A. Turkish Cypriot Press
B. Turkish Press
According to illegal Bayrak television (17.05.18, http://www.brtk.net/?english_posts=oic-summit), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will be flying to Istanbul tomorrow to take part in the extraordinary summit of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.
According to information given by his office, Akinci will be flying to Istanbul tomorrow upon receiving an invitation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to attend the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation’s extraordinary summit. He is expected to return to the occupied area of Cyprus on Saturday.
Under the banner front-page title “’The guarantees will not be lifted’”, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (17.05.18) reports that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cyprus affairs, Recep Akdag has reiterated the allegation that lessons should be drawn from the recent incidents in Palestine and claimed that lifting Turkey’s guarantees in Cyprus is out of the question. In statements made yesterday during his illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus, Akdag argued that “some circles” referred to the lifting of the guarantees and alleged that “this is a very small group” and that “these are empty words”.
Akdag visited yesterday occupied Louroudjina, Ashia, Vatili, Sinda and Prastio villages and listened to the problems of the inhabitants of these villages. In his statements, he alleged that the “Greek Cypriot administration”, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, arms villages which are in occupied Louroudjina’s area, but no one should be worried as long as Turkey’s guarantees exist. He argued that they will not sit at the negotiating table except for discussing a solution on the basis of equality.
Akdag referred also to the agriculture in the occupied area of Cyprus and argued that they should find ways to reduce the cost of the inputs in the agricultural production and added that the water from Turkey will be carried to some areas of occupied Mesaoria plain for agricultural purposes. He noted that 30 million tons of water will be used for drinking purposes and 45 million tons in agriculture in occupied Morfou and Mesaoria areas. He also said that they are looking for ways to reduce the cost of electricity with the aim of bringing the production costs down.
Meanwhile, during another visit, Akdag said that they have submitted to the “government” the suggestion of building a new hospital in the occupied part of Nicosia and argued that this hospital will be better than the ones in Europe. Responding to criticism on the services in the health sector, Akdag claimed that the health system could change within a couple of years.
Writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (17.05.18), columnist Gokhan Altiner reports that with the statements made yesterday during the illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cyprus affairs, Recep Akdag, Ankara conveyed the message that it does not support the Guterres Framework as basis for the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations. The columnist notes that Akdag referred to the recent incidents in Gaza and correlated them with Turkey’s guarantees and military force in Cyprus, alleging that “with this kind of incidents we once more see the importance of this”. Altiner writes the following:
“[…] Now, what should we understand from this? Has he made this statement for the sake of making it? What did he want to say? Which is the address he was referring to?
The fact that president Mustafa Akinci submitted the Guterres Framework agreement to the Greek Cypriots for a new start [of the negotiations] had caused reactions by various circles in Turkey. At first glance, I also had thought that Akinci could not have done this without consulting with the Turkish government. However, the information which came afterwards says that the president made this move without Turkey knowing it. According to this information, the AK Party government is very annoyed from this stance of president Akinci. Even though the Guterres Framework includes an article on the lifting of the guarantees and withdrawal of the army after an agreement between the sides, we clearly know that Turkey does not want to withdraw from the guarantees and its army from the island in the full sense. Behold, the fact that during the past few days as Minister responsible for Cyprus Akdag, by referring to what is happening in Palestine, stressed Turkey’s military power over Cyprus, the importance of this and that this military presence on the island is based on the Treaty of Guarantees, tells us that Ankara is conveying the message that ‘we do not support the Guterres Framework’.
Yes, things are just like I said. Ankara’s understanding for a solution in Cyprus has changed. The Greek Cypriots did what they did and achieved this. […]
Turkey does not trust the Greek Cypriots and at the same time, it does definitely not believe that a solution could be achieved with the Greek Cypriots. In fact, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Akdag is clearly warning the Greek Cypriots: ‘We are guarantors and we have a deterrent military force on the island’. […] Very well, is he right? Yes, he is absolutely right and he is doing the right thing.
Actually another backstage of Recep Akdag’s visit is to react on the spot to the beginning of a possible negotiating process between the two leaders. Akdag, of course, represents the clear stance of a government and the expression lying behind this representation is the following: ‘An agreement, in which our guarantees and our army will not be present, will not be materialized’. […]
On the other hand, according to information I obtained from reliable sources, Recep Akdag reacted regarding the annulment of the citizenship of 175 persons a short period ago and expressed his reproach to deputy prime minister Kudret Ozersay. The annulment of the annulment of some citizenships, which are currently annulled was discussed. […]”
Under the above title, Turkish daily Gunes newspaper (17.05.18) reports that the “deputy speaker” of the so-called assembly Zorlu Tore, condemned in a written statement the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli army during protests for transferring the US Embassy to Jerusalem alleging that taking into account the incidents occurred, it became obvious that the Turkish Cypriots need more of Turkey’s active and effective guarantees in Cyprus.
“While the imperialists and colonial powers spread the death all around in the Eastern Meditteranean and the Middle East, Turkey and the Turkish army constitute the biggest guarantee for the Turkish Cypriot people in Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot people will never accept a new guarantee system which will lift Turkey’s unilateral right of intervention”, Tore alleged.
He further condemned further the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci for his proposal regarding accepting the Guterres Framework as a strategic agreement and accused Akinci of being in a wrong path. “The assembly will never permit Turkey’s active and effective guarantees to become ineffective and be diluted. They should bring the Guterres Framework to the assembly for discussion”, Tore further argued.
Turkish Cypriot daily “Yeniden Nacak” newspaper (17.05.18) under the title: “The connection of the incidents in Gaza strip with Turkey’s guarantees in Cyprus is nothing else but populism”, reports that Dogus Derya, “deputy” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), in statements to its personal account in social media, condemned the recent statements by so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay who referred to the massacre in Gaza strip by the Israeli army by saying: “It is for these reasons why the Turkish Cypriots demand an effective guarantee system in Cyprus”.
Commenting on Ozersay’s statement, Derya argued that those who try to connect the incidents occurred against the Palestinian people by the Israeli army with the issue of Turkey’s guarantees in Cyprus, are doing nothing else but populism. “The connection of the incidents in Gaza strip with Turkey’s guarantees in Cyprus is nothing else but populism and lack of knowledge for history. It is not necessary to have scientific knowledge for doing realistic populism”, Derya said.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.05.18) reports that the “higher election council” and the “population department” have carried out a joint study regarding the inclusion of persons who are dead in the “voter lists”. In statements to illegal Bayrak television, Narin Ferdi Sefik, chairperson of the “high election council”, said that there were both inclusions and exclusions from the “voter lists”. Noting that in the recent “parliamentary elections” [in January 2018], the number of voters was 190,553, Sefik added that the provisional number of the voters for the “municipal elections” of 24 June 2018 increased to 191,445, that is, by 902 persons.
Sefik noted that 2,315 persons were added in the “voter lists” and that 1,666 of these were persons who became 18 years old, 1,128 persons who have recently obtained an “identity card” and 21 were persons added because of corrections in the list.
She also said that 1,413 persons were taken out of the “voter lists”, that 1,339 of these persons were taken out because they died and 74 persons because of their date of birth.
Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (17.05.18) reports that the “decision of the council of ministers” to “annul the citizenship of 176 persons” in the occupied area of Cyprus was “published in the official gazette” of the occupation regime.
Commenting on the “citizenship issue”, so called prime minister Tufan Erhurman stated that those who considered that the “annulment of their citizenship” is not justified and was “illegally annulled” have the right to “apply” again in order to “be granted the TRNC’s citizenship”.
On the same issue, so-called foreign minister Kudret Ozersay, stated that “there is no obstacle for those who are eligible to be granted the citizenship to apply”. He further alleged that the so-called government continue its works for “providing the ‘white card’ to those who are living in the “TRNC” for a certain period of time.
Meanwhile, the paper publishes the names of the 176 persons whose “citizenship was annulled”.
According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (17.05.18, https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2018/05/17/international-community-should-take-unified-stance-against-israel-erdogan-says), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the international community should stand in unity against Israel's aggression toward Palestinians and that a common attitude should be displayed. An important step for the international community would be to "display a joint attitude against Israel's unlawful and unfair acts", Erdogan told reporters accompanying him during his official visit to the U.K. in London. "It is difficult, however, to say that a determined position has been taken by the international community, and even the Arab League or the Muslim world," he added.
Erdogan said that it is rare to see a strong reaction against Israel's treatment of Palestinians, aside from Turkey, Iran and Russia. His remarks came amid Israel's disproportionate response to Palestinians protesting the U.S. Embassy in Israel's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (…)
"We could not remain silent on this shameful scene," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey has taken a series of steps to address the situation. "We have declared three days of national mourning. The Parliament was called to convene for a special plenary session. The Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was called to convene on Friday in an emergency summit [in Istanbul] ". He added that two mass rallies will be held to protest Israel, one in Istanbul and one in Diyarbakır.
"We have sent the Israeli Ambassador to his country and in the meantime recalled our Washington Ambassador for consultations. We will continue to take diplomatic steps on these issues," Erdogan said.
Erdogan further said that Turkey is following the developments at the U.N. through Ankara's permanent representative at the U.N. in New York. He added that Kuwait, which is currently a temporary member of the United Nations Security Council, is also taking steps within the U.N. The President said that an evaluation will also be made after the Arab League's meeting. "The issue may be carried to the U.N. General Assembly like last time," he added.
He also said that they have taken steps to bring some of the wounded to Turkey for treatment, however, there has been obstacles created by the Israeli and Egyptian authorities. A humanitarian aid campaign will also be launched in Turkey throughout the month of Ramadan, which began yesterday, Erdogan added.
Erdogan has also conducted phone diplomacy on the issue with several regional leaders, including Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
On Tuesday night, Erdogan also spoke with Saudi King Salman over the phone and discussed Israeli violence in Gaza and this Friday's OIC summit. Erdogan also exchanged views over the phone with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the recent developments.
He also reiterated that "Jerusalem is a red line" for Turkey and it's not possible to give up standing by the Palestinians. "Standing by the Palestinian cause bothers them [Israelis]. In this framework, I don't see Hamas as a terrorist group. Hamas is one of the resistance movements to rescue the occupied Palestinian lands," he said.
Responding to a question highlighting the disagreements between Ankara and Washington, Erdogan commented on relations with the U.S., saying that Turkey stands by what it thinks to be right. "This is why we did not find U.S.'s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran to be right. The U.S. did not sign the agreement alone," Erdogan said, adding that other parties are also involved in the deal on Iran's nuclear activities.
He added that imposing sanctions on Iran would not be an effective way forward and that diplomacy should be used to solve the situation.
Erdogan also said Turkey, as a NATO ally, has found no fault in purchasing S-400 missile defence systems from Russia for its defence needs. "We also have a High-Level Cooperation Council with Russia. We cannot stop buying oil, natural gas. There are five million Russian tourists coming to our country," Erdogan said, responding to some U.S. officials criticizing the defence deal between Ankara and Moscow. Erdogan concluded saying that Ankara's NATO allies have not supported Turkey on defence-related issues.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (17.05.18, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-slams-us-courts-sentence-on-former-halkbank-manager-hakan-atilla-131939), Turkey has slammed the 32-month sentence handed to Hakan Atilla, a former manager of state-run Halkbank, on charges that he helped Iran evade U.S. sanctions.
“The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the Deputy Director General of Halkbank, despite being not guilty, to 32 months of imprisonment after an entirely feigned process which is inconsistent with the principle of fair trial,” claimed a written statement issued by Foreign Ministry late on May 16.
“By convicting a foreign government official, this court made an unprecedented decision regarding the implementation of the U.S. sanctions legislation,” it said, claiming that the case was based on “fabricated evidence”.
“The Court’s reliance on forged evidence and false statements fabricated by the members of the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization, eradicated the legitimacy of the trial. The credibility of the legal proceedings has vanished completely,” it recalled.
Atilla was sentenced on May 16 to 32 months in a U.S. prison but he will stay in jail for 18 months as he has already spent 14 months behind bars. He was convicted by a New York jury on Jan. 3 on five counts of bank fraud and conspiracy.
His conviction hinged on the testimony of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2016 after jetting to Florida with his celebrity wife and child on a family holiday to Disney World. Zarrab, 34, initially pleaded not guilty then flipped, becoming a U.S. government witness after admitting to being involved in the multi-billion-dollar gold-for-oil scheme to subvert U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.
According to Turkish news portal Turkish Minutes (https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/05/15/erdogans-party-rejects-motion-to-cancel-agreements-with-israel/), a motion proposing the annulment of economic, military and political agreements between Turkey and Israel was voted down by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its election ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in Parliament on Thursday, the T24 news website reported.
The motion was submitted by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“A motion for parliamentary evaluation for the annulment of all political, economic and military agreements and the imposition of economic sanctions on Israel has been rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP,” the HDP tweeted.
“AKP to continue with Israel,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Ali Seker in a tweet, underlining the gap between the words and the deeds of the ruling party concerning Israel and Palestine policy.
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (16.05.18, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/977002/KONDA_Genel_Muduru_nden_carpici_Erdogan_yorumu.html), under the title “A striking comment for Erdogan from KONDA Director”, reports that Bekir Agirdir, head of the top polling company KONDA, said in a live broadcast that he believes that “If Erdogan gets a vote below 45% in the first round, then this means that the citizen has decided for government changeover”. He added that if Erdogan gets a vote around to 47-48% in the first round and the opposition candidate around to 20-21%, then Erdogan will win the 2nd round very comfortably.
Evaluating the early elections in Turkey, Agirdir argued that the control of the game for the first time is on the opposition, and added: “if the People’s Democracy Party (HDP) passes the election threshold, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will lose its majority in the Parliament”. Agirdir explained that there are two factors which will determine the outcome of the elections, the activities of the opposition and if the HDP passes the threshold.
Predicting that in case there is a second round then it will be between President Erdogan and Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Agirdir noted that Erdogan is on an implicit deliberate stance against Meral Aksener. Erdogan left this debate to Devlet Bahceli.
Meanwhile, Agirdir told daily Cumhuriyet on May 11 that there was a considerable possibility of presidential elections not being completed in the first round. He said the rising popularity of İYİ Party leader Meral Aksener slowed down after İnce was announced as the CHP's choice, but both Aksener and İnce have pledged that they would support each other if the presidential election goes to a second round between the top two candidates. In the event of a second round, Agırdır said, HDP voters are likely to determine the final result.
Under the title “Turkey issues arrest warrants for 101 air officers linked to FETÖ”, Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (17.05.18, https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-issues-arrest-warrants-for-101-air-officers-linked-to-feto-3391545) reports that the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Ankara on May 17 issued arrest warrants for 101 Turkish military personnel, including one brigadier and several colonels, over suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.
As part of a probe into FETÖ’s Air Force Command structure, the suspects are being sought over suspected contacts with "covert imams", a term used to refer to other suspected senior members within the terrorist organization, said judicial sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Seventy eight of the suspects had previously been suspended from duty, while 23 others were dismissed over suspected links to FETÖ.
In Ankara-based nationwide operations launched across 22 provinces, 37 suspects have been arrested so far. The operations are still ongoing.
On the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.05.18, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/more-than-40-feto-suspects-arrested-across-turkey-/1148262) reports that at least 44 suspects have been arrested across Turkey for their alleged links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt, security sources said Wednesday.
In western Manisa province, the arrests came after the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued warrants for eight suspects, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said. They were accused of being FETO members and using FETO's encyrpted smart phone messaging app, ByLock.
Fourteen suspects were also arrested in Bolu, Istanbul, Ankara and Eskisehir.
In southern Antalya province, 22 suspects were arrested on the charge of using ByLock.
The suspects were held during simultaneous operations in Ankara, Izmir and Hatay.
Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.05.18, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/117-feto-convicts-get-jail-terms-in-turkey/1148253) reports that at least 117 people across Turkey were convicted on Wednesday for being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 2016 defeated coup.
In the capital Ankara, 85 people were given jail sentences ranging from about two to 13 years at the 23rd Heavy Penal Court, which heard a case against FETO infiltration of the Beytepe Gendarmerie Schools Command.
Zubeyir Oksuz, the cousin of Adil Oksuz, accused of being a mastermind behind the defeated coup, was also given nearly 10 years in prison by the 15th Heavy Penal Court in the Aegean Izmir province. He was convicted of being a member of an armed terrorist organization.
TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION