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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-27-29.10.18


No. 208/18


A. Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci evaluates his meeting with Anastasiades

2. If the Turkish Cypriots do not participate in the decisions, there will not be a partnership state, argues Akinci

3. Kanbay argues that malevolent circles try to damage the relations between Turkey and the breakaway regime

4. Fatih ship starts drillings today

5. Tuncali explains Turkish Cypriot targets in the UK

6. Tatar and Ozgurgun will compete in the 2nd round for UBP leadership

7. “The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry” asked for the opening of the Mia Milia barricade

8. Data on how many visited the occupied area of Cyprus during the period January-September 2018

9. The number of students in the breakaway regime


B. Turkish Press

1. The British Ambassador to Ankara: “The benefits of the natural resources around Cyprus should be equally shared”

2. The opening ceremony for the new Istanbul airport to take place today

3. Turkish army hits east of Euphrates in Syria

4. A four-partite summit on Syria was held in Istanbul

5. Ukrainian leader to hold talks in Ankara


A. Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci evaluates his meeting with Anastasiades

According to illegal Bayrak television (26.10.18- 2/5) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has described his meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades as fruitful.

Speaking to reporters upon his return to the “presidential palace”, Akinci  said that his informal meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader, as he called President Anastasiades had been a two prong meeting focusing on two main issues, the opening of the new crossing points as well as the process forward in the Cyprus negotiations process.

Pointing out that they had reached an agreement to open the Deryneia and Aplıki crossing points on the 12 of November, Akıncı said that there will be no official opening ceremony for the crossing points to be attended by the two leaders.

Akıncı, however added that the issue of mobile phone inter-operability had also been discussed during their meeting and that another meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader could take place before the 12 of November should there be progress achieved on this issue.

He reminded that the opening of the crossing points was part of confidence building measures that the two sides had agreed upon in addition to GSM inter-operability and interconnectivity of the electricity grids of the two sides. “The UN has been putting forward an effort on this issue and I believe it will be a positive development if we succeed in reaching an agreement on this issue” Akıncı added.

Stating that he had asked the Greek Cypriot leader to clarify his views regarding the notion of a ‘loose federation’ which he had mooted as a model for a settlement, Akıncı alleged that Anastasiades had told him that he remained committed to the idea of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal settlement, the UN parameters and convergences reached to this point.

“As you all know, there have been certain discussions on different models of solution – especially a two state model. I had questioned these debates during our meeting on 16 April as well and I did so today as well. I wanted to clarify should the Greek Cypriot community want a different model as a solution, we should be able to discuss it with an open heart and honestly. As I have been informed by Mr. Anastasiades today, he is not thinking about anything outside the UN parameters and the convergences reached until today. He has expressed loyalty to the bi-zonal, bi-communal solution model. However, he expressed his intentions of evaluating a model in which the constituent states will have stronger powers than the central government. He expressed his views in general and broad terms”, Akinci said.

Akıncı alleged further that he had conveyed to the Greek Cypriot leader once again the Turkish Cypriot side’s commitment towards a comprehensive settlement on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the basis of the political equality of the two sides.

“Mr. Anastasiades however did not provide any specific details as to which authorities or powers he thought should be handed over to the constituent states. Let me just make one thing clear. As it has been stated by the UN Secretary General in his latest report, the time for open-ended talks is over. To conduct open-ended talks means opening the door for new inconclusive processes. We shall be conveying our views again to the UN Secretary General’s temporary Consultant Jane Holl Lute when we meet with her next week” Akinci added.

Stating that he had returned pleased from today’s meeting, not only because he had found the opportunity to openly exchange views on the way forward with the Greek Cypriot leader but also because they had succeeded in implementing an agreement they had reached 3.5 years ago.

“There was a lot of speculation regarding the opening of these crossing points. These have come to an end. The date is set for their opening” Akıncı added.

He, however pointed out that today’s meeting was not in any way a resumption of the Cyprus negotiations process.

Pointing out that he had also found the opportunity to discuss the issue of hydrocarbons with Anastasiades, Akıncı said that he once again warned Anastasiades of the crisis waiting to erupt. “I told him that the issue should be handled through cooperation and interdependence through a formula which should not exclude Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots” Akinci said.

Akıncı added that he had highlighted the importance of Turkey-EU relations, expressing the view that the improvement of these relations would have a positive impact for Cyprus.

In response to a question on stronger “constituent states”, Akinci said: “We discussed the issue of decentralization – this is the issue of transferring power from the central government to the two equal constituent states. It must be known that when Mr. Anastasiades talks about transfer of powers, he actually wants to limit the areas in which the Turkish Cypriots will have a vote to cast. He is acting with this view in his mind. I underline that if we are going to establish a federal partnership, it is vital for the two sides participating in the decision making processes. The nature of narrow powers or wider powers is not important. What’s important is how these decisions will be taken. If there’s simple majority vote then it is not possible to say that’s a federation. It can only be a unitary state. We envisage a federal structure with two equal wings. Even if it’s only one vote, effective participation in the decision making processes is important”, Akinci noted.

2. If the Turkish Cypriots do not participate in the decisions, there will not be a partnership state, argues Akinci             

Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (29.10.18) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that mutual trust is the basis for being able to establish a partnership state and that equal participation in the decisions is essential in a partnership. Addressing a festival in occupied Lefka, Akinci noted yesterday that the picture from the point of view of the method and the content of the negotiations is expected to be clarified with UNSG’s temporary special adviser Jane Lute’s visit to the island. “The forthcoming process will be a process without an open end and focused on the result”, he argued.

Referring to the opening of the barricades in Deryneia and Apliki – Lefka areas, Akinci said that he has been exerting efforts in this direction for the past three years and added that it has been a difficult process but in the end, the crossing points will open. He argued that in order for this to happen, the “people” of the area exerted big efforts and quick decisions have been made by the current “government” of the regime, which he thanked for its efforts. “I also have to thank our army officers. The understanding and the cooperation which they exhibited especially in Deryneia area, but also here as well, seriously contributed to the opening of these gates”, he claimed.

Recalling that three years ago a decision regarding the functioning of the cell phones both in the occupied and the government-controlled area of the island had been taken, Akinci alleged that no progress was achieved on this issue in spite of the fact that the Turkish side was technically ready and expressed the view that the current situation is unacceptable in our time. Noting that some legal obstacles came up in the past, Akinci said that the UN had held some contacts and during the meeting he had carried out on Friday with President Anastasiades they received the message that there might be no more obstacles on this issue. He alleged: “It was alleged that this issue could happen with formulas on which agreement could be reached. We had been ready anyway. Therefore, if this obstacle has been lifted in the Greek Cypriot side, I think that this issue could also happen during the next few days, but I am cautious, because I cannot say from now what kind of a development there will be […]”.

Referring to the issue of “loose federation”, Akinci said that he discussed the issue with President Anastasiades during their recent meeting, noting that the latter told him that he does not refer to a “loose federation” but to transferring more powers from the center to the wings. He alleged:

If you ask me, it is the same thing. There is nothing different. There is just a difference in the name. However, when we discussed what this will be, which powers they will be, it came out that he was not ready. That is, Mr Anstasiades did not give me a list. Consequently, it was discussed only as a word, as a meaning, but these have not been conveyed to us in a concrete manner. […]” 

Explaining what is important for him on this issue, he claimed:

If it is said ‘the Turkish Cypriots should not participate in the decisions, we should be able to take the decisions alone’, this is not a partnership, this is not a federation, it is not also a loose federation, it is not also a partnership state. This is a unitary structure, a unitary state structure administrated by the majority which will be able to take the decisions alone. This is not what we are discussing. Anyway such agreement cannot exist. Therefore, this should be clarified the soonest. […]”

Recalling views saying that “if the Turkish Cypriots participate in the decisions, functionality might be spoiled and problems might be caused”, Akinci argued:

“If mutual trust is not established, if the sides will look each other suspiciously after the establishment of such a partnership state, if they will not have mutual goals, they will not be able to establish this federation anyway. […] We should approach things positively. Will the Turkish Cypriots not want this country to go forward commonly? Why should the decisions in which the Turkish Cypriots will participate create problems? This cannot happen, this understanding cannot exist. Therefore, the Greek Cypriot side should be confronted with itself within these discussions. […]”     


3. Kanbay argues that malevolent circles try to damage the relations between Turkey and the breakaway regime

Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (29.10.18) reports that the “Turkish ambassador to Lefkosia” Derya Kanbay  argued that there are some malevolent  circles that are disturbed by the good relations between Turkey and the breakaway regime and they want to damage them, using the financial crisis that hit Turkey and the occupied area of Cyprus during the last few months. 

In a message that he issued for the 95th establishment of the Republic of Turkey, Kanbay argued that these circles continue to use the failed Crans Montana procedure for the solution of the Cyprus problem in order to cover their actions and their intentions which are to damage the relations between the two “countries”.

Referring to the projects with which Turkey contributes to the development of the breakaway regime, among them the transfer of electricity from Turkey, Kanbay said that Turkey will continue to offer any possible moral and economic assistance  “for strengthening the state structure of the TRNC”.


4. Fatih ship starts drillings today

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (29.10.18) reports that the drilling ship Fatih will start drilling today, which is the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, in the presence of Turkish Minister of Energy Fatih Donmez.

According to the paper, the ship will start drilling in the area near Antalya, west of Cyprus. 


5. Tuncali explains Turkish Cypriot targets in the UK             

Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kıbrıs newspaper (29.10.18) reports that Oya Tuncali, who has been appointed as self-styled ambassador in the breakaway regime’s “representation office” in London, told the paper that her primary target is for the Turkish Cypriot community to succeed in the UK’s politics and obtain “an organized structure”. For this, we will establish close relations with the three major parties and activate our friendship groups”, she said.

Replying to a question, she noted that her priority is to be more influential in the British politics in an organized manner, to establish and actively work with the “Parliamentary Groups of Friends of Northern Cyprus” and to participate in party congresses.

Noting that this is the second time she was appointed in London, Tuncali said that they exert efforts in this direction with the assistance and support of their friends who are members of municipal councils and MPs, and this year they convened, for the first time, the “Friends of Turkish Cypriots Group” in the Labor Party. “In the same manner we have established a Friends of Turkish Cypriots Group in the Conservative Party”, she added. 


6. Tatar and Ozgurgun will compete in the 2nd round for UBP leadership

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.10.18), the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) will be determined in the second round on Saturday, November 3.  The candidates Ersin Tatar and Huseyin Ozgurgun went to the 2nd round at the 21st ordinary congress of the UBP.

In the congress held in the occupied part of Nicosia, 7,002 UBP members from the 11,898 went to the polls and voted. According to the results, Tatar got 37% (2,592 votes), Ozgurgun 28.6% (2,005 votes), Faiz Sucuoglu 19.1% (1,340 votes) and Sunat Atun 14.5% (1,016 votes).


7. “The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry” asked for the opening of the Mia Milia barricade

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (28.10.18) reports that the “Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry” stated that the opening of the Apliki and Deryneia barricades is a very important development and said that the opening of the Mia Milia barricade should be placed on the agenda.

According to the statement  “this will facilitate the transfer of products in the framework of the Green Line Regulation”


8. Data on how many visited the occupied area of Cyprus during the period January-September 2018

Under the title “1.3 million people came in 9 months”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.10.18) reports that the travelers, who have visited the occupied area of Cyprus through airports and ports (sea) during the period January-September 2018, reached 1 million 339 thousand 697 people, an increase of 3.5% compared to 1 million 294 thousand 677 people in the same period of the previous year.

According to data by the “ministry of tourism and environment”, the rate of the Turkish citizens who enter the occupied area of Cyprus from airports and ports (sea) has increased by 5% compared to last year data. Last year within the period of nine months, 987 thousand 269 Turkish citizens visited the occupied area of Cyprus, while in the same period this year this number reached to 1 million 036 thousand 987 people.

Moreover, there was a decrease of 1.5% to those who visited the occupied area of Cyprus within the category “other foreigners” compared to the previous year. The category “other foreigners” includes those who are not Turkish citizens or “TRNC citizens”. The number of the visitors of this category was 307 thousand 408 persons last year and decreased to 302 thousand 710 persons this year.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (27.10.18) reported that due to the depreciation of the TL, the number of the Greek Cypriots who cross to the occupied area of Cyprus has increased considerably. According to “official data”, in the first 9 months of 2018, there have been 3 million 711 thousand 689 times “entries” to the occupied area of Cyprus and 3 million 703 thousand 566 times “exits” from the occupied area of Cyprus to the government controlled area of Cyprus.

According to this data, while there were 317 thousand 988 times of “entry” to the occupied area of Cyprus in January, this figure was increased to 519 thousand 719 last month (September 2018).

During the period January-September 2018, 1 million 116 thousand 491 Greek Cypriots crossed to the occupied area of Cyprus and 1 million 321 thousand 56 Turkish Cypriots crossed to the government controlled area of Cyprus.



9. The number of students in the breakaway regime

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (28.10.18) reports that the number of students studying in elementary, high and lyceum schools in the breakaway regime is 50,813.

In addition the number of foreign students (third countries students) is 2,574 (5%).


B. Turkish Press

1. The British Ambassador to Ankara: “The benefits of the natural resources around Cyprus should be equally shared”

Turkish daily Sabah (28.10.18- reported that the United Kingdom's Ambassador to Ankara, Dominick Chilcott, said that Britain has a deep appreciation of Turkey's strategic importance and stressed that cooperation with Turkey is highly needed in order to address ongoing problems in the region and beyond.

In an interview with Daily Sabah, the British Ambassador evaluated the relations between Turkey and the U.K. stressing that the current state of the ties is "excellent." He also commented over various issues that draw international attention, including the quartet summit on Syria in Istanbul, the Cyprus issue, the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the TF-X Project.

"Turkey exists in a complicated and unstable part of the world. Turkey's stability matters very much to us and to other countries. We need Turkey's cooperation on issues that result from that instability such as management of migration, the threats from organized crime and terrorism," Chilcott said.

He added that "Turkey is a major player in the Middle East. We want to work closely with Turkey on the foreign policy questions about how to meet the challenges of the Middle East. We acknowledge the important role that Turkey has played through the Astana process in Syria for example."

As neighbour to the war-torn country, Turkey has been highly affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria. With an aim of alleviating human suffering, Turkey has welcomed the largest number of refugees. Ankara has also exerted significant efforts to help end the conflict and pave way for a political resolution with initiatives like the Astana process.

In the latest step, Turkey hosted a quartet summit on Syria in Istanbul with the participation of Russian, German and French leaders on Saturday where preserving the territorial integrity of Syria was underlined. Speaking in a press conference after the summit, President Erdogan stated that their aim is to end the bloodshed in Syria.

While two countries from the EU attended the summit, the U.K. was absent. In relation to the issue, the British envoy said, "The UK is not there because the origins of this idea came out of a discussion between - as I understand it - President Erdogan and Chancellor Merkel. The President thought it would be a good idea for the two of them to meet President Putin in particular to talk about Idlib," and added that "Germany and France tend to work together internationally wherever they can. I think the idea was that there were probably enough people, otherwise it might look like a lot of Western countries ganging up against Russia. So, I think we understand why this is a small group of four", the British Ambassador added.

Chilcott underlined that it was also thought that the group could bridge the gap between the Astana process and the so-called "small group" of countries of which the U.K. is a member.

The British Envoy, who visited Turkey in the 1980s, also pointed out that in the last 30 years Turkey has changed and developed significantly. "Having been here in the 1980s and coming back now is one of an admiration," Chilcott said. "I see how much more prosperous Turkey looks; how much more developed the infrastructure is; how much more sophisticated the cities are," the ambassador said stressing the development in the country.

"Turkey is also an emerging market with rising population, high standard of living - which has risen hugely in the last 15 years. It is an important market for British goods, and Britain is an important market for Turkish goods," the Ambassador underscored adding that economic ties with Turkey in the post-Brexit era will become even more important for Britain.

Touching on the July 15 coup attempt orchestrated by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in 2016, the British Envoy stated: "We saw the coup attempt as a major threat to overturn Turkish democracy and we condemned it as such from the outset. As you know Sir Alan Duncan came here three days after the coup as an expression of solidarity."

The Ambassador stated that the U.K. is not in any serious doubt that the coup was carried out by FETÖ and highlighted that the coup was part of a long term plan to infiltrate the state, particularly the judiciary, armed forces and civil service. "This is an organization of ruthlessness that I think many people outside Turkey find it hard to understand because it is so different from their own experiences... But the British government knows it happened and absolutely condemns it," Chilcott said.

In relation to the ongoing extradition case of senior FETÖ fugitive Akın İpek in U.K., the Ambassador said "the seriousness of the coup is not in doubt and the people who did it need to be brought to justice. This is not prejudice whether he [Akın İpek] is innocent or guilty but he is somebody who is clearly quite high up on the list of people the Turkish government wishes to extradite. They have provided a certain amount of evidence to our court on him."

Commenting on the possible outcome of the case, the Ambassador stated that "if the court thinks the evidence is not sufficient to justify extradition, it will be disappointing in the sense that a senior person would have failed to be extradited because of a lack of sufficient evidence in our court."

"The whole thing will be disappointing because it will show how difficult it is to be able to achieve what we want to achieve which is to support the Turkish government's efforts to bring people to justice," he added.


Answering a question about the U.K.'s stance toward another terror group, the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), Chilcott said: "when we had to act against Daesh, I know this is disputed by the Turkish government, our people felt the best prospect of defeating Daesh without putting our own armed forces into Syria was to use local people and what became known as [the] Syrian Democratic Forces, largely YPG forces. They became our main instrument in the fight against Daesh."

The Ambassador added: "We are looking at the future of Syria where no organization in Syria is a threat to its neighbours. There are obviously close links between PKK and YPG, we do not deny these."

He stressed that "the instrumental relation with YPG would continue until the fight against Daesh concludes."


Referring to the Cyprus problem, Chilcott said that as the Cyprus issue remains unsolved and awaits resolution, the "U.K. wants to see a settlement and we think the continuation of the dispute can be a factor in generating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean."

Stressing that a settlement is in everybody's interest, Chilcott said that previously the U.K. worked very hard for the Annan Plan as it was expected that the plan's fair-balanced outcome would have delivered a settlement for the good of both communities in Cyprus.

"So, we were hugely disappointed when the Greek Cypriot side voted against the Annan Plan," Chilcott added.


"As for the exploitation of the hydrocarbons and drilling, our hope is that the natural resources around the island of Cyprus should be used for the benefit of all the peoples on the island, for both communities. We would feel uncomfortable if that was not the case," the British Envoy underscored and added that "We also want this issue to be a catalyst for a settlement."



2. The opening ceremony for the new Istanbul airport to take place today

Turkish daily Yeni Safak (29.10.18- reports that the opening ceremony of the first phase of one of the largest airports in the world will take place today in Turkey, with the attendance of several leaders from around the world.

The ceremony which will be broadcast live, will kick off at 4 p.m. local time (1300GMT) on the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

Over 50 foreign dignitaries from at least 18 countries including the “TRNC”, Macedonia, Moldova, Pakistan, Serbia, Sudan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Slovenia, Georgia, Iran, Moldova's “Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia” and the U.K. will attend the ceremony.

Built by a consortium of five contractors -- Limak, Kolin, Cengiz, Mapa and Kalyon, the project has been carried out through a build-operate-transfer model. It will provide over 26 billion euros ($30.65 billion) of revenue to the government.

Spread over an area of over 76 million square meters (818 square feet), the first phase of the airport will serve 90 million passengers.

Phase one of Istanbul’s new airport with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers is ready for its official opening on Monday. The inauguration ceremony will take place on Republic Day, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and more than 50 foreign leaders, Ministers, and high-level officials.

The €6-billion ($7.2 billion) first stage, which was built in nearly three years through a public-private partnership model, is among a set of mega projects planned as part of a series of objectives for Turkey’s 2023 centennial.

On Monday, two runways -- 3,750 and 4,100 meters long -- will go into service as a part of the first phase, including three separate airstrips.

According to the IGA consortium, the contractor and operator of the project, over the next 10 years the new airport will reach an annual capacity of 200 million passengers with the completion of all four phases with six runways.

Turkish airports welcomed nearly 164 million people between January and September this year, while over 31 percent of air passengers used Turkey’s busiest airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

Following the country’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines’ shift to the new airport by the end of this year, the Ataturk Airport campus will transition to other uses, such as training activities, aviation fairs, and civil use. At full capacity, Istanbul’s new airport is set to become a global aviation hub by hosting more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world.

With the remaining phases to be completed by 2023, the airport is to sport six separate runways with a capacity of 500 aircraft, an annual 200 million passengers and open and closed carparks for 70,000 cars.

It will be home to the world’s largest duty-free shopping complex. The 53,000 square meter shopping complex will consist of six sections, including luxury stores and bazaar concepts.

The airport’s maiden voyage will be to Turkey’s capital Ankara on Oct. 31, with the first international flight to the “TRNC” the following day. The first flight to Azerbaijan's capital Baku will be on Nov.8.

There will be also flights to the southern city of Antalya as of Nov. 1 and western city of Izmir as of Nov. 2.

It is expected that daily 2,000 planes will go through the airport by the end of the year to over 350 destinations by over 250 carriers.


3. Turkish army hits east of Euphrates in Syria

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (28.10.18- reported that the Turkish Armed Forces on Oct. 28 hit YPG targets on the Turkish-Syrian border, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Oct. 28.

“Turkish howitzers hit YPG targets in Zor Magar region on the east of the Euphrates River of Syria, the agency reported. The region is in the west of the city of Kobane. The artillery shootings targeted the YPG positions in the region”, according to the agency.

The attack comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent warnings that Turkey would take necessary measures against the YPG in the east of the Euphrates as well.

Speaking after a four-way summit with the leaders of France, Germany and Russia on Oct. 2, Erdogan said that Turkey would continue to eliminate the threats “at its sources in the east of Euphrates as it does in its west”.

