A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.05.18) reports that according to Ankara Anatolia (the official news agency in Turkey) the Turkish Board of Investigation on Financial Crimes (MASAK) launched an investigation for money laundering of 5 billion dollars in 13 casinos in the “TRNC” and for 20 firms that belong to them.
The paper writes that prosecutors of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, ordered the confiscation of 100 million dollars linked to suspects after an earlier investigation by MASAK which uncovered that the casinos in the breakaway regime were involved in the transfer of high amounts of foreign currency. The transfers were through the accounts of seven casino managers and the accounts of staff at 20 companies owned by the casinos. The Turkish police is now investigating money traffic of more than 5 billion dollars between the seized accounts and suspects.
Reporting on the same issue, Kibris (22.05.18) writes that the suspects had multiple accounts in seven banks based in Turkey, including Bank Asya. So called authorities in the breakaway regime stated to the paper that no document or information was asked for them by any authority in Turkey. They also said that they were informed about the issue by the press.
Turkish daily Sabah claimed that Bank Asya is a lender closed by the authorities due to its links to the Gülenist Terror Group FETO.
Reporting on the same issue, Yeni Duzen (22.05.18) writes that the so-called minister of finance Serdar Denktas stated that they conducted MASAK and were informed that such a case does not exist. He also said that the court in Gaziantep took a decision but the breakaway regime has not been officially informed yet on the issue. As he said they will receive detailed information soon. The paper further reports that the “bureau of investigation on financial crimes” of the so-called police said that no investigation on the issue is taking place in the occupied area of Cyprus.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.05.18), columnist Basaran Duzgun assesses the report prepared by Turkey’s Board of Investigation on Financial Crimes (MASAK) regarding 13 casinos in the occupied area of Cyprus, for which suspicions exist that have illegally transferred abroad 5 billion US dollars [Translator’s note: For further information see Item 1]. Under the title “Banana republic TRNC and the end of the barons of gambling”, Duzgun reports, inter alia, the following:
“[…] We have come face to face with serious problems in the conditions changed after 1974, the ‘realities’ imposed by the circumstances and the situation of becoming ‘Turkey’s back garden’ which emerged recently. The reality of leaving free here everything which is prohibited in Turkey. […]
The Board of Investigation on Financial Crimes (MASAK) in Turkey has taken under examination 13 casinos in the TRNC. It has established 20 companies regarding these 13 casinos. It has suspicions that 5 billion dollars have been smuggled abroad. It is said that 100 million dollars are blocked in the established bank accounts. This information was published yesterday by Anatolia News Agency, Turkey’s state official agency. And we watched this with astonishment. And I am sure that those who govern also did the same.
As the humble and helpless writer of this column, I am trying to warn for some time now. I have been shouting loudly that ‘the country is being lost, we must defend it’, but no one listens. The barons of gambling have rolled up their sleeves in order to create a ‘parallel government’. They are trying to add new ministers and bureaucrats during the current government’s term to the ones they had ‘bought’ in the past period. This is the situation.
They are aspiring of an alternative government to the prime minister and all the coalition partners in the fake paradise they offer. A state structure dependent on themselves in a parallel way and does not take orders from the prime minister or the coalition partners. They have entered into the media field in order to secure this. Some of them created their own media by risking losing hundreds of thousands of dollars every month. Some of them ‘bought’ journalists individually and made them their own buglers. They have organized every kind of operations in order to silence the real newspapers and journalists.
This is what we have been trying to explain. We could not explain it. Yesterday MASAK put this forward clearly. Five billion dollars. This is five times the TRNC’s budget. The state has been seized like the banana republics in South America and the administrators do not know about it. […]”
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (22.05.18) reports that Sener Elcil, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOS), asked that a stable currency should be adopted in “North Cyprus” and the cost of living should be given to the employees every two months.
In a written statement, Elcil said that the economic crisis in “North Cyprus” continues to deteriorate and the main reason for the economic crisis is the use of the Turkish Lira.
Noting that the local revenue of last year in the occupied area of Cyprus covered the 83% of the total expenses, Elcil argued that the use of the Turkish Lira is a political decision, which was taken, to ensure the complete integration to Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.05.18) reports that the “Turkish Cypriot culture and arts festival” will take place in London on June 10. The paper notes that London is the place that the highest population of Turkish Cypriots lives outside of Cyprus.
The so-called minister of culture Fikri Ataoglu is expected to participate in the festival which will take place in Lee Valley Athletic Centre (61 Meridian Way, London, N9 0AR).
Traditional dances and food will be presented among other things during the festival.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-lira-weakens-to-record-low-against-dollar-amid-dollar-rally-concerns-132119) reported that the Turkish Lira extended its relentless tumble on May 21, sliding more than 2% against the dollar, hit by a surging greenback and concerns about Turkey’s Central Bank’s ability to rein in double-digit inflation.
The lira has lost 17% so far this year, making it one of the worst-performing emerging market currencies.
“This is driven by a global environment that is continuing to deteriorate, characterized by higher U.S. Treasury yields and a stronger dollar,” said İnan Demir, senior emerging economist at Nomura International, as quoted by Reuters on May 21.
“The situation was exacerbated by the [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan speech last week in London and the fact that the Central Bank seems unable to act to stop the currency weakness.”
The lira traded at 4.5920 against the dollar by 1238 GMT, having touched a record low of 4.5933 earlier.
The lira also hit record lows against the euro and the yen and Turkey's dollar-denominated bonds tumbled.
Annual inflation stood at 10.85%in April, and it has been as high as 12.98% in recent months.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-rejects-appeal-for-release-of-hdps-jailed-presidential-candidate-demirtas-132173) reports that a Turkish court rejected an appeal on May 21 for the release of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) former leader and presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas, the party said, a month before snap parliamentary and presidential elections.
Demirtas, who has been in jail for a year and a half on security charges and faces a jail sentence of up to 142 years if convicted, was nominated by the HDP as a presidential candidate earlier this month.
Last week, the HDP applied for Demirtas’s release before next month’s snap election, saying his detention jeopardized voter freedom.
Turkey’s High Electoral Board has approved his candidacy and Demirtas is running his presidential campaign from behind bars. “We condemn this lawless decision which prevents an equal and fair election. Every day that Demirtas, the candidate of millions, is not with his voters will cast a shadow on the June 24 elections and put into question its legitimacy,” the HDP said on Twitter.
A former human rights lawyer, Demirtas is one of Turkey’s best-known politicians, winning votes beyond his core Kurdish constituency in 2015 elections. Prosecutors charge that he and hundreds of other detained HDP members are tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
HDP nominated Ahmet Sık, a prominent journalist and author who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison over terrorism charges last month, and Barıs Atay, an actor and outspoken critic of Erdogan’s policies.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.05.18-https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/ankara-political-parties-submit-mp-candidate-lists/1152888) reported that the Turkish political parties submitted their list of parliamentary candidates contesting the June 24 early elections to the Supreme Board of Election (YSK) in capital Ankara on Monday.
Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) officials visited the YSK and submitted their lists.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu will stand as candidates from western Izmir province.
Eight political parties are contesting the early elections: AK Party, CHP, HDP, Free Cause (Huda-Par) Party, newly-formed Good (IYI) Party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Felicity (Saadet) Party and the Patriotic (Vatan) Party.
For the first time in Turkish political history, political parties will go to election by forming alliances. Also, mobile ballot boxes, presidential candidate with 100,000 signatures and the fact that presidential and parliamentary elections both would be held on the same day are some of the firsts in this election process.
Turkey’s ruling AK Party and MHP will enter the race as an alliance while CHP, IYI Party, SP and Democrat Party (DP) will participate as part of the other alliance.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/parties-candidate-mp-lists-stir-debate-132132) reported that the AKP is 18 years old with 57 nominees under 25 who will run for Parliament. The Energy Minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak was nominated for Parliament from Istanbul. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was also nominated for Parliament while EU Minister Ömer Celik will not run for Parliament.
Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek will also not be in Parliament in the next term.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu has also been nominated for Parliament from his homeland Antalya. Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu will run for Parliament from Bursa. In the new presidential system, those who are appointed as Ministers will have to resign from Parliament.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has undergone a significant change in its parliamentary group for the upcoming parliamentary elections, as the partial list revealed 61 of the 131 current lawmakers have changed. The partial list of candidates from the CHP was revealed after the Party Assembly and Central Executive Board were convened on May 20, as the names of candidates from 28 cities of Turkey indicate major changes in the party’s lawmaker configuration.
With the changes, a large number of candidates determined in the preliminary elections within the CHP organizations were left out from the list, while the names from the Central Executive Board and the Party Assembly have found a place.
Former CHP leader Deniz Baykal was presented as a candidate from his constituency Antalya from the first position, while imprisoned CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu was presented from Istanbul from the first position. Constitutional law professor İbrahim Kaboglu, who was dismissed from his post at Marmara University due to the state of emergency decree, is also on the list.
Also, the AKP’s founding member Abdullatif Şener was presented as a candidate from Konya. His name was among the CHP’s presidential candidates. Some of the names that were within presidential candidate Muharrem İnce’s list in the former congress were left out.
Although there were speculations that İnce has shown against the exclusion of his close friends from the list and that’s why he canceled his rallies scheduled for May 21, he denied such rumors at the rally he held in Bartın on May 21.
“The announcement of these parliamentarian lists will sure make some happy and some not. This is valid for all of us. Our objective is big but time is limited. We have no time to deal with such things,” İnce said.
“When I am elected President, I will be the one preparing the list for the cabinet,” he said, advising the people not to be preoccupied with such things.
Some CHP seats reserved for the SP
As the main opposition party have formed an alliance with the Felicity Party (SP), some of the places within the 600-lawmaker list were left blank for SP lawmakers.
Fifteen lawmakers who had resigned from the CHP to ensure the İYİ (Good) Party’s participation in elections have returned to their parties and will find a place in the CHP’s candidate list.
The official list will be announced on May 30.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-opposition-parties-vow-to-work-together-to-ensure-election-safety-132162) reported that the representatives of opposition parties, part of the People’s Alliance, have vowed to work together to ensure safety in the upcoming June 24 early elections, after a controversial legislative package on poll safety passed in Parliament.
“As the representatives of the four parties within the People’s Alliance we have gathered to ensure that the peoples’ will is reflected on the elections accurately,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Onursal Adıgüzel said in a joint press conference on May 21.
“You can be sure that on June 24 we will make sure election safety is protected,” İYİ (Good) Party Deputy leader Bugra Kavuncu said.
In the press conference, representatives from the CHP, İYİ Party, Felicity Party (SP) and Democrat Party (DP) vowed to act together to ensure poll safety in the upcoming elections.
The opposition parties have raised concerns after Parliament approved a legislative package on March 13 stipulating changes in electoral regulations. The parties are worried that the 26-article law has allowed the relocation of ballot boxes for security reasons and constituencies will be able to be “merged” by authorities. The law also authorizes private security guards, security forces officers and municipal officials to enter polling stations and allows citizens to file complaints against ballot box officials and voting procedures.
Stating that the law has raised question marks over the elections, Adıguzel said that the four parties will “act in unison to overcome the problems.”
“We have united our works. Our members have also gathered. But most importantly, there is solidarity all across Anatolia,” he said.
He stated that the parties will also “follow” developments concerning the “transfer of ballot boxes and constituencies.”
Kavuncu stressed that the four parties will be in “full alliance” in the designation and education of the members of balloting committees and observers at polling stations in the country, thanking the parties and non-governmental organizations for their help.
He said that the Lawyers’ Association launched a campaign called “one lawyer for each school,” which aims to allocate lawyers to every ballot box official to provide legal support.
“We have all the necessary technologic infrastructures for the examination and confirmation of poll results. We will be open to all kind of communications and we will make our objections within the legal period,” Kavuncu said.
“We call on all our citizens to vote in full confidence without any doubts,” Kavuncu also added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (22.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-sentences-104-feto-suspects-to-life-in-prison-132145) reports that a Turkish court on May 21 sentenced 104 people to life in prison for involvement in a failed military coup in 2016, in one of the heaviest penalties given since the attempt.
The court in the Aegean province of İzmir handed “aggravated life” sentences to 104 of the 280 defendants, the harshest punishment possible under Turkish law as it rises the minimum time in jail required for parole.
Another 21 people were given 20 years in prison for insulting the President, while 31 others were sentenced to 10 years and six months for “membership of a terrorist organization.”
More than 240 people, most of them unarmed civilians, were killed on the night of July 15, 2016, when a group of rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and warplanes in an attempt to attack parliament.
The network of the U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen is widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 coup attempt, which left 250 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
Back on May 18, a court in Istanbul handed down heavy jail terms to 63 suspects including ex-military students and officers for taking part in the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, according to a judicial source.
The suspects were convicted of involvement in the killing of at least six people, including one police officer, and the wounding of 42 others on a highway near Istanbul, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The court handed down aggravated life sentences to six former high-ranking military officers on charges of murder, being members of a terrorist organization, and attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.
The court also gave life sentences to 57 ex-military students for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-review-economic-trade-ties-with-israel-after-june-elections-erdogan-132137) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 20 that after the decision of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to impose an embargo on Israeli products, Turkey will also review its economic ties with Israel after the upcoming early June 24 elections.
“I hope the OIC counties will put the decision of the embargo into practice. After all, there will be no way to get any products from them anymore. Of course, we will assess the situation as well. As Turkey, we will evaluate our ties, particularly economic and trade, with them [Israel]. We have an upcoming election. We will take steps in this direction after the elections,” Erdogan told a group of journalists on his way from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Turkey.
He recalled that the OIC had urged the United Nations to establish a peace force to protect Palestinians similar to the one in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina years ago, adding that they had also agreed on an investigation commission. “We think that this will deter them and it will not be easy for Israel to fire at the United Nations forces,” Erdogan said.
The 57-member OIC held an extraordinary summit in Istanbul on May 18 to discuss the recent Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip. Since rallies in Gaza kicked off on March 30, scores of Palestinian demonstrators have been killed and thousands were injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the border.
Turkey has responded to the violence by asking the Israeli Ambassador in Ankara to leave the country, while also recalling its Ambassadors to the U.S. and Israel “for consultations.”
Elaborating on U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent statement on ending aid sent to northwestern Syria, Erdogan said that Russians are deployed there, hence why Trump’s statement is not “coherent” with the reality on the field.
Erdogan stated further that claims made by the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce who said U.S. officials had contacted him about the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the network that orchestrated the 2016 coup attempt, were groundless.
“Why would the Americans call Mr. İnce? Why would they call someone that is not an interlocutor or has no authority on the extradition issue,” he said.
Refuting İnce’s claim that the evidences sent to the U.S. authorities for the extradition of Gülen were merely newspaper clippings, Erdogan said that the documents were all from court cases and indictments.
İnce previously claimed that U.S. officials informed him that no proper extradition request was sent regarding Gülen.
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