A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Star Kıbrıs (18.04.19, http://www.starkibris.net/index.asp?haberID=275682) reports that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has said that Akinci would evaluate the report on Cyprus submitted yesterday by the UNSG to the Security Council after this report is finalized. In a written statement issued yesterday, Burcu said that the draft of this report was in the Turkish Cypriot side’s hands and added that Akinci would share his evaluation with the public after the report was finalized.
Illegal Bayrak (18.04.19 http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-evaluates-unofficial-version-of-unsgs-report) reports that “deputy prime minister-foreign minister Kudret Özersay has expressed dissatisfaction over the UN secretary-general’s report on his Good Offices mission, stating that it fell short of drawing a realistic picture of the current situation”.
In a post on social media, Özersay said that “the report made clear the intention of the UN secretary-general to continue the effort with a view to achieving progress despite the fact that efforts to find a common ground for the past eight months had proved useless”.
“The only thing important is that the status quo continues,” he said.
Claiming that the report was still unofficial, Özersay said that the UN could have made a more realistic evaluation of the current situation.
Alleging that the report skittishly admitted that no ground existed for the resumption of talks; Özersay said: “There is no ground but the continuation of efforts to find a common ground. It is saying that consultations should continue if the sides cannot start talks under these conditions. The UN, once again, is refraining from telling the truth out of fear it will offend one of the two sides. It seems the UN has once again failed to be impartial.”
Özersay said that a detailed evaluation of the report will be made when the official version comes out in the days ahead.
According to illegal Bayrak (18.04.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=denktas-new-creative-ideas-needed-for-cyprus-problem), the leader of the Democrat Party (DP) and self-styled finance minister Serdar Denktas has argued that the time has come to discuss and negotiate with courage new, creative ideas and models for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Evaluating the unofficial version of the UN Secretary-General’s report on his Good Offices mission; Denktas claimed that the report was just one of many disappointing reports prepared by the UN.
“When it comes to the Cyprus issue, the UN’s tendency to adopt a balanced approach is clearly evident in the negotiations processes. But the reports which are balanced within when compared to the realities can be unfairly partial”, he argued.
Denktas said that the Turkish Cypriot leader will most likely share his sentiments once he examines the report. “The attempt by the UN to keep a balanced approach between Mustafa Akinci, who made numerous concessions and efforts to reach a solution and Nicos Anastasiades who intransigently ignores UN parameters, is unfair on the Turkish Cypriots. The UN is doing an injustice towards Akinci and the Turkish Cypriots,” he alleged.
Claiming that the report revealed that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was misinformed on many issues, Denktas argued that a reference made by the UN Secretary General in paragraph 5 of the report to the results of a public perception survey and the generalisation he makes based on findings of the survey that both communities express a strong desire for a settlement was a ‘serious’ mistake.
Denktaş further claimed that Guterres, as could be seen in paragraph 18 of the report, was misinformed on the financing and activities of the bi-communal technical committees. Ηowever, he said that he agreed with paragraph 30 which highlighted the need for both communities to be well-informed about the contours of a settlement as well as the consequences of not achieving it.
“We are eager to see which steps the UN will be taking to draw the Greek Cypriot side’s attention to the consequences of not achieving a settlement,” he said, alleging that Turkish Cypriots, forced to live in isolation and under embargoes, have succeeded to exist with the support of motherland Turkey.
According to illegal Bayrak (18.04.19, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=tatar-evaluates-unsgs-report),the leader of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) Ersin Tatar has said that the UN Secretary General’s latest report on his Good Offices Mission will not make the slightest contribution to a solution in Cyprus.
In a written statement issued today, Tatar claimed that the report did not reflect the realities but was aimed more at appeasing the Greek Cypriot side.
Reminding that the UNSG had appointed a Special Envoy to determine what could be done to revive the talks which collapsed in Crans Montana, Tatar argued that the UN envoy had failed to present a terms of reference document by the end of last year as she had initially intended.
“She was unsuccessful. She couldn’t even achieve an agreement on how many Guterres documents there are and which ones need to be taken into consideration,” Tatar added.
The UBP leader also claimed that Greek Cypriot side had toughened its position and backtracked from previous convergences while the UN envoy Jane Holl Lute was carrying out her consultations.
“According to Guterres’ report neither the Turkish Cypriots nor the Greek Cypriots know what the solution will be. In other words, both communities, naturally say they want a solution but they do not know what that outline of that settlement will be,” said Tatar, arguing that the report was not fair.
He said that what the UN needs to do is to determine serious divergences that exist between the two sides and to seek alternative solutions on those problems. Tatar concluded by saying that if no positive outcome is to be reached from such efforts, the two sides should be allowed to go their own ways.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Bakis (18.04.19 http://www.yenibakisgazetesi.com/siber-den-hukumete-elestiri/40267/) reports that the former speaker of the “assembly” Sibel Siber criticized the so-called government.
Referring to the UN report she said: “Put the UN reports side by side and you won't see a difference. If the international community is honest, it must remove the cultural-sports isolation applied to us. We cannot say this with a louder voice. I would have expected the assembly to issue a declaration before the UN report. We would have expected the president, the assembly and the government to say ‘ Remove the isolation now’ in a single voice”, she stated.
She went on to add that lifting the isolation could be used as a prerequisite for launching again the negotiations.
“I am trying to fulfill this responsibility as an individual who loves her country, […]When necessary, it will always be my duty to criticize the president, when necessary”, she stated.
Illegal Bayrak (18.04.19 http://www.brtk.net/ozersay-ankaraya-gidiyor/) broadcast that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Kudret Ozersay is going to Ankara today heading a delegation.
According to Bayrak, Ozersay will hold a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister and they will discuss the latest developments of the Cyprus problem.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (18.04.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chps-imamoglu-gets-mandate-as-istanbul-mayor-as-akp-appeals-to-results-142738) reports that Turkey’s election watchdog has announced the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu as the winner of the municipal elections in Istanbul and has handed over the mandate nearly two weeks after the local polls closed, ending the 25-year rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the country’s largest metropole.
The Istanbul provincial body of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) invited İmamoğlu to get his credential in late afternoon on April 17 after it accomplished the recount of votes in Maltepe district of Istanbul.
According to the YSK, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) İmamoğlu received 4,169,765 votes while the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate Binali Yıldırım garnered 4,156,036 votes. The difference between the two contenders is 13,729.
A crowd of CHP voters flocked to the Justice Palace in Çağlayan district of Istanbul as İmamoğlu and other CHP officials met YSK officials to get the credential. A handover ceremony between İmamoğlu and outgoing Mayor Mesut Uysal was scheduled to take place later on April 17 at the Istanbul Greater Municipality.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (18.04.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-to-file-criminal-complaint-against-istanbul-poll-result-142739) reports that a senior ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) official has said his party will file a criminal complaint against what they believe are irregularities and rigging committed in the March 31 local elections in Istanbul regardless of whether or not the Supreme Election Council (YSK) renews the polls, claiming FETÖ meddling.
“We will do two things in the wake of the YSK’s decision [on the application for the renewal of Istanbul elections], whether it’s positive or not. First, we will file a criminal complaint on the illegalities by whoever they have been committed, even if they are from the AK Party,” AKP deputy leader Ali İhsan Yavuz told a press conference in Ankara on April 17.
“Secondly, we are of the opinion that there is a need for new legal arrangements,” Yavuz said, referring to the country’s Election Law, but did not give details.
The AKP submitted an application for the annulment and renewal of the Istanbul mayoral elections to the YSK on April 16 on grounds that there were severe irregularities and illegalities in the polls on March 31.
Yavuz claimed the elections were rigged in Istanbul, saying the AKP will take all necessary legal action to find the “perpetrators” in order to secure poll safety for the future elections. “We would like to see the CHP helping us to this end,” he stated.
Yavuz said the AKP’s initial findings have shown that 5,388 documents out of more than 62,000 which approved the results were unstamped and had no signatures. He also said that around one-third of the balloting committees were not selected from among civil servants as told by authorities.
Twelve members of these committees were civil servants expelled from their posts due to alleged links to FETÖ, which Ankara blames for the 2016 coup attempt, while thousands of others were “first-degree relatives of FETÖ members,” Yavuz claimed.
He also claimed a campaign was launched against the AKP on social media by people linked to FETÖ, who were in cooperation with the CHP.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had also asked the YSK to annul and renew the polls in Istanbul, citing echoing the AKP’s arguments.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (18.04.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-embargoes-imposed-on-iran-wrong-turkeys-top-diplomat-142735) reports that a Turkish delegation that recently visited Washington conveyed concerns about the ongoing embargo, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 17.
“We will continue telling the U.S. that the embargoes [on Iran] are wrong and unrealistic,” he said speaking at a joint news conference with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
The Turkish delegation, which included Minister for Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak, “conveyed” Turkey’s concerns during meetings with American officials in Washington, Çavuşoğlu said. He noted that Albayrak discussed the case directly with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The delegation’s visit to Washington comes at a time when Ankara “expects” the Trump administration to extend it waivers for the purchase of Iranian oil. Ankara was granted a waiver in November for its import of Iranian oil but has made a significant decrease in its oil purchases from Tehran.
Çavuşoğlu noted that Turkey and Iran seek alternative mechanisms to overcome U.S. sanctions and continue bilateral trade in a bid to reach $30 billion in trade volume as agreed before. In their meeting, they discussed new mechanisms to conduct trade such as INSTEX, a payment channel EU has set up with Iran.
Çavuşoğlu also said the U.S. decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is a dangerous development that could lead to chaos. “This is an extremely wrong decision,” he said, adding that listing foreign national armies as terror groups would lead to “dire” cracks in the international system and international law order.
“Our conscience does not accept that the brotherly Iranian people be punished,” he said. “Such steps put regional stability, peace, calm and economic development under risk.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, for his part, said he submitted a report to Turkish officials to brief them about his talks with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. The Iranian minister said he would submit a report on his talks with al-Assad to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, adding that Iran wants to help Turkey and Syria establish “good relations.”
In addition, Turkish daily Yeni Safak (18.04.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/iranian-fm-presents-syria-report-to-erdogan-in-turkey-3479276) reports that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif presented his Syria report to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at their meeting in Ankara on Thursday, according to reports.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (18.04.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-will-not-allow-questioning-of-nato-status-kalin-3479196) reports that Turkey will not accept statements that question its status in NATO, the country's presidential spokesman said Tuesday, defending its multidimensional foreign policy.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Ibrahim Kalin dismissed comments aimed at Turkey's membership in NATO amid a row with the U.S. over the purchase of a Russian missile defense system, asserting that Turkey will continue to take steps that will strengthen its position in the transatlantic alliance.
Earlier this month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Turkey's purchase of the S-400 system could potentially pose a risk to NATO. "Turkey must choose. Does it want to remain a critical partner in the most successful military alliance in the history of the world, or does it want to risk the security of that partnership?" Pence said.
Kalin said it is not possible for Turkey to accept such statements, adding it is not a single country that will determine the status of a country in NATO but all NATO member countries.
"Besides, we are not an observer [country] there. We are one of the members. We are a country that has a say in all decisions," he said. "Therefore, we will not allow the questioning of Turkey's position in NATO."
In his remarks, he reiterated that Turkey's relationship with Russia was not an alternative to that of the U.S. or Europe. He noted that it is quite normal for Turkey to develop various relationships in different areas in its foreign policy.
Following protracted efforts to purchase an air defense system from the U.S. with no success, Ankara decided in 2017 to purchase the Russian S-400 system.
U.S. officials advised Turkey to buy the U.S. Patriot missile system rather than the S-400s from Moscow, arguing that the Russian system would be incompatible with NATO systems and expose the F-35 to possible Russian subterfuge.
Turkey, however, has emphasized that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO operability and would not pose a threat to the alliance.
Kalin also rejected sanctions threats from Washington through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which was passed in 2017 against Iran, North Korea and Russia and combat their influence across the globe.
"Turkey is not a country to establish relations with such threats. This [purchase] is a decision taken within the framework of Turkey's national sovereignty," he added.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (18.04.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-to-produce-new-indigenous-defense-systems-3479254) reports that Turkey will launch fresh projects to produce new indigenous defense systems.
The decision was announced after a closed-door meeting of Defense Industry Executive Committee on Wednesday. The committee also discussed the recent developments in the defense industry, read a statement released after the meeting.
Chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the meeting also saw the attendance of Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler and Ismail Demir, the head of Defense Industries Presidency.
Turkish daily Yeni Safak (18.04.19 https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-balkans-trade-volume-rises-over-past-15-years-3479237) reports that the trade volume between Turkey and the Balkan countries has significantly increased over the past 15 years, head of Turkey's Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the 10th Sarajevo Business Forum (SBF), Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said the trade volume rose to some $20 billion from around $3 billion despite the global economic crises.
"The Balkans is geographically Turkey's entrance into the European continent," he said. "In the same way, Turkey is a doorway to the markets of Asia and the Middle East."
Hisarcıklıoğlu noted that there were over 100 Turkish companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mainly doing business in the fields of banking, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and tourism.
"These companies' investments in Bosnia totaled more than €600 million [around $678 million] as they employ some 4,000 people.
"The free trade agreement between Turkey and Bosnia boosted the trade volume from $71 million in 2003 to the current levels of around $700 million," he said.
Hisarciklioglu said the two countries aim to increase the trade volume to at least $1 billion.
Commenting about the business forum, he noted that TOBB would continue to support the SBF in the coming years.
"This forum has been regularly held over the last decade and it has now become a global brand by attracting investors from all over the world," he said.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION