Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.04.18) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has argued that the UNSG Antonio Guterres had opened a “new window” for Cyprus during the International Conference in Crans Montana. In an interview with the paper, the first part of which was published yesterday and the second one today, Ozersay said that the evaluation process has not ended for the Turkish Cypriot side and added that they will complete their evaluation and exchange views with the UNSG as to the direction towards which things should go and how this should be done. Ozersay alleged, inter alia, the following:
“What we need is a climate in which mutual security is achieved and the Greek Cypriots to feel the need for a solution and be ready to share the administration and the wealth. […] During the International Conference the UNSG did not say ‘this conference is over, continue the negotiations in Cyprus’. He declared its failure and said ‘go and think what you will do from now on’. He, actually, opened a window. […] The evaluation process has not ended for us. We will complete the evaluation and views will be exchanged with the UNSG on the issue of where and how we will finally go. Surely at some stage, he will ask the sides, perhaps in the middle or in the end of summer, perhaps in September during the convention of the UN General Assembly. […]”
Meanwhile, Yeni Duzen (29.04.18) reported that Ozersay was asked to comment on a statement made by Italian ENI company’s officials that they would not abandon their rights in parcel 3 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He alleged:
“ENI has an experience regarding the recent past. In general, I do not want to make a comment regarding areas for which Turkey claims rights, but ENI Company should be ready to carry out drillings next to the company which the Turkish Cypriot side had licensed in the areas in which it claims rights. This will happen, if the Greek Cypriot side continues its current stance of not approaching cooperation on the natural resources issue. […]
We will start scientific and economic studies which will have the same character with the ones of the Greek Cypriots. If someone interferes and says to us ‘you carry out studies in the same area’, let him come. Then let us sit and discuss together how we will administrate or share it. This will be a cooperation imposed by the conditions, the needs. Sometimes some moves should be made at the correct time for cooperation and not for conflict. […]”
Asked to comment on the lifting of the “tariffs” implemented by the former self-styled government on the supplies sent by the Republic of Cyprus to the Greek Cypriot and Maronite enclaved persons and on the return of the Maronites to their occupied villages, Ozersay said that they have changed their policy on the issue of the “tariffs”, that they should have shown courage and that the elements which led them to take this step have actually not ceased to exist. “That is, the risk of the aid granted as humanitarian being sold in groceries was not abolished”, he argued adding however, that they should see the situation with the international community’s eyes.
Referring to the return of the Maronites to their occupied villages, Ozersay said that the regime held some meetings and took some steps and that now the time and the way of putting their decisions into practice is discussed. Ozersay expressed the view that this cannot happen immediately and not all Maronites can return together, because some issues such as the property, security, infrastructure, communications and the regime of the persons who will settle in the occupied area should be solved.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (30.04.18) reports that Sibel Siber, former “speaker” of the “assembly” in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that the two-state solution or the confederation should be discussed now in Cyprus instead of the federal model, on which an agreement could not be achieved for the past 50 years. In statements to Dogan news agency, Siber claimed that the Greek Cypriot side is not ready for a federation and alleged: “This is now said not only by us, but also by international observers and diplomats behind closed doors”.
Arguing that it seems difficult for the Greek Cypriots to change mentality, Siber alleged: “There are some ones who expect a solution upon international pressures. The important thing is for the peoples to make peace and adopt the solution formula. It is difficult for a solution model which will be forcibly signed to be viable”.
Meanwhile, columnist Gokhan Altiner in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (30.04.18) reports that Siber will definitely become a candidate in the “presidential elections” planned to be held in the occupied area of Cyprus in 2020. Under the title “What Cavusoglu asked from Akinci? The backstage of the crisis!” Altiner refers also to some allegations regarding the meeting held in Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s office during the recent illegal visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to the occupied area of Cyprus and reports that Cavusoglu said that confederation should come onto the agenda and asked from Akinci to demand this in the negotiations. He notes that Akinci rejected this proposal, Cavusoglu’s stance became harder and tension was created between Akinci and the Turkish Minister.
“After putting this information on the table, I think that this is the reason behind Mrs Sibel’s statement that different solution models should be considered, [and that] since federation did not happen until today, we should look for other solution models’”, he argues adding that Siber said what Ankara expected to hear from Akinci but could not hear it. “Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is behind this statement”, he says.
“Actually, from the statement by the former speaker of the assembly Sibel Siber it is not difficult to understand that Turkey wants confederation now”, he notes adding: “Mrs Sibel is someone whom both Turkish President Erdogan and the Ankara government trust and support. […] The proximity of Mrs Sibel to President Erdogan has always annoyed second president Talat. […] I have written it before as well. The contribution of Talat is undeniable in Mrs Sibel not being able to win the presidential elections [in 2015]. […] It is understood that Turkey wants to go to a crossroad with the Greek Cypriots in Cyprus. It demanded this from current president Akinci but the president rejected it. Mrs Sibel, however, has often started referring to confederation. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (29.04.18) reported that the so-called deputy with the National Unity Party Ersin Tatar alleged that the most realistic formula for the solution of the Cyprus problem is a two-state solution under the EU framework.
Tatar who issued a written statement called on all the parties, institutions and organizations to discuss this solution model which he claimed is “the most effective, practical and without any problems road that will benefit everyone in Cyprus at the point we reach and which will meet their needs and overcome their worries”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (30.04.18) reports that Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Ministry for EU Affairs Ambassador Selim Yenel, speaking at the Foreign Policy forum of the Business and Industry Association of Turkey (TÜSİAD), argued that Cyprus is one of the elements that blocks Turkey’s accession membership into the EU. He also said that “they (Europeans) are using Cyprus as an excuse, if there was not Cyprus; they would had used something else”.
Yenel said that they don’t expect a date regarding the issue of visa exemption to Turkish citizens and claimed that the EU remembered Turkey only during the refugee crisis. He further noted that although Turkey’s EU accession process has been stopped the sub-committees are still continuing their work and since 2000 they are still trying to align with the acquis harmonization programme at the sub-committees.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (28.04.18) reported that Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) has applied to the General Directorate for Oil Affairs (PIGM) of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural resources for two licenses in order to conduct explorations for oil in sections P34-b and P35-a which are located in the Mersin-Cyprus-Alexandretta triangle. PIGM announced that TPAO has also asked for license to carry out explorations in Hakkari area.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (28.04.18) reported that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the UK between 13-15 of May and he will hold contacts with the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
According to the paper, Cyprus along with the developments in Eastern Mediterranean will be on Erdogan’s agenda during the meeting in which also Brexit and the Turkish-British relations will be discussed.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.04.18) reports that Dogus Derya and Sila Usar Incirli, “deputies” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) met on Saturday with Fabian Hamilton, the Shadow Minister of Peace and Disarmament and UK MP with the British Labour party, and a delegation at the party headquarters. At the meeting, which lasted two hours, the latest developments in the region as well as the stage where the Cyprus talks reached, were evaluated.
The CTP “deputies” reiterated their party mission, which is the reunification of the island and the political will for a federal solution. They also stressed that the leaders should be encouraged by the international community for the resumption of the Cyprus talks within the Guterres’ framework. They concluded by thanking UK’s Labour party for its support and interest for the efforts for peace in Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (28.04.18) reported that a delegation of the “assembly” consisted of Fikri Toros “deputy” with the Republican Turkish Party, Erek Cagatay, “deputy” with the People’s Party and Oguzhan Hasipoglu, “deputy” with the National Unity Party held meetings in Brussels with various members of the European Parliament and the European Commission.
According to the paper, they discussed the latest developments of the Cyprus problem, the expectations of the Turkish Cypriots from the EU and the issue of the improvement of the relations between the Turkish Cypriot community and the EU.
Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (30.04.18) reports that the “TRNC” participated in the “12th Real Estate fair and the Arabic-Turkish summit”, which was held in Istanbul between 28-29 April, 2018. Investors and agents from Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt attended the fair.
Fikri Ataoglu, self-styled minister of tourism and environment, who attended also the fair, spoke in an event where he briefed the investors regarding the incentives for investments in the occupied area of Cyprus.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/former-turkish-president-gul-will-not-run-for-presidency-131022) reported that former President Abdullah Gul on April 28 ruled out the possibility of running for the Turkish Presidency in June, dousing fevered speculation that he would challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“There is no longer any question of my candidacy,” Gul told reporters, citing a lack of “broad consensus” between opposition parties for the fact he will not stand.
Erdogan announced early presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 instead of November 2019 and rumours were rife that Gul would run against him.
Erdogan and Gul founded the AKP with others in 2001. Gul was President between 2007 and 2014 during Erdogan’s time as Prime Minister and after Gul stepped down in 2014, Erdogan was elected as President.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-is-at-a-turning-point-with-new-presidential-system-erdogan-131061) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on April 29 that Turkey is at a “turning point” with the adoption of an executive presidential system.
“This milestone will be a point for Turkey’s breakthrough,” Erdogan said in an address to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members at a provincial meeting.
In the same speech he praised the Turkish military’s “determined” operations in the ongoing offensive in the north western Syrian district of Afrin and in parts of northern Iraq.
Erdogan also vowed that the government will “not allow” the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a former close ally of the government that the authorities now call the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), to “divide Turkey.”
Erdogan accused the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of “selling the will of the nation,” blasting the transfer of 15 CHP Deputies to the İYİ (Good) Party to allow the latter to compete in the election.“How could you sell your will so cheaply? This is a new embarrassment in our political history,” he said.
On April 22, 15 CHP MPs joined the İYİ Party to secure the latter’s participation in the upcoming early presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24.
Speaking ahead of his departure for an official visit to Uzbekistan and South Korea, Erdogan declined to comment on a question regarding former President Abdullah Gul, who recently announced he would not be running for the presidency in June after fevered speculation. “The election arena is open to everyone,” he only said.
On opinion polls regarding the snap election on June 24, Erdogan simply said they show the AKP’s alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) “well ahead.”
Meanwhile, Erdogan also welcomed the historic deal between North and South Korea. “Our visit to South Korea has a distinct meaning because will come at a time of major developments on the Korean Peninsula. I believe that the coming together of the South Korean President and the North Korean leader in a historic summit on April 27 will give a different richness to our relations with them too,” Erdogan stated.
“We would like negotiations launched for nuclear disarmament to be successful. We especially hope that a lasting peace that has been anticipated for 10 years will be established on the Korean Peninsula,” he added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/well-be-part-of-akp-mhp-alliance-bbp-chair-destici-131036) reported that the right-wing Islamic nationalist Great Union Party (BBP) will be part of the alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the upcoming June 24 snap elections, its leader Mustafa Destici said on April 28.
“We’ll conduct a meeting with our provincial heads tomorrow [April 29]. After taking their opinions we as the BBP will share with the public how we will take part in this alliance. The BBP stands with the ‘People’s Alliance,’” Destici told reporters in the south-eastern province of Gaziantep.
“For the new system to go into effect, the coming election is very critical. We will put in every effort possible for the new system to be launched. We will be on the field with all our cadres for both the [presidential] candidate and for the ‘People’s Alliance’ to be elected with a parliamentary majority,” he said.
Destici also touched on former President Abdullah Gul’s April 28 statement that he would not be running for the presidency, saying Gul’s decision was “correct.”
“Mr. Gul should actually not have taken this issue onto his agenda at all. He should not have given credence to those who made this proposal to him. The fact that he stayed silent for so long has had a negative impact and his own name has been damaged. But with his statement today he has put an end to the discussions. I believe this decision is the right one,” he said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/party-leaders-should-not-run-in-presidential-election-chp-head-kilicdaroglu-131062) reported that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıcdaroglu said on April 29 that the political party leaders should not run in presidential elections because the position requires political impartiality.
Speaking at a local media gathering in the Marmaris district of Mugla province, Kılıcdaroglu once again said that he would not be running in the upcoming snap presidential election on June 24, recalling that a President will have to swear an oath for “impartially” at Parliament to take the seat.
“If a President is [linked to a party], how can they approach a problem sincerely and impartially? The President must be impartial,” he said.
The CHP has yet to announce its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, which will take place a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule.
Kılıcdaroglu also said that the 15 CHP lawmakers who joined the İYİ (Good) Party on April 22 in a bid to help secure the latter’s participation in the upcoming early presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 will return to the CHP after the election.
“They will perform their duties and return after a certain time. They will be able to take a place in our Deputy candidate lists [in the future],” he added.
According to Turkish law, a political party has to finalize its organization process in more than half of the provinces across the country, while holding its first congress six months before the election date. The İYİ Party held its first congress with the establishment committee last December but finalized its provincial congresses on February 26. It had been debated whether the Supreme Election Board (YSK) would take this date into account, so the CHP moved to transfer a sufficient number of lawmakers to allow the İYİ Party to form a group at Parliament and thus participate in the upcoming election.
CHP leader Kılıcdaroglu also said his party’s priority is a “political alliance that will abolish the election threshold,” referring to Turkey’s high 10% election threshold on entering parliament. “We are considering an important step. Our friends are working on the issue,” he said.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (27.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-us-agree-to-approve-roadmap-on-syria-131014) reported that Turkey and the United States have agreed to approve a road map on Syria “to avoid potential confrontation” between the two allies, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said after meeting with the new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on the occasion of a NATO summit.
“In our meeting we confirmed approval of a roadmap on which our joint working group has reached an initial agreement,” Cavusoglu told reporters after his meeting with Pompeo.
“We will implement the Manbij model in other parts of Syria, particularly east of the Euphrates. We’ll therefore be taking a step with the U.S. on an issue that causes tension in our bilateral ties. If the roadmap is implemented, the [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] YPG will be withdrawn from Manbij. Otherwise we’ll have to intervene against the terrorists just like we did in Afrin,” he said.
The meeting between the two took place less than 24 hours after Pompeo’s nomination as Secretary of State was confirmed at Congress. Pompeo visited Ankara in February 2017 in his capacity as CIA Director.
Cavusoglu added that Pompeo renewed a pending invitation for him to visit Washington in order to discuss and approve the Syria roadmap. The Turkey-U.S. working group established in January 2018 has been working on a plan to increase coordination between the two allies, particularly over the Manbij issue. At present U.S. troops are stationed alongside YPG militants in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), drawing the ire of Ankara.
“If this roadmap is implemented ... the YPG will be withdrawn from Manbij and a transparent process will be carried out for the security and governance of the city,” Cavusoglu said.
He added that he found Pompeo “very determined” for the resolution of issues related to Syria. “He asked me to visit Washington as soon as possible so that we can resolve this quickly,” he said.
Questioned about the recent campaign at the U.S. Congress to sanction Turkey over the arrest of Pastor Andrew Brunson on “terror” charges, Cavusoglu said this was a “legal issue and not a political one.”
Cavusoglu further stated that Turkey’s purchase of S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems came up during talks with Pompeo. “As he has just been appointed as Foreign Minister, I summarized the process for him. I told him: ‘We were about to purchase this system from you [but were denied], because it’s a security need of ours. What would you do in that case?’”, Cavusoglu said.
“Turkey was in talks with French-Italian consortium Eurosam and would be happy to discuss future procurement of anti-ballistic missile system from the U.S. as well”, he added.
“The S-400 sale is done. We can only talk about what we can do [with the U.S.] in the subsequent process,” Cavusoglu added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.04.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-turkey-iran-stress-unity-at-syria-talks-131025) reported that the Russian, Iranian and Turkish Foreign Ministers on April 28 talked up their successes in brokering a political solution to the Syrian conflict at a meeting in Moscow.
The three nations have been attempting to resolve the Syrian conflict at talks that started last year in Astana, Kazakhstan, in competition with a US and UN-backed Geneva initiative.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the three countries "must help the Syrians finish cleansing their country of terrorists."
The Ministers emphasized the success of their peace talks in Astana, which Lavrov said are "firmly standing on their feet."
The Russian diplomat praised the "unique" alliance between two of Syrian President Bashar-al Assad’s key supporters, Moscow and Tehran as well as Turkey who backs the Free Syrian army (FSA).
"Thanks to it, it became possible to tackle the situation on the battlefield with the Islamic State group and the Al-Nusra Front," he said, as jihadists have lost most of the territory they controlled in Syria.
“Critics of the Astana talks are "trying to show that they today decide all the affairs in our world, but fortunately their time has passed," Lavrov said.
Nevertheless he implicitly criticised Damascus after it blocked UN humanitarian aid to the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, saying Moscow was calling for the regime to be more "flexible."
Lavrov earlier held separate bilateral talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and then Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif.
During his meeting with Cavusoglu, Lavrov stressed the "great importance" both Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attach to improving relations.
Yet the latest talks in Moscow came as the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7 has prompted sharply differing responses from Turkey and Russia.
"I curse those who carried out this massacre," Erdoğan said, welcoming Western air strikes in retaliation as "appropriate".
Meanwhile Russia says the attack was staged to discredit Assad.
The next Syria talks in Astana are set for May 14.
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