No. 10/19 15.01.2019
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (15.01.19)reports that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has alleged that the continuation of UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus’ (UNFICYP) presence by the same manner on the island after 55 years was “an unsustainable and unhealthy situation”. In a written statement issued yesterday, Burcu commented on the UNSG’s report regarding the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate distributed to the members of the UN Security Council. He argued that all sides’ approval was needed for decisions regarding the UNFICYP’s presence and the renewal of its mandate.
“The fact that this reality and the demands of the Turkish Cypriot side are not included in this report is a serious deficiency”, he claimed and argued that the reference in the report that endless processes for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem belonged to the past and that the negotiations should be held with “a foreseeable horizon” coincided with Akinci’s observations.
Noting that they would evaluate the Guterres Report after it was finalized on 30 January, Burcu said that a big part of UNFICYP’s budget during the last six months was paid by the Republic of Cyprus and Greece and alleged that this “creates conflict of interests which prevents UNFICYP, which should keep equal distance between the sides, from behaving impartially”.
Burcu further argued that most of the proposals in the UNSG’s report were actually issues, which the Turkish Cypriot side supported, attached importance to and showed political will for their realization. He alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side had been making calls for the realization of the Confidence Building Measures (CBM) decided by the leaders on 28 May 2015 regarding the use of cell phones in the whole island and the connection of electricity networks, but the Greek Cypriot side was allegedly not giving a chance for the implementation of these decisions.
Burcu also alleged:
“Even though these matters are touched upon, the issue of the source of the problem remains open. We think that it is useful to once again stress that as Turkish Cypriot side we are ready for the implementation of the CBM the soonest. Regarding the natural gas, which is in the area around our island, UNSG Guterres in his report only established that we have rights. However, the way of using these rights is important. What should be done is to actually encourage the Greek Cypriot side for a new and constructive mentality in order to abandon its unilateral actions and give the opportunity for the cooperation of the two sides on this issue. In spite of the fact that the UNSG in his report says that various demonstrations have been held against the opening of gates, there is no clear reference to which side or who did these. Noting that we are expecting for this to be correctly stressed in the report, with this opportunity, we want to state there was no protest in the Turkish Cypriot side against the opening of the gates in Deryneia and Apliki”.
Under the title “A federation will no longer be possible”, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (15.01.19) reports that Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), said that after Crans Montana talks, the view that “A federation agreement in Cyprus is no longer possible” was clearly shaped, adding: “Turkey, as well as we want an alternative solution”.
Speaking at the conference held on the occasion of Denktas’ death anniversary at Bahcesehir University, Tatar claimed that the Greek Cypriot side plays a game, adding: “Their aim is to get Turkey out of Cyprus. Turkey’s unilateral right of intervention is vital for us and the Turkish Cypriots cannot abandon it. If the Greek Cypriots were sincere, they would not be against Turkey’s guarantees that safeguard our security”.
Commenting on the latest developments of the Cyprus problem, Tatar said: “Turkey has clarified its position. We clarified ours. We have a different view on this issue with Akinci. We think that a two-state solution should be brought at the negotiating table”.
Evaluating the latest statements of Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu that the “Greek Cypriots should awake from their dreams”, Tatar argued that Turkey’s guarantee in Cyprus cannot be removed and that the UBP will continue to walk the path with Turkey. He further argued that Turkey, which is on its way to becoming a leading country, does not fall into the traps set up for it.
Under the title “The loot hotel in auction”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (15.01.19)reports that Bertan Zaroglu, “deputy” with the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP), has handed over a letter to EVKAF religious foundation general directorate by which he asked to lease occupied Greek Cypriot Dome Hotel in Keryneia. In his letter, Zaroglu offers the sum of 2 million Turkish lira (TL) as annual rent for the hotel (in case tenders are invited for leasing the hotel). Zaroglu met yesterday with EVKAF’s director Ibrahim Benter to submit his proposal. He stated that “the ball now is in the prime minister’s field”.
The paper writes that according to the “law”, Zaroglu could not participate in tenders for a “state or a government organization”, because he is a “deputy”.
In his article today under the title “The Dome Hotel, king of looting’s dinner table”, Afrika’s publisher Sener Levent recalls that the hotel belonged to Greek Cypriot Katsellis family.
The paper writes that after the news was published some citizens reacted through social media, expressing their own offers for the hotel, some with the intention to make fun of Zaroglu.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (15.01.19) reports that some people mocked Zaroglu for his intention to administrate the Dome Hotel, noting that, in spite of claiming that he is a “nationalist”, Zaroglu had secured a medical certificate and did not serve his military service.
According to illegal Bayrak television (15.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=nami-speaks-on-electricity-issue), Ozdil Nami, self-styled minister of economy and energy, referred to the issue of bringing electricity from Turkey via cable during his address at the “parliament” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus.
Stating that they were doing all they could to carry work aimed at bringing electricity from Turkey via cable to the next stage, he said they conveyed their strong desire to the Turkish authorities. He added that the ball was now in Turkey’s court.
Explaining that they had held talks with Turkish officials and academics in the country as well as officials from the World Bank and the European Union in light of technical data, Nami said the policy will be determined and formulated in accordance with the work done.
Noting that bringing electricity via cable will pave the way for solar energy, he however said it was not known when this system will be implemented. “We therefore need to focus on short-term solutions”, he added.
Stating that the natural gas issue was also brought to the agenda at this point, Nami said it won’t be easy to switch to this system either.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Hakikat (15.01.19), Ahmet Yonluer, who was former religious affairs chairman and the party leader of the Politics for People Party (HIS), has jointed recently the Revival Party (YDP) and has become now the vice president of the YDP along with Ahmet Demirel.
Ahmet Yonluer will be responsible for public relations and Ahmet Demirel for law and political affairs.
Illegal Bayrak (15.01.19 http://www.brtk.net/karapasaoglu-polis-tarafindan-evinden-alindi/ ) broadcast that Conscientious objectiorHalil Karapaşaoğlu was arrested at his home by the so-called police and was led to “prison”.
Karapaşaoğlu, who was tried before a “military court”, was fined 2,000 Turkish liras, but refused to pay the fine. Twenty days of “detention” was ordered by the so-called court. Halil Karapaşaoğlu will be held in “prison” for 20 days.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.01.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-has-no-issue-with-kurds-erdogan/1364610) reports that Turkey has no problem with Kurds and aims to fight terror groups Daesh, PKK and its Syrian affiliate PYD/YPG threatening national security, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a phone call with his U.S. counterpart on Monday.
A statement from the Turkish presidency said Erdogan and Donald Trump discussed the idea of a terror-free safe zone in Syria's northern region.
Turkey backs Trump's decision on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, Erdogan said.
The two leaders agreed to advance bilateral economic relations.
The phone call came after Trump threatened to "devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds," conflating "Kurds" with the terrorist PYD/YPG, a confusion that Turkey has repeatedly criticized.
The leaders emphasized that the Manbij Road Map should be completed to avoid a vacuum of authority in the region.
Trump "expressed the desire to work together to address Turkey’s security concerns in northeast Syria while stressing the importance to the United States that Turkey does not mistreat" the PYD/YPG terror group, the White House said in a separate readout of the call.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford is set to meet with his Turkish counterpart Yasar Guler on Tuesday for further consultations, the White House said.
In a tweet later Monday evening Trump said he spoke with Erdogan "to advise where we stand on all matters including our last two weeks of success in fighting the remnants of ISIS, and 20 mile safe zone."
The discussions, Trump said, also focused on bilateral economic ties, which he added have "great potential to substantially expand!"
Erdogan has signaled that a cross-border operation against the PYD/YPG terrorist group in northeastern Syria will happen soon. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.
Turkish and U.S. troops began joint patrols in Manbij on Nov. 1 as part of an agreement that focuses on the withdrawal of PYD/YPG terrorists from the city to stabilize the region.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.01.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-luxembourg-top-diplomats-quarrel-over-human-rights-in-turkey-140497) reports that the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Luxembourg have argued over the tiny European nation’s official’s criticisms on the state of democracy in Turkey and a potential unilateral military intervention by the Turkish army into Syria.
“Although we understand the reaction of the Turkish government after the failed coup, we are concerned over some of the measures taken and their long-term effects. On top of our concerns is the continued imprisonment of journalists, academics and civil society representatives,” Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said at a press conference with Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu following a bilateral meeting in Ankara on Jan. 14.
The visiting minister referred to measures taken by the government in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt by FETÖ, which claimed the lives of more than 250 people.
The minister, however, renewed Luxembourg’s continued support for Turkey’s full membership to the EU, while welcoming recent steps taken by the Turkish government on improving the state of human rights and democracy in Turkey.
Çavuşoğlu, for his part, blamed Asselborn for repeating the “arguments and distorted facts used by terror organizations such as the YPG, PKK and FETÖ.” “I have suggested that we could get an appointment from our Justice Ministry for him so that he can learn the real situation with facts,” he stated.
European countries have never criticized each other when one of them, like France or Belgium, declared state of emergency to fight against terrorism, Çavuşoğlu said. “We cannot accept when European countries, including Luxembourg, remain silent on measures taken by fellow EU countries in the name of solidarity but try to give Turkey a lesson. What we want to see is sincerity. I should say that we reject all these [criticisms],” he added.
Çavuşoğlu also criticized Asselborn’s call for Turkey not to intervene into Syria unilaterally.
“If you are concerned about our unilateral acts, then come and let’s fight against terror together. What we have been doing so far in Syria against the PKK and Daesh are also very important for the security of Europe,” he said.
The reason for such erroneous statements is the EU’s failure to distinguish Turkey from terrorist organizations, the minister said. “You say you want Syria’s independence. Yes, the U.N. Security Council’s resolution 2254 says the same thing. But this terror organization occupies 33 percent of Syria with the purpose of dividing Syria. Why are you silent on this?” he said.
Asselborn, in return, recalled Syria had witnessed several military actions since the beginning of the civil war, and the international community, including Luxembourg, believes there is no military solution to the existing problem in the war-torn country.
He also appreciated Turkey’s efforts in avoiding a new human tragedy in Idlib province of Syria and hosting more than three million Syrians on its territories. The minister said he will visit refugee camps in Turkey’s border city of Gaziantep during his trip to Turkey.
Turkish Minute site portal (15.01.19 https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/14/2-more-jailed-kurdish-politicians-to-start-hunger-strike-protesting-visitor-ban-on-pkk-leader/) reports that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Monday announced that 11,297 indictments were prepared by the office based on terrorism charges in 2018, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The office reviewed more than 600,000 files during the year, of which 61,717 concerned individuals suspected of terrorism, the report said.
According to the Justice Ministry, some 45,000 people are currently in jail on terrorism-related charges, including inmates convicted of terrorism and defendants in pretrial detention on similar charges.
Prisons within the jurisdiction of the Ankara prosecutor’s office house a total of 9,348 inmates including suspects in pre-trial detention.
Out of 3,562 convicted prisoners in these prisons, 16 are accused of membership in the Gülen movement, a faith-based network that is accused by the government of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.
Also, 2,901 alleged Gülen members were in pre-trial detention.
More than 600,000 people have been investigated by Turkish prosecutors over Gülen links since the failed coup.
Turkish Minute site portal (15.01.19 ) reports that Former Kurdish deputies Selma Irmak and Sabahat Tuncel announced on Monday that they would join a hunger strike led by deputy Leyla Güven to protest a visitor ban imposed on the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
All three former MPs are currently in pretrial detention.
The lawyers for the former deputies made a statement in front of Kandıra Prison asking for an end to the isolation from the outside world of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The former deputies vowed to continue the hunger strike until the visitor ban on Öcalan is lifted.
On Saturday Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan announced that the jailed leader of the PKK met with his brother Mehmet Öcalan at İmralı Prison, the first visitor he has been allowed since 2016.
Speaking at an HDP event in İstanbul, Buldan said Öcalan is enjoying good health and that they would provide further details about the meeting in a few days.
“The fact that this meeting was authorized doesn’t mean that the ban on [Öcalan] receiving visitors has been lifted,” Buldan added.
“Our client Abdullah Öcalan met with his brother Mehmet Öcalan in the scope of his right to enjoy familial visits. This was his first contact with his family during the period of absolute isolation in effect since September 2016,” said the Asrın law firm in a written statement.
HDP members also claim that Öcalan has been denied visitors since the last time he met with his brother in September 2016 and is isolated from the outside world.
HDP deputy Güven has been on a hunger strike for 66 days, demanding the removal of the prohibition.
In September 2018 the European Court of Human Rights dismissed a complaint by Öcalan, claiming ill treatment in prison.
Öcalan has been jailed in Turkey since 1999.
More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK launched an insurgency in 1984. It is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Turkish daily Hurriyet (15.01.19-http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/abdulkadir-selvi/anketten-hangi-carpici-sonuclar-cikti-41083068) publishes a commentary by the paper’s columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, who refers to the results of a survey conducted by Optimar Research Company in Turkey between December 28-January 3, regarding the forthcoming local elections to take place in Turkey.
According to statements by the general director of the company, Hilmi Dasdemir, the survey was conducted in 26 provinces in Turkey with a sample of 2523 people and with the face to face method.
The survey results present the percentages of the parties with the distribution of the undecided votes to be as follows:
-Justice and Development Party (AKP): 45.5%
-Republican People's Party (CHP): 28.6%
-National Movement Party (MHP): 7.6%
-Iyi (Good) Party (IP): 7.7%
-People's Democracy Party (HDP): 7.6%
The paper adds that the undecided votes' percentage is 27%.
Also, replying to the question who is the most popular politician (leader), 25% of the participants said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 9.1% said the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu and 6.9% said the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli. Also, 51.5% of the participants said that they would vote according to the candidates indicated by the party they support while 34.9% said that they would vote according to the candidate they prefer the most.
In the question, which problem they consider the most important problem in Turkey today, economy came the first with 35.5% and unemployment came second with 25.7%. Terrorism ranked third with 14.7%.
In a post in its official account (15.01.18 https://twitter.com/tcsavunma) the Turkish Ministry of Defense gave information about the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha vessel’s activities. The post is as follows:
“Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha Seismic Research, which is continuing its scientific research activities in our maritime jurisdictions in the Eastern Mediterranean, is still in the region within the scope of the escort duty provided by our Naval Forces.”
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