Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (18.12.19-https://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n306310-erdogan-gecitkaledeki-ihalarin-sayisini-yukseltebiliriz) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan answering journalists’ questions in Geneva where he took part in the 1st Global Refugee Forum, stated, inter alia, that the number of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UVA’s) that have been stationed in the “TRNC” may increase if needed. “If a need arises in the future, the number of UVAs will increase. This step is very important”, Erdogan said.
Asked to comment on the agreement that Turkey signed with Libya, Erdogan described this agreement as a lasting and historic issue. “These steps place the Treaty of Serves into the corner. It is that important”, he said, adding: “If there is a need then everything can change. Libya is meeting its own needs. The military. security and cooperation agreement between us is further strengthening our solidarity”, Erdogan said, adding that Turkey is ready to provide any kind of help to Libya when asked.
Asked to reply whether Turkey would undertake more steps in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said that steps would be taken gradually and according to developments.
Bayrak (18.12.19 https://www.brtk.net/donmez-2020de-aramalar-baslayacak/) broadcast that Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez announced that they will start oil and natural gas exploration and production licensing works in the first months of 2020 following the completion of the registration process of the Maritime agreement with Libya in the United Nations.
He made these statements speaking at the “4. Energy R & D Workshop”, held in Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris Postasi (18.12.19), with the above title, on its front page, reports that “the TRNC state [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] is planning to overcome the obstacles on direct flights through the new FIR aerial line, which will be announced and be implemented by the British Sovereign Base Areas”.
The paper, citing “high-level official source”, reports: “Planes that fly over the new FIR aerial line under the control of the British sovereign bases, will not be subjected to any sanctions or to any international obstructive measures. Furthermore, the source confirmed that the TRNC authorities have carried out contacts with British officials regarding this formula”.
Furthermore, the paper reports: “According to the source, the said FIR is a matter of the sovereign status of the British bases. In this context, the planes that will fly to the island through FIR, which will be opened, can land at any airport in the north [occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus]. A landing confirmation/permit given by the British bases would be sufficient. The Republic of Cyprus, which does not exercise effective control over the northern part of the island, cannot obstruct them [such flights]. In fact, the Republic of Cyprus does not have any right or authority over the bases. Therefore, it cannot prevent such a step”.
The paper also reports: “The same source also remarked that within the framework of international law, the TRNC is considered as a ‘de-facto’ part of the Republic of Cyprus, and attaining this step [direct flights] would move the TRNC somewhere between a de-facto and de-jure status, due to lack of recognition. The same situation is similar in the case of Taiwan, which uses China’s airspace, the source said, adding that Switzerland and Luxembourg are similar examples in the EU”.
“The source also said that after the Brexit, the issue cannot be considered as an ‘EU internal issue’ between Britain and the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU member, adding that therefore the issue may be addressed in other platforms. The high-level official source further noted that drafts has been submitted to the British Parliament on this issue, adding that the issue is considered a ‘violation of human rights’ in the sense that densely Turkish Cypriot population living in the UK cannot fly directly to their homes”, the paper concluded.
Bayrak (18.12.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=reserves-in-east-med) reports that “minister of economy and energy” Hasan Tacoy evaluated the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean on CNN Türk.
Tacoy said that “according to information given by professionals there were around 4 quadrillion cubic feet of reserves in the south eastern Mediterranean and now that number has reached 110 trillion cubic feet”.
He said that due to the gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean a variety of countries have now turned their attention to the region.
“This brings the region and the country into a very important position. Especially the Greek Cypriot side that is unilaterally interfering in the exclusive economic zones of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey has become particularly greedy due to the numbers that have emerged and therefore we too must fight” said Tacoy and added that everyone must stake a claim on the reserves in the region.
Touching upon the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that are being stationed at illegal Lefkonoiko Airport, he said that “everyone has accepted that Turkey too has rights in the region and noted that what needed to be questioned was on what grounds were Italy and France laying claim in the region”.
“What needs to be questioned is how France and Italy gained access to the Mari Port in Cyprus? Under what authority did Israel send 4 UAV’s to the Greek Cypriot Administration [TR. Note: The Republic of Cyprus] so they can use them in the region” claimed Tacoy.
