Turkish Cypriot newspaper Havadis(10.01.20)reports that UNSG’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar held yesterday separate meetings with the two community leaders prior to her departure for the United States of America, where she is expected to brief the UN Security Council on the Cyprus problem and the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
The paper notes that the expectations of the two sides on the issue are “very different” and adds that while, after his meeting with Spehar, President Anastasiades wished for all the facts which justified the continuation of the UNFICYP’s presence on the island to be included in the UN Security Council’s report, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci stated that it was important for the results of the tripartite meeting in Berlin and especially the emphasis given to the issues containing the political equality of the two sides to be included in the report.
In a statement issued by his “office” after Spehar’s visit, Akinci argued that the solution of the Cyprus problem became more urgent and a necessity not only for the island but for the whole area as well, due to the problems which existed recently in the Eastern Mediterranean on the natural gas issue. Moreover, Akinci brought onto the agenda the issue of the proposal submitted by the Turkish side in July on the hydrocarbons and stressed the importance of including the importance of dialogue in the UN Security Council’s report.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (10.01.20)reports that, upon an invitation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ersin Tatar and Kudret Ozersay, self-styled prime minister and “foreign minister” of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus respectively, are going to Istanbul today to discuss the developments of the past few days in the area.
The meeting of the Turkish Cypriot delegation with Erdogan will take place in the afternoon today. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will also participate in the meeting. Turkey’s self-styled ambassador in the occupied part of Nicosia, Ali Murat Basceri is also expected to depart for Istanbul together with the Turkish Cypriot delegation.
Under the title “Come, said Erdogan”, Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika (10.01.20)reports that Erdogan invited Tatar and Ozersay to Istanbul as soon as the latter announced his candidature for the forthcoming “presidential elections”. “It is estimated that the rendezvous is related with determining the candidates. The issue of whether Tatar will be a candidate will be clarified after this meeting”, argues the paper adding that Erdogan wants to put Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci aside, because of his stance during the attack against Afrika on 22 January 2018 and his statements regarding Turkey’s invasion in Syria.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kıbrıs (10.01.20) under the front-page title: “Invitation in the evening, candidacy in the morning”, reports that after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan send an invitation to so-called prime minister Ersin Tatar and so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay to travel to Istanbul to meet him, so-called foreign minister and leader of the People’s Party (HP) Ozersay announced yesterday that he would be an “independent candidate” in the forthcoming “presidential elections” to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus next April.
According to the paper, Ozersay announced yesterday his decision to be an “independent presidential candidate” prior his visit to Turkey and his meeting with Erdogan. In statements yesterday, Ozersay said: “I will set the party’s leadership aside henceforward since I have decided to be candidate and I will do it now and not after the elections”.
The paper adds after Ozersay announced that he would resign from the position of the leader of the People’s Party (HP), the party’s general secretary Yenal Senin stated that he would undertake duties in the leadership of the party, as the party’s regulation envisages and until the extraordinary party’s congress, which is to be determined by the party’s central committee next Sunday.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Haberci (10.01.20) reports that Senin said that although Ozersay has stated that he would be an “independent candidate” he would continue his duties in his “position in the government as deputy prime minister and foreign minister”.
Also, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (10.01.20) reports on the same issue under the title: “No surprise by Ozersay” and writes that after prolonged discussions wether Ozersay would be a candidate or not, he finally announced yesterday his decision to be an “independent candidate”.
In statements after announcing his candidacy, Ozersay explained further his vision and the policy he would follow if he would be “elected in the position of the president”. Regarding his policy, Ozersay claimed the following: “Taking into account that we are passing a period where the significance of the TRNC and of Cyprus as a whole in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean is increasing day by day and is of vital importance, and also, taking into account the fact that the social peace and stability is necessary to be achieved, I have decided to be an independent candidate for the country’s presidency in order to defend the TRNC’s sovereignty and to promote and put forwards in the internal and the external the rights and interests and the will of the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Supporting that his “vision in the presidency” would be based in following headings: 1) “multi-directional and pro-active foreign policy”, 2) “cooperation prior to the solution for the solution”, 3) “First communal peace”, Ozersay explained in detail his vision and added that in cooperation with experts he would make radical changes and a restructure in the “structure of the presidency”.
Regarding the first keystone of his policy called “multi-directional and pro-active foreign policy”, Ozersay alleged that except from the policy they follow on the Cyprus problem, they should follow a specific foreign policy. “In the framework of the proactive foreign policy that I would follow and implement, I would exert efforts so that the Turkish Cypriot people to become a considerable regional actor in the region prior to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
On the hydrocarbon issue, Ozersay claimed that he would implement new and creative policies. He argued that in this framework, he would carry out contacts and meetings with international natural gas and petrol companies. He further argued that he would follow a diplomacy that he would make the voice of the Turkish Cypriots heard in every international platform, including the UN, the EU and other international organizations.
Regarding their ties with their “strategic partner Turkey”, as he called it, Ozersay said that he would work for the developments of the “TRNC’s ties with Turkey”, explain that he would try to achieve this through diplomacy and by exchanging frequent visits and contacts.
Regarding the essence of the efforts exerted for the solution of the Cyprus problem, Ozersay reiterated his known position that the federation model is not a bad model for a solution, but he, however, claimed that under the current circumstances in Cyprus, it has been proved that it is not possible for a federal solution to be achieved. He went on to claim that it is for that reason that we should look for other new approaches.
Claiming that he supports the efforts for a mutual accepted solution to the Cyprus problem, Ozersay alleged that the processes for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem became a vicious circle. He claimed that today there are two de-facto states in the island and argued that under the current conditions it is not possible to reach a solution following the same methods. Ozersay accused further the Greek Cypriot side of not being willing to share the power and the natural wealth in the island and claimed that it is not possible to reach a federation solution under these conditions.
Ozersay went on to explain in detail the keystone of his policy called “cooperation prior to the solution for the solution”, supporting that it is very important for the two sides to cooperate and trust each other. He argued that if cooperation and trust is achieved between the two sides prior to the solution, then the approach for establishing a “partnership based on cooperation and trust” would be more realistic.
Illegal Bayrak (10.01.20, https://www.brtk.net/boru-hattinda-ariza/ ) reports that a breakdown took place at the underwater pipeline that transfers water from Turkey to the breakaway regime.
According to statements by the so-called minister of agriculture, Dursun Oguz, the pipeline broke down at a point that is suspended under the sea.
Oguz stated that such a failure was among the predictions while the project was being carried out and said that Turkey's State Water Works contacted the related companies and the works for repairing the pipeline have started.
Turkish Cypriot daily Güneş (10.01.20) reports that during an event for presenting the new web site platform isbul.gov.ct.tr, that will help unemployed people to find jobs, the so-called minister of labor Faiz Sucuoglu referred to the number of unemployed persons in the breakaway regime.
Sucuoglu said that according to information from the “organization of state programming”, the number of unemployed persons is 9,873, that is 6,9% of the “population”. The percentages of unemployed men is 5,7% while the percentage of unemployed women is 9%. The percentage of unemployment between young persons between 15-24 years old is higher and is up to 22%.
According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (09.01.20, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkeys-security-begins-far-beyond-borders-erdogan/1697901), Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey would continue defending its rights and interests, adding that the country's future and security began far beyond its borders.
Turkey will continue to defend its rights and interests in Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean, Erdogan asserted, speaking in the capital Ankara at an event for the disabled as well as children under government protection.
Referring to joint plans with Libya to send Turkish troops to the North African country, Erdogan said: "We are in these lands [Libya], where our ancestors made history, because we were invited there to resolve injustice and persecution."
He said Turkey would provide "the best response" to those who did not understand that the country's security began beyond its borders, slamming criticism against the decision.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.01.20, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-doesnt-want-iraq-to-become-battle-zone-cavusoglu-150772), Turkey does not want Iraq to become a battle zone of foreign forces, said Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Jan. 9 at a press conference along with his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad, Iraqi capital. He added that Iraq was not alone and Turkey was there to overcome difficult days together.
Çavuşoğlu's visit came amid heightened tension between the U.S. and Iran, starting with the killing of an American contractor at a U.S. base in Iraq late last month.
Iraqi top diplomat Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, for his part, affirmed that talks with his Turkish counterpart focused on the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty from all sides.
They also discussed bilateral relations at all levels in the meeting, he said, and added: "We cooperate with Turkey on counter-terrorism issue."
Meanwhile, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu (09.01.20, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkish-fm-krg-leaders-discuss-regional-developments/1698327) reports that Cavusoglu discussed in a phone call on Thursday with Nechirvan Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, and KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on regional developments, particularly tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Cavusoglu underscored Turkey's support for Iraq, saying it has always stood by the Iraqi people and always will. Bilateral relations were also discussed.
Under the title “The media are bleeding in Turkey”, Turkish daily newspaper Sozcu (10.01.20, https://www.gzt.com/gazeteler/sozcu-gazetesi), on its front page, reports that in the last 13 months 215 TV channels and 100 newspapers were closed.
According to official registrations, there are 11, 157 unemployed journalists and in the last five years, 3,804 press cards have been cancelled. There are still 91 journalists in jail and in the last 15 years, 12 thousand journalists were tried. In 2019, 59 journalists were sentenced to 200 years in prison.
On the same issue, Turkish news portal Turkish Minute (10.01.20, https://www.turkishminute.com/2020/01/10/108-journalists-behind-bars-in-turkey-report-reveals/) reports that there are 108 journalists in Turkey’s prisons, and Turkey is the second biggest jailer of journalists in the world, according to a report drafted by an opposition deputy.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Utku Çakırözer, a former journalist, drafted the report on the occasion of Working Journalists Day, marked in Turkey every Jan. 10.
In his report Çakırözer said 172 journalists were forced to defend their journalistic activities in courts in 2019; at least 60 journalists were detained; journalists were ordered to pay compensation totalling close to half a million Turkish lira as a result of losing lawsuits; at least 34 journalists were beaten in public venues; and access to 36,216 websites was blocked.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (10.01.20, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-hands-jail-terms-to-14-over-feto-ties-150798), a Turkish court handed down jail terms to 14 members of the FETÖ in a trial involving executives of Koza İpek Holding, according to a judicial source on Jan. 9. Heavy Penal Court No. 24 in Ankara sentenced Cafer Tekin İpek to 11 years and three months in prison for being a member of an armed terrorist group. (…)
Meanwhile, some 12 navy officers have been detained on Jan. 10 over suspected links to FETÖ. Top prosecutor's office in the capital Ankara issued detention warrants for 12 officers, including seven on-duty, as part of an investigation into FETÖ infiltration into Naval Forces Command.
Warrants came after suspect statements and examination of contents of ByLock -- an encrypted smartphone application used by FETÖ members for communication.
According to Turkish daily newspaper Sabah (09.01.20, https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2020/01/09/tika-helps-bosnia-herzegovina-with-900-projects-in-24-years), with 900 projects in 24 years, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has been helping Bosnia-Herzegovina and its people prosper once again after the devastating Bosnian War in 1995, helping families become self-sufficient and contributing to the improvement of the Balkan nation's various public services.
First starting its operations right after the Bosnian War, TIKA carried out hundreds of projects over the years that helped the country in various areas, from preserving its cultural heritage to improving its health and public services.
To help boost education in the country, TIKA undertook projects that saw Bosnian schools renovated with state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure. The agency also led exchange programs between the two nations that strengthened the staff at Bosnian schools.
Still involved with Bosnia-Herzegovina's education from kindergarten to college, the agency continues to supply the Balkan nation with Turkey's experience in the sector.
With the preservation of cultural heritage high on the priority list, TIKA also assumed the responsibility for the renovation of Trebinje Cultural Center, which became one of the most modern cultural centres in the region.
Helping the displaced families after the war, TIKA's projects also helped the families return to their hometown they abandoned during the conflict and become self-sufficient again.
With the "Food and Life Support Program" launched in 2017, TIKA helped more than 1,000 families by supplying them with agricultural equipment and training for various farming and ranching methods. The agency aims to help 500 more families in the program in 2020 with projects in the dairy and beekeeping sectors.
Assisting Bosnia-Herzegovina to keep unemployment levels low with not only agricultural projects but also occupational training as well, TIKA also contributed to the establishment of the Gradacac Vocational Training Center in 2018.
For health, the agency modernized hospitals across the country with the latest technology equipment and offered training to medical staff. The agency also oversaw the construction and renovation of several clinics, including Sarajevo University's Hematology clinic and Krsevac community clinic.
Since its founding in 1992, TIKA has been responsible for facilitating Turkey's official development assistance by providing help to developing countries. Operating in 50 countries, the agency has helped as many as 140 countries worldwide.
From Colombia to Myanmar and Namibia to Kosovo, the agency not only acts as an aid group but also contributes to the development of impoverished regions with its expansive network.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION