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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-26.07.19

 No. 139/19                                                                                          26.07.2019



A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1.So-called MFA evaluates the UNSC resolution

2. Akinci and Lacroix discussed the improvement of CBMs

3. Erdogan: “Turkey is not a regular country in Cyprus, but a guarantor country”

4. Zincir: “Turkey will never accept a fait accompli in the Aegean and the EM”

5. Developments as regards the opening of the fenced off Varosha city

6. Tatar: “The TRNC is a success story written with Turkey”

7. Trade Union Platform calls for a general strike and resistance against the “economic protocol”

8. Three cases of WNC were identified in the occupied area of Cyprus

B. Turkish Press

1. Azerbaijan lifts, Russia eases visa requirements for Turkish citizens

2. Erdogan: Russia visa-free travel a fruit of warm relations

3. Akar: Turkey considers military operation in Syria

4. Turkey and the US continue negotiations on Patriot sale amid S-400 rift; Shipment of first batch of S-400 parts completed

5. Turkey's Central Bank cuts interest rates by 425 basis points


A.Turkish Cypriot Press

1.So-called MFA evaluates the UNSC resolution

According to illegal Bayrak television (26.07.19-, the so-called ministry of foreign affairs of the occupation regime has welcomed the call made in the UN Secretary General’s report for both sides, regional and international actors to cooperate.

The UN Secretary-General’s report dated July 10 and the July 25 dated UN Security Council Resolution extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping in Cyprus was evaluated in a statement issued by the “ministry”.

The statement said that the call made by the UN Secretary General in his report was a very positive message in terms of changing the status quo on the island. “This call shows that the two sides and international actors need to be in direct contact and cooperate in order for a solution to be reached through negotiations. It points to the need for cooperation before a settlement is reached without having to wait for a solution,” the statement read.

It further claimed that “the call has stripped the Greek Cypriot leadership from its outdated propaganda tool which it had leaned upon for decades”. “The biggest factor in the failure of efforts to reach a settlement for the past 51 years is the lack of direct contact and cooperation between the two sides in Cyprus. It has become the United Nation’s expectation for international actors to enter into direct contact with the Turkish Cypriot side and to encourage the Greek Cypriot side in this direction. No doubt, the only way the lack of trust between the two sides can be overcome is through creating interdependence. We would like to reiterate once again that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready for direct contact and cooperation within the framework of the UN’s call,” the statement further alleged.

It said that reference was made both in the UN Secretary-General’s report and the UN Security Council’s resolution to establish mechanisms that will assist in addressing issues that concern the whole island. “Shortly after the UN Secretary General’s call for establishing mechanisms for cooperation, through the initiative of our ministry, the two sides were able to cooperate on the important issue of exchanging criminals through the assistance of the UN,” the statement said.

The statement further said that the “TRNC foreign ministry will continue to contribute to developing such mechanisms of cooperation”.

 Also touching upon the issue of hydrocarbons, the “ministry’s” statement said the following: “The Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral and provocative actions which ignored the rights and will of Turkish Cypriots was threatening peace and stability in the region. Reference to this issue in the resolution is very brief and superficial. The Turkish Cypriot side submitted three proposals on this issue, the first in 2011 followed by two others in 2012 and 2019, all of which were rejected by the Greek Cypriot leadership. Our expectation from the UN and all related parties is to urge and convince the Greek Cypriot side that the only way to remove tensions over hydrocarbon resources is through diplomacy and cooperation,” the statement said.

“The ministry of foreign affairs expressed regret that references made in the resolution for the resumption of negotiations were not satisfying or clear enough. The resolution does not make reference to results-oriented talks and are not strong enough to push the two sides to a new agreement through negotiations. To enter new negotiations without the two sides reaching an understanding on a joint vision for the future of the island will be nothing more than a waste of time,” the statement read.

It further argued that the “TRNC foreign ministry” will be conveying its serious objections on the UN Secretary-General’s report and the UN Security Council’s resolution to the UN General Secretariat in New York.

2. Akinci and Lacroix discussed the improvement of CBMs

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (26.07.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday with the United Nations Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr Jean-Pierre Lacroix who is currently in the island for talks.

According to the paper, during the fifty-five-minute meeting which took place at the so-called presidential palace, Akinci briefed Lacroix on the current stage of the Cyprus problem and conveyed the Turkish Cypriot sides’ position on the issue of the UNFICYP.

In a written statement after the meeting, the “presidency” said that during the meeting with Lacroix, who was accompanied by the the Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Elizabeth Spehar, an exchange of view was made on the further development of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) .

According to the statement, Akinci further conveyed to Lacroix the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side on the issue of UNFICYP.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily online Kibris Postasi (26.07.10- reports that so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minster” Kudret Ozersay, commenting in a televised program broadcast by illegal BRT on the meeting held between Akinci and Lacroix, rebuked Akinci for not inviting him to attend the meeting and supported that Akinci had invited him in the same meeting which took place last year. 


3. Erdogan: “Turkey is not a regular country in Cyprus, but a guarantor country”

According to illegal Bayrak television (26.07.19- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking during an extended provincial heads’ meeting of his party atthe party’s headquarters in Ankara, evaluated the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, claiming that Turkey is not a “regular country in Cyprus, but a guarantor country”.

Erdogan pointed to the “irrational attempts to prevent Turkey’s legal interest in the Eastern Mediterranean”, reiterating that Turkey will continue with determination undertaking steps “within the framework of the international law” in the Eastern Mediterranean. He warned further that Turkey is “not a regular country in Cyprus but indeed a guarantor country”.

Erdogan referred further to Turkey’s ties with the EU and accused the EU of not keeping its promises to Turkey.




4. Zincir: “Turkey will never accept a fait accompli in the Aegean and the EM”

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (26.07.19) reports that Colonel Tamer Zincir, an official belonging to the Turkish Defense Ministry responsible for current operations, speaking yesterday during a press conference at the Ministry, referred, inter alia, to the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and claimed that the Turkish Armed Forces will continue their task aiming to protect Turkey’s rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea.

“Our drilling activities for hydrocarbons and natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean are within the framework of our legal rights deriving from international law, and thus we will continue with determination protecting not only our rights and interests in our continental shelf but also the TRNC essential rights surrounding the island”, Zincir said.

He went on to claim that Turkey will never accept a fait accompli in the region and added that no decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean without Turkey’s inclusion will be valid or viable.



5. Developments as regards the opening of the fenced off Varosha city

Under the title: “Varosha under the microscope” Turkish Cypriot daily Halin Sesi (26.07.19) reports in its first page that for the first time after 45 years a delegation entered the fenced off city and started the examination of the area.

According to the paper, “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, “prime minister” Ersin Tatar and the commander of the Turkish occupation army Tefik Algan, were among the persons who entered the city along with the “Inventory committee”. Ozersay stated that in parallel with the deskwork, field work at the technical level with the participation of people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise will continue as regards the issue and added: “The government’s decision as regards Varosha was not empty words. We will continue our work seriously and are determinate our goal of opening this area which became a symbol of the status quo for settlement.  “

Reporting on the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (26.07.19) writes: “Step by step Varosha is opening; Greek Cypriots and the supporters of federation are under panic”. The paper further reports that Ozersay stated that they are determined for developments to take place in the area that became a symbol of the status quo. This area can and should create new opportunities both for Famagusta and for Varosha and the whole of Cyprus”, he stated.

The paper further reports that during the weekly meeting held between the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Tatar, the latter stated that the aim of the “government” is for Varosha to open under Turkish administration”. He went on to add that the works in the fenced off city continue including the inventory work and the registration of all the demolished houses including those belonging to Evkaf, as he said. “After the inventory work more steps will be made. I cannot give a date, but our aim is to open Varosha under Turkish administration”, he stated.

Güneş (26.07.19) reports on the same issue and citing information writes that the delegation that entered the fenced off city examined a large part of Varosha and examined various houses and streets.



6. Tatar: “The TRNC is a success story written with Turkey”

According to illegal Bayrak television (26.07.19- so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar alleged that the “TRNC is a strong state which is protecting its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean along with Turkey”.

Tatar was speaking during a panel organized yesterday by the “Think Tank for Cyprus platform”.

He alleged that“the Turkish Cypriot people enjoyed freedom and security under the roof of their own state today despite having to endure great hardships in the past”. “The TRNC is a success story written together with Turkey,” he claimed.

Tatar also highlighted the importance of the water brought from Turkey.

Touching upon the issue of hydrocarbons, Tatar claimed that the “TRNC was only looking out for its own rights and interests in the region. We shall continue supporting our rights and interests to the end. Balances in the region have changed. The struggle between Turkey and Greece continues. The Greek Cypriots are trying to drag the EU into the issue. Had they said yes to the Annan Plan in 2004, Turkey would have left the island and the Turkish Cypriots would have become a minority within the EU. They continue to pursue this goal. This is what a federal solution aims. We shall never support this, my party would never support this,” he argued.

On the Cyprus negotiations process, Tatar argued that the right policy to adopt was to insist on negotiations for a two-state solution. “We can discuss two separate states, the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees and a velvet divorce,” he said.

Touching upon the issue of Maraş [Translator’s note: fenced off city of Varosha], Tatar said that the time had come to address the issue. “This area could be opened piece by piece for the benefit of the economy. This area has immense economic potential. It will contribute greatly to the economy. Our government is carrying out this issue together with Turkey. The important thing is to develop and strengthen the TRNC and to create prosperity. We need to work together to achieve this,” he claimed.


7. Trade Union Platform calls for a general strike and resistance against the “economic protocol”

Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (26.07.19) under the front-page title: “Decision by the trade union platform against the economic protocol between Turkey and the TRNC: general strike and resistance”, reports that the “trade-union platform” in the occupied area of Cyprus, in a written statement yesterday read out by the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot teachers’ trade union (KTOS) Sener Elcil on behalf of the platform,  announced that they have decided to go on a general strike in the occupied area of Cyprus and general insurgency for social existence. The “trade union platform” is opposed to the “protocol between Turkey and the TRNC”.

In the written statement, the union explained that they are rejecting the “agreement signed” between the AKP government, which signed for political purposes and ‘imposition’ and the UBP-HP “government”, which signed for a position and money”.

The statement further explained that, “the signed economic package is a threat to the existence, identity and culture of the Turkish Cypriot community. Within this package, there are impositions such as, removing the earnings and rights of workers, attempts at making the Turkish Cypriot population poorer, to benefit from our society’s wealth, , to encourage the youth to leave the country, to make education reactionary and to set impositions on the Turkish Cypriots’ political will”.

In this framework, adds the statement, the “trade union platform calls on the Turkish Cypriot community to join the general strike, general insurgency aiming to oppose the assimilation and integration policies, in order for the Turkish Cypriots to live a humane life, to be able to stand on their own feet, to be able to be self-administrated and for them to take their own honorable position as part of a federal Cyprus”.

Meanwhile, the same paper reports that the organization called “independent path” organized yesterday in front of the so-called prime ministry office in occupied Lefkosia, a protest and a press conference, condemning the “signing of the economic protocol”.

Also, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (26.07.19) reports that the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) Serdar Denktas, in a written statement yesterday, commenting on the “interim economic and financial agreement signed between Turkey and the TRNC”, expressed the view that this includes provisions which will cause uneasiness to the community and will backspace the democratic structure in the “country”.



8. Three cases of WNC were identified in the occupied area of Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan 926.07.19) reports that the so-called ministry of health in the occupied area of Cyprus confirmed yesterday that three cases of West Nile virus (WNV) were identified.

According to the paper, WNV which is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States, is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito and very rarely may lead to death.

The “ministry” calls on public to take precautionary measures.



B. Turkish Press

1. Azerbaijan lifts, Russia eases visa requirements for Turkish citizens

Turkish daily Sabah (25.07.19- reports that Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that Azerbaijan removed the visa requirement for Turkish citizens,  while Russia will grant visa exemption to service and special passport holders.

“Azerbaijan will remove visa requirements for Turkish citizens with valid passports as of Sept. 1, in line with the traditional understanding that Turkey and Azerbaijan are: one nation, two states," Çavuşoğlu said.

He also posted a letter from Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry to Turkey saying the action was taken as the two countries' "cultural roots, friendship, brotherhood, and solidarity are at the highest level and developing in all fields."

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Thursday a decree that expanded the visa exemption for Turkish citizens, allowing those with service (gray) and special (green) passports to enter the country without a visa.

The gray passport is issued to Turkish citizens who travel abroad on government business but do not qualify for diplomatic passports, while the green ones are issued to public servants.

Turkey and Russia have been in talks for a while to remove visa requirements completely.


2. Erdogan: Russia visa-free travel a fruit of warm relations

Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.07.19- reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said that Russia’s move allowing visa-free travel to Turkish citizens was a fruit of their friendly relations.

"The Russian move allowing visa-free travel to Turkish citizens is a result of warm relations and dialogue," Erdogan said addressing a joint news conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad.

Under a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish holders of special and service passports paying short-term visits to Russia will no longer need to obtain visas.

Erdogan said that the two leaders discussed cooperation between Turkey and Malaysia as two D-8 members and strategic partners.

He went on to say that solidarity between Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan is necessary for unity of the Islamic world.

Mahathir echoed the statement saying: “Cooperation between Malaysia and Turkey will help to relieve the Muslim Ummah from being subjugated by others.”

“Statements are easy to make. But to have an effective action is far more important. That is why I proposed that three Muslim countries should work together. At least these three [Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan]. So that we can speak with a louder voice in terms of many areas; defense, for example”, he added.

He also praised Turkey calling it a role model welfare state. “All Muslim countries should be developed. Someone has to provide it, and we can say that Turkey is a candidate country for this cause,” said Mahathir.

Erdogan, upon a question, talked about the release of Hakan Atilla, a former Turkish banking executive, from a federal U.S. prison last week and said that they will meet after Atilla spends time with his family first.

“His time in prison and all that process upset me and my colleagues [...] There is no barrier between Hakan Atilla and us. He is our son. We will embrace him,” he added.

Atilla’s arrest came after the Turkish businessman Riza Sarraf was arrested in 2016 in the U.S. for violating sanctions on Iran. Cooperating with prosecutors, he gave testimony against Atilla which was used to convict the banker.


3. Akar: Turkey considers military operation in Syria

Turkish daily Yeni Şafak (25.07.19- reports that a possible military operation east of the Euphrates River in Syria was discussed by Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and military officials, according to a report by Anadolu Agency.

Turkey said on Wednesday it had "run out of patience" with the United States in talks over the formation of the zone, after Turkish and U.S. officials held a series of meetings on the planned safe zone and other developments in the region.

"We conveyed our views and requests to the delegation that came here. We expect them to evaluate these and answer us immediately," the Ministry quoted Akar as saying in a statement. "We emphasized to them once again that we have no tolerance for any delays, and that we will use our initiative if necessary."


4. Turkey and the US continue negotiations on Patriot sale amid S-400 rift; Shipment of first batch of S-400 parts completed

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.0719- reports that Turkey and the United States continue negotiations for the former’s acquisition of Raytheon’s Patriot anti-ballistic missile systems, officials from the Turkish Defense Ministry have revealed, amid an ongoing bilateral tension over the Turkish deployment of S-400 air defense weaponry from Russia.

“Defense Industry Presidency is continuing talks with the U.S. for the procurement of the Patriot systems as an alternative project for the fulfillment of our needs as part of the Long Range Air and Missile Defense program,” senior officials from the Defense Ministry told the media at a briefing on July 25.

Turkey has long been criticizing the United States for ignoring its requests to buy Patriots in a bid to augment its aerial defense and stressing that it had to purchase a similar system from Russia after its previous attempts were denied by Washington.

The United States has replied to Turkey’s letter of request for Patriot acquisition in early January of this year, but its first offer did not satisfy the Turkish government. U.S. officials say they submitted a much better offer to Turkey in March and are still waiting for an official response.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has several times underlined that Turkey could still consider purchasing the $3.5 billion Patriot systems should the offer meet their criteria. The issue was raised at a meeting between Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump in their latest in-person meeting in Osaka in late June.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s deployment of the S-400s has triggered a retaliation by the United States, which has declared the cessation of the Turkish participation in the F-35 aircraft project as these two rival systems could not coexist on the land of a NATO nation.

Defense Ministry officials confirmed the Turkish exclusion from the F-35 project along with a ban on further transfer of fighter jets Turkey has already paid for and the training of the Turkish pilots.

“In this context and as earlier stated by our defense minister, unilateral and unfair removal of Turkey –as an important partner of the F-35 project that fulfils all of its commitments- from the project and the work share has no legitimate base,” officials said.

Turkey’s exclusion from the F-35 project will also lead to a security problem in NATO’s south wing, the officials recalled.

“As strategic partners, it’s our natural right to expect that the U.S. avoids steps that would damage our relationship,” they said.

Moreover, Turkish Defense Ministry officials have also informed about ongoing work with the Italian/French consortium, the Eurosam, for a potential co-production of SAMP/T anti-ballistic missile systems. The Eurosam and Turkey’s Aselsan and Roketsan companies have long been working on a concept definition study, which is expected to be accomplished in October 2019.

In the meantime, the officials announced the fact that France has offered the deployment of a SAMP/T air defense system contingent on Turkish soils as part of NATO’s efforts to upgrade the protection of the Turkish air space. A French military team held field studies in mid-June, officials informed. 

Turkey currently hosts a Patriot contingent from Spain in İncirlik base and an Italian SAMP/T system in Kahramanmaraş, a southeastern Anatolian province.


5. Turkey's Central Bank cuts interest rates by 425 basis points

Turkish daily Sabah (25.07.19- reports that the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) on Thursday announced its decision to cut benchmark policy rate by 425 basis points from 24% to 19.75%.

"Recently released data indicate a moderate recovery in the economic activity. Goods and services exports continue to display an upward trend despite the weakening in the global economic outlook, indicating improved competitiveness. In particular, strong tourism revenues support the economic activity through direct and indirect channels," the regulator said in a statement.

"Looking forward, net exports are expected to contribute to the economic growth and the gradual recovery is likely to continue with the help of the disinflation trend and the partial improvement in financial conditions. The composition of growth is having a positive impact on the external balance. Current account balance is expected to maintain its improving trend," the CBRT added.