According to illegal Bayrak television (09.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-says-new-cyprus-talks-unlikely), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that a new negotiations process in Cyprus did not seem possible due to the upcoming European Parliament elections.
Speaking during a briefing to the Turkish Grand National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, the Turkish Foreign Minister expressed the view that a new process in Cyprus aimed at solving the Cyprus Problem seemed unlikely taking into account the fact that EU parliament elections were coming up.
Also touching upon the issue of hydrocarbons, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey was not against drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and added: “We too are starting drilling off the coast of Cyprus. The stability of the region is important for us. We are following developments closely but the rights of the TRNC must be guaranteed and protected”.
Speaking on Turkey’s EU membership process, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that both sides were working on the matter. “There is an effort by both sides. We are taking steps to strengthen relations” he added.
According to illegal Bayrak television (09.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=fm-ozersay-resumes-ny-contacts), Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister, has said that the “TRNC” was opposed to the idea that the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus continues to operate the way it currently does. “In other words we are opposed to the continuation of the status quo”, Özersay added.
Speaking to the “BRT” in New York, Ozersay claimed that the Greek Cypriot side perceived any changes to be made to UNFICYP’s mandate as change of the status quo. “This is why they oppose any changes. Our struggle is in that direction” he said.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot side was trying to associate the UN Peacekeeping Force with the Turkish Armed Forces on the island, Özersay reminded that UNFICYP had been sent to Cyprus in 1964 for a different purpose.
“The conditions have since changed” he argued, adding that the Greek Cypriots were trying to prevent any changes to be made to UNFICYP’s mandate under the pretext that the UN’s presence was necessary to facilitate talks between the two sides.
“Obviously there have been no negotiations in Cyprus following the collapse of the negotiations in Crans Montana in 2017. The Greek Cypriots are trying to prevent any changes to be made to UNFICYP’s mandate with the excuse that the UN is needed to facilitate negotiations. This is an inconsistent approach. We are against this understanding that UNFICYP should continue its operations as it currently does. In other words we are against the continuation of the status quo and are undertaking diplomatic initiatives in that direction” he added.
Meanwhile, Özersay met with the Special Envoy of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of January Jose Singer.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(09.01.19)reports that while the European Parliament (EP) elections are approaching, the names of Turkish Cypriot candidates are coming onto the agenda. Journalist Sener Levent and university professor Niyazi Kizilyurek are two names who will become candidates for the elections, notes the paper.
Levent has reportedly stated that he would participate in the EP elections with the Jasmine Movement and that Maronites and Armenians would also run for the elections with the same Movement. He argued that the EU’s relations with the Turkish Cypriot community were not at the desired level and that in case a Turkish Cypriot was elected in the EP, these relations would be strengthened. He also said that the persons who represented the Turkish Cypriots every year at the EP as observers expressed Turkey’s official views and that all these should be corrected.
On his part, Kizilyurek told the paper that he might issue a statement on the matter within the forthcoming days and that “serious proposals” had been made to him “from both sides of the island”. He said that the EP elections were very important in the current conditions of Cyprus and the Cyprus problem.
Moreover, the general secretaries of the four political parties which participate in the “government” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus replied to Yeni Düzen’s questions on the issue.
Erdogan Sorakin, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that they had no intention of participating in the EP elections and did not think that it was right to do so under the current conditions of the division and the non-solution on the island, in spite of the fact that they attached importance to the representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the EP and to this representation being on the basis of political equality. He noted that the final decision would be taken by the CTP’s organs and that the basic target was a future based on an acceptable federal solution and political equality, adding that only in such circumstances would the result of these elections be fairer for the Turkish Cypriots. According to Sorakin, the decision as to whether the Turkish Cypriots, who are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, would exercise their right to vote or to become candidates for these elections, depended on the Turkish Cypriots themselves.
Yenal Senin, general secretary of the People’s Party (HP), recalled that the HP’s chairman Kudret Ozersay was currently in New York and added that the party’s local congresses would be held in the end of January and the issue would be discussed then and in February.
Afet Ozcafer, general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), said that her party had not expressed any view on the EP elections until now and that they would discuss the issue in a meeting to be held within the forthcoming days. She argued that uncertainty existed and that all parties should act in a spirit of unity, adding that they would hold discussions with other parties on this issue. She also said that within the framework of human rights, the Turkish Cypriot citizens of the Republic of Cyprus would be able to individually exercise their right to vote.
Halil Hizal, general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), claimed that there was no environment for the Turkish Cypriots to participate in the elections to be held in “south Cyprus”, as he described the government-controlled area of the island, and that separate elections, under EU’s supervision, should be held in the occupied area of Cyprus for the election of two Turkish Cypriot representatives in the EP. He said that it was important for the Turkish Cypriots to determine the names who would represent them in the EP and that the TDP had submitted to the EU Office its views on the issue in 2014 and 2016. He argued that the EU should help the Turkish Cypriots in exercising this right.
Finally, the paper reports that according to Vaggelis Vasiliou, Public Relations Officer of EP Liaison Office in Cyprus, until now 77 thousand Turkish Cypriots were eligible to vote without having to apply for registration in the election lists. He said that 100 thousand Turkish Cypriots possessed identity card of the Republic of Cyprus, but 23 thousands stated that their address was in the government-controlled area of the island and therefore they needed to apply for being registered in the lists. The deadline for applying is 2 April, he noted.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibrisli (09.01.19) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned strongly the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over Cyprus.
According to the paper, Erdogan reacted strongly over the fact that the Mayor of CHP in Edirne, Recep Gurkan, hanged a banner on the occasion of the New Year, writing the name of the city in Greek (Adrianoupoli) and not in Turkish [Edirne]. Claiming that “the banner prepared with the name of the city during the Byzantine period is nothing else but a new appearing of the mentality of the CHP, Erdogan alleged the following: “And the fact that the face of the statue of the representative of the Turks in Cyprus was blasted is also a different example of the strangeness. Also, the fact that a statue of the leader of the Greek Cypriots who supported the massacre of all Turks living in the island was prepared and laid by the mayoral candidate of CHP in Istanbul is another product of the same sickly mentality. If you ask them, they would try to explain what they have done so far, using the rhetoric of the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ‘Peace in the Country, Peace in the world’. However, the war veteran did not say bring peace in the country by sublimating the enemies of the country […]”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.01.19) reports that “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman made statements yesterday on the “conscientious objection draft law”, which was presented at the “assembly”.
Erhurman stated that the issue was included in the “government program” of the four parties consisting the so-called government and was presented in the “assembly” in the framework of the human rights. He also said that this is not a “law” from which everybody will benefit.
He further said that they took the opinion of the “attorney general” and the “security forces” (the occupation army) on the issue and added that the “draft law” will be also examined by the “committee of legal issues” of the “assembly”. In case the “draft law” passes from the “assembly” then a “conscientious objection independent committee” will be established, he added.
He also said that they take the issue very seriously, adding that it has been brought in the “assembly” by the “council of ministers and the ministry of interior”, without aiming to overcome other issues that are currently on the agenda.
Revival Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arikli, accused the “government” of bringing into the agenda the “conscientious objection issue”, driving the attention of the public from other, more important issues. He also claimed that while the Greek Cypriots spend millions of euro every year and the Archbishop states that their aim is Keryneia and to walk in Famagusta, the “government” is taking this step. He also asked if they took the opinion of the “security forces” and claimed that the “attorney general” expressed a negative opinion about the “draft law” but nevertheless this was presented in the “assembly”.
In addition, the paper further reports that the “Cyprus conscientious objection initiative” expressed its satisfaction that the “draft law” was presented in the ‘assembly”.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.01.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkeys-erdogan-turns-down-meeting-with-us-bolton/1359250), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that if the visiting U.S. national security aide wants to speak to a Turkish official, he should talk with the presidential spokesman.
Erdogan turning down a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton followed Bolton’s claim that Turkey “targets Kurds” in Syria, claims that were firmly rejected by Ankara.
If meeting with Bolton were “necessary,” then "we could have said yes,” Erdogan told reporters in the capital Ankara, citing his “heavy schedule” in turning down the meeting. Bolton should instead meet with presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, said Erdogan. Erdogan added that he can talk to U.S. President Donald Trump at any moment.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-ready-for-new-military-incursion-into-syria-turkish-president-140356) reports that Erdogan rebuked Washington’s national security adviser on Jan. 8 for demanding that Turkey does not harm Kurdish militants in Syria, accusing him of complicating U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops.
He said Bolton had “made a serious mistake” in setting conditions for Turkey’s military role after the U.S. pull-out. “Bolton has made a serious mistake and whoever thinks like this has also made a mistake. It is not possible for us to make compromises on this point. Claims that Turkey targets Kurds in Syria are dishonourable, ugly, vulgar and defamatory,” Erdoğan added.
Erdoğan suggested that officials within the U.S. administration may be trying to obstruct a “clear agreement” that he and Trump reached during a Dec. 14 telephone conversation. “Despite the fact that we reached a clear agreement with Mr. Trump, different voices have been raised from different echelons of the U.S. administration,” Erdoğan added.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-ready-for-new-military-incursion-into-syria-turkish-president-140356), Turkey is determined to eliminate the “terror corridor” in northern Syria and “makes no distinction between terrorist groups,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 8, adding that Turkey’s preparations to eradicate ISIL in Syria’s north “together with other terrorist organizations” are underway.
“Very soon, we will act on neutralizing terrorist groups in Syria, and we will take out other terror groups that might try to prevent us from doing this,” Erdoğan said, addressing his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers in Parliament.
Erdogan also said that Turkey would confront the YPG in the same way that it will take on ISIL. “For Turkey, there is no difference between the PKK, YPG, PYD or Daesh”, Erdogan added, using the Arabic name for ISIL. “If they are terrorists, we will do what is necessary no matter where they come from,” he noted.
Erdoğan’s comments came shortly after U.S. national security adviser John Bolton held more than two hours of talks in the Turkish capital with presidential adviser İbrahim Kalın in a key meeting focusing on the surprise U.S. decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. (…)
When asked about the date of the operation, Erdoğan recalled the Turkish intervention (invasion) in Cyprus in 1974 and its code phrase “Ayşe should go on holiday,” given for the start of the operation and added: “You know, once upon a time, Ayşe had gone on holiday. We, too, can visit unexpectedly. It can be at any moment. A need for contact can emerge after this visit”.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-asks-us-to-hand-over-military-bases-in-syria-140358), Ankara has asked the United States to hand over 16 of its military bases in northern Syria, which were set up for the fight against ISIL, to Turkey or local authorities in the region after the U.S. withdraws, the Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said after discussions with U.S. officials.
“We are pleased with [President Donald] Trump’s decision for withdrawal [from Syria], but it needs to be clarified as to what kind of structure will be left behind, what will happen to the heavy weapons that have been deployed, the fate of American military bases and logistics centres. In this meeting we discussed these in detail,” presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Jan. 8.
Turkey also expects the U.S. to collect the arms delivered to the YPG back, said the spokesperson, noting that the U.S. authorities informed Turkey that they were conducting a work on the issue of arms.
His statements came after roughly two hours of a meeting with White House national security adviser John Bolton on Jan. 8.
Bolton was joined by U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and U.S. special Syria envoy James Jeffrey for the talks with his Turkish counterpart, Kalın. (…)
Bolton reportedly departed Turkey on Jan. 8 noon without meeting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in an apparent snub over disagreements about the issue of the YPG. Kalın said Bolton had asked to see Erdoğan, but there was no scheduled meeting with the President, while stressing that it should not be considered as a “reaction” to the U.S. official.
President later told reporters there was no need for him to meet Bolton. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also did not attend the meeting with Bolton.
Ankara wants to learn how and when the U.S. will “end” its relations with the YPG in Syria, Kalın stated.
Saying “Turkey will slaughter Kurds if it enters Syria” is solely PKK propaganda and the US should refrain from such comments, he added.
The spokesperson also said he submitted two dossiers to Bolton, one was of information on Turkey’s policies “embracing Kurdish brothers” in the region and the other was about “crimes” committed by the YPG in Syria and alleged human rights violations of the group. (…)
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-opposes-turkeys-imminent-anti-isil-military-mission-in-syria-140364) reports that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has refused to support an imminent Turkish military operation which the government says will be against ISIL, claiming Turkey was given this task by the U.S.
“We do not have ISIL on our borders. They are taking Turkish soldiers into the quagmire in Syria,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at his party’s group meeting.
Turkey is susceptible to any external dangers, he stressed. “Who gave you the order? Who is telling you to combat in [Syria],” said Kılıçdaroğlu, recalling Defence Minister Hulusi Akar’s earlier comments on Turkey’s “duty to finish ISIL in Syria.”
“Why should Turkish soldiers die while Trump avoids the casualties of U.S. soldiers in the war-torn country,” the CHP leader said, warning that Turkey was now open to “all sorts of foreign threats”. (…)
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