Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika(04.01.19)reports that a “military court” in the occupied part of Nicosia condemned yesterday Turkish Cypriot Halil Karapasaoglu to paying two thousand Turkish liras for refusing to fulfill his military service. In case Karapasaoglu does no pay the fine within ten days, he will be taken to prison for twenty days.
In statements after the announcement of his sentence, Karapasaoglu said that he would not pay the money, since “if we pay the fine, all this will be meaningless”. He also added:
“[…] Two university professors exist in the government. The one is the prime minister and the other the deputy prime minister. This decision will be a shame for their intellectual career. These incidents are an honor for me, not a shame. They put me on trial and say that they would sentence me to 20 days in prison, because I said that I did not want to hold a weapon and would not shoot at my friend Antonis. This is an unacceptable, an inhuman practice. It is a shame for this country […]”.
Karapasaoglu’s lawyer Oncel Polili recalled that they had started their struggle ten years ago with other conscientious objectors and that the case of Murat Kanatli was before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Kanatli, who was present at the “court” with representatives from other parties and organizations to support Karapasaoglu, said that in ten days they would be there and continue raising their voices.
Derek Brett, representative of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objection (EBCO), who was also present at the “trial”, expressed disappointment for the result.
Furthermore, the United Cyprus Party (BKP) issued a statement yesterday condemning the sentence imposed to Karapasaoglu. “In no democratic country individuals are tried in military courts and are sentenced to prison because they want to use their right of conscientious objection”, said BKP’s general secretary Salih Sonustun adding that “it has been once more proved that we are forced to live under the shadow of militarism”.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Detay(04.01.19)reports that Turkish Cypriot press laborers’ trade union (Basin-Sen) described as unacceptable the sentence imposed to Karapasaoglu. In a written statement, the union said that its chairman Ali Kismir and its general secretary Serkan Soyalan also announced yesterday their conscientious objection, because they consider the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots as one people and refuse to hold a weapon against persons of their own people. The statement also noted that oppression existed, the human rights were prevented and persons who wanted to use these rights were sent to prison in the occupied area of Cyprus, which is described as “Turkey’s subordinate administration”.
Illegal Bayrak (04.01.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=atakan-evaluates-ktmmob-reports) reports that the “minister of public works and communication” Tolga Atakan evaluating the reports prepared by the “Chamber of the Union of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects” during a program on BRT last night, said that future projects will be carried out on the basis of new technical calculations and not on past methods.
He also said that no infrastructure would have been able to cope with the recent amount of rainfall that the country has received.
He said that the average amount of rainfall recorded over the past 50 years had been taken into account when the project for the Ciklos bend on the Lefkosia Kyreneia road was prepared.
“The latest amount of rainfall has revealed that these figures no longer apply or cannot be taken as a basis” he added.
Stating that he had found the opportunity to examine the reports prepared by the “Chamber of the Union of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects” before it had been made public, Atakan said that the filling of stream beds since the 1980s and the construction of a second lane on the Ciklos bend had contributed to making the scale of the disaster worse.
He said that the findings of the reports corresponded with their own surveys and added that work will be launched to address all problematic areas.
He also said that comprehensive work was required to prevent problems arising from construction in stream beds and environmental pollution.
Explaining that the segment of the road linking the occupied part of Lefkosia with occupied Keryneia was constructed by a Turkish company financed by the Turkish Department of Road Works, Atakan said that work on the road had started shortly “after he had assumed office”.
He said that the work on the road had been supervised together by the “TRNC Department of Road Works” and the Turkish Department of Road Works.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası(04.01.19)reports that Halil Hizal, general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) has said that if Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci decided to become a candidate again in the “presidential elections” to be held in 2020, the TDP would “indisputably” back him.
In statements to illegal Bayrak yesterday, Hizal wished for Akinci to become a candidate and added that his party would support him because he is a politician coming from the Communal Liberation Party’s (TKP) tradition.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (04.01.19) reports that former “prime minister” Irsen Kucuk is in the intensive care of the American Medical Center in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus.
According to the paper, Kucuk faced some severe health problems after an influenza infection and while his life is not under threat he is not allowed to receive visitors.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (04.01.19) reports that a former athlete and a four-time world champion in the long jump American athlete Dwight Phillip, is visiting the breakaway regime for giving seminars.
According to the paper, Phillip, who also participated in the Athens Olympic Games representing USA will give seminar in 4-5 and 7-8 of January. The seminars are organized by the “TRNC athletic federation”.
The paper further reports that Taiwp Ayiro, who worked as a trainer in Saudi Arabia and Amman and trainer Celal Keses who also worked as a trainer abroad will also participate in the seminars.
Turkish Cypriot daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-wants-to-boost-security-cooperation-with-iraq-erdogan-140240) reported that President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey and Iraq will deepen their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, stressing that securing Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity, as well as ensuring its stability and security, are at the heart of Turkey’s policy on Iraq.
“We will be in an effort to develop our relations with our neighbour Iraq in all areas,” Erdogan said on Jan. 3, speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih.
“Turkey will make every effort to help Iraq over its security, electricity problem and in energy as well”, he added.
“Terror groups like ISIL, the PKK and FETÖ pose threats to both Turkey and Iraq, and the two countries should cooperate in fighting terror,” Erdogan added.
“Iraq standing on its own feet is very important for regional security and stability”, Erdogan said, reaffirming support for Iraq’s reconstruction following the end of the fight against ISIL. “There are lots we can do with Iraq in the defence industry,” Erdogan also noted.
“We are ready to contribute to infrastructure and development projects in Iraq — construction of places which were harmed by conflicts being the priority,” Erdogan said, adding that Turkey and Iraq will continue holding High Level Strategic Council meetings in 2019.
The Iraqi President, for his part, said that Iraq expects Turkey’s contribution in reconstructing “terror-free regions” in the country.
“I am visiting the brotherly country Turkey with the aim of cooperation in every field”, Salih said, adding that relations with Turkey will be “shoulder-to-shoulder, in full solidarity.”
“The two countries can do a lot with their strategic location and this partnership will serve not only to two countries but also to the whole region”, he noted.
Iraqi President Salih paid his first official visit to Turkey following his election in early October. Salih, a former Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from the ranks of the Kurdistan Patriotic Union (PUK), is a familiar figure to Ankara and his election as the President of Iraq has been welcomed by the Turkish government.
Salih welcomed a Turkish decision to send a special envoy to Iraq to discuss water shortages in the country, partly blamed on Turkey which has stopped up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers as it builds dams.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.01.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/its-time-to-boost-pakistan-turkey-trade-volume-khan/1355411) reported that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan who is paying a two-day visit to Turkey, said on Thursday that it is time to boost the trade volume between Turkey and Pakistan.
“I’ve brought my team with me because now’s the time to enhance the trade volume between Pakistan and Turkey,” Khan told a working dinner co-organized by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and Pakistan’s Embassy in Ankara.
Khan's first official visit to Turkey since taking office last August comes at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The bilateral trade volume currently falls short for a number of reasons, including the distance between the countries”, said Khan.
“I think this issue will be solved in the coming years, because a huge development is taking place in Pakistan, namely the Chinese Belt Road [One Belt One Road] initiative,” he noted.
He added that the project would allow Pakistan to forge connections with countries it has been unable to before.
The $64 billion One Belt One Road project aims to connect northwest China to Pakistan's southwestern Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.
Noting Pakistan’s huge potential in many areas, he added the country boasts “huge mineral reserves” such as natural gas, copper, and cobalt but that these areas have been neglected.
Touching on Pakistan’s strategic importance, he said: “We’re fixing our governance system. [The government is working to] make it easier for businesses to work, to ease doing business, and the cost of doing business.”
Khan added that his government’s initiatives promise to make investments from Turkey “much easier” as well. “I want to assure you that this government’s aim is to make it easy for investors. Make a lot of people make money and make profits,” he added.
He said that his country has one of the youngest population in the world, with fully 120 million Pakistanis under age 35.
Also mentioning a project for building 5 million houses in the next five years, Khan welcomed construction companies to invest in his country. “This is a huge initiative for Pakistan,” he added.
Touching on the historical ties between Turkey and Pakistan, he said: “When Turkey was fighting for its independence, now in Pakistan, then it was India, people were collecting money to support the Turkish movement for independence”.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar are among the Ministers accompanying Khan.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (03.01.19-https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/us-tells-turkey-to-cancel-russian-s-400-order-in-exchange-for-patriots-sale-3470801) reported that Washington on Thursday stipulated that Turkey must cancel its order of the Russian-made S-400 missile defence systems in exchange for the U.S.-made Patriots.
The offer was made to Turkish Defence and Foreign Ministry officials by a U.S. delegation in Ankara, which set the cancellation of the S-400 deal with Russia a prerequisite for Washington supplying its NATO-ally with its own Patriot missile defence system.
Russia and Turkey signed the contract on the S-400 air defence systems delivery in 2017. The installation of the S-400s in Turkey is expected to begin in October 2019.
The S-400 is Russia's most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system, with the ability to carry three types of missiles capable of destroying targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.
Last month, the U.S. State Department approved a possible foreign military sale of the Patriot air and missile defence system to Turkey for an estimated total of $3.5 billion.
According to the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the department approved the sale of 80 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T) missiles, 60 PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles and associated equipment.
Turkey had been trying to purchase the air defence system from the U.S., but the missiles have never been sold to Turkey when they were needed the most, according to the government.
The move comes after Turkey signed a contract with Russia to buy the S-400 air defence system in 2017.
Washington has complained that the Russian system is not compatible with weapons used by other NATO countries.
Separately, in a report in late November, the Pentagon warned that purchasing the S-400 system would have unavoidable negative consequences for U.S.-Turkey relations as well as Turkey's role in NATO.
Patriot missiles are used for defence purposes, mainly to shoot down incoming missiles and planes.
“The purchase of the S-400 is to fulfil our country’s urgent and short-term security needs. We will take the necessary measures so that this system can be used independently and will not harm F-35 and NATO systems. We are continuing our contacts with U.S. authorities who are also sensitive about this issue,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, when asked about the deal, stressing that Turkey will not cancel its deal with Russia.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/parliament-speaker-yildirims-mayoral-nomination-against-constitution-bar-association-140244) reported that the Ankara Bar Association has called for Binali Yıldırım’s resignation as Parliamentary Speaker over his candidacy to run for Mayor of Istanbul, saying his nomination breaches the Constitution as it obligates the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament to remain impartial.
“Article 94 of the Turkish Constitution stipulates that the Parliament Speaker cannot partake in the activities of the political party that he is a member of. Mr. Parliamentary Speaker’s nomination for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality evidently violates the Constitution,” the Association said in a written statement on Jan. 2.
The Association stressed the liability of the Parliamentary Speaker to remain neutral.
“Running in the local elections against other political parties will damage objectivity”, the Ankara Bar Association stressed, urging Yildirim to resign and eliminate the contradiction to law.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.01.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-inflation-rate-falls-0-4-pct-monthly-in-december-2018-140217) reported that the consumer price index in Turkey decreased by 0.4% in December 2018 comparing with the previous month, according to a statement by the country’s statistical authority on January 3.
“Rises were realized on December of the previous year by 20.3%, on same month of the previous year by 20.3% and on the twelve months moving averages basis by 16.33% in December 2018,” Turkish Statistical Institute said.
Turkey’s inflation had hit a 15-year high rate of 25.2% in October, before easing to 21.6% in November.
Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.01.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-reached-all-targets-in-2018-finance-minister/1355146) reported that Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berak Albayrak has said on Thursday that Turkey reached almost all of its targets as of the end of 2018, showing a better performance than expected. "We closed 2018 with the inflation rate of 20.3%, which was under the target of 20.8%. It's a positive process," Albayrak said, speaking to public news channel TRT Haber.
He noted that Turkey will show a stronger performance in the 2019 budget in terms of expenses and revenue.
“The Turkish government brought nearly 6.5 tons of gold to the country's economy with issuances of gold-backed bonds”, he underlined.
About the Central Bank's decision on interest rates, Albayrak said that the bank takes necessary steps by observing the market.
The Turkish Central Bank's policy rate -- one-week repo rate -- is at 24%.
On Jan. 16, the bank will hold 2019's first Monetary Policy Committee Meeting, which will determine the interest rates.
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