A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (25.05.18) reports that at the election manifest of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) there are references on Cyprus and the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
According to the paper, in the foreign policy chapter and under the title” “What we have done”, the following is stated: “One of our main priorities was the Turkish Cypriot people to receive the position they deserve inside the international community. On one hand we have supported all the international efforts until today for a permanent and just solution of the Cyprus problem, on the other hand we continued to be next to the Turkish Cypriot people until peace is reached”.
Under the title: “What we will do” is stated that AKP will continue to offer its support to the Turkish Cypriot “people” for strengthening its economic structure of the “TRNC” and increasing its prosperity. It is also stated that AKP will continue to contribute as a guarantor country for a juts and permanent solution through the negotiations that have as a basis the political will of the two “people” in Cyprus and the fact that they are co-owners of the island.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (25.05.18) reports that self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman, after the weekly regular meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, said that “the government does not intend to remain silent on the decrease of the TL value and on the loss of purchasing power”. He added that there is a huge possibility that short-term measures will be implemented any day now.
Speaking to the press, Erhurman said that one of the first issues that they discussed with Akinci was the acceleration of the tender process for the opening of the crossing points of Deryneia and Apliki. He explained that at the moment there are the “elections bans” but the issue can be considered as exceptional and be discussed in this context. He further said that they agreed with Akinci that the opening of the crossing points should not be delayed by the Turkish Cypriot side and will take the necessary initiatives.
He also said that the developments in the economy and the devaluation of the TL were the other topics that they discussed. He reminded that intensive works are being carried out on this issue at the “prime ministry” in recent days. He further said that their contacts with Turkey are continuing, adding that some want to perceive this “as state’s decision to adopt the euro and they are talking this with Turkey”, but he stressed that this is not the case. He argued that due to the devaluation of the TL unpredictable deficits have occurred in the “TRNC” and Turkey is the only place where they can discuss how they can close this gap.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.05.18) reports that the value of the foreign currencies increased yesterday comparing to the Turkish Lira (TL) after the decrease observed the day before yesterday due to the decision taken by the Central Bank of Turkey to increase the interest rates. According to the paper, the fact that the decision by the Central Bank of Turkey did not significantly influence the foreign exchange raised the fears of the “people” living in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.
The devaluation TL influences the occupied area of Cyprus more than Turkey, notes the paper adding that the school fees, the rent and the loans in the banks are usually paid in foreign exchange, while the salaries are in TL. Therefore, the “citizens” are in a very difficult situation economically.
A loan of 200 sterling pounds was equal to 1,206 TL one week ago and now became 1,299 TL. A loan of 200 dollars increased from 893 TL to 971 TL within the same period of time, while a loan of 200 euros increased from 1,055 to 1,138 TL. It is estimated that TL’s devaluation will also be reflected on the fuel and electricity prices, as a result of which the increase of many products, including food, clothes and medicines, will be inevitable.
Meanwhile, in statements to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (25.05.18), economist Dervis Deniz said that per capita income in the occupied area of Cyprus decreased from 15,000 US dollars in 2006 to 12,000 dollars in 2018, something which indicates that they have not advanced economically. Deniz expressed the view that the prosperity of the citizens will increase with a very good economic plan and that financial support is needed for this plan. “We need to act in the same direction with Turkey, which is the country by which the financing will be secured”, he argued adding that because of “practical problems” they cannot adopt a different currency unit. “Using the currency unit of countries which do not accept you as an entity will cause different problems instead of securing stability”, he claimed.
Finally, under the title “Will the EU remain silent during the TL disaster?” columnist Sami Ozuslu recalls in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (25.05.18) that the occupied northern part of Cyprus is also an EU territory in spite of the fact that the acquis is suspended “for the known reasons”. Noting that individually the Turkish Cypriots are EU citizens and have rights, Ozuslu argues that the EU has therefore responsibilities towards the Turkish Cypriots. He also expresses the view that the Turkish Cypriots should ask for the EU’s help in overcoming the problems deriving from the TL’s devaluation. “Even though it is difficult to estimate what kind of results will be produced, we should make a call for ‘help’ to the EU”, he notes adding that it would be correct to consult with the EU on the issue of whether the Turkish Cypriots could adopt euro. He also argues that they could ask for more donations from the EU and that an initiative on this issue could be taken by the Turkish Cypriot leader as “community leader”, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce through the “Green Line Regulation” and other “NGOs”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (25.05.18) reports that Tacan Reynar, the “judge” who ruled against the persons that attacked Afrika on January 22, and who faced threats against his life for this reason resigned from his “post”.
Reynar would also be the “judge” on the “cases” against Afrika regrading a caricature of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan published in the paper and two articles by the paper’s editor-in-chief Sener Levent.
According to the paper, the news about the “judge’s resignation” are in a post he made in his social media account where he stated that he finds no meaning and purpose in continuing his “duties”. The “cases” against Afrika were postponed for September 20.
Reporting on the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan reports that “the judge was appointed in his post in 2016”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.05.18) reports that a student named Hamza Asktan, who had been arrested in occupied Famagusta for possessing “prohibited publications having the character of propaganda”, was released yesterday on a bail of 1,000 Turkish liras (TL). The student will be “tried” later and he was banned from traveling outside the occupied area of Cyprus.
Speaking yesterday during the “hearing” in occupied Famagusta “court”, self-styled prosecutor Hasan Bosnak said that as a result of a search in the defender’s house on 22 May 2018, three USB’s one memory card, one laptop, three mobile phones, one book under the title “My Lesson in Kurdistan’s History” and one book in the Kurdish language were found.
Turkish Cypriot daily Haberator newspaper (25.05.18) reports that the main dome of the biggest mosque in the occupied area of Cyprus has been completed.
The mosque of the “Near East University” (“YDU”), which is a huge construction will be located in a dominant place of the university with a 4,800 m² closed area and 2,100 m² yard in a 30 one-tenth of a hectare.
It will be the biggest mosque of the occupied area of Cyprus which 10,000 people can worship at the same time.
It will have the statue of “place of worship with the highest minarets in Cyprus” with the four minarets with 72 meters height with three balconies and two minarets with 54 meters height with two balconies, in total of six minarets.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-central-bank-moves-to-stop-liras-fall-132330) reported that Turkey’s Central Bank sharply raised its key lending rate after markets closed on May 23 in a bid to stem an outflow of capital from the country, control inflation and support the beleaguered currency.
The Turkish Lira regained some of its value after the bank’s monetary policy committee held an emergency meeting and announced it was raising the rate from 13.5% to 16.5%, but the fluctuation of the value of the lira against the U.S. dollar continued for another day, swinging between an initial fall to 4.58 per dollar late on March 23 and nearly 4.80 per dollar on May 24.
“Current elevated levels of inflation and inflation expectations continue to pose risks on pricing behaviour,” the Central Bank said in a statement.
“Accordingly, the committee decided to implement a strong monetary tightening to support price stability,” it added.
Turkish inflation reached 10.85% and the economy has been plagued by fears of overheating despite impressive growth.
The next scheduled meeting of Turkey’s Central Bank had not been due until June 7 but economists had said an emergency — and substantial — rate hike by the Central Bank is not only on the cards, but essential.
The 300-basis point hike was largely in line with what economists said was needed and, in a hawkish statement, the Central Bank said it would continue to use “all instruments” to achieve price stability.
“A tight stance in monetary policy will be maintained decisively until the inflation outlook displays a significant improvement,” it added.
The rate increase came despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s former insistence that rates be kept low.
Erdogan’s spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on March 24 that state bodies including the Central Bank are working to solve the “unnatural” fluctuations in foreign exchange. In an interview with Best FM radio, he said there are many factors contributing to foreign exchange volatility.
“The Turkish economy is strong. If it was weak, it would have collapsed immediately after the July 15 coup attempt,” he said, referring to the 2016 coup bid.
He added that Turkey will jump-start a new system after the June 24 elections to accelerate economic growth, and improve politics, security, and employment.
Turkish daily Sabah (24.05.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/05/24/ak-partys-election-declaration-pledges-greener-eco-friendly-turkey) reported that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will place great emphasis on environmentalism and eco-friendly policies in the upcoming period by investing in city parks and vast green areas as the election declaration for the upcoming general and presidential elections was introduced yesterday.
Unveiling the AK Party's election manifesto in Ankara, the AK Party's chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said his party aims to provide citizens with a greener environment across the country.
"We intend to provide a better quality of life for our citizens through peace and security. In this context, we will give our cities characteristics that make them more liveable with smart and green city projects," Erdogan said.
Being one of the most assertive plans of the AK Party's environmentalist election declaration, Erdogan said a tremendous city park will be built in the area where Istanbul's Atatürk International Airport is currently located. He said he considers the new park the best plan of the declaration.
Prior to yesterday's election declaration, Erdogan also announced the AK Party's manifesto in Istanbul on May 6 for the fresh era being ushered with the new executive system. In the manifesto, which establishes the framework for the AK Party's broader outlook, Erdogan vowed to expand freedoms, democracy and welfare in Turkey.
Also during his speech the president stressed that the AK Party aims to establish a strong Parliament and a strong government at the same time. "We presented our election declaration to the people by saying that it is the AK Party that will do it if anybody," he said.
Noting that the AK Party is entering the new era with a brand new mentality, Erdogan said it is time for unity and for a new Turkey.
The AK Party's election declaration was divided into seven chapters. The chapters are: The new executive system; strong democracy; people and society; a stable and strong economy; strategic sectors and innovative production; environment, urban management and municipalities; and foreign policy and national security.
The June 24 general and presidential elections are of crucial importance in determining the next five years of the country. Announced by Erdogan in mid-April, the snap elections will bring together the different faces of the competitors.
In addition, the parties will be able to forge electoral alliances. While the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are set to enter the election under the People's Alliance, the Great Union Party (BBP) will join the alliance on the AK Party's list. On the other hand, the Republican People's Party (CHP), the newly established Good Party (İP) and the Felicity Party (SP) will be under their own umbrella.
In the previous November 2015 general elections, which were held after the June 2015 election failed to produce a coalition government, the AK Party obtained 49.5% of the vote and formed the government with 317 of the 550 seats in Parliament, while the CHP garnered 25.32% and the MHP got 11.90% of the vote. The SP and the Patriotic Party (VP) failed to garner enough votes, falling below the 1% mark.
Also earlier this month, Erdogan announced his party's manifesto for the upcoming elections. "Independence, national interest, national security and a 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 at the time, portraying the AK Party's vision for the forthcoming period.
Following Erdogan's speech, the AK Party's 600 Deputy candidates were introduced to Turkish citizens. As the party seeks to garner a majority in Parliament in the next term, 126 female deputy candidates were listed. Furthermore, 57 deputy candidates under the age of 25 will run for parliamentary seats.
Erdogan said a big responsibility will be on the shoulders of all Deputy candidates. He said all Deputy candidates should have a stance of their own and explain the services of the AK Party over the course of the last 16 years.
Erdogan also underscored the AK Party's vision on further strengthening the rights of Alevis in the country. Stressing that the AK Party will take the necessary steps with Alevi opinion leaders in a democratic and collaborative manner, Erdogan said the dialogue will continue to establish research centers.
He further added that Cemevis – houses of worship for Alevis – will be granted legal status in the upcoming term. He underlined that the AK Party was the first party in the history of the Republic of Turkey to hold Alevi workshops. "We took brave steps on the issue of different beliefs and sects apart from different languages," Erdogan added.
Even though the exact size of the Alevi population in Turkey remains unknown, they constitute the second-largest religious community in the country after Sunni Muslims. For years, public recognition of the Alevi identity, institutions and the legal status of Cemevis have been common requests made by a variety of groups in the Alevi community. Though Cemevis are the houses of religious rituals for the Alevi minority of Turkey, so far they have no legal status equivalent to that of mosques or churches.
The AK Party's vision for the upcoming term in terms of foreign policy was also introduced. Drawing attention to the Turkey-centred multilateral foreign policy, Erdogan said Turkey looks to overcome difficulties and differences of opinion with the United States. He added that Turkey is forging strong ties with Russia and places great value on bilateral cooperation.
As for Turkey's European Union ties, the AK Party slammed some European Union member states for carrying bilateral problems to the EU level.
Growing ties with Africa and Central Asian states were also emphasized. Furthermore, the declaration underlined that Turkey stands for stability and peace in the Middle East.
"In order to strengthen our position in the global value chain, we will develop our existing commercial agreements with the EU and other countries and add new ones to them. In this context, we aim to maximize commercial and economic relations with the European Union by improving the functioning of the customs union. We aim to sign trade and economic cooperation agreements with 11 countries to ensure the establishment of high-level bilateral mechanisms and the completion of legal infrastructure with countries with trade and investment potentials," the declaration said.
The declaration put a strong emphasis on elevating Turkish democracy. It pledges to instil a strong sense of democracy in society by raising democratic standards, and increasing rights and freedoms with a participatory approach.
It adds that individual rights and freedoms have been respected by the AK Party governments and that the party has a universal heritage and has made decisions based of constitutional order within the framework of the law.
AK Party governments will continue to embrace all segments of Turkish society within a relationship based on justice and democracy, the declaration says, and has underlined that the differences in society are recognized by the party and will be respected in the new term as societal richness, rather than a matter of conflict.
"In the new term, the Roma citizens' issues will be solved quickly, beginning with employment, housing and education issues, and any basis for discrimination will be eliminated," the declaration says.
The AK Party declaration pledges that the rights and freedoms of non-Muslim citizens will also be protected by law.
The declaration also touched upon the state of emergency imposed after the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. It said the state of emergency will remain in place, without limiting individual rights and freedoms, until all threats posed to citizens by terror groups are eliminated.
The AK Party vowed in the report to provide a human-centred convenient cultural, artistic and physical environment for young people.
The ruling party is considering extensive reforms in education in the new term. In this regard, a new campaign will be launched to increase education quality, which has been regarded as one of the weakest issues of the party since it took power in 2002.
The quality difference between schools will be levelled by forming a "educational quality index." Also teacher quality will be increased with new educational programs, and outdated syllabuses will be upgraded according to necessities of today.
The report said a new exchange program named the "Ibn Khaldun Global Exchange Program" for students will be launched. Turkey currently has two international exchange programs, Mevlana and Farabi. The country is also a member of the Erasmus exchange program.
The AK Party also pledged to open more space for youth in the political arena, especially in local councils. With last year's referendum, the age of election for Parliament was decreased from 25 to 18. Many young people nominated as candidates from different political parties will compete in the June 24 elections.
In terms of culture and art, the government aims to increase state support as well as funding for local administrations to promote cinema, visual arts and other arts.
The AK Party also pledged to further promote the Turkish language worldwide with the aim of adding Turkish to the list of official languages of the United Nations. For this purpose, the government aims to increase the number of Yunus Emre Institutes – the flagship organization that promotes Turkish culture and language abroad – to 100. It has currently 54 offices in 44 countries.
The ruling party also wants to establish cultural centers in every city in Turkey and to embrace more inclusive and innovative libraries. This would include the construction of new libraries for children and increasing the number of bookmobiles. In addition to these, new digital archives will be created to protect heritage and transfer it to the next generation.
Also, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (24.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-promises-more-democracy-strong-economy-after-june-24-elections-132340) reported that on the AKP election manifesto and writes that the broadening of the freedoms and rights, a stronger administrative system and a strong economy are among the main promises of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan has announced while unveiling his manifesto for the June 24 early elections and introducing his candidates for Parliament.
“The new era will be the era of a strong parliament and strong government. These two basic powers will be complemented by an independent judiciary. In the new period the Parliament will be stronger, the government will be stronger and the independent judiciary will be more effective,” Erdogan said.
The AKP’s 360-page manifesto stressed on the new executive system, approved by the 2017 referendum on constitutional amendments, which will fully come into force after parliamentary and presidential elections are held on June 24.
“With the presidential executive system, the principle of the separation of powers will have a ground to be implemented in a healthier manner, while the executive branch will have well-coordinated and efficient functions,” the manifesto read.
In its manifesto, the AKP also pledged to “protect everybody’s rights and law,” while also vowing “we will continue to keep the reform process alive in order to operate the judicial system more transparently, efficiently and with more accountability.”
The manifesto said Turkey’s decades-long Kurdish question was a matter of democracy, but did not promise to revisit the peace process, which previous AKP governments had always vowed to continue.
The manifesto delivered strong messages about the economy, as Erdogan promised that Turkey will join high-income countries by 2023.
Erdogan did not speak about the ongoing decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies, but he did say the government will take measures to fight against high inflation rates. “Strict measures in the fight against inflation will be taken immediately after the June 24 elections,” Erdogan stated. “Confidence and stability will continue to be the merits of our economy, whose engine will continue to be growth”, he added.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (24.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/detention-warrants-issued-for-49-soldiers-in-anti-gulen-probes-132294) reported that the police have detained 49 more suspects across Turkey for alleged links to what the authorities call the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), according to judicial sources on May 24.
Twelve out of 19 suspects sought by detention warrants were detained in the western provinces of İzmir and Canakkale, in the capital Ankara, and in the eastern province of Van, said the source, who spoke to state-run Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Separately, in the southern province of Adana 22 suspects, including serving army personnel, were rounded up by police for their alleged links to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, an ally turned nemesis of the government.
In the central province of Tokat, 14 former police officers and one teacher were detained on allegations of being FETÖ members.
The Gülen network is widely believed to have orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt, which left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (24.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-approves-sentence-to-over-16-years-in-prison-for-hdp-deputy-132288) reported that a Turkish regional appeals court on May 23 approved a prison sentence of nine years and two months handed down by a local court to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy İdris Baluken.
HDP Diyarbakır Deputy Baluken was detained on Nov. 4, 2016. He was released on Jan. 30, 2017. However, upon an appeal against his release, he was re-jailed on Feb. 17, 2018.
The regional court in Gaziantep approved the prison sentence given by a local court to Baluken, who has also been jailed pending trial for 18 months for alleged “membership in a terrorist organization.”
The HDP is the second-largest opposition party in the Turkish Parliament.
The party’s former co-chairs Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas have been arrested on charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and “being a member of a terrorist organization.”
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (24.05.18 http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/foto/foto_galeri/982380/1/Son_secim_anketi__Hangi_parti_yuzde_kac_oy_aliyor_.html) reported on the results of a new survey conducted by Mediar Research Company.
The survey was conducted with the method of face-to-face interviews among 4,268 persons in 26 provinces in Turkey between May 22-23.
Replying to the question: “Which party will you vote for in the forthcoming 24 June snap elections?”, the participants replied as follow:
-Justice and Development Party (AKP): 39,61%
-Republican People’s Party (CHP): 22.61%
-Iyi (Good) Party (IP): 17.60%
-People’s Democracy Party (HDP): 11.39%
-National Movement Party (MHP): 5.31%
- Felicity Party (SP): 2.29%
-Vatan Party: 0.49%
Also, replying to the question “Which candidate will you vote for in the forthcoming June 24 Presidential elections?”, the participants replied: Recep Tayyip Erdogan- 43,5%, , Muharrem İnce- 22,2%, Meral Aksener -19,3%, Selahattin Demirtas -12,79%, Temel Karamollaoglu- 1,6% and Dogu Perincek (Vatan Party) 0,6%.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION