Illegal Bayrak (07.03.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=kalin-speaks-on-hydrocarbons-issue ) broadcast that the Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalin claimed that Turkey’s position regarding hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean will not change.
Speaking at a routine press conference, the Turkish Presidential Spokesman said that “Turkey supported from the very beginning the idea that any hydrocarbon activities to be carried out in the area should be done jointly by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and south Cyprus”.
“There is an established regime or order in the area regarding hydrocarbon exploration. There is the Exclusive Economic Zone. The principle we support from the beginning is for any activity to be carried out to be done jointly by the TRNC and South Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot side is violating this principle” he said.
Commenting on the reports that ships from the US 6th US fleet have arrived in the area, Kalin said: “The US 6th fleet has still not arrived there. Our initiatives within this framework are still continuing. We shall continue to carry out our own exploration activities within our own territory. I would like to make a call. Let us turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a place that will benefit everyone…not a region of conflict or tension.”
Illegal Bayrak (07.03.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=erhurman-ozersay-in-ankara ) broadcast that the so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman and “deputy prime minister-foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay are in Ankara “for their first official visit since being elected to office”.
They visited Anitkabir (Atataurk’s Mausoleum) this morning before meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Following the meeting, they will hold a joint press conference.
A lunch will also be hosted in their honor by the Turkish Prime Minister.
Erhurman and Ozersay will also be meeting with the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Recep Akdag.
In the afternoon, the two will meet with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaking to reporters before his departure for Ankara, Erhurman said that “in addition to following the established practice of conducting the first visit abroad to Ankara, the visit was aimed at discussing with Turkish officials the economic and financial protocols”.
“We shall also be discussing as to how we can further develop our relations, how we can move forward and cooperate for the development of the TRNC. Naturally we shall also be discussing the Cyprus problem, to evaluate the conditions we are currently in. Our foreign minister had launched initiatives on the hydrocarbons issue and so we need to exchange views on that” he said.
Responding to a question on the economic and “financial protocols”. Erhurman said that “ this issue will be taken up as soon as the state budget is passed”.
Meanwhile, columnist Gokhan Altiner assesses Erhurman’s and Ozersay’s visit to Ankara in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (07.03.18) under the title “The government’s difficult exam with Ankara”. Altiner argues that in order for this “government” to establish good relations with Ankara it should remain faithful to the economic “protocol” by the end of the year and materialize the provisions of this “protocol”. He wonders how Erhurman will do this and recalls that the “prime minister’s” Republican Turkish Party (CTP) had refused to sign this “protocol”, which became the cause of leaving the then “government”.
“Behold, the real difficulties start here”, he notes adding that another important issue is the privatizations, which are expected by the “government”. He argues that the main privatization is the one of the so-called electricity authority, regardless of the fact that this is called “becoming autonomous”. He also points out to the issue of transferring electricity from Turkey with cables. Recalling that the CTP had experienced “serious crises” and came into conflict with Ankara on the issue of transferring water from Turkey, he claims that the same conflict will be experienced on the electricity issue as well.
According to Altiner, the privatization of the “telecommunications authority”, the decrease of the number of “municipalities” and the “citizenship” are issues to which the government in Ankara attaches importance. “The CTP and TDP have always been reacting in principle against these expectations of Ankara”, notes the columnist arguing that “moreover, we all know that in Ankara there is a government moderate and sensitive on the Islam issue”. It seems that the TDP “will cause a lot of headache” to the self-styled government on this issue, he argues wondering how the “Erhurman government” will work in harmony with Ankara on this issue and other similar matters.
Under the above title, columnist Vatan Mehmet, in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (07.03.18), refers to the developments in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and reports that drilling vessels of American EXXON Mobile energy company have reportedly come to the area accompanied by ships of the 6th American Fleet in order to carry out drilling activities in parcel 10 of Cyprus’ EEZ. Mehmet reports that this information was published by Russian news agencies, but it was officially confirmed. He recalls that last week, Turkish warships sent away from parcel 3 Italian ENI company’s drilling platform and that President Erdogan recently said that “we saw ENI, if EXXON comes now, there is no difference, we will not allow violation of our rights”.
The same paper notes also that an analysis published yesterday by Anatolia news agency described as the “final straw” the license given by the Republic of Cyprus to ENI for parcel 3, for which the breakaway regime had allegedly authorized Turkish Petroleum Company (TP) to carry our explorations. “The fact that Turkey replied with its warships to this situation will result in continuation of its influence in the area for a long time”, claims the analysis adding that “this reply given by Turkey could actually be seen as message to the other countries of the area”. The analysis alleges also the following:
“[…] We can actually gather around three issues the disagreements which exist for years with the Greek Cypriot administration [Translator’s note: This is how the Republic of Cyprus is described]. While the activities which are carried out in parcel 6, which coincides with Turkey continental shelf, come to the first place, these are followed by the activities conducted in parcel 3 that is an area for which the TRNC [Translator’s note: The breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] has granted license to Turkish Petroleum (TP) to hold explorations. And finally there are the activities in parcel 10, which is also a field in which the Turkish Cypriots’ rights are ignored. With the stance it has exhibited in this event, Turkey showed once more that it will never hesitate to undertake such initiatives for protecting all its borders. Another target of Turkey, which has as priority to turn into an opportunity in energy market its strategic position, is to become a trade center of energy supply and demand. Turkey, which at the same time wishes the decrease of its dependence from outside for covering its energy needs by the local and renewable energy resources, is advancing in this path quickly with projects materialized during the past few years. Turkey, which showed that within the forthcoming years it will materialize important projects in the field of energy, will come face to face with countries that might hold activities similar to the ones held by the Greek Cypriot administration. However, as it is understood, in spite of all these, Turkey will never give compromises from its red lines in front of these events. Turkey continues to show during every period that it is one of the most important players in the area both in the parcels of its own EEZ and in those for which the TRNC licensed the TP, as well as with the strategic position it possesses. Within this framework, the strategies Turkey developed from the point of view of energy security will be one of the important means which will strengthen Turkey”.
Under the title “Only half of the grants were used”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.03.18) reports that Turkey granted for the year 2017 to the “TRNC”, 723,833,337.6 TL for the real sector and the infrastructure investment in the “TRNC”. However, only the amount of 400,863,423.44 TL of this grant was used.
A total of 511,833,337.60 TL was granted for infrastructure projects in agriculture, industry, commerce, transport, education, culture, health, social services, environment, defence, social security and other public sectors. And only 247,513,770, 71 TL of this money was used.
A total of TL 212 million was granted for real sector projects, again in agricultural, industrial, trade, tourism, higher education and other public sectors. Only the amount of 153,349,652, 73 TL was spent.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.03.18) reports that self-styled minister of finance Serdar Denktas told the persons living in occupied Morfou that he has received the promise from Turkey to receive the money for the construction of the second stage of the hospital in the area.
The hospital will be completed with this money he said adding that this amount will be used for finishing the hospital in occupied Lefkosia which is also under construction.
Speaking on the issue, “health minister” Filiz Besim stated that the first phase of the Morfou hospital has not been completed yet.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.03.18) reports that the construction works for the new central prisons to be built in the occupied Neochorio Kythreas continues.
According to the paper, the works for the project were launched on January 3 and are expected to be completed on May 19, 2019. It adds that until so far the 15% of the works were completed and points out that the new “central prisons” will have a capacity of 726 persons and will be covering 36 thousand square meters.
The paper adds further that the cost of the project is estimated to be 75 million TL, with the 52% project works to be undertaken by “local contractors” and the 48% by Turkish contractors.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (07.03.18) reports that the illegal Cyprus American University (“KAU”) has signed a “cooperation protocol” with the Science and Technology University of Mongolia.
The “protocol” was signed by the “rector” of the illegal KAU, Prof. Dr Ugur Ozgoker and the rector of the Mongolian University, Prof. Dr. N. Gallimaa.
The “protocol” envisages the exchange of academic staff and students between the two “universities”, writes the paper.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.03.18), centuries-old cisterns, as well as, an olive-oil press stone mill were discovered in the occupied village of Ampelikou.
Emine Hilkat, “head of the department of antiquities” in occupied Morfou, speaking to the paper, said that the excavation work has started in order to protect them.
The paper publishes photos with the cisterns and the olive-oil press stone mill.
Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (07.03.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/03/07/foreign-ministry-condemns-burning-of-turkish-flag-in-greece ) reports that the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday voiced Turkey's discontent over burning of a Turkish flag in Greece.
"We strongly condemn the burning of our flag during a rally against Turkey organized by a racist political party in Athens on 5 March," the Ministry said in a statement.
"We demand that the Greek authorities arrest the perpetrators who committed this heinous act against our flag, and bring them to justice as soon as possible."
Meanwhile, the Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also criticized Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who reportedly said Greece "might not have the territory that [it] should have had historically," adding that "if history compels us, we will do what our ancestors had done."
"We invite President Pavlopoulos to respect international law and our borders, and to refrain from a rhetoric which is not befitting his position, and that could cause unnecessary tension," Aksoy said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (07.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-to-un-security-council-damn-your-resolution-in-syria-128319 ) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) Resolution for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, blasting the international community for “inaction” over the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta.
“UNSC, damn your Resolution. What is the meaning of a decision that has not been implemented? You are deceiving humanity, you are cheating,” Erdogan said on March 6, speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group.
Erdogan criticized the situation in Eastern Ghouta, saying “it is not humane.”
“The world is greater than five,” he said, referring to the UNSC’s five permanent members: France, Russia, the U.K, the U.S. and China. He blasted “the world order formed after the Second World War,” stating that the power of five countries over others is “like mocking the whole of humanity.”
As the Turkish military continues its “Operation Olive Branch” in the northwestern province of Afrin in Syria, Erdogan said Turkey aims to “transform the region to a place with the humane environment from infrastructure to structure, with safety and peace where Syrian brothers and sisters can live.”
“We talk about all this with Westerners. We have spoken to Russia and the U.S.,” he said.
“Terrorist organizations and the forces behind them are not concerned about the prosperity and the future of the Syrian people. That’s why this effort unsettles them,” he added.
Stating that Turkey’s motivation in the Afrin operation is to “clear the terror corridor from Turkey’s border,” Erdogan said that this “terror corridor targets Turkey’s security.”
“The aim of the terror corridor is Turkey’s territorial integrity, its unity, its determination for development and its power. They can all use all the distraction tactics they want. They can use any diplomatic games they want. We see this truth,” he added.
Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (07.03.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/03/06/erdogan-putin-say-ending-humanitarian-tragedy-in-ghouta-essential-discuss-aid) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in eastern Ghouta and other latest developments in Syria, presidential sources said late Tuesday.
In the phone call, the two leaders reiterated that humanitarian aid must be delivered to civilians immediately to put an end to this tragedy, and agreed that ending the disaster was "essential".
Additionally, in accordance with the U.N. Security Council's decision, Turkish, Russian and Iranian joint efforts were termed crucial to fully implement a truce in eastern Ghouta.
Putin and Erdogan also exchanged views on the trilateral summit scheduled to be held in Istanbul in April on the situation in Syria, sources added.
Turkey, Russia and Iran will hold a summit in April to discuss Syria and potential steps in the region, the spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry announced Tuesday.
The first installment of the summit, which served as the continuation of the Astana talks, was held in Sochi on Nov. 22, 2017. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, one of the guarantors of the Astana peace process, will also attend the summit.
The Sochi Summit, brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran, was supposed to bring warring sides together to find an ultimate solution to the Syrian war and create a new constitution.
The two leaders also touched upon bilateral relations.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (07.03.18http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-asks-germany-to-put-end-to-travel-warning-128346) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu publicly asked his German counterpart during a joint press conference on March 6 to cancel a continued travel warning for Turkey.
“Germany’s travel warning does not reflect the reality of Turkey or the level of mutual relations. We request that the German Foreign Ministry reviews this warning,” Cavusoglu said ahead of a meeting with Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin.
Germany issued on Sept. 5, 2017 a safety and travel warning for its citizens planning to go to Turkey over the “arbitrary imprisonment of German nationals.”
Cavusoglu’s visit comes as Ankara seeks to mend ties with Germany, a NATO ally and key trade partner.
“We are of the opinion that it’s time for Turkey and Germany to return to normal life,” Prime Minister Binali Yildririm had told journalists traveling with him on board on Feb. 14, ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The two leaders vowed the next day to improve strained ties, which particularly deteriorated after Berlin prevented ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians from holding rallies ahead of a constitutional amendment referendum in April last year.
Touching on the recent United Nations Security Council Resolution for a cease-fire in Syria, Cavusoglu repeated Ankara’s official position that the decision does not cover Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in the northern Syrian district of Afrin.
“We are struggling against the PKK and the YPG,” he said, referring to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the PYD.
“The territorial integrity of Syria is very important. Turkey and Germany think the same on this issue,” Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey is “extremely sensitive about not harming civilians in Afrin.”
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Minister also said Ankara welcomed the recent Social Democrat (SPD) vote in favor of joining a new coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats Union (CDU).
Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (07.03.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/murat-yetkin/dangerous-turkish-us-escalation-ahead-of-washington-talks-128350) publishes the following article by Murat Yetkin:
“U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Turkey on Feb. 15-16 was expected to ease tension between Washington and Ankara. In it, Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged cooperation in the joint struggle against terrorism and it was decided that officials from the two countries would first meet on March 8-9 in Washington. Cavusoglu would then head to the U.S. capital to meet Tillerson on March 19 in a bid to find common ground to solve ongoing problems between them, particularly over the situation in Syria.
But a war of words seems to be escalating as we get closer to the talks, due to start tomorrow. Most recently, Ankara was infuriated by Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning’s statement that U.S. support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will continue, specifically praising a “General Mazlum” and warning that Turkey’s Afrin operation was distracting the SDF from fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“General Mazlum” or “Mazlum Kobani” is one of the names used by Ferhad Abdi Sahin (aka. Sahin Cilo), who is on Turkey’s list of most wanted terrorists as a ranking operative of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its extension in Syria, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). As admitted by U.S. Special Forces Commander General Raymond Thomas at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2017, the SDF is a PR-friendly name for the YPG, which Thomas personally suggested because the YPG is considered an arm of the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. government. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly asked U.S. President Donald Trump to cease collaboration with the YPG/PKK against ISIL, offering Turkey’s help instead.
The U.S. wants Turkey to wrap up its ongoing military operation in northern Syrian, which is continuing with the indirect support of Russia and which aims to clear the Afrin district on its borders from the control of the YPG/PKK. Rather than trying to stop the latter from fighting the U.S.’s NATO ally, Washington has repeatedly warned that SDF militants have been distracted from fighting ISIL and that many are rushing to Afrin to fight Turkey.
The interesting thing is that on March 5, the day when the Pentagon spokesman accused Turkey of distracting from the fight against ISIL, Turkish police detained 16 ISIL militants who had infiltrated from Iraq and Syria and were allegedly preparing attacks against U.S. targets.
Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said on March 6 that Colonel Manning had “talked nonsense,” and demanded once again that the U.S. put an end to its collaboration with one terror group in order to fight against another one.
Ankara has apparently started to suspect ahead of the talks in Washington that the Pentagon, under Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, is not willing to fulfil promises given by Secretary of State Tillerson. The whole current effort, some suspect, is simply an attempt to steal time from Turkey. Indeed, before departing for Germany on March 6, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said Ankara was tired of stalling and would request a timetable from the U.S. in order to have more confidence in its sincerity.”
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(CS / AM)