Under the title “Return in June”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (07.02.19) reports that referring to the occupation regime’s so-called opening to the Maronites for returning to their occupied Karpasia, Asomatos, Agia Marina and Kormakitis villages, Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime, has said that 18-20 military lodging buildings in occupied Karpasia village would be emptied and that this process would last 4-5 months. In exclusive statements to the paper, Ozersay noted that they should prepare new houses for the people living there and that during a meeting with the self-styled ministry of finance they decided that these would be prefabricated houses or metallic constructions.
“After this progress that we are foreseeing in the Karpasia village, we will implement the model of Kormakitis village in this village as well”, he said and added:
“I think that within this framework, we will be able to give back their houses to these persons. I have to note that some of the around 8-10 families which live in Karpasia village have some problems with the title deed of the house which they use. We are working for the solution of these problems. Most probably when the houses which now are being used as military lodging buildings are returned to their owners, we will at the same time solve the problems regarding the title deeds of those living there and we will give new life to the Karpasia village with around 40 houses which are inhabitable now”.
Asked whether any development for the occupied Asomatos and Agia Marina villages was expected, Ozersay replied that Asomatos was used for military purposes, but its military importance is much lower. He said that the representatives of this village had asked for the restoration of a building which is next to the church and that soon this building would be restored. He added that they told the Maronites from Asomatos village that their possible request to return to their village would be evaluated positively, like the requests of the people from Kormakitis and Karpasia.
Furthermore, he said that the Maronites from Agia Marina had asked for the restoration of the church, the cemetery and the old school of the village. “There will be a development in the direction within the forthcoming days”, he noted adding that they were waiting for the occupation army to prepare a timetable for moving the military installations which are in Agia Marina.
Replying to another question, Ozersay argued that the “political will” in the occupied area had not changed on this issue and noted that some people were worried on this issue and sent letters to the “government”. He argued: “I consider these worries to be unnecessary. There is a Kormakitis model, which bothers no one. Kormakitis is there as a cultural wealth […] It should be known that the status of the Maronites has always been different than the one of the Greek Cypriots. This situation is explicitly taking place in the constitution of both the Turkish Cypriot federated state and the TRNC. In the current situation, these people can elect the heads of their villages and the members of the village council under Turkish Cypriot administration. […] These people are Catholics. The relations of these people with the Pope or with other catholic centers in the Middle East could create the opportunity for a soft power which the Turkish Cypriots could use in their international relations […]”
Asked to comment on the fact that the Maronites received “municipal” services and pay taxes in the occupied area but were not allowed to vote in the “municipal elections”, Ozersay argued that he was in favor of granting the right to vote in the “municipal elections” to those persons who had the “right of permanent domicile” in the occupied area of Cyprus, even though they were not “citizens of the TRNC”. “There are Maronites who want the citizenship and to participate in the democratic process”, he claimed adding that various statuses should be created gradually.
Asked whether the Maronites who would return to their occupied villages would be given back their agricultural land, he recalled that in the “constitution” the status of the occupied Maronite properties was different than the one of the occupied Greek Cypriot properties, because they had not been “nationalized” and had not been distributed, except for some exceptions. He claimed that within this framework, the land might not be returned to its owner as soon as the owner resettled in his occupied village, because some of the land had been rented, but the land would be returned eventually, when the “rental agreement” ended.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (07.02.19) reports that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, stated that during the two leaders meeting which is scheduled to take place during the last week of February, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci expect from President Anastasiades to submit concrete proposals on the issue of the decentralization (broadening the competencies of the constituent states)
Issuing a written statement yesterday, Burcu pointed out that Akinci conveyed this demand yesterday to President Anastasiades during the phone conversation they held and explained that President Anastasiades said to Akinci that he will come prepared to their scheduled meeting towards this issue.
Burcu further stressed that the efforts currently being led by the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute to resume the talks with the aim of identifying whether there is common basis or not, are yet to be completed.
“The issue of common basis will be known and established following Lute’s completion of her contacts. As frequently reiterated by Akıncı, the primary aspect of the common basis for the resumption of talks while remaining loyal to past convergences should be the acceptance of the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality and their effective participation in the decision making processes”, Burcu further said.
According to illegal Bayrak (07.02.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-meets-with-erhurman-for-weekly-meeting), self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman has said that the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades had to clarify his views on a decentralized federation before Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı could discuss this issue with him.
Speaking after his routine weekly meeting with Akıncı, Erhurman explained that he had discussed with Akinci the developments following the recent visit to the island by the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute and added that Akinci will first be informing the “council of ministers” on the matter in the coming days before the issue is taken up in “parliament”.
Pointing out that Akıncı had accepted Anastasiades’ request to meet, Erhürman claimed: “We had come very close to reaching an agreement in Crans Montana but then Anastasiades exerted so much effort to end the positive climate that had been created. These were not developments we had hoped for”.
Reminding that Anastasiades has raised the notion of a decentralized federation where the competencies of the constituent states would be broadened , Erhürman said that the Greek Cypriot leader needed to clarify his intangible views in order for Akıncı to be able to sit down and discuss this with him.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side’s political equality was not open to discussion or negotiation, Erhurman argued that it was obvious that the Greek Cypriot leader was trying to do just the opposite. “I hope that Anastasiades does not try to go out of this framework again” he further claimed.
Erhürman also said that the Turkish Cypriot side was in favour of results-oriented negotiations and would not accept anything less than what was agreed on in Crans Montana.
Stating that the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot side has gone down in UN documents and records, Erhurman argued: “If Anastasiades rejects the principle of effective participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the decision making process in the central government then this is extremely contrary to the notion of political equality”.
Erhürman also expressed his doubts about Anastasiades’ sincerity regarding the negotiations process. “I hope I’m wrong in believing that Anastasiades wants to resume a negotiations process that will be far behind from where we left off in Crans Montana and which will be open-ended”, he concluded.
According to illegal Bayrak television (07.02.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=soylu-in-trnc) Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu is holding a series of contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
As part of his “contacts”, Soylu first “visited” this morning the Denktas family during which he offered his condolences for the passing away of Aydın Denktas.
He then met with so-called minister of interior Ayşegül Baybars at the “ministry”, where they “signed two protocols on migration, immigration and legal cooperation”.
Soylu later on met with so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman.
Following the meeting, a “protocol on the support and cooperation on coast guard areas was signed by the commander of the security forces command brigadier general Tevfik Algan and the commander of the Turkish coast guard command commodore Ahmet Kendir in the presence of prime minister Erhurman”.
Soylu then attended a lunch given hosted by Baybars.
Columnist Cenk Mutluyakali, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (07.02.19), under the title “Out of the drawn borders”, comments on yesterday’s press conference in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus of Niyazi Kizilyurek, candidate for the European Parliament elections with the Greek Cypriot political party AKEL, in the following commentary:
“We are citizens of the European Union. Exactly 105 thousand 415 Turkish Cypriots have now this privilege, position, status. Is it important? Of course! Where do we use this (privilege)? At the most while we are travelling without a visa… while opportunities of a higher education in Europe are offered to our children… (…)
As citizens of the European Union, we have an impact/power. We can elect and can be elected! We can enter the European Parliament or even we can have an impact upon.
Now they say: ‘The Turkish Cypriots determine their own representatives with separate elections’. So! We have been doing this since 1974… The Greek Cypriots elect in the south… we in the north… we vote… separately… we have our parliaments, separately… So what happened? (…)
I am not going to start a discussion regarding the ‘political equality’. I know it is indispensable. But this is different… Frankly speaking, I found it more valuable to send a candidate, who is elected jointly by the Cypriots, to the European Parliament than the elections, which are carried out separately. Think, we will find together, we will wrap the wounds of nationalism, we will discover new colours on the island, which we have painted the one side blue and the other side red, and we will build together peace.
On one hand, some Cypriots (Greek Cypriots) do not want to share the administration with the Turkish Cypriots … on the other hand, some Turks have a passion to establish a separate state and to divide the island… How far will this conflict go?
We should take side with ‘peace project’ in Europe and in Cyprus, under any circumstances (…), by managing to get out of the drawn borders.”
According to illegal Bayrak (06.02.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=filiz-besim-attending-22nd-eurasian-economic-summit), the self-styled minister of health Filiz Besim, who is attending the 22nd Eurasian Economic Summit in Istanbul, will be speaking at a panel of the summit tomorrow (Thursday) titled “New Dimensions of Globalization, Populism, Cooperation in Health”.
A partnership agreement will also be signed at the three day summit which will focus on digital economy and the global dimensions of energy. (…)
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (06.02.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/5-million-turks-living-outside-of-turkey-foreign-ministry-141049) reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has announced that five million Turkish nationals were residing in a total of 152 countries worldwide.
The announcement came upon the submission of a parliamentary motion by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu demanding to know how many Turks were living abroad.
The Ministry said that the greatest number of Turkish nationals were living in Germany, with 2 million. But the number of people of Turkish-origin in Germany is actually higher than 2 million, with reports estimating it to be at some 3 million. Turks form the largest ethnic minority in Germany.
Germany was followed by France with 700,000, the Netherlands with 500,000, the U.S. with 300,000, Belgium with 240,000, Austria with 250,000, Australia with 150,000, Switzerland with 130,000, Denmark with 75,000, and Canada with 70,000.
No Turkish national was reported to be residing in the tiny and remote Kingdom of Bhutan nestling in the Himalayas, the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean, and Tuvalu in the South Pacific Ocean, which is an island nation within the British Commonwealth.
The Foreign Ministry has also said there is no data regarding the number of Turkish nationals in Armenia, Paraguay, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Nigeria, Bolivia, Syria, Monaco, North Korea, Liberia, Belize, Whales, Iceland, Canary Islands, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, Honduras, “Greek Cyprus” as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to, Barbados, Andorra, Taiwan, Togo, and Uruguay.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.02.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-accelerate-work-on-manbij-roadmap-turkish-fm-141065) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on February 6 that the implementation of the roadmap for ridding Syrian northern town Manbij of the YPG militants has accelerated as the U.S. changed its attitude towards it.
“There has been an acceleration when compared to the past... In particular, the U.S. administration and Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo are asking for immediate implementation of this [roadmap]”, Cavusoglu told members of the Turkish press in Washington DC.
Despite the progress, however, Cavusoglu said the roadmap “must be fully and immediately implemented”, holding the U.S. responsible for the slowdown in the roadmap.
On a possible safe zone in northern Syria, Cavusoglu said that concrete ideas have yet to emerge on the issue and Turkey has been holding talks with Russia and working to coordinate with the U.S. “It is important what we understand about a ‘safe zone’. That is, if a buffer zone that will safeguard terrorists is envisaged or desired, we are against that,” Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
“Turkey is aware that some countries had financially encouraged radical groups in Syria to breach an agreement signed by Ankara and Moscow last year to establish a demilitarized zone in the country’s last opposition stronghold of Idlib”, he added.
Turkish Foreign Minister also said Ankara and Washington were carrying out joint efforts regarding the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Syria and Turkey’s security concerns.
“A joint mission force has been formed between Ankara and Washington to coordinate the latter’s pullout from the war-torn country”, Cavusoglu said.
Turkish daily Huriryet Daily News (06.02.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-french-declaration-on-1915-events-null-and-void-141047) reported that Turkey on February 6 strongly condemned French President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration of April 24 as a national day to mark the 1915 mass killing of Armenians.
“Allegations of a so-called Armenian genocide are political lies lacking any legal basis, contrary to historical facts. They are null and void for Turkey,” Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said in a statement.
“Those who ignore Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call in 2005 to establish a joint historical commission to shed light on historical realities are trying to manipulate historical events,” Kalın added.
He also said that Macron, cornered by political woes and months of protests, is trying to rescue himself by using historical events as political fodder.
Macron said he informed Erdogan about the decision beforehand, adding that he wanted to keep an open dialogue with Turkey.
Also, Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.02.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/turkey-slams-french-move-to-mark-1915-events/1385527) reported that Omer Celik, spokesman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) condemns France’s move to mark April 24 to commemorate the Armenian genocide.
In a series of tweets, Omer Celik called on Macron to reflect on the history of his own country, referring to French colonialism in Africa. “France, which claims to confront history, must first face the crimes it has committed against humanity in Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Guinea, Cameroon, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, and Chad,” Celik wrote.
Celik said that Macron’s decision was “lacking on legal and historical grounds” and was based on groundless claims on events that took place in 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. “Turkey is never accepting [the decision] and strongly condemns it,” he added.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.02.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkeys-main-opposition-condemns-france-move-on-1915-events/1385390), reported that the leader of Turkey's main opposition party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu condemned strongly on Wednesday the French move to declare April 24 as a national day marking the Armenian genocide.
“Tertiary countries cannot erase the traces of this tragedy and heal the wounds with groundless and unnecessary decisions,” Kilicdaroglu said in a written statement.
Kilicdaroglu’s remarks came as a blast at French President Emmanuel Macron over his plan to commemorate the Armenian genocide on April 24.
The main opposition leader said 1915 events are “traumatic” for Turkish and Armenian people, leaving “deep wounds” in collective memories of the two communities.
“Speaking of painful events of the past does not help reconstructing a bridge between Turkey and Armenia”, Kilicdaroglu further said, adding: “Action should be taken to rule out disintegration between Turkey and Armenia, new generations should see the future in a peaceful way, not in conflicts”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.02.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/turkey-welcomes-russian-move-to-lift-visa-requirements/1385671) reported that Ankara welcomed Moscow's move to lift visa requirements for Turkish service passport holders and truck drivers traveling to Russia, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy on Wednesday.
"We welcome the [Russian] decision to lift visa requirements for service passport holders and drivers conducting international transportation," Aksoy said in response to a question in the Foreign Ministry.
He said that Turkey and Russia were negotiating over implementing the decree at the earliest time, adding that Ankara looked forward to a visa lift for Turkish citizens with ordinary passports and implementing all articles of the visa agreement hammered out in 2010.
Turkish daily Aydinlik (06.02.19-https://www.aydinlik.com.tr/akp-li-yazar-ali-babacan-parti-kuruyor-perde-arkasinda-gul-ve-davutoglu-var-politika-subat-2019) reports that Turkiye Gazetesi columnist Batuhan Yasar, in a commentary he wrote in the paper, alleges that Ali Babacan, former Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey responsible for the Economy, is preparing to establish a new party in Turkey.
According to the paper, columnist Batuhan Yasar, who is known for his close ties with the AKP government, claimed that Babacan intensified his actions recently for the establishment of a new party and had also convinced former Turkish President Abdullah Gul as well as former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to support this move.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION