According to illegal Bayrak television (18.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-gives-interview-to-hurriyet-daily), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci reiterated the Turkish side’s position that Turkey and the “TRNC” cannot be expected to abandon their rights in the region.
Akinci alleged that a way out of the current problem regarding hydrocarbons could be found through international law.
In an interview to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Akıncı accused the Greek Cypriot side of exploiting its international recognition and EU membership to conjure support for its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“The Greek Cypriots are trying to win the support of countries by issuing licenses to companies such as ExxonMobil, Total and ENI. In return, the Greek Cypriots get a pat on the back. They are making a historical mistake,” Akıncı claimed.
Referring to the issue of arrest warrants for the crew of the Fatih, Akıncı alleged that nothing could be achieved by resorting to scaremongering tactics.
Akıncı reiterated once more the allegation that it was essential to establish a joint committee to deal with the issue of hydrocarbons so that the Turkish Cypriots would be included in the process.
He added that Turkey should not be excluded from the energy equation in the region as it has the longest coastline in the eastern Mediterranean. “Turkey is not a country which can be contained to its own shores. No one should expect Turkey or the TRNC to relinquish their rights in light of these realities. Since the Greek Cypriots refuse to discuss this issue, both Turkey and the TRNC are left with no choice but to take steps to protect their own rights,” he argued.
Akıncı alleged that it was important to be strong not only at the negotiating table but on the ground as well. “No one should expect the Greek Cypriots’ unilateral moves to go unanswered,” alleged Akıncı, claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side’s goal was to achieve stability in the region and Cyprus not through military means but through peaceful moves.
Regarding US’s pressure on Turkey to cease its activities, Akıncı claimed that the US was approaching the issue from its own perspective and interests.
He went on to claim that no one could question Turkey’s or the TRNC’s efforts to protect theirown rights and interests when even a country like the US which was thousands of kilometers away sees itself entitled to have a say on the matter. “The US officials we meet with, tell us that Turkey’s drilling activities are provocative. I ask them if they tell the Greek Cypriots that their unilateral actions are wrong. Being a global power doesn’t mean you can ignore the rights of one side completely and give your full support to the other. The US should not encourage wrongful steps but should support steps that will support stability,” Akıncı added.
Akıncı also alleged the EU was repeating the mistake it made in the past by siding with the Greek Cypriots on the energy issue. “The EU had accepted the Greek Cypriots into the bloc before a solution had been found. Unfortunately, the energy issue which could act as a catalyst for a solution is being transformed into a source of conflict and tension. International actors encouraging the Greek Cypriots’ unilateral actions are only helping raise these tensions. A historical opportunity is being wasted by repeating the same mistakes of the past,” he alleged.
“The Greek Cypriots are building alliances in the region in an effort to exclude Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots from the energy equation. To leave Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots out of the picture goes against the historical and geographical realities”, Akinci alleged.
He further claimed that it was not possible to achieve stability with these alliances formed between “south Cyprus”, Greece, Israel, Egypt and the US.
“If this gas is to be transported to Europe via a pipeline, the shortest, cheapest and most practical way to do it will be through Turkey and Greece,” he supported.
“To bring up an illogical project such as the East-Med project which envisages transporting the gas from south Cyprus to Greece via Crete is part of these efforts” he further claimed, alleging that the current quagmire could and should be solved through diplomacy and that the discovered resources should be used for cooperation among the countries of the region.
Akıncı concluded by repeating his view for the need of a joint committee to deal with the hydrocarbons issue. “This committee could operate under the supervision of the UN. There are similar committees that currently operate on other matters. However, the Greek Cypriot side is running away from all forms of dialogue on the issue, only recognizing its own authorities and sovereignty. Anyone who expects us to abandon our political and economic rights is naïve,” he alleged.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Volkan (18.06.19)reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has alleged that Greece and the Republic of Cyprus were “misusing” their membership to the European Union (EU).
In a written statement, the ministry reacted against Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ demand regarding sanctions on Turkey by the EU because of its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. “The messages given by our side at the highest level are very clear. We are preserving our determined stance on this issue”, the ministry argued.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Volkan (18.06.19)reports that Unal Cevikoz, vice chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey, has commented on the joint declaration adopted at the 6th Summit of the South European Countries members of the EU (MED7) on the issues of the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus and said that they condemned the approaches, which “ignore Turkey and the TRNC”. In a written statement, Cevikoz noted that they were concerned by paragraphs 18, 21, 22 and 23 of the joint declaration issued in Malta and alleged that the style and content of the declaration did not serve the lasting and comprehensive solution in Cyprus.
“It is obvious that those who think that Turkey and the TRNC will make a step backwards from their just positions by being influenced by the threatening expressions, are mistaken”, he argued expressing the view that the reason for this development is the “wrong policies” of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which “isolated Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean”. He argued:
“In order for Turkey to prevent being isolated and ineffective in the Eastern Mediterranean, the ground for dialogue with the countries of the region should be created quickly. Within this framework, our ambassadors in Cairo, Damascus and Tel Aviv as well as our Chief Councillor at Jerusalem should quickly return to their duties. Turkey should put onto the table the declaration of its Exclusive Economic Zone in the Mediterranean, by calculating all possibilities in order to make a comprehensive evaluation the soonest. The AKP government should the soonest abandon the efforts of transforming into gains in the internal policy the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus issue and defend with determination Turkey’s interest and the TRNC’s rights […]”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (17.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-slams-eu-summit-declaration) so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar slammed an EU summit declaration, saying the bloc “cannot be fair and impartial” on the Cyprus issue.
In a written statement, Tatar argued that “no one would dissuade Turkey and the TRNC from protecting their rights through threatening statements.”
“The EU countries have shown once again with the decision they took that they cannot be fair and impartial on the Cyprus issue and Turkish Cypriots should trust them neither with their security nor WITH the protection of their rights,” Tatar alleged in a written statement.
He further alleged the declaration’s statement on Cyprus took sides with its Greek residents and that those who took the decision do not want reconciliation on the island.
Claiming that “the EU which accepted the Greek Cypriot Administration who seized the rights of Turkish Cypriot people with guns and massacres since December 1963 and refused all solution opportunities could not reach anywhere by taking decisions which leave the rights of Turkish Cypriots to the Greek Cypriots”, Tatar argued further the following: “Those who attempt to threaten Turkey despite international law should know that it was not possible for them to contribute to a just, permanent and viable solution in Cyprus by putting forward a pro-Greek manner.”
Reiterating that Turkish Cypriots are also living in Cyprus, Tatar alleged: “We hold exactly the same rights as the Greek Cypriots. Our claims in the Eastern Mediterranean are as rightful as the Greek Cypriot side’s.”
“Those who do not realize this reality cannot make any contributions to the solution of the Cyprus problem” Tatar alleged further. “If the EU countries really desire a solution in Cyprus then they should not ignore the current realities and ignore our rights and views”, Tatar added.
Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (15.6.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-says-turkish-armed-forces-vital-for-tcs) broadcast that Tatar has alleged that the Turkish Armed Forces’ presence in Cyprus was essential for the existence of the Turkish Cypriot “people”.
Speaking during a courtesy visit paid to him on Friday by the “commander of the Turkish peace forces in Cyprus major general” Yılmaz Yıldırım, Tatar claimed that the Greek Cypriots continued to pursue an armament campaign, stressing the need to be prepared.
Tatar stated also that both sides had equal rights and interests on the island. “However, the Greek Cypriots are acting as if they are the sole owners of the island,” he argued.
Supporting that the “Turkish peace forces in Cyprus” is the sole guarantor of the security of the “TRNC” and the Turkish Cypriot “people”, Tatar expressed his gratitude to “motherland” Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (17.06.19) reports that professor Yasin Aktay, adviser of the chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has said that those who think that they would exclude Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots from the Eastern Mediterranean were mistaken. In statements to the paper, Aktay argued that with its vessels in the area, turkey has clearly given the message that it would not allow a fait accompli any more. He alleged: “Turkey has rights deriving from its continental shelf in the Mediterranean. The situation on this issue is clear. Our Fatih vessel has started drillings within our continental shelf”.
Noting that Turkey’s second drilling vessel would come to the area within the forthcoming days, Aktay alleged that this second vessel would be a concrete indication that the “unilateral steps” of the Greek Cypriot side, which “ignore the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people”, would not be allowed.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (15.06.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled minister of foreign affairs in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that the federal solution model in Cyprus should not be turned into “an obsession”. He argued that models which include the accession to the European Union of the “state”, which allegedly exists in the occupied northern part of Cyprus, should be discussed. The “two states within the EU” model which is included in the “government’s program” is only one of the alternatives, argued Ozersay in statements to the paper, claiming that their policy is based on achieving an agreement with the Greek Cypriot side through dialogue and negotiations and that the current conditions did not make possible the federal solution.
Ozersay alleged that President Anastasiades “drew attention” to the fact that new and different things could be discussed and discussed these things with Turkey. He further wondered why the Turkish Cypriots could not discuss these things and put new ideas onto the table, as well.
He also alleged that if the whole of Cyprus was in the EU but the EU laws were suspended in the occupied area of the island, models providing for the gradual accession of the breakaway regime into the EU should be discussed.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (18.06.19) reports that the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot teacher’s trade union (KTOS) Sener Elcil described as “insincere” the statements made recently by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has claimed that Turkey defends Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the sea. In a question directed to Erdogan, Elcil is wondering whether Turkey had left any Turkish Cypriot in the island to defend their rights and interests.
“After Turkey’s defeat in Syria and Iraq, it is using the Turkish Cypriots in northern Cyprus, which is under its occupation, as political hostages for the forthcoming Istanbul rerun elections. Turkey follows a policy of the non-solution of the Cyprus problem with unacceptable proposals, aiming to take possession of the whole of the island by hiding behind the rights of our community”, Elcil said.
Under the above title, Turkish Anatolia News Agency (18.06.19, https://www.sondakika.com/haber/haber-yavuz-persembe-gunu-sondaja-ugurlanacak-12155819/) reports that Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Donmez has said that Yavuz drilling vessel was upgraded at the shipyard and that they would send it off to the Eastern Mediterranean on Thursday. “And around the beginning of July, they will start their first drilling in the area for which we are licensed by the TRNC”, he noted replying to a question of Anatolia news agency’s correspondent in Japan, in the side-lines of the G20 Energy and Environment Ministers’ Summit.
Donmez said that Fatih vessel was continuing its drillings for natural gas in the area named Finike-1 in the open sea of Cyprus and that the depth of the water there was around 2,300 meters. He added:
“Our drilling at the moment has exceeded 3,000 meters. Our targeted depth is to go down to around 5000-5500 meters below the surface of the sea. We have a daily working program of approximately 100-120 meters. We will reach the targeted point around the end of July. Of course there is something we have been saying from the beginning. There are no guarantees in this job. We do not have the opportunity to know what is there and what is not there before carrying out a drilling. Of course we are hopeful there as well. Those who try to throw Turkey outside the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean realize that there is no realistic solution without Turkey, but they cannot say it”.
Reiterating the allegation that Turkey would defend the rights of their kinsmen in Cyprus and the “TRNC”, Donmez claimed that they were in favour of a “fair sharing”.
Noting that they were carrying their operations to a great extent with local personnel, Donmez said that they were continuously increasing their local personnel and added that they would continue their drillings with Fatih and Yavuz vessels both in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Donmez recalled that Turkey possessed also two seismic exploration vessels and that Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa vessel continued its seismic explorations in the areas licensed by the “TRNC” and area licensed by Turkey.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-slams-eu-summit-declaration-on-e-med-cyprus-144212) reported that Turkey on June 15 rejected an EU summit's declaration on the issues of the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean, and Cyprus, calling it "against international law."
“The joint declaration from June 14's South EU summit in Malta reflects the national positions of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, which do not comply with U.N. principles on solving the Cyprus issue or the rules of international law”, said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.
"These statements do not have any value, meaning or effect for us," the Ministry said, alleging that the declaration is yet another example of how Greece and the Greek Cypriots abuse their EU membership and some EU countries have become instruments for that.
The statement added that it also "clearly" exposes the reason why the EU and the EU members cannot be regarded as "impartial and reliable actors" within the settlement of the Cyprus issue.
The Ministry reiterated further that the Cyprus issue can only be resolved if the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots is ensured and the security needs of the Turkish Cypriots are met. "The reason behind the failure of the settlement of the Cyprus issue for 56 years is the unwillingness of the Greek Cypriots to share the power and wealth," it alleged.
"Moreover, they should acknowledge that the Turkish Cypriots have equal rights on the natural resources of the island," it added.
The statement also underlined that Turkey's determination to protect its rights within its continental shelf and the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots on the hydrocarbon resources of the island continues as before, and that Turkey have taken necessary steps to this end and will not hesitate to do so.
The 6th South EU Summit was held in Malta on June 14 with the participation of France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Greece, and the “Greek Cypriot administration”, [Translator’s note: as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to].
According to illegal Bayrak television (17.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=erdogan-on-hydrocarbon-issue-2), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan touched upon the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent statement and a warrant issued by the “Greek Cypriot administration” [as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to] for the arrest of personnel of the Turkish drill and exploration ships.
“The French President wants us to withdraw from here. What are you doing there? We are a riparian state and we are a guarantor. Who are you?” Erdogan asked.
On the “Greek Cypriot administration” issuing arrest warrants for the crew of the Turkish-flagged drillship Fatih in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan claimed such warrants represent “false hopes.” “We chose not to sit and watch but to struggle for the interests of our country and nation” Erdogan stressed.
Speaking to journalists during his return from Tajikistan where he attended the 5th Summit of the Heads of State of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, Erdogan once again slammed Macron. “Those who have the right to speak about the Eastern Mediterranean can speak. When did France have the right to speak on the Eastern Mediterranean? Do they have coast in the Eastern Mediterranean?” Erdogan said.
“We are one of the guarantor countries in Cyprus. Greece and the United Kingdom are also the guarantor countries. What is France doing there?” he said.
He further alleged that the people living in Cyprus, whether Turks or Greeks, had “equal rights and shares.”
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-not-reducing-troops-in-turkish-cyprus-erdogan-144197) reported that Erdogan said on June 14 that Turkey has the right to keep its troops in the “TRNC”.
Erdogan was speaking to reporters prior to his visit to Tajikistan's capital Dusanbe, where he attended the 5th Summit of Heads of State of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
“Turkey is not reducing its troops in northern Cyprus,” Erdogan said, adding that the country "does not need permission from anyone" on the issue.
Commenting on an attack on a Turkish army's observation point in Syria's Idlib on Thursday which left three soldiers wounded, Erdoğan said: “Turkey will not remain silent if Syrian regime continues to attack observation points in Idlib."
On the Turkey-U.S. cooperation in Manbij Erdogan said: “Our partner, the U.S., did not keep its promise on Manbij [...] However, it doesn't mean that we give up on the Manbij issue, we keep all our plans and we will continue to do.”
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (17.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-iran-must-block-assad-regime-attacks-fm-cavusoglu-144245) reported that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on June 16, hours after an Assad regime attack on a Turkish observation post in northwestern Syria, that stopping attacks by the Syrian regime is the responsibility of Russia and Iran as guarantor states of peace.
“Earlier on June 16, Assad regime forces attacked a Turkish observation post in Idlib, Syria- with no casualties- and was retaliated upon by heavy weapons”, Turkey's Defense Ministry said.
"Turkey won't tolerate Syrian regime harassment of its soldiers," Cavusoglu told a ceremony inaugurating a Foreign Ministry office in Hatay, a southern Turkish province bordering Syria.
He stressed that Turkey "will teach them their place."
On June 15, the Turkish military sent reinforcements to another observation post in Idlib near Zawiya, which was targeted by regime forces last week, leaving three Turkish soldiers wounded.
Although Turkey and Russia have agreed to stop acts of aggression and turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone, the Syrian regime has consistently violated the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.
On Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey absolutely will not accept any U.S. impositions on the deal.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.06.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-russian-defense-ministers-discuss-syria-/1506925) reported that Turkish and Russian Defense ministers exchanged views on Monday in a telephone call on measures needed to ensure peace, stability and a cease-fire in Syria.
Hulusi Akar and Sergey Shoygu stressed commitments to the Astana and Sochi peace deals, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The two Ministers also discussed regional security issues.
Turkish dialy Hurriyet Daily news (17.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/spain-extends-air-defense-system-deployment-in-turkey-144273) reported that Spain on June 17 approved an extension of six months on the deployment of its Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey.
According to information received from Spanish diplomatic sources, the country will extend the deployment of its missiles in Turkey's southern Adana province until the end of this year.
The extension process will be officially announced after an approval from the NATO.
Spain's Patriot air defense missiles have been deployed in Adana since 2015 after Turkey's request for NATO assistance.
Turkish daily Sabah (18.06.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/06/18/arrests-warrants-issued-for-128-feto-suspects) reported that Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 128 people with suspected links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, a judicial source said on Tuesday.
The warrants were issued as part of a probe into the terror group's clandestine network in the Turkish Armed Forces by prosecutors in western Izmir and central Konya provinces.
Izmir prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 65 suspects, according to the source who asked not to be named due to restriction on speaking to media.
The suspects include 48 on-duty soldiers who were found to have communicated with "covert imams" of FETÖ via payphone.
Konya prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 63 more suspects, another judicial source said. They had also been in contact with the imams.
Also, security operations were carried out across 30 provinces.
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