Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (18.01.19) reports that the so-called minister of finance, Serdar Denktas, stated that the “government” asked for a meeting with the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Denktas said that apart from himself and “prime minister” Tufan Erhurman, the “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay may also participate in the meeting.
Denktas, who made these statements speaking during a television program of Canal T, reminded that after the recent prudential elections in Turkey, Erdogan deals directly with affairs concerning Cyprus; therefore the lack of communication that occurred after the Turkish elections will be surpassed.
He went on and added that the works regarding the “economic protocol” that the breakaway away regime will sign with Turkey have been completed and the procedure will come to an end next week. He also said that the “protocol” will be signed after the meetings between the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot delegations and all the issues that were included in the previous “protocols”, but were not implemented, will be included in the new one, following an agreement made between the two “countries”. He also said that these issues will be implemented with the new “protocol”.
Denktas also referred to the issue that occurred with the “Dome” hotel and said that he supports the current situation that is the continuation of renting the hotel to its workers’ trade union. He also said that no one in the “government” has a different opinion. “Even if they give us 200 million […] we will not give Dome”, he stated, adding that the “government” supports the continuation of the current management of the hotel which makes profit without the “state’s” support.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Diyalog (18.01.19)reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, has alleged that the efforts for finding a federal solution in Cyprus had come to a deadlock and added that he disagreed with Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci, who insisted on this issue. In statements yesterday to Diyalog TV, Ozersay argued that at the point we have come we should try the idea of a “partnership based on cooperation” instead of a federation”, giving as an example for such a cooperation the natural gas issue.
Referring to the natural gas issue, Ozersay criticized the companies which are carrying out explorations on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus and claimed that the Turkish Cypriots “have the right” to be given compensations. Referring to the companies, he alleged:
“If the Turkish Cypriots are one of the partners of this wealth, how do you give only to the one partner rights such as the use, the extraction of this natural gas without the consent of the Turkish Cypriots? At a point, as companies you will also face a problem, you will enter under the responsibility of [paying] compensation. Such a right will arise for us and we will claim it. The companies should give the following message to the Greek Cypriot side: We have come to this point, but from now on we will have a problem, you should sit and agree with the Turkish Cypriots, agree on how you will share it”.
Referring to the issue of the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Ozersay claimed that “I could say that the authority and responsibility of the UN Peace-Keeping Force has started to be questioned now with the initiatives we have undertaken” and argued that his initiative had annoyed the Greek Cypriot side. He futher claimed the following:
“The logic that the mandate is renewed without changes once every six months has started to break and the issue is being discussed so much in the south as well. The diplomatic initiatives do not give results in one meeting. It is a process, you meet, you influence. These views are now discussed. The important thing is for the decision to be taken at the end of the six month period after today. We have started working on this issue as of today. The UN has a presence of around 800 soldiers and in parallel to this a police and civilian personnel. The reason for which the sides avoid taking some actions in the buffer zone since 1964 is not the UN’s active interference in the situation. What deters the two sides from making actions against each other at the point of contact is the fact that the UN officials observe and report this. There is a stance of avoiding being the bad child. […] Our proposal is [for the UN] doing this as a civilian mission rather than a military one. […] During our contacts in the US, I have obtained the impression that our interlocutors, with additional questions, tried to understand the different aspects of this issue and that they will be able to include our demands in the system during the advancing process. […]”
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Güneş (18.01.19)reports that during a congress organized yesterday in the occupied part of Nicosia by the National Unity Party (UBP) for late Turkish Cypriot leaders Dr Fazil Kucuk and Rauf Denktas, the speakers alleged that the federal solution was impossible in Cyprus.
Former Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu reiterated the allegation that the alternative is the “TRNC”, as he called the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus. Eroglu criticized Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci arguing that “it is wrong to insist on federation when the Greek Cypriot leader tells Turkey that he could discuss the two states”.
UBP chairman, Ersin Tatar argued that Akinci had initially stated that a federal solution could not be found, but now changed his mind. “We want a solution of two states under the roof of the EU”, he reiterated.
Mehmet Kucuk, late Fazil Kucuk’s son, noted that he totally agreed with those saying that a federal solution with the Greek Cypriots could not be found, but the alternative should be put forward with courage. He added: “What is the alternative? Is it the TRNC or becoming a province [of Turkey]? This uncertainty should end”.
Finally, former Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ergun Olgun argued that their targets did not coincide with the ones of the Greek Cypriots and claimed that a federation with the Greek Cypriots would be tantamount to death. He alleged: “The alternative is the confederation or two separate states. For this, we should be strong inside and take steps outside”.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Bakis (18.01.19) reports that the “supreme court of appeals of the Turkish Cypriot security forces” is expected to announce today its “appeal verdict” on the case of the Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector Halil Karapasiaoglou, 33 years old, who was arrested and taken to prison on Tuesday, after refusing to pay a fine imposed earlier in January by a military court.
Karapasiaoglou was led before the military court on 3 January for refusing to report for reserve army duty for the past four years.
The court ordered the payment of a fine of two thousand TL and a prison sentence of 20 days. However, Karapasaoglu’s refusal to pay the fine had as a result his “detention”.
An appeal was later filed by Karapasiaoglou’s lawyer, Oncel Polili, who claimed that the decision by the military court violates articles 5 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the fair trial principle. Polili further described the penalty against Karapasaoglu as extortionate and called on the “government” to discuss the “conscientious objection bill”.
Polili further said that their demand is the admission that Karapasaoglu’s rights were violated. He further asked the “court” to reduce his conviction.
Meanwhile, the paper writes that the “military service draft bill” which includes the “ammendments on the conscientious objection issue” has been already published at the “official gazette” of the occupation regime in order for the public to be informed and submit its views. The “draft bill” will be “submitted to the assembly” on January 30.
Also, commenting on the latest developments on the issue, Murat Kanatli, speaking on behalf of the “Conscientious Objection Initiative”, said that the issue of human rights and freedoms in “north Cyprus
is at the same level with Turkmenistan and Eritrea. Kanatli said further that the Initiative will continue its struggle towards supporting Karapasaoglu and all conscientious objectors’ rights and announced the Initiative will organize a new protest on January 22. He further added that the Initiative will launch a series of visits to the Turkish Cypriot political parties in order to discuss the issue.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot press labourers’ trade union (Basin-Sen) described as unacceptable the recent statements made by so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, who has claimed that “the discussion of the conscientious objection bill is not urgent”.
In a written statement on behalf of the trade union, Ali Kismir stated that Ozersay’s statements are shameful and said that Karapasaoglu was sent to prison for a human right which in all other parts of the world is recognized. Kismir further said that such statements indicate the problem exists in the current “government”. He added further that even though the “People’s Party” (HP) in its election manifesto was clearly giving promises on the issue of conscientious objection, now the chairman of the party, Ozersay says that “the discussion of the bill is not among their priorities”.
In a separate statement, the “TMT fighters’ association” alleged that it is “illogical and groundless” that this “bill” came to the agenda and especially in a country into which the ceasefire continues and the other side continues its “excessive armament policies”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (18.01.19) reports that Dimag Caginer was elected as the new chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Hotelier Union.
Speaking after his election, Caginer stated that tourism is an issue in which not only the “ministry of tourism” but all the public institutions must put efforts for its promotion. He also said that the union will continue to co-operate with the “ministry” because as he said tourism is the most important and most profitable investment of the “country”.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Vatan (18.01.19) reports that the so-called minister of health, Filiz Besim, commenting on a report published yesterday in the press, saying that several children were diagnosed with typhus disease in occupied Famagusta, claimed that there is no reason to worry about an epidemic, since, as she argued only one case was diagnosed with the disease.
Issuing a written statement, Besim added that they are watching closely the situation and argued that there is no reason to worry about an epidemic.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (18.01.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-discussions-will-reveal-views-on-safe-zone-turkish-fm-140589) reports that discussions between Turkey and the U.S. will unfold whether the perceptions of the two countries regarding the safe zone in Syria are overlapping, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Jan. 17.
“The first talk about that was held between our Chief of Staff General Yasar Guler and [his U.S. counterpart] Joseph Dunford yesterday in Brussels,” the minister, said speaking at a joint press conference with his FYROM counterpart.
The proposed safe zone is important both for the country’s stability and displaced Syrians’ return home, he noted.
“A safe zone in northern Syria is important for stability, the return home of Syrians including our Kurdish brothers, and the fight against terrorism,” he stated.
When asked about an attack in Manbij which killed American soldiers, Cavusoglu said Turkey knew that five U.S. service members were killed but there is no confirmed information about the others. The U.S. will share the information it gathered with Turkey, he added.
“Who is behind this will be unveiled. If there will be a request for help from Turkey, we will do everything in our power. Terrorist organizations should not affect our determination and our decisions,” he added.
Regarding the U.S. proposal on Patriot missiles, Cavusoglu stressed that the date of delivery, price, credit facility, co-production and technology transfer are important criteria for the purchase.
“Today, we have purchased the S-400s, we need them. It is a fact that we need more. Because the only ones left along our border are Italian SAMP-T and Spanish Patriot batteries,” the minister said, stressing the “true alliance” Italy and Spain has been showing.
In addition, Turkish Daily SABAH (18.01.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/01/17/ankara-supports-macedonia-in-name-dispute-fm-cavusoglu-says) reports that Cavusoglu stated that “Turkey supports Macedonia in its name clash with Greece”.
Cavusoglu said that “Turkey recognizes Macedonia by its constitutional name, adding that Macedonia's stability in the Balkans is important”.
"Distinct from our political relations, we have strong ties. However, I would like to emphasize that our political relations are also at an excellent level. We are the country that has known Macedonia by its constitutional name since the beginning," Cavusoglu added.
Turkey and the U.S. should establish a base of action in a planned safe zone in Syria in order to ensure that “Syria goes in the right direction,” former Pentagon and CIA chief Leon Panetta has told Hürriyet Daily News (18.01.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-should-set-up-action-base-in-syria-ex-cia-chief-panetta-140594) in a telephone interview.
“It has always been a complicated relationship between the U.S. and Turkey and how we deal with the Kurds going back to the Iraq War. Somehow, because we have always had a good relationship with our ally Turkey, we have been able to work through these differences. I remain confident that we can do that again,” Panetta said on Jan. 16.
Panetta had served as the head of Pentagon between 2011 and 2013. Prior to that, he was director of the CIA from 2009 to 2011. According to Panetta, Turkey and the U.S. can overcome problems stemming from Washington’s relations with the YPG, the Syrian branch of the illegal PKK.
He believes the reason behind Washington protecting the YPG is because it had promised to protect the group which has fought ISIL on the ground in Syria. The fundamental “problem” is the U.S. worked with the YPG once, “it has supported them in the effort to defeat ISIS. And we have in that process given them our word that we will protect them,” he said, using another acronym for ISIL.
When asked if he thinks it is possible for Washington to enjoy good relations with Ankara while it protects the YPG, he said: “I believe that if there continues to be dialogue between our countries, we won’t see a breakdown of our relationship. I think that the bond between the U.S. and Turkey is strong enough we can successfully deal with this challenge diplomatically.”
Speaking about Turkey’s plan of a safe zone in Syria, he suggested: “I think that both Turkey and the U.S. have an interest in not allowing Iran, [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad and the Russians to dominate what happens in Syria. And recognizing that common goal I think the U.S. and Turkey can work together to establish safe zones in Syria not only to confront ISIS and terrorism in those areas, but also establish a base of action in order to ensure that Syria goes in the right direction.”
Panetta said that he is very concerned about President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, especially after the Jan. 16 attack in Manbij. “I am very concerned about any kind of precipitated withdrawal from Syria because of the ISIS threat. President Trump is very unpredictable in all of his decisions. I am sure that his defense advisers and his national security adviser will indicate that in light of this attack it would be a serious mistake to move forward with any kind of withdrawal.”
According to Panetta, there is a chaotic process in the White House especially when it comes to foreign policy decisions.
“I think the fundamental problem with the way this president conducts foreign policy is that he will go ahead and tweet a position without going through a process within the administration of allowing those defense and national security advisers to give him a full picture of what the consequences of that kind of decision will be. And so what happens is he goes ahead and makes a decision. And then those around him try to delay that decision,” he stressed.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (18.01.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-deports-dutch-journalist-140573) reports that a Dutch journalist based in Istanbul was deported on Jan. 17 by Turkish police, Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad said in a report.
Ans Boersma, the Istanbul correspondent of the daily, was taken to a repatriation center on Jan. 16 when she went to an immigration center to extend her residence permit, it reported.
Turkish authorities have not given any official reason, only citing “security related reasons,” according to the report.
“Ans did her work sensibly and responsibly. This measure is a flagrant violation of press freedom,” Jan Bonjer, chief editor of Het Financieele Dagblad, said.
After spending the night at the repatriation center, she was taken to the airport for a morning flight to the Netherlands.
Boersma, based in Istanbul since 2017, had received a Turkish press card for 2019 on Jan. 8.
“And then suddenly you are back on the plane back to the Netherlands,” she tweeted on Jan. 17. Boersma and the Dutch daily will appeal the six-year ban to enter Turkey.
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