Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (02.04.19, http://www.brtk.net/cumhurbaskani-akinci-lute-ile-telefonda-gorustu/) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has argued that a tripartite meeting with President Anastasiades and UNSG’s Special Adviser for Cyprus Jane Holl Lute, as long as what he called “the negative stance of the Greek Cypriot leader” did not change, would serve nothing else but create the false impression that “something is happening”.
In a written statement to illegal TAK news agency issued yesterday, Akinci said that he had held a telephone conversation with Lute on Monday night and explained once more the importance of certain issues for shaping the terms of reference adding that the Turkish Cypriot side had attached great importance to them from the very beginning. “I stressed once more that if a new negotiating process will begin, this should not start from scratch and that it should be held on the basis of the agreements and documents of the past without being open-ended and with an understanding focused on the result”, he said.
Referring to President Anastasiades’ proposal for a joint meeting between the leaders and Lute, Akinci alleged that “from our point of view, the period of negotiating for the sake of negotiations has ended”. He reiterated the view that “whatever the name of the solution to be found is, it should include the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot people”. Furthermore, he alleged:
“During the unofficial meetings we held with Mr Anastasiades on this issue, we unfortunately saw no constructive stance. On the contrary, both during the meetings with us and in his public statements it is understood that he does not show the necessary attention to the Turkish Cypriot side’s sensitivities on the issues of political equality and effective participation. […] During the contacts we have with Mrs Lute we said that the efforts for the terms of reference have a chance of succeeding only if they are on the basis of the text of 14 February 2014, the other agreements and finally the framework of 30 June 2017. […] As I have said yesterday over the phone to Mrs Lute, as long as the stance of the Greek Cypriot side on the political equality issue continues in this manner, unfortunately it will not be possible for the terms of reference to be produced. […]”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (03.04.19) reports that Olgun Amcaoglu, self-styled deputy with the opposition National Unity Party (UBP), has stated that in spite of the fact that April came, it was not known at which stage the “economic and financial protocol” between Turkey and the breakaway regime was. Addressing the “assembly” yesterday, Amcaoglu said that the “protocol” has not been signed yet and added that in case it could not be signed, making investments in the occupied area would not be possible and all sectors will suffer a blow.
Replying to Amcaoglu, Serdar Denktas, self-styled minister of finance of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, said that he would not respond to questions regarding the “protocol” from now on. “Let the embassy [Translator’s note: The self-styled embassy of Turkey in the occupied part of Nicosia] explain the reason for not signing the protocol”, he said and added: “An effort is exerted to create the impression for us that ‘you cannot take money from Turkey, you are incompetent’. The government is ready to sign. It will be signed after the finishing touches by the political will in Turkey. […]”
Referring to the issue, Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the regime, said that both the “TRNC”, as he called the regime, and Turkey had fulfilled their obligations regarding the economic “protocol”. He noted that the technical work on the “protocol” would be completed in April and the “protocol” would be signed in May.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (03.04.19) reports that Aysegul Baybars, self-styled minister of interior of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that her “ministry” was responsible on the issue of population and that every month they sent to the “president’s office” data both from the “migration department” and the “population registry”. Speaking during a TV program, Baybars said that Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci possessed these data since 13 months and that she gave him all the information he had asked on 31 January. She added the following:
“[…] When the number 220,000 was given by Mr president and his spokesman, it had been said that this was the number of citizens living in the TRNC. It was a written statement. Now, if we are going to compare this number with some things, we should compare it with the number of the citizens living now in the TRNC. And this is 252,497. […] In statements made later, it was said that 190,000 out of the number 220,000 were living in the TRNC and the 30,000 were living abroad. These are not correct. 220,000 is the number of the citizens living in the TRNC”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (03.04.19) reports that nine more persons were granted “justified citizenship” by the “council of minister” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. The names of these persons were published in the “official gazette” on 28 March 2019 and the decision entered into force. These nine persons are the following:
Fatma Acikel was born in Altinozu, Turkey, on 15 May 1997 and lives in the occupied area of Cyprus since she was 8. She completed her education in the occupied area and continued living there with a “work permit”.
Zubeyde Nur Deste was born in Reyhanli, Turkey, on 10 October 1996, came to the occupied area since she was 3 and lives there for 20 years. She completed her primary and secondary education in the occupied area and now she studies in a “university”.
Hatice Kubra Deste was born in Reyhanli, Turkey, on 04 September 1995, came to the occupied area since she was 4 and lives there for 20 years. She completed her primary and secondary education as well as the “university” in the occupied area and continued staying there with a “work permit”.
Sedef Nur Barrak was born in the occupied part of Nicosia on 23 September 1997 and completed her education there. She lives in the occupied area for 21 years and stayed there with a “visitor’s visa”.
Cansu Tek was born in occupied Keryneia on 9 December 1995, lives in the occupied area since she was born and completed her education there. She continued living there with a “student’s permit”.
Beyhan Tok was born in occupied Keryneia on 24 September 1997 and lives in the occupied area since she was born, for 22 years. She completed her education there and continued living with a “student’s permit”.
Sukru Topbas was born in Kozan on 7 April 1998 and came to the occupied area when he was 8 months old. He completed his education there.
Yusuf Kizgin was born in Atlinozu, Turkey, on 20 December 1995 and lives in the occupied area since he was 3, for 21 years. He completed his education in the occupied area.
Ibrahim Olmez was born in Altinozu, Turkey, on 8 November 1992, lives in the occupied area since he was 9, completed his primary and secondary education there and continued living with a “visitor’s permit”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (03.04.19) reports that a “police” inspector and a “police” sergeant, who are suspects of participating in the Fethullah Gulen (FETO)/ PYD “terrorist organizations”, pleaded yesterday to these accusations with their lawyers upon a demand by the “general police directorate”. Another “police officer” is expected to plead today regarding the same accusation, notes the paper adding that 83 “police members” are expected to be asked to plead. Sources said that even if findings showed that the “police officers” were related with FETO/PYD, they might be dismissed from the “force” without any charges being filed against them because of a “legal gap”.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.04.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/election-board-to-have-last-say-on-poll-results-in-istanbul-and-ankara-142380), the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted complaints of voting irregularities in the March 31 elections for several districts in Istanbul, Ankara, Siirt, Adıyaman, Denizli, Zonguldak, Karabük, Bartın, Samsun, Erzurum and Yalova.
The AKP officially contested Sunday’s poll results in 39 districts in Istanbul, AKP Istanbul provincial chair Bayram Şenocak said on April 2 after results showed its candidate, Binali Yıldırım, lost the post.
“We have identified tricks and irregularities since the start of the voting process that contradict legislation and a fair selection environment,” he said. Şenocak noted that they identified differences between the results submitted to the High Election Board (YSK) and the sealed records of the ballot boxes. The ruling party filed complaints for 25 districts in Ankara, saying there were 3,217 cases of irregularities.
Meanwhile, opposition İYİ (Good) Party has asked the election authority to resolve a dispute over as many as 3,800 ballots cast in local polls which it said was enough to change the outcome of the voting in the western Uşak province.
The head of Turkey’s election authority announced that the mayoral status will be handed to winning candidates if there is no appeal of the results of the poll.
Speaking to reporters, YSK head Sadi Güven said: “The certificate of election will be given in places where there is no objection [to election results].”
District election boards have a two-day decision-making period, while provincial election boards have one day, he said. After that time period, the boards may come to the YSK within three days, Güven added.
At a press conference after Güven’s statement, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu thanked the YSK for sharing the watchdog’s vote-counting with the public. He said it was a step taken in the right direction for democracy.
İmamoğlu, who ran for the post as the joint candidate of the CHP and İYİ Party’s Nation Alliance, said they had the figures of each and every polling station in Istanbul and their initial findings matched those of the YSK. “It makes us happy to see that our records overlap with the ones announced by the YSK,” he said.
The CHP’s candidate announced his victory in the Istanbul elections, saying the counted votes left no doubts and urging AKP officials not to resort to challenging the outcome. “Let me mention to you one issue they are raising now. They say there are 290,000 invalid votes. This figure was 422,000 and was equal to 4.7% of all votes in the 2014 elections. This percentage of invalid votes is normal in every election,” he said.
İmamoğlu, on April 2, visited the mausoleum of modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Ankara and signed the guest book as the “mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.” He was scheduled to meet with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as well.
The hotly contested municipal elections in Istanbul will have to wait for the official announcement of the results by the YSK, although initial results by the election watchdog show İmamoğlu is ahead of the government’s mayoral candidate, Yıldırım, by around 25,000 votes. (…)
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.04.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/parties-place-objections-to-election-results-142379) reports that both the ruling and opposition parties have contested the local election results in several cities and towns across the country.
Opposition İYİ Party appealed against the results in Balıkesir, where ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Yücel Yılmaz narrowly won the election. The party placed complaints over the results in 20 districts in the province.
İYİ also asked a local election authority to resolve a dispute over as many as 3,800 ballots cast in the March 31 local polls which it said was enough to change the outcome of the voting in the western province of Uşak. According to the unofficial results, AKP candidate Mehmet Çakın was elected mayor of Uşak.
The AKP, for its side, contested results in 19 districts in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, where main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muhitten Böcek won the race with a more than 4 percent difference.
Both the CHP and AKP appealed against results in two districts in the northwestern province of Yalova.
The AKP, the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) contested the results in several districts in the southern province of Adana.
The MHP legally challenged the poll results in the eastern province of Iğdır.
According to the unofficial results, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Yaşar Akkuş was elected mayor of Iğdır, bagging 50.07 percent of the total votes, with Tezel getting 46.70 percent.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (03.04.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/turkey-warns-of-foreign-meddling-after-local-polls-3478034), Turkey called on all parties late Tuesday to refrain from taking any actions that could be seen as interfering in the country’s internal affairs following weekend local elections. “We urge all parties, including foreign governments, to respect the legal process and refrain from taking any steps that may be construed as meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs,” Fahrettin Altun, Turkey's presidential communications director, said on Twitter in response to remarks by U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino.
"Free and fair elections are essential for any democracy. That means acceptance of legitimate election results, which is essential,” Palladino said at a press briefing. “We expect nothing less from Turkey, which has a long, proud tradition in this respect,” he added.
Altun said Sunday’s elections took place in “an orderly and peaceful fashion”. “We are confident that the electoral authorities will resolve all disputes swiftly, transparently and for good,” he stressed.
“Elections are the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy. The Turkish people have expressed their will through the ballot box for 70 years. The authorities have a responsibility to ensure that elections are free and fair.
“It is equally crucial that the vote count occurs according to the law. We are closely monitoring the situation, as multiple political parties have challenged the preliminary results due to alleged procedural errors and other irregularities,” he added. (…)
Meanwhile, Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (02.04.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-aide-defies-remarks-foretelling-erdogan-end/1440284) reports that Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Tuesday severely rejected political comments that the results from Sunday's local elections in Turkey meant "the beginning of the end" for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Some are servicing the beginning of the end for Erdogan story again. They will never learn," Ibrahim Kalin tweeted.
"AK Party won 44.3 % and the coalition won 51.6 % of the votes. Erdogan has his mandate until 2023. No elections till then," Kalin said. He went on to say: "Stop presenting your wishful thinking as fact and analysis." (…)
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (03.04.19, https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/03/employees-say-they-have-no-idea-where-anadolu-gets-election-data/), several employees of Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) have said they don’t know where the agency gets data for election results, Deutsche Welle reported.
