According to illegal Bayrak television (22.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-to-visit-frm-maronite-villages-and-dipkarpaz), the self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay will be visiting the Maronite villages and the the Rizokarpaso in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus over the coming days.
He said that “an announcement concerning the customs duty imposed on goods sent to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the TRNC by the Greek Cypriot administration will be made soon”.
In a tweet, Ozersay said: “The TRNC has been working on this issue for quite some time now and that consultations have intensified over the past week”. He argued that “when he assumed his duties as foreign minister in February he announced he would define a policy on the customs duty from the south that was ‘reasonable, contemporary and which would raise the status of the TRNC’ but which would not eliminate the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (22.03.18) reports that the self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay has alleged that if the Greek Cypriot side wanted to sit and agree with the Turkish Cypriot side on an interim formula regarding the natural gas issue, it would be better to do this the soonest. “If they do not take steps in this direction, we are anyway advancing our works within the framework of a concrete timetable. The time has come now to carry out our explorations”, he alleged in statements after returning from Turkey.
Referring to the “Immovable Properties Commission” set up by Turkey in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, Ozersay said that they are in favor of the continuation of the function of this “commission” within the framework of the standards developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), that is as a local remedy, and added that they need a new model of financing in order to achieve this. He also alleged that the “commission’ was accepted as “interlocutor” because it has become an institution at ECHR standards.
Ozersay claimed also the following: “While in the northern part of Cyprus a local remedy was created, no such opportunity was created regarding the immovable properties lost by the Turkish Cypriots in the south of Cyprus before 1974. I think that the time has actually come to raise this unfair situation much more at international platforms”.
Speaking to The Times newspaper and the AFP news agency, Ozersay said that he sees the existing conditions “as a kind of opportunity if the energy companies or the states through these companies give the right messages to the Greek Cypriot side”. If this does not happen, he argued, the Turkish Cypriot side should continue insisting on its own explorations and drillings in the “controversial waters”. He alleged that no economic activity and drilling can be successful in the area without taking into consideration the will of the Turkish Cypriots. “We will allow neither the Greek Cypriots nor the companies to carry out unilateral actions on our behalf”, he argued and claimed that in spite of the fact that the dispute over the natural gas created a longer distance between the two communities, this dispute could help the Turkish Cypriot community in exerting pressures on the other side regarding the solution of the problem or for an agreement on the sharing of the resources.
According to Ozersay, the natural gas created further deterioration in the relations [of the Turkish Cypriots] with “south Cyprus”, as he described the government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus, and at the same time, it has negatively influenced the relations between Turkey and the EU. “The actual problem, at the moment, is at the sea. Negotiating for overcoming this crisis is much more important”, he claimed and alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side had chosen the correct method for solving the problem and “took the necessary diplomatic actions long before Turkey dispatched ships to the area”.
Illegal Bayrak (22.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/tasinmaz-mal-komisyonu-etkili-bir-ic-hukuk-yoludur/) broadcast that Kudret Ozesay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that the “Immovable Property Commission” (“IPC”) set up by Turkey in the occupied area is an effective local remedy. Commenting on information published in the Greek Cypriot press, Ozersay argued that some time ago the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had taken a decision regarding the “IPC” issue, but the information published in the Greek Cypriot press “does not reflect the truth”. He alleged that this decision did not change the fact that the “IPC” is an effective local remedy.
Ozersay noted that the Court had only decided that there was a violation because of some delays in the procedure of the applicant. He alleged that the ECHR rejected the allegations in that application that the “commission” was not an effective local remedy anymore. “Therefore, the statements and the expressions in the Greek Cypriot press that with this decision the IPC is not an effective local remedy anymore does not reflect the truth. The IPC is an effective local remedy within the framework of the recent decision taken by the ECHR as well”, he claimed.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.03.18) reports that speaking during the discussion for the “approval of the budget” at the so-called assembly, “interior minister” Aysegul Baybars Kadri, stated that as it was stated in the “government program” they will examine all the issues in which they suspect that actions against the “law” were committed and noted that this includes the issue of “TRNC citizenship granting” as well as the “building plots distribution”.
She stated that especially the “TRNC citizenship granting” is an issue that was not investigated in detail and added that in 2016, 150 “citizenships” were granted upon a “decision” of the “council of ministers”. In addition, 2017, 1492 “citizenships” were also granted again upon a decision of the “council of ministers”. She said that this number is double the number of “citizenships” that were granted in total during the previous 4 years. She said that investigations do not consist of an effort to create shadow over the previous “government” of the National Unity Party but, as she said, there were complaints and important founding on the issue. She added that those who were granted the “TRNC citizenship legally” should not worry; however she noted that injustices were committed on the issue and their efforts to solve the problems occurred will be intensified. He also said that applications for “citizenships” have not stopped.
According to illegal Bayrak television (22.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-received-spehar-5), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar who has been trying to arrange a social dinner between the two leaders. The visit came a day after she paid a similar visit to the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.
Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu and his diplomacy and EU affairs advisor Erhan Ercin were also present at the meeting which lasted for nearly an hour.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the UN Special Representative said she had nothing new to announce other than that she was continuing talks with both sides and as soon as there were developments, it would be announced. “The UN will continue to do its job,” she was quoted as saying. “As for the next steps, of course, they always depend on both sides. I will let you know if there are any further developments.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.03.18) under the front-page title: “First punishment for racist attacks”, reports that on the verdict of the Lefkosia District Court of the Republic of Cyprus to inflict punishment on the Greek Cypriot students who attacked Turkish Cypriots’ cars in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus during a protest organized on November 16, 2015 on the occasion of a protest organized for the “unilateral declaration of independence”. The Lefkosia District Court punished the Greek Cypriot students with four months imprisonment and 1,000 euro as a penalty.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.03.18) and under the title: “Four months jail sentence to the 12 Greek Cypriot students for the attacks against Turkish Cypriots”, reports that this development is very important. The paper adds that the fact that the one of the Greek Cypriot attackers was given a jailed sentence is very important for the Turkish Cypriots and is also something being expected. “The fact that the justice starts giving punishments for the attacks taking place in south Cyprus would not only be deterrence for similar incidents but also is important for the development of trust between the two communities. We wish that all the attackers against the Turkish Cypriots would stand trial and would be punished appropriately”, the paper adds.
Moreover, columnist Resat Akar, in a commentary in Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (22.03.18) newspaper describes the decision of the Court as a very important development, he, however, adds that it is remarkable the fact that the punishment given is “stand over”. Akar wonders what the meaning of the punishment is if it would not be implemented. “If the punishment given was to be implemented, we would act taking in mind that the Greek Cypriots change mentality. If we want a viable solution, there is no other remedy than preventing racist behaviors and implementing effective decisions. Changing the educational system which is based on the Turkish hostility would be the first step for this to happen”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (22.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=2018-state-budget-passes), the “2018 state budget” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus was approved last night with a majority vote
“The 5.815 billion TL 2018 state budget was passed with 28 votes in favour and 13 votes against.”
Speaking before the vote, the self-styled finance minister Serdar Denktas said that a hard and difficult year awaited everyone. He added that “the new government program will be implemented as much as the budget prepared by the former government will permit”.
Following the approval of the “budget”, self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman via social media, said that “the government, now that the budget had passed, will focus its attention and energy on taking action”. “The budget has passed. We made use of this period to plan and prepare for our projects. Now is the time, without entering fruitless discussion, to work, to take action and to bring to life the projects we need for social and economic development. We shall continue to work hard”, he argued.
Columnist Barcin Yinanc, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/barcin-yinanc/you-cant-choose-your-family-your-sex-or-your-president-129123), under the above title, reports, inter alia, the following:
“(…) In addition to introducing the ‘local and national’, Albayrak will go down in history as the Minister who bought Turkey’s first drillship in 2017. Was it the urge to make the extraction of energy resources national, or was it the necessity of challenging the Greek Cypriots’ gas exploration activities, which sped up the purchase of the ship? At any rate, the purchase of Deepsea Metro II might have made the Foreign Ministry officials just as happy as those in the Energy Ministry, like the purchase of the two seismic ships some time ago.
Indeed, the Turkish public is familiar with the country’s first seismic vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa; not so much about its findings, but more about its presence in the Mediterranean. Each time it leaves the port it’s docked at, there is tension with the Greek Cypriots in the Mediterranean.
While these ships fulfill an important function as a ‘deterrent’, it is equally imperative they do what they were intended to do; seismic surveying and drilling. When the Greek Cypriots start to take action south of the island, what will Turkey and Turkish Cyprus do? Challenge it militarily, just as they had done when the Italian energy giant ENI tried to send a drilling platform? In that case, it had been easier to object since it was in Turkish Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
Even if this delimitation lacks de jure recognition, there is de facto recognition, since forcing ENI’s drilling rig out of the area by Turkish warships have not created a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the rest of the world.
That would not be the same if drilling activities were to increase in other parts. As military tension would be unnecessarily costly in terms of international diplomacy, Turkey and Turkish Cyprus might then opt to retaliate by starting drilling in the northern shores. That however, would not only require the presence of the ship, but also human capital with necessary experience. You cannot send a ship and ask it to drill haphazardly. With meritocracy having been a long forgotten practice in Turkish bureaucracy, one hopes the necessary steps will be taken in that direction, too.”
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/the-eu-does-not-know-what-it-wants-says-turkish-fm-129117), Turkey does not expect progress in the accession process to the EU because of “the attitude of the bloc,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on March 21. “What we say is that the EU should reconsider all of its policies, regardless of its relations with Turkey. There is an EU that does not know what it wants and does not know what to do”, said Cavusoglu, while speaking at a press conference.
“We have told the EU it should oversee its policies,” the Minister said.
Turkey and the EU have issues to work on, such as the visa liberalization. The issue might be on the agenda of the EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting on March 26 in Varna, Bulgaria.
Another topic is upgrading the Customs Union, “which will benefit both sides,” he said. “They should not use it as a trump card on us”, Cavusoglu said, adding that relations between Turkey and the EU should move on realistic prospects.
An EU-Turkey summit will be held on March 26 in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, EU Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, whose country currently holds the bloc’s presidency.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (22.03.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/03/21/merkels-unfortunate-statement-on-afrin-operation-unacceptable-turkish-mfa-says), Turkey considers German Chancellor Angela Merkel's unfortunate statement on Operation Olive Branch in Afrin unacceptable and finds Germany's pro-terror group [YPG/PKK] point of view strange, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.
The statement called on Turkey's allies to make effort for the establishment of permanent peace, security and stability in Syria, underlining the importance of close coordination and consultation. The Ministry also warned its allies against giving credit to anti-Turkey disinformation and supporting terror groups.
Merkel condemned earlier on Wednesday Turkey's counter-terror operation in Syria's northwestern Afrin and criticized Russia for "just watching" the continuing attacks by the Assad regime forces on eastern Ghouta.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed the counter-terror operation in Syria late Wednesday over a phone call. During the call, both officials also reiterated their willingness to improve bilateral relations.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.03.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/dogan-holding-announces-official-talks-on-sale-of-media-group-129127), Turkey’s Dogan Holding, which also owns the Hurriyet Daily News, said on March 22 that it started talks with Demiroren Holding on the sale and transfer of its visual and print media components in an official announcement to the Public Disclosure Platform.
“We initiated the talks regarding the sale of all of our components which operate in print and visual media on an operating value of $1.1 billion and a share value of $890 million in case of a discount related to debts,” it said in its statement.
“These components include YAYSAT, the company performing distribution of media and non-media products, Doğan Gazetecilik [Posta, Fanatik], Doğan News Agency, Doğan TV Holding, DTV News and Visual Broadcasting, Doruk TV and Radio Broadcasting [CNN Türk], Hürriyet Gazetecilik ve Matbaacılık and Mozaik Communication Services [Dsmart],” it added.
Dogan Holding also added that when there are developments regarding the sale, it will notify the public within the scope of the relevant legislation.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION