Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (06.03.19) reports that Turkey has once more emphasized the need for a “different model” for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. This time the statement was made yesterday by Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), during his illegal visit to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
Speaking during his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci, Sentop argued that different models and new ideas were needed for finding a solution in Cyprus and alleged that the waste of time with processes which would have no result were an injustice for the Turkish Cypriots. “We think that the resumption of the negotiations would have no meaning in case a common vision between the sides is not found”, he claimed.
Replying to Sentop, Akinci argued that we did not need to bring to the table ideas which had been “cooked” in the past and to see that we could reach nowhere with these ideas, just like it had happened in the past. He claimed:
“We should not make this mistake. I am saying this because you have mentioned it. […] These are things which have been tried. This will put us to some dead-ends and to the position of the guilty [side]. We should be very careful on these issues. We should calculate well every step which we take. Sometimes some things which have a pleasant sound may be said, but when you investigate their content other things come up. The Greek Cypriot side plays a game and uses this game in the direction of the continuation of the status quo. I have always pointed out this danger and it is my duty to do this from now on as well”.
Referring to the hydrocarbons issue, Akinci reiterated the position that the Turkish Cypriots had also rights on these resources and claimed that they had shown the “way of reason” on this issue. He noted that ideas by which everybody will win should be produced and the Eastern Mediterranean should not be turned into a field of conflict and tension. He also claimed that the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey should not be excluded on the hydrocarbons issue.
Moreover, Akinci reiterated the allegation that the Greek Cypriots had usurped the political and legal rights of the Turkish Cypriots in 1963 and that this usurpation resulted in the international recognition of the “Greek Cypriot side”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus. He argued that the Turkish Cypriots did not accept this and should struggle for their “rights”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (06.03.19) reports that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that the stance of President Anastasiades on the Cyprus problem did not give hopes and that everybody in the international field said this and admitted that the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey wanted a solution, but this position was not included in the UN reports.
Speaking yesterday during a meeting with Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA),Erhurman claimed that President Anastasiades tried to gain time and wanted the continuation of the status quo. For this reason he always puts new ideas on the table, he alleged.
Erhurman claimed also that all these were tactics for prolonging the process and added that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots were fully cooperating on the Cyprus problem.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (06.03.19) reports that Mustafa Sentop, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), has said that Turkey would do its utmost for securing the “international visibility of the TRNC”, as he described the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
Speaking yesterday during a meeting with Teberruken Ulucay, “speaker” of the regime’s so-called assembly, Sentop said that they attached great importance to the protection of what he called “the TRNC’s rights” and that within this framework they considered that it was very important for the “TRNC officials” to participate in international activities hosted by the TGNA. He argued that the international activities were important from the point of view of inviting foreign parliamentarians. “We will continue offering every support we can for securing the TRNC’s visibility in the international field”, he added.
Under the title “TPAO and BOTAS to be sold to Qatar?, Turkish Cypriot daily Detay (06.03.19) reports that the oil exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean were again on the agenda of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly. Following the motion of the question on this issue, Ali Mahir Basarir, Deputy of the opposition political party Republican People’s Party (CHP), who was targeted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and AKP supported press, submitted a second motion on the issue.
Basarir pointed out that Qatar, which AKP calls a “friendly” country at every opportunity, is searching for natural gas and oil with the U.S. company with the permission of the “Greek Cypriot Administration” (as he refers to the Republic of Cyprus) at plot 10, and asked the Turkish Minister of Energy Fatih whether these allegations that TPAO and BOTAS would be sold to Qatar are true.
Basarir further said that he has no objections to oil explorations in the Mediterranean, but these searches should not be in the vicinity of their coasts and claimed: “We should carry out explorations, as soon as possible, in the exclusive economic zones and in the blocks 1,4,5,6 and 7, in which we have rights too”.
