1. Ozersay: “The Greek Cypriot leadership has to show us that it is ready to share power and natural wealth with us, in order to resume the Cyprus talks”
2. “Italian company’s oil platform returned from the brink of colliding with a Turkish warship”
3. Erhurman: “The right choice is to form a joint committee regarding the natural resources”
4. Albayrak: “The rich resources around the island belong to all Cypriots”
5. Turkey strongly condemns Dutch Parliament’s motion on 1915 events
6. Ulucay: “The economic gains from the natural resources should be for the benefit of the entire island”
7. Hasipoglu: Ozersay’s visit to Rome was worng
8. Elcil: “The embassy put an extraordinary effort to reduce the penalty”
9. Nami: “We need to raise the standards of our business community to the level of the Greek Cypriot neighbours”
10. Two new schools will be constructed in occupied Keryneia
11. So-called religious affairs department asked from Turkey to send 25 imams to the breakaway regime
12. 35 FETO suspects arrested across Turkey; one arrest in the occupied area of Cyprus
According to illegal Bayrak television (23.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-speaks-to-anadolu-agency), self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Ozersay has said that the “TRNC” fully supports Operation Olive Branch carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces in Syria’s Afrin region against terrorist organisations.
In an interview to the Anadolu News Agency, Ozersay evaluated the latest developments on the island and the region.
Claiming that the Operation Olive Branch carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces was being carried out within the framework of international law, Ozersay argued: “Turkey is a state which has the right under international law to defend and protect its territorial integrity and security. We as the TRNC fully support any step taken by Turkey to defend its territorial integrity and its fight against terrorism”.
Also touching upon the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral hydrocarbon activities, Ozersay said that the Greek Cypriots could not ignore the Turkish Cypriots’ rights over the island’s natural resources. He added that “the TRNC, consulting with and acting together with Turkey will not allow the Greek Cypriot side to exploit the natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean on their own”.
Alleging that the Greek Cypriots, as expressed by the UN since 2004, were not ready to share the island’s natural wealth with the Turkish Cypriots, Ozersay claimed: “This is a reality. They need to show us that they are ready to share power with us. They need to show us that they are ready to share the island’s wealth with us.”
Regarding the Cyprus negotiations process, Ozersay argued that it will not be possible to achieve a successful outcome by negotiating just for the sake of negotiating. “Resuming the talks in the same manner will only result in a vicious circle. We want a result oriented process. We don’t want to be left in a limbo”, he claimed. Ozersay added that there was a need for a change in mentality for the talks to be successful.
“There is currently no such perspective for negotiations with the Greek Cypriots”, he stressed.
Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot side’s position regarding the negotiations was clear, Ozersay argued: “What needs to be done? First of all we need to see steps proving that their mentality has changed. The Greek Cypriot leadership has to show us that it is ready to share power and natural wealth with us. There is no meaning in restarting talks if this doesn’t take place. This is why president [Turkish Cypriot leader] Mustafa Akinci is justified in not appointing a new negotiator”.
Under the above title, Turkish Aksam newspaper (23.02.18, http://www.aksam.com.tr/guncel/italyan-sirketine-ait-petrol-platformu-ile-turk-savas-gemisi-carpismanin-esiginden-dondu/haber-710585) reports that Italian ENI Company’s “Saipem 12000” drilling platform has returned from the brink of colliding with one of the Turkish warships, which are illegally in the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). During a conversation over the radio with the platform’s captain, the commander of the Turkish warship has reportedly put forward the decisiveness of the Turkish side, notes the paper adding that the platform was prevented by the Turkish warships to carry out researches on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus.
Citing information obtained by Dogan news agency (DHA) from diplomatic sources, the paper writes that Saipem 12000 moved towards parcel 3 of the Cypriot EEZ and that Turkish warships departed for the area after Ankara’s decision that it would definitely not permit the Republic of Cyprus to carry out explorations. When Saipem 12000 approached the area it was met with Turkish warships, which turned their route towards ENI’s platform preventing it from continuing its way. The captain of the Italian platform was reportedly panicked after this development and urgently communicated with the commander of the Turkish warship through the radio asking him to withdraw. The Turkish commander continued “decisively” to warn the captain to change his route. Saipem 12000’s captain said “ok, I am changing my route” and left the area, after the Turkish warship did not change its route.
Moreover, Italy has sent a frigate to the area with the aim to protect Saipem 12000, argues the paper claiming that the Italian frigate turned its route towards the port of Beirut in front of Turkey’s decisive stance in the area. ENI stopped carrying out explorations for natural gas in the area.
A high ranking official told DHA that Ankara’s political determination in the Mediterranean was a “big gain” and alleged that the Greek Cypriots are desperate [and helpless] for the first time. “When the Greek Cypriots could not take the support they wanted from the US, they remained alone in the Mediterranean. They understood that this job cannot be done without Turkey, without the Turkish Cypriots”, the source claimed.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (23.02.18, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/c35-KIBRIS_HABERLERI/n243550-dogalgaz-konusunda-surece-mudahil-olduk-bundan-sonra-da-muda), self-styled prime minister Tufan Erhurman, in a press conference today regarding the actions of the “prime ministry” and the “council of ministers”, referred first to the Cyprus problem. He said: “We held a meeting with the president (Turkish Cypriot leader). After this, I will have a meeting with him every week, and he will meet with the leaders of the four political parties once per month.”
He further said: “There has not been yet any development on the Cyprus problem. A UN officer will come to the island to determine the current situation, later we will see what will happen. In the meantime, developments are occurred regarding the natural gas around the island. No justification can be excused on the non-participation of the Turkish Cypriots’ administration in the current works. Even if a fund is established in the North Cyprus, at this point, the Turkish Cypriots will only get a share of the revenue, while (Turkish Cypriots) they are one of the factors to manage this issue. The right solution is to form a committee on this issue and the works of the committee to be carried out with the views of the two main factors.
As the government, we have got involved in the process and we have assigned our foreign minister. After this, we will continue to get involved. We will carry out these works together with Turkey.”
Under the title “Turkey targets peak in offshore wind power with world’s largest plant”, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (22.02.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/energy/2018/02/23/turkey-targets-peak-in-offshore-wind-power-with-worlds-largest-plant) reported that Turkey’s Energy Minister Albayrak, speaking at the first Energy and Mining Forum in Istanbul, said: “Energy diplomacy, just like the economy, has a great influence on foreign affairs”.
He said that the effective policies implemented in the Eastern Mediterranean and elimination of terrorist threats in southeastern Turkey have been important steps for the country's energy sector. He announced that Turkey is going to start very intensive land-drilling in the southeastern region for mines.
"The status of the Turkish Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean and the people there are extremely important", Albayrak argued. He criticized the unilateral politics carried out in the region by Greek Cyprus [Republic of Cyprus], and said that the rich resources around the island belong to all Cypriots, adding that Turkey has taken its position there. "We have to be active as long as a concrete and rational solution is not produced. If one-sided drilling is being carried out, Turkey will not allow it," he added.
Saying that Turkey was one of the countries with the most intense pipeline traffic in the world, Albayrak added that the official opening ceremony for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), for which test operations have already begun, will take place this coming June or July.
Turkey's capacity in natural gas storage and liquefied natural gas (LNG) is gradually increasing, Albayrak said, indicating that there is a move toward a natural gas market with stronger recipients. "With its infrastructure in natural gas, Turkey will become a country that exports energy in the next 10 years," he added.
Albayrak also announced that drilling operations for oil and natural gas exploration in Turkey will begin this year. "2020 will see a drastically different period in exploratory activities in Turkey. With global partnerships, trained engineers and developed exploration methods, we have started to map out some regions," he said.
He said that Turkey's seismic vessels are capable of carrying out mining surveys. "In mining, the plan is to drill at least 5 million areas until 2020. Turkey's geochemistry and geophysics maps are almost complete. This year, we will drill 2 million and we will gradually raise the drilled areas to 5 or 6 million and create various mines," Albayrak added.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.02.18), Turkey on Thursday strongly condemned the Dutch Parliament's motion recognizing Armenian allegations of genocide during the 1915 events.
"We strongly condemn the decision of the Netherlands' House of Representatives today to recognize the 1915 events as genocide", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Describing the Dutch parliament's decision as "baseless", the Ministry said that the decision has no place in either history or justice. "Therefore, it has no legal binding or validity", it argued.
It further claimed that "Turkey's position regarding 1915 events is based on historical facts and the principle of law."
According to illegal Bayrak televisin (22.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ulucay-speaks-on-hydrocarbons-issue), the self-styled speaker of the assembly Teberruken Ulucay has argued that the Greek Cypriot side should make use of the Turkish Cypriot side’s offers of good will correctly if the natural gas discovered is to benefit the economy of the whole island.
Receiving a delegation from the Turkish Freedom Fighters’ Association today, Ulucay said that new developments on the Cyprus negotiations process could be expected in the coming days now that the elections in “South Cyprus” had been held.
On the issue of hydrocarbons, Ulucay expressed the view that the international community should take into consideration the Turkish Cypriot side’s calls for the natural gas discovered to be used for the benefit of the entire island.
“I believe that our offers of good will must be used correctly in order for the natural gas discovered to be used so that the economic gains will be for the benefit of the entire island” he said, adding that the Turkish Cypriots had as much rights as the Greek Cypriots over any natural wealth discovered as a result of drilling. He reminded that past and present Turkish Cypriot leaderships had repeatedly made this call.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (23.02.18) reports that Oguzhan Hasipoglu, “deputy with the National Unity Party (UBP), has described as wrong the visit, which Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign affairs minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, had reportedly held to Rome in order to meet with ENI company officials. In statements yesterday, he alleged the following on the issue:
“We have anyway authorized the Turkish Petroleum (TP) to hold explorations there. Then he should have met with TP officials. However, the TRNC is a player here of course. This natural gas crisis may lead us both to solution and to separation. During the Annan Plan period in 2004, the accession to the EU was a big motivation for the Greek Cypriots […] but they deceived us. They also deceived the whole world. In the end, the Turkish Cypriots were again punished. During this period, we must insist on this issue. We must defend our sovereign rights in the sea. We must determine a strategy accordingly. […]”
Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (23.02.18) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ union (KTOS), stated that the “police” and the “prosecution” with the “officials” of the illegal Turkish embassy in the occupied part of Nicosia have put an extraordinary effort in order to reduce the punishment of the suspects regarding the incidents on January 22 against the Afrika newspaper. He further said that this extraordinary effort was also showed by a political party, which was established by the “embassy”.
In a written statement, Elcil wondered what happened with the additional report that the “police” would have prepared and what happened with the wanted 9 suspects.
Elcil argued that while the case was underway, pressure was put on the “judiciary”.
According to illegal Bayrak television (23.02.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=fisid-holds-contacts-in-trnc), a delegation from the Federation of Istanbul Industrialists and Businessmen’ Societies, which is holding contacts in the “TRNC” upon an invitation from the Cyprus Turkish Businessmen’s Society, met yesterday with the self-styled minister of economy and energy Ozdil Nami.
Speaking during the meeting, Nami said that “they were working to develop and strengthen the country’s economy”. Stating that he believed in the propelling role of the private sector, Nami said: “Bringing together businessmen from Turkey and the TRNC, to benefit from Turkey’s experiences and investments is one of our most important goals”.
Also touching upon the Cyprus problem, Nami argued that “the Cyprus negotiations carried out under the umbrella of the UN had failed to achieve a much desired settlement, despite the level of progress achieved in the talks”. “We have our Greek Cypriot neighbours which we compete with. Then there is also the EU reality. So what we need to do is make the TRNC economy more competitive and to raise the standards of our business community to that level”, he added.
Also speaking the Chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Businessmen’s Society Dengiz Kursat said that Turkish Cypriot businessmen were eager to establish business ties and partnerships with their counterparts in Turkey and Europe.
For his part, the President of the Federation of the Istanbul Industrialists and Businessmen’ Societies Muammer Omerogul said that “they were in the TRNC to look into prospects of investing”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (23.02.18) reports that the “minister of education and culture” Cemal Ozyigit stated that two new schools will be constructed in occupied Keryneia area.
Ozyigit who made these statements during a visit he paid in a school in occupied Keryneia said that a primary school and a secondary school will meet the needs of the area and added that an investment in education is the best investment that can be made.
Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (23.02.18) reports that the so-called religious affairs department asked from Turkey to send 25 imams to the occupied area of Cyprus, while during the term of the previous “government” the “ministry of education” asked from Turkey to send 32 teachers “of religious education and morals”.
This development upset the 70 unemployed teachers, pedagogical graduates in the breakaway regime.
The paper further reports that since 2016 there are no empty positions for religious teachers in the occupied area of Cyprus. The general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Secondary Teachers Union stated that there are enough unemployed teachers in the occupied area of Cyprus and the union is against the transfer of teachers from Turkey.
According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.18), at least 35 persons have been arrested across Turkey for their suspected links to Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt, according to a police source.
Police rounded up 26 out of 53 suspects, including wives of FETO members who were part of the police structure of the terror organization. Raids were carried out in 23 provinces, including western Izmir province, a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said. The suspects were also accused of using the organization’s encrypted mobile application ByLock.
Search for other 27 suspects remains ongoing, according to the source.
Separately, eight suspects, including four women were arrested during simultaneous operations in eight provinces -- among them Istanbul and Ankara -- for allegedly being involved in health structure of FETO terror group and for using ByLock.
A non-commissioned officer in “TRNC” was also arrested for his suspected links to FETO as part of a probe conducted by the Duzce Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The suspect was brought to the northwestern Duzce province for further judicial process.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(DPs / AM)