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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 21.06.19


A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci on the Cyprus problem, the occupied fenced off Vasosha and the hydrocarbons

2. Tatar: The initiative regarding the fenced-off city of Varosha was a project launched following consultations with Turkey

3. The breakaway regime cannot afford the opening of Varosha, experts say

4. Nami and Toros on the fenced off city of Varosha

5. Saner new UBP General Secretary

B. Turkish Press

1. Turkey sends Yavuz vessel for oil exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean; Donmez “calls on non-regional actors not to be part of unlawful plans”; Erdogan sends message to Yavuz crew

2. Akar and NATO's Stoltenberg discuss Afghanistan and regional security issues over the phone

3. Turkey hosts Greek delegation ‘to enhance cooperation in the Aegean Sea’

4. Erdogan: “I do not expect US to impose sanctions on Turkey”

5. ORC survey indicates Yildirim to be the winner of the Istanbul rerun elections


A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1. Akinci on the Cyprus problem, the occupied fenced off Vasosha and the hydrocarbons

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (21.06.19, publishes on its website statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, during a Press conference today. In his initial statement Akinci alleged, inter alia, the following:

“Since I have come to duty, I have worked with all my power within the framework of the mutually accepted principles, the UN parameters and federation. We have covered a great distance on this road. We have carried the efforts for finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem until the Cyprus Conference. We could not achieve a positive result because of the negative stance of the Greek Cypriot leadership.

We have covered an important distance on the confidence building measures (CBMs) as well. Our efforts continue regarding those [CBMs] which have not been implemented.

After Crans Montana, as Turkey and [Turkish] Cypriot side, we prepared and shared with the public the main points of the policy which should be followed, summarizing them in 13 paragraphs. […]

During the recent years there is an issue of Turkey’s weakening relations in the area. This is not a development which we want. Our wish is for developing stronger relations with all countries, especially the countries of the region. We could not establish communication [even] with countries with which Turkey has very good relations. We could not even go to Azerbaijan as president. […]

I had said that we should underline that we want to develop our relations with the EU. There was a special committee, which the two sides created with the EU. We aimed at bringing the Turkish Cypriot institutions to the EU standards. After Crans Montana the relations were interrupted. We did not abandon these. We are continuing our efforts today as well. […]

After Crans Montana we have shared this with Turkey regarding Varosha: We could discuss its opening in return of the opening of Tymbou to international flights. My conclusion after the Crans Montana for Varosha was the following: We could discuss the opening [of Varosha] to the Greek Cypriots and the beginning of direct flights to Tymbou. The option of opening it with the Turkish Cypriots’ will without conflicting with the UN could be evaluated. However, the importance of international law is obvious at both points. Excluding the president of the republic was a serious mistake in the government’s decision regarding Varosha. […] Conflicting statements are made by the prime minister and the deputy prime minister on the issue of Varosha. What they want to do is not understood. The issue of Varosha should be taken up with sensitivity. […]

The Turkish Cypriots have also rights on the hydrocarbons. However, the issue is always postponed for the period after the solution. The reasonable thing to do on this issue is to start with discussing it. They should discuss this in a committee under a serious organization with us. Let us find a way out. Let us advance step by step from an environment of tension to an environment of common benefit, cooperation. There is a ship sent by Turkey. The second one is also coming. Within this framework, the continuation of increasing tension seems unavoidable. It is possible to turn around this course. […]

The decision providing for the return of the Maronites was taken at a high level meeting held at the president’s office on 26 July 2017. This caused a positive effect. It was decided for the process to be held under the coordination with the presidency. Many technical meetings had been made. […] These preparations were completed in a period of four months and conveyed to the then government. It had been conveyed that this money could not be used because of the economic crisis. The projects could not be materialized. […] It was said by the new government that the tender procedure for preparing Karpasia for settlement within the framework of the opening towards the Maronites was about to be completed. It seems that the opening to the Maronites has been degraded to the return of some families to Karpasia. Steps, decisions must be taken for Agia Marina and Asomatos villages as well.

After Crans Montana, I have brought onto the agenda what should happen regarding Varosha between us, as Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side. The political party leaders were also present. As a result of these evaluations, it was decided to give priority to the opening for the Maronites. […]

It is possible to bring onto the agenda the opening [of Varosha] for the Greek Cypriots under UN supervision and for common businesses and in return of beginning direct flights to Tymbou and opening it under the Turkish Cypriot will without conflicting with the UN. I want to emphasize the importance of the international law. Stating that decisions on Varosha were taken by excluding the president is far from being serious. […]”

Replying to questions, Akinci referred to the dinner between President Anastasiades and self-styled foreign minister Ozersay and said that everybody had the right to meet and eat with everybody, but the issue was the fact that this meeting had been kept secret.

Noting that elections will be held this weekend in Turkey and after two weeks in Greece, Akinci said that “currently the issue of whether an unofficial five-party meeting could be held is being discussed”. “The elections issue has pushed the timetable forward. Anastasiades will come out and say what he wants”, he claimed.

Arguing that there was an effort to by-pass the “president”, Akinci said that this happened in the case of the statement [of the self-styled government] for the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha. He added: “While coming to the Press conference, we found out that he [Ozersay] will brief us on an issue [Varosha], which is under the presidency’s responsibility. Tatar makes a statement and says ‘we are doing this in dialogue with Turkey’. The president is not a scarecrow. He represents the will of the people. […] I do not think that Turkey does not want to consult with me, but it is evident that there is a deficiency on this issue. […]”

Referring to the recent decision of the “government” regarding occupied Varosha, Akinci said that he did not know whether this had been taken in relation to steps to be taken regarding the process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), adding that he had consulted with the chairman of the “Immovable Property Commission”, who briefed him on the relevant case at the ECHR, but he did not say that the statement on Varosha had any relation with it.



2. Tatar: The initiative regarding the fenced-off city of Varosha was a project launched following consultations with Turkey

Illegal Bayrak (21.06.19 broadcast that “prime minister” Ersin Tatar said that the initiative regarding the fenced-off city of Varosha was a project that was launched following consultations with Turkey.

Speaking during a visit paid to him yesterday, Tatar reminded that the first step would be to conduct an inventory of all immovable properties in the closed city.

He said that once the inventory is complete, they would be inviting foreign property owners to reclaim their investments.

Arrangements will also be made for former residents through the “Immovable Property Commission (IPC)”, he said.

Tatar expressed the view that the reopening of Varosha will have a positive impact on all sectors of the economy.

“Hopefully we shall see its [positive] effects on the TRNC in the coming years because all sectors, primarily the construction sector will benefit from the city’s restoration and reconstruction.


3. The breakaway regime cannot afford the opening of Varosha, experts say

Under the title: “A lot of money is needed for Varosha”, Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs (21.06.19) writes that a lot of money and a long period of time is needed for the fenced –off city of Varosha to be turned  into a livable place.

“According to experts, this is not a burden that the TRNC can carry by its own”, the paper notes.

Citing sources, the paper reports that there are 45 hotels, 60 hotel apartments, 3,000 small trade units, 99 entertainment places, 25 museums, 24 theatres and cinemas, two sport facilities, 4,469 houses, 43 official bureaus,  8 churches and 9 schools in the city. “Especially in case Varosha is opened under Turkish Cypriot administration, the financing problems will gain even more serious dimensions”, the paper writes.

The chairman of the “chamber of environmental engineers” Doguc Veysioglu, stated that if Varosha is opened in a way that is against international law and in a way that will not benefit the solution of the Cyprus problem, international financing will not be able to be safeguarded. He also said that it is not clear from where the financing will be found in such a case. “Everyone knows that the TRNC is not able to carry such a burden”, he stated.

On his part, mechanical engineer Engin Omer Kunt, said that the newest building in Varosha is 45 years old and added that all the buildings iν the area must be renovated according to new seismic standards which have changed since then. He also said that apart of the political and property issues that may occur, a person cannot even realize how many years and how much money will be needed for the opening of the fenced-off city, even if the works for this start tomorrow.

The representative of the “Famagusta Initiative”, and deputy chairman of the organization Serdar Atai, said that they see positively the “government’s decision” for the inventory of the fenced off city and said that they support the opening of Varosha under UN control.

Reporting on the same issue, Yeni Duzen (21.06.19) reports that Okan Dagli for the Famagusta Initiative stated that the inventory of the city is important; however every step taken should not be in conflict with the United Nations Security Council. Dagli, who issued a statement in the name of the Famagusta Initiative, said that the Varosha issue in not only a property but a human issue as well. 



4. Nami and Toros on the fenced off city of Varosha

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (21.06.19) reports that so-called deputy with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Ozdil Nami, in a written statement yesterday, stated that the first thing that should be done on the issue of the occupied fenced off city of Varosha, is to discuss the issue with the UN in order to clarify in practice the meaning of the expression “return under the control of the UN”, which is an expression included in  the UN’s Security Council Resolution.

“The authorities that should do it, is the presidency of the TRNC and Turkey, since they are the only authorities which are interlocutors with the UN”. Nami added that the related UN’s Security Council Resolution is addressing Turkey and thus it is a necessary for Turkey’s approval to be asked in order for coordinate steps to be taken.

On the same issue, Fikri Toros, “deputy” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) as well, in a separate written statement, referred on the “decision” related with the fenced off city of Varosha and said that this “decision” would become meaningful only if it would be turned into a “decision” agreed and discussed with the “president”.

Pointing out that the two leaders in Cyprus are the only interlocutors in the Cyprus negotiation talks which are taking place under the auspices of the UN, Toros said that the “council of ministers” can evaluate the issue of the “opening of Varosha”, but this could become meaningful only if it would become a “decision” taken as a result of dialogue and consultation with the “presidency”. “If the decision is taken in this way, then it could be evaluated as an important opening according to the international law and it would also have positive effects that could ‘change the game’ at the negotiation talks for the solution”, Toros argued. 



5. Saner new UBP General Secretary     

Illegal Bayrak (21.06.19 broadcast that the National Unity Party (UBP) “Famagusta deputy” Hamza Ersan Saner has become the party’s new General Secretary.

The UBP Party Assembly convened yesterday under the leadership of the UBP leader and “prime minister” Ersin Tatar yesterday to elect its new general secretary.

Two candidates, Saner and “Keryneia deputy” Kutlu Evren contested for the post.

Saner who received 76 votes was elected as the new general secretary of the UBP.

Evren received 35 votes.

Delivering a speech after his election, Saner thanked everyone and said he was aware of the difficulty of the job. Stressing the importance of unity and solidarity, he said that “he will work hard to promote the TRNC”.

Speaking to the BRT, Tatar said the result had fostered solidarity within the party.


B. Turkish Press

1. Turkey sends Yavuz vessel for oil exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean; Donmez “calls on non-regional actors not to be part of unlawful plans”; Erdogan sends message to Yavuz crew

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (20.06.19- reported that Turkey sent a second drilling vessel, Yavuz, to east Mediterranean Sea on June 20 that will begin hydrocarbon explorations off the coast of the Cyprus island in early July.    

Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said during an official ceremony that the Yavuz vessel will reach a drilling depth of 3,300 meters in Karpaz-1 well, which is located at Bay of occupied Famagusta and will finish its operations in three months.    

Turkey already has a drilling ship, Fatih, working in the region. Fatih vessel is operating in waters west of Cyprus island while Yavuz will operate in the east.    

"The Greek Cypriot administration does not have a right to take decisions on its own or even have a say in any matter concerning the whole island," said Donmez.    

(…)"We would also like to warn some non-regional actors who have partnered with the Greek Cypriot administration. Do not pursue illusions that have no end and cannot achieve any results. Don't be part of unlawful plans," Donmez stressed.    

"We were here yesterday. We are here today and we will be here again tomorrow. No power can change this historical truth," he added.     

Donmez further said that Turkey does not accept any of the efforts of non-regional actors to determine the boundaries of the region by substituting themselves as an international court or decision-making authority.  "We will fully defend the legitimate rights of our country and the TRNC in the Mediterranean. We will continue our drilling activities, which is rooted in our own legitimate rights. Yavuz will show the nation's determination to the whole world once again," he said.    

Donmez alleged further that Turkey always defended the distribution of the riches of Cyprus and the Mediterranean in a fair manner.    

Yavuz, which has a full-spectrum capability for offshore drilling, came from Malaysia to Turkey in February.     

It generates its electricity from diesel fuel generators with a capacity of 42 megawatts and has 7.5 million liters of fuel capacity.    

Yavuz, whose construction was completed in 2011, previously worked in different countries, such as in Tanzania, Kenya, Malaysia and the Philippines.    

On the same issue, Turkish daily Sabah (20.06.19- reported that Turkey's second drilling ship will operate off the Karpas Peninsula to the northeast of the island of Cyprus, Turkey's main oil exploration company Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) General Manager Melih Han Bilgin said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters prior to the launching ceremony of Turkey's Yavuz drilling ship in Belde Port in the Dilovası district of northwestern Kocaeli province, Bilgin said that the vessel was scheduled to start drilling in the region in early July.

“Based on seismic works launched five to six years ago, the exact location of the first drill of Yavuz will be determined by geology and geophysics studies of the vessel and it will take place at a depth of approximately 1,000 meters on the seabed and some 3,000 meters of drilling will be made”, Bilgin said, adding that the ship will move to its second location once the first drill is completed.

Bilgin said further that Fatih would continue to operate in waters west of Cyprus while Yavuz will operate in the east. He said that the two ships have identical features, providing advantages in operation. He also noted that the ships would also carry out drilling in the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Bilgin stated further they have no information regarding the arrest warrants, and related institutions in the Turkish state are taking necessary measures.

"We have no hesitation in carrying out our work in both areas licensed to us by the Republic of Turkey or in licensed zones transferred to our institution by the TRNC. We do not care much about what the opposite part (of the island) is doing," Bilgin said.


Meanwhile, Turkish daily Sabah (21.06.19) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in written statement on Thursday,  he send a written message to Yavuz drill ship crew pointing out that Ankara’s determination is to protect the rights of Turkey and the “TRNC” Erdogan wished the crew of the Yavuz success on its historic mission and expressed confidence that it will be successful.

He said that protecting the rights of the “TRNC” was a priority for Turkey as a guarantor country.

“The Yavuz is the most concrete proof and expression of Turkey’s resolve on the matter. I believe we shall be hearing of good news from both the Fatih and the Yavuz in the near future”, Erdogan added.


2. Akar and NATO's Stoltenberg discuss Afghanistan and regional security issues over the phone

Turkish daily Sabah (20.06.19 reported that Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held a phone call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

According to the Ministry, Akar and Stoltenberg discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and regional security issues. "The two parties talked about Afghanistan and other regional defense and security issues and agreed to discuss them in detail during the NATO Ministerial at the end of this month," the Ministry said.

The meeting comes as NATO grapples with a dispute between alliance members the United States and Turkey over Ankara's decision to purchase a Russian air defense system.



3. Turkey hosts Greek delegation ‘to enhance cooperation in the Aegean Sea’

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (20.06.19- reported that Turkey hosted a Greek delegation for technical negotiations in Ankara to enhance cooperation in the Aegean Sea, the National Defense Ministry said on June 20.       

“Conducted in a constructive atmosphere, the second round of technical meetings in Ankara between Turkish and Greek delegations were concluded today”, read a Ministry statement.        

“The meetings focused on confidence-building measures and improving cooperation in the Aegean Sea”, it added.        

Last month, a Turkish defense delegation visited Athens for a technical meeting with Greek officials to boost cooperation, especially in confidence-building measures and code of conduct in the Aegean Sea.


4. Erdogan: “I do not expect US to impose sanctions on Turkey”

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (20.06.19- reported that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on June 20 that he did not expect the United States to impose sanctions on Turkey over its planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system and repeated that it was a 'done deal.’

Speaking at a rare news conference for foreign media in Istanbul, Erdogan said that the United States should think very carefully before imposing sanctions on Turkey, a NATO member, and if it went ahead with sanctions, Ankara was going to retaliate.

"I say this very openly and sincerely, our relations with (President Donald) Trump are at a place that I can call really good ... In the event of any issues, we immediately work the phones," Erdogan said.

"I do not see any possibility of these sanctions happening," Erdogan added. But he said Turkey would not remain silent if they were imposed. "The U.S. has to think about this very carefully. We will have sanctions of our own."

Erdogan stated further that he would discuss the issue with Trump at the G20 summit in Japan at the end of the month.

Erdogan said also that while he enjoyed good ties with Trump, he could not say the same about relations between Ankara and other U.S. officials.

"When we have talks with those below Trump, we see that many cannot agree with our officials and one example is the S-400 issue," he said.



5. ORC survey indicates Yildirim to be the winner of the Istanbul rerun elections

Turkish daily Sabah (21.06.19- reports that recent surveys are predicting a record high turnout for the June 23 mayoral elections in Istanbul, boosting People's Alliance candidate Binali Yıldırım's votes.

According to the latest poll conducted by ORC Research Center, the number of swing voters has declined from 5.5% to 3.4%.

ORC Research Center indicates further that the voter turnout will be higher than in the previous election – 84.6% on March 31. The research company estimates that this time the turnout will be around 88-89%; thus, the participation rate on June 23 should be at least 4% higher than the March 31 polls.

"There are a couple of reasons for this increase in voter turnout," said ORC President Murat Pösteki whose team had the closest results in their polls and predictions in March.

Emphasizing the determinative role of voter turnout on results, Pösteki said that based on their latest surveys, the increase of people who will go to the ballot box this time would boost Yıldırım's votes. "Our research shows that most of the undecided voters who did not vote on March 31 are AK Party [Justice and Development Party] and MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] constituents, more than 60% in all. Based on our latest survey, Yıldırım will increase his votes between 0.6-2% and win the election because of this factor," Pösteki said.

Based on ORC's recent survey, Yıldırım will complete this race ahead of his rival with 48.3% to 47.7%. Another fact suggesting that Yıldırım will win is that undecided constituents and İmamoglu votes have reached the saturation point.

"There is no way to get additional votes from the undecided for İmamoglu. He will reach the highest margin that he can get now, and his constituents already vote for him. So Yıldırım is likely to make a difference at this point," the ORC President said. In addition to the surveys, Pösteki said that the AK Party voter tendencies have changed compared to the previous election. "In March, AK Party supporters thought that it would be an easy ride and could give a message to their party not to be overcome by languor. But they did not think that they would be facing a slight margin between İmamoglu and Yıldırım. This is exactly the same psychology that happened in the 2015 general elections where AK Party undecided voters did not go to the ballot box," he added.


Emphasizing the importance of social media during the elections in Turkey, Pösteki said both alliances use social media intensively. "During this election, we have also seen that conventional media has not had an enormous effect on voters. In contrast, social media has more influence on people. This is how İmamoglu's image was shaped in only six months but now Yıldırım's supporters caught him in social media. Perceptions created on social media are now more important than before," Pösteki said.

Pointing out to the importance of Istanbul rerun elections, Pösteki said that with less than 48 hours for the final results, not only Turkish people and İstanbul voters but also the whole world will hold its breath to see the winner. “Who will be the winner? There is always a margin of error in this type of contentious election, but arithmetic indicates that Yıldırım will reach the finish line at least one-step ahead of his rival”, Pösteki added.