Turkish Cypriot dally Diyalog (06.03.19) reports that the chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar criticized the so-called government saying that it has very different opinions on the Cyprus problem. “The prime minister says one thing and the deputy prime minister says other things”, he said.
He made these statements during a television program in Diyalog TV in which he participated with the “prime minister” and leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman.
He also claimed that the Greek Cypriot side is intransigent and that the discussion about federation came to a dead-end. “A solution of two states or a co-federation solution must be adopted”, he said adding that there is no future in federation and that “the people wish for something else”.
On his part, Erhurman said that UBP as well had participated in the past in “governments” that there were disagreements over the Cyprus problem and said that when the “deputy prime minister” speaks about the Cyprus problems he does it as the leader of the People’s Party and not as a member of the “government”.
He also said that even if one talks about co-federation or a two states solution, one should know that the issue of the territory must be discussed as well. As he said, if one believes that a solution can be made on this ground and the territory will remain in 29,2%, this means that one has no idea what is going on in the negotiations. If you refer to two separate states then the Greek Cypriots who are members of the EU will demand the soil in the framework of the law, he said.
Erhurman also said that they do not see positively a structure in which there will be no Turkish guarantees or political equality.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (06.03.19 http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n278607-ktto-heyeti-misir-is-yatirim-forumuna-katildi-06032019 ) reports that a delegation of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) attended the 35th General Assembly of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCIA), of which it is a member and the Egyptian Business Investment Forum which was also held there.
According to a statement issued by KTTO, the ICCA General Assembly and the “Africa and Mediterranean Co-operation” theme Forum where held between 3-4 of March in Cairo, Egypt and were hosted by the Egypt Federation of Chamber and Commerce.
The chairman of KTTO Turgay Deniz and KTTO Responsible for Foreign Relations Hasan Engelkiran held contacts in the framework of the forum with the Egypt Chamber of Commerce Federation and Africa Mediterranean Chamber of Commerce Union Chairman Ahmet El Wakil, with the Islam Trade Chamber and Islam Bankers Union Chairman Sheikh Salem Kamel, with Turkey Chambers and Stock Exchanges Union (TOBB) Chairman, ICCIA deputy chairman and Europe Trade and Industry Chamber Union Chairman (Eurochambers) Rifat Hisarciklioglu and Arab Chamber of Commerce Union Chairman Abdo Said.
Deniz, in the framework of the ICCA General Assembly, held also meetings with ICCIA chairman Sheikh Salen, the Jordan Chamber of Commerce Nael Kabariti and the ICCIA General Secretary Yusuf Hasan Khalawi.
During the meetings, the KTTO delegation carried out meetings “to increase the scope of trade between the Turkish Cypriot business community and the African, Arab and Islamic countries”, writes the paper.
Meetings at a technical level with the trade unions of Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Jordan, Kenya, Egypt, Oman, Guinea and Saudi Arabia were also held.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (06.03.19) under the title: “Salvation steps from the isolation” reports that the Yasemin Movement in a press conference yesterday presented its candidates for the European Parliament elections to take place in the Republic of Cyprus on May 26.
Speaking during the press conference organized at the Turkish Cypriot teacher’s trade union (KTOS) headquarters, the general secretary of KTOS, Sener Elcil called the Turkish Cypriot community to cast vote in the forthcoming elections and support the Yasemin Movement. Elcil further said that Yasemin Movement will make the Turkish Cypriot voice against the status quo to be heard and also will constitute the voice platform for all Cypriots.
Also, the spokesman of the Movement Sener Levent, stated that they have decided to take part in the European Parliament elections this year, in order to transfer the voice of the Turkish Cypriots in the international arena. Stating that the Turkish Cypriot representatives who are attending every year the European Parliament meetings as observers back Turkish positions, Levent explained that the Yasemin Movement has decided to attend the elections in order to make the voice the people heard.
The paper adds that the well-known Turkish Cypriot lawyer Tancan Reynar has also expressed support to the Movement, stating that in this election, all Turkish Cypriot people who pay the price in the “northern part” of the island, should be united in order to win.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (06.03.19) reports that the Minister of Youth and Sports of Somalia Khadijo Mohamet Diriye registered his children to the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU).
According to information obtained by DAU, the Somali Minister arrived to the breakaway regime for the registration process and met with the DAU rector Necdet Osam.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.03.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-favors-peaceful-solutions-in-e-mediterranean/1409924) reported that Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said during inspections at the Blue Homeland military drill that is conducted in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Mediterranean at the same time that “Turkey sides with peaceful solutions for the problems in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus. Our aim, efforts and basic approach are the same in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus. We are in favor of solving the existing problems through peaceful means”, he said.
“In this context, we are in favor of applying basic principles of good neighboring relations,” Akar said.
Stating that the Eastern Mediterranean had an increased value thanks to new energy resources found in the sea, he said: “We always stress that everyone needs to be aware of provocative activities in order to prevent tensions and conflicts.”
“[TRNC] has rights to natural richness around the island,” Akar argued, adding that no decision or deal in the region excluding Turkey would be valid or lasting.
He reiterated that Turkey would not allow any fait accompli in the region.
“Everyone needs to understand well and act accordingly that people living in the TRNC need to take share from these richness, and they have rights over them”, Akar further alleged.
“The natural resources in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, as well as Cyprus, are ‘strategic goals and national issues’ for Turkey”, Akar said.
He further added that Turkey has consistently contested the “Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling” [Translator’s note: as he referred to the Republic of Cyprus] in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that the Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (05.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/minister-drill-extremely-successful-satisfactory-141678) reported that Akar stated that Turkey’s largest navy drill, Blue Homeland 2019, is “extremely successful” and its results are “satisfactory”.
“Turkey had the opportunity to show the power of its naval forces to both itself and all the followers of the drill,” Akar said.
Also commenting on Turkey-Greece relations, Akar said that within the framework of good neighborly relations, Turkey is making efforts to improve its bilateral relations with Greece to a much better level by taking confidence building measures in accordance with the international law.
The drill began with the participation of 103 navy ships in the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean surrounding the country as Turkish military is testing its war-fighting capabilities.
The drill also aims to boost the efficiency of the systems of command and control.
As part of the drill, Turkish navy is visiting 33 Turkish harbors and seven others abroad in the Black Sea. The visits seek to contribute to the friendship and peace.
In December 2018, Turkey had conveyed to the Greek authorities about the location and time of the military drill.
The flotilla included 13 frigates, six corvettes, 16 assault boats, and seven submarines, seven mine hunting vessels, 14 patrol boats, as well as other navy vessels.
The drill, coordinated by the Naval War Center Command, was planned six months in advance in line with the NATO rules and regulations.
According to Turkish daily Milliyet (05.03.19, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/elektrik-ve-dogal-gazda-arz-ekonomi-2837608/), Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez argued that Turkey does not have any issue of security of supply on electricity and natural gas.
In a meeting with representatives of civil society organizations in Yozgat, Donmez said that Turkey Petroleum carried out around 70 drillings last year, adding: “This year, we will conduct 140 drillings for oil and gas production. Six – seven of them will be in the sea. The drillings in the sea are more difficult and costly. But we can say that we are hopeful especially when we look at the discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean. We hope that in a short time we will come across a resource and we will share with you these good news. We will continue to search. We have always said this ‘If there is, we will find it’. Our nation has always been behind us, I hope we will be equal to their material and moral support.”
Writing under the above title in Turkish daily newspaper T24 (05.03.19, https://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/metin-munir/turkiye-nin-dogu-akdeniz-deki-kaybet-kaybet-politikasi,21854) columnist Metin Munir reported that if Turkey’s foreign policy is not directed towards profit, the natural gas in the Mediterranean will remain to a great extent in the sea. Referring to the discovery of natural gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, Munir notes that when the explorations in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone are completed, the island’s natural gas reserves would most probably increase and argues:
“[…] This, however, will not eliminate the problem of finding clients for the gas. There is only one economic way for turning the discovered gas into money. This way is the one going to Europe through Turkey. The pipeline which starts from Egypt will go to Turkey and from there to Europe by gathering Cyprus’ and Israel’s gas. All the other export alternatives except for this are not economic. […]
Russia which keeps control of Europe’s (and Turkey’s) market, will try to keep the Mediterranean gas under the Mediterranean by underselling.
The way which passes from Turkey is the most profitable for all countries, including Turkey. However, this way is paralyzed because of the fact that Turkey left no country in the Middle East that it did not make its enemy. Ankara is at daggers drawn with Israel, the Republic of Cyprus and Egypt. And there is no evidence that it will change this hard and infertile foreign policy.
During the direct contacts which he has recently established with Turkey, Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades conveyed [the message] that he was ready to give concessions to Turkey on the natural gas issue, but his proposal found no response.
The AKP, during its second term, messed up the country’s economy by making countless stupidities and demolished its dignity in the world. There is nothing else but losses in its foreign policy inventory.
Restoring the relations with all the countries in the area, including Cyprus, might turn Turkey into one of the most important centres of the world on the gas issue. It is not only the Mediterranean gas which seeks for a way to Europe through Turkey. Countries such as Iran, Iraq and Turkmenistan are also waiting in line.
If Turkey is not directed towards a foreign policy aiming at profit, the Mediterranean gas will, to a great extent, remain in the Mediterranean. Turkey will be one of the countries which will be harmed the most by this”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.03.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-defense-chief-us-syria-envoy-discuss-manbij/1410020) reported that Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar hosted the US special envoy for Syria in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, a Defense Ministry statement said.
According to the statement by the Turkish side, Akar and James Jeffrey discussed the recent developments in Syria, Manbij and east of the Euphrates, in particular.
During the meeting, Akar reiterated Turkey’s expectation over the finalization of the Manbij road map between Turkey and the U.S. and its sensitivity for the territorial integrity of Syria, the statement said.
The Manbij road map focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the city in order to stabilize the region.
Akar also underlined that a projected safe zone east of the Euphrates should be free of PKK/YPG terrorists and the safety must be secured by Turkey.
Akar also said that Turkey is determined to protect its rights and interest under the international law and deals.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (05.03.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/minister-reacts-to-us-decision-to-end-preferential-tariff-system-for-turkey-141677) reported that Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan has criticized the U.S. intention to end preferential tariff system for Turkey, still pledging to spend efforts to reach a mutual trade goal despite the new obstacle.
“Unfortunately, this decision conflicts with our mutual objective of reaching a bilateral trade volume of $75 billion, that had been announced by both governments,” Pekcan said in a Twitter post on March 5.
Pekcan said that the value of the U.S. imports amounted to $20.9 billion under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme in the first 11 months of 2018.
Pekcan noted that Turkey was the fifth largest supplier to the U.S. with a share of 8.2% in that period, with exports amounting to $1.74 billion.
“Following the monitoring process going on since last August, the U.S. government officially declared that it will terminate GSP designations for Turkey and India,” she said.
On March 4, the U.S. announced its intention to terminate preferential tariff systems for Turkey and India which are aimed at bolstering the trading prospects of developing nations.
Pekcan noted that the decision would also negatively affect small and medium-sized enterprises and manufacturers in the U.S. “We still would like to pursue our target of increasing our bilateral trade with the U.S. that we see as our strategic partner, without losing any momentum,” she added.
According to Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (06.03.19, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1279926/Bakan_acikladi__iran_la_ortak_operasyon_yapilacak.html), Turkey’s Interior Minister, speaking to Ankara Anatolia news agency this morning, said that Turkey is planning to conduct a joint counter- terror operation with Iran against the PKK. He added that they are trying to take steps and their intelligence agencies are assessing the issue.
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