AA has come under fire for not updating its election coverage on March 31 at a critical juncture, when Turkey held local elections, for 13 hours. AA’s halting of its election coverage came at a time when opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu’s votes reached those of Binali Yıldırım, the nominee of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the race for mayor of İstanbul.
The AA employees, who spoke anonymously to Deutsche Welle, said they as well as many department managers do not have access to the system established for election coverage, adding that a small number of people are have authorized access to it. “Nobody knows where the election data come from. We have been asking about this among ourselves, too,” said one of the employees of the agency.
In a statement on Tuesday Şenol Kazancı, the director general of AA, said after noticing the pause on election night he called their results subcontractor to warn them, but he refrained from revealing which company it was. “The details aren’t important,” he said.
Columnist Serkan Demirtas, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.04.19), reports on the latest local elections in Turkey as follows:
“(…) All eyes will continue to be on Istanbul, as the gap between the two main contenders, the opposition’s Ekrem İmamoğlu and the government’s candidate Binali Yıldırım, is less than 25,000 votes.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) argues that a number of irregularities were detected in the counting and registering of the counted votes in Istanbul, with calls for the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to deal with the matter in the most serious and cautious way. In return, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) dispatched all of its senior officials and Istanbul MPs to the election boards in every district of Istanbul where the ballot papers and election documents are kept. (…)
The results of the local elections do tell a lot of new things about Turkish politics. Of the two big alliances that run for elections, the Nation Alliance between the CHP and the İYİ (Good) Party increased their votes and the number of municipalities. But the CHP has benefited much more than its partner as it re-gained Istanbul and Ankara after 25 years and won all the cities along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.
On the People’s Alliance front, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) seems to be at an advantage as it has nearly doubled the number of municipalities it runs, while the AKP has become the loser of this alliance.
So many factors can be cited while analysing the election results, like the impact of the worsened economy and the AKP’s overexploitation of nationalist sentiments by placing the issue of the “survival of the nation” matter in front of every other fundamental problem of the ordinary people.
But there is another parameter: The candidates.
As these were local elections – although in the form of general elections - the profile of candidates represented by the parties mattered to a large extent, particularly in large metropoles.
CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu preferred to nominate İmamoğlu for Istanbul, Tunç Soyer for İzmir, Mansur Yavaş for Ankara, Muhittin Böcek for Antalya and Zeydan Karalar for Adana. One common characteristic of all these men is the fact that they were the mayors of a district in their respective provinces and are well-known for the success in their own cities.
İmamoğlu, Yavaş, and Karalar are not standard social democrat figures. They have bonds and dialogue with different political party groups in their constituencies.
The AKP’s nominations for these cities were more different. The AKP presented a former prime minister and former parliament speaker, Binali Yıldırım, for Istanbul, former Urbanization Minister Mehmet Özhaseki for Ankara and former Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci for İzmir.
In other words, while the CHP was in efforts to introduce new, young and dynamic names, the AKP preferred to use its strongmen who are already severely exhausted. It’s no secret that Yıldırım never really wanted to run for Istanbul and this has been reflected on his face and onto his election campaign.
As a matter of fact, Kılıçdaroğlu took a risk by placing İmamoğlu against Yıldırım. His critics were suggesting that although İmamoğlu made a good reputation in Beylikdüzü district since 2014, he was unknown to the rest of the 10 million residents of Istanbul.
It was, of course, İmamoğlu’s advantage that he was presented as the candidate of an alliance which was supported by the voters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). But it was his ability to reach out to all these groups and communicate with them in an orderly way so that they would all together go to cast their votes on Sunday.
Having been raised in a middle-class family from the Black Sea province of Trabzon, which has both a religious and nationalist profile, İmamoğlu does not look like any other elitist social democrat politician. He seems to have a very good opportunity to strengthen his image in the entire Turkey as a new generation politician and to move forward in his career if he can be a successful mayor to Istanbul.”
According to Turkey’s state news agency Ankara Anatolia (03.04.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-pilots-to-keep-training-on-f-35s-pentagon/1440978), Turkish pilots will continue to train with F-35 fighter jets at a U.S. Air Force base in Arizona, the Pentagon said Tuesday. "Turkish pilot and maintainer training at Luke AFB is continuing," Air Force Lieutenant Col. Mike Andrews, a Defence Department spokesman, told Anadolu Agency.
The remarks are in contrast to comments made earlier in the day by Senator Jim Inhofe, who said a decision was made to stop training the Turkish pilots.
"I'm not aware of any delay in training at Luke. I have confirmed that the training is continuing. If that changes, we'll let you know," said Andrews.
The U.S. announced Monday that it would be suspending all "deliveries and activities" related to Turkey's procurement of the stealth fighter jet over Ankara's plans to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Tuesday he expects to resolve the dispute between the U.S. and Turkey over the S-400s.
Turkey first joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in 2002 and has invested more than $1.25 billion. It also manufactures various aircraft parts for all F-35 variants and customers.
The two F-35s already delivered to Turkey are currently at Luke Air Force Base, where Turkish pilots are being trained. The jets were scheduled to be transferred to Turkey in November this year. Shanahan said he expects that they will be delivered.
Ankara is planning to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. (…)
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Sabah (03.04.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/defense/2019/04/03/us-plays-f-35-card-against-s-400-deal-to-ask-turkey-for-endless-concessions), under the title “US plays F-35 card against S-400 deal to ask Turkey for endless concessions”, reports that Washington has flexed its muscles against Turkey on the dispute over Ankara's purchase of the S-400 missile system, putting forth the acquisition of the Russian-made weapon as a pretext to stop the delivery of F-35 jet fighter aircraft to Turkey. However, considering that NATO and other member countries previously announced that the S-400 purchase is Turkey's sovereign decision and does not pose a problem with Ankara's role in the bloc, it becomes evident that Washington's threatening tone points to an intention to try and keep a tight rein of Ankara's foreign policy. On Monday, the U.S. halted the delivery of equipment related to the F-35 stealth fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete step by Washington to block delivery of the jet to NATO ally Turkey.
Arda Mevlütoğlu, a defence industry expert, told Daily Sabah that he does not think that bilateral relations will get back on the right track even if the S-400 dispute is somehow solved. "The problems between Turkey and the U.S. are multi-layered and very complicated. The S-400 just turned into a 'filter' pushing other problems to the back burner," he said. (…)
Similar to Mevlütoğlu, defence analyst Turan Oğuz said that the S-400 issue is just the tip of the iceberg in bilateral relations, emphasizing that U.S. will demand more concessions even if Ankara abandons the weapons deal with Russia until Turkey completely adjusts its foreign policy accordingly to U.S. interests in the region.
"There has been serious confrontation between Turkey and the U.S. in northern Syria due to Washington's insistence to maintain its support to PKK-affiliated groups. Also, the U.S. started to side with Turkey's rivals in Mediterranean gas fields while demanding Turkey join sanctions against Iran," Oğuz said.
Menwhile, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said yesterday that he expected to solve a dispute with Turkey over its purchase of Russia's S-400 air defense system, a day after the U.S. halted the delivery of equipment related to the F-35 aircraft to Ankara.
"I expect we'll solve the problem so that they have the right defence equipment in terms of Patriots and F-35s," Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon. Washington has sought to persuade Turkey to purchase the Patriot defence system, instead of S-400s. (…)
The U.S. is ramping up efforts to increase its military and diplomatic presence in the region, including Syria, Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean, to safeguard the interests of its regional allies, particularly Israel. Therefore, U.S. ambitions in the region, which do not take into consideration the interests of its NATO ally Turkey, constitute the fundamentals of the conflict between the two countries.
For the first time, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the 6th Trilateral Greece- Cyprus-Israel Summit held last month in Jerusalem. Turkish officials previously warned that Ankara would never allow attempts to extort natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean region without due consideration of the rights of Turkey and the “TRNC” [editor’s note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus]. (…
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