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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-03-01

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. 41/17 01.03.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Ak?nc? addressed 13th ECO summit; He attended a dinner offered in honor of the Presidents who participated at the 13th (ECO) Summit in Islamabad
  • [02] Erdogan called the ECO countries to lift the so-called embargoes and to upgrade the occupation regime's status
  • [03] Atun addressed the ECO meeting
  • [04] Akinci held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State
  • [05] Ozgurgun says he sees no benefit to continue the negotiations
  • [06] A former member of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team proposed that the new strategy should be either timetable or division
  • [07] Columnist argues that the new hospital in occupied Morfou "seals the end" of the Cyprus negotiations
  • [08] "Cybercrime law draft was sent to the assembly for ratification"
  • [09] "Five new agreements on health tourism"
  • [10] Russia and Turkey hold missile sales talks
  • [11] Gazprom to soon start TurkStream offshore section
  • [12] Cavusoglu: "Turkey ready to be energy hub of ECO region"
  • [13] Germany's Die Welt reporter arrested in Turkey on charges of terrorism propaganda
  • [14] The International press organizations call for release of jailed journalists in Turkey
  • [15] MHP's Bahceli slams Greece over Imia islets
  • [16] Largest coup trial begins in Turkey with 330 suspects

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Ak?nc? addressed 13th ECO summit; He attended a dinner offered in honor of the Presidents who participated at the 13th (ECO) Summit in Islamabad

    According to illegal Bayrak television (01.03.17) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has underlined the importance of developing and strengthening relations with member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

    Akinci stated that the Turkish Cypriot "state" wanted to contribute more to the work of ECO, to establish closer relations with member countries and to encourage cooperation in areas where mutual gain could be achieved.

    Addressing the opening session of the 13th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization being held in Islamabad, Pakistan, Ak?nc? pointed out that the "TRNC" had successfully hosted a number of ECO events in the past and was ready to do so in the future as well.

    Claiming that the "TRNC" is currently under economic "isolation" and that the Turkish Cypriot side is working towards reaching a comprehensive settlement under these conditions, Ak?nc? alleged that he has been doing his utmost since taking office in April 2015 to reach a settlement on the island.

    "So far, we've come a long way. We have shown serious progress on five of the six negotiating chapters of governance and power sharing, EU relations, economy, property and territory. We even started discussing the Security and Guarantees chapter at a five-party-conference with the participation of the island's three guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece, and the UK. We are trying to establish a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation and we are in the last round of the negotiations with my counterpart, Greek Cypriot leader Mr. Anastasiades" Akinci said.

    Ak?nc?, however, pointed out that the Cyprus negotiation talks were currently stalled following the decision by the Cyprus House of Representatives that the 1950 plebiscite on Enosis ? union with Greece ? should be commemorated in Greek Cypriot public schools.

    He drew attention to the fact that the decision on education was brought to the House's agenda by the fascist organization and political party ELAM and was passed after Deputies from the Greek Cypriot leader's own ruling party abstained.

    "Enosis was the root cause of the Cyprus problem. It is fundamentally against the spirit of reconciliation and peace, since the plebiscite of Enosis ignored the existence of the Turkish Cypriots. It was because of Enosis and aspirations to unite the island with Greece that the 1960 Republic of Cyprus collapsed in 1963. Following the Greek Junta backed military coup, the island was divided into two in 1974. Hopefully, Mr. Anastasiades will have a change of heart, and properly acknowledge the gravity of this amendment, putting forward the efforts necessary to reverse the decision. Only then can we resume our talks to find a comprehensive solution", added Akinci.

    Ak?nc? explained that with a solution in Cyprus, the island as a whole will have a feeling of safety and confidence that has been absent since the early 60's.

    "Cyprus, as a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation will be a full member of the European Union. As a member of the EU, a reunited Cyprus will be the center of stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean. We will have the opportunity to create a vibrant economy that utilizes its comparative advantage, by developing its existing service sectors", he added.

    Pointing out that in the event of a federal settlement there will be two constituent states in Cyprus which will be able to sign bi-lateral agreements with other countries in the areas of trade, tourism, culture and sports, Ak?nc? said that, with or without a solution, solidarity and support from the ECO and its member states are of utmost importance in furthering and deepening the already existing relations between the Turkish Cypriots and people of the ten member states of the ECO, economically, socially and culturally.

    Ak?nc? also argued that the "TRNC" offers an ideal environment for higher education with currently 90,000 students enrolled in "universities" in "north" Cyprus, adding that the "TRNC universities" offers scholarships to students from ECO member countries.

    Ak?nc? concluded his speech by inviting ECO member countries to visit the "TRNC" which he added is rich in nature, historical sites and culture.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (01.03.17) reports that the Akinci attended a dinner that was offered in honor of the Presidents who participated in the 13th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in Islamabad.

    Akinci was "received" by the President of Pakistan Huseyin Memnun. Among the persons who attended the dinner were the President of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

    (AK/CS)

    [02] Erdogan called the ECO countries to lift the so-called embargoes and to upgrade the occupation regime's status

    According to illegal Bayrak television (01.03.17) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization to strengthen ties with the "TRNC".

    Erdogan touched upon the Cyprus problem during his address at the opening session of the 13th Economic Cooperation Organization summit in Islamabad, Pakistan.

    Alleging that the "TRNC" was being subjected to "unjust international embargoes and isolation", Erdogan claimed that the ECO member countries should do more to ease the Turkish Cypriots' "isolation".

    He also proposed that the "TRNC's status" within the organization be upgraded from observer to full member.

    [03] Atun addressed the ECO meeting

    According to illegal Bayrak television (01.03.17) the so-called minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun alleged that they were ready to actively encourage foreign investors to come and visit the "TRNC"

    Addressing the Council of Ministers meeting of the 13th Economic Organization Summit in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, Atun stated that they were ready to provide information to interested investors on investment opportunities and incentives offered by the "TRNC government".

    "Foreign investors who want to invest in north Cyprus can count on our government's support" Atun argued.

    Stating that the "TRNC" aimed to develop cooperation in the field of tourism with member countries of ECO, Atun said: "We believe that north Cyprus offers an ideal holiday destination to our brothers with its natural and cultural wealth, particularly in terms of eco-tourism."

    Atun also pointed out that there were 6,000 students from ECO member countries currently enrolled at "TRNC universities", a figure he added which they wanted to raise.

    Also, informing participants about the water transfer project currently supplying clean water to the "TRNC" via an 80km long suspended underwater pipeline, Atun said that the "TRNC" wanted to continue to carry out such creative projects with Turkey.

    On the Cyprus negotiations, Atun argued that the Turkish Cypriots are subjected to "international isolation" and endless negotiations have been facing uncertainty for years.

    He claimed that the "embargoes imposed" on "north" Cyprus should be removed independent of the negotiations process which has failed as he alleged to achieve any results due to the Greek Cypriot side's intransigence.

    "I urge member countries to act in solidarity and to take concrete and serious steps as soon as possible to ease the isolation of the TRNC" added Atun.

    Meanwhile, Atun met with the Pakistani Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz whose country took on the term presidency of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

    The two came together at a dinner reception hosted for the delegations attending the 13th ECO summit.

    According to information from the "economy ministry's press office", the two men exchanged views on how to enhance cooperation between the "TRNC" and member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization.

    [04] Akinci held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (01.03.17) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci held a telephone conversation yesterday with US Secretary of State, Tom Tillerson.

    According to the paper, there is no information regarding what was said between the two men during their conversation. However, it is estimated that the latest phase of the Cyprus negotiations was the center of their talk.

    Reporting on the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (01.03.17) writes that this is the first connection of Akinci with the government of Donald Trump which is said to support the negotiations for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem. According to the paper, it is estimated that during their telephone conversation Akinci conveyed to Tillerson the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side on the deadlock of the Cyprus negotiations.

    (CS)

    [05] Ozgurgun says he sees no benefit to continue the negotiations

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.03.17) broadcast that self-styled prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun stated that the Greek Cypriot will not overturn the decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite at schools.

    He said that he did not see any benefit to continue the negotiations "while this mentality prevailed"

    "There are those who are experiencing serious disappointment. Those who experience disappointment are those who dream. Those who saw the realities from the very beginning such as us are not surprised or disappointed. We were telling everyone about the realities from the very beginning" he said.

    Speaking on a TV program, Ozgurgun said that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak?nc? had given the right reaction and response to the Greek Cypriot side.

    He however added that the stance to be adopted from this point onwards was just as important as the reaction given.

    "It would not be right to insist that the Turkish Cypriot side needs a settlement at all costs" Ozgurgun said.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot "people" were equal inhabitants of the island of Cyprus, Ozgurgun said: "Turkish Cypriots are just as intelligent and well informed as Greek Cypriots. We are just as experienced as Greek Cypriots on matters of the state. Why should I tolerate the Greek Cypriot side's spoilt stance?"

    Alleging that throughout history the Greek Cypriots have perceived the Turkish Cypriots as a minority on the island, Ozgurgun claimed that they are faced with a mindset that expressed its desire to unite the island with Greece.

    "The Turkish Cypriot people have opposed and struggled against Enosis or the island's union with Greece" he said, adding that it was highly unlikely that the Greek Cypriots will overturn the decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite at schools.

    [06] A former member of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team proposed that the new strategy should be either timetable or division

    Under the title "Either timetable or division", Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (01.03.17), on its front page, reports that Oguzhan Hasipoglu, former member of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team during former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu's period, stated that a new negotiating strategy is needed to face the "Enosis crisis" at the negotiating table and claimed that at this stage the new slogan should be "either timetable or division".

    Speaking in a television programme at the Turkish Cypriot private channel Ada TV, Hasipoglu said: "Since the sides cannot agree, then it should be determined that a federal solution cannot be applied on the island. We should proceed towards to division as exactly happened in Kosovo."

    Claiming that the UN should demand that the negotiations to be proceed within a limited timetable, Hasipoglu added that in case there is not a result, then the negotiations should be declared that they have collapsed.

    (DPs)

    [07] Columnist argues that the new hospital in occupied Morfou "seals the end" of the Cyprus negotiations

    Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.03.17) columnist Serhat Incirli comments on the foundation laying ceremony of the new "state" hospital in occupied Morfou carried out recently by "prime minister' Ozgurgun and describes this hospital as "the seal of the ending of the negotiations" towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Incirli reports that the foundation laying ceremony had been planned for the period before the International Conference for Cyprus in Geneva and notes:

    "[?] Turkey's instruction was in this direction. With Turkey's and especially President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's order or request, a message was conveyed to our government by Mr Tugrul Turkes. 'The foundation stone of the Morfou Hospital will be laid before Geneva'! Because this did not happen, our people here heart some 'indignations'. I am not saying 'insults'. Please be careful. Because as I have said above, the importance attached to this hospital was beyond the service [it would provide]. It would be the most impressive Ottoman seal of the fact that 'Morfou is not given [back]'. [?]

    While he was laying the foundation stone on Monday having by his side his full team together with deputies from the Republican Turkish Party, did Huseyin Ozgurgun say that 'we plan [for this hospital] to offer services to our brothers the Greek Cypriots who will return'? No! Exactly the opposite. He gave the message that 'this matter has been closed'. [?] That is, I am writing this for the following: This hospital's foundation stone is the seal for the fact that there will be no solution in Cyprus for a very long time to come or more correctly for the fact that the possibility for a solution targeting the 'federation' pursued since 1977 has been shelved! [?]"

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] "Cybercrime law draft was sent to the assembly for ratification"

    Under the title "The end of the freedom that does not recognize borders", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (01.03.17), on its front page, reports that the so-called council of ministers of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus "approved" the "regulation of the information network service and cybercrime law draft" in order to combat cybercrimes and sent to the "assembly for ratification".

    The paper reports that in case this "law draft" becomes "law", then it will end the unlimited freedom of expression on the social media and the internet. The "law regulating the printed media will also include the social media". Those which are considered as crimes for the printed media will be also valid for social media. After this, the users of internet and social media should be very careful on issues of insult, humiliations, belittlement?

    (DPs)

    [09] "Five new agreements on health tourism"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.03.17) reports that self-styled minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu, in a press conference upon his arrival at the occupied airport of Tymbou after representing the "TRNC" (translator's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus) in the Global Healthcare Tourism Forum in Amman, Jordan, evaluated his contacts in Amman.

    Noting that beside the Jordanian Prime Minister and Tourism and Health Ministers, the Jordanian Princes had also visited the "TRNC stand", Ataoglu added that in the meetings they exchanged views on developing health tourism cooperation between them. He further said that they have signed new agreements by taking the necessary steps with meeting representatives of various countries.

    Meanwhile, Ataoglu also said he was elected as a member to the High Advisory Council on behalf of the "TRNC" and the "chairman" of the "Health Tourism Council" Ahmet Savasan was elected as a member of the board of directors during the general assembly which was held in Amman. He argued that despite many negative developments being experienced around the world, developments are continuing in the field of tourism.

    Finally, Ataoglu added that "preparations are continuing to make the necessary legal and infrastructure arrangements and incentives are also being prepared".

    Savasan, speaking also at the press conference, said that they singed five new agreements with Italy, Jordan, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Ukraine on the fields of heart, eye, dental, as well as in-vitro fertilization and oncology.

    (DPs)

    [10] Russia and Turkey hold missile sales talks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.02.17) reported that Russia's Deputy Defense Minister said on Tuesday that Moscow and Ankara continued with talks on delivering the S-400 missile system to Turkey.

    "The talks are still continuing. The delivery is only possible if an agreement is reached and there is no agreement so far," Alexander Fomin told reporters in comments reported by Russian news agency TASS.

    Turkey's Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on February 22 that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would handle the issue during a High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) meeting expected between March 8 and 9 in Moscow.

    When questioned how purchasing the S-400 defense system would affect relations between Turkey and NATO, Kalin said: "We do not see disharmony or contradiction."

    "There are examples. As you already know, we know that some NATO member countries used such defense systems," Kalin said.

    [11] Gazprom to soon start TurkStream offshore section

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.02.17) reported that Russia's Gazprom will start building the offshore section of the TurkStream gas pipeline in the coming months, according to statements by Gazprom's board member Oleg Aksyutin on Tuesday.

    Aksyutin said at a press conference in Russia's capital Moscow that the construction process will start in the second half of 2017, and added that progress on the gas transportation system in Russia has mostly been finalized.

    The TurkStream natural gas pipeline project agreement between Turkey and Russia was signed on October 10, 2016 and was ratified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 7.

    The project, which was announced by Putin during a 2014 visit to Turkey, is set to carry gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey's Thrace region.

    One line, with 15.75 billion cubic meters of capacity, is expected to supply the Turkish market, while a second line will carry gas to Europe.

    [12] Cavusoglu: "Turkey ready to be energy hub of ECO region"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.02.17) reported that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has stated on Tuesday that the member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) are rich in energy resources and added that Turkey is ready to transfer them to international markets,

    Speaking at an ECO Foreign Ministers' meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Cavusoglu stated that energy is a key field upon which the organization must focus.

    "Our region is rich in energy resources. Turkey is ready to transfer them to international markets," he added.

    Cavusoglu said that the 13th ECO Summit was being held at a crucial time. "Current political and economic challenges force us to reconsider the role of the ECO," he added.

    According to Cavusoglu, the organization has huge potential to become an important regional player. However, he said, member countries needed to redouble their efforts to exploit this potential.

    "First of all, we need to put into force our trade agreement, ECOTA, to enhance intra-regional trade. With this understanding, I call upon all the member states to complete the necessary requirements for joining ECOTA," Cavusoglu further added.

    Commenting on the organization's 'Ecobank' -- a body to finance trade through projects -- Cavusoglu said: "We need to enhance the institutional and financing capacity of Ecobank to meet the growing needs of the region."

    "The integration of regional transport systems and the effective use of transit corridors were also important", Cavusoglu stated.

    "Effective implementation of the Transit Transport Framework Agreement (TTFA) and completion of the outstanding projects, such as the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Road Corridor, should be the organization's priorities."

    [13] Germany's Die Welt reporter arrested in Turkey on charges of terrorism propaganda

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.03.17) reported that the Turkish authorities arrested on February 27 a correspondent from German newspaper Die Welt on charges of "propaganda in support of a terrorist organization" and "inciting the public to violence."

    Deniz Yucel, a dual citizen of Turkey and Germany, was initially detained by police on February 14.

    In his four-hour long interrogation at an Istanbul court, Yucel said: "I love my country despite its faults and deficiencies."

    "I've never been a member of any [criminal] organization. The only organization I'm a member of is the German Journalists' Union. I made comments based on basic human rights and freedoms in accordance with universal journalism principals," Yucel said in his testimony.

    "I'm doing this job without taking orders from anybody, the state or my boss. I do it with my professional knowledge and conscience," he added.

    Stressing that his interview with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) figure Cemil Bay?k was "journalistic activity," Yucel noted that he also wrote articles criticizing the outlawed group.

    However, the court ruled that Yucel presented the PKK "like a legitimate structure" in the interview, claiming that in an article dated Sept. 26, 2016 he incited Turkish and Kurdish citizens to violence.

    The court also referred to Yucel's pieces on the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, claiming that he made propaganda of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO), widely believed to have been behind the thwarted coup.

    The court thus ordered the arrest of Yucel, ruling that judicial control provisions fell short.

    During the hearing, German Consul General in Istanbul Georg Birgelen, Yucel's relatives, and lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) all waited in the court.

    CHP Istanbul lawmakers Sezgin Tanr?kulu, Mahmut Tanal and Bar?s Yarkadas criticized the arrest decision, saying Yucel was arrested for "journalistic activities."

    "Another journalist has been arrested for his thoughts. The charges against Deniz consist only of his articles, a tweet he sent, and an anecdote he retold. When you look at the articles, Deniz has no intention to praise a terrorist organization or incite people to violence," Yarkadas told journalists on Feb. 27.

    Tanr?kulu described the arrest as "a message to all foreign newspapers in Turkey."

    The German government also condemned the arrest, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticizing the move as "bitter and disappointing" and describing it as "disproportionate."

    "The German government expects that the Turkish judiciary, in its treatment of the Yucel case, takes account of the high value of freedom of the press for every democratic society. We will continue to insist on a fair and legal treatment of Deniz Yucel and hope that he will soon regain his freedom," Merkel said in a statement.

    German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was even harsher in his assessment of the case, saying it showed in "glaring light" the difference between the two countries in evaluating freedom of the press and freedom of opinion.

    [14] The International press organizations call for release of jailed journalists in Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.03.17) reports that the International press organizations have called for the release of jailed journalists in Turkey in a meeting they held at the Turkish Journalists' Association's (TGC) headquarters in Istanbul.

    The Turkish Journalists' Association, the International Press Institute (IPI), Article 19, Swedish PEN, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Association of European Journalists (AEJ) joined the meeting, as well as a number of journalists.

    The organizations have called for the release of jailed journalists "without any condition."

    TGC head Turgay Olcayto, said at the meeting that the journalists have been struggling since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, but "there was not any distressful era like this one," noting that a total of 145 journalists were currently in prison in Turkey.

    "Among them, there are those who have only engaged in journalistic activities. We want to visit them as a trade body. We've never had the opportunity to visit any of our friends until now," Olcayto said, adding that "the opportunity is not given to them."

    "Journalists and televisions are under massive pressure and the people do not have the right to getting information. Despite this fact, the journalists consisting of youth in Turkey continue their works in difficulty and try to do their best even though they become unemployed. We are not losing our hope," he said.

    Steven Ellis, who coordinates IPI's advocacy and communication activities, said that they joined the meeting "as the press organizations that are concerned about the future of freedom of expression in Turkey."

    "The journalists are kept in jail in a completely unlawful way. It's an unacceptable situation for a country that is expected to respect all democratic processes. Bringing media freedom under pressure will not be limited to that profession only. Those who don't respect human rights and democratic values cannot be partners that you can jointly act," he said, while IPI's Sandy Bremmer noted that "it's unacceptable for the government to bring the society and the journalists under pressure."

    Bremmer also mentioned journalist Kadri Gursel, who has been in jail for 116 days, saying that Gursel was "loyal to the basic principles of journalism."

    "I've had a chance to meet Kadri Gursel before. I've known him as a person who is loyal to the basic principles of journalism. That loyalty was one of his traits that affected me. No journalist can be subjected to illegitimate treatment because of the work they do. The duty that awaits the international society is to react. It's their duty to stand against unlawful treatment. We are here to bring light to the prices the journalists pay. Those in jail only ask for one thing; they want journalism to be carried out freely," she added.

    "The charges which are far from solid evidence harm the trustworthiness of judiciary," said Georgia Nash from Article 19.

    "According to the government, the journalists are terrorists, but they only show their articles as evidence. We demand the release of journalists without any conditions," he said.

    Also speaking at the event, AEJ head Otmar Lahodynsky said that Europe "has been silent on the events that are unfolding in Turkey," adding that the arrest of Die Welt's correspondent Deniz Yucel is a move to "tease international journalists."

    "The state of emergency cannot be put as a reason for violation of international agreements," he said, referring to the state of emergency declared in Turkey after the July 2016 failed coup attempt.

    [15] MHP's Bahceli slams Greece over Imia islets

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.02.17) reported that the leader of Turkey's opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli has called on the Greek people to teach "tactless" politicians -- who he accused of ignoring neighborly values -- "their place".

    Devlet Bahceli, speaking at his party's group meeting on Tuesday, harshly criticized recent remarks by Greece's Defense Minister on the Kardak islets [Imia islets] in the Aegean Sea.

    "The Greek people should warn their administration and teach the tactless, who ignore neighborly values and are waiting to see a crisis arise, their place," he said.

    Panos Kammenos claimed Friday that Turkey was trying "to escalate the crisis" over the Kardak islets, warning against setting foot on them and saying Greek forces were ready for "any contingency".

    (?)

    [16] Largest coup trial begins in Turkey with 330 suspects

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.02.17) reported that the biggest trial yet against suspects accused of involvement in the July 2016 coup attempt began in Turkey on February 28 in a courtroom specially built to hold more than 1,500 people.

    Some 330 suspects who are being tried in Sincan outside Ankara face multiple life sentences over their alleged links to the thwarted coup, which is widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO).

    Some 245 of those named in the indictment are under arrest.

    The suspects, many of whom are from the Polatl? Artillery and Missile School Command in Ankara, have been charged with murder or attempted murder. They also stand accused of attempting to remove the government and Parliament of the Turkish Republic or trying to prevent those institutions from conducting their work.

    The Chief of General Staff Genera; Hulusi Akar and Turkish Gendarmerie Commander General Yasar Guler are among the complainants in the case.

    The case is being heard at Sincan prison where there was heavy security in place, with a water cannon truck on site and a drone flying overhead as families arrived for the hearing.

    The courtroom ? which has space for 1,558 people ? was packed with security forces surrounding the suspects as they testified.

    The first suspect, a military cadet named Abdulkadir Kahraman, told the court that on the night of the failed coup, troops had been informed by their commander that there had been a terror attack and were given ammunition.

    Other suspects gave similar statements, including Arif Ozan Demir, who told the court that the Commander told them there had been an attack and that they should "be prepared."

    (?)

    The hearing is one of several cases that opened across the country this month, with 47 people going on trial in the southwestern province of Mugla on charges of attempting to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Until now, the largest has been held in Izmir, where 270 suspects went on trial late last month, including US.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is being tried in absentia. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (AK / AM)


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