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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-03-31
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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. 63/17 31.03.17
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Intensive campaign by the AKP in the occupied area of Cyprus for the "yes" vote in Turkey's constitutional referendumUnder the title "Intensive work by the AK Party in the TRNC", Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (31.03.17) reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey has opened this year an official representation office for the first time in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and started to work intensively for the referendum regarding the constitutional amendments planned to be held on 16 April in Turkey. During the campaign in favor of the "yes" vote, AKP officials underline the position that the "TRNC" [Translator's note: The breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] will develop together with Turkey's growth.
Mehmet Demirci, AKP's representative in the occupied area of Cyprus, argued yesterday that "during AKP's ruling we saw a TRNC which develops and grows". The campaign under the slogan "#YesCyprusWillWin" is held also over the social media.
In a statement issued regarding the referendum, Demirci pointed out to the projects carried out by AKP in the occupied area of Cyprus and recalled that they brought water from Turkey with undersea pipelines, they built infrastructure and increased the number of students, something which influenced the economy. Noting that the AKP works based on the understanding that "whatever exists in Turkey will exist in Cyprus also", he alleged that Turkey's reply was "yes" to all demands submitted from the occupied area of Cyprus. "Now Allah granted to us the opportunity to say yes for Turkey this time", he argued.
In an effort to show how important a strong and stable Turkey is for the occupied part of Cyprus, Demirci recalled the say that "If Turkey catches a cold; we in Cyprus will catch pneumonia". Moreover, Demirci explained the presidential system and what he considers to be its benefits.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (31.03.17) refers to the same issue and publishes some of the slogans used in the campaign in favor of "yes" in the occupied area of Cyprus saying: "Against the attacks on 20 December 1963 (bloody Christmas) Cyprus had said yes to the communal existence paying as price its life", "During 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation our martyrs had said 'yes we will free Cyprus", and "85 thousand students said yes to Cyprus? The target is 100 thousand students".
Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily "Afrika" newspaper (31.03.17) comments on the issue in its "Letter from Afrika" column under the title "The yes supporters are in the square, where are the no supporters?" The paper writes that the entire occupied area of Cyprus is full with President Erdogan's banners and says, inter alia, the following:
"[?] They have pasted a huge 'yes' on the top of high buildings, on the walls. What it is written on these banners? 'Cyprus says yes'! Even the building of the Cyprus Turkish Islamic Society was decorated with banners. [?] The northern part of Cyprus smells Turkey. [?] It does not smell Cyprus! A hundred thousand persons will vote in the holy referendum here. A hundred thousand persons, who vote in our TRNC general elections also. What is the number of our voters? 180 thousands or so? We were defeated again! However, let us not treat unjustly. There are Turkish Cypriots who will also vote in this referendum. Those among us who have the citizenship of Turkey. We cannot know how many they are. [?] The voting is between 5 and 9 April. At the embassy of Turkey. Afterwards, the ballot boxes will be carried to Turkey. Will they be carried okay? There are some people who doubt it! There are some people who ask: 'Could they not be changed?' Only Allah knows this as well. [?]
Some citizens, who see that we are full of banners, are asking: 'Where are the supporters of 'no'? Are there no supporters of no here?' Really. Do we not have any supporters of no? A platform under the name of Peoples' Brotherhood Platform had been established. They were saying 'no'. What are they doing? Is it not time for them to get into action? When banners saying 'Cyprus says no' against the banners saying 'Cyprus says yes'?
The supporters of 'yes' distribute brochures. Take them and see. How beautifully they manipulated Cyprus! They used both December 1963 and the operation of 20 July 1974. Especially that known photograph on the 1963 banner, the photograph of the Turkish Cypriot woman in pain which had once come into prominence in the world press. [?]"
 President of Galatasaray FC wants to build sport campus in the occupied area of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.03.17) reports that the president of Galatasaray FC Dursun Ozbek, who is currently carrying out contacts in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, met yesterday with the self-styled prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun.
Ozbek, who also visited the chairman of the "Turkish Cypriot Football Federation (KTFF)" Hasan Sertoglu, proposed to him to cooperate with the federation in order to engage and attract sport tourism in the occupied area of Vokolida. During the meeting, they discussed how they can divert the teams, which do not prefer Antalya for camps due to the incidents in Turkey, to "North Cyprus" (translator's note: the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus).
Ozbek also met with the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot sportswriters association Celen Oben.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Milliyet (31.03.17) newspaper's correspondent in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus Sefa Karahasn (http://m.milliyet.com.tr/kibris-cikarmasi--galatasaray-2423695-skorerhaber/) reports that Ozbek asked from Ozgurgun 60 acre of land in the occupied town of Keryneia in order to build a five star hotel, sport facilities and three sport courts.
Speaking exclusively to Milliyet, Ozbek also said that they want to establish a sport academy in the occupied area of Cyprus and to create a tourism region where the youth will be trained.
Regarding the reportedly sport embargo imposed to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, Ozbek said: "I don't want to enter in political issues".
 Erdogan met with Tillerson; Turkey and the US to continue political talks after Tillerson's visitAnkara Anatolia news agency (30.03.17) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in Ankara to discuss bilateral and regional issues on Thursday, a presidential source said.
During the closed-door meeting at the presidential complex, Erdogan and Tillerson addressed ongoing efforts to clear ISIL from Syria and Iraq as well as the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the U.S.- based ringleader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Erdogan reiterated Ankara's request to have Gulen extradited from the U.S. in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt which Ankara accuses Gulen of orchestrating.
During the meeting, Erdogan also underlined the importance of working with "legitimate" actors in fighting terrorism.
Earlier on Thursday, Tillerson met Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, with whom he discussed the ongoing fight against ISIL, as well as Gulen's extradition.
The U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to visit NATO in Brussels on Friday.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (31.03.17) reports that Turkey and the United States will continue high-level diplomatic talks early next week for further political consultation on bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments, following U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson's visit to Ankara on March 30.
"U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon is expected to visit Turkey on April 3 and 4 for political consultations with Ambassador Umit Yalc?n, Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry", said the Foreign Ministry in a written statement on March 31.
"During the consultations, bilateral relations between Turkey and the U.S., as well as regional and international developments will be discussed," added the statement.
 Cavusoglu met with Tillerson; Cavusoglu: "US accepts terrorist PKK and YPG are one"Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.17) reported that Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, addressing a longstanding thorn in Turkish-U.S. ties, stated that Washington is coming to an agreement with Turkey's view that the terrorist PKK and its Syria wing, the YPG, are indistinguishable.
"The U.S. government and related soldiers, including the institutions, accept that there is no difference between the YPG and PKK," despite the previous American administration's support for the former, Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara, alongside visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
"The PKK is on the terrorist [group] list but we have seen it [the U.S.] cooperating with the YPG in Syria in the past and unfortunately we have seen that the previous [U.S.] administration has supported the YPG," Cavusoglu told a joint news conference after meeting Tillerson, paying his first visit to Turkey as the U.S.' top diplomat.
Although the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the U.S., the Obama administration considered its Syrian offshoot the PYD -- and its armed wing the YPG -- "reliable partners" in the region in the fight against ISIL.
Cavusoglu said that the Turkish authorities have made it clear to U.S. officials that it makes no sense to cooperate with one terrorist group -- the PKK/YPG -- to fight another -- ISIL. "Especially not in Syria. We have told them that it is a huge risk," he told reporters.
Cavusoglu added that he and Tillerson would readdress the issue during Friday's NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting in Brussels.
Asked whether the U.S. government would change its stance on the YPG/PKK, Tillerson again did not answer, saying only that discussions continued with all coalition members, including Turkey, over how to find solutions for Syria.
On the extradition of FETO's ringleader Fetullah Gulen, Cavusoglu said that Turkey has been sending the U.S. documents and evidence for Gulen's provisional arrest as well as extradition since last July. "As our Justice Minister and Mr. Tillerson told us, the documents are [still being] examined in detail. We expect concrete steps, at least some measures at the administrative level", Cavusoglu added.
Cavusoglu said further that he hoped Turkey-U.S. relations could be reinvigorated under the new Trump administration, as both countries have important roles to play in regional issues.
Tillerson also said that he and Cavusoglu discussed ways to strengthen cooperation to defeat ISIL in Syria and Iraq, to promote stability in the region, and to boost economic and military cooperation between the two countries.
He added that the U.S. wants to increase the $17.4 billion trade volume with Turkey in 2016 in the long term, especially in energy, health, and technology. "We look forward to facing challenges together. The Trump administration will continue to stress our commitment to strengthen our deep-rooted friendship," Tillerson said.
Thanking Turkey for allowing its bases to be used by U.S. forces to counter ISIL in Syria and Iraq, Tillerson said operations targeting ISIL in Syria and Iraq have increased 25% in the last 18 months. "The U.S. appreciates Turkey's efforts to find a peaceful solution" for Syria, he said. Tillerson added that they support Turkey's successful counter-terrorism operations in the region.
Tillerson also thanked Turkey for its aid and support by hosting nearly 3 million Syrian refugees.
 Y?ld?r?m: "Reviewing Turkey-EU ties is compulsory"Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.17) reported that Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m stated that it is compulsory for Turkey and the European Union to review ties, adding that the tension between Ankara and Brussels would cost the EU more than it would to Turkey. "It's true that breaking ties with Turkey will cost a lot to Turkey, but it will cost the EU more. This needs to be reviewed. They [EU] should give up imposing double-standards," Y?ld?r?m told private broadcaster NTV on March 29.
Accusing the EU of being influenced by terror organizations such as the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO), the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other leftist terror groups, and of making judgements on Turkey, Y?ld?r?m stated that Turkey would never accept this.
"The relationship between Turkey and the EU cannot continue like this as the latter has violated almost all its values and principles when it comes to Turkey and its political activities in European countries", he added, referring to Germany and the Netherlands' ban on Turkish Ministers from meeting Turkish communities ahead of the April 16 referendum.
"European countries have their taken side in the referendum campaigns. They have said they did not approve our constitutional changes and interfered in our domestic affairs. This is unacceptable", he said.
"You can do everything to Turkey but you cannot impose anything on the Turkish people. My people see this. They will give the necessary answer on April 16. They will regret what they did. If they continue like this, reviewing Turkey-EU ties will become compulsory," Yildirim added.
 "The way forward for Turkey and the EU"In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (31.03.17) columnist Selin Nasi writes the following: "A feeling of pessimism binds participants of international conferences these days. While we complain about how domestic politics has hijacked Turkish foreign policy, others state their worries about their country's future. But, is this a relief? Not, at all.
We face many uncertainties in the international system. Nation-states have fallen short of effectively confronting the complex nature of threats in a globalized world. When the world is in dire need of leadership, the Donald Trump administration in the United States defies the basic principles of liberal democratic order by openly challenging its institutions.
What's worse, the language of diplomacy has been lost. The era of great statesmen seems to be a thing of the past, having been replaced by inflammatory rhetoric and vulgarity. And what makes it scarier is that the loss of diplomatic caution may result in turning preventable disputes into hot conflicts in the near future.
Against this somber background, the 12th annual Brussels Forum, the signature conference of the German Marshall Fund (GMF), took place in Brussels between March 23 and 25, bringing together policymakers and experts from different sectors to discuss the most pressing global challenges affecting transatlantic cooperation. Sessions at the forum encouraged debate among participants on critical issues which fuel uncertainty, frustration and inward-looking sentiments on both sides of the Atlantic, such as uneven economic growth, terrorism, refugees, Russia and instability in the Middle East.
This year's forum also coincided with the 60th anniversary of the European Union's founding Treaty of Rome, which was feted with bittersweet joy given the risk of the bloc's dissolution in the post-Brexit world.
Being a participant from Turkey at the nadir of Turkey-EU relations, and in the wake of the Turkish-Dutch diplomatic spat, I inevitably found myself responding to questions about the April 16 referendum on charter reforms.
In many aspects, the referendum outcome is going to be a watershed in the course of Turkey-EU relations.
A report recently released by the Venice Commission, an advisory body to the European Council, suggests that the proposed amendments will remove the necessary checks and balances in the system and thus violate the separation of powers. The report further criticizes the referendum process, saying the current state of emergency does not provide the proper democratic setting to hold a vote.
In the event that the amendments are accepted, the Venice Commission's report might serve as a legal basis to suspend accession talks with Turkey.
Furthermore, the reinstitution of the death penalty ? as suggested several times by President Tayyip Erdogan ? will suffice to put the final nail in the coffin as execution openly contradicts the Copenhagen criteria.
As far as Brussels is concerned, Turkey has long since drifted away from the Copenhagen criteria and has instead been challenging Europe with its own Ankara criteria based on strong political leadership and "national" values over those of the West.
Up until today, neither side dared to rock the boat and break off ties, meaning they continued to play make-believe by keeping the long stalled accession talks on life support.
In truth, both sides are aware that the current state of relations is not sustainable.
Both Turkey and the EU have gone through their own internal transformation since the start of the accession process. The EU has suffered from expansion fatigue and has increasingly turned inward, particularly since the euro crisis in 2010. It is not certain whether or not the EU will survive its internal crisis.
Turkey, for its part, has also gone through a political transformation, producing what has been dubbed the "new Turkey."
The Cyprus deal in 2004 and the anti-Turkish rhetoric in the following years dashed Turks' hopes for full membership while Europe's ambivalent stance with regard to PKK terrorism caused frustration. But it is also true that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government lost its appetite for negotiations as it consolidated power.
Today, the EU membership objective is no longer a motivator for Turkish leaders, as Turkey has set its own local and national development agenda.
In addition, the EU has lost its leverage on Turkey. In this respect, mutual blackmail and the use of inflammatory rhetoric will only exacerbate problems between Turkey and Europe, which are way too important to fail.
Thus, the only realistic way forward is to continue relations on a transactional basis so as to integrate the new Turkey in Europe. And in this respect, the refugee deal ? even though it undermined Europe's soft power at the time, appears as the only operational tool left to rebuild and redefine relations outside the accession framework.
A pragmatic cooperation minus the transfer of values is likely to be the key to Turkey-EU relations in the post-referendum process".
 Jailed HDP co-chair Demirtas announces hunger strike with a HDP DeputyTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (30.03.17) reported that Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), will start a hunger strike on March 31 to protest "inhumane treatment," along with jailed HDP Deputy Abdullah Zeydan.
Last week, HDP Siirt Deputy Besime Konca started a hunger strike in the Kand?ra Prison.
Demirtas and Zeydan, who are both jailed in the northwestern province of Edirne, said they would go on hunger strike due to the actions of the Edirne prison warden. "We are going on a hunger strike starting from Friday due to the warden's refusal to engage in dialogue, his practices outside the boundaries of law, his inhumane treatment of other inmates, and the fact that he didn't take any well-intentioned step towards ending other inmates' hunger strikes, which have been going on for days," Demirtas said on March 30, in a message addressed to the HDP and the public.
"We invite the public to be sensitive regarding the ongoing hunger strikes and rights violations in prisons," he added.
A total of 13 lawmakers from the HDP, including its co-chairs Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, are currently in jail facing hundreds of years in jail over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Speaking about the prison conditions, the HDP's prison commission spokesperson, Burcu Celik, said "there are inmates who are subjected to violence."
"We cannot obtain solid information because HDP lawmakers are not allowed into prisons to inspect. So hunger strikes may have started in jails that we don't even know about," Celik told daily Hurriyet on March 30.
"The only reason for the strikes is that prison conditions have gone far away from human rights standards. Administrators are taking arbitrary attitudes and abusing their authority via state of emergency decrees, ending inmates' conversation rights, limiting their visitation rights, and subjecting inmates to violence after the state of emergency was declared," Celik said.
Meanwhile, jailed Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chair Sebahat Tuncel has also announced that she will start a five-day hunger strike on April 1.
There are thought to be 66 convicts and prisoners, mostly HDP members, currently continuing hunger strikes in Turkish jails.
 Booking.com to appeal court ruling blocking website in TurkeyTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (30.03.17) reported that Booking.com has announced that it disagrees with an Istanbul court ruling to halt the activities of the Netherlands-based travel fare aggregator website in Turkey, adding that it will appeal the decision.
The website on March 30 began to halt selling rooms in Turkey to Turkish users, one day after a court decision to block the website in the country.
"As an e-commerce and technology company, we are convinced that we contribute to healthy competition in the market by offering Turkish consumers a transparent and easy platform to compare and book accommodation all over the world," the company said.
It added that Booking.com also helps 13,000 Turkish businesses offer accommodation to consumers.
An Istanbul court on March 29 ordered the suspension of the activities of Booking.com in Turkey, citing accusations of unfair competition.
The Istanbul 5th Court of First Instance ordered the suspension of Booking.com to market and mediate stationed hotel and accommodation facilities in Turkey on its own website and on other addresses, in a lawsuit filed by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB).
The website can be used from foreign countries to make reservations for Turkish hotels.
The court ruling is expected to mainly hit local tourism and city hotels.
 The construction of the "Santa Claus peace village" in occupied Koma tou Yiallou was cancelledUnder the title "Bye bye Santa Claus", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (31.03.17) reports about the cancellation of a decision concerning the constructing of the "Santa Claus peace village" in the occupied Koma tou Yiallou village.
The village was supposed to be constructed in a 564 donum area in the border of the occupied village and was offered as an investment to a company. Hovered, the firm that undertook the project was not able to carry on with the investment while the inhabitants of the area and various environmental organizations reacted against it. In addition, the so-called municipality of Koma tou Yiallou village "applied to a court" against the project. According to the paper, the reactions and the "legal action" gave results and the agreement for giving the land to the firm, which was signed between the ""Santa Claus peace organization" and the "forest department" was "annulled".
 CTP Youth participated at the 2017 World Council of the IUSYUnder the title "A call to leaders to return at the negotiating table", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.03.17) reports that the youth organization of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) participated at the 2017 World Council of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) which was held in Argentina as an observer member.
According to a press release by CTP, a resolution on the Cyprus problem presented by the secretary of foreign affairs of CTP Youth Baris Onel was approved by the IUSY World.
Addressing the council, Onel said that they made a call to both Cyprus leaders to return at the negotiating table, adding: "A new Cyprus without borders and barricades is possible. Restart the negotiations new and get the job done!"
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