No. 119/19 28.2019
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Under the title “A full stop to the Varosha bluff”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (28.06.19) reports that the climate in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus became milder regarding the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha, after the meeting held yesterday between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, “prime minister” Ersin Tatar and self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay. The paper notes that for the time being only an inventory study will be held in the occupied fenced-off city.
Under the title “’I think they understood’”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis (28.06.19) reports that Akinci said that he thought the “government” understood that they should act together with the “presidency” when they have to form a policy on Varosha. The paper notes that Akinci spoke “with hints” and “meaningfully”.
Under the title “Varosha tension continues”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası (28.06.19) reports that Akinci’s statements, after Ozersay’s reference which meant “we are at the same frequency with the president on the Varosha issue”, showed that tension on the occupied fence-off Varosha issue continues at the highest level of the “state”. The paper writes that what was discussed exactly in the meeting was not understood, but the tension was presented differently in each one’s statements.
According to Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak (28.06.19, http://www.brtk.net/erhurmanmaras-konusunda-hukumetin-bugun-icin-ortada-uzerinde-calisilmis-bir-politika-ya-da-projesi-yok/), Tufan Erhurman, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has expressed the view that when the recent statements made by the “government” on the fenced-off occupied Varosha issue were taken into consideration, it is understood that the “government” had no policy or project today on this matter and that its plan was only an inventory study, the content of which has not been determined yet.
In a post on his social media account, Erhurman refers to a statement made by former “prime minister” and “housing minster”, Hakki Atun who revealed that they had tried to open a neighbourhood in Varosha for settling people in 1983 but this neighbourhood closed again after an instruction from Turkey. Erhurman notes that when this information was known, it was possible to better understand what the United Nations Security Council had said in its Resolution No 550 endorsed in 1984. He recalls that the Security Council stated that the attempt to settle in the occupied city anyone else other than its legal inhabitants was unacceptable and made a call for the return of Varosha under UN administration.
Erhurman refers also to the Ghali Set of ideas where the return of Varosha to its legal owners and the opening of the Nicosia International Airport were mentioned.
“When the issue of the opening of Varosha is brought onto the agenda and discussed, I think that this background should be recalled. It is extremely important to develop creative ideas and be proactive, instead of sitting and waiting and being condemned to the status quo”, he argues adding that when a policy was developed on the issue, the existing data should be evaluated carefully, the necessary consultations should be made and confusion should not be created before a comprehensive plan was produced.
According to illegal Bayrak television (28.06.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-meets-with-talat-and-ozyigit), Kudret Özersay, self-styled deputy prime minister-foreign minister, met separately with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Özyiğit yesterday as part of his consultations with political actors in the “country” regarding the “government’s” initiative on the fenced-off town of Varosha.
In a post on social media after the meetings, Özersay said that “the government’s dialogue with the different actors in the country will continue”.
Commenting on the criticisms directed against him by Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos, Özersay urged the Greek Cypriot authorities to refrain from making biased and prejudiced statements. He also argued: “We clearly stated that any moves we might take regarding the fenced-off city of Varosha will be in a manner which will not violate or infringe the rights of its former residents. We recognize that the former property owners are one of the parties included in the process. We shall be conducting an inventory of all the movable and immovable properties in Varosha which will provide us with a clearer picture of what we are dealing with. There is no need to mislead people”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kıbrıs (28.06.19) reports that the chairman of the United Cyprus Party Izzet Izcan stated that the views expressed by the so-called government on the issue of the fenced-off city of Varosha aim for the “government” to benefit from the non-solution of the Cyprus problem and to occupy the political agenda.
Izcan, who issued a written statement, said that the statement of “prime minister” Ersin Tatar that Varosha will turn into Las Vegas, the fact that he made a call to Turkish investors and that his statements that he will return to the negotiation table only if a two-state solution is discussed, “are a result of the mentality of the conquest”.
“With UN SC Resolution, 550 and 789 the UN National Security Council forbids the opening of Famagusta for inhabitation”, Izcan reminded adding that the opening if the city for inhabitation under Turkish administration is against International law.
According to Izcan, what should be done is the re-launching of Cyprus negotiations on the basis of the Guterres document.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (28.06.19) reports that the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOS) Sener Elcil, stated that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci should follow a more aggressive policy as regards the issue of the opening of the fenced-off city of Varosha
Elcil, who issued a written statement, said that it is essential for Akinci to get in front and support that Varosha should be returned to its pro-1974 owners and to stop the bargaining taking place behind closed doors between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot leadership.
“It is not your duty to support a breakaway regime which sits on loots, on stolen properties or to support the guarantor conquest that created all these”, he stated, referring to Akinci
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (28.06.19) reports that a committee from the Turkish Historical Society (AYK) is currently in the occupied area of Cyprus after an invitation of the General Director of Cyprus Evkaf Administration Prof. Dr Ibrahim Benter.
Prof. Dr Muhammet Hekimoglu, chairman of the Turkish Historical Society, in a meeting yesterday with the General Director of Cyprus Evkaf Administration Dr Benter, discussed the works in the fenced-off town of Varosha. They also exchanged views on the cooperation possibilities on this issue between Turkey and the “TRNC” and the continuation of conducting interdisciplinary research regarding the Evkaf properties and in particular the Evkaf properties in the fenced-off town of Varosha with the contribution of relevant institutions in Turkey
Later the AYK committee met with Tatar. During the meeting, Tatar expressed his satisfaction for the content of the cooperation regarding the inventory study and the inspections that will be carried out in the fenced-off town of Varosha.
Tatar further argued that no one can break them from Turkey and that they will continue their fights in politics both in the international community and in Cyprus.
Illegal Bayrak (28.06.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=pm-tatar-receives-isad) reports that self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar met with a delegation of the “Turkish Cypriot Business People Association (İŞAD).
Speaking during the visit, the President of İŞAD Enver Mamülcü noted that “the association has been contributing to the north Cyprus economy for more than 30 years”.
Calling for a general mobilization by society for the solution of the problems being experienced in the “country”, Mamülcü presented their solution proposals to Tatar who on his part stressed that their target was “to further develop the TRNC economy and to increase the welfare of the people”.
“We need to believe in this country. We should not pin our hopes on negotiations or other things but should further strengthen our ties with Turkey and strengthen the economic sectors in the country”, he said.
Explaining that “a system was established in the TRNC with the support of Turkey as a result of work been carried out since 1974, he stressed that it’s everyone’s duty to further develop the conditions in the country”.
Tatar also announced that a number of investors from Turkey led by the Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange of Turkey will arrive in the breakaway regime on 5 July for contacts.
He also said that work had started to be prepared for a three-year economic protocol to be signed with Turkey.
“It is a unique privilege and source of security to have the support of a motherland that boasts a population of 80 million. It is very important to have a stable and secure atmosphere here. The defence of our rights by Turkey is also very important. This is something that is appreciated by the business community as well. If we didn’t have this support we wouldn’t have these investments in an area where we have hostile Greek Cypriot neighbors and an unsupportive international community” Tatar said.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (28.06.19) reports that former “prime minister” and “housing minister”, Hakki Atun has made “impressive confessions” on the occupied fenced-off city of Varosha. In statements to KANAL SIM yesterday, Atun said that they had invited foreign investors to come to Varosha in the past, but no foreign investor had come under Turkish administration. According to the paper, Atun argued also the following:
“Why closed Varosha does not open? Does this derive from Turkey’s General Staff or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs? We do not know. […] How this will be overcome? I could not know this. Today it is under the Turkish army’s control, only they could know. […]
General Esref Bitis was Commander of the Division. In 1983 a neighborhood in closed Varosha opened. People settled in it. Afterwards, upon an instruction that came from Turkey’s General Staff, we were forced to close again this neighborhood which opened. It was a situation which made me very sad during my period at the ministry of housing. […]
During my period at the ministry of finance, we wanted to open safes. It was the hardest period, we were stony broke. We found out that around 254 safes existed in Varosha. We wanted to open these safes and take the money, if there was any. This did not happen […]”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (28.06.19) reports that the chairwoman of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary Teachers Trade Union Selma Eylem, called on everyone to object against the student camp taking place in Dardanelles, Turkey, between July 20-August 10 because it will be based on gender discrimination.
“This is a camp where that girls and boys are separated and it promotes conservatism and religious fanaticism” , she stated adding that “this is against the constitution and the educational law of the TRNC”.
She also said that the camps that took place in previous years showed that they are ideological camps with a specific political propaganda goal.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (28.06.19) reports that the “TRNC central bank published its first quarter bulletin of 2019”. According to the bulletin, the total assets of the banking sector increased by 7.5% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to December 2018 and reached TL 35 billion 452.8 million.
According to the bulletin, annual inflation rates in the “TRNC economy” in January, February and March of 2019 were quite high compared to the same periods of 2018. The annual inflation rate in the first three months of 2018, were 11.57%, 12.80% and 12.11% respectively, while in the same months of 2019 it was 30.94%, 28.67% and 29.26% respectively. At the end of March 2019, food and non-alcoholic beverages, furniture and housing, water, electricity and gas were the sectors with the highest annual price increase.
Illegal Bayrak (28.06.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=brtk-board-of-directors) reports that Özer Kanlı has become the President of the Board of Directors of (illegal) Bayrak Radio Television Corporation (BRTK).
The Board of Directors of the BRTK held its first meeting yesterday following the “appointment” of its new members.
The President of the BRTK Board of Directors was elected during the meeting.
Özer Kanlı was unanimously elected to the post which was vacated as a result of the resignation of his predecessor Mustafa Tosun.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (28.06.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/turkey-says-excluding-it-from-f-35-project-would-endanger-natos-defense-3484294) reports that excluding Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet project would seriously decrease the defense of NATO, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Thursday.
The F-35 project is a "commercial treaty," and Turkey will defend all its rights in that respect, Akar stated during an interview in Brussels, where he was attending a defense ministers' meeting at NATO headquarters.
Turkey joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in 2002 and has invested more than $1.25 billion. It also manufactures various aircraft parts for all F-35 variants and customers.
Stressing that Turkey expected a relationship with the U.S. based on mutual respect and friendship, he assumed that the two countries would be able to move forward on a "constructive road" on this issue.
He also reiterated Turkey's call for a formation of a working group with the participation of NATO on Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missiles in order to discuss the concerns of the U.S.
Turkish daily Sabah (28.06.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2019/06/27/chps-imamoglu-receives-official-mandate-takes-over-as-istanbul-mayor) reports that Nation Alliance candidate Republican People's Party's (CHP) Ekrem Imamoğlu received Thursday the official mandate for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and officially started his job as the new mayor of Istanbul.
First Imamoğlu was invited to the provincial election board at Çağlayan Courthouse to take his official mandate. He then arrived at the IBB headquarters in Fatih district for the handover ceremony.
Addressing a large crowd while receiving the mayor's seal from acting mayor, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, Imamoğlu said: "I will serve the whole of Istanbul, 16 million people from all walks of life and supporters of all political parties."
In the June 23 rerun mayoral elections in Istanbul, Imamoğlu received more than 54 percent of votes while his rival the People's Alliance candidate from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Binali Yıldırım took 45 percent of the votes. Imamoğlu led the race in 28 out of Istanbul's 39 districts, greatly improving his performance from the 16 districts he won in the canceled elections.
The election was a do-over election from the March 31 local elections, which was ordered after election authorities said the polls suffered from irregularities and illegalities.
Turkish new portal Turkish Minute (28.06.19 https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/former-allies-of-turkeys-erdogan-plan-rival-party-after-istanbul-defeat-report/) reports that two senior figures in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party are planning to launch a rival political group this year, people familiar with the matter said, a move that could further erode support for the country’s long-time leader on the heels of a stinging electoral defeat in İstanbul, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Behind the breakaway plans are former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan and former president Abdullah Gül, both founding members of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to two political advisers.
Sunday’s re-run mayoral election delivered the second loss in recent months for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey’s largest city, a bitter setback for the president who has ruled for 16 years. It has also emboldened critics within his own party who have for years hinted at plans to form a rival party because of dissatisfaction over Erdoğan’s increasing powers over the party and government.
