Under the title “The first step for fenced off Varosha was made”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (19.06.19) reports that the self-styled council of ministers took yesterday the first step for the opening of the occupied fenced off city of Varosha, by deciding to establish a committee of experts for conducting a “scientific inventory study” in the city. In statements during the meeting of the “council” yesterday, Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, argued that the time has come for taking a concrete step on the occupied Varosha issue and alleged:
“The team, which will be established utilizing names who are active internationally as well, will be assigned with the duty of conducting a comprehensive inventory study which will include issues such as the registry of the title deeds in fenced off Varosha, the situation of the movable and immovable properties, the determination of EVKAF property, the situation of the infrastructure and elements which bear risk from the point of view of the environment and of preparing a report towards the office of the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs. […]
In the next steps, which we will take as government, we will act in such a way that the rights and interests of the old owners of closed Varosha and of the EVKAF administration regarding their properties will not be violated. By taking a special decision, the council of ministers will prepare the conditions for the work to be carried out in practice in order to prepare the conditions for the team, which will be established, to be able to work in fenced off Varosha, which legally has the status of a military area within the territories of the TRNC. Within this framework, a general call will be made in the next few weeks to persons who voluntarily want to contribute to the scientific work which will be made. Within the next few days, we as government will exchange views on the issue with the president of the republic and the chairmen of the political parties which are represented in our assembly”.
According to Ozersay, the “council of ministers” was also briefed on the so-called “opening for the Maronites”. He said that the tender procedure for occupied Karpasia village was completed and that a “contract” will be signed most probably on Friday. In this manner the return of property to 10-15 Maronites would be possible, he added.
Moreover, Ozersay also said that the “council of ministers” approved the purchase of immovable property by some foreigners and decided the opening of the “airport” at occupied Lefkoniko for military purposes (visual flights).
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (19.06.19) refers to the issue under the title “Game by Ankara for Varosha” and reports that self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar told Turkish A Haber media organization that they have consulted with Ankara on the issue of Varosha. After this statement, Tatar turned off his phone and no one could communicate with him, writes the paper, adding that Tatar said that the inventory study concerned hundreds of hotels in occupied fenced off Varosha, many plots of land and some plots of land of EVKAF foundation, the title deeds of which are disputable.
Asked whether there could be a reaction by the Republic of Cyprus on this issue, Tatar alleged that there might be a reaction, “but at the end of the day this place is under our administration”. “Of course we are evaluating this together with Turkey. All things which are necessary will be done. Thisisthebeginning. It will continue determinedly”.
Turkish DHA news agency cited information by some sources on the issue saying that Ankara and the “TRNC” have decided together to act on the opening of occupied fenced off Varosha.
Moreover, illegal Bayrak (19.06.19, http://www.brtk.net/maras-acilirken-mutlaka-vakif-mallari-ile-eski-sahiplerinin-hak-ve-menfaatleri-de-goz-onunde-bulundurulacaktir/) broadcasts that Tatar alleged that the “government”, in consultation and cooperation with Turkey, was determined to put an end to the exploitation of the status quo by the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots. “At the first stage an inventory study will be carried out for opening Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration. The government has taken a decision in this direction”, he said claiming that the rights and interests of Varosha’s “old owners” and of EVKAF would be taken into consideration when the city was open.
Meanwhile, writing in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (19.06.19) columnist Mete Tumerkan argues that “the step for Varosha will demolish the status quo” on the island and that with this step it seems that things in Cyprus “will go beyond the ordinary”, “when the roles in the Cyprus problem are determined again together with the hydrocarbon resources”. Tumerkan expresses the view that the new “coalition government’s” program has given the message that nothing would be the same in the Cyprus problem from now on, adding that Ozersay’s statements on the issue of Varosha and the Maronites are concrete steps which started to be taken in that direction.
According to illegal Bayrak television (19.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=erdogan-slams-macron-for-recent-statement), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan evaluated the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the S-400 issue during a dinner he attended last night.
“Turkey will not be deterred by any cause from protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean”, Erdogan said.
“No one can stop us from pursuing rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he added.
On the decision of the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Translator’s note: as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to], to issue arrest warrants for crew members of the Turkish drillship Fatih, Erdogan said that Turkey’s drill ships will “resolutely” continue their studies in the region.
Referring to the French President Emanuel Macron’s statement that Turkey should withdraw from the region, Erdogan said: “Who are you to tell us to withdraw? Are you a regional state? No, you are not. Do you have any business here? No, you do not. Not only does Turkey have a large coastline in the area but it is also a guarantor country in Cyprus. Greece and Britain are guarantor countries and they too have the right to speak on this issue but you don’t. You have a French company, Total, involved. It can only speak as a company. However, we are in the loop.”
On Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400, Erdogan reiterated that it is a “done deal” and Turkey will receive its orders soon.
Erdogan rejected any criticism against Turkey on the issue, saying that Greece had already purchased Russian S-300s. He also said that Turkey continues to take any measure for its national defence.
According to illegal Bayrak television (18.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-slams-tsipras-and-macron), so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar has criticized reports that the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron were preparing to ask the European Union to impose sanctions on Turkey over its drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In a written statement issued today, Tatar alleged that neither Turkey nor the “TRNC” will be intimidated by threats.
Tatar claimed that Greece, which was responsible for the conflict in Cyprus as well as atrocities committed against Turkish Cypriots, would not be able to achieve anything by attacking Turkey.
Regarding remarks made by the French President Emmanuel Macron, Tatar said that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had given Macron the appropriate response.
“As President Erdogan said earlier, Turkey has a long coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean. More importantly it is a guarantor country in Cyprus. Just like Greece and the UK. As for France? What is France doing in Cyprus?” Tatar argued.
He further alleged that the EU had failed to keep its promises to the Turkish Cypriot “people”.
“There is a conflict of interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Several countries in cooperation withs Cyprus are trying to exclude Turkey from the region. They dream of usurping our rights,” he alleged, supporting that the international community was wrongfully encouraging the Greek Cypriots.
Tatar went on to claim that Turkey and the “TRNC” will continue to protect their rights and interests in the region.
Meanwhile, according to illegal Bayrak television (18.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-receives-tmt-society), so-called prime minister Tatar alleged that the “TRNC had an important location in the Eastern Mediterranean which was why it was absolutely necessary for a Turkish Cypriot state to continue to exist in the region”.
Speaking during a meeting he held with a delegation from the “Turkish resistance organization (TMT) society”, Tatar argued that the “TRNC was not established as a joke but as a result of a long and hard struggle”.
Claiming that the latest developments in the region and Turkey’s position showed how important the location of the “TRNC” is, he added that it was important to look at the bigger picture.
Referring to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s response to the French President Emmanuel Macron’s latest remarks on the hydrocarbons issue, Tatar alleged that an extremely appropriate policy was being pursued on the issue which supported the struggle waged by the Turkish Cypriot “people”. “We should continue this struggle in order to further strengthen and develop the TRNC state economically, to provide prosperity to the people, to protect our rights and interests on this island and for future generations to exist”, he further claimed.
Supporting that it was also mentioned in the “government program” that efforts to achieve a federal solution in Cyprus had been exhausted, he alleged it would be meaningless to start a new process at this stage. “We expressed, in our government program, that a process for a federal solution had ended and therefore the time had come to discuss new alternatives at the table. We even said that a two-state solution under the EU umbrella could be negotiated. Top Turkish officials are also referring to this” Tatar argued.
“We spent 50 years discussing a federal solution. During this time the Turkish side displayed a flexible stance but the other side showed us at every opportunity that it does not want a partnership. Therefore, under these conditions, it is meaningless to restart the negotiations process”, Tatar further alleged.
Accusing the Greek Cypriot side of never showing flexibility towards sharing wealth, prosperity, governance or anything else, Tatar claimed the Greek Cypriot side’s understanding of a federation was but a unitary state.
“The Turkish Cypriot people cannot accept a situation where the majority will govern the minority, Turkey will be excluded, the system of guarantees will be scrapped within the EU and our fate will be left to their mercy”, Tatar further alleged.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot side proceeded on its way by signing “unlawful agreements” with international firms, Tatar claimed that “in a way they are challenging the Turkish side.”
Noting that his coalition partner Kudret Özersay shared the same views on these issues, Tatar stressed that the “government will work in harmony to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Under the title “A day full of crisis”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (19.06.19) reports that a crisis was experienced yesterday first within the UBP-HP “coalition government” itself because of an investigation against UBP’s former chairman Huseyin Ozgurgun and afterwards between the Turkish Cypriot leader and Kudret Ozersay, chairman of HP and self-styled foreign minister, because of a meeting held by the latter and President Anastasiades without briefing Mustafa Akinci.
As regards the Ozgurgun issue, the paper cites information according to which Ozersay asked for an investigation to be launched immediately saying that otherwise the “government” might be spoiled.
The other issue of conflict was caused by a statement made by Baris Burcu, Akinci’s spokesman, who said that the fact that Ozersay met with President Anastasiades a few days ago, without briefing Akinci before or after this meeting, was not in harmony with “the principles of political ethics”. Burcu accused Ozersay of holding contacts recently without briefing Aknci. He said that Ozersay’s stance was saddening and unacceptable.
Replying to Burcu’s accusations, Ozersay said that after his social dinner with President Anastasiades he had briefed the “council of ministers” and the “prime minister”. He noted that Akinci also had met with AKEL General Secretary without briefing him as “foreign minister”. “Furthermore, I have found out from the press the fact that the Guterres Document was suggested to the Greek Cypriot side as strategic document and the then prime minister Erhurman also did not know this”, he argued, adding that expressing complains was not a “healthy approach”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (19.06.19) describes Ozersay’s action as “a civilian coup against Akinci”. The paper reports that Akinci found out yesterday about Ozersay’s secret meeting with President Anastasiades on 4 June and asked “prime minister” Tatar about it, who confirmed the information.
According to illegal Bayrak television (18.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=minister-oguz-completes-contacts-in-ankara, so-called minister of agriculture and natural resources Dursun Oguz met with Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli as part of his illegal contacts in Ankara, where he had also attended the World Day to Combat Desertification Conference held from June 17-22.
Oguz also met with the Somali Deputy Agriculture Minister Mehd Muhammed Culet.
Evaluating his contacts to BRT following his return to the island, Oguz said that the conference had been useful in terms of learning more about desertification, erosion and climate change.
He added that serious erosion was being experienced around the world in the last years due to droughts.
“Flooding also washes away rich top soils, damaging fertile farming land”, he said.
“The most saddening development in the TRNC is that soil is being washed into the sea. The government and state need to take measures to put an end to this,” he added.
Oguz also alleged that attending an international conference with 14 other countries was an important political development.
Turkish dailies cover today with front-page titles the “decision” announced yesterday by so-called deputy prime minister and so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay for steps to be taken on the opening of the “fenced off city of Varosha for residence”. Following are the titles of the newspapers:
-Vatan (19.06.19-http://www.gazetevatan.com/kktc-den-hayalet-sehir-karari-1260493-gundem/: “Decision by the TRNC on the ‘Ghost city’”. The paper reports that the “government of the TRNC” has undertaken an important initiative on the “Maras issue” and thus, it has decided for “Maras” which is closed since 1974, to open. Speaking to A Haber on the issue, so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar stated, inter alia, that no concrete steps were taken yet, adding that the steps to be taken are in progress and will become concrete very soon. “There might be some reactions by south Cyprus, but at the end of the day, this is our administration. Of course, we evaluate this issue with Turkey. The steps needed to be taken. This is only the beginning”, Tatar argued.
-Star-(19.06.19- https://www.star.com.tr/guncel/kktc-45-yildan-beri-kapali-olan-marasin-acilmasi-icin-harekete-gecti-haber-1461872/: “It was closed for 45 years. Decision on the ‘Ghost city’”. The paper writes that the “TRNC took action for the opening of Maras which was closed for 45 years”. The paper refers to the statements made yesterday by so-called deputy prime minister and so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, who announced that a group of experts will be tasked to carry out a study on the issue.
-Daily Sabah (18.06-19 https://www.dailysabah.com/europe/2019/06/18/northern-cyprus-opens-ghost-town-varosha-for-settlement): “Northern Cyprus opens 'ghost town' Varosha for settlement”.
-Hurriyet: “Ghost city opens after 45 years”.
-Milliyet (19.06.19- http://www.milliyet.com.tr/Milliyet-Tv/video-izle/kktc-hukumetinden-maras-acilimi-hayalet-sehir-canlaniyor-O7eD4rHYu4pK.html): “Opening of Maras by the TRNC government”
-Aydinlik (18.06.19- https://www.aydinlik.com.tr/kktc-den-dogu-akdeniz-hamlesi-politika-haziran-2019-3): “Move by the TRNC in the Eastern Mediterranean: “The TRNC government has undertaken an important initiative in the Eastern Mediterranean. The government has decided to open Maras after many years”.
-Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-cyprus-decides-to-reopen-disputed-varosha-to-tourism-144325): “Turkish Cyprus decides to reopen disputed Varosha to tourism”.
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (18.06.10-http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_178_-ab-nin-ulkemiz-ile-ilgili-kararlari-hk.en.mfa) publishes in its official website a written statement regarding the EU General Affairs Council Conclusions on Turkey. Following is the statement:
“We reject the parts of the EU General Affairs Council Conclusions of 18 June meeting regarding Turkey.
These conclusions show how far the EU is from understanding the steps taken by Turkey despite the conditions it finds itself in and the challenges it faces. The EU made a grave mistake in 2004 by accepting the Greek Cypriot Administration [Translator’s note: the Republic of Cyprus] as an EU member. For the sake of carrying on with this mistake, the EU is now demeaning Turkey-EU relations to the Cyprus issue and becoming a hostage of it. It is apparent that the EU has produced today’s conclusions in a partisan way and completely from the Greek Cypriot perspective.
The EU, has acted as a bargain-based interests-group rather than a community upholding principles and values. This is contrary to the EU’s founding philosophy.
The EU by positioning itself as a court and attempting to render a judgment on bilateral disputes related to sovereignty under the pretext of ‘Union solidarity’ and issuing politically motivated biased statements with regard to sensitive issues such as maritime boundary delimitation that comprise extremely technical dimensions, does not serve regional peace and stability. It is well-known that in the past, the EU never took stance in bilateral issues of overlapping maritime jurisdiction claims of its own members. The EU’s current position is in fact based on the unequitable and maximalist claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriots regarding the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean aiming at usurping the rights of Turkey and of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – the co-owner of the island of Cyprus. We totally reject these claims.
The Council Conclusions related to the Eastern Mediterranean are lacking legal basis. We call on the EU to change this biased and unrealistic approach.
Turkey continues to stand for peace and stability in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, as in all the surrounding seas. Those taking steps against the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean and ignoring the presence of Turkey in the region as the country with the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean will never reach their goals.
Turkish Cypriots have proposed to establish a joint energy committee for the energy resources/revenues of the Island. This proposal has been rejected by the Greek Cypriots. Until a political settlement is found on the Island, the establishment of such a committee will be a positive step and by enhancing the confidence between parties, facilitate a comprehensive settlement.
Until this happens, Turkey remains determined to take the necessary steps with a view to protecting its rights and interests within its own maritime jurisdiction areas as well as the legitimate rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots. No one should doubt it.
Turkey will continue taking resolute and sincere steps in its EU process despite the EU’s biased approach. Turkey is not moving away from the EU as alleged. On the contrary, the EU is pushing Turkey away by not acting in a fair and honest manner. The EU is also losing credibility in the eyes of the Turkish people. In the face of global challenges such as terrorism, irregular migration and energy security, it will be to the EU’s own interest to act with a strategic vision and to abandon its partial stance”.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.06.19- https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-wants-to-guarantee-turkish-cypriots-rights/1508713) reports that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has alleged that Ankara’s single aim in the Eastern Mediterranean, is to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots”.
"There is only one thing we want. To guarantee that the rights of Turkish Cypriots are accepted by Greek Cypriot administration, Greece, the EU and everyone," Cavusoglu told a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) in Ankara on Wednesday.
The two-day meeting will last through Thursday at the Turkish Parliament.
Cavusoglu said that political solutions will emerge in the Eastern Mediterranean when people “learn to share in compliance with the law." "[Later] we won’t have any trouble sharing the wealth [in the region]," he further added.
Cavusoglu praised further efforts of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean to find a solution in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (18.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-needs-a-change-in-foreign-policy-chp-head-144304) reported that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu said on June 18 that Turkey needs a drastic foreign policy change.
“We need to act national in foreign policy. The priority is Turkey’s interest. Both the government and the opposition party should advocate this,” Kılicdaroglu said in his speech at CHP’s parliamentary group in capital Ankara.
“Peace at home, peace abroad. [Modern Turkey’s founder] Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] is saying this. Yet this has become an international discourse, a common saying of all international establishments. Turkey’s main goal is to get along with all her neighbors,” he added.
“The first thing Atatürk did when he established the Republic was sign peace treaties with neighbors”, Kilicdaroglu said, adding that Turkey is “losing in its foreign policy”. He further stressed the importance of the country’s needs to establish peace with the world’s nations.
“Relations with neighbors are very important,” he added.
Recalling “Turkey’s peace operation in Cyprus”, in 1974 [Tranlator’s note: the Turkish invasion], which resulted in the establishment of the “TRNC”, Kilicdaroglu said that the operation went “unscathed."
“The policy in Cyprus needs to change. A new move needs to be made. If not, we will face bigger problems in the future,” Kilicdaroglu underlined, stressing the need for the “TRNC to be recognized”.
“We lost sixteen islands [in the Aegean and Mediterranean]. Why is no one opposing this? Where are this country’s national interests?” Kılicdaroglu questioned. “Turkey is losing something different with every coming day”, he said.
Kilicdaroglu also referred to the recent drilling disputes in the East Mediterranean, urging voters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to protect Turkey’s national interests. “Turkey is being isolated in the international area,” he said.
Noting that there are large oil and natural gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean and pointingto the cooperation between the U.S, Egypt, Israel, Greece and the “Greek Cypriot administration”, [Translator’s note: as the Republic of Cyprus is referred to], Kilicdaroglu alleged further the following: "Only one state is not there: Turkey. Everyone has a say…Only Turkey has been excluded”. The CHP head also brought up the current military situation in Idlib, voicing his concerns of the possible migrant flow from Syria to Turkey.
“Syria is our neighbor. The fire in there will spread to us. People are dying as the West’s hegemon powers provide arms,” he said.
Kılıcdaroglu also conveyed his condolences over the death of Egypt’s first elected leader Mohamad Morsi, saying that despite his political differences with Morsi, he opposed the military coup that toppled the Egyptian President. “He lost his life in a courtroom. One would wish for him to be buried worthily of a President. It is unacceptable that he was buried in secret and only with a ceremony his family attended,” he said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.06.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-slams-mep-alleging-illegal-activities-in-emed/1508065) reported that Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey’s top diplomat for EU affairs on Tuesday responded to a center-right European People’s Party (EPP) Deputy in the European Parliament Manfred Weber over remarks referring to Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean as "illegal”.
Weber said on Twitter: "Turkey cannot be allowed to violate the sovereignty of an EU member state. Turkey must stop any illegal activities within Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. The people of Cyprus can rely on our support and solidarity."
Kaymakci, Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs, alleged that the European Union was not authorized to determine land, maritime or aerial boundaries of third countries. "Solidarity of [EU] membership cannot get ahead of international law and justify the unilateral claims of Greek Cypriots," Kaymakci alleged.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (18.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-letter-not-in-line-with-spirit-of-alliance-144301) reported that in a letter to his U.S. counterpart, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar emphasized the importance of mutual respect and friendship to the problems between the two countries, his Ministry announced on June 18.
The letter was sent as a reply to a letter sent by U.S. acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan earlier this month.
In the letter, Shanahan outlined how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet program unless Ankara gives up on purchasing Russian-made S-400 missile defense system.
Akar said that the U.S. letter was “not in line with spirit of alliance” and it was “improperly worded,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“[In the letter sent by Turkey to the U.S.], the importance of continuing efforts to find a suitable solution to the problems and maintaining dialogue based on mutual respect and friendship was conveyed,” the statement read.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION