A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.18) reported that General Hulusi Akar, chief of the Turkish General Staff, has alleged that Turkey is always in favor of the solution of the problems in an amicable manner within the framework of good neighboring relations. Speaking at an iftar dinner [Translator’s note: The breaking of the Ramadan fast] General Akar referred to the Aegean, the Mediterranean and Cyprus and claimed:
“[…] Turkey is in favor of the solution of the existing problems in the Aegean in an amicable manner within the framework of international law and good neighboring relations. In the meantime, the necessary activities are being carried out with determination with the aim of protecting our country’s rights and interests deriving from the international law and agreements in our seas and mainly the Aegean and the Mediterranean and in Cyprus […]”.
Under the title “No problem”, Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (04.06.18) reports that Turkish Cypriot politicians commented on the decision by the “Immovable Property Commission” “IPC” for the return of the property in the occupied village Larnaka tis Lapithou to the Greek Cypriot owner Nikola Skouridi.
Ersin Tatar, “deputy” with the National Unity Party (UBP), argued that there is no harm in the decision now, but the sensitivities of the people should be taken into consideration. He added that he does not have any objection for Nikola Skouridi to live in the “Turkish part”, but he is not in favour of thousand Greek Cypriots to come to the “North”.
Ferdi Sabit Soyer, former “prime minister”, evaluated the decision of the “IPC” as very positive, adding that the Turkish Cypriots should not react on this decision, they should show tolerance.
Huseyin Angolemli, “deputy” with the Socialist Democratic Party (TDP), argued that only few Greek Cypriots would like to come and live in the “north”. He added: “I don’t believe the young people will come here”.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (02.06.18), on its front page under the title “TCs oppose GC building on his pre-1974 land”, reports the following:
“Villages in Kozankoy (occupied village Larnaka tis Lapithou) say they will petition to stop an elderly Greek Cypriot building a house on his pre-1974 land, returned to him under a settlement through the IPC - but insist they would oppose the construction, whoever was behind it. Police were called to calm angry scenes last Friday after diggers moved in to start work on 78-year-old Nicolas Skourides’ ‘dream house’, on a near-one-donum plot, where his family’s home once stood. Mr Skourides, 78, a self-confessed former EOKA fighter and patriot, was not present at the time.
Kozankoy muhtar (headman village) Hatice Besiktepeli, who settled in the village from Paphos, told Cyprus Today: “The… land neighbours a newly built house and also has a dirt road running through it to other properties.
‘They put in markers for the construction of a big house that will almost touch the neighbouring house, and it completely takes in the dirt road. This has made the residents angry… the house is being built wrongly, and the authorities are to blame. They don’t regulate constructions’.
Mrs Besiktepeli said last Friday’s protest, which also saw Lapta municipality officials, called in had resulted in the work being stopped because there is no building permit. (…) She added that villagers’ reactions had been wrongly portrayed as anti-Greek Cypriot. ‘This is not true. It would have been the same had it been a Turkish person doing this’.
Lapta mayor Fuat Namsoy confirmed construction had been stopped because of the lack of a permit, but said an application had been made and ‘procedure is being followed’.”
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.06.18) reports that Tacan Reynar, the “judge” who had examined the case regarding the attacks against Afrika and afterwards resigned has described the “lawsuit process” of the above case as a “black stain” in their “court history”. In a statement issued yesterday, Reynar said that the “high court” chose to remain silent in front of the death threats he had received during the “trial”. “As the judge of this case, I want the lawsuit process experienced in this case to be remembered as a black stain in the court history of this country”, he said and added:
“The pressure tried to be exerted on the court, the insults against me, the fact that all institutions remained silent in front of these insults, the legal scandals experienced afterwards during the criminal proceedings and the fact that after the punishment the court decision was ignored by an administrative institution showed that no meaning and importance was left for me anymore to execute my duty in this system”.
Reynar noted also that the young people cannot breathe anymore in the system which exists in the occupied area of Cyprus, the field of struggle for those who want to struggle became narrower and darkness increases “in a period during which the intercommunal talks which lasted for more than 50 years have collapsed”. He also argued that the time of saying that “the king is naked” has come and that if you feel that things are getting worse, “you must get off at the first stop” and “abandon your office which legitimates the established order”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (04.06.18) reports that former Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has alleged that the Turkish Cypriots are the side which is harmed from the prolonging of the negotiations in Cyprus and claimed that insisting on a federal solution is meaningless. In statements to the illegal TAK news agency on the occasion of the 50th anniversary from the beginning of negotiations between the two Cypriot communities on 3 June 1968 in Beirut, Eroglu claimed that a similar negotiating process should not recommence and described as an extremely big mistake the acceptance of starting negotiations on the Guterres Framework.
Eroglu argued also that the Turkish Cypriot side should ask for the lifting of the so-called embargoes and isolation allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots and clearly state that it will not participate and will not contribute in any negotiating process, if these “embargoes” and “isolation” are not lifted.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (03.06.18) reported that former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has said that as long as the Cyprus problem exists, efforts towards finding a solution should be exerted and added that “we are obliged to solve the Cyprus problem in the one way or the other”. In statements to illegal TAK within the same framework, Talat argued that even if the solution is the “two states”, both sides should agree on this because otherwise the one of these “states” will be recognized only by Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (03.06.18) reported that Talat expressed also the view that the UN should work harder with the sides, bring them together on the table after the Guterres Framework takes a more detailed shape which could be accepted by both sides and put an end to this issue.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (03.06.18) reported that the “economic protocol” between Turkey and the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus for 2018 has entered into force. The “protocol” provides for Turkey granting the breakaway regime 2 billion 187 million 186 thousand Turkish liras (TL) in 2018, of which 212 million TL will be given for the real economy and 464 million TL for infrastructure projects.
Moreover, 940 million TL for supporting the “reforms” are included in the “protocol”. According to the paper, 540 million TL from this money are transfers from last year’s “budget”.
Finally, the “budget” for the “defense” in the “protocol” reaches 341 million 498 thousand TL.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (02.06.18) reported that the Famagusta Initiative, the Famagusta Our City Initiative, the Famagusta Youth Centre (MAGEM) and the Unite Cyprus Now organizations have issued a joint statement calling on everyone to boycott the occupied beach in Deryneia until everyone can have access to it. The organizations said that they oppose the racist practice implemented by the occupation regime, which decided that the above-mentioned beach is open only for “citizens” of the “TRNC” and Turkey. Describing the decision as “racist”, they also noted that steps should be taken in the direction of everyone who visits occupied Famagusta to have access to this beach regardless of his ethic origin.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.06.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-will-never-allow-fait-accompli-in-seas-defense-minister-canikli-132697), Turkey will never allow fait accompli that would diminish its role and sovereignty in seas, Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli has vowed, indirectly referring to Greece and “Greek Cyprus” (he refers to the Republic of Cyprus). “We will never allow any attempt or step that would jeopardize or destroy Turkey’s interests in the seas,” Canikli said on June 1 aboard the TCG Giresun Frigate in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The TCG Giresun Frigate operates in the eastern Mediterranean Sea for patrolling and surveillance missions. “Those who have plans for an attack or threats against Turkey should think twice. We have to take measures to protect this country’s interests in our seas, as we do everywhere. And we are taking them,” Canikli said.
The Minister said Turkey has been noticing that some countries are in efforts to introduce new versions of the “Byzantine games” in a bid to eliminate Turkey’s interests in seas. “We will never allow this,” he said. “We will do whatever is necessary,” he added.
The Minister’s indirect comments towards Greece and Greek Cyprus came nearly two weeks after Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar made a similar statement on the issue.
According to Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (04.06.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/manbij-roadmap-to-be-turning-point-in-us-turkey-ties-3412941), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the implementation of a roadmap for withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the northern Syrian city of Manbij is expected to begin after his meeting with U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo.
“After giving approval to Manbij [issue] in the east of the Euphrates [river] tomorrow [Monday] as two Ministers, we will begin to implement it, which may be a turning point for bilateral relations,” Cavusoglu said at an iftar [fast-breaking] program in Washington on Sunday.
The Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC) had arranged the iftar at the Diyanet Center of America.
The roadmap on Manbij is expected to be announced following the meeting with Pompeo, which would focus on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city and regional stability in the region.
The Foreign Minister said the U.S. support for the PKK/PYD terrorist organization in Syria is one of the most important issues creating a dispute between Ankara and Washington. "We strive for a political solution in Syria. We reject all efforts towards dividing Syria. We have been working as a main actor for the political solution in Syria with Astana, Sochi and Geneva [peace] processes,” he added.
Cavusoglu also mentioned that a negative atmosphere against Turkey had been created at the U.S. Congress over the delivery of the F-35 fifth generation fighter jets to Ankara. Turkey’s deal to buy missile defense systems from Russia had also caused tensions between Turkey and the U.S., he said.
“But before we get these systems [from Russia] we wanted to buy them from our allies and the United States. But they did not sell us. We had to buy them from Russia. If the U.S. is ready to sell us, we want to get it from our allies too,” Cavusoglu added.
The Foreign Minister also spoke about Turkey’s continued support to Palestinians over the status of Jerusalem while underlining that some Muslim countries were not being active enough on the issue. "Turkey will never abandon Jerusalem,” he said, adding that the time had come to bring a new bill on Jerusalem in the UN General Assembly. “Turkey will continue to fight to preserve the rights of [Muslim] Ummah," he added.
The FETO issue would also be discussed during the meeting with Pompeo, Cavusoglu added.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.06.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/kurds-in-turkey-need-no-other-state-says-erdogan-132748), the Turkish state also belongs to Kurds in the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at an election rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 3. “We don’t say ‘there are no Kurds,’ we say ‘there is no Kurdish problem.’ No one should be searching for a state for [Turkey’s] Kurds. The state of the Republic of Turkey is the state of all of us. Kurds’ state is the state of the Republic of Turkey”, Erdogan added.
He argued that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has saved “Kurdish people from the despotic old regime’s oppression,” saying “we have secured your freedoms”.
“Our Kurdish brothers and sisters are under protection of the state of the Turkish Republic. Of course there is a right to voice different political demands. But it has to be done within legitimate boundaries. What is binding for me as a President is also binding for everybody. This state will not allow those who are trying to undermine the law,” Erdogan said. The AKP is “fighting against regimes of exploitation,” in military operations in Iraq and Syria,” he added. (…)
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.06.18, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/erdogan-elections-will-clearly-end-in-first-round/1163282) reports that Erdogan said Friday that presidential and parliamentary elections slated for June 24 will end in the first round. “There is no problem in public opinion surveys. Here, it is clearly seen that it [the election] will end in the first round,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a live interview on Star TV. (…)
“If there is a strong Parliament behind the President, then the President will have a much faster decision-making process in the current government system.” The number of lawmakers in Parliament from his Justice and Development (AK) Party must be more than 300, Erdogan added. (…)
Regarding the F-35 fighter jet deal with the U.S., Erdogan said Turkey is making its payments and is committed to the deal. (…) “We say that the U.S. is our strategic partner. As our strategic partner, the U.S. should not say we should knock on another door,” Erdogan said.
“We are not interested with the U.S. Senate. There is only one thing that interests us. Have I discussed this with the President of the U.S.? I have. Have we talked about this in our inter-delegation meeting? We have. If we are strategic partners, if we are model partners, the U.S. should not legally wrong us here,” Erdogan added.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.06.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-has-11-regional-bases-in-northern-iraq-pm-yildirim-132762), Turkey has set up 11 regional bases in northern Iraq and doubled the number of its troops, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said, adding that the objective of recent military operations there is to “eliminate the terrorist threat of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK before it reaches the border.
“We have doubled our [military] presence in northern Iraq. We have 11 regional bases there. Our objective is to eliminate terror before terrorists can infiltrate our border,” Yıldırım told reporters at an iftar dinner over the weekend.
His statement comes as the Turkish Armed Forces intensified its military activities in the region, where the PKK has its main headquarters and training camps in the Kandil Mountains. Ankara is keen to stage potential joint action against the PKK with the Iraqi government.
Turkey has to provide the security of its borders with Syria and Iraq from where the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have long been posing a threat, Yıldırım said, adding that a 250-kilometer strip of this border is secured but the remaining 1,000 kilometres still need to be protected. “Our problem east of the Euphrates endures. It continues along the Iran-Iraq border [of Turkey]. That means we still have problems along 1,000 kilometers of our border,” he said.
Yıldırım also stated that Turkey’s efforts to protect its border by building walls and setting up electronic surveillance will continue until all its borders - from the southeastern province of Hatay to the eastern province of Iğdır - are secured.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.06.18, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/trumps-actions-dont-reflect-america-we-know-/1162435), London Mayor Sadiq Khan, speaking to Anadolu Agency before an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner organized by the Turkish community at the Aziziye Mosque in North London, said that the Turkish community in London are “Londoners” and “they have helped make London the greatest city in the world”. Extending his thanks to the Turkish community residing in the capital city, Khan underlined that they have contributed to the city “economically, culturally and socially.”
Speaking of his office’s relation with the Turkish community, Khan said the “Turkish community in London, such as any other community have needs such as affordable houses, children’s education, apprenticeships and jobs.”
Khan said he would like to “make sure to challenge discrimination and Islamophobia” as these are also some problems the Turkish community living in London face as Muslims. “Met Police service has a zero tolerance policy against all hate crimes,” he added.
Turkish Consul General Cinar Erkin and “TRNC envoy” in London Zehra Basaran were among the guests at the iftar dinner.
Representatives from the Turkish community and organizations, Jewish and Christian communities also attended the dinner
Under the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.06.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-italian-french-consortium-advance-talks-on-air-defense-systems-132740) reports that Ambassador of Italy to Ankara Luigi Mattiolo told Hürriyet Daily News that cooperation between European manufacturer of anti-air missiles Eurosam and Turkish defence organizations will provide technology transfer to Turkey and bring the opportunity of export to third party markets, as the two sides advance talks on the Turkish procurement of the SAMP-T missile system.
“One area Turkey and Italy want to develop economic relations is the defence industry, which is a field that needs trust on the ground in order to cooperate. The added value is huge. The common partnership in NATO should be the main trigger for this kind of cooperation,” Mattiolo said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News over the weekend.
The deployment of the Italian air defence system in Kahramanmaraş as part of a NATO mission to augment Turkey’s anti-ballistic defence against potential threats from Syria demonstrates this perspective, he said.
“We are engaged with our French partners in a consortium with Eurosam, which has begun the study of a possible new generation of anti-missile defence systems with Turkish companies, which would obviously be by definition fully NATO interoperable,” the Ambassador said.
Ankara had made an initial deal with the French-Italian consortium on July 14, 2017 to develop Turkey’s national defence systems and had signed an agreement early 2018 for an 18-month long study to determine the needs and priorities for the potential joint production of an anti-ballistic missile system. The proposed system will be a more developed version of the Eurosam’s current SAMP-T air defence systems.
A written statement issued by Turkey’s Undersecreteriat for Defence Industries on June 3 informed that the talks between the two sides continued with the participation of high-level officials from the two sides on May 30 in Ankara. The works are planned to be finalized at the end of 2019, it said.
“Italian main industries of this sector will be fully involved in this project, together with industries from Turkey, Roketsan and Aselsan,” said Mattiolo, also noting that the cooperation would provide technology transfer to Turkey. “There is a technology transfer. There is a development of new technology products together,” he said.
As the first step, the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium and Turkish companies will look into a system based on the SAMP-T missile system produced by Eurosam and determine the common needs of the three countries.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.06.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opposition-forces-establish-fair-election-platform-132698), five opposition parties along with non-governmental organizations and union confederations have formed a “Fair Election Platform” in Ankara in order to ensure poll security in the upcoming June 24 elections.
“We, non-governmental organizations, civil initiatives, professional and labour organizations have united our forces in order to ensure a fair and safe election environment, and without any doubt, a reflection of free will onto the polls,” read the joint declaration of the platform read aloud in a press conference on May 31 in Ankara.
“Our main goal is for the electorate’s results to reflect their actual votes and for the election to be finalized in a fair and secure manner,” it added.
Five parties, including main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), İYİ (Good) Party, and Felicity Party (SP) with the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), Confederation of Public Labourer’s Unions (KESK) and 10 civil initiatives such as the Atatürkist Thought Association and Unity for Democracy, have signed the joint declaration, pledging to work together in the upcoming June 24 elections.
The platform came as the opposition parties have been expressing their objection to the legislative amendment approved in March, which brings changes in electoral procedures, arguing that the changes will cast a shadow on election security.
The CHP had appealed the Constitutional Court for the cancellation of certain articles, including the article that authorizes the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) to change the constituencies of the electorates and to transfer and unite ballot boxes if it deems necessary for security reasons. The top court rejected the main opposition’s appeal on May 31, the same day the platform was formed.
The platform members said they would establish “a joint press and communication centre” for the election and delegate exclusive observers to the ballot boxes to ensure a simultaneous update of the voting results.
“All participants of the platform work together to delegate ballot box committee members and observers in a manner that there will not be any empty boxes,” the declaration stated.
Reminding that the YSK has already changed the location of ballot boxes for 144,000 electorates in a decision on May 28, they stated that they would triple the number of their delegation in each ballot box that had been transferred to another constituency.
“We will be ready in 50,180 provinces in 972 villages in Turkey,” said CHP deputy leader Onursal Adıgüzel. (…)
Columnist Murat Yetkin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.06.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/murat-yetkin/two-interesting-developments-in-turkeys-foreign-relations-132705), argued that “problems in Turkey’s foreign relations are not limited to those sourcing from the Syrian civil war or the multi-layered rifts with its major ally, the U.S. Those problems are the biggest ones and Ankara hopes that the upcoming June 4 meeting between Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his U.S. host Mike Pompeo will bring some ease to them.
But there are two interesting developments that may have an influence in the coming days and weeks. The first is about quiet but building tension in the Mediterranean regarding oil and gas exploration around Cyprus. The second is tension building in the Aegean.
(…) Today, the Turkish Cypriot government and the Turkish government are disturbed by the Greek Cypriot (Cyprus) government’s arrangements with both international companies and other Mediterranean countries such as Egypt and Israel to produce oil and gas, claiming the entire economic zone around the island.
Similar problems apply in the Aegean amid the ongoing discrepancy between Turkey and Greece over the limits of territorial waters. If the territorial waters are recognized as being 12 miles (as the Greeks want, because of islands and islets very close to the Turkish mainland), then the whole of the Aegean Sea will be closed to Turkish use.
There were a couple of notable developments on the Mediterranean issue on May 31. Firstly, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak set sail to Turkey’s new deep sea exploration ship renamed as “Fatih” (the Conqueror). The ship, with an exploration capacity of 12 km, will search for oil and gas beds in the Mediterranean between Cyprus and mainland Turkey, escorted by the Turkish navy. A few hours later, Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli took a helicopter to land on board the TC Giresun frigate, which was on its Mediterranean patrol duty. On the ship, Canikli (wearing military outfit) vowed that Turkey would not allow “new Byzantium-style fait accomplices” against its maritime interests.
Without forgetting that it is election time in Turkey, another interesting development was the visit by Muharrem İnce, the popular presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to meet Turkish-origin citizens in Greece and Bulgaria. İnce travelled to Komotini (Gümülcine) in Greece and Kirdzali (Kircali) in Bulgaria, both near the border with Turkey.
In his speeches delivered in Greece and Bulgaria, İnce praised the importance of “living in harmony” and of being good citizens of their own countries, integrating and getting involved in politics there, rather than getting involved in Turkey’s domestic politics. He also said he was committed to the “peace at home, peace in the world” foreign policy motto of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.”
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(DPs / AM)