Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Afrika (15.12.19) reports that self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar said that “permission was granted in order for the Gecitkale airport [occupied airport of Lefkonoikos] to be opened for both armed and unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) following Turkey’s request”.
Speaking to Turkish state channel TRT Haber, Tatar said: “Decisive steps are being taken with the Republic of Turkey. A mobility has been observed after Turkey’s agreement with Libya. There was a demand from the Republic of Turkey. For security reasons, we have convened the council of ministers on the allocation of Gecitkale [Lefkonoiko] airport for the use of armed and unarmed aerial vehicles”, adding that after evaluating all this, they “granted permission” in view of both Turkey’s and “TRNC’s” security reasons in the Easter Mediterranean. He also claimed: “The allocation was necessary because there is an urgent need for it”.
Replying to a question regarding the existing lease agreement on the airport to a businessman [Asil Nadir], Tatar argued that “according to article 11 of the lease agreement, there is a ‘force majeure’, explaining that “it is possible to take such a step by informing the other party [the businessman] in case of urgent need due to military and security issues”. He further said that “according to the opinion of the attorney general’s office, it is possible, and the holder of the lease agreement did not object to it either”.
Furthermore, the paper, citing news from Turkish Cypriot news portal Haber Kibris, reports that Tatar also briefed in details Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci regarding the issue.
Meanwhile, illegal BRT television (16.12.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-says-uavs-for-defence-purposes) reports that Ersin Tatar, speaking to CNN Türk, has described the stationing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at “Geçitkale airport” [occupied airport of Lefkonoiko] as an important development. He also claimed that the UAVs were for defence and precautionary purposes, adding: “We have acquired an extremely important position in terms of protecting our rights and interests following the deal signed between Turkey and Libya,” he said.
Noting that important developments are taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean, Tatar added that the UAVs played a crucial role in providing support and reconnaissance for Turkish vessels in the region. He further said that “it will be easier for the UAVs to operate from Geçitkale airport [Lefkonoiko] due to the close distance to the areas where the vessels are operating.
Stressing that Turkey and the “TRNC” [breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] always act together, Tatar added: “These steps were necessary to protect the rights and interests of Turkey and the TRNC. We are very pleased with the Turkish government’s determined stance”.
Asked about the latest situation, Tatar said that the Turkish Armed Forces and the “Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus” [Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus] were continuing to carry out the necessary preparations.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Duzen (15.12.19), the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), in a written statement, said that the latest developments, including the allocation of the “Gecitkale airport” [occupied airport of Lefkonoiko] to be used for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are working.
In the statement, it was reported that such steps will increase tensions and will be met with similar counter-steps. CTP stressed that it is urgent for a comprehensive solution on the Cyprus problem to be found, adding that only Cyprus settlement will bring peace and stability both on the island and in the region.
The paper, under the title “Again, a scent of war”, reports that after the opening of “Gecitkale airport” to UAVs, they spoke with residents in the area. The majority of them expressed serious concern over the t development, adding that the UAVs have made the area a potential target.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (16.12.19) publishes statements by the so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay who evaluating the recent developments in Eastern Mediterranean and of the decision to allocate Lefkonoiko airport for UAV operations, stated: “We could not have allowed the balance to turn to our disadvantage”.
He went on and said that the conditions have changed. “We have to be aware of the bigger picture. This is not an ordinary island”, he stated.
He also said that this was a necessary step for the safest progress of the drilling and seismic works in the area.
According to illegal Bayrak television (16.1.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-evaluates-cyprus-issue-5), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the Cyprus issue is always among the priorities for Turkish foreign policy.
Speaking at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, he claimed that Turkey always worked for a comprehensive solution in Cyprus but that these efforts were not accepted by the Greek Cypriot side.
“We don’t want to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating from now on. Any talks should be result-oriented and we should first decide what to negotiate before taking the necessary steps. Let’s determine a framework document for the negotiations. We could discuss a federation, a confederation or a two-state solution. We are not excluding any of these possibilities. However, if we are going to negotiate a federation the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot people with all its dimensions including a rotating presidency should be included in the negotiations framework document”, Çavuşoğlu further claimed.
Noting that the “TRNC” [breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] and the Turkish Cypriot “people” have rights over the island’s hydrocarbon wealth, he said: “I have been taking steps with the aim of protecting the rights of my people. In the past, we were sitting, discussing, condemning these and sending our seismic research vessels. However now we’ve sent our drill ships and changed the balances there. We will continue our determined stance to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (14.12.19) reports that the Turkish Minister of Defence, Hulusi Akar, referred to the latest developments in Eastern Mediterranean and stated that Turkey is at the same point that it was in 1974. “We are in favor of good neighborly, of international rights and mutual respect, we did what we had to do and we are ready to do it again. This is not a sight of weakness. However, we will not allow the violation of our national rights and interests. We will not close our eyes to any fait acompli in these areas. And this is not a threat. We expect everyone to see the realities and we invite our neighbors to do the same”, he stated.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Nacak (16.12.19), the self-styled speaker of the assembly of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus Teberrüken Uluçay met with the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) Mustafa Şentop in line with the 12th Asian Parliamentary Assembly Plenary hosted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Antalya.
Speaking there, Şentop claimed that “it was of vital importance for them to strengthen the visibility of the assembly which represents the free will of the Turkish Cypriot people in the international arena, adding that in this respect they wanted to see “TRNC parliamentarians” at all events organized in Turkey.
“I believe the ‘TRNC people’ will reach the peace and prosperity they desire and deserve,” Şentop said, claiming that “Turkey was protecting the rights of the TRNC in the Eastern Mediterranean and closely watching out for its rights stemming from international law”. “We will continue to support the ‘TRNC’ to develop more international relations in the coming period”, he added.
Uluçay, for his part, said that they will continue their struggle for shaping the political future. Noting that economic difficulties and hardships could be experienced at times, he said all problems could be overcome as long as they worked together [with Turkey].
Uluçay also added that “it was very important for them to further develop relations between their respective parliaments”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (16.1.19, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ersoy-holding-contacts-in-trnc), the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, who is currently paying an illegal visit in the occupied area of Cyprus for a series of contacts, met on Monday morning, with self-styled prime minister Ersin Tatar.
During the meeting, Tatar said that “the TRNC had been successful in terms of tourism but that the goal was to raise the bar”, adding that they were aiming for two million tourists.
Stating that they have always emphasized the importance of Turkey’s support, Tatar said: “I believe that the TRNC can reach an important place through the support of Turkey.”
Ersoy, for his part, praised the recent investments in tourism, arguing that their intention was to raise awareness of Turkish existence in Cyprus at a global level. He further said that “Turkey’s contributions and investments in North Cyprus’s [occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] tourism will continue in the period that follows”.
In the afternoon he will be attending the opening of the “Turkish cooperation and coordination agency’s (TIKA) TRNC office” in the occupied area of Cyprus. He will be departing from the occupied area of Cyprus this evening [Monday evening].
Under the title “Boris vows to help TRNC”, Turkish Cypriot weekly English speaking newspaper Cyprus Today (14.12.19) reports:
“The isolation of the Turkish Cypriots ‘is unfair and unjust’ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. Mr Johnson also promised to address the issue of direct flights to North Cyprus as he visited the home of a Turkish family in London to canvass for votes ahead of the Conservative Party’s general election victory on Thursday. He reportedly made the pledges while on the campaign trial in Chingford and Woodford Green, a constituency that was retained by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who has expressed his support for Turkish Cypriots in recent years”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (16.12.19) publishes information about “presidential elections” in the breakaway regime and writes that while the number of the “voters” has increased, the number of the persons participating in the “election progress” has decreased.
The paper writes that the number of “voters” in 1985, was 94,277 and the participants in the “elections” was 85,7%, 101,172 in 1990, with participation 93,48%, 113,398 in 1995 with participation85,23%, 126,675 in 2000 with participation 81,2%, 147,823 in 2005 with participation 69,58%, 164,072 in 2010 with participation 76,37%, and 176,916 in 2005 with participation 62,35%.
Kibris further reports that during the seven “presidential races” held, there were three times that a second round was required because of the results. The biggest number of candidates was in 2005, after the 2004 Anna Plan when there were nine candidates. In that, “election” the then leader of the Republican Turkish party (CTP) Mehmet Ali Talat was elected from the first round. In addition, the smallest number of candidates was in 1990 where there were only three candidates. At that election, Rauf Denktas was elected from the first round.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-first-military-drone-lands-in-northern-cyprus/1674715) reports that the first Turkish military drone landed on Monday morning at occupied Lefkonoiko airport, [Gecitkale Airport in the eastern coastal city of occupied (Famagusta)] in the “TRNC”.
Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UVA), stationed at Naval Air Base Command in Turkey's Aegean district of Dalaman, landed in the “TRNC” today at 10 a.m. (0700GMT) following a green light from the “government of the TRNC”.
In a statement on Friday, the so-called prime ministry said that “the government approved Turkey’s use of Gecitkale Airport for unmanned aerial vehicle flights”.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (15.12.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-deploys-unmanned-aerial-vehicles-to-turkish-cyprus-149867) reported that Turkey has sent three truckload of UVA to “Gecitkale airport in the TRNC”, Demirören News Agency reported on Dec. 15.
So-called foreign minister Kudret Özersay had claimed that at this stage only ground control units began to be installed at Geçitkale Airport, but no UAV has been deployed yet.
“Some of the UVA currently taking off at Dalaman [Airport] will arrive at Geçitkale when the ground control unit, which is being installed now, is operating,” he said on Dec. 15.
Also, in a statement Dec. 13, the so-called prime ministry said that the “the government approved Turkey’s use of Geçitkale Airport for unmanned aerial vehicle flights”.
“In light of developments in the eastern Mediterranean region and at the request of the Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces Command, the Turkish Cypriot government is allowing for activities of UAVs at Geçitkale Airport to protect Turkey’s and Turkish Cyprus’ legitimate rights and interests,” the statement said.
“The cabinet has designated Geçitkale Airport on the north of the island as a base for Turkish drones operating as part of works seeking hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean”, added the statement.
UAVs, both unarmed and armed, will start to take off from Gecitkale Airport as of Dec. 16, Demirören News Agency reported.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-may-close-incirlik-kurecik-bases-if-necessary/1674612) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a televised interview on Sunday broadcast by A Haber, referred, inter alia, to the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, recalling that there are significant hydrocarbon reserves beneath the Eastern Mediterranean and adding that Turkey may work in the region with companies that are "strong in the international community".
Noting that a security and military cooperation deal with Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) would go into effect after its ratification in the Turkish Parliament, he underlined that with the deal, both Turkey and Libya's rights would be protected and that Turkey would not allow any unilateral steps to be taken. “We have made it clear that Turkey would not allow for unilateral steps to be taken against it. I have explained this position personally to Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis during our meeting in the framework of the NATO summit. I’ve explained to him that whatever steps we are taking here are within the framework of international law and that we will continue undertaking steps which are in accordance to international law. Of course, we feel uneasy over the steps taken on the issue of the natural gas reserve sharing without taking into account Turkey’s rights and interests. There are efforts here trying to impose plans. […]”, Erdogan said.
Referring to the Libya agreement, Erdogan said: "If the Libyan government requests military support, Turkey will make its decision," said Erdogan, reiterating that Turkey is "ready to provide all kinds of support to Libya." "We may take the necessary steps within international law," he added.
Erdogan went on to say that Ankara may close two bases in Turkey where U.S. soldiers are stationed "if necessary". "If necessary, we will hold discussions with all our delegations, and if necessary, we may close Incirlik [air base in southern Adana province] and Kurecik [radar station in eastern Malatya province]," Erdogan said.
Speaking about a resolution passed in the U.S. Senate on Armenian allegations over the events of 1915, Erdogan said that the bill was "completely political," adding: "It is very important for both sides that the U.S. does not take irreparable steps in our relations."
"We regret that the polarization in U.S. domestic politics has had negative consequences for us and that some groups abuse developments about our country for their own interests in order to weaken [President Donald] Trump," Erdogan added.
“We are not going to stand empty-handed. Let me say very clearly and openly: Is it possible to speak about America without mentioning Indians? It is a shameful moment in U.S. history. Similar things happened in Africa. Is it possible to put aside the French massacres in Rwanda, Algeria?”, Erdogan wondered.
“They did slave trade in cells from Senegal to America. What will we do to explain these to the international community? We have documents in our archive. We will reveal that the history of the West is the history of racism and colonialism. While all these massacres and genocides are standing, they cannot say anything to the nation which has a proud history like us,” said Erdogan.
Referring to Turkey’s counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria, Erdogan said that Turkey's goal with its anti-terrorism operation in northern Syria was to maintain peace for Syrians, not to "seize its oil".
"Neither the U.S. nor Russia could eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists there [from northern Syria] as they promised. So we have to do it," he added.
“They are particularly disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers,” said Erdogan.
“They define the YPG/PKK as Kurdish,” he said, referring to Western countries. “In my opinion, this is disrespect to the Kurds.”
Erdogan said that they camouflage the YPG/PKK under the name SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) and stressed that the YPG/PYD is an offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization.
“The ringleader of the YPG/PKK, Ferhat Abdi Sahin, also known as Mazloum Kobani, is the spiritual son of the jailed leader of the PKK terrorist organization [Abdullah Ocalan]. The heads of the U.S. and Russia speak with this man. We can’t get results with this situation. Besides, this man is being sought with a red notice,” said Erdogan.
“I also said this in the NATO meeting. If we are together in NATO, if we fight against terror together, how can you talk with these ringleaders? Firstly, we have to fix this.”
He stressed that the fight against PKK terrorists should be carried out jointly and as it was against Daesh/ISIS terrorists.
During the interview, Erdogan also said he would speak over the phone on Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about returning FETO terrorists.
"We talked about this at the NATO meeting. The main topic in the phone call will be Libya, but we will talk about returning FETO members as well," he said.
Erdogan said further that the number of FETO members is very high especially in the U.S., Germany, France, Belgium and Greece and they are given the opportunity to settle there.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (14.12.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-continue-defending-rights-in-med-sea-says-foreign-minister-149845) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey would resolutely continue defending its legitimate rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Cavusoglu met with Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of UN-recognized Libya's Government of National Accord, at the 19th Doha Forum held in Qatar.
After the meeting, Cavusoglu announced in a tweet that he and al-Sarraj discussed the memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya on maritime boundaries.
"[We] will resolutely continue to defend our legitimate rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean," Cavusoglu said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and al-Sarraj also discussed the recently inked maritime delimitation and military and security cooperation deals, the Defense ministry said on Dec. 14
Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler also attended the meeting, the Ministry conveyed. "We did, and continue to do, what needed to be done about our rights and interests in the sea, within the law. We are protecting our rights based on international law," Akar told reporters after the meeting. He also said that Turkey would continue to protect its rights.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkish-president-meets-leader-of-libyan-government/1674384) reported that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting on Sunday with the head of Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
The closed-door meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj took place in the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.
Erdogan and Al-Sarraj discussed Ankara and Tripoli-based Libyan government’s two separate memorandums of understanding (MoU), one on military cooperation and the other one on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Following the military cooperation deal, Tayyip Erdogan recently said that Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the GNA made such a request.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-to-protect-sovereign-rights-via-libya-deal/1674606) reports that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed on Sunday that a recent maritime deal between Turkey and the Libyan UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) would help protect both countries' rights against attempts to "eliminate" them from the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking at the Turkish Parliament during discussions on the country's 2020 central government budget, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "Many countries tried to eliminate Turkey, just as they did for the TRNC”.
Referring to energy agreements signed by Greece and the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Translator’s note: Republic of Cyprus], as well as with other countries including Egypt and Israel, Cavusoglu said that the Turkey-Libya deal was an "important move against those who would seek to corner" Turkey.
"Of course, the European Union would stand with the Greek [Cypriot] side as well as Greece in the name of solidarity, but here, the EU isn't in the right," he said, adding that the bloc does not have authority to make decisions on the issue.
"The International Court of Justice can rule [on the issue]. The EU only can express political opinion, but the EU's political views are absolutely not valid when it comes to our national sovereignty rights," he added.
Signed on Nov. 27 and passed in Turkey's Parliament on Dec. 5., the Memorandum of Understanding between Ankara and Tripoli went into effect on Dec. 8.
Cavusoglu underlined further that Ankara hoped to repatriate "all" Syrian refugees to their home country. "We've included the international community in the return [of refugees]," he said, adding that Turkey’s "most important partner" in this process was the UNHCR.
"Along with Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, we are preparing to hold an international conference [on the issue]," said Cavusoglu, noting that he would meet with the other three countries' top diplomats on Tuesday in Geneva to discuss how to tackle repatriation together with the international community.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (1.12.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-cyprus-slams-move-to-lift-embargo-on-greek-side-149827) reported that so-called foreign ministry of the “TRNC”, issuing a written statement on Dec. 14, claimed that the U.S. move to lift the arms embargo on the “Greek Cypriot administration” [Translator’s note: The Republic of Cyprus], posed threat to peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In an official statement by the “ministry”, the “TRNC” alleged that that the “US supported the Greek Cypriot administration's recent policies which escalated regional tension and ignored the presence of Turkish Cypriots on the island”.
It added that “the TRNC was fully aware of why the Greek side always sought arms and expressed concern over the policy of patting the Greek Cypriot administration on the back despite policies threatening peace”.
The statement further claimed that Washington's insincerity toward peace negotiations on Cyprus would become evident if the bill goes into effect.
Turkish daily Milliyet (16.12.19) reports that so-called minister of economy and energy Hasan Tacoy, in exclusive statements to the paper, claimed that the recent maritime deal between Turkey and the Libyan UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has re-drawn the map in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
While Turkey continues its drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, so-called minister Tacoy, spoke to Milliyet for the first time about natural gas reservoirs in the region, claiming that so far they have reached 107 trillion cubic foot and they have found reservoirs in 4 quadrillion cubit foots. The quantity of natural gas, which is expected to be found, will make the Eastern Mediterranean the most important region in the next 50 years, Tacoy claimed. “Turkey has most rights in Exclusive Economic Zone. It has completed two drilling activities and will continue with two others. The final reports about its activities will be ready by Spring. The Greek Cypriot administration should withdraw from efforts aiming to turn Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean into a place where strife could break out at any moment. The Greek Cypriot side continues its armament policy for years. And I consider as a wrong step the US decision to lift the arm embargoes on the Greek Cypriot side, since with this decision, it would encourage it to continue towards this direction”, claimed Tacoy.
Accusing the Greek Cypriot side of “unilateral activities” in the Eastern Mediterranean, Tacoy supported that after the signing of the agreement between Turkey and Libya, the stability in the region would be in Turkey’s hands.
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