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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 27.03.19


A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci on the population: “Is the 220 thousand or the 350 thousand the correct one?”

2. Population in the occupied area of Cyprus reached 374,299, argues Baybars

3. Donmez stated that they will protect the rights of the people who cognate with in occupied Cyprus

4. Samani says that the co-operation between the two sides to fight crimes is not good

5. UFTAA’s next meeting to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus

B. Turkish Press

1.CHP’s leader Kilicdaroglu vows victory in Istanbul, Ankara municipal elections

2. Erdogan: “No one can turn Turkey into a terror-stricken country again”

3. Council of Europe to observe local elections in Turkey

4. CHP condemns Trump’s Golan move

5. Turkish lira rebounds against US dollar


A.Turkish Cypriot Press


1. Akinci on the population: “Is the 220 thousand or the 350 thousand the correct one?”

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (27.03.19, reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the population is a very important issue and that he does not want an argument to take place on this. In statements today Akinci noted that 3-3,5 years ago, the population had been discussed in the negotiations and he had asked the number of population from the then “interior” minister. Recalling that he had been informed that the number of population was 220,000, Akinci said that yesterday Aysegul Baybars, self-styled minister of interior, had announced that this number was 350,000. Akinci questioned the difference between these numbers.  He noted:

“My statements are not words said for targeting the government and a ministry. I think that I have to share with the people just like I do during the meetings I hold both with the governments and the ministers. I am obliged to remind of what should be done for overcoming the lack of knowledge on this issue. The issue of population was also one of the chapters in the negotiations. The interior ministry gave us some data and we shared it at the table. The bearers of TRNC identity card, the number of citizens was 220,000. It had been conveyed to us that 190,000 of these were in the country and 30,000 abroad, 3-3,5 years ago. Today the interior minister says 350,000, yesterday at the assembly it was said 252,000, only for those who are in the country. The number of 350,000 was given as a total. If this number is correct, there are around 100,000 TRNC citizens who live abroad. First a questioning should be conducted on this issue. Has this number, which was 30,000 3,5 years ago, really reached 100,000 now? If the number which was 220,000 became 350,000, how this difference came up? […] Which was the correct one, the 220,000 or the 350,000? With the addition of the persons who are in the country with permit, it is said that the number is 374,000. The finance minister said 800,000. There is a difference more than 400,000. Do more than 400,000 persons live without a permit here? Our people are concerned from all these. […]

The day before yesterday, a crime was committed. They murdered one of our valuable brothers in the middle of the street. Some suspects are wanted. Even when you go to any coffee shop, people coming from third countries not from Turkey serve there now. Do not perceive this as racism, but this community should know who, how and how many people live here”.



2. Population in the occupied area of Cyprus reached 374,299, argues Baybars

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (26.03.19, reports that Aysegul Baybars, self-styled minister of interior of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that, according to the “official” data of the “population registry”, the number of “TRNC citizens” today is 252,497 persons and that if the 121,802 persons having “valid permit” to stay in the occupied area are added to this number, the total number of population reaches 374,299.

Baybars made this statement yesterday at the “assembly” responding to criticism by Nazim Cavusoglu, “deputy” with the opposition National Unity Party (UBP). Cavusoglu said that each “government official” gave different information on the population issue, that the date of holding a population census was not known and that the “big brother” of the “government” [Translator’s note: He means self-styled minister of finance, Serdar Denktas] said that the population was 800,000. Cavusoglu further noted that 3,500 persons were granted “citizenship” during the period of the [current] “coalition government”.

Replying to Cavusoglu, Baybars gave a “definition” of “population” and argued the following: “Population is dynamic. Population is the people living on a certain date in a certain place with determined boundaries”.

She said that there was no policy regarding the population in the occupied area of Cyprus for 44 years, that the “population census” in 2011 showed the picture of population on that day and that during the ten years, which passed from 2009 until today, no one thought of registering the students.  She also noted that the past “governments” and “interior ministers” were not counting the persons who were older than 60 years of age and were not keeping “registers” based on the address.

She also said the following: “Now we saw that a TRNC identity card number was given to persons who are born in the country but are not TRNC citizens. A TRNC identity card number was given to Greek Cypriots and Maronites. White identity card [Translator’s note: The ‘white identity card” gives its bearer “rights”, such as to live and work in the occupied area of Cyprus] with the TRNC identity card number was given to some persons”.

Furthermore, Baybars noted that the number of “licensed” students is 59,482.

Finally, she stated that 7,000 rural plots of land were allocated until today and that 4,000 of these plots had no infrastructure.



3. Donmez stated that they will protect the rights of the people who cognate with in occupied Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs Postası (27.03.19, ) reports that the Turkish Minister of Energy Fatih Donmez stated that Turkey will protect not only ıts own rights in Eastern Mediterranean but the rights of the people it is cognate with in occupied Cyprus. He made these statements speaking in the town Tirebolu.

