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Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-04.05.18

 

No. 85/18                                                                                                                            

 

Contents

 1. Akinci accuses the Greek Cypriot side of distorting the UN framework

2. Akinci reiterates the need for the establishment of a joint committee on the hydrocarbons issue

3. Reactions on the Guterres Framework continue

4. Akinci briefs the political parties’ leaders on the Cyprus problem

5. Columnist argues that the Turkish Cypriots cannot act alone without Turkey’s consensus

6. The settlers who attacked Afrika newspaper were let free

7. Inflation in the breakaway regime

8. AKP formally nominates Erdogan for presidential election

9. Main opposition CHP announces Muharrem İnce as presidential candidate in forthcoming snap elections

10. Kilicdaroglu: “Gul 'was pressured by top soldier for not running for presidency”

11. Turkish Journalists Association calls for the release of jailed journalists before snap elections

12. Erdogan to hold pre-election campaign rally in Bosnia

13. Turkish police arrest over 110 FETO-linked suspects

14. Turkish lira weakens to another record low against dollar after poor inflation data

 

1. Akinci accuses the Greek Cypriot side of distorting the UN framework

Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.05.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greek-cypriot-side-distorting-un-framework-/1134700) reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci alleged on Thursday that the “Greek Cypriot administration”, as he called the Republic of Cyprus  has not given positive response to the framework presented by the UN chief Antonio Guterres during the Cyprus Conference in the Swiss Alps back in June 2017.

In a statement, Akinci alleged the following: "Rather than giving a positive response to my genuine call on the matter [Guterres Framework], the Greek Cypriot side have chosen to speak of a non-existent document dated July 4 for the past two days. Unfortunately, this stance shows that they will continue to divert and distort the Guterres Framework and unfortunately this is not an approach that would aid resolution."

The Guterres Framework is a one-page document which included five major topics such as territory, political equality, property, equivalent treatment and security and guarantees.

(…)

Underscoring that the Guterres Framework is a document presented to both sides on June 30, 2017, Akinci said: "This document, which the UN has given to the sides and does not have another version and was confirmed by the UN Secretary General Guterres in New York on September 23, 2017."

Akinci claimed that the aim of the Greek Cypriot side is only to occupy both the “nations” by levelling allegations. "I could not remain silent as a long-lasting period of recession and tension is rapidly proceeding and a permanent division on our island is becoming a greater possibility. I'd like to once again recall that this is an effort to fulfil a historic responsibility," he alleged.

He further asserted that the Turkish Cypriot side will not be a part of an open-ended and non-result-oriented process.

 

2. Akinci reiterates the need for the establishment of a joint committee on the hydrocarbons issue

According to illegal Bayrak television (04. 05.18-http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=akinci-highlights-need-for-hydrocarbon-cooperation) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in statements during a conference yesterday claimed that the tensions were running high in the area due to the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to share hydrocarbons with the Turkish Cypriot side.

Akinci highlighted the importance of making use of the Eastern Mediterranean’s energy potential to serve peace and prosperity in the region.

Alleging that he had shared with the Greek Cypriot leader his views on the matter on numerous occasions, Akıncı claimed that there is a need to either set up a joint committee on this issue or for the Greek Cypriot side to suspend its activities until a settlement was reached.

“The natural gas could be combined with Israel’s gas and marketed to Europe via Turkey if a solution in Cyprus is reached. Connecting the TRNC with Turkey and Israel with South Cyprus via an electricity cable is on the agenda.  Interconnectivity could be achieved between these countries but the Greek Cypriot side has plans to exploit the natural gas on its own and to send it to Italy via Crete” Akinci further alleged.

Also touching upon the UN’s efforts for a settlement, Akıncı said that the UN Secretary General will be sending an official to the island to see if there are any prospects for moving forward.

He further said that the Turkish Cypriot side agreed to this on the condition that any new talks would be results orientated, would not be open-ended and would be within the framework of a strategic package.

 

3. Reactions on the Guterres Framework continue

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (04.05.18) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) has called on the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to commence negotiations within the framework of the Guterres Document which the UNSG submitted to the sides on 30 June for finding a solution the soonest. In a written statement, the party described the recent statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader regarding the Guterres Framework as “very important” from the point of view of the completion of the negotiating process which started in 2015 and called on the leaders to behave courageously and undertake their historic responsibility for the present and the future of their communities. The CTP argued that finding a solution by which both communities will benefit is possible with a procedure which will be focused on the result and during which the UNSG will undertake an active role. Finally, the party said that it will watch the process with the aim of achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem within the framework of the UN parameters.

Meanwhile, the same paper reports that the Social Democracy Party (TDP) urged the sides to take into consideration Akinci’s call for naming the position expressed in the Guterres Framework as a strategic package agreement and described this call as “very important and meaningful”. In a written statement, the TDP expressed the view that achieving a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution based on political equality is still possible, said that every view and thought expressed in this direction and every step taken is positive and reiterated its support to Akinci.

Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (04.05.18) reports that Huseyin Ozgurgun, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), has expressed reservations regarding the commencement of the Cyprus negotiations within the framework of the Guterres document. In statements during one of his meetings yesterday, Ozgurgun alleged that they [the Turkish Cypriots] face a mentality which does not accept Turkey’s active and effective guarantees and the Turkish Cypriot “people’s” equality and still teaches “enosis” in schools. He also claimed that the UBP cannot accept a solution under the name of federation during which the Turkish Cypriots will be minority and the Greek Cypriots will dominate. “In this situation, negotiating in vain is meaningless”, he alleged adding that they should head towards another solution without wasting any more time in agreement with Turkey. Recalling of the elections in Turkey on 24 June, Ozgurgun argued that taking such a decision before the completion of the elections does not seem possible.  

Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (04.05.18) reports that Erhan Arikli, chairman of the settlers’ Revival Party (YDP), has described as extremely wrong Akinci’s call on President Anastasiades to turn the Guterres Framework into a strategic agreement and referred to a “move which will irrevocably harm our national interests”. Noting that the Guterres Framework says that it is not possible for the unilateral intervention rights to continue as regards the guarantees, Arikli alleged that even this provision of the document is enough for throwing it into the garbage. He said that it is not possible for him to accept what he called as Akinci’s approach for taking rotating presidency in return for the guarantees, adding that opening this issue for discussion is not Akinci’s job, but it mainly concerns Turkey.

Alleging that Akinci took this step without consulting with Turkey, Arikli said that during the recent meeting of the political party leaders with the Turkish Foreign Minister at the “presidential palace” they agreed that the Cyprus problem should be put into the freezer until the elections in Turkey and added that Cavusoglu noted that he would tell the UNSG not to appoint a special adviser on Cyprus during this period. Referring to the information regarding Jane Holl Lute’s appointment as UNSG’s special adviser on Cyprus, Arikli alleged that if this happened in spite of Cavusoglu’s will, the issue becomes more complicated. He also claimed that these developments show that Akinci is cooperating with some other circles and is trying to stab Turkey in the back.

(I/Ts.)             

 

4. Akinci briefs the political parties’ leaders on the Cyprus problem

According to illegal Bayrak television (03.05.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cyprus-issue-on-the-agenda-5), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday with the four political parties which are attending the “coalition government” in order to brief them about the Cyprus problem.

The leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and so-called prime minister Tufan Erhurman, the leader of the People’s Party (HP) and so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, the leader of the Democratic Party (DP) and so-called finance minister Serdar Denktas and the leader of the Rebirth Party (YDP) Erhan Arıklı attended the meeting which took place at the so-called presidential palace. No statement was made at the end of the meeting.

 

5. Columnist argues that the Turkish Cypriots cannot act alone without Turkey’s consensus

Under the title “How far without Turkey”, columnist Mete Tumerkan, writing in Turkish daily Havadis newspaper (04.05.18), comments on the recent discussion regarding the content of the Guterres Framework in the following commentary:

“The debate, which has been sparked after president Mustafa Akinci’s proposal on the Guterres Framework, is continuing.

The government announced yesterday that it was unaware of the proposal and that they found it out from the press.

The assembly is completely out of the picture…

Besides, there has been no briefing regarding the Cyprus issue to the new assembly, which was formed on January 7 with the elections.

It was not explained if there is a Guterres document and what it is.

It was understood that even Turkey was not informed regarding this proposal.

In other words, there was no consensus on this proposal among Ankara and president Akinci.

As a result, president Mustafa Akinci apparently took this step alone.

He did not share it with any partner, he did not inform the assembly and he did not think to obtain authorization and approval. He did not involve the government as part of this step that he will take.

He did not inform also the public on this issue about the reason he did it.

Unfortunately, until now, he has not shared with the public why he behaved in a transparent way and acted alone.

This is the one side of this job…

If you look at the other side, meaning if you look to the voices from the Greek Cypriot side, AKEL and DISI responded positively to Akinci’s call.

Both parties gave the messages that they perceived in the negotiations that the road to solution was opened and Turkey would not be included, as well as they will get rid of the guarantees within this framework.

They stressed that the EU’s guarantee for Cyprus will be sufficient and they also said that the Cypriots may find such a solution together.

The Greek Cypriot leader of the Greek Cypriot administration Nicos Anastasiades asked president Akinci whether he obtained approval or not from Ankara on the issue zero soldiers zero guarantees.

At the end, if both sides approve the Guterres document and sign it, it would not mean anything if Turkey, Greece and Britain do not agree on the Treaty of Guarantee and Alliance and for the creation of a new regime.

In short, what the guarantors will say and will do is not included in the Guterres document and without them this job cannot be done.

Here you see, Anastasiades has thrown the ball back to president (Akinci) by bringing this issue back.

The president by bringing to the fore other headings in the document asked the Greek Cypriot leader whether he accept them or not by not changing anything.

In short, the job has turned again to a mutual blame.

They are confused.

Meanwhile, the problems in the relations between Turkey and the TRNC have been emerged.

In this trip, which started with the allegation that the Turkish Cypriots’ interests are above all, the reality that these interests have been protected by acting jointly with Turkey is ignored.

Years ago, Dr Fazil Kucuk by taking the lead on the name of the protection of the Turkish Cypriot existence, the fundamental approach “it won’t be without Turkey’ asked to be put aside.

Of course, these things cannot be happened and cannot cause any results beyond harming the Turks of Cyprus in order to protect their rights.

Let’s say, let us discuss once more the issues with a common sense.

The interests of the Turkish Cypriots may be protected by acting with Turkey and by doing this in a rational way.

A solution can also be found by acting with a team spirit and a common mind.”

(DPs)

 

6. The settlers who attacked Afrika newspaper were let free

Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.05.18) reports that on May 3rd, which is celebrated as Press Freedom Day 5 out of the 6 settlers who were arrested for attacking Afrika newspaper on January 22nd were released under conditions.

The paper writes that the suspects were not trialed at a criminal court as they should and did not serve all their time. The 6th suspect was set free previously because he was sentenced only to 2 months in prison in the breakaway regime. The paper also publishes a picture of the three celebrating their release in a restaurant.

(CS)

 

7. Inflation in the breakaway regime

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.05.18) reports that the “director of the state planning organization”, Odul Muhtaroglu announced the inflation rates of the breakaway regime for April which reached 2,75%.

According to the paper,   on this basis the annual inflation is 13,10%.

According to the paper, there was a rise in many products this month, among them shoes and clothing, alcohol and smoke and health services.

(CS)

 

8. AKP formally nominates Erdogan for presidential election

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.05.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-formally-nominates-erdogan-for-presidential-election-131254) reported that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on May 3 formally nominated party founder and leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its candidate for Turkey’s early presidential elections scheduled for June 24.

All 316 members of the AKP’s parliamentary group voted in favor of nominating Erdogan as its presidential candidate. Erdogan will be supported in the snap vote by the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

“Some people may look for their presidential candidates by microscope. But we have already decided on our candidate. Our candidate is the man of the people. We are therefore announcing Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the protector of the oppressed, as our candidate,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said after the AKP group agreed on the candidate.

“June 24 is a historic day of judgment for Turkey. We will bring down all the dirty plans against Turkey. We still have a lot to do. We have so many big projects for the future of our country,” Yıldırım said.

“Our geographic location and our history place a duty on Turkey. We have always sided with the oppressed and the sufferer,” he added.

Yıldırım also noted that this would be the last AKP group meeting he would chair as the last Prime Minister of Turkey, with the country due to transition to an executive presidential system after a controversial referendum marred by voting irregularities in April 2017.

“You stood against treacherous gangs. You defended Turkey. Turkey has been able to reach these days by escaping turbulence. I thank you all on behalf of our people and as the last Prime Minister of Turkey,” he said.

The AKP will make the official application for Erdogan’s nomination to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on May 4.

 

9. Main opposition CHP announces Muharrem İnce as presidential candidate in forthcoming snap elections

Turkish daily Sabah (04.05.18- https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/05/04/main-opposition-chp-announces-muharrem-ince-as-presidential-candidate-in-turkish-elections) reported that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)'s parliamentary group officially announced on Friday that its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections on June 24 would be Muharrem İnce, its Yalova Deputy.

İnce was seen as the strongest possible candidate by political circles close the party, while CHP leader Kemal Kılıcdaroglu made it clear that he will not run for President, a decision criticized by some party members as well.

A strong rival against the current CHP chair Kılıcdaroglu from within the party, İnce comes from a moderate conservative background. The 53-year-old Deputy is also portrayed as a populist and a pragmatic figure. The CHP electoral base and party provincial branches reportedly support İnce, who has been a Deputy of Yalova province for the CHP since 2002. İnce also failed twice to win against Kılıçdaroğlu for party chairmanship.

(…)

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.05.18- http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/i-will-be-the-president-of-80-million-says-chp-candidate-131298) reports that İnce, the presidential candidate of the main opposition CHP has vowed to be the president of 80 million if elected in the polls on June 24.

“I will be the President of 80 million, of rightists and leftists, of Alevis and Sunnis, of Turks and Kurds. I will be an impartial President,” İnce said in his address to CHP fellows in a crowded hall on May 4 after CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu announced him as the nominee of the main opposition party.

In a sign of his impartiality, he removed his CHP pin and wore another one with the Turkish flag on it.

“Everything will be much more beautiful. We will write history on June 24,” he said.

A veteran CHP lawmaker from Yalova, Muharrem İnce, 53, is a former physics teacher.

 

10. Kilicdaroglu: “Gul 'was pressured by top soldier for not running for presidency”

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-leader-hints-gul-was-threatened-by-top-soldier-131282) reported that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has argued that Turkey’s top soldier and chief presidential advisor threatened former President Abdullah Gul not to run for presidency and has called on them to make a clear statement about the alleged meeting in the course of key parliamentary and presidential elections.

“It is an attempt at military tutelage,” Kilicdaroglu said in a parliamentary group meeting on May 3.

Kilicdaroglu referred to a visit by Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Chief Advisor İbrahim Kalın to Abdullah Gul on April 24. The visit has not been denied by any of the three figures and no explanation has been made either.

Gul, whose name has been frequently mentioned as the joint candidate of the oppositional parties, stated on April 28 that he will not run for presidency in the absence of a compromise among the opposition wing on his nomination.

Kilicdaroglu said that reports have indicated Akar and Kalın were in civilian clothes during their visit and also that the two names had convinced Gul not to run for elections.

“If it was an official visit, why were you in your civilian clothes? If it was not official, why it was a secret meeting?” he asked.

Stating that none of the parties has made a clear statement on the allegations, Kılıcdaroglu called for “an explanation” from those who were involved.

Kilicdarogllu likened the two high-level officials’ visit to Gul to the Feb. 28 process that forced the democratically elected government to resign as a result of military pressure. He also accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of imposing his own tutelage on politics by using his influence on the army.

“Why has the chief of general staff allowed himself to be used to end democracy or to shadow it? If you are looking for a way to end democracy at gunpoint, we are ready to shield ourselves,” he said.

Kilicdaroglu recalled the failed coup by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) in July 2016 and how he had urged Erdogan not to politicize the military.

“Will you be able to strengthen democracy with the help of the military? I have already said: Do not politicize the barracks, do not politicize courthouses and do not politicize mosques,” he said.

 

11. Turkish Journalists Association calls for the release of jailed journalists before snap elections

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (03.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/release-journalists-before-elections-turkish-journalists-association-131296) reported that the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) issued yesterday a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3 and called the Turkish government to lift the state of emergency and imprisoned journalists to be released ahead of the upcoming elections on June 24.

“We have been considering the necessity of lifting the state of emergency, releasing journalists in jail, the return of fundamental rights and freedoms to the citizens for healthy elections”, the statement said.

“We also deem a duty to demand the removal of barriers to freedom of expression, an end to the oppression of journalists, writers, academics, artists, and the independence of the judiciary for our country to reach a bright future,” it added.

Reminding that the punitive and financial pressures on the journalists have increased since the state of emergency was declared following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, “censorship has been on the rise, investigative journalism has been restrained and 148 journalists are still kept behind the bars,” the statement read.

The TGC also emphasized that politicians, both those in power and on the side of the opposition, have important responsibilities to reduce the tensions and polarization among the society.

(…)

 

12. Erdogan to hold pre-election campaign rally in Bosnia

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/president-erdogan-to-hold-pre-election-campaign-rally-in-bosnia-131295) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will hold a rally with overseas voters in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, after a number of European countries barred Turkish politicians from staging pre-election campaign rallies on their soil. 

“In an environment where some countries are debating whether to allow us to campaign, we prefer to come together with our citizens in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We will come together with our citizens from European countries in a hall in Bosnia,” Erdogan told reporters abroad his flight returning from South Korea on May 3.

“On the other hand, our citizens will certainly also continue their campaigning in the other countries where they are living in Europe,” he said.

The Sarajevo rally is expected to be held on May 20 but no official announcement has yet been made.

Turkey will go to early parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule.

Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have all announced that they will not allow Turkish politicians to conduct pre-election campaigning in their territories, citing public order concerns.

Ties between Ankara and a number of European countries were hit in 2017 ahead of the controversial April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, with many Turkish politicians not permitted to hold pre-scheduled meetings. The Netherlands deported one Turkish Minister on the ground that she had not sought permission from the authorities, prompting Erdogan to denounce “Nazi-like” tactics.

Also, Erdogan said bans on Turkish politicians from campaigning are “not democratic.” “In fact we have never hesitated to congratulate the leaders who win elections in European countries. Because we want good relations and we want to open a new page with them,” he added.

Erdogan also blasted Western media coverage, decrying what he called “not a new trend.”

“We have seen these things before previous elections too in June and November 2015. We have never paid attention to these,” he said.

 “Our election manifesto for June 24 is ready. I will announce it on Sunday [May 6]. June 24 will mark a new era for Turkey. I don’t know about the objectives of other leaders but ours is a very great one. We are determined to achieve a stronger, richer and freer Turkey,” he said. 

The AKP will hold a big rally in Istanbul on May 6 to announce its election manifesto and to officially launch its pre-election campaign. Erdogan will be running for the presidency as the joint candidate of the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) under the “People’s Alliance.”

Four major opposition parties recently decided to come together in the elections in a bid to increase their representation at Parliament by bypassing the 10% national threshold.

Erdogan criticized the opposition alliance, accusing the parties of “not exerting efforts for the wellbeing of Turkey.” “They are not working to positively contribute to the country. The fact that they failed to decide on a joint presidential candidate is clear evidence of their incompetence. Our people will not fall into their trap,” Erdogan said.

“They will not be able to get the result they want in the parliamentary elections. Opinion polling shows this. Polls show that the People’s Alliance is far ahead,” he added.

Among the key debates in recent weeks was the potential nomination of Abdullah Gül, one of the founders of the AKP and a former President, from the ranks of the opposition parties against Erdogan. Questioned about debates on Gül, Erdogan was reluctant to comment on the issue. 

“Let me not speak about it. I don’t need to make any statement on this issue. Everyone knows perfectly well what’s going on,” he said.

13. Turkish police arrest over 110 FETO-linked suspects

Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.05.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkish-police-arrest-over-110-feto-linked-suspects/1134754) reported that at least 111 people were arrested on Thursday across Turkey over their suspected links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 2016 defeated coup, according to security sources.

In central Konya-based province, the organized crime department of police arrested 40 FETO suspects, including on-duty soldiers, as part of an investigation carried out by the province’s chief public prosecutor’s office.

Additionally, 14 more suspects, including on-duty soldiers, were arrested in eight different provinces, as part of a separate probe carried out by the same prosecutor’s office.

In southern Hatay province, police held 12 FETO suspects in simultaneous operations that targeted "absence houses", a label given to hideouts of secret FETO members, across the province. 

Some of the suspects are learned to have used an encrypted smartphone messaging app ByLock.

Another 12 suspects -- including doctors, teachers, and students -- were arrested in eastern Elazig-based operation, which was carried out across five provinces. 

In Mediterranean Antalya and northwestern Kocaeli provinces, police arrested nine FETO-linked suspects in each province. 

In northern Tokat province, seven suspects were arrested as part of an investigation into terror organization’s “judges and prosecutors’ house”. 

In Trabzon, a Black Sea province, four FETO suspects were arrested in simultaneous raid across the province for using ByLock application. 

In central Nigde province, police held two suspects for allegedly using ByLock, while two others were arrested in central Eskisehir province on suspicion of being terror group members.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

 

14. Turkish lira weakens to another record low against dollar after poor inflation data

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lira-weakens-to-another-record-low-beyond-4-20-against-dollar-after-poor-inflation-data-131245) reported that Turkey’s currency hit another record low against the dollar on the morning of May 3 after official data showed the inflation rose higher than expected in April.

The Turkish lira, one of the worst performing emerging market currencies this year, weakened to a record low of 4.2487 against the dollar, from the May 2 close of 4.1785. It was later eased to 4.1885 in the May 3 afternoon.

Sentiment toward Turkish assets had already been hit this week, after Standard & Poor’s cut Turkey’s sovereign rating further into junk territory and a survey showed manufacturing contracted last month.

 

……………………

 

TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

(AK/ AM)