No. 224/18 21.11.18
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (21.11.18) reports that the leader of the Iyi (Good) Party in Turkey, Meral Aksener, speaking yesterday to the parliamentary group of her party, referred, inter alia, to the natural gas issue in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming that the “imperialist powers and those who cooperate with them are preparing new colludes over the natural gas in Cyprus”.
Aksener further said: “I am calling out those imperialist powers and those who are cooperating with them, aiming to create new conspiracies in Cyprus over the issue of the natural resources and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean. If it is necessary, Ayse will go on holidays again. Cyprus is Turkish and will remain Turkish”, Aksener alleged.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (21.11.18) reports that the “speaker” of the so-called assembly, Teberukken Ulucay, delivered yesterday a speech at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA), which he was attending upon an invitation by the Speaker of the Turkish Assembly Binali Yildirim.
In his speech, Ulucay stated, inter alia, that the two “peoples” in Cyprus should cooperate and act jointly in all fields, including the issue of the natural gas, realizing at the same time their common fate.
Accusing the Greek Cypriot side of not showing the necessary sincerity so that the half- a- century ongoing negotiation talks would yield a positive outcome, Ulucay alleged that the Greek Cypriot side lacks of political will. He further claimed that the international community is responsible to explain to the Greek Cypriot side that the comfort they feel with the current status quo is not viable and also to explain to them that the continuation of their intransigent attitude includes risks not only for the island but also for the whole region.
“The Cyprus Problem cannot be solved through open-ended negotiations which will drag on endlessly, but through a result oriented, time-tabled, short and intensified negotiations process. This could be possible as long as a positive response is given to the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey’s reconciliatory policy and as long as the Greek Cypriot side gives up its intransigent policies,” Ulucay further claimed, adding further the following:
“All technical and legal negotiations needed for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution which will be based on the political equality of the two sides have been conducted. What are missing are the political will, leadership and courage. We, as the Turkish Cypriot side are ready and will continue to show the necessary courage and leadership” Ulucay alleged.
Referring to the issue of hydrocarbons during his speech, he argued that all resources on the island belong to the “two peoples”, and supported that “all initiatives taken without the consent of the Turkish Cypriot side are unlawful.
“Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriot side continues to undertake unilateral steps towards this issue. This approach included new risks. The licenses provided by the Greek Cypriot sector to international companies in the Exclusive Economic Zone declared unilaterally by the Greek Cypriot side and all its activities held there are unlawful, void and do not serve peace. The consent of the Turkish Cypriot people who are a primary component and equal partners on the island, was not given when these actions were taken. The Turkish Cypriots will not refrain from protecting the lawful rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people or from developing a policy and taking the necessary steps”, Ulucay further alleged.
“My hope, expectation and wish is that common sense will prevail and that the two sides will act with a consciousness of a common fate and cooperation on the hydrocarbon issue and in other fields” Ulucay added.
Pointing out that recently President Nicos Anastasiades attempted to question the “Turkish Cypriot people’s political equality and active participation in decision making mechanisms”, he claimed that such attempts hidden under the excuse of functionality, would not yield an outcome.
Also, referring to the so-called unjust embargoes “imposed” on the Turkish Cypriot “people”, Uluçay called on the participant countries to help for the lifting of these “unjust embargoes”.
On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (21.11.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ulucay-speaks-at-turkpa-meeting) broadcast that on the sidelines of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkish Speaking Countries, Ulucay held a 45 minute meeting with the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Binali Yıldırm.
Once the meeting was completed, Ulucay and Yildirim announced that they had agreed to establish working groups between the “parliaments of the two countries”.
Illegal Bayrak (21.11.18 http://www.brtk.net/disisleri-bakanligi-rum-tarafini-gerginlik-yaratmamaya-cagirdi/) broadcast the “foreign ministry” issued a statement warning the “Greek Cypriot administration” as it called the Republic of Cyprus to stop using the villagers of occupied Denia and Filia villages as a propaganda tool.
In the statement of the “ministry” it was claimed the that Greek Cypriot side continues to create tension in the Denia and Filia area with planned provocations.
According to the statement of the “foreign ministry” which obtained information by Turkish Cypriot farmers and the occupation army, yesterday morning, 11 Greek Cypriots entered the buffer zone with 6 civilian vehicles and having with them members of the Greek Cypriot press went up to the “TRNC borders” violating” the buffer zone.
The Greek Cypriot group was removed with difficulty from the region by a UN police patrol after the “security forces” (the occupation army) informed the UN officials about the situation.
Claiming that the Greek Cypriot side was trying to create an artificial crisis in the region, the “foreign ministry” stated”: “We follow the developments with a sense of serenity and we call on the officials of the Greek Cypriot side to refrain from using the villagers as a propaganda tool”, the statement said.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (21.11.18) reports that Riza Turmen, Turkish former judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), commented yesterday on the statement made by Turkish President Erdogan regarding the decision of the ECHR, which had ruled that Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned former co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), should be set free.
Referring to Erdogan’s statement that EHRC’s decision was not binding for Turkey, Turmen recalled Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution and noted: “It is binding. Turkey has signed the Convention. It has accepted that the decisions taken according to the European Convention on Human Rights are binding. Not respecting the decision will have legal and political consequences”.
Turmen noted that it was the first time that Turkey was convicted under Article 18 of the Convention. He added:
“This is very important. The Court has decided that the continuation of Demirtas’ detention derives from political reasons. This is important not only for Demirtas, but also for the court and Turkey as well. Because in the decision, it is stressed that this constitutes a threat for Turkish democracy. It is stressed that this is a behavior contrary to the principle of pluralism and, by indirectly referring to the independence of jurisdiction, it is stressed that the decision was taken due to political pressure. […]”
Noting that the ECHR referred to democracy in Turkey, Turmen said that another important aspect of the decision was that it found that Demirtas’ detention had limited his right to be elected and the citizens’ right to vote.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (21.11.18) reports that “prime minister” Erhurman stated that the participation in the labor market in the breakaway regime was 51% and added that only 41% of the workers in the private sector were “TRNC citizens”. Erhurman further stated that unemployment in young people rose to 18,7% .
He made these statements speaking yesterday at a joint press conference with the “Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry”, which had launched a discount campaign in a bid to ease the impact of the current economic crisis in the breakaway regime.
He also said that imports of the breakaway regime stood to 1,8 billion dollars in 2017 and exports to around 106 million dollars. He also said that most of the goods imported to the breakaway regime were from Turkey, and added that the only way to reduce the foreign trade deficit was to produce more and higher quality goods.
He also said that imports from Turkey were up to 1 billion dollars but exports to Turkey were 64 millions dollars, adding that exports to Turkey covered 64% of the “TRNC exports”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (21.11.18) reports that a visit to Hala Sultan Mosque was organized by the “Department of Religious Affairs” and thousands of Turkish Cypriots visited the lodge to mark Mawlid al-Nabawi, the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
Speaking during the visit, Talip Atalay, the head of “Department of Religious Affairs”, called on Muslims to unite in good deeds.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (21.11.18) reports that the leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit, would be the only candidate to run for the party’s leadership at the 6th general congress of the party, to be held on November 25.
According to the paper, after the general congress of the party, the party’s central committee and the members of the disciplinary council of the party would be further determined.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (21.11.18) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rejected a decision by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights calling for the release of Selahattin Demirtaş.
"The decisions delivered by the ECHR do not bind us," Erdoğan was quoted on Nov. 20 as saying by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
The court called on Turkey to release Demirtaş, saying his detention since 2016 on terror charges was aimed at "stifling pluralism".
Demirtaş, one of two former co-leaders of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was arrested in November 2016 over his alleged links to the illegal PKK. At the time of his arrest he was a member of the Turkish Parliament.
The court in the French city of Strasbourg said it accepted that Demirtaş had been arrested on "reasonable suspicion" of committing a crime, but said the reasons given for keeping him behind bars were not "sufficient" and constituted "an unjustified interference with the free expression of the opinion of the people".
It found that the extension of his detention, particularly during a referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers and later a presidential election, were aimed at "stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society".
"The court therefore held, unanimously, that the respondent state was to take all necessary measures to put an end to the applicant’s pre-trial detention," it added.
Demirtaş, 45, is charged with a string of offences, including terrorist propaganda, for which he faces up to 142 years’ imprisonment if convicted. Demirtaş denies all the charges and claims the case against him is politically motivated.
"Let's see the ruling first. The judicial authority that held [Demirtaş's] trial will respond with a new ruling," Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on Nov. 20.
Turkish newspaper Sözcü (21.11.18, https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2018/gundem/erdogan-aihme-3-defa-basvurmus-2749831/?fbclid=IwAR3QqqgHRa6reuYtVtslyst_G5WD2j5y0GYZdtmk0u18fjLYgdrKAb5UiGE) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had commented on European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision calling on Turkey to release imprisoned Selahattin Demirtas, former co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), and said that ECHR’s decisions were not binding for Turkey. Journalist Ismail Sahin recalls that Erdogan himself had applied three times to the ECHR.
Erdogan applied to the ECHR for the first time regarding his imprisonment for 10 months and his pecuniary punishment of 177 million Turkish lira by Diyarbakir State Security Court (DGM), because of a poem he had recited on 12 December 1997. On 21 April 1998, DGM decided that Erdogan had committed the crime of “inciting people to enmity and hostility over religious and racial difference”. Erdogan’s punishment was approved on 24 September 1998 and after that he applied to the ECHR in 1999 demanding a “fair trial”.
Erdogan applied to the ECHR for the second time in 2002, after Diyarbakir’s 3rd DGM declined the request he had submitted in 2001 asking for his criminal record to be expunged in order to be able to run as candidate in the parliamentary elections. Erdogan had based his application on the position that the crime for which he was sentenced had been abolished within the framework of the EU Adjustment Laws. Erdogan’s lawyers had argued in their application that the Turkish Court’s decision was a political one, claiming that it was limiting his individual freedoms and that it was preventing people’s will by illegal means.
Erdogan applied to the ECHR for the third time in September 2002 regarding the decision of the Turkish Supreme Election Council saying that he could not become a Member of the Parliament.
After becoming prime minister in 2003, Erdogan withdrew all applications he had made to the ECHR.
The journalist reports that on 13 March 2017 Erdogan had brought on to the agenda the issue of applying to the ECHR for the last time. Referring to the behavior of the Netherlands towards Turkish Ministers and mainly the Family Affairs Minister, Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Erdogan had alleged that the behavior was not in harmony with the EU acquis and the Declaration of Human Rights and said that Turkey would apply to the ECHR.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.18) reports that Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim speaking during "TURKPA in the First Ten Years and the Future of Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation: New Approaches to Cooperation" conference within the 8th Plenary Session of Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TURKPA) on November 20, 2018 in Izmir, Turkey, stated that Turkey seeks a joint solution on the Cyprus problem based on UN decisions.
"We expect a joint solution between the island's Turkish and Greek Cypriots based on UN decisions”, he stated.
Yildirim added that Turkey had contributed to the UN and EU efforts on the Cyprus problem positively and would continue doing so in the future.
He said the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” has been fighting for its people's welfare and happiness for 35 years, since it declared independence.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (21.11.18 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-says-will-seek-un-inquiry-if-impasse-in-cooperation-with-saudis-3466945) reports Turkey is not entirely satisfied with the level of cooperation it is receiving from Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and may seek a formal United Nations inquiry over the issue if its liaising with Riyadh comes to an impasse, Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Washington following meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has shared the latest information on the Khashoggi killing with the United States and repeated Ankara's stance that the truth had to come out on who gave the orders to kill the journalist. Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post columnist who was a critic of the Saudi government run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
In addition, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (21.11.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-fm-un-must-unite-to-tackle-polarization-139009) reports that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged the UN on Nov. 19 to unite to counter hatred and polarization around the world.
Çavuşoğlu spoke at the opening of the 8th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), an initiative created in 2005 by the late former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain.
“Lets unite on the need and dedication to tackle extremism and polarization,” Çavuşoğlu said, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
"We should demonstrate continued resolve and political will to counter the prejudice, exclusion, polarization and hatred around the world," he added.
The UNAOC works to explore the roots of polarization by addressing priority areas of education, youth, migration and media.
Çavuşoğlu emphasized that when it comes to migration, “xenophobia, racism, discrimination, anti-Islam sentiments and hatred against Muslims” are on the rise with increased migrants flowing into Europe.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (21.11.18 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/eu-turkey-to-discuss-ankaras-reform-efforts-3466963) reports that the EU and Turkish officials are set to discuss a range of issues, including an update on Turkish efforts on domestic reforms in the areas of judiciary and fundamental rights, an EU official said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, the official said: "We'll be asking for an update on the reform [from Turkey]. You'll remember that the Reform Action Group gathered in August and said they would like to carry reform on the basis of EU and Council of Europe standards and norms. The next meeting of the action group is already in mid-December. We would like to get an update [to see where Turkey is]."
The official held a meeting with journalists to discuss an upcoming visit to Ankara by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Neighborhood Policy Minister Johannes Hahn.
He said the EU cautiously welcomed the reform action group outcome in August seeking to overhaul the judiciary and forming a new human rights action plan.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.18 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-chp-dismisses-lawmaker-over-remarks-on-adhan/1316679) reports that Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) dismissed Ozturk Yilmaz, a lawmaker from eastern Ardahan province.
Yilmaz was dismissed on Tuesday for violating the party bylaw by appearing on television without permission. His case had been referred to the party's disciplinary committee.
In a recent appearance, Yilmaz suggested that the Muslim call to prayer, or adhan, should be changed from Arabic to Turkish. His remarks were slammed by the party administration as well as CHP lawmakers.
Following the party decision, Yilmaz held a press conference in the parliament describing the move "as a betrayal". "I see it [the decision] as an injustice by a party which is in search of justice and law," he said. He added that the Turkish nation would judge the party decision.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.18 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkeys-local-elections-set-to-be-held-march-31/1315264) reports that local elections are set to be held across Turkey on March 31, 2019 in order to designate the local authorities.
The election calendar being prepared by the Supreme Election Council will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. According to the calendar which is expected to be announced shortly, the council will firstly disclose the political parties that may enter the elections.
Pre-election restrictions are projected to start 10 days ahead of the elections, on March 21.
A week before the elections, the distribution of voter notification cards will be completed.
Election campaigning will end on the evening of March 30, a day before the election.
Last elections in Turkey were presidential and parliamentary elections which were held on June 24 this year.
In addition, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (21.11.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-signals-alliance-with-mhp-for-local-elections-139040) reports that the grassroots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will likely desire the benefits of an alliance of the two political parties in the upcoming local elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Nov. 20.
“There is no problem with the People’s Alliance [between the AKP and the MHP] as you can hear from the statements of the two sides. We will have a chance to discuss the election alliance too,” he told reporters.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION