Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (04.03.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has called on the international community to get into action on the natural gas issue. Ozersay, who participated in the 46th Summit of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, argued that we entered into a road without return on the natural gas issue that had been discovered in Cyprus’ open sea. Claiming that every state which attached importance to peace and stability could not remain indifferent before the developments, Ozersay alleged: “Either they will get into action now and convince the Greek Cypriot side to sit at the table with us in the natural gas issue, or we will defend our rights with steps which we will take”.
Referring to the establishment of a hydrocarbon fund upon a decision taken by the House of Representatives, Ozersay alleged:
“Whatshouldhavebeendonewasnotsuchafund. Even though the creation of a different image is attempted, this fund will serve the interests of the Greek Cypriots only. Even though this fund will not be spent for the public debt, an international fund, in the administration of which the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots would be participating, should have been established instead of this fund, which could be used for various expenses within the budget of the Greek Cypriot state. This opportunity has not been lost yet. The total of the resources which will be extracted could be gathered in an international fund and could be used in investments in the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots both in south Cyprus and in north Cyprus. I think that the companies licensed by the two sides could get into action both from the point of view of the establishment and the administration of an international fund. In my view, the way out on the natural gas issue passes through the urgent establishment of an international fund and its joint administration through cooperation. Let no one try to convince us by saying that the depositions which will be made could be used by the Turkish Cypriots as well”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Hakikat (04.03.19) reports that “deputy prime minister and foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, who was attending the Organization for Islamic Cooperation’s 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi, met on the side-line of the OIC’s meeting with the Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Memmedyarov, the Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, the Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Ambassador Sedat Onal and "Kosovo’s foreign minister" Behgjet Pacolli.
In a post on his social media account, Ozersay wrote: “We explained our vision and expectations from the international community. In addition, we briefed Secretary General of OIC Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, who has a very respectable position within the organization, regarding the latest situation in our country. As a result of our intense contacts in the international arena for the last year, these are only some of the names we have developed a very good relation. These meetings are only a part of our diplomatic contacts in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. We will continue to work to increase the visibility of the Turkish Cypriot people in the international platforms”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (03.03.19) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that they named “Yavuz” Turkey’s second drillings platform, which is considered one of the 16 vessels in the world that could conduct drillings in a very big depth. Addressing a pre-election rally of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) at 15 July Democracy and Republic Square the day before yesterday, Erdogan recalled that the Fatih vessel was conducting drillings off Antalya and added that Turkey’s second vessel named Yavuz would also start drillings for oil and natural gas in the Mediterranean, after the necessary repairing and control in Yalova.
“As Turkey we are determined to make use of our rights on the natural gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea in the best manner”, he argued.
Referring to criticism made by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on this issue, Erdogan alleged that this showed that the CHP walks together not only with Fethullah Gulen [FETO] and the “separatist organization”, as he called the Kurdish PKK organization, but also with the Greek Cypriots. Claiming that the CHP was annoyed by Turkey’s explorations for hydrocarbons, Erdogan alleged: “[…] They brought the issue to the Parliament’s agenda speaking with the language of the Greek Cypriots. With the allegations which they have put forward, they became headlines on the front page of Greek newspapers. They played into the hands of those who do not digest our activities in the Mediterranean. […] This situation shows that the CHP is walking together not only with FETO and the separatist organization, but with the Greek Cypriots as well. While we are pursuing local and national solutions in every field, they speak the same language with Turkey’s enemies, they make the same attacks”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Güneş (04.03.19) reports that Ersin Tatar, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), has argued that the security which the Turkish Cypriots had gained due to Turkey’s guarantees was priceless. Asked by the paper to comment on the discovery of natural gas in Glaucous well of Block 10 in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and statements made by some “circles” in the occupied area of the island in favour of an agreement and cooperation with the Greek Cypriots, Tatar replied that they were following closely the developments and that together with Turkey they would take the same steps which the Greek Cypriots were taking. He claimed that the Greek Cypriots were mistaken if they thought that they would usurp the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. He further alleged the following:
“[…] Some circles here still have the mentality of ‘let a solution be found and let it be any solution’. These do not concern us. We have determined our way and we will walk our way. The formula of two separate states under the EU should exist at the table from now on. […] We have established our state by using our sovereign rights and we are living in security due to Turkey’s active and effective guarantees. This could not be abandoned in return of money, oil and gas. Let them come and let us discuss how to share the natural gas with the mentality of two states […]”.
Asked to comment on the establishment of a hydrocarbon fund by a law approved by the House of Representatives, Tatar claimed: “We have not seen the full text yet, but it is not possible for it to be anything else but deception. If the Greek Cypriots were sincere and really wanted a partnership, if they were in favor of confidence building measures, they would have accepted the proposal submitted since a long time by the Turkish side saying ‘let a joint committee be established, let the income be deposited in a joint fund which will be established for now and let it be used for financing the solution’. I believe that the Greek Cypriot side is sincere in absolutely no issue. What we have experienced is a proof for this”.
Under the title “Chamber of Geosciences Engineers: The natural gas will determine Cyprus’ fate”, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (03.03.19) reports that the “Chamber” said that when you think that Turkey’s annual gas consumption is 50 billion cubic meters, then you can better understand the amount found in the EEZ of Cyprus how large reserve and how important is. However, the “Chamber” added that “the figures that have been claimed so far are not in a dimension to form a global power in the gas sector”. It further argued that it has not yet an economic value that would make natural gas available to Europe either by constructing a LNG terminal or a possible pipeline.
In a written statement signed by Oguz Vadilili, the “Chamber” said that the geological conditions around Cyprus, the studies that have been carried out and the finding prove every day that the existence of natural gas around the island is a reality, adding that it seems that in the light of new geophysical studies and new information to be obtained from the drillings, it is highly likely that the new gas drilling and the total amount of reserves will be increased.
The “Chamber” argues that “they should continue to explain the reality that these natural resources around the island belong to all the Cypriots and they demand to manage this energy source with the Greek Cypriots and they will explain that these sources cannot be owned only by the Greek Cypriots”. The statement was concluded by writing: “We, as all Cypriots, should safeguard that the natural gas will serve the welfare of the island and the peace in the region”.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (03.03.19) reports that Gurkan Kumbaroglu, Chairman of Turkey’s Energy Economic Association, speaking to the paper, said that with the energy resources found last week in the Eastern Mediterranean, the strategic importance of Cyprus has been increased and added that the upcoming Cyprus talks will be shaped on the basis of energy economy and diplomacy.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (03.03.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who was a guest on the 5N1k program in CNNTurk, claimed that in case the Greek Cypriot side continues to be patted on the back, then a search for solution and peace in Cyprus will be pushed into another spring.
Akinci reiterated that the energy in the Eastern Mediterranean could be a field of cooperation rather than a tension and conflict area. He argued that the effort of Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades to ignore the active participation of the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots is unacceptable.
Noting that the essence of the concept of loose federation or decentralized federation is that the wings and not the centre of the federal powers will be stronger, Akinci argued that the Greek Cypriot side asked the centre to be armed with more authorities. He further claimed that Anastasiades by making a ‘U’ turn, voiced the idea that the centre should be weaker and the wings should be armed with authorities, adding that this idea has been also their idea from the past.
Referring to the definition of the political equality, which is a UN parameter, Akinci said that even if the political equality does not contain any numerical equality in all of the federal organs, it will safeguard that the Turkish Cypriots will definitely vote. These aspects have been agreed upon”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (02.03.19- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=experts-met-to-discuss-mobile-phone-inter-operability), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci convened a meeting of “officials from the information technologies and communication department, representatives of TRNC GSM operators” and the Turkish Cypriot members of the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Economic and Commerce Matters, following the decision taken at Tuesday’s unofficial leaders’ meeting to implement mobile phone interoperability as a confidence-building measure.
A deal was reached to implement enabling island-wide mobile phone interoperability through separate agreements of the operators on both sides with a hub based in Europe.
While, Akıncı briefed the participating members on the details of the mobile phone interoperability deal, steps regarding technical arrangements which will enable operators on both sides of the island to establish communication were discussed at the meeting.
“Officials and operator representatives” who attended the meeting, alleged that there were no technical obstacles in implementing mobile phone interoperability on the basis of a model proposed by the Turkish Cypriot side four years ago, when the CBM was first agreed upon.
Akıncı had announced on Tuesday that an earlier agreed CBM on mobile phone interoperability would be implemented following an agreement reached with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.
Akıncı has said that once mobile phone interoperability was established, the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots would be able to use their phones irrelevant on which side of the island they were located.
According to illegal Bayrak television (04.03.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=sentop-to-visit-trnc), the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) Mustafa Şentop will visit the “TRNC” tomorrow upon an invitation by the “speaker” of the so-called assembly Teberrüken Uluçay.
According to a statement released by the so-called assembly’s press office, Şentop who will pay a one day illegal visit to the “TRNC” accompanied by some Deputies, will arrive in the occupied area of Cyprus at 10am and respectively visit the Tomb of Dr. Fazıl Küçük and the TMT monument where the “founding president” Rauf Raif Denktaş’s mausoleum is also located.
As part of his contacts, Şentop will meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the “speaker of the assembly” Teberrüken Uluçay and so-called prime minister Tufan Erhürman.
Sentop is expected to depart from the occupation regime in the evening.
Under the title “The population tale again…” columnist Tayfun Cagra in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (04.03.19) refers to the statement made recently by Serdar Denktas, self-styled finance minister of the breakaway regime, who had said that the population in the occupied area of the island was 800 thousand. “The president of the republic and the prime minister are also saying that the population is 800 thousand”, notes the columnist and reports:
“Firstly, since they give the same number, is there a common number which they have found out? Secondly, if this [number] is correct, how the population goes up to 800 thousand from the number 230 thousand which the higher election council had announced last year before the elections? If […] the 800 thousand is correct, was the distribution of deputies made last year to the districts wrong and the elections should be annulled? […]
In the beginning of last year the higher election council had announced that the total population of the six districts was 230 thousand 747 and determined the number of deputies to be elected in the general elections of 7 January according to this population. Of course, this number is the number of those who were TRNC citizens then. However, if this population is 800 thousand today and the number of citizens increased by 5 thousands since last year, what are the rest around 565-570 thousand persons doing in this country?
If you say they are soldiers, they are students, too many persons are remaining again. What is this unknown percentage? Or what is the reason of the fact that this percentage is not known? That is, could the state planning organization (DPO) not conduct a population census and determine the real population? Is there an obstacle for not determining it? If there is no obstacle and it does not determine it, why is that?
There is no real population. There are unplanned, non-programmed, uncontrolled arrivals to the country. No one knows who came, how many persons came. […] It is a strange situation. […]”
According to illegal Bayrak television (02.03.19- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ctp-to-nominate-its-own-presidential-candidate), the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and so-called prime minister Tufan Erhürman has announced that his party will be nominating its own candidate for the upcoming “TRNC presidential elections” in 2020.
Speaking at his party’s district congress in occupied Lefka, Erhurman touched upon his “government’s achievements and projects”.
Stating that they will continue to support entrepreneurs, Erhürman said: “Much has been done and accomplished in these difficult conditions and hardships. There are those who are trying to conceal these accomplishments. We shall not allow them to succeed”.
He also said that the Republican Turkish Party will nominate its own candidate for the next “presidential elections”.
Under the title “Famous actor Selcuk Yontem defrauded by real estate agent in Cyprus”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (03.03.19) reports that “Turkey’s famous actor Selcuk Yontem, who wanted to buy a house in Keryneia, was deceived by the real estate agent Yasemin Taskiran. The real estate agent Taskiran, who was charged with a swindling of Yontem with 352 thousand 960 TL, was arrested and taken to court in Keryneia”.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (04.03.19) reports that the “Cyprus Turkish Realtors Association” (KTEB), in a press release, expressed its sadness regarding the trap that the actor Selcuk Yontem fell on his desire to purchase a property in the occupied area of Cyprus and added the necessary measures that should be taken.
Hasan Sungur, “KTEB’s chairman”, said that recently valuable investors, who come either from Turkey or third countries and want to purchase property in the occupied area of Cyprus, become victims of incidents due to deficiency of the “state” and due to unexpected incidents that take place.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.03.10-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-in-patriot-missile-talks-with-us-fm-141589) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on March 1. That Ankara and Washington began negotiating Turkey’s purchase of Patriot missile defense systems from the U.S.
"A positive response came from the Americans to the last letter we sent regarding the Patriot issue two years ago and negotiations have begun," Cavusoglu told a local broadcaster in the western province of Eskişehir.
He underlined that various factors including the price, delivery timetable and prospects for transfer of the system’s technology would also carry weight in the negotiation process, adding that Washington offered to send one system at an earlier date after Ankara’s objections on the late delivery of a separate system.
After protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success, in 2017 Ankara decided to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems.
"We are buying the S-400s because we couldn’t purchase the Patriots," Cavusoglu said, adding that the sale would be made only if it is found to be in the interests of Ankara.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.03.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-keeps-pkks-status-as-foreign-terror-organization-141591), Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement on March 2 that Turkey values the United States’ announcement that it has reviewed and maintained designation of the PKK as a “terrorist organization”.
“We value that the determination regarding the fight against the PKK has been emphasized in the statement of the U.S. Department of State. We expect from our ally the U.S. that they adopt the same stance against the PKK’s extensions PYD/YPG in the region,” Aksoy said in the statement.
Turkey deems PYD and its armed wing YPG as terrorist groups due to their links with the PKK, which is listed as a terror organization by Ankara, the U.S., and the EU.
The U.S. on March 1 said it is maintaining the PKK's status as a foreign terrorist organization and Washington will continue to help Turkey fight the PKK's operations.
"The United States maintains a strong commitment to our partnership with our NATO ally Turkey, including fighting PKK fundraising operations in Europe and elsewhere," the department said in a statement.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News 904.03.19- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-officials-visit-ankara-for-syria-and-s-400-talks-141614) reports that two State Department officials pay a visit to Ankara for talks on U.S.-Turkey cooperation in Syria and the latter’s decision to buy Russian S-400 Russian air defense systems.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer and James Jeffrey, the United States Special envoy for Syria who also assumed the role of U.S. Special Envoy to the Global Coalition against ISIL, will hold talks in Ankara.
Palmer has arrived in Turkey and may have meetings until March 6, diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity. Palmer is expected to focus on the issue of Turkey’s procurement of Russian air defense systems and the sale of US Patriot systems to Turkey.
Jeffrey will arrive Ankara on late March 4 and his talks will focus on Syria, particularly on Manbij deal and the U.S. plans to withdraw from the war-torn country. Turkey and the U.S. agreed on last year in June over a road map for the withdrawal of all YPG troops from Manbij to the east of Euphrates and for the establishment of a new city council by the local Arabs.
Turkey has long been criticizing the U.S. for prolonging the process.
In the past few weeks, Washington has been carrying on with a silent diplomacy for its accelerated pressure on Ankara for the cancellation of the S-400 deal. In February, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence conveyed the U.S.’s concerns to Ankara on behalf of President Donald Trump and asked Turkey to abort its S-400 purchase.
Turkey officially signed a $2.5 billion agreement with Russia for the S-400s long-range anti-aircraft missile system.
The U.S. warns that the Russian S-400 defense systems would jeopardize Turkey’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project.
“We are very concerned that the Turkish purchase of the S-400 missiles will endanger Turkish participation in the F-35 program and will likely result through our legislation in some sort of sanctions coming through the legislations called CAATSA [the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act],” a senior U.S. official told the Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.
“So the U.S. government is of the view that we will not proceed with the Patriot sale if Turkey proceeds with the S-400 purchase,” the official has added.
On Jan. 3, a U.S. delegation formally made an offer to Turkey for the sale of Patriot systems. The U.S. put an informal deadline of Feb. 15 for Ankara to respond to its offer on the Patriot systems.
The formal U.S. offer for Turkey’s purchase of Patriot systems expires at the end of March, but so far Turkey seems to have not accepted U.S. offer for a 3.5 billion Dollar worth of Patriot systems which Washington pledged to deliver till the end of 2019, but not promised technology transfer so far.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.03.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-defense-industry-eyes-full-national-development-141590) reported that Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has stated on March 2 that Turkey is now meeting 65% of its defense needs through its own local and national defense industry, and it is eyeing further development. "It is essential that we use our own resources in an effective and productive way to make progress in the defense industry field," Oktay told a summit held by defense firm Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
“Turkey has a rich history of arms technology from the Ottoman era to the War of Independence, and it maintains this trend to the present day”, he said.
“Turkey, due to its geopolitical and geostrategic position, needs to improve its defense technologies, as dependence on foreign countries harmed Ankara in the past”, said Oktay, citing malfunctioning drones and the arms embargo following Turkey’s 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, as the Turkish invasion to Cyprus is called.
“Turkey has been working day and night to develop its own arms industry, particularly since the early 2000s”, he said.
"In the defense industry, our local production rate increased from some 15% to 65. Using the experience we got with the ATAK [T-129] helicopter, for instance, we opened a whole new page with heavy-class attack helicopters," Oktay added.
"In 2023, we will take our first national aircraft out of the hangar, and in 2026 it will be in the sky. In 2031 it will be in the inventory," he further said, adding that Turkey currently has more than 600 national projects in the field of defense technologies.
"In 2002, we exported defense and aviation industry products worth $248 million, and by 2018, this figure had risen eightfold to over $2.035 billion,” he said, adding: “Is that enough? Surely not."
Oktay stressed that Turkey's moves on national technology, in line with the country's long-term goals, would continue to improve and develop the defense industry sector in accordance with Ankara’s needs and aims.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.03.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/istanbul-court-sentences-ex-chp-lawmaker-to-four-years-in-jail-141593) reported that a Turkish former lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been sentenced to four years and two months in jail for allegedly aiding a terrorist organization.
The Istanbul 23rd Heavy Penalty Court on March 1 found Eren Erdem guilty of "helping an armed terror organization deliberately and willingly without being a member," state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The former MP for Istanbul from the CHP was arrested last June in the capital Ankara over his alleged links to the illegal FETÖ, which is widely believed to have orchestrated the failed coup attempt of July 2016. He has been since held in the Silivri Prison, located in the Silivri district of Istanbul.
Erdem is accused of “publishing illegal wiretapping carried out by FETÖ” when he was the editor-in-chief of now-shuttered Karşı newspaper.
The newspaper's owner, Turan Ababey, was also sentenced to four years and two months in jail on the same charge on March 1, while two other defendants were acquitted.
Erdem denies the accusations and was expected to appeal. Local media quoted Erdem as telling the court in his own defense on March 1 that the only two groups he supported were the CHP and the Turkish soccer club Beşiktas.
Erdem was not nominated again as a Deputy candidate by the CHP in the June 24, 2018 elections, which was won by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
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