With economic recession, unemployment and inflation hurting Turkish voters and eating into the AKP’s support base, any further erosion — even just a few percentage points of voter support – could be deeply damaging for the party, which already relies on an alliance with nationalists for its parliamentary majority.
“Babacan and Gül will most likely form the party in the fall,” said one of the advisers, who is close to Babacan.
The new party’s policies would mirror the early years of the AKP, the adviser added. When the AKP was launched in 2001, it blended an Islamist-rooted outlook with a pro-Western, democratic and liberal market approach that enjoyed broad popular backing.
The two men have been considering establishing the party for around six months, but the process has been given momentum by the AKP’s loss of Turkey’s main cities in the March 31 municipal elections, said the other adviser, who is familiar with the plans for the new party.
He did not say how the party would be funded but said the preparation so far had included meetings with current AKP parliamentarians, other politicians and academics.
The politicians haven’t publicly commented on the plans, but Gül broke ranks with the AKP last month to signal his discontent at a decision to annul the initial opposition victory in İstanbul after a series of appeals from Erdoğan’s party.
In a tweet he compared the decision to re-run the election to a 2007 Constitutional Court ruling raising the number of parliamentarians required to approve a new president — which was viewed as an attempt to obstruct his path to the presidency.
Babacan served as economy and foreign minister in the first years of AKP government before becoming deputy prime minister, a role he held from 2009 to 2015. Gül was president from 2007 until 2014, when then-Prime Minister Erdoğan moved to the presidency.
An AKP official who asked not to be named said the party was aware of the plan to launch a rival group.
“Babacan is a strong and respected figure. Of course, the AKP will be affected by the new party, but we are able to lose some AKP supporters like some other parties,” the official said.
He added that the party must accept responsibility for the election results. “We need to return to a policy where we can govern the state, but still be with the people.”
There are many precedents for new parties in Turkey, including two years ago when disgruntled members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) broke away to form the İyi (Good) Party. It won 10 percent of the vote in last year’s parliamentary election.
The adviser close to Babacan said there was support from AKP members of parliament for the breakaway group, without specifying how many.
He added that he expected “a few surprising important supporters” but didn’t provide names.
If a new party is established, it could lead to more resignations and defections from the AKP, breaking its hold over a large swathe of pious and conservative voters, said Galip Dalay, a visiting scholar at Oxford University.
“The AKP’s monopoly over the conservative sector of society will be broken,” he said.
One prominent AKP figure, former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, has been openly critical of the party, slamming government economic policies, media restrictions and the damage he said had been inflicted on Turkish institutions.
A source close to Davutoğlu said he was planning a ‘new step’ but provided no details beyond saying the politician did not plan to join Gül and Babacan for now.
Erdoğan has recovered from setbacks before. In June 2015 his party failed to win an outright parliamentary majority, leading to months of stalemate before it regained a majority in another election just five months later.
A relentless and driven campaigner, he has been at the heart of more than a dozen successful elections. But AKP officials have privately criticized the way the party approached both the March 31 and June 23 elections.
Erdoğan campaigned for weeks ahead of the March local elections, delivering up to eight combative speeches a day. He accused opponents, including the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), of links to terrorism and said the vote was a matter of survival.
That failed to stop the AKP losing in the capital Ankara and İstanbul during the countrywide local elections in March, leading some senior party members to say that the tone of the campaign had put off many voters who were more concerned with the cost of living and supply of local services.
Ahead of Sunday’s re-run vote in İstanbul, the AKP tried to win over Kurdish voters with a less confrontational campaign, only to find that the change of tack had angered some supporters of its nationalist ally, the MHP.
The AKP’s conflicting efforts to win over mutually hostile Kurdish and nationalist Turkish voters partly reflect Erdoğan’s narrowing political options after a decade and a half in power.
Erdoğan, speaking to party members in parliament on Tuesday, defended his government’s record and said the AKP had helped Turkey to “rise and grow” — a reference to years of economic dynamism before last year’s financial crisis and recession.
“We will evaluate why we were unable to win the June 23 İstanbul elections. We will identify shortcomings … and aim to amend them,” he said. “We will continue to work to be worthy of our people’s love and respect.”
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION