According to illegal Bayrak television (06.01.20, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cavusoglu-touched-upon-cyprus-issue), there is no point in starting negotiations for the sake of negotiations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated on Monday during a news conference evaluating Ankara’s foreign policy in 2019. He claimed that the reason why a solution was not reached in Cyprus was because the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share anything with Turkish Cypriots.
“We are not insisting on any solution model for the period ahead. However we are also opposed to the idea of imposing any solution models. What is more important than the solution model is reaching an agreement on the terms of reference which need to include elements of political equality such as a rotational presidency, effective participation in decision-making and a positive vote for Turkish Cypriots. Otherwise we have informed the UN and other actors that there is no point in starting negotiations for the sake of negotiations,” he argued.
In relation to Turkey-EU relations, Cavusoglu said that relations had moved on a more positive track during Romania’s term presidency, adding that relations with the EU had not been at the desired level during Finland’s term presidency due to issues related to the Eastern Mediterranean and hydrocarbons. “We expect the same positive climate to continue during Croatia’s term which began recently,” he also noted.
Referring to the issue of Libya, Cavusoglu said that Turkey and Russia had become two important actors on the Libya issue, adding that both countries were committed to continuing dialogue and that efforts would continue to reach a ceasefire in Libya.
According to illegal Bayrak television (06.01.20, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=pm-tatar-slams-eastmed-agreement), Ersin Tatar, leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) and self-styled prime minister, has described the opting of the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo to sign the EastMed Pipeline Project with their collaborators as a hostile stance.
In a statement, Tatar claimed that the Greek Cypriot side in collaboration with Greece and Israel had opted not to cooperate with the Turkish Cypriot side but instead had chosen to pursue a project which seems impossible to implement, adding: “This is nothing more than a hostile act”.
Noting that what the region required was agreement, cooperation and rational actions, Tatar argued: “The realities are clear. The TRNC [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus] is a state which reflects the political will of the Turkish Cypriot people. Turkey is a guarantor country for Cyprus and the two sister countries will never allow anyone to usurp their rights. That is why it is not possible for the EastMed project to come to life without Turkey’s approval”.
Tatar claimed that statements made by the Greek Cypriot side were aimed at hurting Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, adding: “It must be known that the agreement signed between South Cyprus [Republic of Cyprus], Israel and Greece contradicts regional security realities and carries a serious potential for instability”.
Claiming that Turkey was economically the best route to transport hydrocarbons in the region to profitable markets, Tatar said: “When taking this into consideration, we see that the agreement is not driven by economic rationale but with the aim of depriving Turkey and the TRNC of their energy rights” he said, adding that this posed a serious risk to regional peace and stability.
He further claimed that the EastMed agreement was also not legitimate in terms of international law due to the maritime boundaries agreement signed between Turkey and Libya’s international recognized government of National Accord, adding that the only way to share the region’s wealth was to refrain from policies which aimed to exclude regional actors.
According to illegal Bayrak television (07.01.20, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=fm-ozersay-says-trncs-importance-upgraded), self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Özersay claimed on Sunday that the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East had seriously upgraded the importance of the “TRNC” [the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus].
In a written statement, Ozersay further claimed: “The Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC which reflects its will, has started to become a regional actor without having to wait for a comprehensive solution. Its moves and positions are watched closely.” He added that even though the latest developments carried the risk of disrupting regional peace and stability, it also brought with it various opportunities.
“Approaches for regional cooperation which include all actors could contribute to peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean. There are problems associated with recognition and non-recognition in the region, particularly when it comes to the case of Cyprus. What is clear is that nothing can be achieved by excluding states which exist in the region but are not recognized by other states,” he claimed, adding that is why the only way forward is cooperation.
Ozersay also noted that “the TRNC will continue to take coordinated steps with guarantor Turkey which was their strategic partner and ally”, adding that “the TRNC will continue to refrain from moves which might trigger conflict and will take steps towards regional cooperation and setting a balance”.
“There has been an increase in our unofficial diplomatic efforts. It is up to us to transform instability into opportunity. This is what we are working for,” he concluded.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.01.20) under the front-page title: “Green light by Ozersay on his presidential candidacy” reports that the chairman of the People’s party (HP) and so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay has stated that his party is ready to pay any price, adding that they are clean and honest.
Speaking during a reception organized to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the establishment of the party, Ozersay added the following: “There are a lot of actors in the Eastern Mediterranean. In such an environment, does HP have the luxury to abstain from the issue of the presidency of the republic? Neither HP nor Ozersay will step back”.
Meanwhile, in statements to illegal BRT on the “presidential elections”, the party’s “deputy” Mesut Genc has stated that the party’s central committee will gather today and tomorrow will announce the party’s candidate.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs (07.01.20) reports that the chairman of the Revival Settlers’ Party (YDP) Erhan Arikli has stated that he would announce officially his “presidential candidacy” for the “presidential elections” to be held in the occupied area of Cyprus next April, on January 20. Arikli went on to say that, he would organize a gorgeous feast in occupied Famagusta on January 12 and after this, the party’s organs will gather in order to decide. Arikli further said that he received a positive message to become the party’s candidate.
Turkish Cypriot Kıbrıs(07.01.20) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that the prices of oil and dollar increased all over the world, because of the global developments and pointed out that economy and politics were correlated.
Speaking yesterday at the “assembly”, Tatar noted that the “state’s” revenues were more than expected. Referring to the “economic protocol” with Turkey, he said that it would be signed in January and added he did not know when exactly this would happen.
“Our target is to stand on our own feet with our own expenses, but we are not still at this point”, he admitted adding that they could not borrow from the internal market.
Turkish Cypriot daily Hakikat (07.01.20) reports that the chairman of the Revival Party (YDP [TR. Note: The Party of the settlers], Erhan Arikli stated that the “government” faces a serious problem as regards the issue of safeguarding money and is therefore trying to keep the budget at a point by providing various amnesties.
Arikli, who was speakıng yesterday at the “parliament” on offering amnesty in fields (among them social security), stated that if money can arrive from Turkey, then only 27 million Turkish Lira will come and wondered which need will be covered with this amount. He reminded that the amount of money that used to come from Turkey in the past was up to 750 million Turkish Lira. Noting that this amount was blocked, he demanded explanations for the reasons that led to this decision.
“Why do funds do not come? Is it because of the terms existing in the intermediate protocol? Or are there more reason”, he wondered and added that the money for the budget must be safeguarded.
Under the title “We are in big trouble”, columnist Levent Ozadam in Turkish Cypriot KıbrısManşet(07.01.20) refers to the economic problems of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus because it has not received money from Turkey within the framework of the so-called economic protocol. He writes, inter alia, the following:
“In fact prime minister Tatar had returned satisfied from his visit to Ankara. He had said that he had met with Vice President Fuat Oktay and agreed that the protocol between the two countries would be signed in January. As far as we understand from the speech he delivered yesterday at the assembly, signing it within this month was out of the question. And the worst of all is that, again according to what the prime minister has stated, the date as regards this issue is also not known! This news is like a sign for disaster. It means that there are many things which we do not know at the backstage! Ankara asks some things from us, but we do not do them or we cannot do them.
In any case, the first signals for this came a few months ago! Even though an agreement on signing a three-year protocol had been reached after the first six-month protocol, we angered Ankara when we did not do our homework and the signing of a one-year protocol was decided! We want to know the following: Why were the requirements of the signed six-month protocol not fulfilled? Why did you not do what you signed, what you promised? Did you not know that the price of not keeping your promises would be the interruption of the flow of resources? If things continue like this, signing not only a three-year protocol but not even a one year protocol with Turkey will not be possible and we will become a stony-broke country. In brief, we are in much bigger trouble than we think. […]”
Under the title “Reaction against increases continuously rises”, Turkish Cypriot Vatan(07.01.20) reports that civilian organizations react against the tax increases imposed by the “government” as of the beginning of the year.
Turkish Cypriot Afrika(07.01.20) reports that people outside political parties, trade unions and other organizations have been organized for the first time. Tomorrow an activity will be organized in the occupied part of Nicosia by a group named “If there are no roads, there is also no traffic tax”, organized through the social media.
According to the paper, 30 thousand persons are ready to participate in the activity. Fikri Marasali, a person who led the organization of the activity, called on the participants to carry umbrellas to protect themselves from the tax increases and a possible rainfall and, if possible, to wear yellow clothes.
The Left Movement called on the people to participate in the activity and asked from the “government” to recall the increases and the new taxes. Organizations such as the Independence Road and the Revolutionary Communist Left expressed their support to the protest.
Turkish Cypriot Kıbrıs(07.01.20) reports that Zeki Celer, self-styled deputy with the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said that people were uprising because they paid for roads, but no roads were built. In a post on the social media, Celer noted that “people demand their rights”. He said that he did not think that he could say anything on the issue because he had participated in the “government” for 15 months and added that those who undertake a responsibility for the future of the “country” should come to their senses and find ways to create resources, instead of opening their hand asking for money.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberci (06.01.20) reports that according to information obtained by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, about the Green Line regulation, between the two sides in Cyprus, for the period between January 2019-October 2019, goods worth 4,000,353 Euro were sold in “south Cyprus” [Tr. Note: The Republic of Cyprus] , a figure which is the highest of the last 8 years. In addition is 11% higher than the trade contracted in the same period in 2018.
The monthly sales for the year 2019, reached 435,000 Euro, which is the highest since 2005.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (04.01.2020) reports that the “chairman” of the so-called statistic organization in the occupied area of Cyprus has announced that the inflation rate for 2019 has reached 11.66%, while the cost of living for December has reached 1.33%.
A rise has been recorded in the average prices of 392 goods and services. The prices of 60 goods and services have dropped.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (07.01.20) under the title: “inflation difference between 2018 and 2019”, reports that according to data provided by the “statistic organization”, the inflation rate in 2018 was 29.9% while in 2019 has dropped to 11.6%. According to the paper, the difference observed in the inflation rate is a reflection of the economic crisis experienced both in Turkey and in the “TRNC” due to the depreciation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies.
According to illegal Bayrak television (06.01.20, https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=girne-harbour-being-restored), the old historical harbour in occupied Kyrenia is undergoing repairs and a “face lift”.
Unal Ustel, self-styled minister of tourism and environment, in a written statement evaluating the work being carried out, said that they planned to complete the project in three months’ time. “We aim to restore the harbour and its surrounding areas to its former glory so that tourists will experience traces of the past,” Ustel said.
Noting that the harbour was an important centre of attraction in the Mediterranean with its deep-rooted historical background, he reminded that the harbour where hotels and restaurants currently serve customers were once used as warehouses to store Carob produce. “Our aim is to make such an arrangement which will allow tourists to have a sense of the time when these warehouses existed”, Ustel said.
He also said the project also aims to put an end to the visual pollution that exists as a result of the different shade umbrellas and decorations used by the various restaurants, cafes and hotels which operate in the area. He added that once completed, the area will be accessible to the public.
He stated that the company which was awarded the 9.5 million TL tender will launch work in February and that the work will be completed by April.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (06.01.20, https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2020/01/06/turkish-troops-headed-to-libya-erdogan-announces), Turkey has started deploying soldiers to Libya after Parliament approved a motion responding to the country's call for Turkish troops last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced late Sunday.
Speaking in a broadcast interview with CNN Türk, Erdoğan said Turkish military units had started moving to Libya to support Fayez al-Serraj's internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli. Noting that there were currently 2,500 troops from Russia's Wagner paramilitary group and 6,000 troops from Sudan in Libya, the president asked, "Why shouldn't we go in when the legitimate government requests us to do so?"
"Our soldiers' duty there is coordination. They will develop the operation centre there. Our soldiers are being sent gradually right now," he said.
Erdoğan also stressed that Turkey's objective was "not to fight" but "to support the legitimate government and avoid a humanitarian tragedy", adding that Turkey would not be deploying its own combat forces. "Right now, we will have different units serving as a combatant force," he said.
Senior Turkish military personnel would coordinate the "fighting force", Erdoğan explained, sharing their experience and information to support Tripoli and added: "Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is diligently implementing its duties in Libya".
Erdogan also said the plans of the Greeks and Greek Cypriots to imprison Turkey in the Mediterranean have failed and that some still cannot accept the maritime deal between Turkey and Libya, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (06.01.20, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkey-striving-to-reduce-tensions-between-us-iran/1693407)
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (06.01.20, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-killing-of-soleimani-serious-risk-for-peace/1693491), Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a press conference at the Foreign Ministry’s Directorate for EU Affairs in the capital Ankara, criticized plans for the EastMed pipeline project, arguing: “If Israel wants to transfer oil or natural gas extracted from its continental shelf and territorial waters to third countries across our continental shelf, then Israel must negotiate with us.”
Cavusoglu also stressed that permission from both Turkey and Libya is required for EastMed to cross the Mediterranean towards Europe.
Turning to the conflict in Libya, Cavusoglu claimed: "There will be no end to the war in Libya if we do not stop it."
Referring to the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general last week , Cavusoglu said: “The killing of [Qasem] Soleimani poses a serious risk to peace in the region” and added: “We will work with other countries to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Iran”.
To this end, Cavusoglu said, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made phone calls to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and is set to speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay an official visit to Turkey on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said: "Our president and Putin will address these issues personally. We all have a common concern that Iraq should not turn into a conflict zone for other countries."
According to Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Safak (06.01.20, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/2020-to-see-delivery-of-new-turkish-defense-products-3508958), the Turkish defence industry will deliver new vehicles and systems to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2020, Turkey’s top defence industry official said on Monday.
Several defense products, including aerial, naval and land systems, will enter Turkish forces’ inventory, Ismail Demir, the head of Turkey's Defence Industries Presidency, told a press conference in Ankara.
The Bayraktar Akinci Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle, phase 2 combat helicopter Atak, and other types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be delivered, he said. The Low Altitude Air Defense Missile System Hisar-A and sea missile Atmaca will also enter the inventory, he added.
Turkey's biggest warship, the multi-purpose Amphibious Assault Ship TCG Anadolu, the test and training ship TCG Ufuk, and new types of boats will also be delivered.
Turkish defence firms will also complete their work on supply ship design and submarine modernization in 2020.
The Turkish Armed Forces will start to use next-generation land vehicles in 2020 such as the Kirpi-2 (new version of a mine-resistant vehicle), mini-armoured buses, armoured ambulances, and criminal investigation vehicles.
In 2020 Turkey's Police Directorate will also receive armoured trucks and vehicles, including an armoured pick-up with a retractable gun. The first domestically produced 105mm Light Tracked Air Transportable Howitzer Fire Control System (BORAN) will also be delivered to Turkish forces, said Demir.
Turkey's first air-to-air missile Bozdogan will be delivered after it undergoes test firing. Several tests for missile systems will also be completed in 2020.
The country will also focus on new systems and products and sign agreements and hold tenders, said Demir.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (07.01.20, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkish-russian-leaders-to-launch-turkstream-on-wednesday/1694846), the opening ceremony of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline will be held on Wednesday in Istanbul with the attendance of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
The TurkStream natural gas pipeline has a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, out of which the first line will carry 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Turkish consumers. The second line will carry another 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Turkey.
BOTAS built the first line that will connect to Turkey’s existing gas grid, while the second line, to be operated by a Gazprom-BOTAS joint venture, will stretch to the Turkish-European border in Turkey's Thrace region.
On the same issue, Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (06.01.20, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2020/01/06/turkstream-pipeline-project-to-be-officially-launched-wednesday) reports that the ceremony in Istanbul will be attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, appearing alongside Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Besides the launch of the project, the two leaders will take the opportunity to discuss bilateral as well as regional issues. They are expected to deliver a message of regional stability and cooperation at the opening ceremony.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic, Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov and Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, as well as many other officials are expected to attend the ceremony.
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (06.01.20, https://www.turkishminute.com/2020/01/06/turkeys-state-run-news-agency-cancels-subscription-services-of-govt-critical-daily/), Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu has cancelled subscription services paid for by the Sözcü daily, a newspaper that is critical of the government, after the latter harshly criticized the agency’s reporting on prison sentences handed down to Sözcü journalists on charges of aiding a terrorist organization.
Sözcü said Anadolu’s English reporting on the Sözcü journalists’ trial had included remarks from “unidentified” witnesses, whereas the reports in Turkish did not. The agency, on the other hand, said the reporting was based on fact and did not add anything that was not stated in reports in Turkish.
Anadolu said it considered Sözcü’s claims a direct attack on the agency and its Editor-in-Chief Şenol Kazancı, who authorized the agency to cancel Sözcü’s subscription services.
Meanwhile, Sözcü said their reporters were not allowed to attend press conferences held by government officials due to hostility against the independent media, adding that Anadolu’s reports were its only source for informing its audience of comments made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and government officials.
A Turkish court on Dec. 27 convicted six journalists and one other employee of the Sözcü daily of aiding the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt despite its strong denial of any involvement.
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