Under the title “We could not agree”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Diyalog (20.06.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, chairman of the People’s Party (HP) and self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that HP’s position was the opening of the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration. Participating in a program of Diyalog TV, Ozersay was asked whether they could take the decision announced the day before yesterday by the self-styled cabinet during the period of the previous four-party “coalition government”. He replied the following: “[…] During the stage of establishing the four-party coalition government we could not agree on the issue of including any reference on fenced-off Varosha. You know, especially the HP has a policy in the direction of its opening under Turkish Cypriot administration, but there was not a positive approach on this. Becausetherehadbeennoconsensus, thiswasnotwrittendowninthegovernmentprogram”.
Referring to the resolutions of the UN Security Council on the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha, Ozersay alleged that [in their decision] there was nothing contrary to the above-mentioned resolution. He argued:
“[…] Do not forget, however. In that resolution there are expressions which refer to the return of Varosha to its old inhabitants under UN administration or to giving permission for return. Only, one should not forget the following: I want to underline this: That resolution of the Security Council exists now also. In spite of that resolution of the Security Council, no step in this direction was taken. Is it not so? That is, if there is a violation, if some say that the resolution of the Security Council is violated, the allegation could be set forth that the resolution of the Security Council is anyway violated today as well in this sense. Therefore, what will be done from now on should be considered as a step in the direction of the international law. […]
Let everyone see carefully the statement. We are especially referring to the respect of the property rights and interests of the old inhabitants and the EVKAF administration and to the fact that no steps which violate these will be taken. This is a very important element. […] Therefore, reference is made to steps towards a more positive point from the one we are standing today within the limits of the international law […]”
Referring to the applications submitted by Greek Cypriot refugees for their occupied properties to the so-called “Immovable Property Commission”, Ozersay argued that the move to be made by the regime after the inventory study in the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha would facilitate the work of the “Commission”. “I assume that a process will begin which will help [the Commission] to act faster, produce different decisions regarding the immovable properties which remained in closed Varosha and thus the Commission will produce more applicable decisions”, he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (20.06.19) reports that in statements yesterday to Haber Kıbrıs news portal, Ozersay said that the inventory study in occupied Varosha would most probably start in the beginning of next week, adding that they were planning to complete this study within a short period of time.
Ozersay noted that they had certain persons in mind to participate in the team which will carry out the study, adding that they would be open to benefiting from certain persons and academicians who had carried out researches in certain university divisions. He alleged that the step of the regime on Varosha would “bring positive voices” from the government-controlled area of Cyprus.
Noting that in some places the information that Varosha would open under Turkish Cypriot administration was published, Ozersay argued that “we did not state what kind of a move we could make”and reiterated that the “right establishments regarding EVKAF’s properties in Varosha should be made”. “We do not say that the inhabitants of Varosha prior to 1974 have no rights. We will take steps respecting them”, he claimed adding:
“[…] When we look at the UN resolutions, the main emphasis concerns the return of the former owners. We are referring to steps in the direction of the international law. Before discussing the issue at the council of ministers, I cannot say anything on behalf of the government in what direction this will evolve after the study. We are not considering the opening of Varosha in the form of negotiating as a confidence building measure […]”.
Under the title “We have connected a road from Varosha to Anatolia”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (20.06.19) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, said yesterday that the decision on the opening of the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha was taken together with Turkey. Recalling that celebrities such as Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe had visited Varosha in the past, Tatar argued that “closed Varosha, which is a ghost city now, will become a Las Vegas”.
Making a call on Turkish investors regarding the fenced-off occupied city, Tatar alleged: “A new period has started in Cyprus. Important developments will take place in Varosha. TheTurkishinvestorsshouldprepareprojectsforthis”.
Commenting on the issue, the paper writes that everyone should prepare for more population and investors from Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Hakikat (20.06.19) reports that Erhan Arikli, chairman of the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP) said yesterday that his party was extremely satisfied with the “council of ministers” decision on the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha, adding that YDP would follow the developments as regards the materialization of the decision. “We were extremely satisfied with the fact that the view for opening Varosha for use under Turkish administration is considered appropriate by the new government as well”, noted Arikli alleging that EVKAF religious foundation’s rights should be sought internationally and Varosha should open for “its old users” in a special status under the UN observation and Turkish administration, “without violating the rights of the Turkish Cypriot side”.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (20.06.19) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) made a statement yesterday arguing that the occupied fenced-off Varosha issue should be seriously planned and discussed with an approach which pushes the procedure of finding a comprehensive solution on the island, rather than having as target the process before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and satisfying short term needs. The CTP expressed the view that under the current climate moves, including Varosha, should be made in consultation with the UN, by remaining within the framework of the international law. “Meanwhile, developments should be monitored closely, especially regarding the cases filed in order for the Immovable Property Commission to stop being an effective local remedy before the ECHR and open a comprehensive discussion on the moves which should be made in this field”, the statement claimed.
Meanwhile, Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), told the paper that the decision of the “cabinet” on occupied Varosha was positive, but drew attention to the importance of “completing the content” of this decision and of making a move “in the right direction”. Denktas said that he had suggested to all “presidents” in the occupied area and to Turkish Foreign Ministers the opening of fenced-off Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration, but Turkey always replied “’now this should wait”. He argued that if the “government’ took a decision on the opening of Varosha, this happened with Turkey’s approval.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (20.06.19) reports that Izzet Izcan, chairman of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) has said that the main reason for the “government’s” statement regarding Varosha was the wish for promoting the policy of annexation [to Turkey], implemented by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), ruling in Ankara.
According to illegal Bayrak television (20.06.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-speaks-on-hydrocarbons), Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has stated yesterday that Ankara’s main goal in the Eastern Mediterranean it 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.
Cavusoglu alleged that political solutions would 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 argued, praising efforts of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean to find a solution in the Eastern Mediterranean.
On the negotiations process, Cavusoglu confirmed that unofficial meetings were being held with the “TRNC”, the Greek Cypriot side, Greece and the UK to discuss what will be negotiated. “We do not see the natural resources around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean as a cause for conflict just the opposite we want to strengthen the prosperity and stability of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean through sharing these resources,” he alleged.
According to illegal Bayrak television (20.06.19-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=oktay-on-natural-gas-issue), Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said yesterday that Turkey will “defend the rights” of the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean region which is being slowly encircled.
Speaking at a meeting at ‘Birlik Vakfı’ (Unity Foundation), Oktay pointed out that problems were never ending in areas where there are natural resources.
“We see the concrete example of this in the Eastern Mediterranean today,” he added.
Noting that some of the permanent members of the UN Security Council want to exploit the Eastern Mediterranean to the fullest extent of their capacity, Oktay said “this is the struggle we are now waging.”
He also claimed that they will defend the rights of Turks in the region till the end and that they will grow stronger in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“They would have adopted a harder line if we didn’t have developments and progress in our defense industry,” Oktay added.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (20.06.19) reports that the debate between Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci and self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay intensified yesterday. The paper recalls that the debate started because Ozersay had held a meeting with President Anastasiades without briefing Akinci who found out about this from the Press. Furthermore, Akinci also found out from the Press about the decision of the “council of ministers” on the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha.
In a statement on his social media account, Akinci said yesterday that he had been considered worthy of the “post of the president” in 2015, adding that he would continue his efforts until the last day of his duties. “While this duty and responsibility is on my shoulders, we will not tolerate that some, who have not received this power from our people, pursue different visions […]”, he added referring to Ozersay but without mentioning his name.
Ozersay’sbehavior was condemned by his former partners in the four-party “coalition government”. In a written statement, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) referred to the importance of the “presidency” and expressed the view that the meetings and the decisions regarding the Cyprus problem should be held in a dialogue and consultation with the Turkish Cypriot leader.
The chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Cemal Ozyigit said that the meeting between Ozersay and President Anastasiades was not in harmony with the “state practice” and the “will of the community”.
The chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), Serdar Denktas described the developments as “wrong, an insult and disrespect” to Akinci.
Illegal Bayrak television (20.06.19-www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cmp-to-carry-out-excavations-in-33-locations 2/3) broadcast that Gülden Plümer Küçük, Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) said yesterday that the Committee has been granted permission to carry out excavations in 33 locations over 30 military zones in the “TRNC”.
She added that there is no time limitation on the excavations and the Committee will decide on the time and the order of the excavations.
Küçük noted there are currently seven excavation teams working in six locations in the north and one in the south in civilian areas and added that the excavation planning in military zones will be decided by the CMP.
Reminding that CMP had been granted access to 30 sites in military zones in 2015 with ten excavations per year, Küçük said the excavation teams completed their work in those areas and the CMP applied for a new set of permits in 2018.
According to illegal Bayrak television (20.06.19-www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ubp-elects-new-secretary-general 2/3) so-called minister of economy and energy and the general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP) Hasan Taçoy announced yesterday that the new general secretary of the UBP will be elected today.
Speaking during a television program, Taçoy said” “We have decided to convene the party assembly at 5pm on Thursday to elect the new general secretary.”
He also added that the party assembly meeting would be held at the headquarters of the party, in occupied Lefkosia.
The “deputy” with UBP in occupied Famagusta, Ersan Saner and the “deputy” in occupied Keryneia, Kutlu Evren have announced their candidacy so far.
Under the above title, columnist Yusuf Kanli in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/yusuf-kanli/will-north-cyprus-open-varosha-to-settlement-144330) writes the following:
“Was it an unexpected move? Might be for most people but not for those people aware of the 2015 presidential election pledges of the People’s Party leader, deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Özersay, or aware of the strong demand from among the grassroots of the National Unity Party of prime minister Ersin Tatar to end decades of “indecision” regarding Varosha’s future.
Why did the Turkish Cypriot government decide to start the process of reopening the deserted Varosha suburb of Famagusta for settlement? Whose settlement? How? What about the United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Varosha to be given back to its rightful owners? Will the Turkish Cypriot government share the views of far right groups that over 90 percent of the region, a ghost city since the 1974 Turkish operation, indeed belonged to some Ottoman foundations but was somehow confiscated and illegally sold to Greek Cypriots by the former British colonial administration? What will happen to the Greek Cypriot property owners if the claims of the foundations are to be restored?
Particularly the last question is important. Can the property rights of descendants of people who were not involved in any wrongdoing — other than paying and buying property offered by the colonial authority in the first place — be compromised with an administrative decision? Most probably, compensation rights might be restored but ownership remains with the people who were using the properties. Otherwise, ownership claims of Turkish Cypriots who bought and inherited former Greek Cypriot territory will become questionable.
But, why is this issue being talked about again all of a sudden now? The answer is in the first paragraph: The approaching presidential elections. The April 2020 vote will not be only a presidential one, but more so a referendum on what the Turkish Cypriot people expect from a Cyprus settlement. Frustrated with the persistent refusal of the Greek Cypriot people and leadership to accept a federal Cyprus deal based on political equality and effective participation in governance by the two people of the island, the majority of center and center-right Turkish Cypriots started to demand a two-state (preferably both in the EU) resolution. President Mustafa Akıncı, former Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman, and his Republican Turkish Party, as well as other leftist parties and groups that make up about 35% of the political spectrum defiantly support a federal settlement, defending that they could force Greek Cypriots to make a U-turn after more than half a century “of the negotiating” position and agree to a federal deal based on effective participation and two political equals principles.
Was it a coincidence that on the very same day the Council of the European Union called upon Ankara to ‘respect the rights of Cyprus’ in relation with Turkey’s drilling of energy reserves off the eastern Mediterranean island’s coast and instructed the European Commission and other bodies to immediately submit response options that the Turkish Cypriot government declaring it decided to initiate a process of reopening Varosha to settlement? I would not want to perpetuate a conspiracy theory, but was a it coincidence that it was leaked to reporters that the Greek Cypriot leader recently dined with the Turkish Cypriot deputy premier and foreign minister? It was a social encounter. But, it was still the first time ever a Greek Cypriot leader, even within a social framework, came together tête-à-tête with a Turkish Cypriot foreign minister.
As explained by Tatar, so many years passed with the Varosha region held hostage by the endless rounds of Cyprus talks. Time is up. Yet I have the feeling that before opening the region to Turkish Cypriot settlement, the Tatar government will try to convince Greek Cypriot pre-1974 owners to return to their property and enjoy special rights under Turkish rule. In any case, if a Cyprus deal continues to be elusive as it has been for the past so many decades, Turkish Cypriots will no longer wait for the Greek Cypriots to wake up to a fine day. The region will gradually become fully Turkish Cypriot. Thus, it will be a test of sincerity for Greek Cypriots. If they really want a deal, the bonus is there, otherwise they will lose again as they have been losing all along because of their uncompromising greed.
But no one should expect a radical move immediately tomorrow. First, a detailed study on all aspects of property ownership, and then a detailed land survey and other related studies must be completed”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (19.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-petroleum-uses-3d-seismic-focus-in-med-144319) reported that Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) increased the total area that it explores with 3D seismic technology in the Mediterranean Sea by 41% year-on-year in 2018 to 9,342 square kilometers.
According to official figures compiled by Anadolu Agency, the number of exploration and research licenses of the company in 2018 rose 67% compared to the previous year to 216.
Last year, the company increased the number of wells drilled on land from 18 to 24, and 69 wells were drilled.
Turkish Petroleum collected airborne gravity-magnetic data over 40,000 square kilometers last year.
Seismic and geological studies have revealed important findings about the hydrocarbon potential in the sea, according to the company's yearly report.
The previous year, the total area explored by 3D seismic technology in the Mediterranean Sea was 6,617 square kilometers.
Determining its roadmap and basic strategies in line with the Turkish Energy Ministry's National Energy and Mining Policy, Turkish Petroleum did intensive studies with the seismic vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa to reveal the hydrocarbon potential of the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
The company continues its drilling efforts in shallow and deep seas in light of the seismic data.
Deep-sea drilling operation started last October in Alanya-1 well with the Fatih vessel, which has a drilling depth capability up to 12,200 meters.
The Fatih is currently continuing its second drilling in the area called Finike-1.
In shallow seas, a platform was installed last November in the North Erdemli-1 location within the license areas in the Eastern Mediterranean, and drilling operations began.
In addition, Turkey's second drilling vessel Yavuz is scheduled to begin its first drilling in early July in “a field licensed by the “TRNC”.
Moreover, Turkish Petroleum boosted its crude oil production 10% in 2018 from 2017. It produced 13.5 million barrels of crude oil, its highest production volume in 17 years.
In this period, natural gas production rose 33% to reach the highest level in the last 10 years. A total of 405 million cubic meters of natural gas was produced last year.
The company is involved in 13 projects in five countries to further contribute to the national economy and reduce energy imports. The company continues its operations in Azerbaijan, Iraq, TRNC, Russia, and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile last year, the company made a profit of 5.7 billion Turkish liras ($970 million).
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (19.06.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-condemns-inaction-before-morsis-death) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 19 condemned Ekrem İmamoglu, the mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), for getting backing from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), while accusing him of also receiving support from foreign countries.
“Support for the CHP candidate comes from either Qandil [Mountains where the outlawed PKK has its headquarters]; Selo [nickname of jailed former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş], the former leader of the party who is under the guidance of Qandil, or from abroad,” Erdogan said. The government accuses the HDP of having direct links with the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.
In a tweet on June 18, Demirtaş for the first time openly called on HDP voters to vote for İmamoğlu.
Erdogan warned supporters of the CHP and Felicity (Saadet) Party against voting for a candidate who “cooperates with terrorist organizations.”
“Why are all those foreign circles so closely interested in who will run Istanbul? Are we showing interest in who gets elected as mayor of London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam or Brussels?” he also said, criticizing foreign countries for showing interest in the municipal rerun election in Istanbul.
“If the issue is about service to Istanbul, there is no better option than the ruling Justice and Development Party’s [AKP] Binali Yıldırım,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan also denied claims that Syrian refugees in Turkey were receiving salaries. “This time they made up a lie that we were paying salaries [to Syrians]. We don’t pay salaries to Syrians. These are all lies. We pay salaries to our poor citizens,” he said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.06.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkish-president-khashoggis-killers-to-pay-price/1510453) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday lashed out at the murderers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in the Kingdom's Istanbul consulate last fall.
"[They will] pay the price and be held accountable," Erdogan said, following release of a UN report earlier today which held Saudi Arabia responsible in the murder case.
Speaking at an event in Istanbul, Erdogan said that the report proved that Saudi Arabia was guilty and had prior knowledge of the murder.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur, said in the report that she had found "credible evidence" to further probe Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for the journalist's killing.
Saudi Arabia has so far rejected the report.
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