According to Turkish private channel CNNTurk (23.03.18, https://www.cnnturk.com/dunya/disisleri-bakanligi-sozcusu-aksoydan-abye-kibris-tepkisi), Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy claimed that the EU has lost completely its objectivity on the Cyprus issue and added: “As long this stance is being continued, it is not possible the EU to be accepted at the third side regarding the Cyprus problem”.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, Aksoy reminded them that “deputy prime minister and foreign Minister” Kudret Ozersay paid an “official visit” to Turkey on March 20, adding that the latest developments on the Cyprus issue were discussed and an emphasis was given on the steps that Turkey and the “TRNC” can take in the face of “Greek Cypriot administration’s” unilateral hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Stressing that the statement “zero army zero guarantees” was expressed again following the elections at the Greek Cypriot side, Aksoy reminded Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement regarding this issue, “We recommend once more to the Greek Cypriot side to wake up from this dream and to see better the realities in the island”.
In response to yesterday’s statement by the EU leaders, who condemned Turkey’s illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and gave their absolute solidarity to Cyprus and Greece, Aksoy said: “We are faced with a statement, which contains unacceptable expressions against our country, and which once again served the Greek Cypriot and Greek positions. The EU supports these two countries since they are its members, without taking into account if they are right or not. We understand this: The EU has completely lost its objectivity on the Cyprus issue. We saw this again in 2004. We watched the same film again. While this attitude is being continued, it is not possible the EU to be accepted as the third side on the Cyprus problem. The EU countries are standing behind the “Greek Cypriot administration” (as he refers to the Republic of Cyprus”), which acts against the international law, unconditionally and without questioning. This is a remarkable situation. While we are trying to create a positive agenda with the EU, of course, there will not be constructive results when the EU takes such decisions. In this statement, there is an article regarding the two Greek soldiers. These soldiers were arrested for entering a military zone. The legal process regarding this is continuing. They have benefited from all their consular rights. We expect that the EU Council will avoid announcements that will interfere in the judiciary”.
Commenting also on the importance of Turkey-EU summit that will be held in Varna of Bulgaria on March 26, Aksoy said that they expect to safeguard mobility in our relations with this summit. Stating that the EU should exhibit a more constructive stance on the trust building, Aksoy stressed that they also expect that the Union will fulfil its obligations.
Asked to comment on what are Turkey’s expectations from the summit, Aksoy said that they expect the strengthening of the Customs Union, the visa liberalization and the acceleration of the financial aid towards the Syrians. Finally, he explained that Turkey’s most important demand is to overcome the political and artificial obstacles in their negotiation process.
Illegal Bayrak (23.03.18, http://www.brtk.net/erhurman-kibris-turk-halkinin-iradesi-goz-ardi-ediliyor/) broadcast that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has described as “unacceptable” the decision of the EU Summit for Turkey and the call included in the Summit’s conclusion on Turkey to stop its activities in the Mediterranean.
In statements this morning, Erhurman alleged that this decision is tantamount to “ignoring the will of the Turkish Cypriot people”. Replying to questions, Erhurman argued that both communities have equal rights on the resources around the island and that this does not mean only the sharing of the profit according to their population, but at the same time, they should participate in the decision making and put forward their will.
He alleged: “The EU attempts to condemn Turkey, but the EU somehow ignores the fact that the Turkish Cypriots’ will is not in this process. This is not related with our recognition. The will of the Turkish Cypriots should be reflected there”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (23. 03.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-meets-with-coalition-partners), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci argues that has said he has no objection to a social meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades but cautioned that the Turkish Cypriot side would not be dragged into a futile talks process.
“It’s not right to expect different outcomes from drawing the same framework and doing the same things” Akinci claimed, speaking to reporters following his meeting yesterday with leaders of the “coalition government”.
“Foreign and domestic issues as well as the recent visit to Ankara by the so-called deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay”, were among the matters being discussed at the two- hour long meeting which was attended by CTP leader and so-called prime minister Tufan Erhürman, HP leader and so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay and the TDP leader and so-called minister of education Cemal Ozyigit.
The DP leader and “minister of finance” Serdar Denktas was not present at the meeting.
Touching upon the issue of the Aplıki and Derinya crossing points, Akıncı alleged that they were all in full consensus on the latest situation regarding the crossing points.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side had fulfilled its part following the decision taken in 2015 regarding the opening of the crossing points, Akıncı called on the Greek Cypriot side to do the same.
On the issue of Maronites returning to their villages in the “north”, Akinci argued that all necessary work to make this happen as soon as possible will be carried out.
Responding to a question as to whether or not there was a chance he would be getting together with the Greek Cypriot leader for a meeting, Akıncı said that dialogue is the only way to solve problems.
He, however, said that “expecting different outcomes from drawing the same framework and doing the same things was is possible”.
Akıncı stated that he had conveyed to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar when they met earlier in the week that he had no objection for meeting with Anastasiades at a social dinner.
He, claimed, however that “he has not seen a change of mind-set in the Greek Cypriot side since the presidential elections in the south”.
In regards the prison sentence given to a Greek Cypriot for attacks on Turkish Cypriots, Akıncı welcomed the Court’s ruling but said that he would not like to comment before he sees the final outcome.
On the hydrocarbons issue, Akıncı reminded that the Greek Cypriot side had been granted EU membership while the Turkish Cypriots had been left out of the bloc.
“The Turkish Cypriots are partners in hydrocarbon exploration and Turkey is the country which will transport the gas to Europe” Akinci alleged, adding that this is the only way peace and stability could come to the region, as he claimed.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (23.03.18) reports that the CTP-HP-TDP-DP “government” has undertaken an initiative to “improve the procedure of imposing tariffs on the supplies” sent by the Republic of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriot and Maronite enclaved persons. In statements to the paper, Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime, confirmed this information but refrained from giving more details. He only said that they exert efforts towards “making the implemented practice more reasonable and modern”, adding that the practice which was put into effect by the former “government” was not right. He also noted that they should “distance themselves from putting difficulties to some aid sent to the Greek Cypriots and Maronites and especially the old people”. He added that they are determined to implement a practice “without ignoring the power of the state” and argued that it is not “correct and legal” to sell this aid in the market, something which allegedly was one of the reasons of implementing “tariffs”. He said that they should take measures for this and alleged that it is wrong to describe as “enclaved” the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the occupied area of the island.
Noting that they have conducted a research through the “social services department” regarding the persons who receive aid from the government-controlled area of Cyprus, Ozersay said that no one will be treated in a special manner and added this aid need to be really humanitarian in practice. “The practice of implementing tariffs has caused a problem”, he admitted explaining that due to the “tariffs” the number of the persons who receive aid was significantly decreased.
Ozersay said also that yesterday they visited occupied Agia Marina and Asomatos villages, in which Maronites used to live before the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and examined on the spot the basis on which they will take a step for the Maronites. He noted that they consulted with military officials, examined the issues on the spot with them and saw that these officials showed a positive stance.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.03.18) comments on Ozersay’s statements regarding the humanitarian aid sent to the enclaved persons in its main editorial under the title “The issue of the obstacle to the humanitarian aid”. The paper notes that the practices of the former “government” on this issue cannot be described as “humanitarian”. It recalls that Ozersay said that now they are considering of taking “reasonable and modern steps” but that these steps will protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot “people”. “Behold, this expression that ‘the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people will be protected’ is scaring us”, notes the paper adding: “We hope that the measures to be taken are not inhuman again”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (23.03.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will participate in the 21st Eurasian Economic Summit that will take place in Istanbul between 11-12 of April. According to the paper Akinci will deliver a speech at the summit in which officials from 30 countries will participate. Among the participants will be the Presidents of Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (23.03.18) reports that the Levent Yildirim, the Media Advisor of the Water Administration of Turkey , commenting on the occasion of the Water Day celebrated worldwide, referred to Cyprus and said that the first phase of the project for the water transfer from Turkey to the breakaway regime is the use of water for water supply for the population and the second one for irrigation adding that the infrastructure for the latter has already started.
The third and final phase will be the implementation of a waste treatment plant for which offers will start to be submitted soon. He also stated that officials from Turkey may visit the breakaway regime soon for the inauguration ceremony of the third phase of the project.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.03.18) reports that the central committee of the National Unity Party (UBP) decided to nominate Hasan Sertoglu, chairman of the “Turkish Cypriot Football Association”, as a candidate for the position of “mayor” in the occupied part of Lefkosia for the upcoming “local elections”. However, the paper reports that the decision has been finalized, the opinion of UBP leader Huseyin Ozgurgun and UBP party committee will be asked too.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (23.03.18), under the title “The pain of alliance”, reports that the discussions of the four political parties of the “coalition government” for the upcoming “local elections” are continuing. Their aim is to support a joint candidate for the biggest towns in the occupied area of Cyprus, the occupied part of Lefkosia, Famagusta, Keryneia and Morphou. It is stressed that it will not be easy. While it has been taken for granted that Mehmet Harmanci will be the joint candidate in the occupied part of Lefkosia, there are difficulties in the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) to support the candidate of the Democratic Party (DP) in the occupied town of Famagusta. The People’s Party (HP) and CTP want different candidates for the occupied towns of Keryneia and Morphou.
Turkish daily Sozcu (22.03.18- https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2018/gundem/alman-buyukelci-afrin-icin-isgal-dedi-chp-gereken-cevabi-verdi-2304285/) reported that the leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, met with EU Ambassadors in Ankara on Thursday.
The meeting was closed to the press.
According to information acquired, the dispute between Turkey and Greece on the Aegean Sea came to the agenda. Kilicdaroglu has reportedly said the following: “We do not want a dispute on the Aegean Sea. We are in favour of peace via dialogue. 156 island, islets and rocky places in the Aegean belong to Turkey and it is not right arming for these”.
Referring to the “efforts exerted by the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece for the issue of the drilling in the Mediterranean to be included as a chapter into the agenda of the EU summit which is taking place in Brussels, Kilicdaroglu made the following comment: “It is not right to take unilateral decision by disregarding the sovereignty rights of the TRNC”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.03.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-trump-talk-syria-on-phone-129129) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United States President Donald Trump spoke over the phone on the afternoon of March 22, discussing bilateral relations and regional issues.
“Our President held a phone conversation with US President Trump. Bilateral and regional topics were discussed in the conversation,” Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said in a written statement.
“Both leaders agreed to continue collaboration for common strategic goals and resolve issues that negatively affect bilateral relations:, said Kalın in a statement.
“The importance of strengthening relations between the two NATO allies and strategic partners was discussed,” Kalin added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.03.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-insists-on-joint-action-with-us-in-syria-says-foreign-minister-cavusoglu) reported that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated on March 22 that Ankara wants to maintain the agreement it had previously reached with the United States administration after the new U.S. Secretary of State is appointed.
Cavusoglu said that Ankara and Washington “should not let relations between them cool” for the discussion of a mechanism to stabilize the Syrian town of Manbij. Therefore, officials from the two countries will meet in the upcoming days, Cavusoglu told Anadolu Agency.
“Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Umit Yalcın will meet when their schedule permits”, he said.
“Their work will continue until a new Secretary is appointed, so we can pass to the stage of implementation as soon as possible,” Cavusoglu added.
“The YPG [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] will withdraw from here [Manbij] and their withdrawal will be monitored. Then, the question of who will maintain the security of this region will be addressed. As soon as the YPG leaves, Turkey and the U.S. will take joint action there. We will also take measures regarding security together,” Cavusoglu further said, adding that the second phase of the roadmap includes the administration and security of the area in Manbij. “Both of these aspects would be determined by demographics once the YPG/outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) retreats from the area”.
“Ankara is seeking an agreement with Washington over who will secure Manbij after the YPG withdraws from the area.
Turkey wants the U.S. to put an end to its support to the YPG and collect the arms it has distributed to the organization.
“Once the roadmap on Manbij is successfully implemented, [we] will then move on to cities located east of the Euphrates where the same model will be implemented,” said Cavusoglu citing the outcomes of a meeting for a working group.
If the Manbij model is implemented successfully, then an operation will not be necessary in the town of Sinjar in Iraq, where PKK affiliated groups have advanced during a fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Cavusoglu stated.
“However, if the plan in Manbij remains unimplemented, then Turkey will also intervene in Iraq. If this plan is not realized, the only option left will be to clear [the area of] terrorists. This is not just valid for Syria, but also for Iraq”, Cavusoglu said.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (23.03.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-wont-withdraw-from-manbij-washington-129183) reports that the the U.S. Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert stated that United States “has no intention to leave Manbij,” despite Turkey’s pledge to clear the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Manbij, in northern Syria.
“U.S. forces are located in Manbij. We have made it very clear with the Turkish government that we will continue to operate there,” said at a press conference in response to a question about the U.S.’ stance on Manbil”, Nauert said on March 22.
Nauert also said that talks with Ankara have not been concluded and Washington is willing to continue the conversations, referring to the three technical committees of Turkey and the U.S., formed to solve issues between the two countries.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.03.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-singer-actress-zuhal-olcay-sentenced-to-10-months-in-prison-for-insulting-erdogan) reported that the Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay was sentenced to 10 months in jail for “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, finalizing an indictment approved by the 46th Criminal Court of Peace, daily Hürriyet reported on March 22.
A lawsuit was filed against the artist for “insulting” Erdogan during a concert last year, with the prosecutor seeking a four-year prison sentence for the singer.
The indictment prepared by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office stated that a person told the police that Olcay had made an insulting hand gesture against Erdogan during a concert in the Kadıkoy district of Istanbul on Aug. 5, 2016. An investigation was subsequently launched and footage from the concert was examined by an expert, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 12, 2017.
Olcay is accused of revising lyrics to the song “Boş Vermişim Dünyayı” (I Let Go of the World) to criticize Erdogan, devising a hand-gesture to accompany the melody. According to the footage, the revised lyrics say: “Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie, life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream.’”
In her testimony, Olcay reportedly said she revised the lyrics because the President’s name fit the rhyme scheme and she “had not had any other ulterior or insulting motive.”
The singer also said that the hand gesture had targeted an audience member in the front row after they had made a negative comment about her.
The prosecutor’s office had demanded a jail term for Olcay ranging from one year and two months to four years and eight months on charges of “insulting the President.”
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