No. 226/18 23.11.18
Α. Turkish Cypriot Press
Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Detay (23.11.18) reports that Meltem Onurkan Samani, Turkish Cypriot leader’s advisor on political affairs and history and general coordinator for the technical committees”, said yesterday that the main lines of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution model, based on political equality had come up during the past 40 years and alleged that the fact that Akinci sincerely pushed for a solution had raised a question as to whether the Greek Cypriots really wanted a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on political equality.
In statements to Genc TV, Samani claimed that the Greek Cypriots should put forward the kind of solution they want. She noted that the negotiations process between Akinci and President Anastasiades had not ended and added that UNSG had appointed Jane Holl Lute in order to find out whether the process had ended. She argued:
“From my point of view, during the Akinci-Anastasiades process, we can say that the main lines of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution model based on political equality, which is negotiated for 40 years for the solution of the Cyprus problem, have come up. Actually all parameters have come up. We can say that a formula, which could be accepted by all sides and mainly the two equal peoples of Cyprus, has come up until its details. […]”
Samani claimed that only the last step was left and therefore the sides should be sincere, accept and “digest” the solution. She alleged that while in Crans Montana all sides seemed willing to take this last step, the Greek Cypriot side did not seem ready and willing and therefore no solution was achieved.
Referring to the idea of a decentralized federation put forward by President Anastasiades, she said: “If he sincerely says that the parameters in the federal administration would remain unchanged, but the powers would be reduced further, we thought that this would be a positive step and an agreement could immediately be reached on this issue. However, the feeling that this would not be the case predominated in us. Because in the same sentences the reduction of the powers, which would be jointly decided upon in the federal administration, meant also doing away with the Turkish Cypriots’ effective participation in the decisions. Therefore, if the aim is to abolish the effective participation of the Turkish Cypriots in all decisions, this, of course, would have a very negative meaning”.
Referring to the issue of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, Samani said that from the very first day of his election, Akinci had put forward the necessity of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem in order for all sides to benefit from the natural gas and oil, noting that otherwise the situation could turn into a conflict.
Under the title “Watch your steps”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Vatan (23.11.18) reports that “a very harsh warning” came from Turkey on the issue of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean. Addressing yesterday a ceremony at “9 September University” (DEU) in Turkey, Binali Yildirim, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), alleged:
“Turkey will instantly respond, do whatever is necessary for any kind of fait accompli against the interests of the TRNC in the Eastern Mediterranean and the interests of our country. Everybody should know that we will not step back even a millimeter from our rights and interests. The big oil companies, which will carry out explorations on this issue, are obliged to watch their steps. […]
For the past few years, a serious crisis is underway as a result of having discovered the hydrocarbons, which are around the island of Cyprus. The seas are a joint property of humanity. Therefore, their unilateral appropriation, the obtaining of benefits by one country, one community is in accordance neither with the national nor the international law. The TRNC and south Cyprus must definitely agree on the discovery of any kind of undersea resources in the exclusive economic zone around the island of Cyprus, including in the international waters. […]”
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Diyalog (23.11.18) reports that four former self-styled foreign ministers of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus commented on the idea of NATO guarantying a possible solution to be reached in Cyprus and argued that the Turkish Cypriots would oppose such a change.
In statements to the paper, the four former “ministers” described Turkey’s effective and active guarantees as a “sine qua non”. Tahsin Ertugruloglu argued that no other country except Turkey would send its troops to die in order to protect the Turkish Cypriots. Turgay Avci said that they did not trust NATO, while Vedat Celik noted that they could not forget that foreign guarantors were not able to stop the Greek Cypriots many years ago. Taner Etkin also argued that no one could substitute Turkey.
Under the title “Decree confusion”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (23.11.18) reports that self-styled interior ministry’s “draft-decree” for the development of the occupied areas of Famagusta, Trikomo and Agios Sergios continued to cause debates.
Self-styled interior minister Aysegul Baybars stated that she had met with the “mayors” of the above-mentioned areas, who raised no objections to the “decree”. Commenting on statements made recently by the three “mayors”, she reacted by saying that “they deny things which they had said”.
Moreover, the Turkish Cypriot “chamber of industry” stated that the “decree” could not meet the needs of the “country” and added that “we cannot accept the ‘even the worst plan is better than the lack of plan’ mentality”.
Furthermore, the young businessmen’s association argued that the aim of the meeting held recently in occupied Famagusta on the “draft-decree” was to impose it and not to discuss it. Using the examples of Limassol and Agia Napa areas, the association expressed the view that the island should develop vertically and not horizontally.
Under the title “Are foreigners being prevented from coming to Trikomo?” Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs (23.11.18) reports that the “city planners’ chamber” defended the “draft-decree” and stated that demographic structure in Trikomo would be spoiled and confusion would be created. Merter Refikoglu, chairman of the “chamber”, noted that while the population of Trikomo was 8,000, it would increase fourply through the construction of more buildings for the foreign population. He argued that social confusion would occur by spoiling the demographic structure.
Cafer Gurcafer, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot building contractors’ union, claimed that if the intention was to exhibit “enmity to foreigners”, then “we have no EU vision”. He argued that it would not be wise to oppose the purchase of property by foreigners and totally prevent them from living in the occupied area of Cyprus. He argued that first they should discuss what they wanted and what they opposed to and reach the “correct model”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (23.11.18) reports that the “finance, economy, budget and planning committee” of the so-called assembly approved yesterday the "budget" of the so-called Turkish Cypriot Security Forces command ("GKK") which is 423 million TL.
According to the paper, so-called deputies who attended the “committee meeting” made statements after the “approval” of the “GKK’s budget”.
In a short statement, Hasan Tacoy, “deputy” with the National Unity Party (UBP) pointed out the “importance of the existence of the GKK in the TRNC”. He further alleged that as strong as the “defence strength” of “north Cyprus” is, the “TRNC’s defence strength” should be equal.
Also speaking, Asim Akansoy, “deputy” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) stressed further the importance of the “Turkish Cypriot security forces command” claiming that it is very important since it provides self-defence to the Turkish Cypriot “people”.
Akansoy added that they had worked and cooperated in a positive way with the “GKK’s officials” for the opening of Deryneia and Apliki crossing points.
Referring to the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean over the hydrocarbon issue, Erhurman reiterated that the Turkish Cypriots have also rights on the natural resources in the island.
Erhurman further said that as long as the Greek Cypriot side continue its “armament attempts” the “TRNC” will also continue protecting its “state”.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.11.18) reports that the “finance, economy, budget and planning committee” of the so-called assembly approved yesterday the "budget" of the so-called “police general directorship” and of the so-called fire department, which is 395 million 813 thousand 300 TL.
In statements to the press, the “police general director”, Suleyman Manavoglu stated, inter alia, that the personnel in the “police” at the moment is 2, 047 “police officers” while in the fire department, there are 199 fire-fighters.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.11.18) under the front page title: “21,252 crossing in ten days”, reports that mobility has been experienced at the Deryneia and Apliki crossing points after their long- awaited simultaneous opening.
According to the paper, after the opening of the new crossing points, both “tradesmen” and “representatives of the tourism sector” in the occupied area of Cyprus expressed their happiness for this development, expressing also hopes that this step will accelerate efforts for peace on the island.
According to figures provided by the paper, during the first ten days of the opening of the Deryneia and Apliki crossing points, the total crossings from and to the two crossing points had reached 21, 252. As the paper points out, there was a total of 18,412 crossings from the Deryneia crossing point while from the Apliki crossing points there were 2, 840 crossings.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.11.18) reports that the “Cyprus science university” (“KIU”) signed a “cooperation protocol” with the Nekan Group of Companies, the only educational organization in Afghanistan which is accredited to Afghanistan’s Higher Education Ministry.
According to the paper, “the cooperation protocol” envisages “cooperation” between the two “organizations” for the organization of symposiums, joint conferences, the development of joint projects, especially on “tourism” and at the same time “it provides assurance to international students”. The “cooperation agreement” was signed by the CEO of Nekan Group of Companies, Dr. Ab Karim Sadegi who has “visited” the occupation regime.
In a short statement, Sadegi expressed satisfaction with the “agreement” signed with illegal KIU and alleged that their aim is to contribute to the “vision of the TRNC to become an island of education”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (23.11.18) reports that 5 suspects over alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) were arrested in simultaneous operations launched in Turkey’s Cankiri region and extended to eight province in Turkey and in the occupied area of Cyprus.
According to the paper, Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Cankiri issued arrest warrants for 9 suspects after it was found out that the suspects were using pay telephones to get in touch with persons linked to FETO organization. Five out of them were arrested while for the others the investigations continue.
Turkey’s MFA (http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkiye-ab-yuksek-duzeyli-siyasi-diyalog-toplantisi_en.en.mfa) publishes on its official website the joint statement following the High Level Political Dialogue between Turkey and the EU, held in Ankara on 22 November 2018, between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Neighbourhood Policy Minister Johannes Hahn.
In the joint statement, it was stressed that Turkey's accession process could provide an important framework for fully realising the potential of Turkey-EU relations as well as for the economic, social and political reforms in Turkey. It also noted that the Turkish side reiterated its commitment to accession to the EU and its determination to rapidly undertake reforms in the area of the rule of law and fundamental rights as detailed in the press statement following the RAG meeting of 29 August 2018.
The joint statement also read: “The two sides reconfirmed their intention to continue the visa liberalization dialogue to implement all pending benchmarks.”
Referring to the Cyprus problem, the joint statement noted: “We will continue to give full and resolute support to the efforts of the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and the UN Secretary General towards achieving a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.”
Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.11.18 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-could-buy-us-made-defense-systems-as-well-aide/1318820) reports that in addition to the Russian S-400 system it has committed to buy, Turkey could also buy U.S. Patriot missiles if it got a good offer, Turkey’s presidential spokesman said Thursday.
"Turkey could buy Patriot missiles. Turkey doesn't have to fulfill its needs from a single source, as Turkey is a big country," Ibrahim Kalin said at a forum on Turkish-Russian relations in the Turkish capital Ankara.
"If there was a good offer, Turkey would seriously evaluate buying [Patriots] as well as a possible joint production and technology transfer," he added.
Earlier this month Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey would benefit from Russian-made S-400 air defense systems set to be delivered next year.
On the S-400 purchase, Akar previously said the system was bought “to meet our urgent air defense system needs as soon as possible."
Kalin stated that Turkey’s EU accession negotiations and being a strategic partner of the U.S. did not mean it could not also have good relations with Russia.
He said that Turkey has long been talking with the U.S. about buying Patriot missiles.
"A bid was held for defense missile systems and Russia made the best offer, so an agreement was reached on the S-400s," Kalin said, adding that the first delivery was expected in October or November 2019. "In the second phase, Turkey and Russia will start joint production of the S-400 systems," he said.
Kalin also said the Russians were closely cooperating with Turkey on the S-400 systems but that the U.S. hadnot offered this for the Patriots.
In addition Turkish Daily Sabah (23.11.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/11/23/political-economic-cooperation-between-turkey-russia-continue-to-deepen) reports that speaking at the event Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Erkhov said bilateral ties had reached a top level, citing the six meetings between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin so far this year.
He added that the two countries' trade volume had increased nearly 40 percent every year and that the number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey was expected to hit 5.5 million that year.
Stressing that the two countries had strategic projects such as the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, Erkhov said interaction between Turkey and Russia on Syria was an indication of the serious progress in bilateral ties.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (23.11.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/pace-president-calls-on-turkey-to-release-former-hdp-co-chair-demirtas-139101) reports that Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Liliane Maury Pasquier on Nov. 22 called on Turkey to release Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Pasquier’s statement came after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Nov. 20 urged Turkey to swiftly process Demirtaş’s legal case, saying his pre-trial detention had gone on longer than could be justified. The ECHR also criticized Turkey for keeping Demirtaş detained during this year’s presidential elections.
Recalling the ECHR’s findings that the extensions of Demirtaş’s detention “had pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate,” Pasquier said she hoped for the speedy implementation of the judgment and the release of Demirtaş.
“This is crucial for the functioning of Turkey’s democratic institutions and for reaffirming the high degree of protection that has to be granted to parliamentarians and politicians in a democratic society,” the PACE president said.
“I cannot emphasize enough, the importance that members of parliament, elected by the people in free and fair democratic elections, be allowed to perform their parliamentary activities without fear of harassment, undue charges from the executive, the courts or political opponents, or unjustified and otherwise politically motivated legal proceedings, including detention,” she added.
Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (23.11.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/barcin-yinanc/two-turkeys-facing-the-european-union-139073) publishes the following article by Barcin Yinanc:
“When it comes to relations with the European Union there are two Turkeys: The political rulers of Turkey and the remnants in the civil bureaucracy of a small group who still believe in the benefit of keeping the “institutional dialogue within the framework of the accession process.”
Dialogue with the EU and “institutional dialogue between the EU and a candidate” are two separate things. There is already dialogue with the EU; both within the framework of bilateral dialogue with each European capital but also within the framework of talks with the EU representative.
In fact, that is why EU foreign and security policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn will be coming to Ankara today, Nov. 22. They will meet Turkey’s foreign minister for the Turkey-EU High Level Political Dialogue Meeting.
This will be a meeting that will consolidate the new “normal” in Turkish-EU relations. The new normal is an “a la carte” type of dialogue where you talk on issues of high interest to both sides, while sidelining issues of high interest for a successful accession process.
This is actually defined as a transactional relationship, which enables keeping dialogue and cooperation going on issues of strategic importance to both. In other words, the refugee deal, developments in Syria and Iraq and Iran sanctions are part of the main menu, while Ankara’s reaction to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on Selahattin Demirtaş, the long detention of Osman Kavala, the latest detention waves against prominent academics like Professor Betül Tanbay are but side dishes.
By now, the representatives of the EU are aware that their real interlocutor on these issues is not the foreign minister and that they do not have any leverage over the “real interlocutor.”
What they also know is that local elections are approaching and with the deteriorating economic situation, the ruling party needs scapegoats to divert attention, fuel fears to avoid losing votes and to further polarize the society in order to consolidate its own ranks. So why bother with issues where there will not be serious progress?
Tell the foreign minister behind closed doors you are concerned about democratic standards in Turkey, listen to him patiently talking about Turkey’s need to fight with “terrorists” and that there is an independent judiciary. Come out from the meeting and tell the media you have conveyed your messages of concern on democratic standards. Listen patiently to the foreign minister’s harsh reaction to these statements in front of the press (which is actually an address to his constituency in Antalya) and go back to Brussels with a dossier that gives you crucial figures: The number of refugees that were stopped crossing the borders from Turkey to Europe, the number of European origin jihadists detected by Turkey and so on.
We have the “real interlocutor” part in Turkey, who is not interested in the accession process. Where is the other Turkey you were talking to in the beginning, you might ask?
As I have said, there are a handful of officials who believe there is still room, even if very small, to register some improvement, especially in legal and judiciary matters through the “institutional accession dialogue” with the EU. Even changing one little sentence in a draft law can at least limit the damage on rights violations and even that is an important improvement in the current suffocating circumstances, they probably think.
How else can we explain the news that “Turkey wants to get out of the monitoring mechanism of the Council of Europe?” That cannot be a priority of key decision makers but rather that of a smaller group that believes setting such a target could perhaps move a few stones in Ankara.
Unfortunately, they probably have not foreseen that the highest official response to the ECHR’s latest decision on Turkey would be a complete rebuff of the ruling. There goes the hope of registering some improvement in legal issues by using the “carrot” to get out of the monitoring mechanism.
After all, it would be rather naïve to expect European Parliamentarians to even consider the issue when Turkey’s top representative has been highly critical of one of the most important bodies of the Council of Europe.”
According to Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (23.11.18, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/son-dakika-bakan-albayrak-tan-ekonomi-2782463/), Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, at a presentation yesterday in Parliament's budget commission, referred also to the financial aid sent to the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus. He said that a total of 2,16 billion TL was transferred to the “TRNC” during the period 2016-2018 within the framework of the “Financial Cooperation agreement 2016-2018” signed in 2016 for supporting the “sustainable economy transition program” and the “regulation of economic and financial relations between TRNC and Turkey”.
According to news portal Turkish Minute (23.11.18, https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/11/23/743-children-jailed-with-their-mothers-in-turkey-rights-group-reveals/), there are a total of 743 children who are jailed along with their mothers in Turkey’s prisons as of Nov.16, according to a report released by the Human Rights Association (İHD), the AKTIF haber news portal reported on Thursday.
Lawyer Ercan Yılmaz, an official from the Diyarbakır branch of the İHD, said the children who are jailed with their mothers due to a crime they have not committed, are subjected to a big number of rights violations in prisons.
Mothers of most of the children in Turkish jails have been arrested as part of a government crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, and most of them are in pre-trial detention and not yet convicted of a crime.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup, which claimed the lives of 249 people, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.
Yılmaz said most of the children in jails are aged between 0 and 6 and they get complaints from prisons saying that an insufficient amount and low-quality food is given to these children. He said the children in jails are not even given basic foods required by children such as milk and they are forced to eat the same meals with the adults.
“If there are 25 adults and three children in a prison cell, food is given to the 25 adults without taking the three children in consideration. So, a mother has to share her food with her child,” said Yılmaz.
Around 10.000 women including pregnant women and women who have just given birth as well as those with small children have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the botched coup.
The lawyer also said the jailed children do not have playgrounds in the prison and are subjected to the same treatment with their mothers.
According to the Turkish Penal Code’s Article 5275, “the sentence of imprisonment is set aside/postponed for women who are pregnant or who are within six months of delivery.” Experts say that according to the law, the arrest of pregnant women and those who have infants younger than six months of age is not possible at all. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) also takes born or unborn children under protection.
However, in many cases, mothers were detained in the hospital immediately after the delivery of a baby and before they had a chance to recover. Many mothers were jailed as they were visiting their imprisoned husbands, leaving the children stranded in the ensuing chaos.
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