Under the title “Akinci: Even though we call it peace spring, blood is being shed”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(13.10.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that dialogue and diplomacy should be activated the soonest possible as regards Turkey’s military operation in Syria. In a post on his social media account, Akinci noted: “Even though we call 1974 a Peace Operation, it was a war and blood was shed. Even though we call it Peace Spring now, blood is being shed, not water”.
Akinci said that he did not believe that there was anyone among them who did not want Turkey’s good and her being rescued from what he called “the trouble of terrorism”. He added that actually the people living in Turkey should reply to the question “where is Turkey’s good?”.
Noting that the war in Syria had been going on for almost ten years, Akinci expressed the view that if blood continued to be shed, peace would not be possible. “In my view, Turkey’s happy and peaceful future would be possible with an order of things which all peoples’ of the area, Turks, Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs will build through dialogue”, he said expressing the view that Syria should be able to defend its territorial integrity and Turkey should be able to feel secure within her own borders.
“For this reason, I think that it would be very useful for the relations between Turkey and Syria to be reestablished the soonest possible”, he said expressing the wish that Turkey will improve her relations with Egypt and other countries of the area as well. “A Turkey which cooperates and does not fight with the EU would be better for everyone”, he noted adding that he knew what war meant since at the age of 27 he had participated in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and saw his friends die next to him.
Explaining why he remained silent on the issue until now, Akinci noted that in cases you see that you could not influence the situation with what you say, you might need to remain silent.
Under the title “Harsh reaction by Turkey against Akinci”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs(14.10.19) reports that Turkish officials condemned the statement made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci regarding the so-called “Peace Spring Operation”, as the Turks call their invasion in Syria.
In statements yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleged that what Akinci did was “going beyond the limits”. He added: “He should know his limits. The office at which he sits now is not an office which he earned with his own power. It was earned with the struggle of the Republic of Turkey. Is there anyone else in the world except for us struggling for the TRNC to become a state? There is not. I believe that our kinsmen will give him the necessary answer”.
In a post on the Twitter, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay also condemned Akinci claiming that he “made an unfortunate statement which does not take Turkey’s side in the just struggle against PKK/PYD”. “This statement by Akinci made the bones of the fighters [Translator’s note: Turkish Cypriot fighters] and the Mehmetcik [Translator’s note: Turkish soldiers], who lie side by side at the Bogaz Martyrdom, to ache”, he alleged.
Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu preferred to “protest silently” to Akinci’s statement, notes the paper, by posting on his social media account a video of late Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas noting that they remember Denktas with respect and yearning.
Omer Celik, spokesman of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), described as “lack of foresight and disrespect” Akinci’s statement alleging: “It is not appropriate for someone who has the capacity of the president of the republic to urge Turkey to dialogue with terrorist organizations. This office does not coincide with such lack of responsibility”.
Finally, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Vatan(14.10.19) reports that Numan Kurtulmus, AKP’s Vice President, described as “unfortunate” Akinci’s statement and said that when he read it he was surprised wondering whether he did not see well. “If the peace operation in 1974 did not exist, a state named TRNC would not exist and a person sitting at the office of its presidency would also not exist”, he noted.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs(14.10.19) refers to reactions by Turkish Cypriot opposition parties and organizations to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s statement on the Turkish invasion in Syria.
Erkut Sahali, “deputy” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots would be harmed in case they quarreled and that this was why everybody should be reasonable. In a post on his social media account, Sahali wondered what this delirium was provided that Akinci’s wish was for peace and for no more lives to be lost. Noting that Akinci was at his “office” with the “democratic will of the Turkish Cypriot people”, Sahali added: “Turkey’s presence in this country is also because of the existence of the Turkish Cypriot people. No one should forget this! After the Turkish Cypriots saw the darkest face of war passing through the greatest pain, Turkey came to this island by making use of her right deriving from us. […]”
Serdar Denktas, former chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), said he watched with sorrow the tension of the climate in the “country” after an “unfortunate” statement made by Akinci, when the Turkish army was allegedly protecting Turkey’s borders during the operation against “terrorism” and was “fighting for humanity”.
Turan Buyukyilmaz, general secretary of the Revival Party (YDP) of the Turkish settlers, argued that Akinci’s statement caused sorrow to their friends and joy to their enemies.
Former “prime minister” and “deputy’ with the CTP, Ferdi Sabit Soyer argued that the target is to take a decision in the “assembly” saying that Akinci had no authority to negotiate in a period during which efforts were exerted for holding a tripartite meeting.
The Trade Union Platform expressed its support to Akinci’s statement adding that Akinci was the voice and the conscience of the Turkish Cypriots. The Platform described “unacceptable” the insults, threats and comments against Akinci which go beyond boundaries by some circles which wanted everyone to obey all steps taken by the Turkish governments under any circumstances. The Platform says that Akinci’s statement was clear and that he did not want Turkey’s territorial integrity and the safety of its borders to be harmed. “Both Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci and we only express the view that the problem will be solved through negotiations and not with blood”, notes the statement.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika(14.10.19) reports that the Social Democracy Party (TDP) welcomed Akinci’s statement. Noting that Turkey had the right to defend its territorial integrity and the safety of its borders, the TDP expressed the view that a peaceful life was possible in our area.
Under the above title Turkish Cypriot newspaper KıbrısPostası (14.10.19, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/print.php?news=299781) refers to a statement made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to Turkish HaberTürk newspaper’s writer Nagehan Alci, as regards the so-called “Peace Spring Operation”, as the Turks call their invasion in Syria. Replying to Alci’s questions, Akinci said that he was misinterpreted “within the flood of emotions” which existed in Turkey and that he did not mean that a dialogue should exist with the PKK.
He noted: “A great injustice is being made. There is a big distortion. I am a person who says clearly what I have to say. What I said is the following: Is there anyone in Cyprus who does not want Turkey to be rescued from the trouble of terror? Of course I want this. There is no room for distortion”.
Asked why he referred to the Turkish invasion in Cyprus, he replied that he always used the same words for every war and added: “I am not saying this for the first time Mrs Nagehan. For example, on 20 July 2015, I had said this during a ceremony in which President Erdogan was also present. I am saying the same for every war. Let it not happen again, let us not have new martyrs. […] Look there is also the following in that statement. I was in Nicosia as a young person during the Cyprus peace operation and I participated in the operation. Even though we call it an operation, in the end this is a war. Everyone in Cyprus knows what I wanted to say. I am an old politician. There is no reaction to what I said here. People in Cyprus see where I stand for years”.
Asked whether he was suggesting a dialogue with the PKK/YPG, Akinci replied:
“No, I do not mean the PKK and things like that. I want channels of dialogue and diplomacy between Turkey and Syria to open the soonest possible. Not only with Syria, with the EU and Egypt as well. I believe in the power of diplomacy and dialogue. This is not limited only to this matter. Otherwise, I am not saying meet with the terror organizations etc. In any case, I am not in the position to say this. It is impossible to understand the atmosphere in Turkey very well from here. Within this flood of emotions, the message we wanted to give was not perceived correctly”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (12.10.19) under the title: “He could not say no to the war”, reports that the chairman of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman in a statement in his social media account expressed his view over the ongoing ‘Peace Spring Operation’ of Turkey in Syria and wished that the operation would be completed the soonest possible with the minimum loss of lives and after accomplishing its goal that is to provide security.
Erhurman further wishes for peace and security to prevail in the region the soonest possible and expressed condolences over the loss of lives and the injured ones.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Vatan (12.10.19) with the above title, on its front page, reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, said that “the coalition government has decided the change the name of ‘fenced off Varosha’”, adding that “the term ‘fenced off’ will be removed when referring to Varosha”.
Speaking during a visit to occupied Morphou with “prime minister” Ersin Tatar and “cabinet members” as part of a series of visits launched by the “coalition government” National Unity Party and People’s Party (UBP-HP) to different places in the occupied area of Cyprus, Ozersay claimed: “There is a reality; we will not allow the continuation of this status quo anymore. The Greek Cypriot side may have been satisfied over the recent UN Security Council statement on Varosha, nevertheless they prevent their citizens for pursuing their rights in fenced off Varosha”.
Ozersay further claimed that “Morphou is an indispensable part of the TRNC”, reiterating that the UBP-HP “coalition government” has a joint vision on the Cyprus problem.
Referring also to the issue of fenced off Varosha, Tatar said that Turkey’s Foreign Ministry supported them openly with their written statement on this issue.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Tatar reiterated that a federal solution in Cyprus was not possible anymore and that alternative models need to be discussed at the negotiating table.
Under the title “Former negotiator Ozdil Nami: “The negotiations process should be structured in a way that will end the status quo”, Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Duzen (13.10.19), on its front page, publishes an exclusive interview of former Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami with the paper’s journalist Odul Asik Ulker.
Asked to comment on what a result-oriented process is, Nami said: “Everyone has to explain in a clear way what this expression means. There is a confusion on this issue. I cannot understand this. This should be the easiest thing to describe. What does results-oriented mean? What is the result? For me, the status quo should be ended either with a federal settlement or a two-state solution. As a Turkish Cypriot, I am disturbed a lot by the continuation of the status quo, because this status quo drags the Turkish Cypriot community to annihilation. (…)”
Commenting on a two-state solution, Nami said that “the current government’s approach that the federal solution has over and that the only way is a two-state solution under the roof of the EU is like hoping for the impossible”. He added that this approach, not respecting the UN parameters, will be rejected by the international community. He further argued: “The international community will not comply because we want to. We tried this in the past. In 1983, we established the TRNC and no one recognized us. In 1998, we proposed a confederation and no one took us seriously. We had to abandon this position in less than a year and we were forced to return to the negotiating table for new talks. There is no point in raising this idea once again. Be aware, if someone is showing you dead ends their interest lies with the continuation of the status quo. What we need to do is to demand a key, as I mentioned before, in one voice, with the Turkish side. The presidency, the government and the Turkish government need to give a single message to the world, which is ‘we are ready to resume negotiations from the point were they left off, but when this process is finished and we will go to referenda, we should not allow the Greek Cypriots to hold us hostage. The Greek Cypriots would have to make a choice, a federal solution or a two-state solution? Bring this key-point and let us start and let’s finish in 3-4 months, (…)’. If such a strong message is given, then we can bring the international community with us and put pressure on the Greek Cypriot side”.
Referring to the recent statements by Italian energy firm ENI, Nami said that such statements were natural as no country or firm would want to put at unnecessary risk such high investments. He further argued: “The reason that Europe has showed such interested in Mediterranean gas is that it wants to lower its dependence on Russian gas. It was not the first time ENI had been encountered by the Turkish navy and had to take a step back. (…) It is not only ENI, there is also ExxonMobil and TOTAL in the region. One of them is American the other French. Do they react the same as ENI? Their reaction could be different. But whichever way you choose to look at it the situation is unfortunate for Cyprus. The energy issue which emerged without a comprehensive solution has unfortunately become an element of risk rather than an opportunity for peace”.
Asked to evaluate the upcoming tripartite meeting next month, Nami said that unfortunately, he did not expect any development in the near future, adding: “We held an international Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana. All the guarantor countries were there. The EU was there as an observer. There was no discussion on the issue of convergences. All parties sitting at the table were in agreement over the need to settle the unaddressed issues within the Guterres framework. We failed to achieve a result even under those circumstances. That is why it is meaningless to get excited or hopeful for a ‘tripartite or five-party meeting’”.
Regarding the initiative of the “UBP-HP coalition government” to open the fenced off Varosha, Nami said that the issue of fenced-off Varosha is an issue to be taken up as part of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, adding that allowing former residents to return under the UN’s administration is something that is needed to be discussed with UN officials. He also said: “Obviously the best way to open the fenced-off city would be within the framework of international law. But to say you’re going to open Varosha according to international law but violate UN Security Council resolutions in the process is absurd. This is what they are telling the public right now. Huge investments are needed in Varosha. (…) Huge compensation should be paid to former residents for loss of use. (…)”. He concluded by arguing that the expectations that Turkey will be able to pay the compensation are unfounded and they know also the financing problems of the “immovable property commission”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberci (14.10.19) under the title: “Leave Cyprus to Cypriots”, reports that the Mayor of Izmir Municipality Tunc Soyer in an exclusive interview to the paper, evaluated the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and the natural gas issue, stating the following: “Let’s leave Cyprus to the Cypriots, let’s not intervene more”.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Soyer added: “If we leave Cyprus to Cypriots, it would be the rightest thing to do. But we never leave them alone. Everyone from every side wants to backbite the island. I do not find this appropriate. Leaving aside the geopolitical importance of Cyprus, I consider that the island of Cyprus should be left to Cypriots. They should determine their faith on their own. I support that the people of the sides should live in peace and be able to take decisions together. It is not only Turkey that intervenes but everyone. […]”, Soyer said.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/top-turkish-cypriot-officials-back-turkey-s-syria-operation/1612779) reports that “various Turkish Cypriot politicians voiced support for Turkey’s recently launched operation in northern Syria”.
“We're always together [with Turkey]. … The only right way for us is to act with Turkey and to stand shoulder to shoulder in this cause. People of TRNC stands by Turkey in its Operation Peace Spring,” so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar told Turkey’s Communication Director Fahrettin Altun over the phone. Tatar’s statement came after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s remarks against Turkey's military operation in Syria.
On Akinci’s remarks, Tatar said: “Turkish people should know that Ersin Tatar and his colleagues, National Unity Party, and other nationalists do not agree with those comments.”
So-called deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay also expressed support for “Turkey’s operation”.
“What we will do but support Turkey, our strategic partner and ally in every era, in their operation against terrorist groups for their own security,” he added.
He said they stand by Turkey in its firm stance against terrorists and will continue to support it.
Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, also backed Turkey’s Syria operation, saying there is a great need for peace in the region.
“I hope Turkey’s military operation succeeds immediately and it paves the way for people in the region to live in peace,” he said on Twitter.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.10.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-expects-turkish-cypriot-aid-in-anti-terror-fight/1612775) reports that Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop stated that “Turkey expects the support of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in its fight against terrorism”.
His remarks came in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, which he visited for a meeting of Asian Parliamentary Assembly.
“We [Turkey] want to see the TRNC stand by us in our struggle against terrorism and for Operation Peace Spring [in northern Syria]," he said.
As part of his visit, Sentop met Teberruken Ulucay, the so-called parliament speaker of the breakaway regime , and he expressed his “disappointment over criticisms from TRNC about Turkey’s ongoing anti-terror operation in northern Syria”, as AA reported.
Ulucay said: “Any distress Turkey experiences affects the TRNC as well. So, we are very sensitive about Turkey’s concerns.”
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (14.10.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/erdogan-sees-no-issues-in-kobani-after-syrian-deployment-welcomes-us-withdrawal-3502882) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “urged fellow NATO countries to support Turkey's military operation”. Speaking to reporters before traveling to Azerbaijan, Erdoğan said Turkey would implement its plans for the northern Syrian town of Manbij and settle Arabs there. He also said a U.S. move to withdraw some 1,000 troops from northern Syria was a positive step.
Erdoğan added that he does not think any problems will emerge in Syria's Kobani after a Syrian army deployment is executed along the border, adding that Russia's Vladimir Putin had shown a "positive approach."
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.10.19 https://www.aa.com.tr/en/operation-peace-spring/turkey-says-syrian-kurds-biggest-supporters-of-op/1612362) reports that Erdogan said on Sunday that “they received the biggest support for Turkey's Operation Peace Spring from Syrian Kurds”.
"Our operation is not targeting the Kurds," Erdogan said in Istanbul. “Turkey will not allow the establishment of a terrorist state in northern Syria”, he claimed.
"So far, there have been 652 mortar and rocket attacks on [Turkey's] provinces of Sanliurfa, Mardin, Sirnak and Gaziantep fired by the YPG/PKK terrorists," Erdogan said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (14.10.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-most-terror-hit-nato-member-nato-chief-147405) reports that Turkey is the most affected ally of NATO from terror attacks and has legitimate security concerns, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Oct. 11, but added Ankara should show restraint in its “Operation Peace Spring” in northern Syria.
“No NATO ally has suffered terrorist attacks, no NATO ally host more refugees and no NATO ally is more exposed to the volatile situation in the Middle East than Turkey. That’s why I say that Turkey has legitimate security concerns. At the same time, I also said that I expect Turkey to act with restraint and I also stated that several NATO allies have expressed serious concern. I also expressed my serious concerns about the risks of escalating the situation with Turkish operation,” Stoltenberg told Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.
Stoltenberg had meetings with the Turkish leadership in Istanbul for preparatory talks ahead of a NATO summit. Yet, the agenda focused on Turkey’s recent military operation against the YPG.
“I think it’s important that we all remember that we have a common enemy. We have been fighting with Daesh together and made significant progress in that fight. Not so many months ago, Daesh-controlled territory as big as the U.K. Turkey has been at the forefront of that fight. Turkish soldiers have been fighting Daesh, have liberated all the territory,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
The secretary-general stressed that this operation should not “put these gains in jeopardy preserve the gains.”
Stoltenberg also expressed the importance of enslaving that ISIL fighters who are now in prison “are not allowed to escape.”
Asked if the Turkish leadership assured him with a strategy regarding the ISIL members in the YPG-controlled area in Syria, Stoltenberg said, “It has been clearly stated by Turkish leaders I met in Istanbul today that their aim is, of course, to avoid any setbacks in the fight against Daesh and to do what they can to prevent any of the Daesh terrorists to be able to escape prison. They are captured, they should remain in prison. That’s the case the Turkish leadership presented.”
Elaborating on what he meant by calling an action by the Turkish army in Syria to be “proportionate and measured,” he said, “The important thing is now to understand that there is a risk for further escalation or further human suffering. Therefore, Turkey has a responsibility to do what they can to avoid that. NATO is not present on the ground in northern Syria. So, it’s not for NATO to go into operational issues.”
Asked if he has a proposal to handle the issue of the captured ISIL members in Syria, Stoltenberg recalled that there are many terrorists in captivity, including many terrorist foreign fighters, with their families living in camps.
The secretary-general made a call to the international community, including NATO members, to discuss the issue and find a long term sustainable and credible solution.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (14.10.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-to-respond-tit-for-tat-to-possible-us-sanctions-147413) reports that Turkey will respond to any U.S. sanctions within the framework of full reciprocity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Oct. 11.
"No one should doubt that Turkey will respond tit-for-tat to possible U.S. sanctions," said spokesman Hami Aksoy, responding to a statement by the U.S. Treasury Department on possible sanctions against Turkey in relation to its “anti-terror operation”.
“The ministry also shared the target and scope of the operation with the public in full clarity during a press release on Oct. 11”, he said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (14.10.1 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/550-terrorists-neutralized-in-syria-op-defense-ministry-147456) reports that the Turkish Ministry of Defense issued a statement regarding the war in Syria.
According to the statement “a total of 550 PKK/PYD-YPG members have been neutralized”.
“Turkish authorities often use the word neutralized to imply the persons in question surrendered or were killed or captured”, according to the paper, adding that as part of the operation the strategic M4 highway that connects the Syrian districts of Manbij and Qamishli and “was under the occupation of terrorists” has been taken to control, the ministry said in a written statement on Oct. 13. "As a result of the successful operations carried out within the scope of the Operation Peace Spring, the control of the M4 highway that is 30-35 kilometers (19-22 miles) long is taken to control," the statement read. The highway, also known as the Aleppo-Al Hasakah road, is at about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Turkey's border.
Turkish daily Milliyet (13.10.19) reports that sixteen persons were put under arrest in Turkey with the accusation of spreading “black propaganda” against Turkey as regards Turkey’s military operation in Syria.
According to the paper, three members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) were among the persons arrested.
The arrests took place in Sirnak, in Mersin and in Hatay and various “illegal published and digital material” from the suspects’ homes and work places were seized.
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