Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (12.12.18) citing information by a “high level diplomatic source” writes that Lute is going to Ankara on December 13 where she is expected to have high level contacts.
The program of Lute’s contacts in Ankara has not been announced yet, writes the paper, adding that she is visiting Cyprus on December 16, following her visit to Ankara and she will also hold important contacts on the island as well.
In addition, illegal Bayrak, (12.12.18 http://www.brtk.net/lute-pazar-gunu-kibrisa-geliyor/) also refers to Lute’s visit to Cyprus and broadcasts that she will meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Sunday.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (12.12.18), self-styled finance minister Serdar Denktas announced that “the public debt rose to 29 billion 174 million TL, from which the 5 billion 988 million TL was the internal debt by the end of September and the 23 billion 186 million TL the foreign debt”, adding that their first priority should be to reduce the public debt and to put it under control. He further noted that “the public debt corresponds to 180% of the gross domestic product and affects negatively the public finances and the economy”.
Speaking yesterday at the “2019 budget debate in the parliament”, Denktas also said that “one of the country’s biggest problems is that the expenses are more than the incomes”. He noted that “in order to be able to make payments of the interests of the public debt, a payment of 230 million TL has been envisaged in the 2019 budget”, and added that “the 2019 budget has been increased by 32,96% and the general fiscal deficit by 926% compared to 2018 budget”.
Denktas further noted that “Turkey’s financial aid to the TRNC is 695 million TL at the 2019 finance budget and Turkey’s loans to the TRNC are envisaged to be 575 million TL”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (12.12.18) reports that both the “City planning chamber” and the “Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors' Union”, reacted against the “Temporary City Planning Decree” for the occupied areas of Famagusta, Trikomo and Agios Sergios, which was put into effect and was published in the “official gazette” of the breakaway regime.
The chairman of the “City planning chamber”, Merter Refikoglu, issued a written statement criticizing strongly the “decree”. According to Refikoglu, the same mistakes which were made in other areas, were made in the region as well. He also expressed the hope that the disasters that recently took place in occupied Keryneia, after the heavy rains, would not be repeated after the adaption of this “decree” to Famagusta areas as well.
He also said that the changes in the draft version of the “decree” were made in order to please the “circles of profits and not the public interest”.
In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (12.12.18) reports that a delegation of the “Turkish Cypriot building contractors' union”, headed by its chairman Cafer Gurcafer paid a visit to the National Unity Party (UBP) and stated that its decision to act against the “decree”.
Gurcafer stated that they will hold meetings with businessmen that are activated in the region in order to determine the form of their reaction. “We followed a constructive approach on the decree issue. However, the government did not take any notice of our suggestions. We are very disappointed”, he said.
On his part, the leader of UBP, Ersin Tatar said that his party will support the reaction against the “decree”, adding that “the decree will negatively affect the construction and other sectors of the TRNC, the people and the economy of the country”. He also said that UBP will do anything possible to minimize the negative effects of the “decree”.
Illegal Bayrak (12.12.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=12th-sports-council ) broadcast that the Turkish Youth and Sports Minister, Muharrem Kasapoglu, is in the breakaway regime for “official contacts”.
He took part in the 12th Sports Council meeting that was held at the Faculty of “Open University”.
Prior to attending the Sports Council, Kasapoglu visited the “speaker of assembly” Teberrüken Uluçay and “prime minister” Tufan Erhürman, separately.
Speaking during the visit, Kasapoglu pointed out the importance of the cooperation between the two “countries” and added that as the Turkish Youth and Sports Ministry they were prepared to provide whatever support is necessary for the further development of sporting activities in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.
“We are prepared to provide support to the federations and clubs. We will also continue our efforts to overcome the sporting embargoes imposed against TRNC sportsmen within the international arena” said Kasapoğlu.
Ulucay for his part, claimed that “due to the sporting embargoes, people in the TRNC are unable to participate in international events”.
“I believe that the TRNC and Turkey will do everything they can in order to overcome these problems” said Uluçay.
Kasapoglu later held a meeting with Erhürman who said that “the TRNC was trying to carry on with sporting activities while at the same time was having to deal with events that other countries are not forced to deal with”.
“It is our main aim to encourage more people to do sporting activities, we want more registered sportsmen, qualified and elite sportsmen and the most important thing is for these sportsman to be able to take part in international events” said Erhürman.
Columnist Ali Osman in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (12.12.18)refers to the recent flood disaster in the occupied area of Cyprus, which resulted in the death of four young persons on the occupied Nicosia-Keryneia road at a place named Kyklos and recalls that according to a statement issued after the disaster, the Turkish Cypriot engineers said that they had no record regarding the “Kyklos road”. Under the title “Fear”, Osman goes on and says:
“[…] However, they left incomplete their statement. Where has the invitation for this tender been issued and where has the plan project been prepared? Who controlled it? There is no answer to that. However, it is clear where the invitation was issued and where it was arranged. Since a long time, tender invitations are issued in Ankara. The plans and projects are carried out there. The partisans who win the tender in Ankara come here once or twice. If they cannot agree with the subcontractors here, they send people from Turkey, they send engineers and complete the tender. Moreover, there are even some who leave without completing it. […]
Is there an authority which will give account here? Remember the Panagra damn. A company won the tender there, found personnel from here and from Turkey. And suddenly abandoned the work and left. And it did not pay the workers. When the first water started filling up the damn, waters leaked into the sea and the damn faced the possibility of collapsing because of the use of deficient materials in the base of the damn. I do not know what they did […]
The man tried to build a road here with an instruction he gave while sitting in his office in Ankara and with the workers he sent here. The more he could save from the materials was a profit for him. Of course, we should think of it as an extra profit. Cheap materials, deficient materials and by closing the flow of the water, produced the story of this road at the cost of four lives.
We have not forgotten the Kythrea mountain road. Our students and a driver had lost their lives there. We have not forgotten that workers employed without a permit crushed the school minibus and killed some of the students in it […]
As I said in the beginning, Ankara is interfering not only in our will but also in our life for years. We are always obstacles in front of them. Look at the situation of the roads constructed in Turkey, the railroads, and the airports. Those who say anything about the green capital is declared ‘terrorist’ there. It is with the fear of this that those here can also somehow not say that ‘the guilty one is Ankara’”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaperYeni Düzen (12.12.18)reports that Turkish Cypriot TÜRK-SEN trade union has participated in the International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) 4th International Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In a written statement issued by Arslan Bicakli, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot trade union, it is noted that 1260 delegations from 159 countries had participated in the congress and exchanged information and experience regarding the work life in their countries. Bicakli also noted that a candidate supported by TÜRK-SEN was elected at the post of ITUC’s general secretary.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (12.12.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-launch-new-military-operation-in-syria-in-few-days-erdogan-139662) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey will start a military operation east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria in a few days.
"It is time to realize our decision to wipe out terror groups east of the Euphrates," Erdogan said in a speech at the Turkish Defence Industry Summit held at the presidential complex in Ankara on Dec. 12.
"We will start the operation on east of the Euphrates in a few days to save it from the separatist terrorist organization," Erdogan added, referring to the YPG. "Turkey's target is never the U.S. soldiers, but rather the members of the terror group."
The Pentagon had announced on Dec. 11 that American observation posts in northern Syria, meant to prevent altercations between the Turkish army and US-supported YPG, have been erected, despite Ankara’s request to scrap the move.
The Turkish army since 2016 has already launched two military operations in Syria, the last of which saw Ankara-backed Syrian rebels take the border city of Afrin from the YPG in March.
The United States has long been complaining that tensions between Turkey and the SDF, of which the YPG is the backbone, have at times slowed down progress on fighting the ISIL.
Erdogan slammed further the new US plan for “protecting terrorists and not Turkey”, as he said. "There is no Daesh threat in Syria any longer," Erdogan said accusing the U.S. of "delaying tactics" regarding its promise to clear the north-eastern Syrian town of Manbij from YPG members.
"It is clear that the purpose of U.S. observation points in Syria is not to protect our country from terrorists but to protect terrorists from Turkey," he noted.
Ankara deems the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.12.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkey-rejects-us-plan-to-train-local-forces-in-syria/1335941) reported that Turkey is sceptical about a U.S. plan to train around 40,000 locals in north-eastern Syria, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in capital Ankara, Celik expressed concern over a reported U.S. plan to train 35,000 to 40,000 people in north-eastern Syria.
“We do not see them as well-intentioned approaches."
He added that the move will be seen by Turkey as lending fresh support to terror elements in Syria.
Last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Dunford announced that the US-led coalition is planning to train 35,000 to 40,000 locals to stabilize the north-eastern part of Syria by defeating Daesh.
Turkey has repeatedly objected to U.S. support for the terrorist YPG/PKK in Syria, which Washington considers "a reliable ally" in the fight against Daesh.
Celik also condemned acts of vandalism during the protests in France, saying that both vandalism and democracy do not coexist. “We are opposed to both vandalism and excessive force to be used towards the demonstrators,” he said.
In his speech, Celik rejected reports that Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey's spy agency, briefed U.S. senators during his visit to the country about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.12.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/eu-membership-strategic-target-for-turkey-vp/1336017) reported that Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay has stated that Turkey regards membership in the European Union as a strategic foreign policy target.
During his budget speech in Parliament on Tuesday, Fuat Oktay said that Turkey-EU relations were "multidimensional and longstanding".
Oktay noted that the number of chapters opened until now in Turkey’s accession process with the EU is 16. “There are currently blockages on 14 chapters due to reasons related to the Greek Cypriot administration, which illegally became a member of the EU in 2004”, under the EU’s enlargement policy, Oktay said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.12.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-citizens-deserve-visa-free-travel-to-eu/1335480) reported that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on Tuesday that Turkish citizens deserve visa-free travel to Europe and that the government continues to work on that.
"Our citizens deserve visa-free travel to Europe. We continue our works to get this unjust requirement lifted," Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with other Ministers after the 5th meeting of the Reform Action Group in capital Ankara.
Speaking about funding for Syrian refugees, Cavusoglu stressed there are significant delays and disruptions in the EU funding for refugees in Turkey.
Cavusoglu also criticized the EU’s decision to cut Turkey’s pre-accession assistance. "If they [EU] think that they are punishing Turkey, they are wrong," Cavusoglu said.
When asked about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he said several Foreign Ministers at the G20 summit agreed to jointly apply for international probe into the killing.
Referring to the situation in northern Syria, Cavusoglu said that if the U.S.'s aim is to train YPG terrorists, it is “profoundly wrong and betrayal to region which Turkey cannot tolerate”.
Speaking at the press conference, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said that Turkey plans to unveil Judicial Reform Strategy Document in January 2019.
Also speaking, Turkish Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu said that Turkey is a country that prevents not only migration, but also terror and drug smuggling from reaching Europe. “In this regard, Turkey is an irreplaceable country from Europe’s perspective," he said.
Soylu also said that Britain and Germany tend to come to a clear line with Turkey over PKK terror group.
Also speaking at the joint news conference, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the third meeting of High Level Economic Dialogue with the EU would be held in February 2019.
A joint statement released after the press conference said that both the EU and Turkey will benefit from the immediate beginning of negotiations to update Customs Union.
“Financial aids serves as important instruments in Turkey's EU adaptation”, the statement added.
It also said that Turkey expects the EU to increase its political, financial and technical supports in the following period.
“Although our EU membership process is being prevented politically, Turkey will continue its works for adaptation to EU standards decisively," the statement stressed.
In the written statement released, it is assessed that Turkey’s efforts to adapt itself to EU standards will continue in a determined manner. The next step aimed in the reform process is to lift monitoring on Turkey by Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, it declared.
The statement noted further that efforts to reform Turkey’s Justice Academy will continue and the number of judges and prosecutors will be increased in accordance with the standards accepted by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ).
“We decided to update the Action Plan on Prevention of European Court of Human Rights Violation, that will expire on Mar.2019, in the first quarter of 2019. In the course of the update, all stakeholders’ opinions and suggestions will be considered, including Council of Europe and European Commission,” the statement asserted.
The statement also expressed that Turkey-EU High-Level Dialogue meetings will be held on Dec.18, Jan.15 and Feb.28 in the fields of energy, transportation and economy, respectively. On Dec.18-20, Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting will be held, the statement announced.
According to Turkish news portal (11.12.18-https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/12/11/turkeys-presidency-religious-affairs-directorate-see-big-rise-in-2019-budgets/), Deutsche Welle reported Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, revealed that according to a state budget draft, there will be an increase of 233% in the budget of the Turkish Presidency and a 33% rise in that of the Religious Affairs Directorate in 2019.
Debate over the draft budget began at the Turkish Parliament on Monday, with the opposition parties harshly criticizing the high increases in the budgets of the Presidency and the Religious Affairs Directorate because Albayrak presented the draft budget as “pro-conservation.”
This is the first time that a state budget has been drafted by the Presidency since Turkey adopted an executive presidential system in a referendum last year, and it went into effect with the election of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in June of this year.
The budget of the Religious Affairs Directorate is being increased to TL 10.5 billion from 2018’s TL 7.7 billion, while cuts as high as 56% are being made in the budgets of the technology, transportation and Energy ministries.
The budget of the Presidency, which was 845 million TL in 2018, is being increased to 2.8 million TL in the 2019 budget.
Deputies from the opposition parties told Deutsche Welle that at a time when Turkey is experiencing an economic crisis, such big increases in the budgets of these two institutions are unacceptable.
Turkey has been facing a currency crisis as the lira has lost nearly 30% of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of the year, resulting in a surge in costs in almost all areas.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (11.12.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-identifies-over-92-000-bylock-users-minister-139640) reported that Turkish Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu stated on December 11 that Turkey has so far identified over 92,000 users of ByLock, an encrypted smartphone app used by members of FETÖ.
“We have identified 92,702 individual users and 215,092 accounts in the encrypted communication program ByLock,” Soylu said at the 5th International Cybercrimes Workshop in the capital Ankara.
“Somehow, they [FETÖ] have included everyone they communicate with in the system. As I said, they have not only sent viruses to computers, but reinforced real attacks to cyber-attacks by having people like viruses work on the computers,” Soylu also said.
ByLock is an encrypted mobile phone application used by FETÖ members to communicate during and after the 2016 failed coup attempt.
Soylu also recalled that Turkey has been the sponsor country for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence since 2015.
He said that nearly 54,374 cybercrimes were committed in Turkey in 2018, while 18,330 people were detained and went through judicial proceedings.
“This figure includes child sexual abuse, exploitation of payment systems and infringement of information systems and phishing”, he added.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION