Α. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Under the title “Population is the biggest problem”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis(15.03.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the number of “TRNC citizens” increased by 130 thousands during the past 3,5 years. Addressing yesterday a ceremony on the occasion of the Medicine Day, Akinci noted that around 400-500 persons are granted “citizenship” every month by the current “government” and underlined the need of holding a population census and of preparing a “citizenship law”. He said, inter alia, the following:
“[…]The official number of 220 thousands was given to me for the population 3,5 years ago. The number given by the interior ministry 1-2 weeks ago, the number of those having identity of the TRNC is 343 thousands. The number publicly announced by the esteemed [interior] minister later is 350 thousands. In this case, the number of our citizens increased by 130 thousands in 3,5 years.
During the period of the past government, around a thousand persons had been granted citizenship every month. The current government grants around 400-500 citizenships every month. These are the citizenships granted by the ministry during the normal process. This number is not the 3-5 persons announced by the council of ministers. […]
The starting point of this issue is a serious population census. Let us put forward the situation and then let us turn and look forward, say where we are going, what we want to do in this country, what and how we program and how we will proceed from now on. We know that work is being done on the citizenship law, but somehow it cannot come out from the files and come to the light. It must come. […]”
Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(15.03.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that according to the “register” of the “ministry of interior”, 351 thousand “TRNC citizens” exist and 61 thousands of them live abroad. Speaking yesterday to a group of journalists on a program of illegal Bayrak television, Ozersay was called to comment on statements made yesterday by Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci on the population issue and the need of holding a population census. Ozersay claimed that some numbers were confused and argued that it was not right for politicians to refer to a number on this issue. He said that in the “ministry’s” register there were around 290 thousand “TRNC citizens” who live in the occupied area of the island and added that the number of those permanently residing in the occupied area is different. He argued that the number of “citizens” could not be given with a population census, because there are some “citizens” who live abroad. He also said that the “interior minister” would make a written statement on the population issue.
Referring to the “citizenship law”, Ozersay said that the “government” was working on the matter since it came to “power” and claimed: “Statements as if someone is trying to delay this issue should be avoided. This government is taking the population issue seriously. We take steps which include the entrances to the country and the exits and the citizenship law. […] An effort was exerted to put an order to the citizenship practice and a distance was covered. Is this enough? No, it is not. This is why we have prepared more than one citizenship draft-laws and we will send them to the assembly within ten days”.
When one of the journalists recalled to him that two years ago Akinci had said during the Cyprus negotiations that the number of population in the occupied area of the island was 220 thousands and asked him whether the Greek Cypriot side will accept the population which increased to 354 thousands now, Ozersay alleged that it was not correct to say that the “TRNC citizens” will not become “citizens of the common state” in case they exceed a certain number. He claimed that the data of the “interior ministry” should be taken as basis, that the data given by the “government” were “consistent” and that if Akinci misunderstood something, this could be overcome.
Referring to the four parties in the “government”, Ozersay said that there was a harmony in general among them, but there were issues on which serious debates were taking place. He recalled that the four parties cooperate by preserving their views on the Cyprus problem and added: “When the way for the solution of the problem is discussed, everyone speaks on behalf of his party, but when policies on issues such as the future of the negotiations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the isolation, the representation of the Turkish Cypriots in various organizations are discussed, the fact that the foreign minister carries out these [policies] should not be undermined. […]”
Asked whether he would suggest in the “assembly” to abandon the discussions for finding a federal solution in Cyprus since he had stated that the majority of the 50 “deputies” did not consider the federal partnership to be realistic, Ozersay replied that he had made the above-mentioned statement after the “speaker of the assembly” referred to a consensus among the political parties following a closed-door session of the “body”, and added that normally he would not have made such statement. “There is not much time left until the presidential elections. The newly elected person will determine the course within the framework of the power he will be given by the citizens”, he argued.
Commenting on Serdar Denktas’ statement that the current “government” would continue even if all party leaders became candidates in the “presidential elections”, Ozersay said he did not think that this statement was sincere and added that he could not confirm it. He noted that a “different environment” could be created during the “election campaign”. Asked what his stance would be in case the opposition National Unity Party proposed to support his candidature for the “presidency”, Ozersay replied that he did not bargain for another “government” when there was a “government”.
Asked on the issue of adopting the “presidential system”, Ozersay noted that he did not say that they should definitely abandon the “parliamentary system”, but some “constitutional amendments” should take place. He said that the “provisional article 10” of the “constitution” was important and argued that this “article” should be discussed in parallel to a “defense and military agreement” with Turkey. He underlined the “need of clarifying the powers” of the “president” adding that a “president”, who was directly elected by the “people”, should have more powers in the interior matters as well and his powers in the Cyprus problem should be clarified.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs(15.03.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, chairman of the People’s Party (HP) and self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has claimed that the negotiations held for 50 years on the Cyprus problem gave no result and what should be done here is to tell “people” the “realities”. “We cannot advance, if the realities are ignored by making calculations such as ‘let me take the vote of some circles’ by putting forward the federation”, he argued speaking during a visit of a delegation of his party to the occupied villages of Kazivera and Elia.
Alleging that solution was not possible in the current situation, Ozersay reiterated the known Turkish allegation that the Greek Cypriot side “is not ready to share the administration and wealth [of Cyprus] with us”. He argued:
“Very well, what should we do? We must secure the cooperation of the two communities. And this is done by feeling the need of each other. For example, we have achieved this in electricity in the past. We achieved it with pragmatism […] We must be realists. The beginning should be made with an evolutionary partnership model based on cooperation between the two sides. In the medium term, perhaps after 10 or 15 years, if this partnership based on cooperation works well, in time, it could evolve into a partnership based on sharing, that is, into federation. That is, we do not oppose it categorically but unfortunately today in this island the conditions for a federal partnership do not exist”.
Illegal Bayrak (15.03.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=demining-cbm-discussed ) broadcast that a meeting was held this morning at the “Presidential Palace” to discuss preparations regarding the agreement reached between the two sides to clear a total of 18 minefields, nine each.
The decision was taken by the two leaders as a confidence-building measure when they met on 26 February.
The meeting chaired by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı was attended by the “commander of the Turkish Peace Force in Cyprus” (Tr. Note: The Turkish occupation army in Cyprus) Major General Yılmaz Yıldırım, the “commander of the Turkish Cypriot security Forces” Brigadier General Tevfik Algan, “foreign minister” Kudret Özersay, the “presidential undersecretary” Gürdal Hüdaoğlu and Akinci’s “advisor for security” Halil Sadrazam.
Akıncı was informed at the meeting that demining work was progressing in collaboration with UN officials.
A statement issued at the end of today’s meeting said that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready for the implementation of all CBMs agreed on the 26 February with the completion of the meeting on demining.
Illegal Bayrak (14.03.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=sentop-attends-puic-meeting-in-rabat ) broadcast that the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Mustafa Şentop has said that “the Turkish Cypriots are expecting solidarity and support from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem”.
Speaking at the 14 Session of the Parliamentary Union for Islamic Cooperation (PUIC) in Rabat, Morroco, the Turkish Parliamentary Speaker claimed that it was the Turkish Cypriot side which always worked in favour of peace and dialogue in Cyprus.
Şentop also accused the Greek Cypriot side of always being responsible for the failure of the talks. “Despite the Turkish Cypriot side’s constructive stance, the international community, particularly the west repeatedly supports the Greek Cypriot side. We ask the support of the Islamic world and community to help our Turkish Cypriot brothers settle this problem in a just and lasting way” he said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (15.03.19) reports that so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, speaking in a televised program broadcast by illegal BRT, referred, inter alia, to Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay’s recent “visit” in the occupied area of Cyprus on the occasion of the funeral of the former “prime minister” Irsen Kucuk.
Asked to reply whether during Oktay’s visit he had the chance to discuss with him the “economic protocol” between Turkey and the “TRNC”, Erhurman said that the “economic protocol” was not discussed with Oktay, since he “departed from the TRNC” right after the funeral. He went on saying that the “technical committee of Turkey and the TRNC” will gather soon in order to discuss the “protocol”. Recalling that Turkey is in an election period, Erhurman alleged that the delay on the “signing of the economic period” is because of this. “We have made the technical work here in the TRNC. Our technical committee has sent this work to Turkey. However, the political will in Turkey is currently focused on the local elections. So, we are in a waiting position. The delegations of Turkey and the TRNC will start meetings very soon”, Erhurman said.
Referring to the issue of “prohibited books and the existence of an illegal association” in the occupied area of Cyprus which came to the agenda after the “detention” of two women with accusations of “participating in an illegal organization” and for “possessing publications which make propaganda for this organization”, Erhurman said the following: “The chairperson of the Supreme Court Narin Ferdi Sefik has made very clear statements on this issue. As Sefik said, possessing publications only does not constitute a crime, according to the current law. It would constitute a crime if propaganda is made. And if it is considered necessary, there will be an amendment on the law. There is a general consensus in the country that possessing books and publications should not be considered a crime. There is also a court verdict towards this issue by the Famagusta court 15 days ago”, Erhurman said.
Asked to comment on the increase of crime rates in the occupied area of Cyprus, Erhurman referred to the recent “agreement signed between Turkey and the TRNC regarding the controls at the entrance and exit border gates”, alleging that “according to the information he received recently, thanks to this agreement, 3,000 persons were sent back to Turkey so far”. “It is obvious that we are not in the desired point on the issue of fighting criminality”, Erhurman said, adding that the “government” will undertake all necessary steps in order to confront criminality.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (14.03.19) reports that Bengul Garninsu, who was “arrested” for “participating in an illegal organization” and for “possessing publications which make propaganda for this organization”, made statements regarding the issue. Garninsu, who is a member of the “coalition partner” Republican Turkish Party’s (CTP) council, was set free yesterday together with her daughter who was arrested facing the same accusations.
Garninsu stated that among the books found by the “police” were books by Ahmet Sik and Selahaddin Demirtas, which she bought legally by Deniz Plaza and Isik book stores. “Do I look like I am able to do such a thing (terror)? I leave in this island for 29 years, I am a person who supports the peoples’ brotherhood, I definitely do not accept the things they accused me for”, she stated.
She went on and said that despite various rumors, she was not granted the “TRNC citizenship” by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) but she became “citizen” in 2003-2004 with the National Unity Party (UBP) “government”. “UBP made me a citizen. In 2004 when CTP came to power cancelled my citizenship. Later in M ay 2016 I became citizen in my own right”, she stated.
In addition, the paper reports that the Trade Union Platform, organized a protest in front of the “court” where the case of Garninsu and her daughter was examined and writes that Ali Kismir, the chairman of Basin Sen (Journalists Trade Union) stated that they gathered to support the freedom of speech.
The general secretary of Primary School Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) Senerl Elcil stated that Garninsu and her daughter were arrested “because they are Kurdish Alevi and women”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (15.03.19) reports that the illegal near east university (UDI) has announced that the project of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) called “IAAF Children Athletics” will be organized also in the “TRNC” on March 15-16.
According to the illegal YDU, the “IAAF Children Athletics” projects consists of seminars and an implementation program and will be co-organized by the “Turkish Athletics Federation” and the “faculty of sports of the near east university’.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (15.03.19) reports that the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) approved the 21km semi-marathon racetrack of “Turkcell Girne (Keryneia) Marathon” which is to be organized on Sunday, April 14 with the cooperation of the “municipality” of occupied Keryneia and the “TRNC’s athletics federation”.
In statements on the issue, the “chairman” of the “TRNC’s athletics federation” Halil Samani, described as very important the fact that the IAAF has registered the “marathon”. He added that the IAAF has already sent the certification of approval of the marathon to the “mayor” of occupied Keryneia, Nidai Gungordu.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli (15.03.19) reports that after the completion of the construction of the mosque in the occupied Mia Milia village, the mosque has opened yesterday for prayers.
According to the paper, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, former Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for Cyprus Affairs, Besir Atalay, so-called Turkish ambassador in the occupied area of Cyprus, Ali Murat Basceri and “citizens” attended the prayer yesterday.
Issuing a written statement, the “religious affairs department” announced that the official date for the opening ceremony of the mosque will be announced later.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (15.03.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-slams-controversial-us-human-rights-report-3476670) reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed the U.S. human rights report saying that " it contains false charges, inaccurate information and biased comments on Turkey".
A statement from the Ministry said that Turkish efforts to combat terrorism were in line with international law and human rights, however, the report reflected Turkey as a violator.
The Foreign Ministry accused the controversial report by the U.S. State Department of describing terrorists and those who backed July 15th, 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey as "political prisoners."
It said that Ankara was "disappointed" that Washington was unable to comprehend Turkey's fight against "fierce terror groups" -- particularly PKK, FETO/PDY, Daesh and DHKP-C.
Writing about the report Turkish Minuter site portal (14.03.19 https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/03/14/us-2018-human-rights-report-restrictions-on-fundamental-freedoms-continued-in-turkey/ ) broadcast that the report by the US State Department released on Wednesday stated that despite the official end of a two-year-long state of emergency in July 2018, Turkey continued its restrictions on fundamental human rights.
