According to Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (24.09.19), self-styled foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, who continues his contacts in New York, met yesterday with the UN Undersecretary General Rosemary Di Carlo.
In a post to the social media, Ozersay wrote: “We have started our meetings as of this morning in the United Nations headquarters with a meeting with the UN Undersecretary General and head of the Department of Political Affairs Rosemary Di Carlo”.
Meanwhile, evaluating his contacts to “BRT” (24.09.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-embarks-on-contacts-in-new-york), Ozersay said: “the Cyprus problem should not come down to an exercise for drafting terms of reference. We can’t move forward if we don’t focus on the root causes of the Cyprus problem and change the basic conditions which prevent the problem from being solved. We will just not make any headway and lose time in the process”.
Claiming that listing and compiling the positions of the two sides into a single document will not produce a solution but would only be recording existing divergences, Ozersay added: “It is time the UN and international actors understand that the Cyprus problem cannot be solved through such exercises. This is what we have been conveying to our interlocutors. More importantly we are telling them that starting a new process without questioning the reasons behind the failure of the last process will only prepare the ground for a new failure”.
Özersay further alleged that the reason for the failure of the last round of talks in 2017 was the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to share power and wealth with the Turkish Cypriots, claiming: “It’s been two years since that process. Has anything changed in the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality? Are they [Greek Cypriots] ready to share with us? The answer unfortunately is no. That is why the belief that the Cyprus problem can be solved through a simple paper exercise should be abandoned as soon as possible”. He said that discussions with the Greek Cypriot side should focus on areas where cooperation can be carried out.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (24.09.19) reports that Ozersay also said: “You know, the dialogue between the sides is not just about the negotiation process. Besides, there is not at the moment any negotiation process. There is a call, as it was also included in the latest UN report, for which sectors the sides could cooperate regardless if they recognize each other. We have the opportunity to explain to our interlocutors our views on this issue by giving concrete examples. They also ask us some questions regarding the recent developments in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean. They try to understand the situation and the views and the perspective of the Turkish Cypriot side. I am trying with my team to explain to our interlocutors as much as we can. We present the views and thoughts of the Turkish Cypriot people on such broad platforms; we are trying to make it visible. As always, we strive to make our voice heard”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Vatan (24.09.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that “even though the statement for two recognized states” in Cyprus sounded good “it is not a development which could happen in the foreseeable future”. Referring to Akinci’s statement prior to his departure for New York yesterday, the paper emphasizes the following points:
“I am struggling to ensure that our people will live a European contemporary life on the basis of two founding states with political equality, freedom and security preserving their genuine identity and personality. We are going with a good will and constructive spirit and like always, we will do the best defending the acquis which came up in the UN efforts until today and our rights. With this spirit we will meet with the UNSG. […]”
According to the paper, referring to President Anastasiades, Akinci argued: “The Turkish Cypriot people are no one’s minority […]. If a partnership is going to be established, it is important to decide together in the fields of competence of the partnership. […] Abandon the logic of majority-minority the soonest and direct to the logic of partnership. Only in this manner it is possible to conclude the terms of reference”.
Sending a message to those who refer to the “two-state solution”, Akinci said: “Even though the statement for two recognized states sounds good, it is not a development which could happen in the foreseeable future”.
Referring to the negotiations, Akinci argued: “Clarity and specificity is basic for a process which will head to success. As Turkish Cypriot side, we know what we want. What we want is in harmony with the UN parameters. We have political will and determination. If all sides, and mainly the Greek Cypriot side, show the same political will and determination, a solution in Cyprus is possible. If we do not achieve this, the most possible development is the permanent division of the island. We provide for a process which will be result-oriented, well-prepared and short, which will be aiming at a strategic agreement and if this is achieved, it will be possible for us to hold technical meetings. We are expecting the UNSG to undertake an active role. […] Turkish officials wish the convention of a five-party conference, even of an informal one. We also are not closed to this”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (24.09.19) refers to the same statements and reports that Akinci claimed that during UNSG’s Special Envoy for Cyprus, Jane Holl Lute’s contacts, President Anastasiades “continued his negative stance on the issue of effective participation” in the decisions and there was not possible to write down the “terms of reference”. Arguing that the Greek Cypriot side was trying to present the situation as if everything had been agreed during the meeting on 9 August between the leaders and when Lute came everything was finished, Akinci alleged: “There is no such thing. We saw that Anastasiades was not clearly approaching the political equality issue. Therefore, there was no agreement [during Lute’s contacts]. During Lute’s efforts, Anastasiades continued his rejectionist stance on the issue of effective participation. It was not possible to write down the terms of reference. His statements in London were offending. Political equality is a sine qua non for us”.
Akinci said that during his contacts in New York, he would continue to support that the terms of reference could be formed with three documents: The Joint Statement of 11 February 2014 between President Anastasiades and former Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu, all agreements reached during the process until the Crans Montana Conference and the Gurterres Framework of 30 June 2017.
According to illegal Bayrak television (24.09.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-slams-greek-cypriot-fm-with-a-response),
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavuşoğlu told the Cyprus Foreign Minister Nicos Christodulides in New York on Monday that “it was the Greek Cypriot leader who had rejected a federal solution”, adding: “We need to decide what to negotiate first”.
According to information obtained, the two Foreign Ministers reportedly bumped into each other as Christodoulides was about to meet the Greek Foreign Minister, and just as Çavuşoğlu was speaking to reporters.
Apparently Christodoulides asked Çavuşoğlu why the terms of reference to restart the talks could not be decided upon immediately, and why Turkey was asking that a five-party meeting with the two sides and the guarantor powers take place first.
In response, the Turkish Foreign Minister once again referred to reportedly discussions he had last year with the Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who spoke of possible solutions involving a confederation and two states, noting that certain things still require clarification.
“The last time in Crans Montana your leader spoke of a confederation. Last year he first spoke of a federation and then a confederation,” he claimed.
“There is no other solution other than a bizonal, bicommunal federation. Let’s shake hands now that we agree and we can move on,” Christodoulides replied.
Cavusoglu refused to shake hands, it was reported, insisting that the two sides still need to agree on the basis of future talks, and underlining that Turkey has throughout the years supported efforts towards a solution, both with the Annan plan in 2004 and during the most recent talks in 2017 in Crans-Montana.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberator (24.09.19) reports that the general secretary of the “Turkish Cypriot teachers’ trade union” (KTOS), Sener Elcil, issuing a written statement on behalf of the “trade union platform”, supported that with the “financial and economic protocol signed between Turkey and the TRNC last July, all public assets were given as present to the Turkish capital”. He further added that the aim of this protocol is to create tension inside the society.
Elcil went on adding that the AKP government, which signed the “protocol”, put as a precondition for allocating the 750 million TL to the “TRNC”, the following: “the regulation of the judiciary system in the TRNC and also for all Turkish citizens who live in the TRNC for more than five years to be granted the TRNC’s citizenship”.
The statements adds further that in case the “National Unity Party-People’s Party (UBP-HP) “government implements the conditions of the protocol, this would cause social conflict”. The statement adds that the trade union platform calls on the so-called government to “suspend the signed protocol” and accept the proposal of the “trade union platform” to discuss their 90-article proposal on how to create a “country” that could be self-administrated.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen (24.09.19) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, former “prime minister” and leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has said that Abdullah Pasa Foundation, which is presented by EVKAF religious foundation as the owner of the fenced-off city of Varosha, had been compensated and closed down in 1935. In statements to the paper, Soyer referred to a book under the title “The History of Turkish Cypriot Foundations with Documents” [Translator’s note: The title in Turkish is: “Belgelerle Kıbrıs Türk Vakıflar Tarihi”] written by Mustafa Hasim Altan, which had been printed by the “Cyprus EVKAF Administration Publications” in 1986.
The above-mentioned documents are published in the second volume of the book on pages 1262-1281, writes the paper adding that the book had passed from a control by a committee composed by Harid Fedai, H. Fikret Alasya and Guney Esendag before taking the decision as regards its publication by EVKAF and the so-called religious affairs department.
The book was based on “official documents” which say that “no such foundation exists in Cyprus”, notes the paper adding that the book’s presentation was written by former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, its foreword by Raif Unsal, the then chairman of the administrative council of EVKAF and religious affairs, and its preface by Soner Cuvalcioglu, the then general director of EVKAF. Furthermore, the book was submitted to the then “prime minister” Osman Orek.
Soyer told the paper that “the EVKAF phenomenon” was important “for the process of existing on these lands”, but some mistakes existed in its history, which should be discussed objectively. Soyer noted that neither the “EVKAF phenomenon in Varosha” nor the “historical reality” could be defended with the current propaganda of EVKAF and its director through TV channels and advertisements.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.09.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/74th-un-general-assembly-2019/turkish-fm-received-by-turkish-cypriot-leader-at-un/1592043) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in New York. In the meeting between Cavusoglu and Akinci, “Turkey's support to the TRNC was stressed and the latest developments in the region were discussed”.
Cavusoglu also held talks separately with his counterparts -- Morocco's Nasser Bourita, Sudan's Asma Mohamed Abdalla and Guinea-Bissau’s Suzi Barbosa – on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.09.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/erdogan-meets-religious-political-leaders-in-new-york/1592052) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Monday with religious figures and leaders of some countries in New York, where he is holding talks as part of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
Erdogan hosted representatives of Jewish institutions in the U.S. behind closed doors at the Peninsula Hotel.
The meeting was attended by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Trade Minister Ruhsan Pekcan, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, among others. No information has been released on the content of the talks.
Later, Erdogan met with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel at UN headquarters. It was also closed to the media.
During the meeting, Albayrak and Volkan Bozkir, chairman of the Turkish Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, were present. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was also a guest of the Turkish president. The meeting was also held behind closed doors and attended by Albayrak, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Pekcan. Erdogan also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. No further details of the closed-door meeting were provided.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (24.09.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/09/23/trump-thanks-erdogan-at-un-religious-freedom-event) reports that U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that Turkey's President has become "a friend" following negotiations to free an American pastor from Turkish custody.
Trump said his administration was "thrilled" to secure Andrew Brunson's release following "a very short and respectful negotiation with a very strong man, and a man who has become a friend of mine, fortunately, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan of Turkey."
"I called the President and I said 'he's an innocent man.' They'd been trying to get Andrew out for a long time," Trump said, referring to the Obama administration during an event on religious freedom at the U.N. 74th General Assembly. "I don't think they tried too hard unfortunately. But I want to thank President Erdoğan, and I want to thank you pastor for being here with us today."
Brunson, who was released in October after being charged in the Turkish province of Izmir with being a member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), was among attendees at the U.S.-hosted session.
Turksih daily Yeni Safak (24.09.19 http://origin.yenisafak.com.tr/en/world/us-offers-turkey-new-deal-on-f-35-fighter-jets-patriot-missiles-after-s-400-mishap-3501321) reports that the U.S. verbally offered Turkey a new deal on the F-35 fighter jets, according to reports by Turkish media outlets.
U.S. envoy to Ankara David Satterfield conveyed the offer which allegedly also contains a trade deal package that will boost trade volume between the two allies to $100 billion and lower tariffs on steel and aluminum.
U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan that he would like to get NATO ally Turkey back in a joint manufacturing program for F-35 fighter jets, from which it was expelled in July.
Washington removed Turkey from the joint F-35 program after Turkey accepted delivery of S-400 equipment in July. Ankara also aimed to purchase some of the jets but now says it could look elsewhere.
Graham said he and Erdogan discussed a possible free trade agreement. "Turkey is a very important ally, not just when it comes to Syria but for the whole region," he told reporters.
The U.S. is expected to send an official written offer to the Turkish government soon.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (24.09.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-hold-2nd-safe-zone-joint-patrols-in-n-syria-146823 ) reports that Turkish and American troops held a second ground land patrol on Sept. 24 in the planned safe zone in northern Syria, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.
“The Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] and the U.S. personnel started the second joint land patrol with the participation of land vehicles and UAVs on the Syrian side in the south of Akçakale [district of Turkey], within the scope of setting up safe zone activities in the north of Syria and east of Euphrates,” said the ministry on its Twitter account on Sept.24.
A convoy of four armored Turkish Armed Forces vehicles in the southeastern Şanlıurfa province crossed the border and met with a U.S. military convoy to join the joint land patrol, Anadolu Agency reported. The Turkish and U.S. forces are set to conduct a land patrol in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad.
The planned safe zone is expected to start from Tal Abyad town in the west.
The land patrolling comes one day after the two Turkish F-16 fighters conducted a flight over the Syrian airspace as part of a multinational campaign to fight and eradicate ISIL in the war-torn country.
The flights took place in the planned safe zone area, a Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.
U.S. and Turkish troops conducted their joint ground patrol for the zone on Sept. 9.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
Turkey has long championed the idea of terrorist-free safe zones in Syria. It has stressed ridding the area of the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK, as well as resettling Syrian migrants currently sheltered in Turkey.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (24.09.19 https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/09/23/turkey-could-miss-out-some-700000-tourists-a-year-after-british-company-collapse-report/) reports that Turkey could miss out on 600,000-700,000 tourists a year following the collapse of British tourism agency Thomas Cook on Monday, the head of Turkey’s Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) said, according to Reuters.
TUROFED chairman Osman Ayık said the estimate was based on the number of tourists that had come to Turkey with Thomas Cook in recent years. He said those tourists may now decide against returning with other travel agencies.
The world’s oldest travel firm collapsed on Monday, stranding more than half a million holidaymakers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.
Ayık said there were currently 45,000 tourists in Turkey from the United Kingdom and other European countries who had traveled with Thomas Cook.
Dalaman Airport’s website showed at least seven flights to several UK destinations scheduled to depart on Monday had been canceled.
Tourism is a major source of income for Turkey, helping to shore up its current account deficit, especially in the summer months. About 40 million tourists visited in 2018, bringing in a revenue of $29.5 billion, according to official data.
“There is a large number of small businesses whose fates depend on Thomas Cook, especially in Muğla, Dalaman and Fethiye,” Ayık told Reuters, referring to popular destinations on Turkey’s western coast.
He said Thomas Cook owed 100,000-200,000 pounds each to some small hotels, which could suffer as a result of the travel agency’s collapse. Turkey’s Tourism Ministry said earlier that it was working with the Finance Ministry to extend a loan support package to businesses that were affected.
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