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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-03-10

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. 48/17 10.03.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] A joint press conference by Akinci and Yildirim
  • [02] Yildirim alleges that every "yes" vote in Turkey's referendum will strengthen the "TRNC"
  • [03] Yildirim: "It was known from the very beginning that there was a crisis of confidence"
  • [04] How the Turkish Cypriot press covered the illegal visit of the Turkish Prime Minister
  • [05] Columnist slams Akinci for not returning to the negotiations
  • [06] Celik: "Two separate founding states is our condition"
  • [07] Ozgurgun will deliver a speech on the Cyprus problem at Aydin University
  • [08] Cakici announced that 67 more persons joined the TKP-YG
  • [09] Yeditepe University may open a campus in occupied Trikomo
  • [10] Savasan: "We expect a 20% increase on the number of German tourists this year"
  • [11] Columnist wonders if Ankara is losing political ground in Syria
  • [12] Turkey, Russia to hold cooperation meeting after two-year delay
  • [13] Cavusoglu: "Venice Commission's report on charter changes 'not acceptable'", he will go to Netherlands
  • [14] Referendum split within MHP produces attacks
  • [15] Turkey's Supreme Court strips HDP co-chair of party membership
  • [16] Survey shows that "no" vote will prevail in the referendum for the constitutional amendments

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] A joint press conference by Akinci and Yildirim

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 10.03.17), Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who paid an illegal one day visit yesterday at the occupied area of Cyprus, reiterated yesterday that the negotiations process aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem cannot linger on in an open-ended fashion.

    In a joint press conference following a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Yildirim said: "We will continue our efforts to find a fair, permanent, comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem".

    Yildirim was accompanied by his wife Semiha Yildirim, the Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, the Turkish Minister for Forestry and Water Works Veysel Eroglu, the Turkish Minister for Transportation, Maritime and Communication Ahmet Arslan and the AKP Party's Deputy leader Ahmet Sorgun.

    Speaking first at the joint press conference, Akinci said that Turkey's close interest in the negotiations process continues despite the current crisis in the talks.

    Akinci stated that the Turkish Cypriot side's greatest expectation is for the Greek Cypriot side to correct the "grave mistake" of the Enosis vote claiming that "showing that they can correct this mistake would help rebuild the eroding trust between the two peoples".

    Reacting against the meeting between the Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and President Jean Claude Junker of the European Commission, Akinci alleged that the Greek Cypriot side is exploiting the issue of creating a Turkish-Greek balance in Cyprus, "which is described as four freedoms" and added: "It is impossible to understand why Anastasiades would go and provoke the EU".

    Claiming that although the Turkish Cypriot side has a strong will to solve the Cyprus problem, they are not seeking a solution at all costs, Akinci also warned that the energy issue can lead to new tensions in the region unless there is a solution.

    Akinci stressed that the "TRNC" will continue on its way, improving and developing itself, in the event the two sides fail to reach a federal settlement. He warned that an absence to reach a settlement will only pave the way for a two state solution in the future.

    Yildirim, for his part, described the Enosis vote as "unfortunate", and said that it came at a sensitive time when the "Greek Cypriot side should have put forward a strong desire for a comprehensive solution". He further claimed: "Instead of correcting this mistake… the Greek Cypriot side is continuing to adopt an aggressive stance that ignores the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriots. (…) It is obvious that this attitude cannot take the negotiations process forward."

    A solution is only possible "if the mentality, which doesn't see Turkish Cypriots as co-owners of the island, is completely changed", Yildirim argued.

    "A comprehensive solution is possible only if the idea of an equal partnership and faith in a common future are embraced. It is important that this understanding is instilled in the minds of younger generations", Yildirim argued.

    Yildirim also said that Turkey will continue to support the "TRNC's" efforts towards reaching a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem but reiterated that the talks could not continue open-ended and that the time had come to exercise a clear will on the matter.

    "Turkey, independent of the negotiations process, shall continue to be by the side of the Turkish Cypriots under all conditions as well as to do its part for regional stability, security and development", he said.

    [02] Yildirim alleges that every "yes" vote in Turkey's referendum will strengthen the "TRNC"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (10.03.17) reports that addressing a rally held last night in the occupied part of Nicosia within the framework of the campaign for the 16 April referendum in Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has asked from the Turkish settlers living in the occupied area of Cyprus to vote "yes" to constitutional amendments in Turkey and alleged that "every vote in favor of yes will strengthen the TRNC".

    Yildirim claimed that when Cyprus smiles, Turkey also smiles and that Cyprus' tranquility is Turkey's tranquility and argued that under any circumstances "the prayers and the support of 80 million children of the country" will be with Cyprus. He further alleged that a strong and successful Turkey stands by the "TRNC's" side and that Turkey is interested in Cyprus and produces solutions to its problems.

    Yildirim argued that as AKP administration they tripled Turkey's power and at the same time they developed the "TRNC" by "donating" many projects to their kinsmen in Cyprus. "Every year we separate an important amount for this place in order for the TRNC's infrastructure and socioeconomic structure to develop", he noted recalling that with President Erdogan's instructions they materialized the project of transferring water from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus.

    Referring to the Turkish settlers living in the occupied area of Cyprus, Yildirim said: "We are exerting a big effort for the solution of the problems you experience and for you to have a quiet peaceful life. We know the problems, the difficulties of our brothers, who came and settled here from Turkey. We are step by step solving these problems in cooperation with northern Cyprus and we will continue solving them".

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Yildirim alleged that in spite of the stagnancy in the negotiations, Turkey continues to support a fair, lasting and comprehensive solution, which will secure equal and fair administration of the Turkish Cypriots, and guarantee the safety of their life and property.

    Claiming that everybody who has a conscious knows very well why the negotiations were interrupted, he alleged: "Turkey's and TRNC's will for a solution is there and is full from the very beginning. The Greek Cypriot side is the one which continues to consider the Turkish side as minority. For 60 years now enosis continues to exist in their heads".

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (10.03.17) refers to the same event under the title "The UBP said yes this time" and reports that two "ministers" coming from the National Unity Party (UBP), Sunat Atun and Kemal Durust participated in the rally and called on the Turkish citizens living in the occupied area of Cyprus to vote "yes" in the referendum.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Yildirim: "It was known from the very beginning that there was a crisis of confidence"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 10.03.17), the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who paid a one day illegal visit yesterday in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, met with the self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus Huseyin Ozgurgun.

    Speaking during the meeting, Yildirim said that Turkey has a long standing relationship with the "TRNC" [editor's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus]. He stressed that Turkey includes the "TRNC" when planning every step or endeavour and added: "This is something that has existed for years".

    Also touching upon the Cyprus negotiations process, Yildirim argued that the talks had entered a crisis due to a lack of trust and claimed: "The tyre eventually burst. It was known from the very beginning that there was a crisis of confidence. The Turkish Cypriot side was the constructive side from the very beginning. We too supported this process. The Enosis vote clearly revealed that the Greek Cypriot side is not mentally ready for a settlement".

    Yildirim however stressed that "the TRNC is not desperate or without options", by adding: "North Cyprus will continue on its way. Turkey will always continue to be by the side of the just cause of the Turkish Cypriots".

    Ozgurgun, for his part, said that the "TRNC" had and will continue to carry out important projects with Turkey.

    Moreover, Yildirim, who also met with the self-styled assembly speaker Sibel Siber, explained his reasons for his visit to the occupied area of Cyprus.

    Siber, for her part, said that such visits are useful in terms of further developing relations between their two "countries". She further alleged: "There is much to be done domestically. All we need is to be motivated. We need to strengthen and improve our internal structure despite the negative impact of the embargoes. This is why your experiences are important for us".

    [04] How the Turkish Cypriot press covered the illegal visit of the Turkish Prime Minister

    All the Turkish Cypriot newspapers report today (10.03.17) about the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Binaly Yildirim to the breakaway regime as well as the joint conference he held with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

    Yeni Duzen reports on the issue under the title: "For the love of TRNC" and writes that Akinci stated among other things that if there is no solution they will continue with the road of "TRNC".

    Kibris reports on the issue under the title: "Equality, freedom and security are conditions", and notes that Yildirim and Akinci stated that these three conditions are a must towards the solution.

    Under the title: "Correct the mistake", Havadis said that Yildirim called on the Greek Cypriot side to correct the mistake it made regarding the the decision of the Cyprus House of Representatives for commemoration of the 1950 plebiscite in favor of the unification of Cyprus with Greece (enosis) in schools.

    Kibris Postasi: "Yildirim: The tyre finally burst. Akinci: The two sides will have to follow a two-state solution if they have to".

    Under the title: "Common manner", Diyalog writes that both Yildirim and Akinci issued a common statement warning the Greek Cypriot side for the establishment of two separate states.

    Detay reports on the issue under the title: "Akinci: If there is no way the road of TRNC will continue".

    Yeni Bakis: "Yildirim: Enosis plebiscite is a misfortune".

    Volkan: "Akinci and Yildirim sent a clear message to the world: TRNC road will continue".

    Afrika: "TRNC will continue its road with progress".

    Vatan: "Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister organized a meeting in Cyprus".

    Demokrat Bakis: "Cyprus has decided".

    Star Kibris: "There is no trust in energy".

    Gunes: "Strong Turkey, strong TRNC".

    Ortam: "One side calls for dialogue, the other side says that the tyre blow out".

    Halkin Sesi: "The TRNC is not helpless".

    (CS)

    [05] Columnist slams Akinci for not returning to the negotiations

    Under the title "Is it not enough Mr Akinci?" columnist Huseyin Ekmekci in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (10.03.17) refers to the decision of the Cyprus House of Representatives regarding the commemoration of the 1950 plebiscite in the schools and the reactions which this decision has caused by everyone in the occupied area of Cyprus and reports, inter alia, the following:

    "[…] The Turkish Cypriot leadership also reacted to this. Including even by not going to the [negotiating] table. However, it is enough. After the decision Mr Akinci has made statements 15 times. […] Sometimes twice in a day. By continuously hardening his language. I think that nothing is left which has not been understood on this issue. We did not go to the table. Think that the table has been dissolved. What Anastasiades said is there. 'It is unacceptable'. 'It cannot be implemented'. None of these helped. Mustafa Akinci says: 'Change it or take a decision which will prevent it'. While Akinci says this, Anastasiades finds it difficult to take a step. He has many times said that he does not want to be put into the place of someone who 'takes orders from the north'.

    However, is the intention to return to the table or not? Mr Akinci should decide this. There is a great difference between saying 'I will return to the table' and I want to return to the table. I am sorry, but I see that there is no wish for taking a step before the referendum process in Turkey ends. And this is what I am afraid of the most.

    Yesterday I received the information that Eide's efforts are going well and that the two leaders will be at the table after 1-2 weeks. However… the situation and the stances continue in a manner which causes tension of the climate. Mavroyiannis' behaviors which underestimate and look down upon the Turkish side continue. And Mr Akinci, whenever microphones are extended to him, lists the statements which we have learned by heart. Is it not enough? He takes Mevlut Cavusoglu by his side. He takes Turkey's Prime Minister. He continues. We are really sick and tired of the blame games. […] Mr Akinci must put an end now to the blame games. Either he knows something or this much work will go in vain. I am worried".

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Celik: "Two separate founding states is our condition"

    Under the title "Our condition is two separate founding states", Turkish Cypriot daily Haberal Kibrisli newspaper (10.03.17) reports that Turkey's EU Minister Omer Celik, in exclusive statements to Ankara Anatolia news agency, addressing the EU, accused the Union for unilaterally accepting "south Cyprus" as a full member and alleged that this had made the problem in the island more complicated. "Before solving your border disputes and before solving the problems that exist with north Cyprus, you accepted south Cyprus as a full member of the Union and in fact you made this problem [means the Cyprus problem] more complicated. You keep constantly indicate things to Turkey and north Cyprus but in fact, you should make indications to south Cyprus and Greece. The approach 'we are an EU member country and north Cyprus should join the Union with us' does not exist and will never be accepted. This could happen only on the basis of the parameter of the two founding states", Celik alleged.

    On the Cyprus problem, Celik added also the following: "The Cyprus problem is a national cause for us. From the period of the Annan plan until today we have exhibited a political will on this national cause. The decision for the celebration of Enosis plebiscite is contrary to the spirit of solution and also is against the entire effort of the Cyprus negotiations. This should be regulated the soonest possible", Celik said.

    (AK)

    [07] Ozgurgun will deliver a speech on the Cyprus problem at Aydin University

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 10.03.17), self-styled prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun is in Istanbul as guest of the Ayd?n University.

    During his one day visit in Istanbul, Ozgurgun will give a conference on the Cyprus issue at the university. He will also watch the European Cup quarter final basketball match of the "Near East University" ("YDU") at the Caferaga Sports Hall.

    Ozgurgun will return to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyrus tonight after completing his contacts in Istanbul.

    [08] Cakici announced that 67 more persons joined the TKP-YG

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (10.03.17) reports that the founding chairman of the Communal Liberation Party-New Forces (TKP-YG) Mehmet Cakici announced yesterday in a written statement that 67 more persons have joined the party.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Cakici stated that the expectation of the Turkish Cypriot community is to reach to a federal solution on the Cyprus problem. "Thus, our demand is for the negotiation talks to resume from the point they were left in order to be able to reach to a result the soonest possible".

    (AK)

    [09] Yeditepe University may open a campus in occupied Trikomo

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.03.17) reports that self-styled minister of agriculture and natural resources Nazim Cavusoglu, who is currently carrying out contacts and inspections in Istanbul, visited also Yeditepe University accompanied by the so-called mayor of occupied village of Trikomo Hasan Sadikoglu. The visit was in the framework of efforts to open a branch of Yeditepe University in the occupied village of Trikomo. The Dean of Yeditepe University Bedrettin Dalan said that they have been always thinking to make investments in the occupied area of Cyprus and for this reason they will visit the "TRNC" on April in order to make inspections in the occupied Trikomo.

    Moreover, according to illegal Bayrak television (online, 10.03.17), Cavusoglu also held contacts in Istanbul with the aim of further developing organic agriculture and increasing the variety of organically grown produce in the "TRNC".

    He said "we need more organic markets or more aisles at supermarkets which sell organic products. We need to increase the culture and sale of organic products in order to further develop organic production in the TRNC."

    Cavusoglu also added that they will allow the import of all organic products which are not being produced in the "country".

    Stating that they will pave the way for the production of organic chicken and eggs in the "TRNC", he said there should be a variety of 208 organic products at supermarkets or other shops which sell organic products.

    [10] Savasan: "We expect a 20% increase on the number of German tourists this year"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (10.03.17) reports that the "representatives" of the so-called ministry of tourism and environment who are still attending the ITB Berlin Tourism Fair, in statements to the paper, alleged that they expect an increase of 20% on the number of German tourists who will be "visiting" the occupation regime this year.

    Speaking on the issue, Ahmet Savasan, "chairman" of the "TRNC's health council", said that "under the umbrella of the ministry", they had the opportunity in the framework of the fair to promote the occupation regime's culture and health tourism. Savasan added further that as "health tourism council" they will be signing today "new health tourism agreements" with five countries, while at the same time they will undertake new important steps towards bringing "health patients" in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    (AK)

    [11] Columnist wonders if Ankara is losing political ground in Syria

    Columnist Murat Yetkin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 10.03.17), under the title "Is Ankara losing political ground in Syria?" publishes the following commentary:

    "When the news hit the wires on March 7 about a surprise meeting in Turkey between the Turkish, American and Russian top generals on Syria and Iraq, there were suggestions that there might be room for a joint strategy where Turkish concerns would be met, even if not fully. Gen. Hulusi Akar of the Chief of Turkish General Staff hosted Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Staff, and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya for two days and had bilateral and trilateral meetings with their staffs for two days.

    The purpose of meeting was explained by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m as an effort to coordinate the fight against terror and not let any accidents occur in the meantime. Yet Turkish expectations were clear.

    Turkey objects to U.S. cooperation with the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), or DAESH, in Syria. The YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which is regarded as the Syria extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    The PKK, a designated terrorist organization according to Turkey and the U.S., has been battling Turkey for the last three decades. President Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials have been saying for a long time that if the U.S. would abandon cooperation with the YPG, then Turkey and the Syrian Arab rebels who are supported by Turkey would fully cooperate to take the key Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIL. In order to camouflage the U.S. dependence on the YPG, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was formed with the participation of a few Arab tribes and, in such a fashion; the town of Manbij was retaken from ISIL. The YPG presence in Manbij has been a matter of conflict between the two NATO allies since it was retaken in August 2016.

    Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Free Syria Army (FSA) rebels who have been conducting the Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria against ISIL since August 2016, could march on Manbij if the YPG did not withdraw.

    Ironically enough, the answer came in a Russian statement. The Russians said that the YPG would evacuate the positions in and around Manbij to Syrian regime forces under their control. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already made his move in order not to let the Kurdish card in Syria fall into American hands. Before a Kurdish conference organized in Moscow on Feb. 15, where the PYD was also invited, a Russian draft for a constitution for the "new Syria" included the possibility of a Kurdish autonomy in Syria.

    The Russian move for Manbij came two days before the Antalya meeting. The Antalya meeting of the three generals ended without a joint statement. But as soon as the meeting was over, Mark Toner, the spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said they would continue to support the YPG in the fight against ISIL. The U.S. would continue to designate the PKK as terrorists, despite knowing the organic links in between, but would not call the YPG as terrorists. On March 9, Toner's remarks were posed to Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kal?n, who said: "Detailed talks were carried out for Raqqa. No decision has been made yet." Kal?n was probably referring to an expected statement from U.S. President Donald Trump.

    On the same day came the news of the American deployment of artillery units to Syria in preparations for the Raqqa operation, which implied that the U.S. may not ask for Turkish cooperation in order not to cause further complications. And also the "safe zone" in Syria that Turkey has been asking for from the international community could well be established by the Jordanian border, not the Turkish one.

    The Russians have not remained idle either. Photos showing Russian troops reportedly around Manbij with SDF badges were released via social media as if to give the "We are here, no traffic accidents, remember" message.

    Erdogan is going to Moscow today on March 10 to meet Putin. The government sources informed the press that the issues of Syria, the YPG and the purchase of S-400 defense systems would be on the agenda. But the Russian government informed Russian media a day before the Antalya meetings that energy issues would be discussed, notably the Turkish Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas to southern Europe and the construction of another nuclear power plant in Turkey. Different agendas it seems.

    It is true that the final decisions regarding the anti-ISIL fight in Syria have not been revealed yet. But the indications so far show that the Turkish thesis of singling out the YPG might be losing ground, even though Ankara's fingers remain crossed."

    [12] Turkey, Russia to hold cooperation meeting after two-year delay

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 9.03.17), Russia and Turkey's respective Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will meet on March 10 for the sixth meeting of their bilateral high-level cooperation council in Moscow, as relations continue on the delicate path of normalization following a spat over Turkey's downing of a Russian jet in 2015 that led to the cancelation of the meeting later that year.

    Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m had a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, on March 9 to discuss the meeting, with Medvedev saying he had signed a decree allowing some agricultural products to be exported from Turkey to Russia, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

    Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, Defense Minister Fikri Is?k, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Agriculture Minister Faruk Celik, Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avc?, Transport and Maritime Affairs Minister Ahmet Arslan and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag will also be included in the Turkish delegation, while Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar will also participate in the visit.

    Erdogan plans to discuss the issues of Iraq and Syria in detail during his meeting with Putin, spokesperson Ibrahim Kal?n told reporters on March 9, adding that the outcomes of the recent Antalya meeting of the top generals of the United States, Turkey and Russia would also be assessed.

    Turkey and Russia are currently coordinating their military activities in Syria, especially around the town of al-Bab, which the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) has seized from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). There is an ongoing effort to prevent a military standoff between FSA fighters and the Syrian army south of the town, as well as a potential Turkish-Syrian confrontation.

    However, Russia's cooperation with the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has frustrated Ankara, with Moscow proposing a draft constitution to Syrian opposition groups in Astana including "cultural autonomy" for the Kurdish population of the country and hosting PYD representatives in Moscow after allowing them to open a representative office in the country.

    The parties will sign several agreements, Kal?n said, adding that discussions will also include process that have launched since normalization in June 2015, but not completed yet. The spokesperson was referring Russia's resistance to clearly lifting restrictions on trade and economy.

    Turkey has urged Russia to make a discount in the price of natural gas imported by Turkey, lift all prohibitions on the exports of Turkish agricultural products to Russia, waive visas for business leaders and tourists and increase the number of work permits for Turkish nationals in Russia. Moscow has been lifting sanctions on Turkey that were imposed after the jet crisis, but Moscow has only been taking gradual steps.

    While there were around 40,000 Turkish citizens in Russia before the crisis, the number has been reduced to 13,000 due to the visa and other subsequent restrictions.

    Turkey has proposed to Russia that its nationals be allowed to travel to Turkey without passports and only with their identity cards, Cavusoglu told journalists on March 9. Cavusoglu hinted that Moscow would lift trade sanctions on agricultural exports from Turkey to Russia, as well as ease visa procedures for Turkish business people and truck drivers.

    A cooperation agreement in the field of mining, as well as a memorandum on the creation of a joint investment fund between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and Turkish Investment Fund are among the documents that will be inked during the meeting. The two countries will also declare a joint year of culture and tourism in 2019.

    Turkey earlier proposed to Russia that they conduct trade in their local currencies. Zeybekci told reporters on March 9 that the Turkish and Russian officials from central banks have discussed the issue and that a swap treaty was close to being completed and could even be signed during the visit to Russia.

    "We see that the pace is the opposite of the rhetoric of 'normalize as soon as possible,'" Zeybekci said.

    After the start of the normalization process, Russia removed sanctions on some products, particularly on citrus fruits, but the majority of the sanctions remain in place.

    The Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant are also expected to be part of the energy discussions. The Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project agreement between Turkey and Russia was signed in October 2016 and ratified by Putin on Feb. 7.

    [13] Cavusoglu: "Venice Commission's report on charter changes 'not acceptable'", he will go to Netherlands

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 10.03.17), a report prepared by the Venice Commission that is set to be released next week examining Turkey's constitutional amendments will not be acceptable, a senior Turkish government official has said, criticizing the Council of Europe's advisory board of drafting it with political agenda.

    "We will reject [the report] of the institution, which is tasked to write a report on legal points of view, if it delivers a political view. It should not be politicized," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said March 9.

    He also slammed the commission for leaking some parts of the report to the media. "This report is not acceptable to us after all these," he said.

    German media cited that the draft report was harshly criticizing the constitutional amendments and urging it would bring a one-man rule in Turkey, as the Venice Commission is expected to publicize its work next week.

    "What one-man rule? Isn't there one-man rule in the United States or other countries?" he said, stressing that the new proposed system was introducing effective checks and balances as well as the separation of powers.

    Cavusoglu also responded to the Venice Commission's criticism that the referendum should not be held under the state of emergency, saying "France has a state of emergency, too. France can elect the president under state of emergency but when it comes to Turkey, it's a crisis. This is double standards and hypocrisy."

    Meanwhile, the paper referred to the planned rally in the Netherlands, which was barred by Dutch officials, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte saying, "The Netherlands is not a place for other countries' election rallies". Rutte added on Facebook: "We believe that the Dutch public space is not the place for political campaigns of other countries".

    Turkey will not succumb to "fascists and racists" like Dutch nationalist politician Geert Wilders, Cavusoglu also said. "I will go to the Netherlands, no such obstacle can stop us... We will not succumb to fascists and racists like Wilders," Cavusoglu told reporters.

    [14] Referendum split within MHP produces attacks

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 10.03.17), a split within the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) regarding the April 16 referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be replaced with an executive presidency has deepened with attacks against party dissidents.

    While MHP leader Devlet Bahceli is campaigning for a "yes" vote, the dissidents are endorsing a "no" vote at events around the country.

    A hall being used by MHP dissidents Umit Ozdag, who was expelled from the party and is now an independent lawmaker from Gaziantep, and Yusuf Halacoglu, an MHP lawmaker from Kayseri, was attacked by a group late on March 8 in the Silifke district of the southern province of Mersin.

    The dissidents were about to speak as part of their "no" campaign for the upcoming referendum on a presidential system when the group entered the hall.

    Ozdag and Halacoglu were ushered out of the hall as part of security measures, as the group shouted slogans supporting Bahceli.

    "The real leader of the movement is Devlet Bahceli," the group of nearly a hundred people shouted while smashing objects in the hall.

    A number of police officers were dispatched to the area and the lawmakers were able to make their speeches after the group was dispersed.

    Speaking about the incident, Halacoglu said such attacks "won't discourage them".

    "If they think that we will be discouraged by these actions, they're wrong. We didn't take the road for the governance of one person. We are in this for the continuity of the Turkish Republic's parliamentary system and values," Halacoglu told OdaTV, adding that "they swore to protect the charter."

    "Is it a crime to defend this constitution? We swore on our honour to protect this charter," he added.

    Ozdag, meanwhile, said that "there was open negligence by the police in the incident."

    MHP dissidents have previously announced that they had formed a group to campaign for a "no" vote in the April 16 referendum. The committee is led by Aksener, Ogan, Koray Ayd?n and Ozdag, who all tried to run for the MHP leadership last year but saw their attempt stymied by their party and the court system.

    [15] Turkey's Supreme Court strips HDP co-chair of party membership

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 09.03.17), Turkey's Supreme Court has striped opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yuksekdag of her party membership.

    Her membership to the party and information regarding her duty records were dropped from the Supreme Court's registration records, according to a notification sent to the HDP from the Supreme Court Chief Public Prosecutor's Office's Parties Records Bureau, with the signature of the Supreme Court Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor.

    Following the court's decision, the party released a statement, saying they will make the "necessary appeals against the decision in domestic and international law".

    "Electing, being elected and the right to engage in political activities are among the most basic political rights, which were regulated in the 67th article of the Constitution. The framework of those rights was regulated with laws, particularly with Political Parties Law," the statement said on March 9.

    Yuksekdag, who has been in jail since Nov. 4, 2016 on terror charges, previously lost her parliamentary status for a prison sentence she received in a previous case.

    [16] Survey shows that "no" vote will prevail in the referendum for the constitutional amendments

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (10.03.17) publishes an opinion poll conducted by the Avrasya Research Firm between 3-9 of March 2017 in 26 provinces of Turkey with a sample of 8,120 persons.

    Asked what they will vote for the referendum for amending the current Constitution of Turkey, the persons replied as follows:

    No: 57,57%

    Yes: 42,43%

    According to the survey's results, if elections were held today in Turkey the parties will receive the following percentages:

    Justice and Development Party (AKP): 45,23%.

    Republican People's Party (CHP): 31,58%

    People's Democracy Party (HDP): 10,32%

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP): 9,68%

    Others: 3,19%

    Asked if there is a need for the establishment of a new central-right party, the persons asked said:

    Yes: 60,1%

    No: 39,4%

    Asked who the leader of this party could be, they replied the following:

    Meral Aksener: 40,2%

    Abdullah Gul: 21,2%

    Ali Babacan: 10,8%

    Sinan Ogan: 9,1%

    Unit Ozdag: 8%

    Others: 10,7%

    Asked if they would vote for a party that Meral Aksener would established, they replied the following:

    Perhaps I would vote for it: 38,1%

    Definitely I would not vote for it: 35,8%

    Definitely I would vote for it: 12,3%

    Undecided: 13,8%

    (CS) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (DPs / AM)


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