Turkish Cypriot newspaper Detay (05.04.19) reports that Meltem Onurkan Samani, Turkish Cypriot leader’s advisor on political affairs and history, has stated that the political equality, which is an inseparable part of the bi-zonal bi-communal federal solution model that had been agreed 40 years ago, was not a negotiable parameter.
In statements yesterday to illegal Bayrak, Samani expressed the view that the Greek Cypriot leadership did not prepare its community for a solution in spite of the fact that negotiations continued for more than 40 years and alleged that the Greek Cypriot side should decide whether it wanted a federal solution model and whether it was ready for political equality.
Alleging that as long as President Anastasiades stepped back from the issues on which agreement had been reached he would not help the process, Samani claimed that at the Crans Montana Conference third parties had also seen these steps and that President Anastasiades put no alternatives onto the table.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (05.04.19) reports that Stephen Lillie, British High Commissioner to Nicosia, has said that it was difficult to say how the British citizens living in Cyprus would be influenced after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal.
In statements to weekly Cyprus Today in English, the High Commissioner noted that there were “legal grey areas” because of the division of the island. “Britons should still be able to cross the Green Line in the event of a no-deal Brexit on April 12”, he said adding that in case of a no-deal Brexit, immigration controls could be imposed on Britons arriving at Larnaca and Paphos International Airports.
Noting that it was customary for the non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to be allowed a 90-day stay, Stephen Lillie said: “The Republic of Cyprus authorities may count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90-day or potentially face difficulties at the airport on exit or re-entry”.
Pointing out that they were discussing with the Republic of Cyprus authorities how to manage this, he added: “You will already be aware of the issues around using Ercan airport [Transltor’s note: Illegal airport in Tymbou] and the complications this can cause with the Republic’s authorities. This is expected to remain the case after Brexit”.
Weekly Cyprus Today (30.03.19) reports that the High Commissioner’s statements came as civil groups expressed “serious concern” over the potential pitfalls post-Brexit, after a Japanese academic bound for a conference at an illegal university in the occupied area of Cyprus was deported to Dubai by the immigration authorities at Larnaca Airport.
Under the title “They set eye on electricity”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (05.04.19) reports that the reasons, for which the “protocol” that is expected to secure flow of money from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus has not been signed until today, are coming to light. The paper notes that the “protocol’ provides for dividing the “electricity authority” (“KIB-TEK”) in three parts and privatizing it. The above-mentioned three parts concern the distribution of electricity, production of electricity and the collection of revenues, writes Afrika.
Sener Elcil, general secretary of the primary school teachers’ trade union, issued a written statement yesterday in which he expressed the view that the main reason for the fact that the economic “protocol” was not signed until today was the fact that it included the breaking of “KIB-TEK” into pieces and its sale. He said that Turkey’s officials wanted to get hold of all the means of production in the occupied area of Cyprus and that this was the reason for which the Turkish Cypriots used expensive electricity.
Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (05.04.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozyigit-in-izmir) broadcasts that Cemal Ozyigit, self-styled minister of education and culture of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, is visiting Izmir to attend the opening of the 24th Izmir Book Fair. As part of his contacts, Ozyigit met with the governor of Izmir Erol Ayyildiz, the breakaway regime’s “consul general” in Izmir and university rectors.
The regime is being represented at the Izmir Book Fair with a so-called “TRNC publications stand” opened by the self-styled culture department.
Ozyigit and his accompanying delegation will be returning to the island on Sunday.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/recount-continues-in-istanbul-new-appeal-for-ankara-142439) reported that the highly-contested Turkish local elections in Turkey’s largest cities Istanbul and Ankara remained unsolved since Sunday March 31 as recounts continue, with the government claiming the process showed an increase in the votes for its candidate, while the main opposition said the ballot reviews still maintained its candidate Ekrem İmamoglu’s victory.
“The process is still ongoing. The recount of the invalid votes in 11 districts is over. The difference [between İmamoglu and Binali Yıldırım] is 19,552,” İmamoglu told a press conference in the late afternoon in Istanbul.
“The recount of all votes in three districts is still underway”, he said.
Meanwhile, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) issued an appeal to the provincial bodies of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) for a recount of invalid votes in some districts of Istanbul and the recount of all votes in all districts, claiming that there were irregularities when registering and counting the votes.
The difference between the AKP’s Yıldırım and the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) İmamoglu was only around 20,000.
The recount processes of invalid votes in the districts of Başakşehir, Bayrampaşa, Bakırköy, Beykoz, Buyukcekmece, Adalar, Eyüpsultan, Fatih, Ümraniye, Sarıyer and Şile were completed, although it continued in Çekmeköy, Bagcılar, Tuzla, Esenler and Esenyurt. The process for the recount of all votes was still underway late afternoon on April 4 in the districts of Kartal, Silivri and Çatalca.
İmamoglu said that the vote recounting will show that the difference in votes between him and his rival will remain the same.
Criticizing AKP officials for creating misperceptions about the recounting process after AKP Deputy leader Ali İhsan Yavuz suggested Yıldırım’s votes increased by 11,000, İmamoglu said: “Likewise our votes increased by more than 3,500. And that’s why the difference is now less than 20,000. They are trying to change the perception.”
He repeated his calls for a speedy completion of the appeal process, initiated by the AKP, so that he can start serving the people of Istanbul already.
Yavuz, meanwhile, said that as a result of the recount more than 11,000 votes were detected to not have been registered for Yıldırım, adding that more was to come. “Only a few of these irregularities has been fixed so far. It’s possible that we’ll see more changes in the figures. We have only one reason in doing so: We want a full reflection of the people’s will to the election results in Istanbul,” Yavuz stated.
He also confirmed that the difference between the two contestants was less than 19,000 votes.
In Ankara, the YSK concluded the first-degree appeal process and announced that there was no change in the initial results that show CHP’s Mansur Yavaş winning the capital city against the AKP’s Mehmet Özhaseki with around a 125,000 difference.
But the AKP has decided to take the results to the YSK’s provincial branch in Ankara for a higher-degree appeal. The AKP’s application for the recount of votes in districts was not approved by the YSK on the grounds that it won’t bring about a change to the results.
AKP Deputy leader Fatih Şahin said his party will carry the results from 25 districts to a higher appeal mechanism. “We will of course accept the results,” Şahin said.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.04.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/top-headline/ankara-recount-increases-votes-of-ak-party-candidate/1442719) reported that the AK Party’s secretary general Fatih Sahin, told reporters at AK Party headquarters in Ankara on Thursday that the number of votes cast in favor of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's mayoral candidate in the capital Ankara have increased over 1,800 following the party’s legal contest.
“In 25 of the 25 districts of Ankara, we applied to the district election boards for the recount votes in the metropolitan municipality elections”, Sahin said, adding that the recount process has been completed in 12 of 25 so far.
“Votes of Mehmet Ozhaseki, who joined the election as AK Party’s candidate for People’s Alliance, have increased 1,805,” Sahin said, adding that the number was much lower than expectations.
The party, Sahin said, would again contest the results as their objections were denied in 13 districts, while their demand was not met in 12 districts.
He also added that there was also a 666-vote increase for Mansur Yavas, Mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Ankara after recount.
Yavas is leading with 50.91%of votes, according to unofficial results, with the AK Party’s Ozhaseki at 47.1%.
Turkish daily Sabah (04.04.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2019/04/04/ak-party-condemns-foreign-interference-in-turkeys-elections) reported that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Spokesman Ömer Çelik, speaking to reporters at party headquarters in the capital Ankara on Thursday, condemned attempts by foreign governments, namely the United States, to influence the results of Turkey's March 31 local elections.
"The statement of the U.S. State Department Spokesman on the election process in Turkey is a statement that should be condemned," Celik said, referring to comments made Tuesday by U.S. State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino.
Celik added that it was incomprehensible for him to make such a statement which could be interpreted as meddling in the election process and results in Turkey.
"No foreign government or body's statement will serve as the source of legitimacy for the election results," he said, underscoring that only Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK) could give legitimacy to the vote.
Palladino on Tuesday invited all parties in Turkey to accept the provisional results of Sunday's local elections following numerous objections from parties to re-evaluate invalid votes and other votes due to irregularities in the voting system.
"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.
On the row over Turkey's purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system, Çelik said that demanding Ankara to give up a "done deal" is disrespectful of the country's sovereign rights.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/initial-delivery-of-russian-s-400s-to-start-in-june-turkish-official-142435) reported that theDefense Ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the initial delivery of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system will start in June as planned before. “The first parts of the S-400 air defense system will arrive in June and the shipment will be completed in July”, he added.
“The training for Turkish pilots in the U.S. for the F-35 fighter jet project is continuing”, said the official. “The training of our pilots is continuing in the U.S. There is no such thing as stopping the training. Turkey is one of the partners of the F-35 program and fulfills its obligations in this regard,” said the official.
The U.S. announced on April 1 that it has suspended “deliveries and activities” related to Turkey’s procurement of the F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet over Ankara’s plans to buy Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
Following protracted efforts to purchase air defense systems from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense system.
Ankara is also planning to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. and its pilots are currently training on the weapons platform at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Washington has long cautioned Turkey against the purchase of the S-400, warning it might be used to covertly obtain critical information on the F-35, including their detection range, which could then be relayed to Russia.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-counts-on-erdogan-on-s-400-purchase-ambassador-142440) reported that Moscow counts on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a smooth finalization of the S-400 missile system purchase, the Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerhov has said, downplaying recent U.S. statements against the agreement.
“What I can tell you is that some declarations were made on this particular issue by President Erdogan. I think we should trust him, we should listen to him. When President Erdogan tells me something, I trust him, so you may follow suit,” Yerhov told Hürriyet, in response to a question on the S-400 agreement in an interview on April 4.
The U.S. announced on April 1 that it would be suspending all “deliveries and activities” related to Turkey’s procurement of the F-35 stealth fighter jet over Ankara’s plans to purchase S-400 systems but before and after the statement, Turkey repeatedly called the agreement with Russia a “done deal” and that it will not step back.
“Turkey and Russia are on the same page regarding their Syria policies”, Yerhov further said.
“The Russian-Turkish cooperation in Syria has been very efficient – what we already achieved as guarantors of the Astana process together with Iran is a very good example of how like-minded states can act to stop the bloodshed and bring peace to war-torn peoples and territories. This is exactly what we have done in Syria where so-called de-escalation zones were created, where the cessation of hostilities enabled the people to restore a normal and peaceful life, to start rebuilding their country after eight years of the devastating conflict,” he said. Still, there is a lot more to be done, he added.
“We have Idlib today, where terrorists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham play the master in the province, continuing their aggressive provocations which result in victims among both military and civilians,” he said, referring to the former Al-Qaeda offshoot.
“Such a situation needs solution, and urgent solution and our military have already started coordinated effort aimed at the implementation of the Memorandum on Idlib signed in Sochi in September last year,” he said. “We all know that a real peace, durable and long-lasting, can only be achieved by political means,” he also said, adding that they need a political process.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (04.04.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/big-switch-to-istanbul-airport-to-last-45-hours-142406) reported that the transfer of operations from Atatürk Airport to the newly-built Istanbul Airport will be completed in 45 hours, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan has said.
The big switch will begin at 3:00 am on April 5 and be completed at 11:59 pm on April 6, according to Turhan.
During the move between the two airports, major roads in Istanbul will be closed to traffic to ensure a smooth operation, Turhan added.
“Some highways will be closed for 26 hours while others will be non-operational for nine to 12 hours,” Turhan told journalists at a press meeting at Istanbul Airport where he shared the details of the upcoming switch.
Turhan said further that there would be a period of 12 hours during which there will be no flights from both Atatürk and Istanbul airports.
“Atatürk Airport will host the last flight at 2:00 am on April 6. From that day on, the venues of Atatürk Airport will serve as an exhibition area, a public park and training area,” Turhan said.
He also noted that crisis management centers will be set up at Atatürk Airport, Istanbul Airport and the Metropolitan Municipality’s disaster coordination center, AKOM, where officials will stand ready for 45 hours.
Atatürk Airport have hosted 1,300 airplanes each day and served 68 million passengers, Turhan said, adding that the airport, however, is not able to handle the ever increasing aviation traffic.
Istanbul Airport, whose first phase was opened on Oct. 29 last year, has the potential to welcome 90 million passengers annually, and following the second phase of construction is expected to be completed in 2023, the number will rise to around 200 million.
It will host flights departing to 350 destinations worldwide including countries in Africa, once completed.
After the switch, Atatürk Airport will be closed to domestic and international commercial passenger flights.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION