Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television(28.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/cozum-ancak-ortak-akilla-sekillenebilir/),broadcastthat Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the options for solving the Cyprus problem except federation gave minority rights to the Turkish Cypriot “people” and added that he would not accept such an option. In a written statement issued today, Akinci referred to the recent debates regarding some options for reaching solution in Cyprus outside federation. He argued:
“The wish for creating the following impression exists: It is as if many options exist for the solution in Cyprus and these are not realized because of my insistence on federation. When I look at which these options outside federation are, concepts such as a unitary state, two separate states either inside or outside the EU, and confederation come before us. As I have repeatedly said in the past, there is not a single Turkish Cypriot who would approve minority rights in a unitary state. As for the other options, it is not possible for them to be realized without securing the TRNC’s recognition as an independent state. As I have said in the meetings, it is in vain to expect from the Greek Cypriots to adopt at the table a formula which will include the TRNC’s recognition as a separate state. And circumstances which would secure this outside the table are out of the question, at least in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, we all accept that we do not want the continuation of the status quo and that the solution would be through negotiations within the framework of the UN. When the issue is seen from this point of view, it is obvious that the valid option in our hand is a federal structure under the UN parameters by remaining committed to the past agreements. The biggest obstacle which stands in front of us here is the unwillingness shown by the Greek Cypriot leadership for sharing power by back stepping from the past agreements.
At the point we have come, now it is understood that Mr Anastasiades has given different messages to different persons in various environments. This needs to be clarified. This is the call I have made at the press conference. If new ideas really exist, we are ready to evaluate them with good will. I anticipate holding direct contacts with the Greek Cypriot leadership as well within the forthcoming days in parallel to [meeting] Mrs Lute.
If we could meet at a common understanding, we should work for carrying this forward for the benefit of both communities by ending the blame game.
Of course, no one alone can impose the solution model in Cyprus. However, this rule is valid for everyone. The solution, as I have repeatedly said, could only be formed with common reason. This could be secured only inside us [the Turkish Cypriot community] and together with the Greek Cypriot community which is our interlocutor. The contribution of third parties such as the UN, the EU is also important. Turkey’s and Greece’s support to the process is of vital importance.
The final decision will be formed in the end with the will of the communities. From this point of view, I want to reiterate my warning: Time is quickly running out. Either we will succeed in agreeing on what is possible and reasonable or the status quo, that is, division will become more permanent. The communities should know this and realize the urgency of the situation”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (28.01.19) writes that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, during their joint press conference last Friday, that he is open to discuss all the options as regards the solution of the Cyprus problem, are very important.
Cavusoglu made these statements during a press conference in Antalya, after he completed his illegal visit to Cyprus, where he stated that his “visit was productive and successful”.
“What is important is what we say for the Cyprus struggle and what we say at the negotiations. This is what we are looking at. It is very important that everyone has come to the same line”, he stated.
Cavusoglu said that the aim of his visit was to evaluate their future steps on the Cyprus problem: “After the Crans Montana failure, new options started to be presented. The negotiations made until today for federation carried no result. The Greek Cypriot side put down its options, so did we. We started discussing this unofficially and we came to today”, he stated.
He went on adding that some persons in occupied Cyprus say that “federation is the best solution according to my ideology. This is how it should be done”. “We, as Turkey, or all the sides, should evaluate unofficially all the options, to discuss which ones are beneficial for the Turkish Cypriot people, with which we can reach a result and of course which one is beneficial for Turkey, to come together and take steps accordingly”, he said, adding that this was also discussed during a previous visit he paid to the “TRNC”.
Referring to the speech he delivered at the illegal American Keryneia university, Cavusoglu stated that what he wanted to say is that the Cyprus cause cannot be sacrificed for the political views or the political ideology of a person, no matter who this person is.
According to illegal Bayrak television (26.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-cavusoglu-meet-2), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who paid an illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus on Friday.
A part of their meeting was attended by the leaders of six of the political parties that are represented within the “assembly” of the breakaway regime.
After the meetings were completed Akinci and Çavuşoğlu held a joint press conference.
Akinci said that they had first carried out a tête-à-tête meeting and then moved forward with their meeting with political parties that are represented in “parliament” where they discussed the Cyprus issue and the natural gas reserves around the island.
“We want to clarify our stance, if we do not do this we cannot negotiate. We have tried open ended talks that were not result orientated. That’s over. The UN Secretary General also pointed that out in his report. We believe that result orientated and talks within a time frame can bear fruit”, Akinci argued.
He claimed that a solution can only be possible if it is based on political equality and alleged that the Greek Cypriot side had begun taking steps back on this issue and some other issues as well.
He further claimed that this action from the Greek Cypriot side was not very promising and added that although a very serious negotiations process had taken place during the Crans Montana summit the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades had informed the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that they were not ready to share power with the Turkish Cypriot side.
Alleging that the Greek Cypriot leader had been discussing a two state solution during that time, but later turned to a loose federation and then referred to a decentralised federation, Akinci argued: “When we asked about which powers would be transferred we did not receive a response”.
Explaining that the UN Secretary General’s temporary special consultant to Cyprus Jane Holl Lute is still carrying out efforts on this point, Akinci said: “I want to know what they are requesting and what they want to discuss. I want them to clarify this so that we can sit down and discuss this. We are ready to discuss an acceptable agreement”.
Expressing the hope that Lute’s efforts will bear fruit, Akinci said that Ms. Lute may come to the island at the end of next month.
Touching upon the natural gas reserves around the island, Akinci noted that everyone’s stance on this issue was crystal clear. “There is a source around the island that both peoples on the island have rights on. It either continues to be a source of tension or common sense prevails and everyone benefits”, Akinci argued.
Claiming that if there is a major source of natural gas reserves then through common sense and cooperation the most profitable way to transfer these resources to Europe is via Turkey, Akinci added that the “TRNC” and Turkey will continue to “protect its rights on the natural resources issue”.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for his part said that the meetings they had carried out had been very useful and had discussed how Turkey could further support the “TRNC” in bilateral relations, economy and education. He said that they had extensively discussed the Cyprus issue and what steps they will follow in the future.
Noting that during the Crans Montana summit they had been discussing a federation, he claimed that the sides that had shown flexibility on this issue had been the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey. “During the 11 days the Greek Cypriot side and its leader Nikos Anastasiades had begun taking backwards steps on the agreements reached in Mont Pelerin. The Greek Cypriots are not ready to share. Anastasiades admitted this and began looking at other options”, Çavuşoğlu claimed. He said that all sides must clearly see what is being sought for or what will be negotiated before any further steps are taken.
Touching upon the hydrocarbon issue the Turkish Foreign Minister argued: “What we want is very clear. The Turkish Cypriots have rights over these reserves and their rights must be safeguarded. The wealth to emerge must be shared fairly. This doesn’t mean you recognise them as a state”.
Reminding that they had requested that the EU find a formula for this problem as well, Çavuşoğlu said that they found the announcement made by the Greek Cypriot side that they will share the wealth once the Cyprus problem has been solved to be insincere.
According to illegal Bayrak television (26.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-evaluates-contacts), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu took part in a joint televised program that was broadcast by the “BRT” and private TV channels at the illegal Turkish Embassy in the occupied part of Lefkosia.
He answered journalists’ questions and put forward his views on many issues ranging from the Cyprus issue, hydrocarbons surrounding the island and the economic protocol signed between the two “countries”.
On the issue of the Cyprus problem, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that there may be varying views at the Cyprus negotiations but added that as Turkey they had clarified their position from the very beginning. “From the very beginning we had stated that all options should be clarified from the very beginning, a framework must be determined and then all sides should agree and only then should the negotiations begin, in result oriented negotiations” said Çavuşoğlu and added that the Cyprus cause is everyone’s cause.
He said that it would be wrong to say that whenever the Greek Cypriots side is prepared then we too are prepared or whatever the Greek Cypriot side accepts we too will accept. “What the Greek Cypriot side says is important for the negotiations but what’s more important is what we are going to say, what are our views and ideas, we must put forward our own ideas” said the Turkish Foreign Minister.
Noting that he had come to Cyprus to say that they wanted to discuss all options on the Cyprus negotiations process now that the Crans Montana summit has ended, Çavuşoğlu claimed that despite of all their sincere efforts the Greek Cypriot side does not want to share power, administration or the economy and they had clarified this during bilateral contacts in Switzerland and therefore the summit had ended in failure. “This just goes to show us that the Greek Cypriot side does not want to share anything with the Turkish Cypriot side, so if a new negotiations process is to begin, then we must discuss what and how we will negotiate”, he said.
Noting that all of this needed to be discussed by all sides, Çavuşoğlu said that they had reached a consensus that all parties including the guarantor counties needed to meet and hold discussions in unofficial meetings.
Explaining that after this, an atmosphere had been created that Turkey was trying to exclude Akıncı from the talks, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that this was quite upsetting and a wrong conclusion. “This perception was created via social media from some groups that are trying to severe Turkey and TRNC ties. This perception was created by people who want to yield to the Greek Cypriots” Çavuşoğlu argued.
Touching upon the economic protocol that is being prepared between the two “countries”, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that preparations are continuing and that as soon it is prepared the protocol will be signed.
Referring to the fluctuating economy in the “TRNC” the Turkish Foreign Minister said that “economic reform in the TRNC is a must as this is needed for the economy to be sustainable in the country”.
On the issue of natural gas reserves around the island, Çavuşoğlu reiterated that any agreement that is reached without Turkey will not be accepted. He said that “Turkey will be carrying out drilling efforts within the boundaries of the continental shelf and that all efforts are being carried out in line with international agreements”.
Answering questions regarding energy issues on the island, Çavuşoğlu said that work regarding interconnected electricity cables is continuing and just like the water project, bringing electricity to the “TRNC via” underwater pipeline is a promise given by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “This will be realised” he added.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (26.01.19) reported that Cavusoglu, on the energy issue, also said: “Our second platform is coming in February. We were going to send it to the Black Sea, now we are sending it to the Cyprus area. Our drill ship Fatih is currently in the Alanya-1 area, its work there will be done in March. We are shifting that to the south too”.
Underlining that all the necessary security measures have been taken, Cavusoglu said: “This is not what we desire, but we will take these steps due to the fact that the Greek Cypriot side does not listen to our suggestions and the EU cannot find a solution. Cavusoglu reiterated that there would be no provision of any agreement that Turkey will be left out of.
Noting that all kinds of gas and oil drilling activities will be carried out, Cavusoglu said that the benefit of working with Russia has been visible and the stability in Syria has been visible too. Noting that the bilateral relations have reached a better point thanks to the increasing confidence, Cavusoglu argued that Russia has good relations with the Greek Cypriot side, however, the recent efforts of some western countries to create bases in the Greek Cypriot side, have started to create an uneasiness to Russia.
Cavusoglu, further noted, that the sole representative of the Republic of Turkey in the “TRNC” is its “ambassador”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (27.01.19) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, may have left (occupied) Cyprus; however, the discussions that started in the occupied part of Cyprus after his statements continue and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci issued yesterday a written statement, addressing some of the things said.
“There is not an one-man regime in us. There is not even a need to remind this”, Akinci noted in his statement, adding that during his whole life he was against a “one-man regime”. Therefore, he said the statements made by Cavusoglu, during that latter’s speech at the “American Keryneia university”, is not possible to be referring to him.
He also said that the federation model which is on the negotiation table with the agreement of the two sides in Cyprus is still an option and continues to be the most realistic and accepted solution model. “However, if Anastasiades is seeking another models, he should know that these models should include political equality as well”, Akinci stated.
“We want solution in Cyprus, not the continuation of the status quo. We believe that this can be achieved in the UN framework and through negotiations. We agree that political equality is not negotiable for us and that if a new procedure starts it should not be open-ended and without time schedule”, he stated.
He went on to claim that the Greek Cypriot leader, in various phases and in different environments referred to various (solution) models like two states, co-federation and lose-federation. “Even if later he said that this is not what he wanted to say, it is not possible that everybody is making a mistake at the same time”, Akinci said, and added the following: “He must say it clearly and with consistency already what he does want in the name of his community; he must stop this confusion that he caused”, Akinci stated.
Commenting on the issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (27.01.19) writes that Akinci replied to the bitter words issued by Cavusoglu, saying that theywere not addressed to him; however, Afrika notes, both the community and himself (Akinci) are very well aware that Cavusoglu’s statements pictured him.
According to illegal Bayrak television (28.01.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=hp-holds-1st-ordinary-congress), the Peoples’ Party (HP) held its first ordinary congress yesterday.
While current party leader Kudret Özersay was the only nominee running for the post, members of the party elected the 50 seat party assembly.
The congress started with the HP leader-“deputy prime minister and foreign minister” Kudret Özersay and the self-styled minister of public works and communications Tolga Atakan briefing members of the work carried out by the party over the past year.
While HP “deputy” Jale Refik Rogers provided information about the HP’s activities within “parliament”, HP “deputy” Gülşah Manavoğlu gave a presentation on the party’s economic policies.
Addressing the congress, the HP leader Kudret Özersay praised the foreign contacts they held abroad, stating that they had made the Turkish Cypriot “people” more visible within the international arena and had achieved success in conveying the Turkish Cypriot side’s views and positions. “We may not see everything eye to eye with Turkey but we do not support statements made against Turkey or views and policies aimed at marginalizing people with different views”, he added.
On the Cyprus problem, Özersay said that it was healthy to have different or alternative views put forward on the Cyprus problem. “There is no such thing which dictates that the common or joint vision has to be between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Social change requires healthy debate. We need a paradigm change in Cyprus”, he added.
Stating that the Peoples’ Party had no problem with the notion of a federal partnership, the HP leader said that the time had come to debate a new partnership model. “As the HP we have stated that we have no problem with a federal partnership but we have also been stating that the time has come to discuss other partnership models. This does not mean that a federation is a bad thing but it’s obvious that the Greek Cypriots do not want to share power or wealth with us. Since the confidence or trust for a federal partnership doesn’t exist we could have a partnership on the basis of cooperation. The electricity we sold to South Cyprus via the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce in 2011 is a good example of what could be done” he argued.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (26.01.19) reported that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, prior to his departure from the occupied area of Cyprus, held a face-to face meeting with so-called prime minister Kudret Ozersay, in a honorary dinner offered to him. The paper writes that Ozersay’s meeting with Cavusoglu took place in a restaurant in occupied Keryneia and it was not included in Cavusoglu’s official program.
In a tweet in his personal account, Ozersay said that together with Cavusoglu they had the opportunity to evaluate in general the meetings they held and issues related to foreign policy. The meeting lasted two hours. Cavusoglu departed from the occupied area of Cyprus on Saturday at 15.00.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (28.01.19) reports that the leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP), speaking during an event organized by his party, referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and said that they clearly state in front of everyone that the two state solution in Cyprus should be put in front of the Greek Cypriot side.
Referring to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statements during his “contacts” in the “TRNC”, Tatar said that they open the door for a new era. “Even though Akinci states that ‘no other solution than federation is possible and that I am not discussing any other solution besides federation since I have obtained the authorization to do this’, Mr. Cavusoglu has clearly said that the two-state solution and confederation are also solution models which should be put in front of the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigency. Whether the Greek Cypriot side will come to the negotiating table or not, is not of our business. But we are not going to retrace from our steps”, Tatar alleged.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (27.01.19) under the title: “AKP holds hostages the Turkish Cypriots”, reports that the United Cyprus Party (BKP), evaluating in a written statement Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s recent statements during his illegal contacts in the “TRNC” that “all options should be on the table” in the Cyprus problem, supported with the above statements Cavusoglu has shown that he moves away from the federal solution in Cyprus and demands to change policy and go on with a two state solution.
The BKP supported further in the statement that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Turkey is preparing to submit to the negotiating table in Cyprus separatist and divisional policies that will change the path of the Cyprus problem.
The BKP called on all circles in the “TRNC” who support federation and a federal solution in Cyprus to continue their struggle towards this direction.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (28.01.19) reports that Abdullah Korkmazhan, issuing a written statement on behalf of the Leftist Movement, referring to Cavusoglu’ illegal visit in the occupied area of Cyprus and his recent statements, described the statements as provocative, separatist and imposing.
The Leftist Movement condemned strongly Cavusoglu’s statements underlining that federation is the only way out of the Cyprus problem. “A federal solution in Cyprus is the only way out and the power of will of the great majority of the Turkish Cypriots. We will continue our struggle and fight against all efforts to attack our communal will power, culture, identity and way of living”.
Korkmazhan further said that on the one hand Cavusoglu and the AKP government exerts efforts to sideline Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci since his is a supporter of federation in Cyprus and on the other hand, it enters to backstage and sercet bargaining with Nicos Anastasiades and other Greek Cypriots fascists for the permanent division of the island. “In order to protect its interest in the Easter Mediterranean and in the region, Turkey holds hostage the political will of the Turkish Cypriot community and place the issue of bargaining as a trump card.
Under the title “Formula for the division instead of the unification”, Cenk Mutluyakali, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(28.01.19),comments on the statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during his recent illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus and writes, inter alia, the following:
“Like many politicians in Turkey similar to him, Cavusoglu sees the matter through the national basis. This is the way both right wing [politicians] and social democrats see it. They read the island through the ‘Turkish identity’ and the ‘Greek identity’. There is not a single Cyprus in their eyes. Cypriots do not exist at all! ‘Geography’ means nothing for these people except for a ‘strategic’ meaning. They do not dream of a common Cyprus. They design such a policy in the one half of the island that the dream of a common country is disappearing.
The person who says ‘they do not want to share’ does not have the word ‘sharing’ in his language. On the contrary, he has the word ‘division’. Actually, they seek a formula for the ‘division’. The view which is hidden in their voices is: ‘How should we separate so that on the one hand the territory remains in our possession and on the other the world recognizes us! […]’ Theytryforanagreementforthedivision.
For example, Cavusoglu says the following in a sentence: ‘Why we succeeded in Crans Montana, why the table was not overturned because of us? This is so. For the ‘Turkish side’ success is not the solution in Cyprus. […] If the table is overturned because of the Greek Cypriots, this is a success (!)
By referring to ‘those who want rapprochement with the Greek Cypriots’, for example, he almost considers them enemies. Very well, whom does he want peace with? […]
His language does not speak of the unification of Cyprus. It speaks of the unification of the northern part of Cyprus with Turkey. His stance is the stance of the ‘owner’ rather than the ‘guarantor’. For example, he says: ‘They ask for a Theological College. There is one, they ask for another one’. From whom? From the Turkish Foreign Minister? […] Why do they ask for a college in Cyprus from Turkey?
As I said, they do not consider Cyprus as a different country. They do not want Cyprus to be outside Turkey’s ‘control’. This is the most fundamental disagreement! For this reason they seek a formula for the ‘division’, a name for the partition! And to tell the truth, the Greek Cypriot leadership incites this in its national egoism. […]”
Under the title “Let Cavusoglu be appointed instead of Akinci and Ozyigit”, Basaran Duzgun, editor-in-chief of Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis(28.01.19),comments on the statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during an interview with three pre-elected Turkish Cypriot journalists at the Turkish “embassy” in the occupied part of Nicosia and writes, inter alia, the following regarding his response to a question on the issue of education in the occupied area of Cyprus:
“[…]’A school similar to the Hala Sultan [theological college] should be built in Karpasia. There are many applications to us in that direction’, the Turkish Foreign Minister replied to a question posed […] during the program organized by his employees in an ‘ask me to tell you’ manner. […]
The Turkish Foreign Minister gives a fetwa [Translator’s note: A religious judgment given by a competent person on a matter, during the Ottoman period] saying that applications are accepted from Karpasia and a school for imams should be built in Karpasia. Apart from the ‘invited’ journalists, who were there, no one came out to say ‘of course not’. Meanwhile, the issue is passing away but the reality of [being a] subordinate administration flings in our face.
My proposal from this tension and my personal humble view is the following: Let the Turkish Foreign Minister personally hold the negotiations which will start with the Republic of Cyprus for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Let him take on his team Akinci, who is the head of the subordinate administration (Surely Anastasiades will accept this). As for Cemal Ozyigit, who is the minister of the subordinate administration’s educational affairs, let him leave this duty to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for a while. Let one school for imams open in Keryneia (the suspicious EVKAF director has anyway given land) and one in Karpasia, the curriculum to be readjusted according to rules of the religion. Let this happen now. Otherwise, we are tired of this theater. We want to see the leading actors on stage”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (28.01.19) reports that Pious Evkaf Foundation assigned two buildings to “a radical Islamic organization”.
According to the paper, the buildings, within occupied Lefkosia walls, were assigned to the “Global love and brotherhood association”, (ESKAD) which is known for its belief exploitation and “jihad call”. Afrika further writes that it will be interesting to see at the request of whom these buildings were assigned to the Islamic organization.
The paper further writes that during an ESKAD’s meeting some time ago in occupied Keryneia the organization’s chairman Salih Turhan Bey stated: “We entered Syria, we will take Mosul, we do not give Cyprus back”
Turkish pro-government daily Sabah (28.01.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/01/28/turkey-gives-no-leeway-to-pkk-provocations-in-northern-iraq) with the above title reports that Ankara pointed at the PKK terrorists as the culprits behind the agitation that took place near a Turkish base in northern Iraq on Saturday, underlining that necessary measures have been taken to avoid civilian losses in the region. The Turkish Presidency's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Sunday that attackers linked with the PKK concealed themselves among civilians and tried to provoke them against the Turkish military near the northern Iraqi city of Duhok. In a statement released late Saturday, Altun added that PKK terrorists on social media outlets have been carrying out a defamation campaign regarding the attack that took place earlier in the day.
At least 10 people were wounded when protesters attacked a Turkish military camp near Dohuk in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on Saturday and burned two tanks and other vehicles. "Precautions have been taken to prevent civilian losses near the area where the base is located," Altun said, as he urged media outlets to be careful about the terrorist group's online defamation campaign. Altun also noted that only material damage has taken place and no lives have been lost during the attack.
Speaking on the incident on Saturday in the southeastern Gaziantep province, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the provocateurs tried to "do wrong" against the Turkish army, but they were dispersed after Turkish fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) took off.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, who told him that they have taken the necessary precautions and have launched an inquiry into the incident, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said after the attack. Çavuşoğlu confirmed yesterday that the KRG will launch an inquiry, adding that Ankara will closely monitor the process.
Barzani also made an announcement yesterday and said that people in the region have been paying the price because of the PKK attacks that are threatening neighbour countries.
"The ones who realized that they cannot compete with the Turkish soldiers are trying to achieve their aims by provoking the locals. Yet, our soldiers have proved them wrong," Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said yesterday, adding that "the terrorists have failed once again".
Underlining that Turkey's operations in the region will continue non-stop, Akar promised that the whole area will be cleared from the terrorists. (…)
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.01.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/four-million-syrians-to-return-turkeys-safe-zones-erdogan-140820), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on January 28 that Turkey expects some four million Syrians to return to the safe zones that will be created by Ankara in the war-torn country. "We are aiming in the first phase to create safe zones where four million Syrians who now live in our country can return," Erdoğan said in a speech during a coordination meeting between Red Crescent and Red Cross representatives in Istanbul. "We will soon bring security and peace to the east of the Euphrates," he added.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Sabah (25.01.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/01/26/turkey-to-establish-safe-zone-in-northern-syria-with-or-without-allies-support) reported that Turkey will not hesitate to form a safe zone in northern Syria by itself even if its allies break their promises on the issue, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday, referring to recent talks with his U.S. and Russian counterparts on the matter.
"If promises regarding the safe zone are not kept, we will form it [ourselves]," the President said during a speech he gave at the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) municipal candidate presentation event in the eastern province of Erzurum.
Pointing out that he expects a safe zone to be established in "a few months", Erdoğan said that Turkey wants logistical support from its allies, mainly the U.S. and Russia, in the process. The idea of the safe zone, although mentioned several times by Erdoğan over the years, surfaced once again during his phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump. In the talk, the two leaders discussed establishing a terror-free safe zone in Syria's north based on the country's territorial integrity. Last week, Erdoğan announced that Turkey would establish a safe zone along the length of its Syrian border with the assistance of U.S.-led coalition forces. The President also mentioned the issue during his recent visit to Russia.
On Wednesday, following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Erdoğan said that Turkey and Russia are on the same page with regards to the planned "safe zone" in northern Syria. (…)
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (25.01.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/25/court-releases-kurdish-deputy-on-hunger-strike-from-prison/), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Leyla Güven, who has been on a hunger strike for 79 days, was released from jail on Friday by a court in Diyarbakır.
Güven will be subject to monitoring by the court, BBC reported, adding that very little information has been released to the public.
The jailed deputy’s daughter broke the news on Twitter about Güven, who was transported from prison to her home in an ambulance due to her ongoing protest.
Güven has been on a hunger strike demanding the removal of a prohibition on outside visits to Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
When asked about her protest, the Deputy from Hakkari province said her demand for the PKK leader’s access to his lawyers has not yet been met and vowed to continue her hunger strike.
Güven was arrested on Jan. 31, 2018 and faces a prison sentence of between 17.5 and 31.5 years on charges of establishing and leading a terrorist organization, disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and provoking the public to take part in illegal demonstrations.
Following Güven’s election to Parliament in the general election of June 24, her lawyers petitioned the court for Güven’s release on the grounds that she had acquired parliamentary immunity with her election.
Meanwhile, under the title “CHP representatives vote against PACE resolution on worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey”, Turkish Minute (25.01.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/25/chp-representatives-vote-against-pace-resolution-on-worsening-situation-of-opposition-politicians-in-turkey/) reports that four representatives of Turkey’s main opposition party in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Thursday voted against a resolution on the worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey, the Ahval news website reported. The resolution was adopted with 72 votes in favour and 28 votes against and eight abstentions.
Turkish members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party voted against the motion.
PACE called on Turkish authorities to fully respect opposition politicians’ rights and freedoms of expression, association and assembly in its preliminary meeting on Thursday.
The CHP representatives were deputies Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz, Yunus Emre, Selin Sayek Böke and Haluk Koç.
The assembly notably expressed its concern over 154 parliamentarians being stripped of their immunity in May 2016, which has disproportionately affected the mainly Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). (…)
The assembly expressed its concerns over the detention and imprisonment of opposition legislators and former parliamentarians in Turkey, including former deputy and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, Deputy Leyla Güven and former deputy and PACE member Ertuğrul Kürkçü. (…)
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (25.01.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/01/25/journalist-gets-8-years-3-months-for-alleged-terror-links/), the Muş 2nd High Criminal Court on Friday handed down a sentence of eight years, three months in prison to journalist İdris Sayılğan after his conviction of membership in a terrorist organization and disseminating terrorist propaganda, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.
Sayılğan, who was a reporter for the now-shut-down Kurdish Dicle news agency, was arrested on Oct. 24, 2016. During the final hearing Sayılğan alleged ill-treatment in the course of his transfer from a prison in Trabzon to a facility in Muş, claiming he was subjected to a strip search. (…)
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