No. 145/19 03-05.08.2019
A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs (05.08.19) reports that in an interview with the paper, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has sent a message to President Anastasiades, arguing that the time has come to decide on the Cyprus problem, that we “play the extra time” and that if what he called the rights of the Turkish Cypriots were not given, a non-solution in Cyprus would become permanent.
Referring to his meeting with President Anastasiades on 9 August, Akinci said that “we are going with an open agenda” and argued that “there are no prejudices and preconditions”. He alleged that the Greek Cypriot side should clarify its intention and added that the meeting on 9 August would be decisive for the future of the negotiations.
Akinci said that the “essence of the matter”, “the natural gas issue” and “new confidence building measures (CBM)” would be on the agenda on 9 August, adding that their target was to bring up a road map, which would lead the sides to a five-party conference. Akinci claimed also the following:
“[…] We want a federation. If what we make will be a federation, we will learn to share the authority, the powers and the wealth. On 9 August we will see how the situation is. On that day confidence building measures will also come onto the agenda. Because we have implemented the old ones, we will discuss new measures. For example, the issue of a car insurance which could be used on both sides exists. Our commercial vehicles’ crossing to the south or people coming and going more often to Hala Sultan, Apostolos [Saint] Barnabas and Apostolos Andreas could be ensured. We could convey to Mr Anastasiades the proposal for establishing a committee on sports. It will be very good, if we find a way for the young people to meet through sports. […]
We have passed since a long time the point of taking decisions in Cyprus. To put it in another way, the game is over and the extra time is being played. The extra time is also part of the game. The Cyprus problem is not like a football game, but only for the sake of comparison, even though the duration is 90 minutes, a five-minute extra time is given. We do not have another 90 minutes before us. If the stance of the Greek Cypriot side which says that ‘I cannot accept the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots under any circumstances, you will conform your behavior to our majority and consent to minority rights’ continues or if there is insistence on this, we will officially register the division of the island. […]
The UNSG says that we should continue more wisely, with the justification that failure would be a disaster. The Secretary General wants for the terms of reference to be settled the soonest. He does not want us to strive in vain. He is ready to meet with us in September during the UN General Assembly. This is not planning for a three-party meeting. There will be separate meetings. If there is going to be a three party meeting, we will plan it together. […]”
Illegal Bayrak (05.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-on-maras-issue-2_ publishes an interview of the self-styled foreign minister Kudret Özersay who said that no step should be taken towards including the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on the process of opening of the closed city of Varosha, during the informal leaders’ meeting, to be held on the 9th of August.
In an interview with TAK News Agency, Özersay said the following: “The Greek Cypriot press reported that Anastasiades will bring the issue of the closed city of Varosha to the agenda of the meeting and demand the establishment of a committee on this issue. This is not acceptable for us, the TRNC government. The two sides for many years and several times had discussed whether the issue of the closed city of Varosha could be a confidence building measure, however no conclusion could be reached due to the firm position of the Greek Cypriot side. Now, we cannot accept to go round in the same circles. It is out of question for us to accept anything that would disrupt the process and include the Greek Cypriot side to the Varosha process while we, as the government, have started to take a step on the issue of the closed city of Varosha”, he stated.
Stating that the government will act in a way not to harm the property rights in the closed city of Varosha, Özersay however claimed that there was no need to give the control of the closed city of Varosha to the UN in order to protect these rights.
Alleging that they will not give the control of the closed city of Varosha to the UN, he said they did not approve the statements saying that we should act according to the UN resolutions on the Varosha issue after 45 years.
“In any case, it was not us but the Greek Cypriot side which has been producing policies by leaning back on the unfair decisions taken by the UN Security Council with political reasons. In other words, it is the Greek Cypriot side’s thesis to act according to the UN regulations on relying the issue of closed city of Varosha. I hope Akıncı during the meeting on the 9th of August will not allow the Varosha issue to be taken up with an understanding that according to the UN resolutions the closed city of Varosha should be given to the control of the UN. The Greek Cypriot side, as claimed by the Greek Cypriot press, should not be included in the process through a committee or other similar procedures. It’s been understood that the Greek Cypriot leader will attend the meeting with this understanding. We as the government do not approve this. This cannot be for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot people and we cannot accept such a thing” Özersay said.
“The property rights of the previous owners are protected through several decisions, such as return, compensation or exchange, which are being taken by the Immovable Property Commission in the TRNC and recognised by the European Court of Human Rights” Özersay said adding that the same situation was valid for the closed city of Varosha and that there was no need to give the control of closed city of Varosha to the UN in order to protect the property rights of the people.
Explaining that the decisions taken by the UN Security Council were either binding or advisory, Özersay said: “The decisions taken under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter are binding and are about international peace and security. However, the decisions taken under Chapter 6 are about the solution of disagreements through peaceful methods and are not binding. Some UN Security Council regulations openly indicate under which UN chapter the decision was taken. However, if this is not written openly you can look at the matter and other articles of the decision and understand if the regulation is binding or not. The UN Security Council’s decisions on the closed city of Varosha were taken under Chapter 6 and are not binding when the issue and its characteristics and the expressions used in the related decision are taken into consideration.”
“Did the Greek Cypriot side accept and implement the decisions taken by the UN Security Council which approves the UN Secretary General’s report who has been properly defying the political equality and bi-zonality at the negotiating table for many years? Did the Greek Cypriot side implement the bi-zonality which defines the need for both peoples to have the majority of population and property within their founding states?” Özersay asked and said no one should attempt to tie the Turkish Cypriot side’s hands on the Varosha issue while the Greek Cypriot side did not abide by the decisions taken by the UN Security Council for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots”.
In addition, Illegal Bayrak (05.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=natural-gas-issues-3) also reports that Özersay evaluated the latest proposal put forward by President Anastasiades that an ineffective and unauthorised bi-communal committee should be set up to deal with the natural gas issue surrounding the island.
Özersay alleged that this proposal was nothing more than trying to sweeten up the Turkish Cypriots and added that this was unacceptable.
Ozeray said that if an effective and authorised committee is to be established to deal with the natural gas issue only then will they “as the government” take certain steps.
“But the Greek Cypriot leader will dilute this recommendation and tie it to a comprehensive solution on the island therefore the committee will be ineffective and unauthorised and there will be no clear management and sharing taking place and they will pacify our natural gas activities. We shouldn’t enter into rules of engagement” said Özersay.
Alleging that the activities carried out by the Turkish Cypriots on the field regarding the natural gas issue had in fact changed the unfavourable position created in the eastern Mediterranean and had assisted in creating a balance, Özersay said that these efforts should not be sacrificed for a new “never ending barren negotiations process”.
“In 2015 a covert moratorium had been declared and the two sides were going to shelve their efforts on the natural gas issue. What happened? The Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades who had made certain promises broke these promises, signed an agreement with foreign companies and continued drilling efforts” said.
“Now they are talking about a new moratorium. We had made a similar agreement in the past and considering they did not stick to this agreement we must learn from our mistakes” Özersay claimed.
Illegal Bayrak (05.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=ozersay-in-ankara-2) broadcast that self-styled foreign minister Kudret Özersay is in Ankara to take part in the 11th Ambassadors Conference that is convening under the theme of “Robust Diplomacy: Active on the Ground and at the Table.
The official opening of the conference will be realised with an inaugural speech by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
During the first day of the conference the Turkish Minister for Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Özersay, Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi will deliver speeches to the ambassadors.
“Özersay is expected to inform the ambassadors regarding the Cyprus issue and the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean”, according to Bayrak.
Reporting further on the conference, Bayrak (03.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=11th-ambassadors-conference-in-turkey) broadcast that the Ambassadors Conference, organized annually by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey since 2008, is being held this year between the 3rd and 9th of August in Ankara and Samsun with the participation of Turkish ambassadors serving at home and abroad.
The ambassadors will receive the instructions of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, review recent developments and trends of relevance to Turkish foreign policy, discuss current challenges and opportunities and evaluate the priorities for the upcoming period in a comprehensive manner. In this framework, the ambassadors will meet Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop, members of the Presidential Cabinet and senior public officials. High-level foreign dignitaries will also address the ambassadors.
The ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said foreign ministers of Jordan and Uzbekistan, as well as the Ukrainian president will attend the conference.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Manset (05.08.19) reports that Hasan Sungur, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot association of real estate agents, said that they support the policy of the “government” of opening for settlement the fenced-off town of Varosha by applying to the “immovable property commission”, however, he added the plans for this (policy) should be done accordingly.
Sungur claimed that the Greek Cypriot side does not accept any kind of agreement that respects the security and rights of the Turkish Cypriot “people”, adding: “Therefore, we believe that the fenced off town of Varosha should not be kept any longer closed and we, as the Turkish Cypriot association of real estate agents, approve of the policy of the opening for settlement under Turkish Cypriot administration through the application of the immovable property commission”.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot weekly newspaper Cyprus Today (03.08.19) reports that a war of words erupted in Cyprus on the fenced-off town of Varosha. Ersin Tatar, self-styled prime minster of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, claimed that “Varosha is Ottoman land… pillaged due to mistakes during British rule” and “it was time to open it under Turkish administration”.
Moreover, the paper reports that Ibrahim Benter, head of the Evkaf religious foundation (Vakiflar), dismisses claims that ownership of all the Vakiflar land in Cyprus – including Varosha – had been relinquished following agreement spelled out in a part of a 1960 British colonial letter headed “Financial Assistance to the Turkish community”. The letter stated that £1.5 million was being paid “by way of a grant for the Turkish community in Cyprus to be used for education, the development of Vakif property and cultural and other like purposes”. Benter also argued that although the two former leaders had accepted the £1.5 million, claims that it meant they had accepted transfer of the ownership of Evkaf land were “baseless”.
Meanwhile, the paper further reports that Greek Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades weighed into the debate, saying that the money had been paid into a joint account held by former Turkish Cypriot leaders Rauf Denktas and Dr Fazil Kucuk on condition that no claim could be made on the fenced-off town of Varosha, by them or by Turkey.
Under the title “Government push to cut air fares”, Turkish Cypriot weekly Cyprus Today newspaper (03.08.19) reports that Unal Ustel, self-styled minister of tourism and environment, speaking to the paper from Istanbul where he was asking Turkish officials to scrap taxes, with the hope of also slashing air fares, said: “We are currently working on a programme for a visit to London where he hope to see British parliamentarians and peers to discuss what can be done to scrap the re-screening requirement of passengers flying to the UK from Ercan [editor’s note: the occupied airport of Tymbou] during touchdowns in Turkey. This … is causing a lot of time to be wasted and creating hardship for tourists and other travellers.”
Asked to comment on peak season “Ercan flights” coming at more than £500, Mr Ustel said: “This is expensive. We have been speaking with my Turkish counterpart in Ankara and with Turkish Airlines officials, and have requested that airport taxes be scrapped in order to help reduce prices. The initiative was slammed, though, by critics, who said scrapping airport taxes was not possible because they were privately managed – a claim countered by Mr Ustel who said he [did] not accept that ‘nothing can be done’”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (04.08.19) reports that the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan verified the economic protocol signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime on June 24 and this was published in the Official Gazette of the Turkish Republic.
In addition, the paper writes that accordingly, it was published in the Official Gazette that there is a possibility for the “TRNC representatives abroad” to be located in the buildings of the Turkish embassies or consulates, according to the needs and local conditions.
Illegal Bayrak (03.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=cost-of-living-3) reports that the cost of living for the month of July has been announced as 1.07%.
According to the latest results there has been a total of 23.24% increase compared to last year.
In addition Illegal Bayrak (03.08.19 https://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=new-minimum-wage-2) also broadcast that the new minimum wage has been set at 3 thousand 400tl gross and 2 thousand 958tl net a total of a 250tl increase.
The new minimum wage comes into effect as of the 1st of August.
Turkish daily Milliyet (05.08.19, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/siyaset/son-dakika-bakan-cavusoglundan-dogu-akdeniz-aciklamasi-6011594) reports that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking at the 11th Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara on Monday, commented also on the Cyprus issue.
Noting that Turkey’s strategic vision is being preserved in the middle of a geography where the armament remained the highest rate in the world, Cavusoglu added: “The equivalent of this challenging geography at the sea is the Eastern Mediterranean. We will not allow steps that ignore the legitimate rights and the interests of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean, the junction of three continents of the world.”
Recalling that after the Fatih drilling vessel, which started activities in Turkey’s “continental shelf”, the Yavuz drilling ship also started activities in the areas licensed by the “TRNC” [Trans. Note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus] to Turkish Petroleum, Cavusoglu claimed that the Turkish side supports a joint solution on the basis of cooperation and the equal sharing of the wealth.
Claiming that for this reason, “the constructive proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot authorities with good intentions should have been appreciated”, Cavusoglu added: “We will continue to defend the rights of the TRNC and to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people”. He also said that the EU cannot act as a court in the Eastern Mediterranean.
He further claimed: “Cyprus is our national cause. The political equality and the security of the Turkish Cypriot people is indispensable. On this basis, we don’t exclude any solution model. We also don’t impose any solution model. We negotiate in a result-oriented framework. But there is no benefit in starting a new process for the sake of negotiating alone”.
Noting that they want to see Greece as a partner on the basis of win-win in all matters in the region, Cavusoglu said: “Our nation opens its heart to those who extend their friendship to us. Let us work together for the welfare of our people and our region. Let us turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a basin of peace, prosperity and cooperation. So our message to all those who are interested in the region is one: If you cooperate with us, everyone wins”.
Turkish Daily Sabah (03.08.19 https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2019/08/03/turkey-will-not-back-down-on-serving-as-trncs-guarantor ) reports that Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy stated: "We are going through a rough patch with the European Union. Unfortunately, the EU has degraded our relations to the Cyprus dispute. They are trying to impose upon us the extreme demands of the Greek and Greek Cypriots under the pretext unity and solidarity. On July 15, some decisions concerning our activities in the Eastern Mediterranean were taken in a meeting. These have no validity for us," as he said on Friday in a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He continued by saying that the new leader cadre of the EU has begun to shape – some of which talked to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the phone – and that Turkey expects a more visionary stance from these new leaders regarding Turkey-EU relations.
Furthermore, Aksoy explained that this issue has two dimensions. "The first one is the issue of limiting the scope of authority in the Eastern Mediterranean and the second one is to guarantee the rights of Turkish Cypriots. […] Regarding the second dimension, as you know, Turkish Cypriots are joint owners of the island and have equal rights. As long as these rights are not guaranteed, we will continue our activities," Aksoy said. It was also mentioned that it is not necessary to wait for a solution of the Cyprus dispute in this matter. "If Turkish Cypriots take advantage of the natural resources when Greek Cypriots do, the problem is solved."
Turkish Daily Sabah (04.08.2019 https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2019/08/04/turkey-will-enter-area-east-of-euphrates-notified-us-russia-erdogan-says) reports that Turkey will enter the area east of Euphrates River and has already notified the United States and Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday.
"We entered Afrin, Jarablus, al-Bab. Now we will enter the (area) east of the Euphrates. We shared this (information) with Russia and the U.S. As long as harassment fire continues, we cannot remain silent," Erdoğan stressed. Ankara has been patient for some time, but that "patience has an end," he added.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (03.08.19 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-granted-citizenship-to-over-92-000-syrians-145480) reports that Turkey has granted citizenship to more than 92,000 Syrians including children, the country's Interior Minister said.
"Nearly 92,280 Syrians, including children, have been granted citizenship. Among them, 47,000 are adults and 45,280 are children. Most of them are teachers, engineers and qualified people who can make their own living," Süleyman Soylu told reporters at a news briefing. He added that 547,000 Syrians were currently living in Istanbul. "They have already been given the permission to live in Istanbul. We are not registering new ones. We only register university students or when they want to run a business or there is a health issue in question," he said. He added that only 7,000 Syrians were registered in Istanbul for humanitarian reasons since January.
Soylu said out of 72,000 Afghan irregular migrants, 29,000 were returned to their country.He added that Turkish security forces rounded up 177,654 irregular migrants as of July, adding that the number was 268,000 in 2018 and 175,752 in 2017. "As many as 12,474 irregular migrants were detained in Istanbul between July 12-31," Soylu said.
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