Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (21.03.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci inspected yesterday the “new terminal building” at the illegal Tymbou airport which is still under construction.
Akinci was accompanied by the so-called minister of public works and communication, Tolga Atakan and the “general director management of the “T&T Ercan airport company”.
Speaking during the visit, Akinci said, inter alia, that the new “terminal” of the illegal Tymbou airport will provide services to millions of people. “We will be proud of the new airport after its completion. Our biggest desire and goal in the future is for direct flights to take place from and to Ercan airport. We will work tirelessly until we achieve this goal”, Akinci also alleged. He further stated that their expectation is that the new “terminal” will be ready to open by 2020. “At first, the aim is to serve 5-8 million people, but we refer to an infrastructure that will be able to provide services to 10 million people”, Akinc also said.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Akinci alleged that under the current conditions it is not possible to predict how the developments on the Cyprus problem will be developed and be formed. “What we wish and desire is that the Greek Cypriot side will digest the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots. A more attractive Cyprus in terms of tourism, makes Ercan more important. Whatever will be the solution to be found on the Cyprus problem, Ercan airport will be in a position to open for international flights. In any case, Ercan will have the same character as Larnaka airport. Our biggest wish and goal is for direct flights to take place at Ercan. No matter if the Cyprus problem is solved or not, one way or another, even with Turkey and the touch down system, we will work tirelessly until we will are able to have access to the whole world”, Akinci further alleged.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (21.03.19) reports that the “quarrel” in the occupied area of Cyprus over the friendly football match between the teams of Greek Cypriot Nea Salamina and Turkish Cypriot Mağusa Türk Gücü (MTG) in Pyla village continue, despite of the fact that the match has finished.
According to the paper, the criticism against Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who refused to attend the match continued also yesterday. Issuing a written statement on the issue, so-called deputy with the National Unity Party (UBP) Oguzhan Hasipoglu, criticized strongly Akinci for not attending the friendly football match and alleged that Akinci shouldn’t have interference on this matter. “You should have leaft the two teams to decide on their own in which stadium to play the match”, Hasipoglu said.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (21.03.19) reports that “presidential spokesman” Baris Burcu, responding to the criticism expressed by Hasipoglu against Akinci, accused him for utilizing politically the issue and of distorting Akinci’s statements on the reasons why he decided not to attend the match.
Referring to Hasipoglu’s statement that “Akinci should have attended the match in the same way he participates in the negotiations during the last 5 years in the buffer zone, where, he goes as he said with his cars and without the “TRNC flag” and also in the same way he attends other events in the “south”, Burcu described these statements as groundless and unfortunate. Burcu accused Hasipoglu of distorting the truth in order to gain political interests.
Burcu reiterated also the allegation that the football match which took place the other day took place in a stadium in the “south”, alleging that a second match was not envisaged to take place and thus as he argued the principle of equality and reciprocity was not taken into consideration.
According to illegal BRT television (20.03.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-says-federation-not-possible-in-cyprus), the leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar has reiterated the position that the negotiations had collapsed and that the time has come to focus on a two-state solution.
Speaking on a TV programme, Tatar said that it had become evident that it will not be possible to achieve a federal settlement in Cyprus and that the negotiations had collapsed at Crans Montana.
Noting that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had himself admitted to this right after the talks had collapsed, Tatar argued: “No one should try to prevent the public from seeking other alternatives by claiming that there is no other option but a federal settlement. The green light was given for a separate state in Kosovo after efforts to unify the territory with Serbia failed. This is possible in Cyprus as well. How much longer will the UN commit this injustice to us?”
The UBP leader said that the time had come to discuss other alternatives such as separation through negotiations, a confederation, a two-state solution under the EU umbrella or an outright two-state solution. “We support the idea of bringing such alternative solution models to the negotiating table,” he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (21.03.19) reports that Tatar claimed that neither the armament efforts of the Greek Cypriot side and Greece nor their alliances will frighten Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot “people”. In a written statement, Tatar further argued: “We will not abandon our rights as the Greek Cypriot side wants. Either they will come to their senses and make an agreement with us or we will continue our struggle and we will win”.
Commenting on the trilateral Summit Meeting between Cyprus-Greece- Israel, with the participation of the United States, in Jerusalem, Tatar said that the issues of the meeting, as it was announced, were energy and security in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, he argued that the gas pipeline in the Eastern Mediterranean was also discussed and this aimed at them and Turkey. He called on the USA to stop supporting the Greek Cypriot side. He raised the question whether they really want or not a solution in Cyprus and in the region by supporting a very expensive pipeline when the most correct thing is to go through Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (21.03.19) reports that the “directorship general of the police” in the occupied area of Cyprus has launched an investigation against 4 “police staff” for allegedly having links with Fetullah Gulen Organization (FETO), which is accused of having orchestrated the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
The paper adds that so-called police has also called Tufan [Translator’s note: meaning the so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman] to testify. It also adds that the so-called police plans to open an investigation against 83 other “police staff” and points out that the accused “police officers” are under inquisition without a “court order”. Also the “police officers”” face the danger of being fired.
The paper criticizes also the easiness with which the Turkish government interfere in the “internal affairs of the northern part” of the island.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (21.03.19) reports that totally 200 “police staff” had been called for inquisition for allegedly having links with FETO organization, while 6 out of them were discharged from their “duties” and were removed from the “police list”. Among them are 3 “police officers”, 1 “sergeant” and 2 “enlisted policemen”. The “police” has also suspended all their “bank accounts” while it has frozen their assets. All 6 “suspects” will be arrested very soon and will be sent to “court”.
According to Turkish state Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.03.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-any-future-cyprus-talks-must-be-result-oriented/1424599), Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that any future talks over the divided island of Cyprus must be result-oriented, not just for the sake of talking.
The framework of Cyprus negotiations should be specified before the start of new talks, Mevlut Cavusoglu saıd at a joint press conference alongside his Greek counterpart George Katrougalos in Antalya, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Cavusoglu claimed that Turkey wants a solution for Cyprus that is acceptable to both sides, adding that he and Katrougalos would hold a series of informal meetings to see if a new peace effort for the island is possible.
Also speaking on energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Cavusoglu further claimed that Turkey has rights there under the international legal framework and added: “"Any [energy] project which excludes Turkey is not realistic".
Cavusoglu said that “after getting authorization from the TRNC [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus], Turkish companies started exploration around Cyprus. In the weeks and months to come, we will also start drilling work".
Cavusoglu argued that Turkish Cypriots also have rights over the hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus, adding: “This is accepted by everyone”.
Cavusoglu said that while Greek Cypriots do unilateral drilling around the island, Turkey being a guarantor power for Cyprus is "more important than ever".
On the same issue, AA news agency (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/greece-recognizes-turkeys-energy-rights-in-emed/1424586) reports that Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos, for his part, said that Turkey has rights concerning the abundant energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
Noting that they are working to reduce tension in the region, the Greek Minister said: “We know that Turkey has certain rights regarding energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean". Turkey has rights based on international maritime law and Greece is "aware" of that, he added.
AA news agency (21.03.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/politika/yunanistan-disisleri-bakani-katrugalos-turkiyenin-dogu-akdenizdeki-haklarinin-farkindayiz/1424418) also reported that Greek Minister Katrougalos said: “We have to be in continuous contact by starting with small steps without big targets. An evaluation meeting between the officials of the two Foreign Ministries will be held on April 12 regarding the Confidence Building Measures (CBM). Within this framework, we agreed with my friend Cavusoglu to materialize the first informal exploratory talks on the Cyprus issue.”
Noting that they have focused on solving the Cyprus problem within the framework of international law, Greek Minister said that they are currently maintaining a system of guarantee, which is out-dated. “We have not discussed in detail yet these issues. We would exchange views on these issues on how to establish a mechanism for discussing these issues and what are the views of the Turkish side on these one”, he added.
Referring to the system of guarantees, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has a duty, as a guarantor country, to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot “people” and of “TRNC” and of course their own rights at the continental shelf. He stressed that he disagrees with the Greek Minister on the issue of guarantees, adding that the issue of guarantees is not out-of-date.
Turkish daily Sabah (21.03.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/03/21/turkey-open-to-new-cooperation-with-intl-firms-in-med-black-sea) with the above title reports that Turkey’s first drilling vessel Fatih is pictured off the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Oct. 30, 2018.
Turkey's current partnerships with international companies for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea will continue, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, who said the country is open to new cooperation in both seas, particularly in terms of oilfield services. There might be various international collaborations in Turkey's hydrocarbon exploration activities, Dönmez told Anadolu Agency's Editors' Desk yesterday, recalling that there used to be a number of cooperative activities in the Black Sea with international companies and today they are in talks with some of those companies.
Last October, U.S.-based energy company Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services firm, announced in a financial report that Turkey's state-run oil company Turkish Petroleum (TP) awarded a $15 million Integrated Services Management (ISM) contract to them for TP's drillship Fatih to drill the deep-water well Alanya-1 in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In line with the contract, Schlumberger is providing project management services for Fatih and coordinating multiple product lines. In late September, TP also awarded Houston-based Rowan Companies a two-well contract in the Mediterranean with an estimated duration of 100-140 days. (…)
Speaking of the drilling off Alanya, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dönmez said: "We can say that we are now at the last corner. By the end of March, we will have reached a depth of 6,000 meters. Some technical tests are required in the last stage. We are at a point that requires more careful, slower work." (…)
Minister Dönmez yesterday noted that they have started drilling a second well off the coast of the Mediterranean town of Adana after Mersin, adding they intend to reach about 4,500 meters in drilling depth. "These operations take about four to five months. Our goal is to make four drillings per year with two vessels," he added.
Committed to expanding operations, state-run oil company Turkish Petroleum also bought a second drillship, which arrived in a shipyard in the northern Marmara province of Yalova for maintenance and renovation last month. After maintenance and renovation work, the drillship, which was named Yavuz, will sail off for the Mediterranean to embark on well-drilling operations.
A twin of Fatih, the sixth-generation drillship Yavuz was bought for $262.5 million and has a length of 229 meters and a weight of 21,283 gross tons.
Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, Turkey's first seismic vessel, was bought from Norway in 2013 and has been conducting surveys in the Mediterranean since April 2017. MTA Oruç Reis was built by Turkish engineers at a local shipyard in Istanbul and has been in operation since late June 2017. (…)
On the other hand, efforts are underway to expand Turkey's energy exchange market and attract more actors from European countries, Dönmez said. He noted that gas pipeline projects like the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) and TurkStream would not only ensure Turkey's gas supply security and diversity, but would also play a big role in covering those of Europe.
"Thanks to the new pipelines, Turkey has become the region's energy trade hub. Works are ongoing not only to increase the number of pipelines, but also to expand the energy exchange market," he argued, adding he also expects the involvement of European players. (…)
According to Turkish state Ankara Anatolia news agency, (20.03.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-hdp-deputy-jailed-for-attending-illegal-protest/1423672), an opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy was sentenced on Wednesday to more than one-and-a-half years in prison for violating laws on meetings and demonstrations, said judicial sources.
A court in Turkey’s southeast Sanliurfa province found Ayse Surucu guilty of taking part in illegal demonstrations in 2016. Surucu was not in court but was represented by her lawyer. (…)
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (21.03.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-warns-west-against-ignoring-islamophobia-3477066), Turkey warned the West on Wednesday about ignoring Islamophobia, saying doing so could fuel further deadly attacks.
"Ignoring Islamophobia can lay the groundwork for similar terror attacks” as last week’s New Zealand mosque attacks, said Turkey’s National Security Council in a statement, adding that those attacks showed hostility towards Turkey, referring to anti-Turkish messages in the terrorist's manifesto.
In a regular meeting, the Council also firmly condemned the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch and the "killing of innocent people for their beliefs". (…)
The Council also said that Turkey will continue to fight all terrorist groups with unwavering determination and will never allow the formation of a terrorist corridor along the country’s southern borders. It added that migration from Syria cannot he halted without clearing terror groups from Manbij, Syria and east of the Euphrates and ensuring stability there.
Turkey has promised to launch an operation against terrorist PYD/YPG forces in Syria, east of the Euphrates. (…)
Separately, the council stated that it reviewed security measures to ensure peaceful local elections on March 31. (…)
According to Turkish state Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.03.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkey-iran-discuss-joint-anti-terror-op-against-pkk/1423952), Turkish and Iranian officials on Wednesday discussed over the phone the recently-launched joint operation against PKK terrorists on Turkey’s eastern border.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Muhterem Ince and Iranian counterpart Hussein Zulfiqari expressed satisfaction for having reached an agreement on launching simultaneous operation against terror groups that threaten the security of both countries, Turkish Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The Deputy Ministers also stressed the importance of cooperation in the fight against terrorists and drug smugglers for the peace of the two nations. In an earlier phone call on Wednesday, Turkish and Iranian military officials said the simultaneous and coordinated operations would continue for “some more time”. The two sides said they are determined to continue the counter-terrorism fight.
On Monday, Turkey announced that it launched a joint operation with Iran against the PKK terrorist group. “We will announce the outcome of the operation later. We will eliminate [terrorist PKK]," Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. (…)
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