He also said another factor that needed to be questioned is “why the United States removed the arms embargo enforced against the Greek Cypriot administration”.
“Everyone is aware that Turkey is an essential player in the region and is the only side that provides balance in the region” alleged Taçoy and claimed that “the Lefkonoiko Airport, all sea ports and exclusive economic zones in the region are open for the use of the Turkish Navy, Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish Air Forces to provide security for the region”.
“We as the Turkish Cypriots on the island are looking out for our rights and are questioning why Israel is on this island. Under what rights is it here? Under what rights are France and Italy here” he wondered.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (18.12.19) reports that Tufan Erhurman was declared the candidate of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) for the 2020 “presidential elections”. The expanded party’s assembly unanimously approved Erhürman’s nomination last night.
Speaking at the event, which was held under the slogan “for tomorrow’s Cyprus”, Erhurman said that his party remained committed to a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution, based on political equality. He added that the Turkish Cypriot community no longer had the luxury of wasting time.
“Our goal is to achieve a solution which will allow all inhabitants of this island to live in peace and justice. Our vision is to carry to the future the existence, culture and identity of the Turkish Cypriot people,” he said. “We are not here to fight, we are here for peace, solution and love”, he stated.
Bayrak (18.12.19 https://www.brtk.net/basbakan-tatar-ve-disisleri-bakani-ozersay-kktcden-ayrildi/ ) broadcast that “prime minister” Ersin Tatar and “foreign minister” Kudred Ozersay left for Ankara this morning in order to hold “official contacts” with the Turkish deputy President Fuat Oktay.
In a post on social media about his visit to Ankara, Ozersay stated that “some of the resource under the last signed protocol has not yet been released, while the new protocol needs to be finalized and signed. Mr. Fuat Oktay is Turkey's official responsible for the affairs of Cyprus. In addition, if we talk about the latest regional developments, we will share the necessary explanation with the public”, he stated.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberci (18.12.19) reports that the “speaker” of the so-called assembly, Tererruken Ulucay will be attending the 9th general assembly of Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA) in Baku, Azerbaijan, upon an invitation he received by Azerbaijan’s National Parliament.
According to a statement issued by the “assembly’s press office”, parliamentarians from Turkey, Kirgizstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Hungary will be attending the meeting.
Ulucay who has already departed for Baku, is expected to return to the occupied area of Cyprus on December 20, after completing his “contacts” there.
Under the title “While they talk about UAV and UCAV, TIKA will do more important work in the country”, columnist Akay Cemal, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (18.12.19), referred to the 62nd office of the Turkish Cooperation and Development Administration (TIKA), which was inaugurated the other day in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkish Minister of Tourism and Culture Nuri Ersoy, during an illegal visit.
Cemal stressed that this office will do more important work than UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicle) and UCAVs (Unmanned combat aerial vehicle), quoting Ersoy’s statement “progress will be achieved mainly in culture, art, production and tourism through more active projects with the opening of the TİKA office”, as well as the statement by the Deputy President of TIKA, who said that they will support the “TRNC in the fields of production, employment, economy and tourism”.
Noting that “a large amount of budget has been allocated for the promotion of the TRNC”, the columnist argues that “a promoting film of TRNC tourism potential has been made and would be used in the markets abroad starting from Britain in 2020”. “It seems that TIKA has a lot to do in the TRNC. It is stated that especially tourism will be given priority (…). Since tourism and education sectors are the locomotives in the economy, the promotion of these sectors will bring more tourists to the country [the occupied area of Cyprus]. Taking this into consideration, TIKA’s works in full cooperation with the TRNC authorities will provide important benefits to the TRNC and may contribute to the promotion of our universities along with tourism. In fact, TIKA’s TRNC office has been decided to open late”, Cemal concludes.
Under the title “The economic crisis hit the hotels”, Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris (18.12.19), on its front page, reports, that the “chairman of the Turkish Cypriot hoteliers’ association (KITOB)” Dimag Caginer said that “in 2019 not many tourists came to our country [the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] and the desired figure could not be reached”, adding that this year’s economic crisis and foreign exchange crisis affect badly the hotels.
He explained that the occupancy rate of hotels dropped in 2019 compared to the previous year, adding that they are working towards 2020 with the “TRNC government” to prepare “tourism promotion films” aiming to promote “TRNC’s diversity” to the world.
According to the paper, the occupancy rate of the hotels in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, which was 52.9% in January-November 2018 period, decreased to 51.8% in the same period this year.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (18.12.19) under the title: “5755 academicians work in our universities”, publishes a commentary by Dr Ziya Ozturkler, who refers, inter alia, to the number of academicians working in the “TRNC’s universities”.
Condemning the fact that wrong data had been given during the “budget discussion in the assembly”, which said that in total 2,500 academicians were working in the “universities” in the “TRNC”, the columnist supports that according to “official data”, the total number of academicians who work at the “universities” is 5755. 2,578 out of them are Turkish Cypriots, 2,195 are academicians from Turkey and 982 are academicians from other countries. The columnist adds that the number of students who study in the occupied area of Cyprus has reached 103, 877.
The columnist continues and adds that 12% of the students studying in the “TRNC” are Turkish Cypriots, 40% are international students and 48% are students coming from Turkey.
Turkish daily Yeni Şafak (18.12.19-https://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/f-16-hazirligi-3518502) under the title: “F16 preparations”, reports that after the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) landed at the “Gecitkale airport” [occupied airport of Lefkonoiko] on Monday and the statements made by so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay that at the current stage their needs for UVAs are confined but if it becomes necessary armed UAVs will be transferred to the “TRNC”[Translator’s note: break way regime in the occupied area of Cyprus], the paper writes that preparations where launched at the illegal Lefkonoiko airport for infrastructure works and for the expansion of the current facilities there.
According to the paper, all preparations are taking place in order for F16 jets to be able to land and take off from the “airport” in emergency cases.
The paper adds that the UAV, which landed at “Gecitkale Airport” were tasked to be flying over the Eastern Mediterranean skies with the aim to protect the interests of the “TRNC” and Turkey and would serve regional security and peace.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-vows-to-do-whatever-required-in-intl-arena/1676660) reports that Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay reiterated Turkey’s commitment to do whatever needs to be done in the international arena.
"We are only accountable to our nation. And we are only accountable to our nation here. Turkey is not accountable to the international community towards its national interest, but it calls the international community to account. Turkey acts in accordance with the country's interests and will continue to do so. Turkey does whatever is necessary to be done regarding its rights and interest and it is not necessary to take the permission from any country, organization or person. "If necessary, Turkey sends troops, drills in the East Mediterranean and launches cross-border operation, it does whatever is required", Oktay told the lawmakers on Tuesday during his 2020 budget speech in the Turkish Parliament.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, publishes in its official website (http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_365_-abd-kongresi-nde-kabul-edilen-ulusal-savunma-yetki-taslagi-hk.en.mfa), the following written statement dated December 17, 2019:
“Once again, the Draft National Defense Authorization Act for 2020 adopted in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate includes hostile aspects against Turkey. Members of Congress looking to settle internal political scores and acting under the influence of anti-Turkish circles, continue harming the vision to improve our relations with the U.S.
This bill demonstrates that the Congress persists in disrespecting Turkey’s sovereign decisions and in adopting an irrational hostile attitude by unfairly blocking our participation to the F-35 program despite Turkey having fulfilled all its obligations, renewing calls to implement sanctions in the context of our acquisition of S-400 systems and including references to the TurkStream project.
Furthermore, attempts to lift the U.S. arms embargo on the Cyprus Island in favor of the Greek Cypriot Administration will have no outcome other than hampering efforts towards a settlement on the Island and creating a dangerous escalation.
We remind once more that the language of threats and sanctions will never dissuade Turkey from resolutely taking steps to ensure its national security. No one should doubt that necessary measures would be taken against these initiatives targeting Turkey”.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (17.12.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-putin-discuss-syria-libya-149967) reports that Turkish and Russian Presidents discussed Libya and Syria over the phone on Dec. 17, according to an official statement.
Turkey's Directorate of Communications said the phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin tackled regional issues, especially the developments in Syria and Libya, as well as bilateral relations.
Turkish daily Sabah (17.12.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/eu-affairs/2019/12/17/ankara-seeks-to-open-new-page-in-turkey-eu-relations) reports that Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs Faruk Kaymakcı said on Tuesday that Turkey looks forward to starting a new chapter in its relations with the European Union.
"In 2020, we have an opportunity to open a new page in Turkey-EU relations. We want it sincerely," Kaymakci said and added that they also expect a similar positive attitude from the EU.
Evaluating bilateral relations in 2019 and along with future expectations until 2024, when the tenure of the current EU Parliament ends, Kaymakcı touched upon several issues affecting the bloc and its relations with Turkey.
One of these issues was Brexit. Speaking of the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU in 2016, Kaymakcı said that the leaving process is still going on. "When we look at 2019, one of the most important issues was that the Brexit process started in 2016 and has not reached a result yet," he explained.
Kaymakcı also added that the U.K. has never become a full member of the bloc, because it never joined the Schengen, never adopted the common monetary policy or common security and foreign policies. "The U.K. has always been a deal-breaker for the EU since the beginning. Its leaving will not be a surprise. But, there is still a possibility that Brexit may not happen," he said.
Evaluating the Brexit process from Turkey's perspective, Kaymakcı said the following: "How Brexit will happen is important for us. If the U.K. establishes a relationship under the customs union after it leaves the EU, then we will need a new model of trade relations with the U.K. Otherwise, we may face problems in many sectors. Turkey is attached to the EU with a partnership relation. Our citizens living in the U.K. have some rights due to our partnership deals. If the Brexit happens, these rights will be lost or not valid. So we maintain our negotiations."
Kaymakcı also underlined the rise of populism and the far-right across the EU. "This is a situation that makes enlargement in the EU difficult for us. We face a situation that sees some biases against both Islam and Turkish society revive."
Stating that the unilateralism is also on the rise across the western world, Kaymakçı stressed the U.S. and Donald Trump's roles in the rise of unilateralism across the world.
(…)Stating that Turkey fulfilled 66 of the 72 necessary criteria to be an EU member, Kaymakcı said: "Our aim is to adopt the remaining six criteria in a package." He also said that efforts to fully implement the readmission agreement continue.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-party-criticizes-seeking-new-political-parties/1676625) reported that Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli blasted on Tuesday the searching for establishing new political parties in the country, saying the main goal is not to meet political and social need, but "to conspire against the country".
In a written statement, Bahceli said that "the complicated and dirty actions" of those who want to "sabotage" the politics have accelerated and has become widespread recently.
“Seeking for new political parties does not aim to meet a political and social need but it is a cheap order of inventors of conspiracy and fiction [plotting] on Turkey,” Bahceli said.
His statement came after former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced last week the establishment of a new political party, the Future Party.
Referring to developments in Libya and Syria, he warned against standing idle in the face of the crises in Libya and Syria, saying it would "create geopolitical risks" and "pose a threat to Anatolian geography."
Voicing his support to Ankara on sending troops to Libya, if needed, Bacheli said: “Sending troops to Libya, if needed, is a matter of survival and will garner support from MHP”
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (18.12.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-army-purchases-indigenous-machine-gun-drone-149972) reports that the Turkish military is expanding its inventory with Songar, the first Turkish-made armed drone capable of firing automatic weapons.
Eight Songar drone systems, equipped with automatic machine guns, will enter service with the deal signed between Turkey's Defense Industries Presidency and the drones' manufacturer, Asis Elektronik.
The drones will ensure the safety of Turkish security forces in the field during counter-terrorism operations, increase effectiveness by holding targets under fire and supporting existing reconnaissance and surveillance tools.
Capable of staying aloft for 20 minutes when fully loaded, Songar will operate at a minimum altitude of 3,000 meters and carry a 5.56 caliber rifle and 200 bullets.
The system will also include a laser to determine the distance to a target and is equipped with a specially-designed flexible ammunition feed chute as well as an automatic firing mechanism.
It is able to quickly replace its bullet compartment without needing any human intervention.
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