Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (05.12.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci briefed yesterday the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties represented in the “assembly” of the breakaway regime regarding the results of the tripartite meeting with President Anastasiades and the UNSG held on 25 November in Berlin.
In statements after the one-hour-long meeting, Ersin Tatar, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) and self-styled prime minister, said that no five-party conference was expected after the informal tripartite meeting in Berlin, because of the so-called presidential elections in the occupied area of the island, the elections in the UK and the statements made by Turkey in this direction. “Therefore, it was evaluated that no mobility was expected now after the tripartite meeting”, he added.
Furthermore, Tatar said that they also discussed issues such as the number of “judges”, the increase of the retirement age of the “judges” and “prosecutors” and the right of the Turkish Cypriots living abroad to vote and be elected. As regards the latter, Tatar reiterated that “constitutional” and “legal” amendments were needed and added that during the meeting they had discussed the time of the above-mentioned “constitutional” amendment. “Constitutional amendment is important”, he said and concluded: “Therefore, setting up separate ballot boxes after the presidential elections and submitting this to referendum was discussed”.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (05.12.19) reports that Gurdal Hudaoglu, adviser of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, has said that the Cyprus problem had obtained dimensions which influenced negatively both the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots and increased tension.
In statements yesterday to illegal Bayrak, Hudaoglu noted that the statement made by UNSG Antonio Guterres after the tripartite meeting in Berlin was a new and powerful starting point as regards the efforts to find a solution, putting in the right place the concepts, after a stagnancy of two years.
Hudaoglu underlined the importance of urgently continuing the efforts to find a solution to the problem and noted that the meeting in Berlin had met the expectations.
He alleged that the two-year period of uncertainty after Crans Montana derived from some approaches exhibited by the Greek Cypriot leader, his effort to open for discussion especially the issue of political equality and some views expressed regarding the solution model.
Hudaoglu said that during the meeting in Berlin, the agreements reached thus far had been reaffirmed before the UNSG and a foreseeable process with a known framework regarding the following period was described. He added that the UNSG had put an end to discussing “baseless allegations” regarding political equality, effective participation in decisions, an open-ended unproductive negotiating process and the date of the Guterres Framework.
He described as “important” the fact that the UNSG’s statement made after the tripartite meeting included the “strategic agreement” concept, which will describe in the best possible manner the statement for a result oriented and not open-ended process, a reference to an effort to convene a five-party meeting and a reference to the fact that the solution model will be based on federation.
Noting that putting a time table to the negotiations had been a wish of the Turkish Cypriot side since the period of late Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, Hudaoglu recalled that this demand had not been met and added:
“Not even an implication for a time table could be made in the past. It is true that a manifesto saying that ‘the Cyprus problem will end on this date and this time’ was not published now. In any case, it was very clear that it would not be correct to expect for it to be published. However, what is mentioned here in a diplomatic language is extremely important”.
He argued that the demand for a time table, which had not been met for years, was now included with “strong expressions” in the UNSG’s statement and alleged that this gain was obtained thanks to the “decisive and consistent stance” exhibited by the Turkish Cypriot side during the past five years.
According to illegal Bayrak television (04.12.19) so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay, delivering a speech during a seminar organized in the “Keryneia university” entitled: “Eastern Mediterranean energy policies and the effects on the Cyprus problem, Ozersay commented on President Nicos Anastasiades’ precondition that Turkey should end its hydrocarbon activities in order to start the negotiations, claiming that this is unacceptable.
“I don’t think either Turkey or us would accept such a precondition. I think this is not right. Since the Greek Cypriot side can continue to be in the field in parallel to the negotiations process, we should also continue with our work whether there are negotiations or not. Otherwise, it will mean nothing more than accepting impositions”, Ozersay claimed.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kıbrıs (05.12.19) reports that Ozersay claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side has achieved to become a regional actor on the natural gas issue in the Eastern Mediterranean region, describing this as very important.
Supporting that the tension and quarrel in the Eastern Mediterranean is not related only with the distribution of natural gas, Ozersay went on to claim that it is a geo-strategic, geo-political and geo-economic struggle in the area.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Ozersay underlined the need to stop reading the future of the Turkish Cypriots through the negotiation processes regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem, supporting that a more realistic analysis should be prepared and they should look into other perspectives, without that to mean, as he said that he underestimates the Cyprus problem.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Hakikat (05.12.19) reports that Ozersay argued that the Eastern Mediterranean is very important for Turkey due to the “problem of maritime jurisdiction” and claimed that the area is a way for Turkey to make openings to the sea and breathe. “In this sense, the existance of the TRNC is much more importan for Turkey that we consider”, Ozersay said, adding that what Turkey and the “TRNC” are trying to do in the region should be read very well.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (05.12.19) reports that the so-called minister of transportation and public works Tolga Atakan held a meeting with the Deputy President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay.
In the meeting construction of unfinished roads and the underrating of new projects to be completed in 2020 in the occupied areas were undertaken.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (05.12.19) reports that the so-called minister of agriculture and natural resources Dursun Oğuz attended the Ministerial Meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Baku.
According to information given by the “ministry”, Oguz, in his speech at the meeting, said that agricultural products of the breakaway regime cannot be marketed directly to the outside world due to the “embargoes they face”. He also claimed that the transportation problems experienced in exports due to marketing that cannot be made directly reduce the ability of “TRNC” products to compete with the products of other countries. Furthermore, high input costs such as energy, labor and raw materials in the country are among the factors preventing competition, he stated.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Safak (05.12.19, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/turkey-says-given-threats-make-updating-natos-security-codes-inevitable-3506693), Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, speaking at a public event in the capital Ankara, claimed that through its "historic agreement" with Libya on maritime frontiers in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey had made an "important contribution" to "sustainable peace". He added that the Turkish Parliament would vote on the Turkey-Libya deal on Thursday.
He also argued that peace and Turkey-Libya fellowship will triumph in the Eastern Mediterranean with the parliament's vote.
Under the title “The process of the Libya agreement has begun”, Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet (05.12.19, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/siyaset/libya-anlasmasinda-meclis-sureci-basladi-6093990) reports that the Memorandum of Understanding on maritime boundaries signed with Libya was discussed yesterday at the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Turkey’s Parliament. It was reported that the agreement was an answer to the efforts of Greece and Greek Cypriots to isolate Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kiran, who was attending the meeting, claimed that some actors of the international community tried to manipulate the agreement, however, he argued, each article of the agreement was in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He further said that the agreement will contribute to Turkey on technical, political and economic terms, adding: “We wanted to inform the Assembly with instructions of our President [Erdogan] and our Foreign Minister [Cavusoglu]. We attach importance to the adoption of the Memorandum of Understanding on the maritime boundary delimitation in the Mediterranean and we are sending it to the Assembly very soon. In this sense, the support of all political parties to this agreement is an important matter.
The paper also reports that Ambassador Çağatay Erciyes, Director General for Bilateral Political & Maritime-Aviation-Border Affairs, explained that they have defined the boundaries between Turkey and Libya with the signed memorandum, establishing 18.6 nautical miles of a continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone boundary line between them. He added: “Some countries have claimed that this is contrary to international law. The rule that international law puts is for the delimitation to be fair/equitable. This agreement is an agreement that was made in a righteous framework, because, in contradiction of Greek and Greek Cypriot claims, in international law, islands do not have the right to create automatically a continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone. In the delimitation of the islands, their special locations, their coastal lengths and their geography is taken under consideration. In decisions and bilateral agreements of the international court, maritime jurisdiction is not given by any means to the islands. Turkey has also made this agreement with Libya by acting with the principle of fairness/equitable. Therefore, it is very important that this agreement be approved by both us and Libya and notified to the UN as soon as possible.”
Noting that the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Cyprus government] made agreements in 2003 with Egypt, in 2007 with Lebanon and in 2010 with Israel, Ambassador Erciyes said that Turkey and the “TRNC” [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] have protested these agreements. He further claimed that the first reason of their objection is that the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Cyprus government] cannot sign an agreement without the “TRNC” and that the determined lines were violating Turkey’s continental shelf. He also argued: “One of the most important elements of our agreement with Libya is that Turkey has made an agreement with a country regarding the boundaries of the continental shelf as it was reported to the UN since 2004 and this was also registered. While Turkey is doing all this, it also informs that it is also in dialogue with the countries of the region. We are saying ‘we are ready to discuss with all countries on the issue of delimitation in the eastern Mediterranean except for the Greek Cypriot administration [Cyprus government]’, becuae there is the Cyprus issue. We will not sit at the table with the Greek Cypriots in a format that the Turkish Cypriots are not there. This agreement we made with Libya is a respond to the steps that Greek-Greek Cypriots have taken to isolate Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. This agreement is a demonstration that no step can be taken in the region without Turkey, which has the longest coastal line in the eastern Mediterranean.”
On the same issue, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (04.12.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/parliament-to-get-turkey-libya-maritime-pact-soon/1663797), the memorandum between Turkey and Libya on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea will be sent to Parliament "very soon," Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister said on Wednesday. "We place importance on sending the memorandum on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean to Parliament very soon," Yavuz Selim Kiran told the members of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
Parliament's ratification of the memorandum is also critical, he said, adding: "It is an important issue that all parties [represented in parliament] back the memorandum". With the memorandum, Turkey exercised its rights based on international law, which the memorandum is "definitely not against,” Kiran argued.
Meanwhile, under the title “Turkey proceeds for approval of Libya deal, yet not aims tension in the Eastern Mediterranean”, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.12.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-seeks-approval-of-libya-deal-yet-not-aims-tension-in-east-med-149452) reports that Turkey keeps diplomatic channels open for maritime boundary delimitation with all coastal states with which it has diplomatic relations in the eastern Mediterranean, and the latest maritime boundary deal with Libya does not aim to raise tensions in the region, a Turkish diplomat claimed to Hürriyet Daily News.
“Ankara protects both the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean, but always keep ways of diplomacy open,” the diplomat said, only excluding Greek Cypriots as this would only be possible after the comprehensive settlement with the participation of the Turkish Cypriots.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (04.12.19, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2019/12/04/turkey-plans-new-hydrocarbon-exploration-in-east-med), “Turkey is putting ahead plans for new oil and gas exploration and production research within its maritime jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, in line with the recently signed memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya's U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA)”, Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said Wednesday.
Before meeting with miners from across the country on International Miners Day, Dönmez told journalists that the agreement with Libya firstly needs ratification from the general assemblies of both Turkey and Libya, after which authorization studies will be undertaken. (…)
"The companies that we will be granting licenses to launch oil and gas exploration and production studies will work within the maritime jurisdiction laid out within the scope of this agreement," Dönmez claimed, adding that Turkey had long been conducting hydrocarbon exploration studies using its drilling and seismic vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean. (…)
Dönmez went over some of the exploratory work that had so far been completed in the region. He recalled that four drillings had already been undertaken with the help of the two vessels and noted a fifth was currently in progress. The studies so far have mainly focused on the island's eastern, western and northern waters. However, he said the current drilling was focusing on regions to the south of Cyprus island.
He acknowledged that many parties intended to keep Turkey and Libya out of the game in the Eastern Mediterranean, but added that the agreement with Libya, which Dönmez claimed is in line with international maritime law, has ensured that Turkey is included in exploration in this region.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (04.12.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/politika/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-bugun-dis-politikasi-bagimsiz-bir-turkiye-var/1664159), Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey, today, is a powerful country with her economy and transportation infrastructure as well as her powerful navy that protects her national interests in the Aegean, the Black Sea and the East Mediterranean, during his speech on Wednesday at event in east London organized by AK Party’s UK branch presidency.
Meanwhile, A.A. (05.12.19, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/erdogan-condemns-associating-islam-with-terrorism/1664235) reports o that Erdogan condemned those who use the word 'Islam' as an adjective to describe terrorism.
“Islam is a religion of peace”, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during an event in east London where he and First Lady Emine Erdogan met representatives of the Turkish community following a NATO summit in London.
Underlining that racism, discrimination, anti-Semitism and hostility towards Islam have recently increased in Europe, Erdogan said far-right movements are mostly targeting Muslims and the Turkish community.
“The last European Parliament elections have once again demonstrated that identity politics is becoming increasingly dominant in Europe,” he said, adding the media and some politicians have deepened these prejudices with their irresponsible statements. (…)
On bilateral relations between Turkey and the U.K., Erdogan said the deep-rooted cooperation between the two countries is developing day by day and is getting stronger by acquiring new dimensions. He stressed that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the U.K. reached $18.6 billion in 2018.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet Daily News (05.12.19, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-borders-are-natos-borders-says-communications-director-149464), multiple threats Turkey faces from international terrorist groups should be considered threats against NATO as well, the country’s communications director reiterated early on Dec. 5 following a NATO summit in London. “We must be on the same page about something as simple as identifying a terror organization,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.
“Our military operations are not only about fighting terrorists but establishing the conditions for the safe return of Syrians and ensuring stability in the region,” Altun claimed, underlining that NATO needs a strategy to address the “increasingly complex challenges of our time”.
“We often find issues of terrorism, refugees, regional strategy all wrapped up together to pose security threats to our alliance,” Altun said, adding this reality must be recognized for a stronger alliance.
Altun also shared data about Turkey's NATO defence spending.
Turkey’s defence spending has reached 1.89% of its GDP with a 53% increase over the past five years, according to data he shared. “We’ll reach 2% by 2024 as was agreed in Wales Summit,” Altun said, adding that Turkey has 1,200 service members participating in various NATO missions.
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