He said that they are conducting a 3,000-meter drilling with the Fatih ship adding that there are only 16 similar ships in the world. He also said that Turkey bought another ship that was named “Yavuz” by the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Referring to a question asked by a Deputy of an opposition party as regards the drillings mad by Turkey in the Mediterranean for oil and natural gas, Donmez claimed that the numbers that the Deputy presented are false and said that these statements made headlines in the Greek press: “Those papers were happy so they published the news.[…] But I felt sad that a statement made by a Turkish Deputy made headlines in Greece. I do not know if he felt sorry, but honesty I am saying this: We are not afraid of anyone. Even if the great powers come and try to prevent us, we expressed our determination on the issue of seeking hydrocarbons […] in our exclusive economic zone in Mediterranean. We said that we will research until the end not only for our rights but for the rights of the people that we are cognate with and they live in the TRNC”, he argued.  



4. Samani says that the co-operation between the two sides to fight crimes is not good

Illegal Bayrak (27.03.19 ) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader  Mustafa Akıncı’s Special Adviser for Political Affairs and History, General Coordinator for Technical Committees Meltem Onurkan Samani claimed  that the Greek Cypriot side needed to be encouraged on overcoming problems faced by the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters.

Samani, speaking on Sim TV, said that delays on the implementation of CBMs could be experienced, even regarding direct decisions taken at the leaders’ level.

She alleged that the Greek Cypriots will not be open and willing towards cooperating with the Turkish Cypriots as long as the Cyprus problem remained unresolved.

“This clearly refutes the argument that a federal settlement is not possible and that the sides instead should focus on enhancing cooperation,” Samani said.

On crime and criminal matters, Samani said that the Turkish Cypriot side had recently proposed the signing of a principle agreement to cooperate and overcome problems being experienced on the matter.

“Our efforts at the technical committee level are continuing. This is not something we can achieve on our own,” said Samani.

Samani further claimed that many proposals put forward by the Turkish Cypriot side at the technical committee level were rejected by the Greek Cypriot side with the excuse that they should be postponed or addressed once a settlement is reached.

The culture of cooperation and peace, Samani added needs to be developed as efforts for comprehensive settlement continues.

Akıncı’s Special Adviser also said that the Turkish Cypriot side had completed its preparations regarding mobile phone interoperability and was waiting for the Greek Cypriot side to complete its work.

She said that there were currently no obstacles for mobile phones to work on both sides of the island.

As regards the demining CBM agreed by the two leaders on Feb 26, Samani said that “military officials from both sides were working on the issue with the assistance of the UN”.

 “It is the Turkish Cypriot side’s priority to completely rid the island of land mines which is why this agreement is very important,” Samani added.

The Greek Cypriot side needs to decide what it wants as regards a settlement, noted Samani, referring to the terms of reference which the UN Secretary General’s Temporary Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute was trying to draft.

She expressed the view that the Terms of Reference (ToR) could lead to the settlement of the Cyprus problem and that the only thing remaining was for the Greek Cypriot side to show the necessary political will.

Samani concluded by saying that efforts to reach a solution must not be abandoned and that it was high time the Greek Cypriot side to decide what it wants as regards a settlement.


5. UFTAA’s next meeting to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus

According to illegal Bayrak (26.03.19- the  chairman of the “Turkish Cypriot tourism and travel agents’ union” (KITSAB), Erkan Kilim is “attending” the general assembly and tourism forum of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations (UFTAA) which is taking place in Istanbul.

Issuing a written statement, Kilim said that the general assembly and the forum of UFTAA was launched yesterday and will be completed today. He further said that as a result of the attempts taken by “KITSAB”, the next meeting of UFTAA is scheduled to take place in the “TRNC”.




B. Turkish Press

1.CHP’s leader Kilicdaroglu vows victory in Istanbul, Ankara municipal elections

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.03.19- reported that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu stated that CHP will win a landslide victory in the capital Ankara and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the upcoming local elections.

“We will win Ankara, Istanbul, [northwestern province of] Bursa, [southern provinces of] Adana and Mersin. We know that the CHP will win these municipalities. Hopefully İYİ [Good] Party [CHP’s ally] will win [Aegean province of] Manisa and [western province of] Balıkesir,” Kılıcdaroglu said in an interview on Turkish broadcaster Habertürk on March 25.

“We will convey the importance of production in local administrations of Turkey to large masses. The citizens have seen the kind of services we provided in other municipalities. They come to [Istanbul’s districts of] Kadıköy, Maltepe, Kartal and Sarıyer for a breath of fresh air,” he added.

The party leader also claimed that the voters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will vote for the CHP in the March 31 elections, basing his certainty on talks he held with many citizens who are disgruntled by financial troubles they blame on the AKP.

“I am coming across hundreds of citizens who have voted AKP in the past and say they will vote for us from now on. It is not possible that someone living in a palace can relate to the public’s problems,” he said, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

(…)Kılıcdaroglu said that these elections are different to previous ones because the public is overtly facing Turkey’s financial troubles. “We are absolutely assertive. There is a different atmosphere. Citizens are seeing that financial troubles have even taken its toll on their kitchens. Families receive a crucial blow when their life standards decline,” he said.

“If you go grocery shopping and are paying 200 liras minimum for a few items you would’ve normally paid 100 liras for previously, then there is a problem,” he stressed.

Kılıcdaroglu also refuted allegations that he would call for early elections after this weekend’s polls and said the rumors were “fabricated.”

“We will, God willing, win these municipalities and our mayors will perform their duties. Asking for elections before seeing the success of mayors is opportunism,” he said.

“This nation is tired of elections. There’s almost one election every year. Enough is enough. Society needs to have some chance to evaluate the ones they elected recently,” he added.


2. Erdogan: “No one can turn Turkey into a terror-stricken country again”

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.03.19- reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey will never again see the old days when it suffered from terror attacks, while adding that its economy will not underperform either.

“Never again will any power be able to turn Turkey into a country where terrorist organizations are active. Never again will any power cause Turkey’s economy and infrastructure to fall behind the levels it has achieved,” Erdogan said on March 26 at a rally in the eastern Van province of Turkey.

“From now on, Turkey will only talk about unity and brotherhood,” he added. “We worked hard to solve the problems of our Kurdish brothers and sisters, as well as others, in terms of poverty, rights and freedoms,” he stated.

He further said that his government faced many risks and introduced reforms that “no one dared to implement before.” “We liberated our country’s democracy from prohibitions, oppressions.”

He reiterated criticisms against the alliance of opposition parties and said that “Turkey cannot reach the desired future with the opposition’s mentality.”

“Whatever problems Turkey faced were the result of policies of the ones that founded the opposition parties”, Erdogan said, referring to the Nation’s Alliance, formed by Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party.

“On March 31, we will decide on not just mayors, but also how we will leave a country to our children,” he said, adding: “We cannot reach the future with the alliance of these mentalities known for harming the development of our country.”

Erdogan asked also of voters to “make Turkey one of the most 10 developed countries of the world.



3. Council of Europe to observe local elections in Turkey

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.03.19- reported that the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe has announced that it will dispatch a monitoring team for Turkey’s municipal elections slated for March 31.

“A delegation from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, comprising 22 observers from 20 countries and led by Mr. Andrew Dawson will carry out an election observation mission to Turkey from March 27 to April 1, 2019 to assess the local elections to be held on Sunday March 31, 2019,” it said in a written statement on March 26.

The delegation will hold briefings in Ankara with representatives of diplomatic corps, state authorities, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, media and political parties before the elections take place.

“On Election Day, 10 Congress teams will be operating in Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir and other areas of the country to observe the election procedures in polling stations,” it said, informing that the preliminary conclusions will be presented by the Head of Delegation at a press conference on April 1 in Ankara.


4. CHP condemns Trump’s Golan move

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (26.03.19- reported that Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) has condemned the United States’ decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights of Syria and Israel’s recent aerial attack on Gaza Strip, calling on all parties to show restraint.

“We condemn and consider Israel’s attack on Gaza on March 25 as another development that escalates tension and endangers regional fault lines, in addition to the U.S. decision on Golan Heights,” Ünal Çeviköz, Deputy leader of the CHP, said in a written statement on March 26.

Çeviköz, a former Ambassador, recalled that the decree signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Golan Heights is completely in violation of resolutions 242 and 497 of the U.N. Security Council and therefore a blatant breach of international law.

“Golan Heights belong to Syria and any intervention by the Israeli state on these occupied lands is null and void”, Çeviköz said, criticizing Trump for ignoring U.N. Security Council resolutions on the status of Jerusalem and Golan.

“We are concerned that this decision that violates international law, Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity can trigger new regional crises and further extend the war in Syria,” he said.

“We, as the Republican People’s Party, , do not recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights and reiterate that the  territorial integrity of Syria must be respected by all countries, as stated openly in the U.N. resolutions, particularly its neighbors,” he stated.

Çeviköz recalled that Turkey can positively contribute in the de-escalation of regional tension through re-instating good relations with all regional countries, especially with Syria.


5. Turkish lira rebounds against US dollar

Turkish daily Sabah (26.03.19- reported that the Turkish lira continued to gain ground against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, with the dollar/lira exchange rate sliding 2.88% to 5.3858 during after-market hours, compared with 5.6062 at Monday's close.

The lira recouped its losses after March 22, when it started to weaken against the dollar and reached 5.8257, its worst level since the economic attacks that targeted Turkey in August.

The lira started its recovery on Sunday night after Asian markets opened but it picked up the pace on Monday, after Turkey's central bank vowed to use all the tools at its disposal to "maintain price stability."

The bank said it "will use all monetary policy and liquidity management instruments to maintain price stability and support financial stability, if deemed necessary".

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and the Capital Markets Board (SPK) on Saturday said they had launched probes into JP Morgan over a report by the investment bank's analysts which apparently recommended shorting the lira on Friday.

The BDDK issued two statements on Saturday which said there had been complaints over "misleading and manipulative" guidance from JP Morgan and other unnamed banks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said that Turkey would "crack down strongly on the banks who conduct such manipulations" before the local elections on March 31.