According to the annual report on Turkey, part of the “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018,” new laws and decrees codified some provisions from the state of emergency; subsequent antiterror legislation continued its restrictions on fundamental freedoms and compromised judicial independence and rule of law.
Turkish daily Sabah (15.03.2019 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/03/15/erdogan-condemns-deplorable-terror-attacks-on-new-zealand-mosques-rising-islamophobia) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly condemned the "deplorable" terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch, saying it was the "latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia", while offering his condolences to the Islamic world and the people of New Zealand.
"I strongly condemn the terror attack against the Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand and Muslim worshippers. May Allah have mercy on the victims and grant a speedy recovery to the wounded," Erdogan said in a series of tweets.
Other statements of condemnation from Turkish officials also came pouring in shortly after the attack.
The Turkish Presidency's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said these terror attacks served as "a reminder that a house divided cannot stand: it is time to unite against all forms of terrorism." Presidential Spokesmann Ibrahim Kalın also urged the world to stop "Islamophobic fascist terrorism" and wished God's mercy on those killed.
"Attack on two mosques in New Zealand shows the point where Islamopfobia, Muslim hostility reached," Kalin, , said on Twitter.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.03.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/president-erdogan-no-u-turn-on-russian-s-400-deal/1418504) reports that Turkey's President said that his country would not make a U-turn on its deal to purchase Russian S-400 air defense systems.
"We finished this business. For us, taking a step back here is out of the question," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told news channel Haberturk about the purchase. He said Russia will deliver the missiles in July. He added Turkey is also not closed to offers from the U.S. on purchasing the Patriot air defense systems.
U.S. officials suggested Turkey should buy U.S. Patriot missiles rather than the Russian system, arguing the S-400 is incompatible with NATO systems.
On the economy, Erdogan said that despite rising challenges in global economy, Turkey has the capacity to show "positive growth rates" beginning in the second quarter. "We have left crises behind us," he stressed.
Erdogan said this year will see development move to a "much better place" for Turkey. Responding to a question regarding Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Erdogan said that Israeli premier was accused of corruption and bribery ahead of the coming elections in Israel. "You are cruel enough to persecute woman and children there [Palestine]," Erdogan said and criticized Israeli soldiers who he said disturbed Muslim holy grounds with their boots.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.03.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-expects-f-35-jets-to-be-delivered-from-us-in-november-minister-141882) reports that Turkey expects the delivery of the F35 fighter jets from the U.S. in November, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said.
“Despite some statements, F-35 process goes smoothly; our pilots, maintenance team continue training in the U.S.,” Akar told a luncheon with top Turkish generals.
“We expect delivery of F-35s in November to the [eastern] Malatya province, relevant preparations for infrastructure were completed,” Akar added.
He was accompanied with the Chief of Staff Yaşar Güler, Land Forces Commander Ümit Dündar, Naval Forces Commander Adnan Özbal and Air Forces Commander Hasan Küçükakyüz at the luncheon.
The Defense Chief added that Turkey continues to do its part in designing and manufacturing some parts of the F-35s.
Akar said Turkey has a clear stance over the procurement of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. As an issue for Turkey since the end of the 1990’s, Turkey’s search for an air and missile defense system accelerated in 2011 due to threats around, Akar said.
“We haven’t parted ways with NATO. We fully fulfill our commitments to NATO. However, our national security concerns cannot be ignored,” said Akar.
In addition, Turkish daily Yeni Safak (15.03.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/turkish-us-defense-ministers-discuss-syria-3476663) reports that in a phone call Thursday, Turkey’s Defense Minister spoke with his U.S. counterpart, according to an official Turkish statement.
The conversation between Turkey’s Akar and Patrick Shanahan, the acting U.S. Defense Secretary, addressed recent developments in Syria.
The call also touched on defense ties between the two countries, said a Turkish Defense Ministry statement.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.03.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-to-transfer-1-5-bln-euro-grant-for-syrians-in-turkey-mogherini-141893) reports that the EU will transfer a grant of 1.5-billion euros for Syrians in Turkey, according to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.
“I would like to confirm that we will transfer 1.5 billion euros [grant] out of the second 3 billion euros for Syrians in Turkey,” Mogherini said on March 14.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a conference on Syria organized by the EU and the UN in Brussels, Mogherini underlined that the solution in Syria is “not military, but political.”
Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
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