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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-12-01

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 231/16 01.12.2016

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Akinci: The Greek Cypriot side's stance led to deadlock
  • [02] Statements by Johnson after meeting Akinci
  • [03] Turkish National Security Council evaluated the Cyprus talks
  • [04] "Untying the EU-Turkey-Cyprus triangle"
  • [05] Minimum 3 years needed to bring Mediterranean gas to global markets
  • [06] Cavusoglu: "There has not been any change of the legal and factual status of the islets in the Aegean during AKP ruling"
  • [07] Akinci "chaired" an "extraordinary meeting" of the so-called council of ministers; Main issue of discussion the deadly traffic accident
  • [08] The deadly accident continues causing reactions in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [09] The "labour and immigration amnesty law" has entered into force until January 27, 2017
  • [10] Erdogan, Putin discuss Syrian city of Aleppo over phone
  • [11] Turkey's EU ̀inister calls for leaders-level summit
  • [12] "Things Not To Do To Save Turkey-EU Relations"

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Akinci: The Greek Cypriot side's stance led to deadlock

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (01.12.16) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci stated that he held a "useful" meeting with Boris Johnson, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and explained to him the Cyprus negotiating process and the developments at Mont Pelerin.

    In statements after the meeting, Akinci expressed the belief that Johnson understood well that the issue is not only a difference in numbers. He alleged that they went to Mont Pelerin in order to discuss the territory and other issues aiming at achieving progress to a certain point, but they knew that the final map would definitely not come out at Mont Pelerin. He claimed:

    "I want to remind once more that going to Switzerland happened in order for us coming as close as possible, produce a map if we could produce it, determine the criteria in such a manner that the two sides to prepare their maps according to their point of view, and when, in the end, we go to a five-party conference, while the final shape is given from a meeting in which we Cypriots will participate, to discuss at a parallel table the security and the guarantees and the remaining issues in the other chapters".

    Akinci reiterated the allegation that the Turkish Cypriots made a "very serious opening" during the first meeting at Mont Pelerin and waited for the Greek Cypriots to reply to their step regarding the percentages on the territory, but the Greek Cypriot side did not take the step they expected and therefore the result was a deadlock. Akinci expressed the view that if determination, political will and good intention exists for a solution by the end of 2016, these steps could be taken at the current stage, a date for a five-party conference could be determined, the work could continue until that day and the outlines of an agreement could be produced at a five-party conference. He argued:

    "Concluding in all the details of a solution by the end of 2016 is out of the question. Let the outlines come up, let us approximately know what will happen in all chapters and in the territory, let us know what will happen in the security and the guarantees, let us know what will happen with the issues which concern our political equality and still remain in suspense, but writing the constitutions, the federal laws and some technical issues could remain for 2017".

    Noting that in this manner referenda in the mid-2017 could be held, Akinci alleged that this opportunity still exists, in case the Greek Cypriot side shows good will and a date for a five-party conference is determined by the end of the year.

    Asked about the date of the meeting between Greece and Turkey, Akinci replied that reference had been made to 4 December, but this is not a confirmed date. It seems, however, that the meeting will take place.

    Replying to another question, Akinci alleged that even though the negotiations resume there will be no result, if a date for a five-party conference is not announced. He claimed that he wants a result to be achieved with the resumption of the talks and that he had not been elected for holding negotiations for five years. Akinci said that they are waiting for the result of the efforts exerted by the UNSG's Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide and they will evaluate the results later.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.12.16) refers to the same statements under the title "Akinci: The Greek Cypriot side's stance on the territory led to deadlock" and reports that Akinci alleged that the cause of the deadlock at Mont Pelerin was the Greek Cypriot side's effort to completely end the territory chapter in its final form. Akinci argued that without accepting the rotating presidency and the effective participation of the Turkish Cypriot representatives in the decision making, the Greek Cypriot side attempted to agree in the end on adjustments by which the Turkish Cypriots would feel secure within the framework of the security and guarantees. Noting that the 2014 agreement includes the discussion of the issues in an interdependent manner, Akinci claimed that therefore the approach saying that "let us finish the five issues and then discuss the issue of security and guarantees at an international conference" is a mistake and not in harmony to the achieved agreement. Arguing that the mentality should be abandoned, Akinci said that the discussion on the remaining issues could start from now if a date for a five-party conference is determined. "It is enough for us to agree on a model in which these issues will be discussed at parallel tables in December, that is, at a five-party conference, and on the dates", he alleged adding that if these are not agreed, it is evident what will happen when the negotiations resume. "You will see that the process which has been going on for years will continue and this will lead us nowhere", he argued.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Statements by Johnson after meeting Akinci

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (01.12.16) reports that the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who is in the island in order to express the UK's support on the Cyprus negotiation process, held yesterday a one-hour meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci at the so-called presidential palace.

    In a short statement after the meeting, Johnson said that after meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, he also held a very good meeting with Akinci. He added that the UK wishes to do its utmost in order to contribute towards the solution of the Cyprus problem. He also pointed out to the remarkable progress achieved on the negotiation process and congratulated Akinci for the efforts he exerted.

    Johnson underlined that there are still a lot that needed to be done. He, however, stressed the need to be optimistic and expressed the UK's commitment to support the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He, however, added that a solution had to be reached by the two sides in Cyprus.

    (AK)

    [03] Turkish National Security Council evaluated the Cyprus talks

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (01.12.16) reports that Turkey's top security body, the National Security Council (MGK), held its last meeting of the year late Wednesday.

    According to a statement issued after the meeting, the NSC among other issues, evaluated the latest developments regarding the Cyprus negotiation, in the framework of safeguarding the rights and benefits of the "TRNC" in a way that security in the island is also safeguarded.

    The NSC also noted its support towards the efforts for a bi-communal, bi-zonal solution based on political equality.

    In addition, the paper notes that the meeting was convened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and it was focused on "Turkey's war on terror".

    (CS)

    [04] "Untying the EU-Turkey-Cyprus triangle"

    Under the above title, Hurriyet Daily News (01.12.16) publishes the following article by Mustafa Aydin:

    "The European Parliament adopted a non-binding Resolution on Nov. 24, recommending that the European Commission and member states temporarily suspend the already frozen accession negotiations with Turkey. […]

    While observers talked about the EU anchor for and conditionality effect on Turkey's reform process in the aftermath of the start of the accession negotiations, those days are long gone, and the EU has lost whatever leverage it once had on Turkey. In addition to Turkey's failures, the EU has a share of responsibility in the current state of affairs. Starting from the submission of its formal application for EU membership in 1987, Turkey has been facing biased attitudes from many members. For years, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) have been cited as blockers and used as scapegoats for Turkey's quest. But in fact, from the beginning, several member states, primarily Germany, France and Austria, proposed a different status for Turkey, such as privileged partnership.

    The latest news coming from the Cyprus unification talks, which have again hit a deadlock, added to the already bleak atmosphere, as the EU created an impasse by accepting RoC as member in 2004, which since then has blocked most of the accession talks with Turkey. The last-minute, maximalist negotiation tactics from Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasides and the game-changing intervention from Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias to create a precondition to move into the last phase of the talks in a multilateral conference forced Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to be tough on territorial adjustments.

    As both sides have now entered threatening and harsh-talking mode, the earlier rapport between the two negotiating leaders might not be enough to create momentum again anytime soon. And the latest tension in Turkey-EU relations just adds strain to the two leaders, as Turkey does not have any incentive to ease the deadlock on account of its connection with the EU.

    So far, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have showed their willingness both in Turkey-EU relations and for an equitable solution to the long-lasting Cyprus problem on many occasions. The end result is no progress on either front and many accusations for the lack thereof. Thus, it might be the right time to start thinking of alternatives seriously to build a more sustainable relationship among the parties. Creating a new form of relationship between Turkey and the EU and changing the parameters of the Cyprus talks to include confederation and two-state solutions could be envisioned. Of course, expanding the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU and implementing the Direct Trade Regulation for Turkish Cypriots immediately might be less radical options at present."

    [05] Minimum 3 years needed to bring Mediterranean gas to global markets

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (01.12.16) reports that a minimum of three years is needed to be able to ship gas firstly to Turkey and further to the world market from the Aphrodite gas field in the Republic of Cyprus and the Leviathan field in Israel, general manager of Turkish Zorlu Energy Natural Gas Group said Wednesday.

    Zorlu Energy General Manager Fuat Celepci told Anadolu Agency that the private sector in Turkey expects progress in Mediterranean gas following the normalization process between Turkey and Israel in the region.

    "The expected steps were taken between Turkey and Israel in the context of normalization, but the Mediterranean gas is not just Israeli gas. We need to take concrete steps and present it to world energy markets," Celepci said.

    He explained that the route to be used for the transfer of Israeli gas would pass through the exclusive economic area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    "Depending on this, we may encounter some obstacles in the development of the planned project to bring Israeli gas to the Turkish and world markets. According to the United Nations Convention on Maritime Law, the Republic of Cyprus.has no right to say 'no' to this pipeline that will pass through its own exclusive economic zone," he alleged.

    However, Celepci noted that the approval of the environmental impact assessment report, which is required for the passage of the pipeline, will need to be obtained from the relevant institutions of the Republic of Cyprus.

    "Greek Cypriot administration has the authority to determine technical details and the route of the pipeline that plans to pass through its own exclusive economic zone," he said.

    He added that it is likely that changes may need to be made, including the route of the pipeline to carry the Israeli gas, which could lead to delays. He asserted that it appears impossible to progress the project without firstly resolving the existing problem between the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC): and the Republic of Cyprus.

    "Turkey's goal on the island of Cyprus is to achieve a unitary administration in a federal structure with both southern and northern Cyprus along with the aim of both communities mutually benefitting from the natural gas resources off the island", Celebci said.

    "Even if the Republic of Cyprus agrees to send this gas unilaterally, "TRNC" has a share in this gas. This would not be acceptable for Turkey should this be carried out. Therefore, in addition to the normalization process between Israel and Turkey, negotiations between the north and south need to be positively resolved", Celepci claimed.

    [06] Cavusoglu: "There has not been any change of the legal and factual status of the islets in the Aegean during AKP ruling"

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (01.12.16) reports that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, replying to criticisms by the main opposition leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu regarding the Greek flag flying over the 18 islets in the Aegean sea, said: "There has not been any change of the legal and factual status of the islets in the Aegan during the period of the AKP (ruling Justice and Development Party) governments".

    Cavusoglu further argued: "There is a series of interrelated problems in the Aegean between Turkey and Greece. Some of the problems are that the maritime boundaries between Turkey and Greece have yet been delimited by a valid international agreement. The fundamental international documents regarding the ownership of the islets in the Aegean are the peace treaties of Lausanne in 1923 and Paris in 1947. These treaties contain the detailed provisions regarding the sovereignty of the islets and their demilitarized status… Our country's views regarding the solution of all problems in the Aegean, including this one, have been shared with the public with several announcements by our Ministry since 1996."

    On the same issue, Cavusoglu also said that the exploratory talks are continuing without being interrupted during the AKP period and added that Turkey has not changed its policy regarding the Kardak islets (translator's note: Imia islets in the Aegean Sea). He further alleged: "Kardak islets are Turkish land. Our position, which was filed with a diplomatic note and given to Greece following the crisis at Kardak (Imia's crisis), is stressed both written and verbal to the Greek side in every occasion from that date until now and also reflects our implementations on this area."

    (DPs)

    [07] Akinci "chaired" an "extraordinary meeting" of the so-called council of ministers; Main issue of discussion the deadly traffic accident

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (01.12.16) reports that the extraordinary meeting of the so-called council of ministers which convened yesterday after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's, calling lasted for an hour and the main issue into the agenda was the deadly traffic accident which occurred the day before yesterday in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    In statements after the meeting, Akinci stated that their pain is common, stressing the need for urgent measures to be taken in order to prevent similar accidents in the future and for the "decision taken" to be implemented.

    Underlining the importance of not exploiting the tragedy for political purposes, Akinci stated that he made proposals to the "government". He added that one of these proposals is the establishment of a crisis desk to look into what could be urgently done for areas where there are infrastructure problems.

    Referring to the "government's decision" concerning limitation of traffic driving to heavy duty vehicles weighing over 5 tones to specific hours, Akinci stressed the need for strict and frequent controls to be carried out for the implementation of this "decision".

    Touching upon the issue of the clocks, Akinci alleged that he himself had not endorsed the idea of remaining in day-light saving time. "This is why I brought this issue to the agenda of the council of ministers", Akinci said.

    (AK)

    [08] The deadly accident continues causing reactions in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Under the title "Life stopped", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.12.16) reports that the deadly accident, which happened the day before yesterday in the occupied Kythrea-Keryneia road and caused the death of three persons and the injury of seven persons, has been turned into a "great anger" which forced the "people" to say "enough is enough".

    The accident has been for two days the only topic on the agenda in the discussions among the Turkish Cypriots, notes the paper adding that the "people" consider the "administrators" responsible of the frequent traffic accidents that take human lives.

    Yesterday people of every age and mainly lyceum students were in the streets and protested. The Trade Unions' Platform declared general strike for today and is expected to hold a protest. Yesterday, trade unionists, students, artists and other "citizens" reacted strongly to the loss of human lives and the lack of supervision, by holding a protest in front of the "prime minister's office" and the "assembly" and by calling on the "government" to resign. The Trade Unions' Platform held a protest yesterday during the meeting of the "council of ministers", which convened to discuss the issue upon invitation by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. The participants in the protest strongly criticized the "government" for its insistence on continuing the implementation of the summer time.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.12.16) publishes statements by the self-styled minister of labor and social insurance, Hamza Ersan Saner, who told the paper that Safa Gungor, the driver of the truck which had caused the accident, had no valid "work permit" in the occupied area of Cyprus. Arguing that Gungor was not "illegally" in the occupied area of the island and that he was "unregistered", Saner said that Gungor came to Cyprus in 2012, obtained a "work permit" and during the past one year was working for Ilcan Altyapi Ltd company.

    Saner noted that Gungor's "work permit" expired on 26 August 2016 and that they gave him a deadline until 22 November to renew it, but the driver did not do this. "According to the old law, he should have been sent away from the country, but a new law was signed', said Saner adding that the employer has a period of 15 days to register his employee. "Because the employer [of Gungor] has a debt, the work permit could not be issued", he noted.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The "labour and immigration amnesty law" has entered into force until January 27, 2017

    Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (01.12.16) reports that the "foreigners and immigration (amendment) law with the amendment law on the work permits of foreigners, including the labour and immigration amnesty" entered in "force" the previous day by its publishing in the "official gazette".

    According to a press release by the "labour and social security ministry", the "labour and immigration amnesty", which will be valid for 60 days, will end on January 27, 2017.

    The foreigners, who will benefit from this "labour and immigration amnesty law", are:

    "the foreign nationals, who are in the TRNC without a work permit, or a business establishment permit and who have a visa penalty/fine; the foreign nationals who have left the country with a visa penalty/fine; the foreign nationals who were arrested while they were working unregistered and were deported; the foreign nationals who were found unregistered in the TRNC, without a visitors permit and residency permit, and have a visa penalty/fine."

    The paper reports: "In case the foreign nationals, who have been found unregistered without a working permit or business establishment permit and have a visa fine, want to benefit from the amnesty law, can exit the country by paying a fine equal to one minimum wage (1,834 TL) or in case they do not exit, they may pay an additional 250 TL fee with the one minimum wage to the immigration department, and they can obtain a visitor permit for 45 days.

    The foreign nationals, who were found unregistered in the TRNC and have departed with visa fine, can enter the country, by paying a fine equal to one minimum wage to the police immigration office and will be given a visit visa for 45 days. These persons within these 45 days, in case they apply to the labour department directorate or the regional authorities with the receipt of fine they paid, they will be exempt from prior authorisation and they will be able to receive a work permit.

    Those who have been deported from the TRNC on the grounds that they worked unregistered can benefit from the amnesty law by applying in writing within 60 days to the representative offices of the TRNC abroad or to the immigration office through an authorized person. (…)"

    (DPs)

    [10] Erdogan, Putin discuss Syrian city of Aleppo over phone

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.12.17) reports that Turkish and Russian Presidents on Wednesday had a phone conversation on Syrian city of Aleppo, according to a presidential source.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin agreed to step up efforts to stop clashes in the Syrian city of Aleppo and delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilians in the conflict-hit city, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

    The two leaders also discussed bilateral relations and stressed on importance of the normalizations of relations between the two countries. Wednesday's phone call is third since Friday.

    In addition, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (01.12.16) reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will pay a working visit to the southern province of Antalya's Alanya district on Dec. 1 in his first visit after the normalization of Russian-Turkish ties following a crisis after a Russian warplane was shot down on Nov. 24, 2015, for allegedly violating Turkish airspace.

    [11] Turkey's EU Minister calls for leaders-level summit

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.12.16) reports that Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik on Wednesday called for an EU-Turkey summit to discuss the current "deadlock" in bilateral relations.

    The European Parliament approved last Thursday a non-binding motion to freeze EU-membership talks with Turkey, in response to post-coup investigations and recent developments in the country including measures taken within the framework of the fight against the PKK and FETO terrorist groups.

    His remarks came at a news conference in Brussels following meeting with European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, EU Commissioner of Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and EU security chief Julian King.

    Celik alleged Ankara did not expect the adoption of such a decision at the upcoming EU summit on Dec. 15 and 16, calling for the issue to be brought up at a separate summit between the 28-member bloc and Turkey.

    "We have reached a deadlock. How do we break this, and move on from here? This is now an issue that needs to be handled at the leaders' level.

    "We need to see clearly how we will make progress, or whether or not there will be a progress," he said, adding Ankara would also be drawing a roadmap regarding the EU-Turkey refugee deal, Customs Union and immigration.

    An EU-Turkey deal in March saw the number of people reaching Greek shores from Turkey drop dramatically in return for promises by the EU to accelerate Turkey's membership bid and allow visa-free travel for Turkish nationals.

    Celik said Ankara had not given a deadline for the termination of the refugee deal among other agreements with the EU, but said "everything has a natural lifetime and death."

    He also called on the EU to perform its liabilities as per the agreements, and warned against "reducing bilateral relations to just immigration and fight against terrorism."

    "This is a much larger agenda. A big picture, and its strategic ties must be underlined at all times," he said.

    Celik also slammed EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn for retweeting tweets calling for a freeze of accession talks with Turkey, adding Hahn was acting more like a "commissioner to avoid enlargement." "Someone who is in that position, should come up with much more qualified policies and approaches", Celik alleged.

    [12] "Things Not To Do To Save Turkey-EU Relations"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (01.12.16) publishes the following article by Murat Yetkin:

    "There are things to do for all concerned parties to save the relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) which seems to be on a crash course into the wall nowadays, if the parties really want to save them.

    Trying ways to get the immigration-visa agreement implemented is one of them.

    Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik signaled on Nov 29 that Frans Timmermans, the Vice President of the European Commission has been working on a solution package together with Turkish diplomats and that could bring some results in his upcoming visit to Ankara. According to the unofficial information at the political backstage there are also works with Turkish Justice and Interior ministries to amend the Turkish anti-terror law, despite the ongoing political trauma after the July 15 bloody coup attempt and the acts of terror by the [self-proclaimed] Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) aggravated by the civil war atmosphere in Syria and Iraq. If the immigration-visa agreement is to be implemented neither the visa flexibilities will be as same as Turkey desires, nor the changes in the anti-terror law will be as the EU demands, due to the overall political circumstances. But that shows the bureaucratic system is working behind the close doors, of course on the instructions of the political leaderships, despite the war of words at the political level.

    It seems both in Turkey and in the EU capitals there are intentions to find a face saving solution, an honorable exit, which is good.

    Because Turkish-EU relations need a very bit of good news nowadays, no matter how irrelevant they are, whether it is only for face saving purposes.

    Because it is much needed to decrease the tension in the public opinion and drop it from the public agenda to a level it deserves.

    Germany is likely to play the key role in putting the relations back on track, or more correctly, finding a new normal in EU-Turkey relations. Not only because Germany led by Angela Merkel is the locomotive political and economic power in the EU, after the Brexit and due to the declining influence of France due to domestic political uncertainties there. Not only because of more than 3 million Turkey origin people living in Germany, not only strong economic and historical ties between the two countries. Perhaps a combination of all of them and more. Germany wouldn't want to lose Turkey and Turkey wouldn't want to lose Germany as a friend with all the ups and downs, natural for such a deep rooted and long relationship.

    If the relations between Turkey and Germany are to be put back on track or find a new normal, the relations with EU would follow that. Mending the fences in relations after so much of damage may take time, but there are also things not to do in both Turkish-German and Turkish-EU relations to pass through the current dire straits.

    The first thing for both Turkish and the European politicians is take the issue from their domestic political campaigns; sky is the limit for attacks on the other side when it comes to domestic political competition and it would not help things for the better.

    It is better for the European politicians to hurt and further alienate Turkish people while criticizing the government policies; most of Turkish people are suffering from the acts of terror and still in a post-coup attempt trauma and are not happy with the remarks implying empathy towards the PKK or the Gulenists, instead of themselves, even if the intention of the politicians may not be that.

    On the Turkish side the red line for the EU would be to bring back the death penalty. Yes the arrested journalists, arrested politicians, mass dismissals from public jobs and all those are problems, but the red line for Turkey to lose all the support it can get -what is left of it- would be the death penalty issue. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) [AKP] government would better drop it from its agenda for bettering of relations with the democratic world, not only with the EU. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (CS/Á̀)


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