A. Turkish Cypriot press
B. Turkish press
Illegal Bayrak (07.05.18 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cyprus-issue-36 2/4) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci evaluated the Cyprus problem during a speech he delivered during an event.
Stating that both communities on the island had their share from the bitter past of the island, Akinci also drew attention to another reality of the island.
“There is another reality of this island. While we had suffered at various times, the other community had suffered at other times. We should not also hide this” he said.
Touching upon the natural richness around the island, he said this richness had the potential to revive all the peoples on the island.
Pointing out that the unilateral attempts of one side to seize this richness was not acceptable, Akinci once again repeated how this richness could be used.
He claimed that he continuously warned the Greek Cypriot side either to establish a joint committee where the natural resources around the island would be taken up or to delay its unilateral natural gas activities until a settlement is reached.
Noting that one of their biggest aims is to provide a peaceful and happy life for the children and youngsters on the island, he underlined that his latest initiatives were according to this aim.
Pointing out to the importance of true perception of his works, Akinci called on the Greek Cypriot side with the following:
“The Greek Cypriot side should not insist on its old maximalist manner. It is not possible to reach anywhere if they continue to insist on ‘zero troops, zero guarantees’. They should understand this.” Akinci alleged.
“They are trying to twist my words. They are trying to put forward issues which are not in the UN documents. The UN is being presented as it had put forward ‘zero troops, zero guarantees’ to us. There is no such a thing either in our plans and programs or in the UN proposals” he claimed.
Underlining that from the first day they had been desired a free and secure future which both communities will live equally and none of the communities will dominate the other, Akinci stressed the importance of Turkey in the security adjustments.
“It is out of question to exclude Turkey from the security adjustments. This is definitely not on the agenda. Unfortunately, this issue is being twisted a lot lately”, he claimed.
According to illegal Bayrak television (07.05.18- http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-holds-contacts-in-dacca), so-called deputy prime minister and “foreign minister” Kudret Ozesay, is holding a “series of contacts in the capital of Bangladesh, Dacca.
According to a statement released by the “ministry”, Ozersay who addressed the general assembly of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) claimed that the “TRNC” which is an observer status member of the organisation under the name of the Turkish Cypriot “state” could not be indifferent to the development in the world, alleging that it will take part in the platforms where the international community comes together to discuss issues and to act together.
Pointing out that some circles underestimated these kinds of initiatives from time to time, Ozersay alleged also the following: “The point reached by the world today has shown to all of us that we should not underestimate any international organisation or initiative. Just as the Russian Federation, Bosnia Herzegovina and Thailand who are the observer status members of this organisation, we are also an observer status member. We as Turkish Cypriots will continue to work towards making our voice heard in every platform and to be visible in the world”, Ozersay argued.
In his speech, Ozersay also stressed that everyone should question why the Cyprus negotiations concluded unsuccessfully and added that an approach to immediately start negotiations in any case would mean to make Turkish Cypriots enslaves of the status quo.
Referring to the decisions taken by the OIC in the past, he called on the member states to act according to these decisions. “It is definitely a serious step for us to be represented here under the name of the Turkish Cypriot state however this is not enough. We want to be a part of the international community and the world. Hear our voice and take initiatives to implement the decisions taken. We want to feel your support in our rightful struggle” Ozersay said.
Meanwhile, as part of his contacts Ozersay met with Somalia’s Foreign Minister and the Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and held inter delegate meetings.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.05.28) reports that Ozersay, within the framework of his “contacts” in Bangladesh, met also separately, with the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Afghanistan. During the meetings, Ozersay explained the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side.
Moreover, Ozersay held further a meeting with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Spokesman of the Turkish Government, Bekir Bodag. Ozersay described his meeting with Bodag as “constructive”.
Illegal Bayrak television (05.05.18 05 05 2018 12:55 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=bozdag-speaks-on-cyprus-problem-at-oic-meeting) broadcast that the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Bekir Bozdag claimed that the Greek Cypriots have no intention of sharing power with the Turkish Cypriots.
Addressing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s 45th Foreign Ministers Meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bozdag spoke about “the unjust isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people”.
Reminding that the negotiations aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement on the island had ended without success in July last year, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister alleged that the Greek Cypriots did not want to share power with the Turkish Cypriots as equal partners.
Bozdag also praised the OIC for standing by the Turkish Cypriot “people”.
Illegal Bayrak television (05.05.18 05 05 2018 12:54 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=hp-warns-akinci-on-guterres-framework) reports that the Peoples’ Party (HP) has stated that any negotiations process to start before a change in the Greek Cypriot side’s mindset will only serve the continuation of the status quo.
A statement issued by the party said that resuming talks from where they left off in Crans Montana will only result in the continuation of another 50 years of fruitless and unsuccessful negotiations.
Emphasizing the need for a process of dialogue where realistic solutions could be discussed, the HP statement said”: “Establishing trust and confidence between the two sides as well as pushing for cooperation is far more realistic and necessary than holding meaningless and fruitless negotiations. The Peoples’ Party urges President Mustafa Akinci to take these aspects into consideration before taking any action”.
Stating that the biggest obstacle in the way of establishing a federal partnership in Cyprus was “the Greek Cypriot Administration’s reluctance to share anything with the Turkish Cypriots”, the statement said that the latest developments were proof of this.
The statement also said that it was important to refrain from taking any actions that will lead to the resumption of the talks on the basis of the Guterres Framework, which it added, was subject to different debates and interpretations from all parties involved in the Cyprus problem.
It warned that putting too much emphasis and confidence in the framework document possessed the threat of trapping the sides back in the old fruitless and unproductive negotiations process.
“President Akinci should not give room to such a possibility or opportunity” the statement read.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.05.18) reports that Ozdil Nami, self-styled minister of economy and energy of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, has claimed that they will continue their cooperation with Turkey on the natural gas and hydrocarbons issue. In an exclusive interview with the paper, Nami alleged that “steps which protect the rights and the interests” of the Turkish Cypriots will be taken on this issue. He added:
“There was a policy we had formed in the past. Simultaneous and equivalent steps with the ones of the Greek Cypriot side will be taken. We have many times made a call for dialogue in order for avoiding the creation of tension regarding this issue and we will continue doing this. Will the negotiations regarding the Cyprus problem start? Will the hydrocarbon, energy issue be turned into an opportunity and not a tension? We are also watching these, we are trying to contribute. We will continue doing whatever we can for the flow of commerce between the two sides of the island, provided that my Greek Cypriot interlocutors think within the same framework with me”.
Nami said also that they want to broaden their contacts with the EU, deepen the harmonization program with the EU laws and broaden its scope. “We want to keep close and warm the relations with the EU. We want to turn northern Cyprus into a state harmonized with the EU. And we want to do it quickly. […] Our foreign efforts are not limited only to the EU. We have realized meetings with the World Bank as well. They have carried out studies regarding TRNC’s economy. We should pass from some general reports to more concrete sectoral studies. We have formed the cooperation for launching these.
There are also the Islamic Cooperation Organization and the Economic Cooperation Organization. We are also cooperating with them. […] Especially the Gulf market is very important for us. […] If we increase the markets, if we exert intensive effort to take more competitive products to them, I think that then we will pass into quicker economic growth”.
Noting that their target in the energy sector is to decrease the costs reflected in the bills, Nami added: “Acting with this understanding, one of the topics we have in front of us is the electricity connection with Turkey through cables and passing into an interconnected system with Turkey. We approached this issue within the framework, which I mentioned earlier. We are looking at it positively, provided that it will make the bills cheaper and renewable energy is created”.
Replying to another question, Nami said that they have a project of constructing a new port in occupied Famagusta and transferring the existing port to occupied Trapeza area and added that a new port, a new airport, bringing electricity with cables from Turkey and building new industrial areas and hospitals are projects which they could materialize within the forthcoming five years.
Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (06.06.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/05/06/erdogan-reveals-ruling-ak-partys-election-manifesto-ahead-of-snap-elections-on-june-24) reports that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party unveiled its manifesto on Sunday in a mass meeting in Istanbul attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan said the June 24 election will be a milestone for Turkey's future. He said his party will continue to struggle to make Turkey an important global power and a leading force.
The Turkish President said that Turkey's national income will increase and the gap between income groups will narrow rapidly, and combating corruption, poverty and bans will continue to be among the countries most important goals after the election.
He said Turkey's projects in the domestic automobile and defense industries would be quickly implemented if he is elected.
"As Turkey, our goal is to have 100% indigenously-made land, air, sea defense systems," Erdogan said.
Regarding Turkey's EU membership, Erdogan said that Turkey will continue its goal of joining the 28-nation-bloc.
"We have never given up on our goal of full membership to the EU although lately we did not see the same determination and desire from our counterparts," he said.
"Independence, national interest, national security and conscientious stance, the principles of our foreign policy, will remain unchanged. We will not patronize other countries, just as we do not accept being patronized," the President said, stressing that his party is determined to continue diplomacy at an equal level with its counterparts.
Erdogan also mentioned his determination to clear Turkey's borders of all terror groups. "We will launch new operations similar to Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch within our new term to eradicate all terrorists from Turkey's borders," he said.
Should he win the June 24 election, Erdogan would be Turkey's first leader under the presidential system, doing away with the prime minister's post, among other changes.
The president also said at least 4,415 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the launch of Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (07.05.18) reports that speaking to an AKP meeting Erdogan referred to Cyprus noting that “In the issue of our national cause of the TRNC we always protect out sensibilities.
Meral Aksener, the leader of the Good (IYI) Party and presidential candidate for the upcoming elections in Turkey, in her personal social media account twitted on May 4th the following:
“I have a simple question to esteemed Erdogan: Do you get or not get results from your wrong policies on North Cyprus? My answer is clear: I will not allow you to give an inch from North Cyprus’ land”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (05.05.18) reported that a workshop on the “ideal administrative system” in the occupied area of Cyprus had been held on Friday. Speaking during the workshop, Serdar Denktas, self-styled minister of finance, expressed the view that the presidential system is the most appropriate one for the occupied area of Cyprus, explaining that it is obvious who bears the responsibility in this system and therefore if this person does not administrate well, the damage he will cause will be limited to two terms of duty.
Cemal Ozyigit, self-styled minister of education, said that either they like it or not, according to the international law, a subordinate administration exists in the occupied area of Cyprus. “I think that the regime, which will come up with the ending of the guardianship regime by the lifting of article 10 of the constitution, should be discussed”, he added.
Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister, said that they should circumvent the existing system, if they support change and added that meritocracy in the occupied area is razed to the ground.
Teberruken Ulucay, “speaker” of the so-called assembly, noted that the presidential and parliamentarian systems have been discussed since 1975 in the occupied area of Cyprus but they could not reach a final result yet.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (05.05.18) reported that Mehmet Harmanci, “mayor” of the occupied part of Nicosia, met on Friday with the Ratib Alibayat, Mayor of Hindaza municipality of Palestine.
According to a press release by the “municipality”, Harmanci and Alibayat discussed about the areas of cooperation between the two “municipalities” and their mutual activities.
Speaking in the meeting, Alibayat said that “North Cyprus is a beautiful country with a lot of universities”, adding that “he will encourage the people of his own town to visit North Cyprus and to study in its universities”. Stressing that he wants to develop the cooperation with the “municipality” in the occupied part of Nicosia, Alibayat argued that they want to promote cultural exchange for their towns of “Nicosia” (he refers to the occupied part of Nicosia) and Hindaza to those who do not know them. He also noted that they want to host in their town Harmanci with an accompanied delegation, adding: “We have some common points with Nicosia (the occupied part of Nicosia). I am also a mayor in a town with political problems”.
Harmanci, on his part, said that they look positive to the cultural exchanges and especially the university students in a town they are an advantage from the point of economy and promotion. He concluded by saying that such cooperation could lead to good results and that he believed that both towns will develop mutual events within this cooperation.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.05.18) reports that a trial will be launched today in the occupied Lefkosia “district court”, against Afrika newspaper with the accusation of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after publishing last December a caricature of Erdogan.
According to the paper, the “attorney general” filed a penal proceeding against the paper for acting contrary to the “articles 20, 35 and 68 of the penal code” regarding foreign state officials. The paper adds that the “attorney general” called 25 persons including journalists and professors in evidence.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (07.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/presidential-candidate-ince-promises-to-take-bold-steps-to-solve-kurdish-issue-131417) reports that main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce has vowed he will take “bold and courageous steps” to find a solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey if he is elected president in the early elections on June 24.
“There has been an environment of clashes for 40 years. How will we solve it? We will solve it first with sincerity. Second, we will solve it in parliament. Third, we will solve it by not lying. And finally, by taking courageous steps,” İnce said in an interview with BBC Turkish on May 6.
“I believe this can be solved with sincerity,” he added, underlining the importance of “reconciliation and dialogue.”
He stated that he was against the CHP’s support in 2016 to lift the immunity of MPs, which resulted in the imprisonment of one CHP lawmaker and 11 Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers, four of whom were stripped of their MP status.
“I said what I believed,” he said, adding that he objected to the proposal because he believes “there is no independent judiciary in Turkey.” “I still think like that,” he said.
“I will not do it for a vote. Sometimes Turks and sometimes Kurds will be angry with me. I am prepared for that. I will set forth the principle, and it will be within universal rules and law, and it will take account of conscience,” he said.
Following the interview, he posted on his official Twitter account that he will arrange a courtesy visit to all presidential candidates, including HDP’s candidate Selahattin Demirtas, who is currently behind bars in Edirne Prison.
“I will visit Mr. Selahattin Demirtas in prison,” İnce posted on May 6.
Being nominated as the CHP’s candidate on May 4, İnce’s first public speech in his hometown Yalova on May 5 was marked by his vow for “impartiality.”
He urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the release of Demirtas, as he reiterated the CHP’s criticism on the president’s influence over the judiciary.
“The HDP are also children of this nation, the AKP are also the children of this country… Don’t keep Demirtas in jail,” İnce said on May 5.
Arrested in November 2016, former HDP co-leader Demirtas is accused on terrorism charges.
After he was presented as the HDP’s presidential candidate on May 4, the party’s co-leader Pervin Buldan and a HDP committee applied to the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) for the release of Demirtas for “fair elections.”
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (07.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/i-refrain-from-speaking-against-aksener-since-she-is-a-woman-mhp-leader-bahceli-131394) reports that the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli has continued to criticize presidential candidate and İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Aksener’s bid to collect 100,000 signatures for her nomination, claiming she was encouraged by the Fethullah Gulen network, widely believed to have masterminded the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
“Why would a party with a history of less than seven months attempt to collect 100,000 signatures when it is not needed?” Bahceli wrote in a Twitter post on May 5.
“Who gave them this advice? Is it Pennsylvania who suggested this?” he went on in his series of tweets, referring to Gulen’s current place of residence, who is wanted by Turkey to be tried on allegations of founding and leading the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO).
Bahceli also said he would refrain from speaking against Meral Aksener “because she is a woman,” while voicing his anger against the former MHP member and the recent founder of the İYİ Party.
“I refrain from speaking against the person who is the leader of the İP [İYİ Party] because she is a woman,” he said.
“This is in honor of my respect for women and womanhood,” he added, before warning her “to know her place and to exercise good manners and polite language.”
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (07.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/jailed-presidential-runner-demirtas-says-fair-elections-impossible-under-state-of-emergency-131355) reports that former co-chair of Turkey's Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) challenged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from behind prison bars and said a fair vote in next month's election was impossible under the state of emergency.
In his first interview with international media since being amed as candidate by HDP on May 4, Selahattin Demirtas told Reuters opposition parties will face huge obstacles campaigning for votes.
"Demonstrations are banned, talking is banned, criticising the government is banned, even defending peace is considered terror propaganda," he said.
"Hundreds of opposition journalists are arrested, dozens of TV and radio channels are closed. It is impossible for there to be fair elections in such an environment," Demirtas said in a hand-written response to questions submitted by Reuters to his lawyers.
Demirtas and the HDP face even greater challenges than other opposition parties in running against Erdogan and his longtime-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Demirtas has been in jail for a year and a half on security charges and faces up to 142 years in prison if convicted.
Announcing his candidacy on May 4, the party released images of a visibly thinner yet smiling Demirtas dressed in a white shirt and black trousers in the courtyard of his prison in the northwestern province of Edirne.
A human rights lawyer by training, he is one of Turkey's best-known politicians, winning votes beyond his core Kurdish constituency in the 2015 election to turn the HDP into the second-largest opposition party in parliament.
Now, he faces terror charges.
Prosecutors charge that Demirtas and hundreds of other detained HDP members are tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The HDP denies the charges and Demirtas said he was unjustly jailed.
"There is no legal obstacle to my candidacy because I am not convicted," he said, adding it would be a "scandal and a crime" if the courts blocked him by convicting him.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (07.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/iyi-party-sp-candidates-reach-100-000-signatures-to-run-in-elections-131393) reports that İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Aksener and Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoglu have collected the required 100,000 signatures to be a presidential candidate and qualify to run in the presidential elections against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Muharrem İnce and Selahattin Demirtas.
As the process for collecting signatures for independent candidates continues, the İYİ Party and the SP’s candidates reached the 100,000 signature threshold as of May 6, qualifying to run in the elections.
Aksener was the first to hit the threshold on May 5. As of May 6, the number of signatures given for her has reached more than 170,000.
Karamollaoglu collected 100,000 signatures on the third day, passing the margin on May 6.
As a result, the number of candidates running in the presidential elections is now five, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have presented Erdogan, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has presented İnce and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has presented Demirtas as their presidential candidate.
According to the new presidential election system, a candidate can either be presented by a political party that has received more than 5 percent of the votes in the previous elections or a political party that has a party group in parliament. They can also be an independent candidate if they have collected signatures from 100,000 citizens.
Voters will continue to give signatures for independent candidates until May 9, as Patriotic Party (VP) leader Dogu Perincek and Justice Party (AP) leader Vecdet Oz still need more votes to reach their goal.
As of May 6, Perincek has collected 28,000 signatures and Oz has collected 768.
Under the above title Hurriyet Daily News (05.05.18) published the following article by Serkan Demirtas:
“Kurds will play a very important role in Turkey's elections
With less than 50 days to go until snap elections, political parties' pre-election campaigns have already begun, with the announcement this week of their presidential candidates. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will run for the title as the joint candidate of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) under the "People's Alliance."
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) registered MP Muharrem İnce as its presidential contender, while veteran politician Meral Aksener is the nominee of the İYİ (Good) Party. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has announced that its imprisoned former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas will be its presidential candidate, just as it did in 2014. Meanwhile, conservative Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoglu will run for the presidency from the ranks of his party.
In the meantime, the CHP, the İYİ Party, the SP and the Democrat Party (DP) are due to officially announce the alliance they have formed in order to cancel out the 10 percent threshold obstacle and to increase the representation of these parties in parliament.
However, because of the strong rejection of the İYİ Party the opposition alliance has excluded the HDP and pushed the pro-Kurdish party to run individually in the parliamentary election. Although senior HDP officials are very confident that the party will cross the national election threshold and that Demirtas will come second in the first round of the presidential elections, there are serious doubts about the performance of the HDP in both polls on June 24.
Demirtas is a charismatic and successful politician who achieved an historic 13 percent election result in the June 2015 parliamentary election. As the youngest of the candidates, he has the capacity to reach out to voters of other parties too. However, he is jailed and there is no any chance of him being acquitted of all charges any time soon. What's more, his candidacy also needs to be cleared by the Supreme Election Board (YSK).
In the parliamentary election: HDP co-leaders, who met with a group of EU ambassadors and diplomats last week, seemed confident that the party will manage to pass 10 percent threshold. Indeed, a number of opinion polls also suggest that the party still has the potential to enter parliament in the next election.
However, it can be observed that the party no longer has the same stimulus that it had ahead of the 2015 elections because of the fact that the political landscape has steadily shrunk the HDP's political space. Over the last two years, the party's co-leaders and around a dozen of its lawmakers have been jailed. Around another dozen of them have lost their seats in parliament and many of its local mayors have been dismissed from office.
The party has lost almost all of its media visibility. Continued terror attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the ongoing fight against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the broad public support for that operation have further marginalized the HDP in the eyes of public opinion. It should also be noted that the HDP failed to create a distance between itself and the PKK, and to denounce terror attacks perpetrated by the PKK.
Questions also arise about the electoral behavior of pious Kurds in the upcoming elections. There are those who argue that pious Kurds will vote for the HDP and Demirtas in these elections, as they observe a kind of consolidation among Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent. However, others suggest that it will be very hard to make a forecast about this as many Kurds voted in favor of AKP-sponsored constitutional amendments in 2017.
Another factor that could have an impact on the results is the fact that the new Election Law will be implemented on June 24. A number of items in the new law could bring about additional difficulties for HDP voters, particularly in the east and southeast of the country, amid "security concerns."
All this is important because the result that the HDP gets will be very significant in terms of the composition of parliament, while Kurdish votes will also be key if the presidential election goes to a second round.
In the event that the HDP is able to enter parliament, the opposition bloc will have the chance to secure a majority against the AKP-MHP's "People's Alliance." If not, the "People's Alliance" will likely garner a strong majority in parliament because the AKP will be able to sweep up a good portion of HDP seats as it is the second party in almost all the areas where the HDP leads in polls.
For a possible second round in the presidential election, Kurdish votes will again play an important role. It will most likely either be Meral Aksener or Muharrem İnce standing against Erdogan in the runoff vote. Although HDP officials do not want to comment on who HDP voters would turn to in a second round, it is believed that the CHP's İnce would have a better chance than Aksener in attracting Kurdish votes. After all, Aksener's reputation as a former interior minister is not a good one in the eyes of most Kurdish voters. If Kurds opt to not go to vote in the second round, that would certainly work to the advantage of Erdogan.
In conclusion, the current political picture suggests that the HDP and its voters will be the real kingmaker in both parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24.”
Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (07.05.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-says-it-will-retaliate-if-us-halts-f-35-fighter-jet-sales-131366) reports that Turkey has said it will retaliate if the U.S. halts sales of new generation F-35 fighter jets in reaction to the Turkish government’s purchase of S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems from Russia.
“It’s not right for them to speak with us in a threatening way. If they take such a step at a moment when we are trying to mend our bilateral ties, they will sure get a response from Turkey. There no longer is the old Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the private broadcaster CNN Turk in an interview on May 6.
“We told the U.S. about our response. I told this to the U.S. secretary of state [Mike Pompeo] in our meeting in Brussels,” Cavusoglu said.
The Turkish Foreign Minister’s statement came in response to a question about recent moves at the U.S. Congress that called on the U.S. government to sanction Turkey because of its growing ties with Russia particularly after its procurement of the S-400 air defense system.
“They should not question our good ties with Russia. The West should abandon this understanding. Countries in this geography have to pursue a balanced policy. Our NATO membership is not an obstacle for us to establish good ties with other countries. No one can argue that Turkey is seeking an alternative to its NATO membership,” he said.
The U.S. has to understand that it can no longer impose its own policies on other countries in the world and cannot sanction countries unilaterally, Cavusoglu stressed.
“There is the U.N. and other international organizations. All countries have to abide with Resolutions taken by these organizations. But I am not obliged to approve decisions taken by an individual country. Therefore, U.S.’s attempt to impose sanctions on us is illogical and wrong. I would retaliate [in this case],” he said.
“What will happen then?” he said. “If the U.S. imposes sanctions or takes a step in this direction, Turkey will absolutely respond to this. But this is not something we wish. Why should it happen? Thus, the U.S. should give up this approach.”
Turkey needs to protect its citizens and defend its airspace but the U.S. hesitated to sell its Patriot systems, Cavusoglu recalled, underlining that threatening Turkey with sanctions was not befitting an ally.
Reiterating that the S-400s will not be integrated with the NATO radars and systems, Cavusoglu stated that the sophisticated air defense systems will be controlled by the Turkish military and will not in anyway target NATO members as the enemy.
“We are already very sensitive on this. Not any defense system, not any weapon I procure or produce in Turkey can and will identify NATO members as the enemy,” he said.
Cavusoglu and Pompeo held their first meeting on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels in late April with an agreement to come together immediately in Washington D.C. The Minister said he will either visit Washington D.C. before May 11 or after May 15 as he will accompany President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a visit to London between these days.
The meeting of the two Foreign Ministers will focus on an initial agreement over a road map on how Turkey and the U.S. will coordinate its actions in Syria in a bid to avoid future tension because of the latter’s partnership with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“I have observed that U.S. authorities are also determined in the approval of this road map. We have received the invitation [for a visit to U.S.] right after the meeting [in Brussels]. This can constitute a venue for the normalization of our relations but we still have expectations from the U.S.,” the Minister stated.
The said road map stipulates the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij in a certain timeline and outlines how and by whom all these areas will be controlled.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION