Turkish Cypriot newspaper Haberci(27.12.19) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that finding a solution in Cyprus was a necessity for the area. Addressing a reception he hosted for journalists for the New Year, Akinci noted that they were watching the tension experienced in the Eastern Mediterranean and added that “it is possible for us to advance on the road of reason and peace in our area”. “Instead of all sides loosing, it is possible for us to find formulas with which all sides could win”, he said arguing that for this reason the existing possibilities should be evaluated in the best possible manner.
Referring to the tripartite meeting held between the two community leaders and the UNSG in November in Berlin, Akinci expressed the view that “we have reached an important point in Berlin” and added: “I do not want to sell false dreams and paint a rosy picture, I want everyone to know that we are not in pitch-black scenery”.
Noting that the UNSG was determined to contribute in the solution process, Akinci reiterated his satisfaction with the statement issued after the above-mentioned meeting and argued: “If determination is exhibited in this direction, if political will is exhibited, but if all sides do this and behave with determination, it is possible of course to reverse the process which is being going on especially in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
Reiterating the view that it was possible to find a “just solution” in which political equality and effective participation in the decisions would exist, Akinci said that this solution had stopped being a necessity only for the two communities and that it had become a necessity for the area as well, “because the formula to overcome the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean is to find a solution in Cyprus”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (26.12.19, https://www.brtk.net/basbakan-tatar-haber-turke-konuk-oldu/), so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar described as right the steps taken by Turkey in the Eastern Mediteranean, adding that “Turkish Cypriots are serving in the same ship with Turkey and thus they always support these steps”.
Speaking in a televised interview to Habertürk while in Istanbul, Tatar claimed that when the water in the Eastern Meditteranean warmed up, their ties with Turkey had become stronger.
Replying to questions regarding Turkey’s preparation works to send troops to Libya, Tatar expressed the belief that the Turkish Armed Forces, together with Turkish officials will evaluate in the best way this matter and the Turkish government will handle this issue in the best way. He went on to say that, he does not believe that after this development, tension in the area will be increased.
Asked to reply whether Turkey will establish a naval base in the “TRNC”, Tatar said that the issue of establishing a naval base in occupied Trikomo would be evaluated and described the decision for the unmanned aerial vehicles (UVA’s) that have been stationed in the “TRNC” as a correct decision.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Tatar claimed that they have exerted great efforts for reaching a federal solution. With a possible agreement, Turkish Cypriots will become a part of international law, embargoes will be lifted, but, the price for this would be zero troops and zero guarantees, meaning that the TRNC would be diluted”, Tatar argued, adding that they should think of alternative solution models, including the model of a two state solution under the umbrella of the EU.
Replying to questions on Varosha, Tatar reiterated the allegation that “Maras [Translator’s note: fenced off city of Varosha] is located within the boundaries of the TRNC”. He further argued that it is out of the question for an agreement to be reached on the return of Maras since no agreement has been reached in the last 45 years. He also claimed that the works for the opening of Varosha partially are ongoing.
Moreover, according to illegal Bayrak television (26.12.19-https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=pm-tatar-speaks-to-tgrt-haber), so-called prime minister Tatar, evaluating the latest developments on the Eastern Mediterranean on TGRT Haber in Turkey, claimed that the Turkish Cypriots had the same rights as Greek Cypriots over the resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Pointing to the importance of the memorandum of understanding signed between Turkey and Libya, Tatar alleged that Turkey had foiled the plans of western countries by signing this agreement.
Highlighting the importance of relations between Turkey and the “TRNC”, Tatar said that relations between the two countries will develop further and that the Turkish Cypriots will benefit economically from the development of these relations.
Also, according to illegal Bayrak television (26.12.19- https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=pm-tatar-says-cooperation-with-turkey-important) Tatar highlighted the importance of strong cooperation between Turkey and the “TRNC” in developments taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Tatar was speaking at the traditional New Year’s ball of the Turkish Economy Journalists Society in Istanbul.
He said that the importance of the “TRNC” in the Eastern Mediterranean had emerged once again.
Tatar pointed out that Turkey with its population of 82 million and an 1800km coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean played a leading role in the region.
He alleged that Turkey must remain strong concerning the fair distribution of resources in the region.
Furthermore, illegal Bayrak television (26.12.19-https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-speaks-on-upcoming-election) broadcast that the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), and so-called prime minister Tatar touched upon the upcoming “presidential elections” in April 2020 during a television program he attended yesterday.
Stating that the election process was a race and that the people will be deciding on whom to elect, Tatar said, “I possess all the necessary qualities required to become president. I can talk about the Cyprus issue anywhere in the world and I can share my views on the economic matters. My work pace, my public relations skills and grasp of all these outstanding issues can be clearly seen”, he argued.
Stressing that the UBP’s authorized bodies will have the final say regarding his nomination; he said a decision will be produced by the party assembly in the first week of January. “We are in government right now and we just passed the 2020 annual budget. The UBP’s authorized bodies will have the final say. The people will choose their next president,” Tatar said.
He added that he had an obligation to be successful if tasked with this duty.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası(27.12.19) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that it was a mistake to correlate the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with the solution in Cyprus.
In statements to Kıbrıs PostasıTV, Ozersay reiterated the view that in parallel to searching for a solution to the Cyprus problem, “we should start a cooperation which will help build trust between the two states and help the Greek Cypriot side to come closer to sharing”.
Ozersay argued that the philosophy of cooperation between the two sides on some issues before finding a solution was reflected in the last two reports of the United Nations on Cyprus and added: “It will also be included in the UN report which will be published in January. What does the UN report say? The sides should carry out a dialogue for cooperation without getting stuck on the recognition or the non-recognition. This is a view which we have been supporting for some time now. EUofficialsaswellhaveestablishedthis”.
Noting that cooperating on the natural gas issue was difficult but not impossible, Ozersay referred to the cooperation between the two communities in the fields of returning criminals and electricity. Recalling that cooperation in electricity started in 2011, Ozersay argued: “This is the most tangible example for the fact that the sides could cooperate before the solution. This cooperation has become an institution afterwards. Since we can buy and sell electricity, electricity is an energy issue and the natural gas is also an energy issue”.
Ozersay reiterated the allegation that Turkey and the “TRNC” had achieved a balance in the Eastern Mediterranean and everybody started seeing that the Greek Cypriots could not reach the desired point in the natural gas, because Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots would take steps and stop or balance the situation, if the international community did nothing. He also claimed the following: “What have we seen due to this balance we have achieved? That the natural gas could be discussed before finding a solution. That if the two sides started to cooperate, this could lead us to a different partnership. When will they accept this? When they feel the need or pressure is exerted on them”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (26.12.19- https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ctp-leader-attends-panel-on-cyprus-issue) the leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party Tufan Erhürman attended a panel on Wednesday on the upcoming “presidential elections”, the Cyprus problem and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Erhürman shared his views on the issues at the panel organized by the “department of international relations at the Girne American university’s faculty of political science”.
Speaking during the panel, Erhurman recalled that the Turkish Cypriots had endured great hardships and waged an incredible struggle to reach where they are today.
Touching upon the negotiations process, Erhürman argued that a federation was the best possible model for a solution to the Cyprus problem under the current circumstances.
Alleging that the Greek Cypriot side constantly made up excuses in response to efforts to reach a federal settlement, Erhurman added that the recently discovered hydrocarbons in the region could be used to motivate the Greek Cypriot side towards a settlement.
Erhurman said further that the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean had made the region less peaceful. “It is important that we transform the discovery of hydrocarbons into an opportunity to build peace,” he added.
Touching upon the issue of Maraş [Translator’s note: Fenced off city of Varosha], Erhürman said that the issue needed to be taken up in accordance with international law and that any other step that disregards this approach would be a mistake.
According to illegal Bayrak television (25.12.19-https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=kalin-comments-on-east-med-issue) Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Tuesday that any plans that exclude Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean are impossible.
Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on Tuesday, Kalın said: “Turkey will continue to support Libya’s legitimate, internationally recognized government, and will not forsake the Libyan people.”
Dismissing criticisms against the maritime deal signed between Turkey and Libya, Kalın stated that the pact contains nothing to disturb third parties.
“When Israel, Egypt, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration [Translator’s note: the Republic of Cyprus] met and made deals on a project in the Eastern Mediterranean excluding Turkey, no one questioned this”, Kalın added.
According to illegal Bayrak television (24.12.19-https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akar-speaks-on-cyprus-issue), Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Tuesday reminded that Cyprus was a national cause for Turkey.
“It is out of the question to make any concessions or to abandon this national cause,” Akar said while addressing a military award ceremony in Ankara.
Akar said that Turkey expressed and demonstrated at every opportunity its desire for good neighbourly relations, peace and respect in compliance with international law. He also reminded that Turkey was a guarantor state in Cyprus.
“Turkey, to date, has fulfilled all its responsibilities and obligations as a guarantor country on the basis of the Treaty of Guarantees. It shall continue to do so from this date onwards,” he said, adding that Cyprus was of utmost importance for Turkey and that making any concessions on the issue was out of the question.
“We are only pursuing our rights and interests. We have made it clear, we shall be protecting both,” he added.
Touching upon the agreement signed between Turkey and Libya, Akar said the agreement signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) was in accordance with international law.
“It is only natural that we cooperate and assist a country with which we have cultural and historical ties to overcome the hardships it is currently experiencing. This is what we are doing,” he said.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Hakikat(25.12.19) reports that Omer Celik, spokesman of the ruling in Turkey Justice and Development Party (AKP), has alleged that Turkey, with the memorandum of understanding with Libya, has broken into pieces the agreements between Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Greece.
In statements on the side-lines of a meeting of the AKP on Tuesday, Celik claimed that Greece was trying to isolate Turkey in the Mediterranean. He alleged that with the MoU with Libya, Turkey demolished the wall attempted to be built in front of it in the Mediterranean.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika(25.12.19) reports that advocate Murat Metin Hakki has stated that the local remedies on the issue of a property, which allegedly belongs to Barutçuzade Ahmet Vasıf Efendi Foundation in the government-controlled part of Nicosia, have been substantially exhausted and added that the case would be taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
In a written statement on the issue, Hakki said that the foundation had submitted the first “pilot case” on Turkish Cypriot property issues at the ECHR and argued that if they won this case, the way for tens of similar cases would open and “the Greek Cypriot government might be forced to establish a mechanism similar to the property Compensation Commission that we have”.
He noted that similar cases were examined at the district courts in Larnaka, Limassol and Pafos and added that their target was to take these cases to the ECHR.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Haberci(24.12.19) publishes statements made by Hakki to journalist Serhat Incirli under the title “We will go to the ECHR for our properties in the south”. In these statements Hakki argued that the decision of the Supreme Court of the Republic on this case had offered the Turkish Cypriots “a case similar to the Loizidou v. Turkey decision”. “The Greek Cypriot government will be the defendant this time”, he alleged.
According to illegal Bayrak television (24.12.19-https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=new-appointments-at-dp), Afet Özcafer has been appointed as the new general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP).
The nine-person party central executive committee was also determined through elections held on Monday.
Hayri Orçun, Mustafa Arabacıoğlu, Hande Kayasal Çelikten, Tözün Tunalı, Nevzat Nevzat, Ali Tunçtaşlı, Cemsal Ataoğlu, İnanç Babaliki and Türker Yüksel will be serving on the committee.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/-turkey-invited-by-libya-s-legitimate-administration-/1684444) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused some European and Arab countries of supporting eastern Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar and said that Turkey has been invited by Libya’s legitimate administration.
Erdogan’s remarks came at a meeting of provincial heads at headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara.
“Turkey will lend all manner of support to the Tripoli administration which is fighting Haftar”, Erdogan said.
"They are helping a war baron, we are responding to the invitation of Libya's legitimate government. That is the difference," he stressed.
About the military support deal Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed on Nov. 27, Erdogan said that a motion for military support to Libya will be submitted to the Turkish Parliament when it opens after recess.
"We have signed the memorandum of understanding, and we are concluding the Military Security and Cooperation Agreement. I hope we will ratify it in our Parliament on Jan. 8 or 9, and thus we will respond to [Libya’s] invitation,” he said.
Erdogan added: “We go where we're invited, we don't go where we're not. Now, given that we have such an invitation, we will respond.”
Erdogan also criticized the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) outlook on the AKP government’s steps taken in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“When Turkey began natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean the CHP was opposed to it. They mocked us, claiming that not even a bucket of oil had been found. There activities and efforts require patience. Exxon Mobile spent $200 million searching for hydrocarbons in the Black Sea. When they couldn’t find anything they left. The main opposition just gave the Greek media the opportunity to mock us,” he said.
Erdogan added they will do everything necassary to protect the rights and interests of the “TRNC”
Erdogan also urged Europe to take action in the face of a humanitarian crisis in Syria’s Idlib province.
“European countries need to shoulder the responsibility to ensure stability in Idlib and prevent another wave of mass migration,” Erdogan said.
Turkish daily Yeni Şafak (25.12.19-https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/greece-has-no-say-in-turkeys-deal-with-libya-says-erdogan-3508237) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey believes that Tunisia will contribute to efforts to promote stability in its eastern neighbor Libya.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied during a surprise visit to Tunisia, Erdogan said that the turmoil in Libya is affecting not just itself but also neighboring countries like Tunisia. "I believe Tunisia will make valuable and constructive contributions to efforts to achieve stability in Libya,” Erdogan said.
"Greece having a say in the Turkey-Libya deal is out of the question," he added.
He also said during his visit, that he and Saied would discuss steps to start a political process after a cease-fire in Libya and how Tunisia might help.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libya-needs-air-defense-support-expertise-envoy/1684979) reports that Libya’s Ambassador to Turkey Abdurrazaq Mukhtar Ahmed Abdulgader said Thursday on the possible Turkish military support that Libya needs air defense, special training and expertise to help its soldiers on the ground.
“Even if there are ground soldiers, it [Turkey's possible military support] does not mean any harm. It will help the Libyan people to be in security and stability of the country,” Ahmed Abdulgader told Anadolu Agency in Ankara, following a panel on Libya.
The Ambassador said that Turkey’s possible military support to Libya will be for the benefit of the Libyan people.
“When Turkey needed help during the Cyprus issue, Libya was one of the countries that supported it," he said, adding that Turkey also answered Libya when it needed help.
Abdulgader also underlined that Turkey and Libya are not only friendly nations but also brothers.
Turkish daily Sabah (25.12.19-https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2019/12/25/turkey-plans-to-establish-naval-base-in-cyprus) reports that Turkey may establish a naval base in the “TRNC” as a group of experts are surveying the area to determine the location of such a base, the Milliyet daily reported on Wednesday.
The paper reports further the following: “The plans to establish a naval base follow the TRNC's approval of the use of Geçitkale Airport [Translator’s note: occupied Lefkonoiko airport] as a base for Turkey's unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) operating in Eastern Mediterranean, over a request by Ankara.
The Turkish team of experts, which consists of members of the Turkish Armed Forces, are surveying Famagusta, an area 35 to 40 kilometers away from İskele Strait [Translator’s note: occupied Trikomo]”, the report added.
“The plans include the construction of new military quarters and naval facilities, but it does not include an ammunition store, the Turkish military forces in northern Cyprus reportedly told the prime ministry office”.
The Turkish Armed Forces protect Turkey's seismic exploration and drilling vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean with submarines, drones, armed drones and fighter jets.
While Turkey currently uses the Aksaz Naval Base Command in Marmaris, which is the closest naval base in the region, the establishment of a smaller and closer, naval base on Cyprus would speed up the activities and logistics.
“A naval base on the island is also expected to boost the rapid deployment force of the vessels and speed up their maintenance, repair and supply support while allowing long-term deployment of naval and air elements”, the report further adds.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (26.12.19-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-to-look-east-with-asia-anew-initiative/1684818) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that Turkey aims to establish stronger ties with Asian countries with its Asia Anew initiative.
At its opening ceremony, Cavusoglu said that Turkey will enhance its relations in the new era with Asian countries while continuing its trade with Europe.
"On the one hand, Turkey will continue the process of integration with Europe and maintain its key position in NATO that is the world's most powerful alliance. On the other hand, Turkey will continue playing a key role as the westernmost Asian and the easternmost European country,” he added.
He emphasized that Turkey links the two continents and is a bridge between the East and the West.
Highlighting that Asia is becoming the world's economic center, Cavusoglu said that Turkey wants to further enhance its relations with Asia in multiple dimensions.
Turkish Foreign Ministry on Aug. 6 launched the new initiative called Asia Anew with the aim to improve ties with Asian countries in different areas. The initiative is being viewed by experts as shaping Turkey's future diplomacy.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.12.19-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-top-court-says-wikipedia-ban-is-violation-of-rights-150322) reports that Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled against the ban on access to Wikipedia, saying that it violates rights and freedoms.
The decision was taken on Dec. 26 by the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court for Wikipedia, the world's largest Internet encyclopedia.
Following this decision, the website, which has been inaccessible since April 2017 in Turkey, is expected to be accessible.
On April 29, 2017, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said it had blocked access to Wikipedia in Turkey, citing a law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.
The Constitutional Court ordered Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace, which made the decision on access ban, to unblock Wikipedia.
Following the ban, Wikipedia applied to Turkey’s Constitutional Court on May 9, 2017, after its appeal against the ruling that blocked access to it was rejected by a local court.
In 2018, Wikipedia launched a social media campaign with the hashtag “WeMissTurkey” to press for the removal of the block.
Due to the ban on access to the site, the individual application to the Constitutional Court by Wikimedia Foundation was replied by the Court on Dec. 26 as a violation of freedom of expression.
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