Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (29.11.18, https://www.kibrisgazetesi.com/dunya/rum-tarafinin-uzlasmaz-tutumu-cozumu-zora-sokuyor/54748) reports that Binali Yildirim, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), has alleged that what he called intransigent stance of the Greek Cypriot side made the solution in Cyprus more difficult.
Addressing the 11th General Assembly of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, Yildirim alleged the following on the Cyprus problem: “Establishing peace between the two communities is an indispensable condition for ensuring security in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigent stance makes the solution in Cyprus more difficult”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (29.11.18, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n269618-bakan-nami-hidrokarbonda-rum-tarafi-gerilimi-davet-ediyor-29) reports that Ozdil Nami has alleged that the Greek Cypriot side extended an invitation for tension on the hydrocarbons issue and that the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots should be lifted. In statements to Spudnik news agency in Istanbul where he attended the meeting of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC or ISEDAK in Turkish), Nami said that the hydrocarbon resources should serve the interests of all sides in Cyprus and that the solution of the Cyprus problem would pave the way for new energy plans with much lower cost than the existing ones and solve the problem of the high cost of energy in Cyprus.
Expressing his concern about what he called “the unilateral steps of the Greek Cypriot side” on the hydrocarbons, Nami said that they had been told that these steps aimed at finding out the quantity of the reserves and that any possible income would come after 7-8 years. “Within this time period, a set-up could be made on the issue of how this sharing will take place”, he argued alleging that the problem here was that the Greek Cypriot side did not understand in this manner the messages which were conveyed. “If there is a share that belongs to the Turks, they will give it if the Turks accept a solution like they want. This of course is an extremely problematic approach and extends an invitation for tension”, he alleged. Moreover, Nami expressed the hope that the views submitted by the Turkish side during its diplomatic initiatives towards countries such as the US, France and Italy, which take these steps together with the Greek Cypriots, would be taken into consideration.
Nami reiterated the Turkish position that the Turkish Cypriots had made an agreement with Turkey and authorized the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) to carry out explorations in the “TRNC”, as he described the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. He claimed: “Therefore, we will simultaneously and equivalently continue our activities. We will not sit by and watch. We have suggested various models until today to the Greek Cypriot side, but they have refused all of them”.
Asked what Turkey’s reaction would be in the case of East-Med pipeline, Nami said that he could not reply on Turkey’s behalf, but the Turkish Cypriots would continue their activities with Turkey in all areas which belong to Cyprus within the framework of the agreement signed with the “TRNC”. He alleged:
“In some areas of the Exclusive Economic Zone unilaterally declared by the Greek Cypriot side Turkey also claims rights. In such cases, normally the sides meet and solve these things peacefully. The continuation of the Cyprus problem, however, prevents us from having such a possibility. This is why we actually call on the Greek Cypriot side to exhibit a will for solving the Cyprus problem with us. […] Our wish is for the UN to submit to the sides a set-up and in the end of this the status quo in Cyprus to definitely change. They should not allow the Greek Cypriot side to hesitate in the issue of accepting this set-up. Because, if the Cyprus problem remains unsolved, this will cause much tension in the future. This danger is coming towards us, we are seeing it. We must definitely take steps to make it go away”.
Nami also argued that they were expecting from the UN the beginning of negotiations with a concrete timetable, in the end of which the status of the Turkish Cypriots would be known from the very beginning, in case the Greek Cypriots abandoned the table or rejected the solution.
Meanwhile, according to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs (29.11.18, http://www.starkibris.net/index.asp?haberID=271722) addressing COMCEC - ISEDAK’s meeting, Nami called on the member states to deepen their relations with the “TRNC” and to support the will which the UN should exhibit in the direction of a negotiating process that would change the existing status quo in Cyprus. Referring to the natural gas issue, he reiterated that the legitimate rights and interests of all sides should be protected and that unilateral steps would cause unwanted tension in the area.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs (30.11.18, http://www.starkibris.net/index.asp?haberID=271719) reports that Zeki Celer, self-styled minister of labor and social insurance of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, met yesterday with Marchal Laurance, Burkina Faso’s Minister for Women Affairs, National Solidarity and Family. Celer visited Burkina Faso to attend a conference of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation on the role of women.
According to a statement issued by Celer’s “ministry”, the two “ministers” had exchanged views on how to strengthen women’s role in their countries.
Asim Akar, Ambassador of Turkey to Burkina Faso, also participated in the meeting.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (30.11.18, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n269651-denktas-13uncu-maaslarin-aralik-ayi-icerisinde-odenecegini-d) reports that Serdar Denktas, “minister of finance”, spoke on the economy in the occupied area of Cyprus and the Cyprus issue, during a program on illegal “BRT” television.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Denktas said that he would reply as a leader of the Democratic Party (DP). He noted that the issue of the “loose federation” could be discussed, but he claimed that the intention of the Greek Cypriot side was to resume the Cyprus talks by making everybody forget that it was the guilty side for the collapse of the talks at the 5th Conference in Crans Montana. He further argued that he supported the idea of taking unilateral steps or measures with the aim of improving relations with the Greek Cypriot side, adding that if this was done the Greek Cypriots would have noticed that Turkey was not a threat to them,
On the economy, Denktas said that the “budget deficit”, which stands at 856 million TL, would most likely be closed by the end of 2019. Noting that in 2019 the investments in the occupied area of Cyprus would be reduced due to the absence of Turkey’s contributions, Denktas reminded that Turkey was also going through a difficult period economically and added that despite this, they were not desperate.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (29.11.18, http://www.starkibris.net/index.asp?haberID=271736), Ersin Tatar, the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), commenting on the latest debate regarding the “draft- decree” on occupied Famagusta, Trikomo and Agios Sergios area, accused the “coalition government” of trying to sink the construction sector, which is one of the most important sectors in the “country”, as well as of harming the people, by taking wrong steps.
Tatar further argued that when UBP was in power, they did not publish a single decree, adding that they knew that the correct way to administrate a country is through development plans and not decrees. Claiming that the area was a developing region, Tatar noted that no one had the right to lock the country’s economy with a “decree”, which is not clear when would be lifted. Tatar wondered why the “minister of domestic affairs” insisted on this issue and why he was in a hurry, since the “finance minister” and the “prime minister” had not yet taken the opinions of experts on this issue.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (29.11.18, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n269628-dunya-diplomatlar-birligi-(wdu)-kibris-ofisi-torenle-acildi), the opening ceremony of a representative office of the “World Diplomats Union” (WDU) was held yesterday in the occupied area of Cyprus, after the initiative of the Deputy Chairman of WDU Serhat Akpinar, who is also the founding rector of “Girne American University” (“GAU”).
The President of WDU Prof. Günther Meinel, WDU Vice President Adnan Albayrak, WDU Vice President Ahmet Karabulak , WDU Vice President Manfred Hellwig and other members of the Board of Directors and the Union also participated in the opening ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Meinel said that they would try to integrate the “North Cyprus”, which is a “forgotten country” in the world, to the EU. He added: “We are a strong organization represented worldwide. We will not accept in our organization to see that the Turkish Cypriots are treated like a red-headed stepchild. Be strong; be courageous, because you are great people”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (30.11.18) reports that Serdar Denktas, self-styled minister of finance of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has rejected allegations that the regime’s so-called opening for the Maronites had entered into a deadlock because of financial problems.
In statements to Havadis, Denktas said that the problem was that “no project has come to us”. “Let a project come to us and the resource is not a problem, it will be found’, he noted.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (30.11.18) reports that Ali Baturay, editor-in-chief of Kıbrıs newspaper, was one of the witnesses yesterday in the “trial” against Afrika’s publisher Sener Levent and editor-in-chief Ali Osman, who had been accused of publishing a collage that insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Under the title “Baturay: There is no insult”, the paper notes that Baturay “gave a lesson of journalism” in the “court” and said that there was no insult against Erdogan in the collage published by Afrika. Baturay had been summoned by the “attorney general’s office” as the “claimant’s” witness.
“If my colleagues are condemned, this trial will go down in history”, he said. The “judge” objected to this expression and Baturay was made to apologize. He pointed out that much worse caricatures and collages than the one published in Afrika had been published all over the world.
Other witnesses, who testified yesterday, were prof. Dr Caglar Ozel, “dean” in the “law faculty” of the illegal International Cyprus University and Dr Metin Ersoy, member of the teaching staff of the “communications’ faculty” of the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University. They both submitted reports arguing that the collage exceeded the limits and constituted an insult against Erdogan.
According to illegal Bayrak television (30.11.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ataoglu-in-antalya-2), self-styled minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu, who is in Antalya to attend the 8 International Resort Tourism Congress, is continuing with his contacts.
As part of his contacts in Antalya, Ataoğlu visited the Governor of Antalya, Münir Karaloğlu. He said that Antalya and the TRNC have close relations dating back to the past.
Stressing that Karaloğlu’s efforts towards enabling tourists who visit Antalya to also visit the “TRNC” (the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus) could not be ignored, he said “I thank Governor Karaloğlu for his efforts. I hope that the TRNC will be a second destination for tourists visiting Antalya.”
Governor Karaloğlu for his part noted that Antalya and the “TRNC” were tourism destinations close to each other. Stating that the “TRNC” was a tourism location now, he added: “We should integrate the two destinations in time. We should find new formulas which will enable tourists visiting Antalya to spend some of their holidays in the TRNC”.
Meanwhile, “BRT” (29.11.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ataoglu-attends-int-resort-congress) also broadcast that Ataoglu, addressing the 8th International Resort Tourism Congress, said that the “TRNC” currently had a hotel bed capacity of 25,000 and that 1.142 million tourists had visited the occupied area of Cyprus last year leaving a revenue of 865 million dollars.
He said that with its growing potential, the occupancy rate for 5 star hotels in the “TRNC” stood at an average of 85%.
Ataoglu also announced that work had commenced to start ferry services between occupied Vokolida and Famagusta due to the distance of the resorts from the city centre.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (30.11.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-mulls-kosovo-model-for-eu-visa-deal-139319), with the above title, reports that Turkey believes that problems stemming from its non-recognition of “Greek Cyprus” [Republic of Cyprus] in regards to visa liberalization could be overcome through a formula the EU has generated for Kosovo’s process despite the fact that five EU members do not recognize the Balkan state.
Turkey and the EU have been negotiating whether to liberalize the visa process for Turkish nationals, which would require Ankara to fulfil 72 criteria.
According to a senior Turkish official, there are six remaining benchmarks out of the 72. One of the benchmarks requires cooperation between Turkey and Europol and the two sides will begin negotiations for an agreement today.
One of the aspects of this deal is the establishment of necessary mechanisms for judicial cooperation between Turkey and all member states, the Turkish official said, on condition of anonymity, citing Ankara’s non-recognition of “Greek Cyprus” [Republic of Cyprus] as the problem to this end. “But, if there is a will, there is always a way”, added the official. That way can be formulated as “Kosovo model,” according to the official.
Although five EU member states still do not officially recognize Kosovo, procedures for visa waivers have come to the final stage, the official recalled, noting that the EU has assigned a high representative to handle the necessary dialogue between Kosovo and these five EU member states.
In the same way, a member state, like Germany, can serve as a country through which Turkey and “Greek Cyprus” [Republic of Cyprus] can in fact implement the legal cooperation when there is a need of extradition of the two countries’ citizens over heavy and organized crimes. (…)
Remaining regulations expected to be fulfilled by Turkey for visa liberalization are as follows: operational cooperation between Turkey and the European Police Service (Europol) along with signing of a legal cooperation agreement with EU member countries, preparing third-generation passports, reviewing the law on the protection of personal data, reviewing draconian anti-terrorism legislation, and drawing an action plan to harmonize with the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) -- the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body.
Meanwhile, Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (29.11.18, https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/11/29/eu-commissioner-did-not-say-turkey-very-close-to-visa-free-travel-office/), under the title “EU commissioner did not say Turkey ‘very close’ to visa-free travel: Office”, reports that in a contradiction of Turkish media headlines, the Office of European Union Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has said the official did not state that Turkey was “very close” to fulfilling the criteria necessary to secure visa-free travel within the Schengen area for Turkish nationals.
“ … The Commissioner indeed confirmed that there are still 7 outstanding benchmarks and that the Turkish side is committed to progress quickly, and that the EU and Turkey remain strategic partners,” the Commissioner’s Office told Turkish Minute in an email, adding, “The Commissioner did not say whether and how close the Turkish authorities are to fulfilling the 7 outstanding benchmarks.”
After Avramopoulos spoke with journalists in Brussels on Wednesday, the Turkish media, including the state-run Anadolu news agency and the pro-government Daily Sabah, claimed the Commissioner said Turkey was “very close to completing 72 criteria for visa-free travel”.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.01.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-could-play-mediator-role-in-russia-ukraine-crisis-erdogan-139317), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Nov. 29 that Turkey could play a mediation role to ease tensions between Russia and Ukraine after the seizure of three Ukrainian ships by Moscow sparked a major crisis. “Here we could take on a mediator role and we have discussed this with both sides,” Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul Atatürk Airport before heading to the G-20 summit in Argentina.
His comments came after intense telephone diplomacy on Nov. 28 which saw Erdogan hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.
“Both Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko in our talks made requests. We will convey the [Ukrainian] demands to Mr Putin in our meeting in Argentina,” added Erdogan, saying the issue would also be discussed in his talks with Trump in Buenos Aires.
Turkey is keen not to see any further escalation in the conflict between its fellow Black Sea coastal states which could bring further instability to the region.
Ankara is working closely with Moscow on the Syria conflict and is also purchasing Russian S-400 missile air defence systems. (…)
Meanwhile, the paper also reports that Erdogan said he will have a chance to discuss the Manbij issue with U.S. President Donald Trump, a matter which continues to be an obstacle in the reconciliation of strained relations between the two NATO allies despite a deal made for cooperation. "We will have a meeting over the issue with Mr. Trump in Argentina. We said we will discuss the issue in detail there, as we have not had a chance to touch on it in detail over the phone," Erdogan added. (…)
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (30.01.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-wants-air-traffic-agreement-with-turkey-139320), the European Union has reiterated its willingness to ink a comprehensive aviation agreement with Turkey, particularly after the symbolic inauguration of the new Istanbul Airport, one of the largest airports on the European continent, suggesting it would bring in up to 5 billion euros in additional revenue for the facility.
“Turkey is becoming a key transport centre with the new credible airport. Istanbul is the new prime hub. Therefore we encourage the Turkish officials to engage with the EU and to work on a comprehensive Aviation Agreement,” Violetta Bulc, the Commissioner Responsible for the Transportation of the European Commission, told a group of visiting Turkish journalists on Nov 28. (…)
Bulc recalled that the EU had done similar aviation agreements with the United States and some Asian states and all resulted in with additional revenues, job and reduced ticket prices for the countries engaging in aviation cooperation with Brussels. Turkey and EU will hold high-level transportation dialogue on Feb. 5 next year with the Turkish Transportation Minister Cahit Turan visiting Brussels, which will include the aviation agreement among other issues. “We are progressing well but we have to go through the open points. There are a lot of technical issues,” she stated.
The paper also reports that although the aviation cooperation has a technical nature, it also includes political aspects. EU agreement stipulates that any non-EU member country signing this deal should install direct flights to all EU members. In this regard, the Istanbul Airport should provide necessary conditions as a venue for commercial aviation companies to start direct flight to the “Greek Cyprus” [Republic of Cyprus] airports.
Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, which constitutes the main obstacle in developing ties between Ankara and Brussels, almost in all fields, including full membership talks, trade, transportation and etc. (…)
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.11.18, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-opposition-chp-leader-to-pay-over-false-claims/1325285), an Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced Turkey’s main opposition leader to pay damages to the President over false claims of money transfers.
The Anadolu 15th Civil Court of First Instance ordered Republican People's Party (CHP) head Kemal Kilicdaroglu to pay 190,000 Turkish lira (approx. $36,770) over his claims that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made illicit money transfers to the Isle of Man, a British crown dependency.
Kilicdaroglu was asked to pay for attacking the personal rights of Erdogan and his relatives. The CHP head made the claims in a speech on a TV channel in December 2017.
Previously, he was ordered in five different suites to pay damages to the President and his relatives for making similar claims.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (30.11.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/economy/turkeys-foreign-trade-deficit-falls-938-pct-in-oct-3467834), Turkey's foreign trade deficit in October fell 93.8% year-on-year, the country's statistical authority announced on Friday.
The country's foreign trade deficit in October totalled $456 million, improving from $7.3 billion deficit a year ago, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Last month, Turkey's exports hit $15.72 billion -- up 13% on a yearly basis --, as imports dropped to $16.17 billion with an annual decline of 23.8%.
"In October 2018, exports coverage imports were 97.2%, while it was 65.6% in October 2017," TurkStat said.
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