The east of the Euphrates would be “cleared of terrorists,” he said, referring to the YPG, which Ankara sees as the Syrian branch of the illegal PKK”.


4. A four-partite summit on Syria was held in Istanbul

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (28.10.18- reported that the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany  and France on Oct.27 expressed their determination to end bloodshed in war-torn Syria at the earliest.

Following a Syria summit in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a joint news conference calling on the international community to work hand in hand for a sustainable solution in Syria.

"We have discussed a political solution in line with Syrian people's legitimate demands which moves to reach stability in the country," Erdogan told reporters.

"Our aim is to reach a complete cease-fire to halt bloodshed," he said, adding that the four nations agreed to increase cooperation among themselves and at the international level on the issue.

The leaders also called for the completion of the constitution committee's process for establishing a Syrian constitution by the end of this year that would pave the way for an inclusive and fair election in the country which has borne the brunt of a devastating civil war since 2011.

On the future of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Erdogan reiterated Ankara's stance underlining that his fate should be decided by Syrian people rather than some "individuals". 

Stating that the summit was "productive" and "sincere", Erdogan said they had agreed that humanitarian aid should continue in order to alleviate suffering of the Syrian people. 

“Syrian civilians and neighbouring countries -- particularly Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan -- had to shoulder the burden of distress arising from crisis in Syria for a long time”, according to Erdogan.

Turkey is the top refugee host in the world welcoming around 3.5 million Syrians since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Erdogan said that the main reason why the Syrian conflict became a global menace is "because the international community did not respond adequately".

However, he said that many countries realized severity of the situation when the crises affected them, referring to the massive refugee influx to European states.

He also urged the international community to "end indifference" regarding the conflict, calling for international support to increase efforts to find political solution as well as to improve situation on ground in Syria.

Referring to the Astana peace process -- brokered by Turkey Russia and Iran -- which ensures cease-fire and a de-escalation zone in Idlib, Erdogan added that participation of France and Germany in the Astana process would develop the synergy for Syria solution.

He said that Iran, as one of the guarantor countries of the Astana process, would be briefed over the decisions taken in the Istanbul summit.   "Astana peace process for Syrian conflict sets an example to international community," he added.

Ankara is determined to continue efforts to find solution to Syrian issue on Astana platform as well as some other wider platforms in the international arena "like today's summit in Istanbul," he went on to assert.  "We agreed to increase cooperation among the four countries and at the international level" regarding the Syria peace negotiation, Erdogan noted.

On Turkey’s effort to eliminate terrorists along its borders in northern Syria, Erdogan repeated Ankara’s determination for a possible counter-terror operation in east of the Euphrates River.

“We will continue to eliminate threats to national security in the east of Euphrates as well as in its west in Syria,” he said, referring to Turkey's cross-border operations in Syria since 2016 -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch -- meant to rid border areas of terrorist groups such as the PKK/PYD/YPG and Daesh.

On the sideline of the Syria summit, Erdogan also held bilateral meetings with his three counterparts where he discussed the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi along with other issues.

He provided “necessary information” to Putin, Macron and Merkel regarding the investigation of the murder of Washington Post columnist who went missing on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

(…)Erdogan said that Turkey was carrying out investigations urging Saudi Arabia to reveal the perpetrators of the attack.

The German chancellor vowed to take "necessary measures" regarding the case, while France's Macron called for sanctions as a reaction.


5. Ukrainian leader to hold talks in Ankara

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (28.10.18- reported that the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is to pay an official visit to Turkey on Nov. 3, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

Poroshenko is to attend the seventh meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council in the capital Ankara, together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Topics such as political, economic, and defense industry cooperation, free trade agreements, security, and the fight against terrorism are expected to top the agenda during Poroshenko’s meetings, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The current situation of Crimea’s Tatars is also expected to be discussed at the meetings, with representatives of the Tatars also in attendance.

The last meeting between Erdoğan and Poroshenko was held in New York last month during the U.N. General Assembly.

In 2011, ties between the two countries gained the status of strategic partnership with the establishment of a High-Level Strategic Council, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Talks between the two countries have continued in particular over the defence industry, software transfers, armoured car projects, space, and aircraft design.

To strengthen economic and humanitarian ties, a visa-free regime between Turkey and Ukraine entered into force in 2012.

Travel using national ID cards instead of passports also facilitates bilateral tourism.

Last year the visa-free regime enabled over 1.2 million tourists from Ukraine to visit Turkey.