Under the title “Reply from Burcu to Prodromou: ‘Do not demonize political equality’”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs (20.08.19) reports that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, described as “groundless, wrong and inappropriate approach” a statement made by Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou saying that Turkey wanted to control a possible federal government in Cyprus through the demand for one positive Turkish Cypriot vote in all the decisions of the state. In a written statement, Burcu claimed that this was a “distortion of the principle of political equality which is valid in every federation”.
“While we are expecting a constructive understanding to prevail in the Greek Cypriot side, we think that it is useful for us to remind that such statements, which poison the climate and demonize political equality, are not useful at all”, he alleged.
According to Burcu, political equality and effective participation in the decisions was a “fundamental demand of the Turkish Cypriot people”, which was supported by Turkey and became an established UN parameter. He also alleged the following: “While on the one hand the Greek Cypriot leadership declares its commitment to the agreements, on the other it denies this through the Government Spokesman. It is not possible for them to get away from these contradictory situations by involving Turkey’s name”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (20.08.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-spoke-with-lute), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci spoke with the UN Secretary-General’s temporary Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute on Monday.
They exchanged views over the telephone about the leaders’ meeting held on August 9 and the necessary steps that needed to be taken to complete the terms of reference.
The UN Special Envoy is expected to visit the island at the beginning of September and to meet with both leaders.
Columnist Aziz Sah in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (20.08.19) reports that the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus sells “citizenship of the TRNC” to Arabs, who live in the government-controlled area of the Republic. Sah writes that he had acquired this information from a Palestinian friend, who lives in the government-controlled area of the island. This friend told Sah that the regime sold “citizenship” for 12,000 dollars and that he knew three families who had purchased this “citizenship”.
“I warned them, the TRNC citizenship will be of no use to you, it is a pseudostate, no one recognizes it”, the Palestinian reportedly said to Sah. He added that the employees at the breakaway regime’s “identity cards department” told the Arabs that the Cyprus problem would be solved soon and that the “TRNC citizenship” would automatically become EU citizenship.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (20.08.19), under the title “Bilal Erdogan is coming to Cyprus”, reports that the celebrations, which will be held between 23-26 August, to mark the 948th anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert will begin this year from the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
Speaking to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, Haydar Ali Yıldız, chairman of Archers' Foundation and AKP’s elected Beyoğlu Mayor, said: “Cyprus for us is a piece of land that we shed tears and blood. It is our country. Since we are carrying out celebrations for the conquest of Anatolia in 1071, we feel appropriate the first step for these to be held in the TRNC. Cyprus, since the time that our civilization, and belief have taken roots, is important for the Mediterranean, the world and for us.”
It is also reported that within the framework of the celebrations that will be held simultaneously in Malazgirt (Manzikert) and in Ahlat between August 23-26, a press conference will be held for the first time at Hala Sultan in the occupied area of Cyprus on Thursday. Yildiz explained that this year they will launch the anniversary program with a press conference in the occupied area of Cyprus and from there they will go together with Turksih Cyrpiot youth and journalist friends to Malazgirt and Ahlat.
Yildiz further said that Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minister and Bilal Erdogan, a board member of the Archers' Foundation and Erdogan’s son have been invited to the events.
Columnist Serhat Incirli in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Haberci (20.08.19) reports that Turkey is acting together with the Islamic State in Syria and that it remained alone in the war in its neighboring country. Under the title “A very tense and a very serious situation”, Incirli refers to the situation in Syria as regards Turkey, Turkish internal affairs and the occupied area of Cyprus. “This tension can be eased either with a national disaster or a national joy”, he argues noting that “tension is not only one”. “Let us start from Turkey”, he says and notes:
“I am not writing with the purpose to criticize its administrators, but Turkey has remained alone in the war in Syria. More precisely, both Russia and America saw that Turkey is acting together with the Islamic State in the area one way or the other. Even though Turkey says ‘there is no such a thing’, even though we cannot see with the naked eye from here whether this is happening, different news sources publish exactly the opposite of [what] Turkey [is saying].
The most correct thing to do would be for Turkey to accept that the Assad regime will not be overthrown and continue with a more passive stance in the area, but of course to continue its defensive stance. However, the intervention in Idlib, for example, will add trouble to its troubles and damage to its damages.
In brief, one way or another, Turkey has a very serious problem regarding the Syrian issue. The possibility of this problem turning into a serious disaster is high.
The fact that the Mayors of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van were relieved of duty yesterday in Turkey, four months after the elections, will definitely cause trouble for Turkey. It would not be reasonable to expect the democratic understanding in the world to accept, to approve the removal of the three mayors from their duty, in relation to having ties with terrorism, like it happened in the past. […]”
Referring to some developments such as the victory of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the municipal elections in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir and the effort of some former AK Party members to form a political party, the columnist notes that all the above were signs that “the existing government is bleeding and it has even started going down and falling”.
“If we wrote it much more openly, a government, which is losing power and its policy collapses, might become crueler”, argues the columnist noting that within this framework the situation in the occupied area of Cyprus “is much more serious”. He says that two political groups existed in the occupied area of Cyprus: Those who were in favor of Turkey and those who oppose Turkey. “This actually could be described as a dispute between those who want to work in harmony with the AKP and those who reject working in harmony with the AKP”, he argues claiming this this dispute would not end well for the Turkish Cypriots.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak (19.08.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-says-suspension-of-hdp-mayors-was-a-necessity-3498401), Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay claimed on Monday that in the struggle for democracy, the Turkish state was bound to take action against municipalities that supported terrorism and their leaders. “Judicial and administrative investigations determined that municipal funds [in three cities] were being used in favour of a bloody terrorist organization, and necessary actions have been taken,” alleged Fuat Oktay on Twitter. “The will of the nation can never be left under the hand of terror,” he added.
Early Monday, the mayors of the southeastern Turkish cities of Diyarbakir and Mardin and the eastern city of Van -- Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli, Ahmet Turk and Bedia Ozgokce Ertan, respectively -- were suspended from office for supporting terrorism, with the provincial governors taking the helm of the cities in their place.
Moreover, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (20.08.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-will-not-tolerate-terrorism-interior-minister/1560293) reports that Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Tuesday that those who expect Turkey to tolerate the presence of terrorism are “very mistaken”.
Speaking a day after three mayors in eastern and southeastern Turkey were suspended for allegedly supporting terrorism, Soylu said that those who claim being elected brings impunity for terrorist crimes are wrong, adding that it is irresponsible to try to link democracy and terrorism through "legitimate channels." (…)
"The fundamental role of law and democracy is to not let terrorism exploit the pure votes cast by the people," Soylu told reporters. He added that those who want to twist both the law and democracy are "literally challenging the state," exploiting democracy, and staining the "pure votes" of the Turkish nation. (…)
On the same issue, Turkish daily Sabah (19.08.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/08/19/pro-pkk-hdp-mayors-of-diyarbakir-van-mardin-dismissed-over-terror-charges) reports that Devlet Bahçeli, the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that partners with the AK Party in People's Alliance, called Soylu to congratulate him on the assignment of trustees, reiterating his support to the Minister and the government in their actions in counter-terrorism efforts.
Önder Aksakal, chairman of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), also voiced support for the move, saying that the dismissals come as a result of "the state's responsibility to fulfil its essential duty against terror". (…)
According to Turkish daily Aydinlik (19.08.19, https://www.aydinlik.com.tr/dogu-perincek-hdp-ye-belediye-mehmetcige-kursundur-turkiye-agustos-2019), Dogu Perincek, leader of the Homeland Party (VP), commenting also on the suspension of the three HDP mayors, reiterated his demand for the closure of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
According to Turkish daily Sabah (19.08.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/08/19/pro-pkk-hdp-mayors-of-diyarbakir-van-mardin-dismissed-over-terror-charges), the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) executive board slammed the suspension of HDP mayors, saying: "This is a new and clear political coup. It is a clear and hostile stance against the political will of the Kurdish people." The board said in a statement that the three mayors had been elected with between 53% to 63% of the vote in their cities in March and called for support from other political parties.
Veli Ağbaba, deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), wrote on Twitter that the dismissals were tantamount to fascism and a blow against democracy, while Istanbul's CHP mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu also slammed the move. "It is impossible to associate the removal of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin Mayors with democratic practices. The three mayors who are replaced by state-appointed trustees were elected by popular vote in the March 31 local elections. Ignoring the will of the people is unacceptable," Imamoğlu wrote on Twitter. Imamoğlu himself was removed from office over election irregularities shortly after coming to power in the March election but won a re-run election in June.
Moreover, Turkish news portal Ahval (19.08.19, https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-kurds/live-turkeys-pro-kurdish-hdp-set-protest-ousting-mayors) reports that former ruling Justice and Development Party AKP heavyweights Abdullah Gül and Ahmet Davutoğlu issued statements criticising the removal of Kurdish mayors on terrorism charges on Monday.
"It is not right for our democracy that newly-elected mayors are removed from duty in this manner," former President and founding member of AKP Gül said on Twitter.
Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also slammed the move, calling it "contrary to the spirit of the democratic system. It is a necessity of the principle of national will that those who are chosen by election leave by election," Davutoğlu said.
Main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) spokesperson Faik Öztrak also criticised the sacking of mayors. "Mayors have been removed from their posts. The conditions to be a mayor in our country are well known. The rule of law has been disregarded. What was done during the times of the  coup is being done today," Öztrak said.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Birgun (19.08.19, https://www.birgun.net/haber/gursel-tekin-istanbul-ve-ankara-kulagimiza-geliyor-265393) reports that CHP İstanbul Deputy Gürsel Tekin said that there are allegations that after the suspension of HDP mayors, there would be also replacements of the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara by state-appointed governors.
According to Turkish daily Sabah (19.08.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/08/19/turkish-military-convoy-headed-to-khan-sheikhoun-targeted-in-idlib-by-syria-regime-bombing), a Turkish military convoy which crossed into northwest Syria on Monday to head for the observation points near the key town of Khan Sheikhoun, where Assad regime forces are fiercely battling opposition groups, came under attack of regime jets.
The route of the convoy, which included additional troops and vehicles to be deployed in No. 9 observation point in Morek and No. 10 observation point in Zawiyah, was hit in airstrikes, Demirören News Agency (DHA) said, adding that the convoy was stopped in a safe location. (…)
The Turkish Defence Ministry issued a statement Monday saying that three civilians were killed and 12 more were wounded in the airstrikes targeting the convoy. "Despite repeated warnings we made to the authorities of the Russian Federation, the military operations by the regime forces continue in Idlib region in violation of the existing memorandums and agreements with the Russian Federation, causing great harm to the civilian / innocent people and gradually turning into a humanitarian drama," the statement said.
"In the face of these ongoing operations in violation of all memorandums and agreements threatening the supply route to the Turkish Observation Point No. 9, a deployment of our forces was started on August 19, 2019 at 5.30 am with advance information supplied to the Russian Federation, in order to keep the supply routes open, to ensure the safety of our observation post and to prevent further loss of civilian / innocent lives in the region."
"During the transit, an air strike launched on our convoy at 08.55 a.m. caused 3 civilians to lose their lives and left 12 civilians wounded."
"We strongly condemn this attack which contradicts the existing agreements, cooperation and dialogue with the Russian Federation. Without prejudice to our rights to self-defense, we expect the necessary measures to be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes aimed at hindering the convoy's advance through Idlib province. A witness said a Turkish military convoy, with opposition allies, entered Idlib on Monday but was stopped because of heavy bombing there. (…)
The Assad regime slammed the action. "Turkish vehicles loaded with munitions... are heading toward Khan Sheikhoun to help the terrorists," a Foreign Ministry source quoted by the state news agency SANA said.
The latest fighting, which broke out overnight Saturday to Sunday, has already killed at least 59 opposition fighters as well as 28 members of pro-regime forces, the Observatory said. (…)
Meanwhile, under the title “Turkey retaliates against YPG terror targets in Syria’s Tel Rifaat”, Turkish daily Sabah (19.08.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/08/19/turkey-retaliates-against-ypg-terror-targets-in-syrias-tel-rifaat) reports that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) hit targets of PKK affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) in the northern Syrian region of Tel Rifaat, the Defense Ministry said Monday.
According to a statement by the Ministry, TSK units in the Euphrates Shield Operation area came under attack and harassment fire from YPG terrorists in Tel Rifaat. The Turkish forces responded by striking targets belonging to the terrorists. (…)
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