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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-12-05
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 233/16 03-05.12.2016
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Akinci: There was no pre-condition or give and take for the five-party conference; The wise thing to do is to implement the European timeTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (05.12.16, online, http://www.kibrispostasi.com/akinci-5li-konferans-icin-hicbir-on-kosul-yoktur-05122016) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said this morning that contrary to what it is said there has been no pre-condition or give and take for a five-party conference and that the agreement is as it was announced by the UN.
In statements at the illegal Tymbou airport prior to his departure for Brussels where he is expected to meet with the President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Junker, the Speaker of the European Parliament Martin Schultz and the High Representative Responsible for the EU's Foreign Affairs and Security Policies, Federica Mogherini, Akinci said that his contacts with the EU in this period "have exceptional importance", because the date for a five-party conference has been determined.
Noting that the date for a five-part conference has been determined and that they are heading towards a "determined period in the solution process", Akinci argued that in case things go well, they will try to end with an agreement on the points on which disagreement between the sides exist and wished for the Greek Cypriot side to also show the same determination.
He alleged that in case an agreement is reached in Geneva, the "TRNC" will take its place in an honorable solution, it will be turned into one of the two founding states and it will take its place in the international law and the EU. Akinci said that the Turkish Cypriots' preparation process for the EU, which has been going on for some time, will gain more importance now and expressed the view that the meetings he will hold with the EU officials are of great importance.
"There are duties which fall on us and at the same time there are duties which fall on the EU", he argued claiming that the EU should do certain things in order for the solution to be implemented in a healthy manner, adding that the Turkish Cypriot "people" and the "TRNC" have expectations from the EU as regards their preparation for the EU. Akinci said that all these will be discussed during his contacts in Brussels and he will tell the EU officials at which point the Cyprus talks reached.
Recalling that a road map came out from the recent meeting he held with President Anastasiades and the UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, Akinci said that they agreed on a road map according to which they will go to Geneva on 9 January and it will turn into five-party conference on 12 January. He argued that contrary to some information given to the public, "there is absolutely no pre-condition" in the road going to Geneva and the agreement is as was announced by the UN. Noting that there is no pre-condition or give and take carried out in the back stage, Akinci said that some "speculative news" is not correct and that the truth is what is included in the agreement text announced by the UN.
Akinci said that he will return to the occupied area of Cyprus on Thursday night and that he will have a busy schedule until the meeting in Geneva. He wished for a solution to be reached to the Cyprus problem in which both "peoples" are happy and live in tranquility.
Referring to the time implemented in the occupied area of Cyprus and the dispute caused on this issue after the "government's" decision to follow Turkey in not changing the summer time into the winter time, Akinci said that this week started with chaos regarding the time. He noted that his house is next to a school and added that this morning the bell rang twice, at 08.00 and 08.30. He pointed out that the Turkish Cypriots should not live in this chaos and that the problem should be solved urgently.
Recalling that he had expressed his view in the past and that everything depends on the "government's" decision, Akinci added that "the reasonable thing to is to readjust to the system which has been implemented for years". "I think that it would be correct to repeat the system which has been implemented for years", he argued and added that he conveyed this view to the "government" during their recent meeting. The most correct and reasonable thing to do is to act according to the rules of nature and take the clocks one hour backwards according to the EU time zone, he underlined.
 Burcu denied reports published in the Greek Cypriot pressAccording to illegal Bayrak television (03.12.16) so-called presidential spokesman Baris Burcu issued a written statement noting that they had witnessed varied news being broadcast in the Greek Cypriot press regarding who will be taking part in the upcoming Cyprus conference.
Burcu stated that on the 9th of January 2017 the leaders will begin discussions in Switzerland and on the 12th of January the three guarantor powers in Cyprus will take part in a summit with the aim of finding a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem. "The statement made by the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide was very clear", said Burcu.
"According to this statement 'in line with the leaders joint resolve to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible, the two leaders have further decided that they will meet in Geneva on the 9th of January 2017. On the 11th of January, they will present their respective maps. From the 12th of January, a Conference on Cyprus will be convened with the added participation of the guarantor powers. Other relevant parties shall be invited as needed, the UN statement said", noted Burce and added that this statement by the UN is very clear and not open to misinterpretation.
He emphasized that as the statement clarifies, the leaders will begin discussions in Switzerland on the 9th of January and then on the 12th of January, with the participation of representatives from the three guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, it will become a conference.
 Cavusoglu's interview to daily Sabah; He accused the Greek Cypriot side of stepping back from the talks in Mont PelerinTurkish daily Sabah (04.12.16-online in English) reported that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusuglu, in an interview to the paper during his official visit to Lebanon on Friday, referred to his recent visit to Russia and his contacts with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov last week, stating that with Lavrov, they prioritized the implementation of a cease-fire in Syria.
"Turkey believes it can cooperate with the incoming Trump administration in the U.S. as many of Ankara's concerns overlap with that of Trump, and the two allies can once again become motivated by a common vision", Cavusoglu said.
Underlining the importance of distinguishing pre-election rhetoric with post-election reality, Cavusoglu has predicted that under the Trump administration "Turkey and the U.S. can once again become two allies motivated by a common vision."
Referring to his meeting with Lavrov, he underlined that if Turkey and Russia are determined and the negotiations continue with sincerity, they can actually instate a cease-fire and talk about the political process to follow it. Cavusoglu also stated that they are taking some steps for this to happen and added that they desire to conclude this process as soon as possible.
Commenting about the ongoing Mosul operation and the situation in the Turkmen populated city of Tal Afar, Cavusoglu said that there is a plan that foresees how and where each and every force within the offensive will attack, including the peshmerga forces, the Iraqi military, local forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi. He added that so far they have observed that the Mosul offensive was going according to the agreement.
Regarding the current state of Turkish-EU relations, Cavusoglu underlined that there is a crisis of trust between the Turkish people and the EU: "The people don't believe what the EU says anymore," he said.
Following is an abstract of Cavusoglu's interview:
"Q: No results about Cyprus came out of Mont Pelerin. Is a new negotiation possible?
The resolution of the Cyprus issue must not be delayed any further. The conference date and location for the quintet must be decided. The two leaders had previously agreed to talk with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about inviting the quintet for the meeting while they were on their way to New York. However, Anastasiades seemingly stepped back.
At Mont Pelerin, the date and location was to be determined, however, first the Greek Cypriot delegates pardoned themselves and abruptly left the table because their demands were not fulfilled. The Greek Cypriot administration wants to keep as much possible as to themselves while going to the final meetings. This is against the understanding of negotiations and the joint statement made on Feb. 11, 2014.
I talked with the Turkish side. President Ak?nc?, the ruling party and the opposition are all saying the same thing: The date of the conference must be decided. Until then, they are saying that they will keep meeting with the Greek Cypriot administration and they will continue trying to come to agreements on some issues. In short, they are trying to do as much as they can before the conference, to resolve issues during the conference and then hold a referendum according to the decision. This is how a party wanting to resolve the issue would behave. This process has been discussed frequently and intensely since 2015, however, they cannot keep this up for another decade. Therefore, it has to be resolved as soon as possible.
Q: Cyprus is also a crucial issue in Turkish-EU relations. How do you evaluate the situation in this context?
I can honestly say that we never acted in a calculated way while trying to resolve the Cyprus issue. We never thought about whether the EU would open another chapter or whether our relations would improve. We didn't do it, even though this issue was always brought to the table. This means that we sincerely want to resolve the issue in Cyprus. The advantages and opportunities of a resolution in Cyprus and Turkey's contributions afterwards would be significant. The Greek Cypriot administration is aware of this potential. Therefore, because so much progress has been made, both parties should have a strong will to resolve the issue.
Q: The relations between Turkey and the EU are currently tense. If Turkey and the EU go their separate ways in the days to come, will this mean that Turkey is relinquishing EU values?
We are not against the common values of Europe and we will not forsake democracy; on the contrary we have to improve it. Laws and justice is needed by all. We are disturbed by how the EU has been approaching us. We have been expressing that we are troubled by their double standards, as we have clearly seen this, especially after the coup attempt. The sensible ones have become aware of this and feel ashamed.
We also see in Europe the increasing threats and escalating issues, which we commonly share. We are stating that this process may end catastrophically and we express that some EU policies have been unsuccessful.
We are clearly saying that the long and slow process of Turkey's full membership bid is EU's responsibility. This is what we are complaining about. Moreover, we are also critical of the EU looking down on non-EU countries. We are expressing that this is not a healthy approach to our colleagues in the EU, through official and unofficial channels. We have explained that some EU countries have very different standards than others.
We are telling them that they cannot achieve anything with this kind of approach towards countries like Turkey and Russia.
Firstly, they should see us as equals; we will never accept any inferior or substandard position. We know there are certain issues and that is why we are pushing many reforms. These are our complaints. We are just saying that Europe has to correct its mistakes. We have never said that we abhor democracy, human rights and freedoms and we do not think about terminating our relations with the EU that notion is always voiced by them".
 Nami said that Akinci guaranteed that there will not be a solution text not obtaining Turkish Cypriots' equality and guaranteeTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (04.12.16) reports that the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami by giving details regarding the Cyprus talks, guaranteed that there will not be a solution text in which the equality and the security of the Turkish Cypriots will not exist.
Speaking on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci at the 11th ordinary general assembly of the "Cyprus Turkish Businessmen's association" (ISAD), Nami said that the whole process of the negotiation talks today is based, first on the framework drawn by the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas, the convergence paper of the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, and on the most important document, the joint declaration of February 11, with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
Nami further said that Akinci has given his guarantee that he will not bring a solution text, which does not include the political equality and does not safeguard the full security of all the Turkish Cypriots.
Stressing that during the whole process they are in close consultation with Turkey and with Turkey's support and its technical assistance, Nami argued that the model which is formed, will be able to solve in a more advanced, clear, transparent and quicker way the property issue than the Annan plan, and will not put the Turkish Cypriots into financial troubles.
Noting that the Governance and Power-sharing issue is one of the most important chapters of the Cyprus problem, Nami explained that the issues, which were left behind and some others which were precluded in order to safeguard progress in this chapter, are not in the level that will prevent the solution of the Cyprus problem.
 Denktas stated that he would say no to a possible referendum on the Cyprus problemAccording to illegal Bayrak television (03.12.16) so-called deputy prime minister and minister of finance Serdar Denktas alleged that with the announcement of the date for the five- party conference and by saying that the Greek Cypriot side has taken a step back means that extra concessions will be sought from the Turkish Cypriot side.
According to a statement released by the "deputy prime ministry", Denktas informed the mukhtars in the occupied Famagusta region regarding the developments that have taken place at the Cyprus negotiations process.
He drew attention to the fact that the phase reached in the Cyprus negotiations process today was carried out in a different way from the Annan plan. "During the Annan plan era, a joint document had been produced but now there is no such document. The talks are being carried out privately and we are being told to read the minutes. We are reading the minutes but how progress was achieved and in which areas agreement has been reached is not clear", said Denktas.
Alleging that in Geneva, maps had been discussed and the number of Greek Cypriots to return to the "north" had also been agreed upon Denktas, added: "During the first tour a map with the percentage of 28.2 to 29.2% was discussed and a call was made for 80 thousand Greek Cypriots to return".
He claimed that political equality was out of the question and that in the lower house of the parliament to be formed, there would be 36 Greek Cypriots and 12 Turkish Cypriots and that decisions would be made through a majority vote. "If 12 Turkish Cypriot parliamentarians vote no then the issue will be taken to the Senate where there are two Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots. If an agreement isn't reached here then the issue will be sent to the High Court. One of the five judges' names given by the EU will be appointed here. One European, two Turkish Cypriot and two Greek Cypriot judges will serve here, meaning three against two. So Turkish Cypriots will lose out once again. Tell me where is equality", Denktas said.
He added that if you take a close look at all of the meetings that have taken place up until now on the Cyprus issue you could see the "realities".
Denktas also alleged that in fact the date of the five- party conference had been set previously and that although there are claims that the Greek Cypriot side has taken a step back, in reality more concessions are going to be sought after from the Turkish Cypriot side.
"In the end it looks like we will be called to go and take part in a referendum in March or April" said Denktas and added that he would be voting no at the referendum as the developments in the country do not benefit the Turkish Cypriot "people".
 Erhurman: Sides outside the guarantor powers will participate in the international conference only with the approval of the sides concernedTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (04.12.16) reported that Tufan Erhurman, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has said that the statement issued by the UN shows that it will be possible for the sides outside the guarantor powers to participate in the international conference for the solution of the Cyprus problem only with the approval of the sides concerned. In an interview with Yeni Duzen, Erhurman described this as "extremely positive" and added:
"Our expectation is of course for the conference to end successfully. A positive point attracting attention is the fact that there is no pre-condition on the issue of the determined timetable to work. That is, the timetable will work in any case and this conference will be materialized. The side which attempts to put forward a pre-condition as regards the timetable after this point will be required to undertake the responsibility for the collapse of the process. And this is a positive point which pushes all sides to contribute to the process".
Replying to a question as regards the developments he expects, Erhurman noted that these are mentioned in the UN's announcement. He said that according to the "official timetable", the negotiators will meet aiming to achieve as much progress as they can on the remaining issues and the leaders will also meet when this is necessary. The sides will go to Geneva on 9 January, they will submit maps on 11 January and a conference with the participation of the guarantor powers will start on 12 January, he added. If it is needed other interested sides will also be included in the conference, he noted adding that this is the agreed timetable, but some obstacles may come up or efforts may be exerted to cause problems to the process.
 Deputy Chairman of CHP for the Cyprus negotiations: "We won in 1974 and now it is as if we are negotiating a defeatTurkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (05.12.16) reports that Ozturk Yilmaz, the deputy chairman of the main opposition party in Turkey, the Republican People's Party (CHP) claimed that Greek Cypriots, even if they are in a position of advantage at the negotiations, they act as if they are losing something and manage to get even more compromises when they return to the island, by bargaining and by slowing down the solution process.
Yilmaz, who was speaking during a press conference at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, said that the negotiations is Switzerland failed and expressed his sorrow because as he claimed the Cyprus talks are conducted with the "just get rid of it", logic.
He also claimed that the negotiations must be based on the "absolute equality of the two founding states" and added that the mentality that the Republic of Cyprus does not recognize the "TRNC", creates problems. He also alleged that the European Union has double standards over this issue.
Yilmaz claimed that the reasons behind the talks' failure were the extraordinary demands of the Greek Cypriots on the territory issue, the condition that they put that Turkey must abandon the guarantees on the island, the increase of the number of the Greek Cypriots that will return in case of a solution to 90,000 and the non-acceptance of the rotating presidency. He alleged that the Greek Cypriots use these excuses as a tactic method and said that they (the Turkish side) have great concerns as regards the territory issue. "The Turkish side accepted immediately to go down to 29,2% at the Cyprus talks. We think that is wrong. The method followed for the territory and other issues, before clearing up the conditions for the guarantees and for alliance, were wrong", he said.
He also claimed that in January there will be an exchange of papers and that the Greek Cypriot side will take the land it wants as regards the territory.
"The Greek Cypriot side will do anything possible so that the negotiations to have a negative ending", he stated.
Yilmaz went on and added that the 1974 invasion to Cyprus was a victory for Turkey: "However, It is as if we have we been defeated in 1974 and we are conducting the negotiations of a defeat. That is, we are losing at the (negotiation table) in 2017, what we have gained in 1974. This cannot be done. We will not quit Cyprus for anyone's sake. What is the pressure that the (Turkish) government is facing, (to act like this) during such an internationally complex period and oversees what is going on here?", he stated.
 Ertugruloglu: Akinci should have known the "bad intentions" of the Greek Cypriot side as regards the Cyprus negotiationsTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Bakis newspaper (05.12.16) reports that the self-styled foreign minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu claimed that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci should have known the "bad intentions" of the Greek Cypriot side as regards the Cyprus negotiations.
He was evaluating the recent developments of the Cyprus talks after Mont Pelerin and the forthcoming new meeting in Geneva.
Ertugruloglu also said that Akinci entered the negotiation taking a risk and exposing himself to criticism and added that the Turkish Cypriot leader realized that the Greek Cypriot side will not meet his expectations as regards the solution. "Akinci should not have taken the risk. He should have known the bad intentions of the Greek Cypriot side. [ ] the territory issues were discussed using a bad method of tactic. Akinci thought that he would take the Turkish Cypriot people to a positive point, based on his own vision", Ertugruloglu stated.
He went on and added that during the five party summit, everything will be clear and that the Turkish side will not tolerate any delaying tactics. Referring to a recent statement of the Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulides, that the Greek Cypriot side can only accept guarantees for a short time, Ertugruloglu wonders how the Greek Cypriot side may think that the Turkish Cypriot side could be satisfied with such a statement.
 Self-styled deputy assembly speaker carried out contacts in KosovoTurkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (05.12.16) reports that the self-styled deputy assembly speaker of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus Huseyin Avkiran Alanli carried out contacts in Kosovo.
During his visit to Kosovo, Alanli met also with the "deputy parliamentary speaker" Fikrim Damka. Alanli expressed his satisfaction for being on good terms with the brother country of Kosovo and added that the frequency of the mutual visits among them in the recent years show the level of their relations. He added that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to increase the bilateral contacts in order to consolidate more the cultural and social bonds among their "people".
Referring to the students from Kosovo studying in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, Alanli said that the student exchange programmes may permit the strengthening of the bonds by knowing the "people" of each "country". He also called on Kosovo not to abandon its state and its independence, because "state means freedom, survival and not be dominated by anyone".
 Harmanci participated in the OICC symposium in MoroccoTurkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (03.12.16) reports that Mehmet Harmanci, "mayor" of the Turkish Cypriot municipality of the occupied part of Nicosia, was in Morocco for contacts within the framework of the 12th symposium of OICC (the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities), which was held in Rabat between November 29 and December 1.
According to a press release by the "municipality", Harmanci is continuing to take steps forwards advancing the legal issue of the "Lefkosia Turkish municipality" in the international arena. Harmanci met with mayors and officials of some important towns, the General Secretary of OICC and the Prime Minister of Morocco Abdelilah Benkirane.
Harmanci, while in a meeting with the parliamentary committee of Tripoli, Lebanon, has reached an agreement-in-principle to cooperate.
Harmanci, who also had the opportunity to meet with the mayor of Rabat, Mohamed Sadiki and the OICC General Secretary Omar Abdullah Kad, discussed the issues of cooperation of the "Lefkosia Turkish municipality" in the international arena.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (05.12.16) reports that the delegation from the "Lefkosia Turkish municipality" presented a paper on the sewage treatment in the occupied village of Mia Milia.
 The so-called council of minister's decision over the change of school and working hours in the occupation regime created confusion and chaos; reactions by trade unions and organizationsAccording to illegal Bayrak television (05.12.16) the so-called council of ministers has decided to change working hours for "public offices" following last week's devastating traffic accident that left two school girls and their bus driver dead.
Many people blamed poor lighting due to the early time for the Tuesday accident after the "TRNC" joined Turkey in deciding not to follow day-light saving along with the rest of the island.
The new time will see schools and "public" workplaces beginning their day at 8.30am instead of 8am.
"Public offices" will remain open until 4pm according to the decision taken by the "council of ministers". Offices on Thursdays will open between 8:30am-1pm and 2pm-5:30pm.
Also, students studying in primary schools will start classes at 8:30am till 1.10pm while secondary school students will end their classes at 1:40pm.
On Mondays 3rd to 4th graders at primary schools will have a lunch break until 2:30pm while secondary school pupils will commence classes at 2:35pm.
Classes on Mondays will end at 4:40pm and 4:35pm respectively.
The "practice" will remain in place for December, January and February.
Despite the government's decision to start schools half an hour late, the school bells rang at 8 o'clock this morning. While some students were present at school at 8am, others arrived at 8:30am as families were confused and undecided on what time to drop off their kids to school.
Meanwhile, referring to the issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (04.12.16) under the front-page title: "Chaos is about to come at the public sector" reported that the "public servants trade union" (KTAMS), the "Turkish Cypriot teacher trade union" (KTOS) and the Turkish Cypriot secondary school teachers' union (KTOEOS) have announced that they will not recognize the changes introduced by the so-called government regarding the working hours and stated that they will continue with protest and strikes until the so-called government implement the daylight saving time.
The three trade unions announced also that they will hold a general strike on Tuesday and called all the members of the "Trade union platform" to support their action.
In statements on the issue, the "general secretary" of "KTOS trade union" Senel Elcil, stated the following: "We are not accepting the change introduced by the government which has led to chaos. We are demanding the implementation of daylight saving time and for the three ministers who need to take responsibility regarding the traffic accident to resign" Elcil said in a written statement.
Meanwhile, the paper writes that the trade unions, commenting on deputy prime minister and "minister of finance", Serdar Denktas' proposal to the trade unions suggesting for the so-called government "not to increase salaries this year, not to buy Mercedes and to cut 3% from the worker's salaries in order to repair the roads", described this as an effort to change the "agenda".
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.12.16) under the title: "No change at the working hours of the private sector", reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) commenting in a written statement the so-called council of ministers' decision to change the school and working hours, announced that it is out of the question for the private sector to change its working hours.
Also, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.12.16) under the front-page title: "We do not want the hour of Saudi Arabia", writes that the "government's insistence" which trailed behind Turkey's tail, not to follow the day-light saving zone will lead the community again into chaos.
Commenting on the issue, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) called on the so-called government to implement the Europe time-zone, supporting that the "decision taken", will affect negatively the quality of life of the "people" and will cause difficulties in their daily life.
 The positive course of the Cyprus talks benefited the real estate sector in the occupied area of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (05.12.16) reports that the positive course of the Cyprus talks benefited the real estate sector in the occupied area of Cyprus, where 36,093 residences and businesses were built within three years. According to data regarding the construction projects of the Turkish Cypriot building contractors' union for which permit was obtained within the period 2013-2015, the 6,093 building projects were distributed as follows: 531 in occupied Trikomo, 451 in occupied Morfou, 1,192 in occupied Famagusta, 1,940 in occupied Keryneia and 1,979 in occupied Nicosia.
The number of the construction projects increased by 15% in the period January-October 2016 compared to the same period of 2015, since 2,462 projects were materialized in the first ten months of 2016 and 2,141 in the same period of 2015.
The majority of the investors preferred to invest in occupied Nicosia and Keryneia, notes the paper adding that during the period 2013-2015 the average number of residences and businesses built in occupied Nicosia was 11,874, in Famagusta 7,152, in Keryneia 11,640, in Trikomo 3,186 and in Morfou 2,706.
Cafer Gurcafer, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot building contractors' union, told the paper that in case a solution is reached in Cyprus the prices of the immovable properties will increase by four times. He said that the main reason for which demand for investments by investors from Turkey increased in the occupied area of Cyprus is the solution process on the island.
 Erdogan calls the Turkish citizens to convert foreign exchange into gold or Turkish lira; "Turkey to trade in local currencies with Russia, China and Iran"Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (04.12.16) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his call on citizens to convert their foreign exchange into gold or Turkish Lira, claiming that "some circles" which could "not destroy Turkey by tanks and rifles" are now trying to hit the country economically.
"Those who keep dollar or euro currency under their mattress should come and turn them into liras or gold," Erdogan said in a speech in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on December 4.
He added that several steps had been taken by the Turkish authorities to promote shopping on a lira basis rather than other currencies. "Now it is time for trade. Our Prime Minister [Binali Y?ld?r?m] will go to Russia tomorrow. He will hold key meetings with Russian officials the following day. We will soon take steps to conduct our bilateral trade with Russia with our own currencies," Erdogan said, adding that similar steps would also be taken with China and Iran.
( )The Turkish currency, which has lost nearly a fifth of its value this year, reached its worst monthly performance since the 2008 financial crisis last month, hammered by a resurgent U.S. dollar and domestic concerns.
The lira fell to a record low of 3.60 against the dollar on Dec. 2, before seeing some rebound after a general decline in the dollar in global markets. The coming weeks will be crucial for the lira ahead of a key Fed meeting on Dec. 14 as well as key domestic developments, including constitutional amendment moves.
Top officials have announced a number of measures to ease the pressure on the lira.
Y?ld?r?m said that the government and the Central Bank have been taking necessary measures to ensure that the country suffers only minimal effects from the recent "temporary fluctuation" in the economy, ahead of an economic coordination board (EKK) meeting late on December 2. The results of this meeting are expected to be announced this week.
 Turkey's bank regulator converts cash assets into Turkish liraTurkish daily Sabah online in English (04.12.16) reported that the Turkish Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) decided on Friday to convert all of its cash assets into Turkish lira following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to support the declining Turkish currency against the US dollar.
The announcement came hours after Borsa Istanbul said it converted all cash reserves into Turkish lira and will keep them in Turkish Lira deposits as of December 2, 2016.
The U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate went up to stand at 3.5430 at 5 p.m. (1400GMT) Friday, compared to 3.4860 at Thursday's close.
Earlier on Friday, Erdogan called on Turkish citizens to convert their foreign exchange savings into lira and gold to help boost the value of the local currency.
Erdogan also said that volatility due to the rising value of foreign currency would not have a negative impact on the economy, adding that exchange rate fluctuations would have a minor effect on the Turkish economy, which he said was now three times richer than it was 14 years ago.
Turkey's benchmark index was up 1.20% at the close of the daily session Friday.
 CHP's Kilicdaroglu kicked off rallies against presidential systemTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.12.16) reported that Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) head Kemal K?l?cdaroglu has vowed to protect the democratic parliamentary system in Turkey against a government-supported shift to a presidential system, speaking at a party rally in the southern province of Adana on December 3.
"The philosophy that established our Republic must be a value for all of us to uphold. The ones who built this Republic paid a heavy price and fought for a better Turkey to leave to their children and grandchildren," K?l?cdaroglu said, vowing his commitment to protect the parliamentary system.
The potential change in Turkey's governance system is set to be introduced in a bill that will make changes on the country's Constitution. After long negotiations, the leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on December 1 announced they agreed on articles that will be changed in the Constitution, while the AKP said it would introduce the draft to Parliament this week. The draft has to have 330 votes in Parliament in order to be taken to the people with a referendum.
"If Turkey belongs to all of us, and if we fight for this, we have to stop engaging in politics through identities. We should stop doing politics through beliefs and lifestyles," K?l?cdaroglu said.
He vowed that there would be no oppression if his party came to power, pointing the finger at those who "polarized" Turkey by politicizing belief and identity. "There is no rule of law in Turkey. It is simply the law of the superiors," Kilicdaroglu said.
"He [President Erdogan] says 'I don't listen to the Constitution. I don't respect the Constitution.' When it comes to the people there is law; when it comes to [Erdogan], there is not," K?l?cdaroglu added.
 Survey in Turkey reveals that more than 50% support talks over draft ConstitutionTurkish daily Sabah (03.12.16) reported that according to a recently conducted survey by A&G consultancy, the public's support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is at 52.9%.
The survey was announced after Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m and opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said last week that their parties had reached agreement on the proposed draft Constitution to introduce a new presidential system aimed at more effective governance for the country's political stability.
As 90.6% of AK Party supporters welcomed the reconciliation between the two parties, the A&G survey also revealed an interesting result: 84.2% of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) voters also welcomed the settlement of the presidential system proposal; 45.7% of the participants expressed support for the presidential system compared to 37.4% back in June. When asked the reason for supporting the presidential system, 44.8% said it was due to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while 55.2% said they did not believe "the parliamentarian system was suitable for Turkey." The results indicated also that "With the coup attempt [on July 15], trust and sympathy for President Erdogan increased."
The presidential system proposal agreed upon by the AK Party and MHP would come to Parliament for a vote this week. However, according to the Constitution, constitutional changes can be directly passed only if approved by two-thirds of the Deputies in Parliament, which corresponds to 367 of the 550 parliamentarians. Currently, the AK Party has 317 seats in Parliament, while the MHP has 40, meaning the two parties do not hold enough seats in Parliament to pass the proposal directly. In spite of this, if the proposal receives between 330 and 366 votes, the proposed constitutional change can be brought to a referendum. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION