Under the title “Everything should be clear for the new process”, Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Havadis (24.10.19) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, evaluating the latest developments on Cyprus and the hydrocarbon issue to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu’s Editors’ Desk yesterday, said that they want a permanent solution in Cyprus, but despite all their efforts and especially at the end of the Crans Montana Conference, they saw that the Greek Cypriot side does not really want to share anything with the Turkish side.
Claiming that President Anastasiades had taken a step back to all the issues they had agreed before going to Crans Montana and had explained to him why he retreated, Cavusoglu argued: “He (Anastasiades) told him that basically the Greek Cypriot side was not ready to share anything with the Turks and as a leader he has to take a step back on these issues. Everyone saw there that we really wanted a solution. They also saw our determined stance, but they also saw that we were constructive about the steps that could be taken. As a result the negotiating table was toppled because of them”.
Noting that they have been negotiating the issue of federation on the Cyprus problem for 60 years and that they do not exclude this option, Cavusoglu said that they would not accept another failure in the process, and added: “If we resume negotiations, then we should decide first what we will negotiate. We have to put all options on the table and all sides should openly share their views. Once we decide on this, we need to define clearly the framework of this negotiation. The elements within equality need to be listed one by one. The elements of the principle of political equality which were a rotating presidency, effective participation in decision making and positive vote are indispensable elements for the Turkish Cypriots and should be specific. When we start tomorrow the process, with this document, it should be effective. The period of negotiation is over, everything will be clear. For this reason, we will hold a 5+1 meeting, the two sides, the three guarantor countries and the UN. They said that a meeting between the two sides and the UN, 2+1, should be held first. We said that this can be done. These will be informal meetings, not negotiations. If in these informal meetings, we agree on these issues and on the negotiation document, then the negotiations can begin. An open-ended negotiation cannot occur anymore. We want a permanent solution in Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot side is the one who does not want a solution”.
Referring to the “operation peace spring”, Cavusoglu said that the Turkish Cypriot “people” gave their unwavering support to Turkey, however, he added: “There are some trade union representatives and politicians in the TRNC, who say that they would support the Greek Cypriot side if asked to choose between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration”.
Commenting on the statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci regarding the Turkish military operation to Syria, Cavusoglu said that the biggest reaction to Akinci’s statements on the operation came from the Turkish Cypriot “people”. He also argued that that everyone was aware that Akinci’s statements were due to the upcoming “presidential elections” in April, adding: “People, like us who hold senior positions, should watch out what they say”.
On the issue of hydrocarbons, Cavusoglu said that Turkey had shifted radically the energy balance by sending its vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean, adding that Turkey is now stronger both at the table and in the playing field. He further claimed: “Turkey has registered its continental shelf with the United Nations and the Yavuz drillship is currently conducting its drilling activities within that area. We will not discuss the activities we carry out in our continental shelf with anyone. On the issue of sovereignty rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, we discuss with everyone except the Greek Cypriot side and we are ready for a regional agreement based on the understanding of sharing. I’m talking about neighbouring countries. And let it not be forgotten, the Greek Cypriot side’s interlocutor is the TRNC.”
Noting that Turkey’s second primary objective in the region was to protect and safeguard the rights of the Turkish Cypriot “people” in the region, Cavusoglu claimed that the Greek Cypriot side has done nothing until today in the direction of accepting and safeguarding these rights. However, he argued that the Greek Cypriots continue their unilateral activities and started granting licences. “By sending our second drillship in the Eastern Mediterranean, we showed the entire world that we will do what is necessary to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots”, Cavusoglu added.
Noting that the European Union shows solidarity to the Greek Cypriot side, because it’s an EU member state, Cavusoglu argued that the solidarity in a wrong place will never deliver the desired results. He said that “the EU member states should put pressure on the Greek Cypriot side to safeguard the rights of Turkish Cypriots and to de-escalate the situation, rather than encourage the Greek Cypriots”, adding: “This can be achieved through a joint committee, an EU mechanism or through a UN mechanism”.
Reiterating that the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal to co-manage hydrocarbon resources was still on the table, Cavusoglu said: “We are ready for a solution on this issue however it needs to be a rightful settlement. EU countries and international organizations should be taking steps towards this goal rather than causing problems”.
Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak(24.10.19, https://www.brtk.net/akinci-iliskileri-guclu-bir-turkiye-kibris-turk-halki-icin-de-onemlidir/) broadcasts that Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci has said that in Syria diplomacy stepped in, weapons were silenced and people started talking. In a statement issued today, Akinci noted that it was not possible to approve and accept the “vulgar wording” used by the US and described as a “positive development” the fact that the diplomacy carried out with the US and Russia gave results. He expressed the view that now steps should be taken to ensure Syria’s territorial integrity and that Syria itself should guarantee in her territory that no threat was left towards Turkey’s borders. He also noted that the reestablishment of the relations between Turkey and Syria was necessary for lasting peace and tranquility.
Noting that he wished for Tukey’s relations with all the countries of the area to be reestablished and the problems with the EU to be overcome, Akinci pointed out that a Turkey with strong relations was important for the Turkish Cypriot “people”. He added:
“I want the following to be known: Turkish Cypriot people as a whole want nothing but for Turkey to be safe within its borders, purified from the trouble of terror and to become a happy and peaceful country. Of course, different views might exist as to how this could be achieved, but these different views do not deserve to be exposed to the heaviest insults and threats. No one has the right to do this”.
Noting that statements which divide the community and otherize one part of it should stop, Akinci said that such statements and approaches benefited no one and added that history would judge the events.
Akinci noted also that it was meaningless to interpret his statements during this process as having as target the forthcoming “elections” and added that “life does not consist of elections; wining human lives is much more valuable than wining an election”. Akinci said also the following:
“I have said it many times: The Turkish Cypriot people want a contemporary European life on these lands by protecting their own specific identity and personality within a federal solution based on two founding states with political equality, freedom and security and within international law. The Turkish Cypriot people wish to be in an equitable relation with the Greek Cypriot side in the future and while they do not want to be their minority, they also would never approve of an unhealthy and unbalanced relation with Turkey. In this sense, our people do not approve of patronizing stances and approaches that evoke the master-servant relation. Our people want a civilized relation based on love and respect.
Of course, there are duties and responsibilities which fall over both sides for this. One of the most leading responsibilities is for us as Turkish Cypriots to be saved the soonest possible from the position of the one who continuously asks for money and become self-sufficient. It is an inevitable duty for the Turkish Cypriot community to obtain a strong structure with its economy and democracy and really have a say in its own institutions”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Düzen(24.10.19) reports that the so-celled “residence permits and visas regulation” is in effect as of yesterday. According to some allegations, disagreement exists on the “regulation” between the “government partners”, the National Unity Party (UBP) and the People’s Party (HP), writes the paper.
The self-styled ministry of interior issued a statement yesterday noting that the “regulation” was in effect adding that one and a half month ago, after a demand by some civilian organizations, they had made some efforts to facilitate the people on some fees and other minor issues. The “ministry” said that discount will be made on the fees or the fines at the exit/entry, which on some points were five times higher than the “minimum wage”.
According to the paper, the “regulation” includes the following:
- The period for which a foreigner could stay with a “visa” in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus cannot exceed 90 days each time and cannot exceed 90 days every 180 days.
- A person who works in the occupied area with a “residence permit” and receives the minimum wage will be able to bring only three individuals from his family.
- A person who completed 90 days of stay in the occupied area with a “residence permit” will be able to enter again in the “country” after 80 days.
- Upon entering the “country” foreigners will be asked to state the purpose of their visit, their upkeep and the place where they will be staying in the occupied area. The questioning will not exceed four hours.
- Those who do not accept to be questioned for a long time at the ports will be given the right to return to their country.
- Those who are not considered appropriate to enter in the occupied area will be sent back.
- EU citizens and citizens of Turkey should possess a valid passport for at least two months in order to be granted “visa” and the citizens of other countries for at least six months.
- There will be various kinds of “visas”. The visitors will state the purpose and the place of their visit and they will not be able to exceed the period of time mentioned in their “visa”. For example, those who entered with a “tourist visa” will be able to stay 90 days, those who entered with a “training-course visa” will be staying for a week and those who came with a “work permit” will be granted a ‘visa” for 30 days.
- According to the new practice in the “family residence permits”, children younger than 18 years old will be registered with their parents who have been granted a “work permit” or a “residence permit”.
- Application fees which are delayed or concern the past will be subject to fine.
Under the title “There is a crisis in the government”, columnist Gokhan Altiner, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris Postasi (24.10.19) argues that while the debate whether “prime minister” Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) will or will not be “candidate” in the upcoming “presidential elections”, both the issue of Ozersay’s candidacy and the “new citizenship and residency permit regulation”, which involves the citizens from Turkey, by “interior minister” Aysegul Baybars have brought the “government” to a breakdown point.
According to Altiner, Ankara is extremely uncomfortable with the “minister of interior” Baybars, especially with the “visa regulation” and has been pressuring Kudret Ozersay, “deputy prime minister”, for a while now for her dismissal, but it seems that Ozersay has clearly rejected this.
He further argues that a chill has gripped the Ankara government with Baybars, and if it does not abate soon, he guesses that the People’s Party will be expelled from the “coalition government” very soon, adding: “I'm guessing that Ozersay, once the prince of Ankara, is now quickly moving away from this point. Even if Aysegul has made some moves to smooth the regulation and even to issue an additional circular, there is a serious problem”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli (24.10.19) reports that the first meeting of the administration board of the Union of the Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) took place yesterday in occupied Keryneia. The meeting was hosted by the “Union of Cyprus Turkish municipalities”.
According to the paper, the “Turkish ambassador” in the occupied area of Cyprus, Ali Burat Basceri, the so-called minister of education and culture, Nazim Cavusoglu, the so-called minister of interior, Aysegul Baybars, the “chairman” of the “Union of Cyprus Turkish municipalities” and so-called mayor of occupied Morfou, Mahmut Ozcinar, the chairman of the Union of the Turkish World Municipalities and the Mayor of Konya Municipality, Ugur Ibrahim Altay as well as representatives from the Municipalities of several countries such as Moldova, Kirgizstan and Bosnia Herzegovina attended the meeting.
Speaking during the meeting, Baybars referred to the strong historical and cultural ties of the Turkish Speaking World and underlined the importance of the organization of the meeting in the “TRNC” for the reinforcement of these ties and for strengthening local administrations.
In his turn, Altay said that it is a tradition for the TDBB to carry out as usual its 1st administration board meeting in the “TRNC” and said that today there are totally 1170 mayors members in the Union from 30 different countries. He added that in the meeting taking place in the “TRNC” today 6 countries are represented, which are: Turkey, the “TRNC”, Kirgizistan, Bosnia- Herzegovina and the "Ozerk Gagauzia Republic" (Translator’s note: the southern Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia).
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (24.10.19) reports that so-called deputy with the Democratic Party (DP) Fikri Ataoglu announced that he would be the “candidate” for the party’s leadership during the forthcoming congress of the party that would take place on November 30.
In a written statement, Ataoglu announced his vision and supported that he would exert efforts for a “better, stronger and fairer democratic system in the TRNC, for the prosperity and stability of the Turkish Cypriot people, for a stronger and more developed economy based on the increase of production and for the establishment of friendship ties with Motherland Turkey”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeniden Nacak (24.10.19) reports that according to data provided by the so-called statistic authorities in the occupied area of Cyprus, the growth rate in the occupied area of Cyprus for 2018 was 1.3% in fixed prices and reached 18 billion, 324 million 165 thousand 339.2 Turkish Lira, comparing with Turkey that was 2.6% and with the EU’s average, which was 2%.
Also, according to the same data, the occupation regime’s per capita income for the same year has reached 12,277 US Dollars.
“The greatest increase has been realized as 7.6% in construction sector and this has been followed as 5.3% by the sector of services and independent business”, the report adds.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (23.10.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-not-to-hesitate-on-taking-steps-if-russian-promises-not-fulfilled-erdogan-147870), Turkey will be monitoring the process of YPG/PKK terrorists’ withdrawal from northeastern Syria and will not hesitate to take the necessary steps if Russia does not meet its commitments, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“There will be no change in the steps we would need to take if promises made in the agreements with both U.S. and Russia will not be fulfilled. For the U.S., we will determinately carry out the same operation. For Russia, Mr Putin talked very decisively. He said, ‘we will definitely eliminate [YPG terrorists] from here,’” Erdoğan told journalists on his way to Turkey from Russia. (…)
“Now that [Putin] made this promise, if [YPG] is not eliminated, our duty starts. Nothing will change. We will monitor the process,” Erdoğan said.
Under the Turkish-Russian deal, the YPG has 150 hours starting at noon on Oct. 23 to withdraw from almost the entire northeastern border of Syria, from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border. (…)
After the schedule for the withdrawal concludes, joint Turkish-Russian patrols would begin along a 10-kilometer-(roughly 6 miles) wide strip of the border. The only exception for the joint patrol will be the Qamishli town at the far-eastern end of the border.
On the reasons of the Qamishli exception, Erdoğan told journalists that there is Russian and regime forces’ presence in the town, thus they have “no desire to face off against Turkey”. (…)
When asked where the YPG will pull back after the withdrawal, the President said they will move to the southern parts of Syria. (…)
When asked if the situation in Ain al-Arab was tackled during the meeting with Putin, Erdoğan said U.S. and Russia had different approaches on the Turkish military presence in the city.
“Russia had some invitations to us on our entrance to Ain al-Arab. But the U.S. had the opposite approach. This approach is the same as it was in the Obama administration,” he said, accusing the former U.S. president of providing arms and weapons to Kobane.
“If today, there are 350,000 Kobane residents in our country, the one responsible for this is Obama. Those saying, ‘Turkey does not have any Kurds from Syria’s north’ are lying,” he said. (…)
Erdogan said that Turkey wants to initiate the construction works after the operation, yet no other country stepped in for the finances.
“They said, ‘We gave that financial support to Lebanon and Jordan.’ We did not receive any affirmative response from any of [the countries],” he said.
Erdoğan conveyed that another solution on the financial assistance for the safe zone settlements is to call on the United Nations for the International Donor Conference on Syria.
“I do not know if we can achieve a result from this. We will convey this to the U.N. and want this to spread,” he said.
The President also said that he and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a phone call a couple of days ago, offering a joint meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Erdoğan said the meeting can take place before the leaders of a NATO summit on Dec. 3-4 or at the meeting. “They initially offered London [for the meeting], but I said it can be in Istanbul or bordering provinces like Gaziantep or Şanlıurfa,” he said. Erdoğan added that he will meet with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in the U.S. on Nov. 13.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (23.10.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-efforts-prevented-terror-state-in-n-syria-cavusoglu-147857), Turkey has concluded agreements with the two major forces in the world within five days, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Oct. 23, in an interview to state-run Anadolu Agency, adding: “It will go down in history as a political success”. (…)
The Foreign Minister said Turkish forces will “neutralize” any remaining YPG members they come across in areas now under Turkish control in northeastern Syria. “If there are terrorist remnants, we would clear them,” he said. (…)
Asked about revising the anti-terror deal “Adana memorandum” signed with Damascus in 1998, Çavuşoğlu said such a move can be realized only with a new administration in Syria after the political process in completed. (…)
“First of all, we have no direct contact with the Syrian regime. [But] contacts for intelligence can always be held. It’s natural,” he added. “Secondly, the Assad regime has no capacity to implement the Adana deal even if it wishes to do so. It has no authority there [in northern Syria], there is a power vacuum,” the Minister claimed.
Moscow had assured Ankara it would not allow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to cooperate with the YPG, he stated. “Could the [Damascus] regime cooperate with the PKK? It can but then we will do what’s necessary,” he said.
On the same issue, Anadolu (23.10.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israels-actions-in-palestine-should-be-prevented/1624316) also reports that Cavusoglu urged the international community on Wednesday to join forces against Israel’s attempts to weaken the two-state solution of Palestine. "In order to support the Palestinian nation, the international community should act against Israel’s efforts to weaken two-state solution," Mevlut Cavusoglu told a Ministerial Committee on Palestine as part of the 18th summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (23.10.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/defense/2019/10/23/turkey-could-buy-us-patriot-missiles-defense-minister-akar-says), Turkey expects that disagreements with the United States over production of F-35 fighter jets will be overcome, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told Reuters, adding that Ankara remains at the centre of NATO despite criticism from allies over its counterterrorism operation in Syria.
Akar rejected criticism that Turkey was drifting away from its Western allies. "We are at the centre of NATO, and we remain determined to carry out all of our responsibilities fully. We are going nowhere," he said. (…)
"Ankara could buy the Patriot missile defence system from U.S.," Akar said in an interview Wednesday. Turkey, which also wanted to buy the jets, has since said it could look elsewhere.
"We hope that we will continue producing them. There are some issues right now, but I believe these issues will be overcome," Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said .
"We are partners in the production of F-35s, and we have been investing in the project for years, around $1.5 billion... producing some of its parts in Turkey," he added. He also said he hoped U.S. sanctions would only be temporary over Turkey's operation in northeastern Syria.
Akar also said that Turkey will listen to the German offer of a safe zone in northern Syria on Thursday. [German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer plans to introduce a draft for an internationally controlled safe zone along Syria's border with Turkey at the NATO meeting this week, despite Turkey's existing plan to create a safe zone there after the withdrawal of PKK-linked terrorists.] (…)
Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (23.10.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/10/23/no-change-in-president-erdogans-visit-to-washington-presidential-spokesperson-kalin-says) reports that Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın announced Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit the U.S. on Nov. 13 as previously planned. "There is no change currently in his program regarding his meeting with President Trump," Kalın said in an exclusive interview with Daily Sabah. (…)
Speaking on recent agreements between Turkey and Russia regarding the northern Syria safe zone, Kalın underlined that it was a clear victory for Turkey and President Erdoğan, emphasizing the fact that these deals were made in a very short period of time of just 10 days. "President Erdoğan's personal diplomacy with Russian and U.S. leaders has played a significant role in these deals," Kalın added. (…)
Kalın also said that Erdoğan suggested the EU leaders hold a prospective summit on Syria in southeastern Turkey, namely in Şanlıurfa or Gaziantep provinces. However, they insist on organizing it in London, Kalın said, adding that the summit might take place prior to Erdoğan's visit to Washington despite the fact that there is no certain timetable determined yet. (…)
Elaborating on Tuesday's meeting in Sochi, Kalın noted that Russia has begun to better understand Turkey's national security concerns over the YPG/PKK presence in Syria. "During the Sochi meeting, Russian President Putin said that the Assad regime sees the YPG as mercenaries of the U.S. and traitors to Syria," Kalın claimed. (…)
Speaking on Turkey's prospective plans for refugees, Kalın said Turkey continues to work on its extensive plan under the responsibility of Vice President Fuat Oktay, aiming to facilitate the secure return of Syrian refugees to the designated safe zone. "However, no one will be forced to go to the safe zone, according to our plans," Kalın said. (…)
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (23.10.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-will-never-recognize-annexation-of-crimea/1624084), Turkey will never recognize the annexation of Crimea, Turkey’s Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs Head said on Wednesday.
During a meeting with Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Andrii Sybiha, Volkan Bozkir said Turkey always respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine. "I want to repeat once again that we have never recognized, and will never recognize the annexation of Crimea," said Bozkir. He noted that they will continue their effort to improve bilateral relations between the two countries. (…)
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