These icons belong to the Greek Cypriot community and it would be positive to correctly protect and preserve them in cooperation. If the icons are in our hands, we should maintain them in the most correct manner and see them as our cultural heritage. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper(01.10.18) reported that in spite of the sharing and exchange of information between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot communities on criminal matters because of the bi-communal Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters, the desired cooperation on the return of criminals has not been achieved yet.
The paper published statements by Hakki Onen, co-chairman of the above-mentioned committee, who expressed the view that the few returns, which have been realized because of good will, must be based on principles. Recalling that the lack of cooperation between the sides on this issue had been taken to the European Court of Human Rights, Onen expressed the belief that the Court’s final decision which will be announced within the forthcoming days will be binding.
Onen said, inter alia, the following: “The fact that a criminal, who committed a murder in south Cyprus, was only charged with violating forbidden zone in the TRNC hurt me a lot. […] In the subcommittee exchange of information is made in writing at least 3-4 times a week. […] There is mainly a sharing of information regarding house breakings and narcotics. Now sensitivity is shown on human trafficking. […] The Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters plans a seminar regarding cybercrime and the rehabilitation of the addiction to narcotics, alcohol and similar things. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.10.18) reports that the self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhürman stated that 2019 will not be a good year for the breakaway regime, as a result of the decline of the Turkish Lira.
He made these statements speaking at the re-opening of the “assembly” following its three month summer recess.
Speeches were also delivered by various other political leaders.
Erhurman stated that the past period was hard for both the “parliament” and the “government” adding that the breakaway regime was affected more by the economic crisis than Turkey during the last 8 months, since inflation in Turkey rose to 12,29% and inflation in the “TRNC” rose to 24,29%.
In his speech, the leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Huseyin Ozgurgun stated that the source of the distress in the breakaway regime is not the “assembly” but the “government” and the (bad) way it handled the currency crisis.
The chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) Serdar Denktas accused the trade unions and the civil society organizations of being the biggest status quo in the “TRNC” and criticized the demonstrations they make due to the economic crisis.
The leader of the Communal Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit stated that the issue of the hydrocarbons should not be an issue for fight but a way to open the road for peace and also expressed his support to the steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in New York.
Finally, the leader of the Revival Party (YDP) Erhan Arikli stated that the “assembly and the government” should bring in front of the “people” a new alternative as regards the Cyprus problem.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.10.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-not-turn-its-back-on-europe-says-president-erdogan-137422) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey will not turn its back on the European Union, its biggest trade partner where around 5 million Turkish-origin people live.
Speaking at the opening session of the new legislative year in Parliament on Oct. 1, Erdogan said there have been tensions in recent years with some EU countries due to “unfulfilled promises and unjust accusations.”
“We could not remain silent in the face of the injustice in our EU membership bid process and the double standards,” Erdogan said.
“Some European countries turning anti-Turkish stance into a domestic politics material caused the problems to deepen. Now we are slowly leaving this troublesome period with Europe behind”, Erdogan further said, pointing out that Turkey strengthened its position by fulfilling all its promises, especially in the fight against irregular migration, adding that ways of dialogue have been opening.
“It is out of question to turn our backs to a region that is our biggest trade partner, where around 5 million of our Turkish-origin brothers and millions of our sincere friends live.”
However, Erdogan said that Turkey will never give up fighting against the injustices against it and struggling to protect the rights of “our brothers” in the EU.
Noting that last week’s visit to Germany confirmed the bilateral will to divert the relations to a new and positive way, Erdogan said the future of the ties with European countries seem bright.
“God willing, we will start an era that we will have significant progress with Europe in the areas of politics, economy and humanity.”
Commenting on the tense relations with the United States, Erdogan said that Washington, “which has been engaging in what amounts to a trade war with China, the European Union and many other countries has lost even more credibility as a result of the extra measures it imposes on Turkey.”
“Turkey’s situation sets a bad precedent for the United States, so much so that no country in the world can view the future of its relations with the United States with confidence,” Erdogan said.
“We are determined to fight within the boundaries of diplomacy and law with this twisted understanding that imposes sanctions on our country using a pastor who is on trial for his dark relations with terrorist organizations as an excuse,” Erdogan said.
“The Turkish economy is sufficiently resilient to withstand such threats and attacks.”
Describing the delicate economic circumstances as another test for all, Erdogan said: “We are the ones who are best placed to know which economic reforms need to be implemented in Turkey.”
“Clearly, recent events that are caused by exchange rate volatility have nothing to do with the economic realities or shortcomings in our country,” he noted.
“The American administration resorted, wrongly, to threats and blackmail instead of dialogue to solve political and legal problems between our countries. This method that supposedly aims to make us suffer will, in fact, cause the greatest harm to the United States in the medium to long term.”
Underlining that the uncertainty due to volatility in the exchange rate is slowly dissipating, Erdogan said: “We are very strict with budget discipline. We are taking all necessary steps to strengthen the outlook for our country in the international markets.”
“Turkey does not ask for money from anyone,” he added, noting that the government is concentrated on “receiving international investments into the country.”
“We provide all kinds of support and guarantees for this purpose,” Erdogan said.
“We diligently implement programs in many areas ranging from finance to investments for a balanced economy. The new economic program is one of the most important steps in this direction”, he further added.
“We are determined to ensure the rise of Turkey again through an economic approach that focuses on expanding and facilitating loans, promoting investments and prioritizing production, employment and exports,” he said.
“I ask for some more patience from our nation. Have confidence in our country and its government. The worst is behind us. From now on, things will be easier.”
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.10.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-germany-differ-on-views-on-terrorism-137395) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Germany and Turkey can overcome a period of ups and downs in bilateral relations during the term in 2019.
“They are always grateful for what we have done about Syria, especially on the issue of Idlib. We will continue to take steps by strengthening our cooperation with the EU and other regions,” Erdogan told a group of journalists while on his way from Germany to Turkey.
“One of the problematic areas with Germany is that they do not act ‘sensitive enough’ on the issue of anti-Turkey acts of organizations such as the [illegal] PKK, FETÖ, DHKPC,” Erdogan said. .
“We expect German authorities to fight against them more effectively. An effective struggle against the structures that pose a threat to our national security is our fundamental right,” he said.
“We have expressed the view that it would be better to ask us about real information” regarding those people, said Erdoğan, elaborating on the issue of German concerns regarding their citizens detained in Turkey. “We told them it would be better to listen to official authorities about the issues and take steps accordingly rather than listening to anti-cabinet or anti-president circles in Turkey,” he said.
“We told them one cannot get accurate results if they walk with anti-government” circles, Erdogan added, stressing that there is an obvious difference in the two countries’ approach regarding the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
“They are talking about the lack of evidence on FETÖ. It is not possible to understand ignoring the evidence we submitted to them, including the court rulings,” said Erdogan.
Turkey has asked Germany to extradite a list of 136-people, Erdogan said, recalling that Ankara had previously sent a list of about more than 4,000 illegal PKK members. He recalled that Turkey sent the United States 85 packages of documents for its request of FETÖ members. Later on, U.S. President Donald Trump asked Ankara to send names of individuals instead and Turkey conveyed a list of more than 20 people, according to Erdogan.
“The upcoming period will show us what will happen. However, their understanding of terror is different than ours. They have a difficulty in understanding us because they do not have the problems we have,” he said.
Erdogan noted that his delegation visited Germany with a positive agenda and said that he was satisfied with Germany’s hospitality on many terms, including security and state protocol.
“It was a good and successful visit,” he said and welcomed both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “I can say we were able to agree on further developing our economic relations. The German Minister for economy will come to our country on Oct. 25 accompanied with a big delegation of businesspeople,” Erdogan said. .
Stating that discrimination and Islamophobia remain a major problem in Germany, Erdogan expressed his concern on attacks on mosques and Islamic associations.
“This situation contradicts with the European values,” he said, underlining that one should not fall on deaf ears regarding this problem.
“Germany is an important country for us. Of course we have problems. I cannot say we have been able to overcome them entirely. But I think we caught an important chance to overcome problems,” he said, adding that mutual visits of ministers will increase between the two capitals, including an invitation issued for the German chancellor and president to visit Turkey.
Meanwhile, Erdogan criticized the German President’s “attitude” during the dinner and said his behavior “was not smart.” It was unnecessary to bring the issues back up at the dinner, which had already been discussed at previous meetings throughout the day.
“Even the Germans were uncomfortable with that. Some circles had said ‘Steinmeier was wrong. Erdogan gave the right reaction,’” he said. In Turkish culture, if one invites someone for dinner, no one would treat the guest this way, Erdogan said, adding that Steinmeier’s move was aimed at the German media for internal political concerns.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier raised human rights issues in Turkey during a state dinner with Erdogan. “Eighty years ago, Germans found refuge in Turkey—today, a worryingly large number of people from Turkey are seeking refuge here in Germany from the growing pressure on civil society,” Steinmeier said before Erdoğan. In his speech, Erdogan told Steinmeier among other things that he seemed to have “received false information” regarding the arrests that have taken place in Turkey. “Thousands of members of the PKK, which is recognized as a terror group by the EU, walk freely in Germany,” Erdogan said.
Germans were “avoiding a room meeting” but on the other hand, they are “seeking rights of” Can Dundar, Erdogan said, noting that the journalist was sentenced for 5-10 years in Turkey.
Recalling the bilateral extradition agreement, Erdogan called Germany to return Dundar to Turkey.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.10.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-french-fms-discuss-syria-bilateral-relations-137399) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on September 30 met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris, a Turkish diplomatic source has said.
The two Ministers discussed bilateral relations, regional issues and the current situation in Syria, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
On Oct. 1, Cavuşoglu is scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum’s official dinner in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.10.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-russia-to-seek-closer-parliamentary-relations/1269764), the Head of the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Volkan Bozkir said on Monday that they would try to build closer parliamentary relations with Russia.
After a meeting with his Russian counterpart Leonid Slutsky, Bozkir said that they exchanged views on next week’s gathering in Turkey of Eurasian Parliament Speakers summit.
Bozkir said that 25 Parliament Speakers from 40 countries will attend the third meeting of the Speakers of Eurasian Countries in the Turkish Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Oct. 8-11.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will open the meeting.
"We have reached an initial agreement with Russia on promoting inter-parliamentary ties," said Bozkir.
He added that they would sign the agreement "in the coming days."
For his party, Slutsky, who chairs the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said that they would back "Turkey's stable stance".
"[In the meeting] we will try to head off the negative stance of some countries towards Turkey," he added.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.10.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/turkey-gulen-s-brother-sentenced-to-105-years-in-jail/1270050) reported that the brother of Fetullah Terrorist Organization's (FETO) U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen was sentenced to 10.5 years in jail, judicial sources said on Monday.
Izmir's 14th High Criminal Court handed down the sentence to Kutbettin Gulen, who was already in prison, on the charge of being a member of an armed terrorist organization.
Over video conference, Gulen, who said that he suffered from health problems, rejected the accusations directed at him and asked to be released from prison.
He had been remanded in custody since Oct. 2, 2016.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION