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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 12-10-31

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. 211/12 31.10.12

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] More sarcastic statements by Erdogan: "There is no country in the world named Cyprus"; he stated that Turkey has not abandoned its main goal of EU membership
  • [02] Breakaway regime promotes tourism in Scandinavian countries
  • [03] Support from Cyprus to the hunger strike in the Turkish prisons
  • [04] Pro-BDP protesters clash with police over hunger strike
  • [05] Controversy continues in UBP
  • [06] Occupied Lefkosia: The city that stinks
  • [07] German accreditation foundation visits illegal universities
  • [08] Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey will not enter into any dialogue with Syria; Syrian refugees in Turkey reached to 107.769
  • [09] Turkey and Costa Rica signed a MoU on cooperation on diplomacy; Turkey plans to open an embassy in Costa Rica
  • [10] Erdogan in new duel with CHP opposition party leader; Kilicdaroglu likened Erdogan with Assad
  • [11] Third Istanbul airport possibly to be built in Turkey's northwest
  • [12] Turkey's exports to Iraq expand despite political tension

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] More sarcastic statements by Erdogan: "There is no country in the world named Cyprus"; he stated that Turkey has not abandoned its main goal of EU membership

    Turkish daily Milliyet (31.10.12) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in statements in his closing remarks during meeting titled "Europe Beyond the Crisis" at the Nicolas Bergruen Institute in Berlin, referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and the divided countries and countries who are inside political conflicts and became members of the EU. "For example there is a country which is mentioned as Cyprus. There is no country in the world which is called Cyprus. There is the Greek Cypriot administration. Just because there is the North Cyprus. There is a green line between them. The EU countries do not see this Green Line. How it could be Cyprus? Is there any connection of North Cyprus with South Cyprus? No. North Cyprus is totally separated. South Cyprus is an EU member and is recognized by someone's; however, Turkey does not recognize it. Currently, it is the Greek Cypriot administration which carries out the EU term Presidency. And our negotiations during this period were interrupted, since, we, do not recognize it. There will not be any negotiations by the end of this year. This is contrary to the EU acquis communautaire. Ms Merkel said this: 'We have committed a mistake by accepting south Cyprus to the EU'. But still, they insist on this mistake. This is not possible to happen. During that period, Sansolye Schroder has also wrote in his memories about the unfairness towards Turkey. There, the injustice against Turkey was putted forward in a very clear way. And during Holland term Presidency, we have evaluated this issue with determination and we came up against this kind of injustice. Because there were unfair and injustice against us?In fact, the EU pays at the moment the penalty for this", Erdogan said.

    Meanwhile, according to Turkish daily Today's Zaman (30.10.12) Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated from Berlin that Turkey has not abandoned its main goal of EU membership.

    Speaking on Tuesday, Erdogan said that Turkey has not given up on its primary goal of membership because it believes in the prospect and success of the EU. The remarks were delivered after the opening of Turkey's new embassy in Berlin, the Muslim-majority country's largest diplomatic office abroad. Some 3 million Turks live in Germany.

    Despite the fact that Berlin is a young city in Europe in comparison to Rome and Istanbul, Erdogan said, it developed at an incredible speed and became the center of Europe. He argued that Germany bears great significance for its role as a starting point for the European Union project.

    Erdogan underlined that both Turkey and the EU would gain from Ankara's accession, adding that blocking Turkey's membership negotiations on political motives benefits neither side.

    The Turkish Prime Minister pointed out that the festering economic crisis shows that the EU project will be more important. "In this regard, we [Turkey] believe that the EU must revisit and reconsider its relations with Turkey from a strategic point of view ? while keeping the enlargement process intact."

    These remarks conflict with the recent foreign policy outlook of the government. Prime Minister Erdogan did not voice any hope for Turkey's EU membership bid during a key speech he made at his party's much-anticipated congress late September.

    Leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Erdogan, who presented his party's political vision for 2023 and touched upon many foreign policy issues, made no mention of Turkey's decade-old EU accession process even though there was -- albeit small -- a reference in the prepared text of his speech.

    Experts interpret this to mean that Turkey has begun to lose its will and determination for membership.

    In the meantime, Germany's Foreign Minister has called for a fresh effort to restart the stalled talks on Turkey joining the European Union.

    Guido Westerwelle said at the opening ceremony that it is in the interest of both the EU and Turkey to give the talks a "new push" in 2013.

    (?)

    [02] Breakaway regime promotes tourism in Scandinavian countries

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.10.12) reports that after opening the "Citron travel" tour operator in Poland, Akmina Travel, which brings tourists to the occupied part of Cyprus with charter flights, has opened an agency in Copenhagen under the name of "Touristrejser".

    In statements at the opening ceremony, Ismail Abidin, chairman of Akmina Travel's administrative council, said that their aim is to carry many tourists from Scandinavian countries to the occupied area of Cyprus and that they chose Denmark as their first step. He added that within three weeks they will open offices in Sweden. He noted that they carry tourists to the occupied area of Cyprus with charter flights from many European countries.

    Unal Ustel, breakaway regime's self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture, Hasan Saritepeci, tourism councilor at the Turkish Embassy to Copenhagen, Mehmet Dolmaci, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union, Orhan Tolun, chairman of Tourism and Travel Agents' Union, Fuat Namsoy, acting general secretary of the National Unity Party and representatives of the Turkish Airlines (THY) in Copenhagen were among the participants in the ceremony.

    In his statements at the ceremony, Ustel said that for next year they plan to increase the hotels' occupancy rate, which was 30% this year. He noted that their hotels are 70% full, in spite of the fact that it is November. He said that in parallel to their target of product diversification in the field of tourism, they exert efforts to increase the number of tourists visiting the occupied area of Cyprus and added that their main target is to have tourists all 12 months of the year.

    Ustel noted that in order to achieve these targets they try to bring to the occupied area of Cyprus tourists from countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. He pointed out that their first target is to carry tourists from Denmark with charter flights and that the first airplane will take off within the next few days.

    Ustel said that with the reservations for 2013, the tour operators will face difficulties in finding a hotel in the occupied area of Cyprus and added that they have offered some opportunities to investors in order to rabidly increase the number of the beds in the hotels.

    Meanwhile, Kibris reports also that upon initiative of Ustel's so-called ministry, the breakaway regime has launched an activity under the title "North Europe Roadshow", within the framework of its "promotion attack" aimed at adding new destinations to its tourism. The first of these activities was held at Richmond Hotel in Copenhagen with the participation of professionals in the field of tourism. Meetings of Danish and Turkish Cypriot professionals were held during the activity.

    Addressing the Danish tour operators, Ustel said that their aim is to establish a bridge in the field of tourism between the occupied northern part of Cyprus and Northern Europe. After Ustel's speech, Ayse Donmezer, coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union, made a presentation explaining to the Danish tour operators why they should market the occupied area of Cyprus.

    According to Kibris, the "North Europe Roadshow" will be organized in a different city every night. Tonight, the second activity will be held in Oslo, Norway's capital. It will continue tomorrow in the Swedish capital, Stockholm and end on Friday in Helsinki, Finland.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Support from Cyprus to the hunger strike in the Turkish prisons

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afika newspaper (31.10.12) reports that the United Cyprus Party (BKP), the New Cyprus Party (YKP) and Baraka Cultural Centre expressed their support yesterday to the (Kurdish) people who are on hunger strike in the prisons in Turkey.

    A delegation headed by BKP's general secretary, Izzet Izcan was prevented by the "police" when it attempted to enter into the Turkish "embassy" in the occupied part of Lefkosia in order to hand over a letter addressed to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The delegation decided to send the letter via the mail.

    In statements in front of the cordon of the "police", Izcan noted that the Turkish Cypriots, even the leaders of political parties, "cannot pass from certain doors and roads". "This is a mentality which has essentially put people on hunger strike and caused civil war", said Izcan. He added that the same mentality exists in the occupied area of Cyprus and criticized the stance of the "police".

    Izcan said that the AKP government considers education and defense in Kurdish language to be too much for the Kurds in Turkey and cannot establish dialogue and meet with the representatives of the Kurdish people.

    "Without the liberation and democratization of Turkey, the Turkish Cypriot community cannot become free and achieve democracy", he concluded.

    According to Afrika, the YKP issued a message of solidarity with the people whose hunger strike entered into its 49th day yesterday. The message said, inter alia, that those who govern Turkey preferred violence once more. The message noted also that the AKP government had once "distracted everybody by talking about openings", and pointed out that it is proved that the AKP has no intention of solving the Kurdish question or the Cyprus problem.

    The paper writes that the Baraka Cultural Centre sent a letter yesterday via the "post office" in occupied Lefkosia to those who are on hunger strike in the Turkish prisons. The letter expressed solidarity and support to their struggle "of identity and existence".

    Finally, in its "Letter from Afrika" column, the paper wonders why the other two Turkish Cypriot left-wing parties, the Republican Turkish Party and the Social Democracy Party, do not express their support to the people who are on hunger strike in Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Pro-BDP protesters clash with police over hunger strike

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (30.10.12) reported that there were clashes between Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) supporters and police forces on Tuesday in the cities of several provinces of the predominantly Kurdish southeast, as residents supporting several hundreds of hunger strikes throughout Turkish prisons demanding an end to the isolation of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) chief Abdullah Ocalan, staged unauthorized demonstrations.

    Stores didn't open, garbage wasn't collected and children didn't go to school in many provinces as residents supported a call from the BDP to "stop life" in support of inmates who are on hunger strikes.

    The BDP planned to hold its parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday not in Parliament but in front of Diyarbakir Prison, which is not in use but remains famous for atrocities committed against its inmates during the September12, 1980 coup period. There were clashes in the city ahead of the planned group meeting, as a group of about 500 pro-PKK demonstrators attempted to march to the prison. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protestors, who responded by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces.

    Local police said only the Deputies would be allowed to approach the prison, as per the governor's orders. However, it was permitted for a statement to be made to the media near a building called the Dicle Yasevi (the Tigris House of Mourning).

    BDP Co-Chairperson Selahattin Demirtas, who spoke during the chaos, recalled Mazlum Dogan, a convict who set himself ablaze during the September 12 coup period at Diyarbakir Prison to protest abuse and torture in prisons. "This prison, where Mazlum Dogan put up great resistance, will not be a school, and there will be a monument to Mazlum Dogan," Demirtas said, in a reference to the government's plans to turn the prison building into a school.

    He said the BDP was ready to fulfil its responsibilities to end the hunger strikes, but noted that the government has not taken a single step towards this end, although the Ministry of the Interior had allowed Ocalan's brother Mehmet Ocalan to visit him on Imral? Island, where the PKK chief is being held, backpedalling from an unofficial ban on family visits. But Demirtas said: "We don't want Mehmet Ocalan to go to Imral?, we want Abdullah Ocalan to come here [Diyarbakir]."

    Demirtas later went to the BDP's Diyarbak?r branch building, as clashes continued between police and protestors, during which dozens were detained.

    Later, the BDP co-chairperson thanked those who had boycotted schools or refused to open their businesses, saying: "I thank all who have stopped life." Demirtas said no power could stop the will of the people. "We congratulate our people who brought the screams for freedom from behind prison walls to public squares, in spite of all oppression and obstruction in every field, by heeding our call for boycotts and our campaign to stop life."

    In Diyarbakir, municipal buses did not run on Tuesday, as part of the BDP's campaign. The only open businesses were pharmacies and bakeries. Residents trying to get to work in the morning had tremendous difficulty, reports from the region said. School buses did not run, causing many students to miss school against their will.

    Hakkari, the central district as well as Yuksekova, Cukurca and Semdinli, also supported the BDP's boycott. A majority of parents kept their children back from school, and in addition to public minibuses, private transport vehicles stayed off the roads. There were also sit-ins and demonstrations in various parts of the city. Security was tight throughout the day.

    A similar situation was observed in S?rnak and in Mardin districts.

    However, the appeal to "stop life" found little support in the province of Sanl?urfa, although a group of BDP supporters gathered to read a press statement.

    There were further protests in Mersin, Istanbul and several other cities.

    [05] Controversy continues in UBP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afika newspaper (31.10.12) reports that the so-called district court of occupied Lefkosia, heard yesterday Ahmet Kasif's side within the framework of the procedure started after the controversial congress of the National Unity Party (UBP). The "court" heard two witnesses yesterday, Ahmet Kasif, who appealed to the "court" after losing the race for the presidency of UBP, and Zorlu Tore. Today the "court" is expected to hear UBP chairman Irsen Kucuk's side. Kasif's lawyer, Fuat Veziroglu submitted UBP's statute as exhibit to the "court".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.10.12) reports that "the climate got worse" [in the UBP]. Irsen Kucuk reacted yesterday to the fact that the result of the elections at the congress had been taken to "court" and stated that "no one who says he is member of the UBP could digest this". On the other hand, Ahmet Kasif said that Irsen Kucuk was the one who exerted pressure on the council and asked from those who had any complains to go to "court".

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (31.10.12) reports that Sonay Adem, self-styled MP with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has stated that interferences, which were kept in the background, had been made in the UBP congress. Under the title "Shocking allegation", the paper writes that Adem argued that AKP government offered great support to Irsen Kucuk, but "circles of the army and Ergenekon" interfered in the process of the congress in order for Kasif to win. He claimed that about 300 persons were employed in the army during the past few months and the families of these professional soldiers supported Kasif as delegates in the congress.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Occupied Lefkosia: The city that stinks

    Under the title "The city that stinks", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.10.12) refers to the issue of the garbage heaps in the occupied part of Lefkosia and reports that the situation, especially in the within the walls area, is much worse than in other places. The paper writes that tourists who wanted to go around the historic places of the city were surprised when they came face to face with this situation and abandoned the area. Moreover, the paper points out to the danger of diseases.

    The self-styled minister of interior, Nazim Cavusoglu met yesterday with "mayor", Cemal Bulutoglulari, and the members of the "municipal council" within the framework of an initiative to prepare a report for the "government". Today he is expected to meet with officials of BES, the trade union of the "municipal" employees.

    The strike started on 15 October. The employees are asking for payment of their social insurances and regular payment of their salaries.

    The leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP, Ozkan Yorganicioglu issued a written statement yesterday on the situation arguing that the UBP "government" remained "under the mountains of garbage" and that immediate "elections" would be the solution to the problems of Lefkosia. He noted that "very serious crimes" have been committed regarding the bankruptcy of the occupied Lefkosia "municipality".

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] German accreditation foundation visits illegal universities

    Under the title "It starts with DAU", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.10.12) reports that the so-called Higher Education Planning, Evaluation, Accreditation and Coordination Council ("YODAK") has announced that it had assigned Dr. Heinz Ulrich Schmidt of Germany's Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) with the duty of briefing the illegal universities in the occupied area of Cyprus. According to a statement issued by "YODAK's" chairman, Ali Bicak, Dr. Heinz Ulrich Schmidt had visited the occupied area of Cyprus in the past upon invitation of "YODAK". Today he is expected to give a seminar at the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU) under the title "Program Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation of FIBAA: Standards and Procedures".

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey will not enter into any dialogue with Syria; Syrian refugees in Turkey reached to 107.769

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (31.10.12) reports that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said yesterday, a day after Moscow called for negotiations with Damascus as the only way to end the escalating conflict, that Turkey has ruled out any dialogue with the Syrian regime. "There is no point in engaging in dialogue with a regime that continues to carry out such a massacre against its own people, even during [the Muslim festival of] Eid al-Adha [Feast of the Sacrifice]".

    Speaking at a joint press conference with his Costa Rican counterpart, Enrique Castillo, Davutoglu accused Damascus of breaking the truce and said the U.N. Security Council's failure to deliver a strong message caused the continuation of the Syrian regime's attacks. He said that Turkey approved the beginning of a transition process as part of the Geneva Agreement, but ruled out establishing any dialogue with a regime imposing brutal violence on its own people.

    Davutoglu also said opening a dialogue with Damascus, its one-time ally, would "legitimize the existing regime as the violence continues."

    "What is important now is to promote peace through strong messages," he added. "Our consultations with Russia continue. We are open to any idea about steps to be taken jointly."

    (?)

    Meanwhile, according to Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.10.12) the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) announced on Tuesday that there were 107,769 Syrians currently staying in Turkey after fleeing clashes in their country.

    [09] Turkey and Costa Rica signed a MoU on cooperation on diplomacy; Turkey plans to open an embassy in Costa Rica

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.10.12) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Costa Rican counterpart Enrique Castillo have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between diplomacy academies of Foreign Ministry of both countries.

    Speaking at a press conference in Ankara on Tuesday, Davutoglu stated that they discussed the bilateral relations of Turkey and Costa Rica, improvements and developments regarding agreements on the political, cultural, commercial and educational relations between both countries.

    Davutoglu stated that they discussed the road map on improvement of bilateral relations. He added that they assessed the steps which will be taken for development and stressed that they decided to start political consultations.

    Davutoglu said: "In this framework, today, between our two ministries, we signed an agreement in order to develop the cooperation of our diplomacy academies. Also, in the scope of improving foreign relations, we decided that we will revise our legal infrastructures."

    Davutoglu noted that they will start working on investment incentives and start holding negotiations for a free trade agreement. Davutoglu added that Costa Rica had special importance for Turkey as the country had a strategic position in Central America and they were a democratic and stabilized country.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister said that in the framework of Latin America expansion, Turkey had launched three embassies in Latin America in the past two years in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Davutoglu said that they were planning to open embassies in Panama and Dominican Republic in the near future and added that during two counterparts' talks, Davutoglu mentioned to Castillo that they would like to launch an embassy in Costa Rica as well.

    Davutoglu underlined the approximate USD90 million trade volume of Turkey and Costa Rica and said: "There is a high potential for raising this figure. Once all the cooperation agreements are completed, in the next three to five years of time, the trade volume can reach up to USD500 million."

    The Turkish Foreign Minister stressed that during their talks with his Costa Rican counterpart they touched also on academic topics. He added that they especially discussed cooperation and exchanges between universities and cultural activities.

    He added that they discussed the reformation period of United Nations, as UN needs to be more active in the international areas; he said that they have common opinions about the subject.

    In his turn, Costa Rica's Foreign Minister Jose Enrique Castillo Barrantes said that his government was pleased over Turkey's willingness to open an embassy in the Costa Rican capital, San Jose. "We are very pleased and honored about Turkey's plans to open an embassy in our country", Barrantes said.

    [10] Erdogan in new duel with CHP opposition party leader; Kilicdaroglu likened Erdogan with Assad

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (31.10.12) reports that the already heated-up debate on Republic Day celebrations continued to be fuelled yesterday as a battle of words broke out between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal K?l?cdaroglu.

    Erdogan accused the CHP of creating new divisions with alternative celebrations to Republic Day, while K?l?cdaroglu called the Turkish premier "Tayyip Assad Erdogan," likening him to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

    As arguments over the holiday continue between political parties, the Ankara chief prosecutor launched an investigation over the October 29 march, Anatolia news agency reported yesterday.

    Erdogan accused the CHP of terrorizing the streets of the capital on Republic Day by carrying out a banned march. He described the march as "an attempt to occupy the yard of the former Parliament building."

    "The terrorist organization [the Kurdistan outlawed Workers' Party (PKK)] is attempting to divide Turkey with arms and bloodshed, while, on the other hand, [the CHP] are seeking discrimination under the mask of Republicanism as they were pursuing divisiveness in the name of secularism in the past," Erdogan said in his Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group meeting.

    Erdogan's criticisms on the Republic Day march, held October 29 to mark 89th anniversary of the foundation of Turkish Republic, were harsh. Over 50,000 people waving Turkish flags and carrying posters of Republican founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's marched from the former Parliament house to An?tkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk, after several NGOs called for people to attend a "mobilization march." The march had been banned by the Ankara governorship on the grounds they had received intelligence that "provocative actions might occur.

    (?)Recalling that official ceremonies were held in Ankara's old Hippodrome area a few hundred meters away from Ulus Square, Erdogan said the CHP was attempting to create new divisions by hosting alternative celebrations to the Republic Day holiday. He also slammed protests against the Ministers carried out during the award ceremony of the WTA Championships tournament in Istanbul, calling protesters "terrorist hooligans."

    At the same moment Erdogan was speaking at Parliament, Ankara's chief prosecutor launched a probe on the march. K?l?cdaroglu responded swiftly to Erdogan's statements, speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting.

    "He calls [the ones who organized and attended the rallies] illegal organizations. An 80-year-old woman, kids the age of 8 or 9, young people, women, disabled people ? they had nothing but flags in their hands. They were celebrating their most joyous national holiday, and [Erdogan] calls them illegal organizations," he said.

    K?l?cdaroglu called the Prime Minister "Tayyip Assad Erdogan," while criticizing the governor's ban on the rally and security forces' attitude toward demonstrators."What is it that you are banning? By what logic are you banning it? We need a new title for [Erdogan]. Tayyip Assad Erdogan. Is there any difference in what you have done?""People don't want him anymore," K?l?cdaroglu said. "He can't go out and shake their hands anymore, because the people have had enough."

    [11] Third Istanbul airport possibly to be built in Turkey's northwest

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (31.10.12) reports that Istanbul's Mayor Kadir Topbas has said that Istanbul's third airport will likely be built in the Terkos Lake area.

    "Following the advice of our Prime Minister, we are starting the construction of a new Istanbul airport with five or six runways and a passenger capacity of 100 million in the short term, which will be increased to 150 million," Topbas said, adding that Ataturk Airport's current capacity was 34 million passengers.

    Topbas said the Terkos Lake area, 50 kilometres north of Istanbul on the Black Sea coast, was a very strong possibility for the airport's location.

    Topbas said Ataturk Airport was insufficient to handle the city's air traffic, particularly in regards to strong south-western winds. A third airport in Istanbul, the largest city in the country, has long been on the agenda as Ataturk Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen on the Asian side are struggling to meet the city's rising demands, particularly as national flag carrier Turkish Airlines boosts its flights and the city attracts more visitors.

    Topbas said the airport would be built on a deserted site to preserve the area's natural, forested environment, adding that a proposal for the project would likely be initiated by the end of the year.

    Topbas also said the construction of a third bridge to span the Bosporus in Istanbul would be completed by 2015 or 2016.

    [12] Turkey's exports to Iraq expand despite political tension

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (31.10.12) reports that the head of the South-eastern Anatolian Exporter's Union (GAIB), Abdulkadir C?kmaz, said yesterday that the ongoing political tension between Turkey and Iraq have not hampered exports to the neighboring country.

    In statements to Ankara Anatolia news agency, C?kmaz said that Iraq, in the first nine months of the year, made up 50.8% of exports, amounting to $5.9 billion, from the southeastern region of Turkey.

    "Most exports are made to the Kurdish region of Iraq. Our exporter firms have warehouses there. Then goods are distributed to the rest of the country," C?kmaz said. "We also have direct sales to the central Iraqi government via tenders to procure oil and cleaning materials. In short, we export to the whole of Iraq", he added.

    "Truck drivers are unwilling to go to certain regions of Iraq for security reasons, however, goods are sold to the rest of the country by Turkish companies as well", he said.

    Exports to Iraq from Turkey's southeast region increased 25% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2012 to $3.1 billion, surpassing the total exports increase from the region by 15.5%. Iraq purchased mostly sunflower seed oil, iron, steel, wheat flour, cement and ready-made cloth from Turkey.

    "Our firms have no difficulty in winning tenders issued by Baghdad. In the latest case, a Turkish firm won a tender for 100,000 tons of oil procurement two months ago. Political problems do not hinder commerce between the two countries", C?kmaz said.

    (?)

    Turkey's overall exports to Iraq totalled $6.8 billion between January and August, according to the latest data available from the Turkish Economy Ministry.

    "There are still some exports to Syria, Turkey's other southern neighbor, at about $35 million via Latakia", he also said.

    Middle Eastern countries made up 60.9% of all the exports from the region, followed by European countries with 14.6% and African countries with 9.1% in the first nine months, according to a recent press release by GAIB. The province of Gaziantep, the industrial hub of the region, made alone nearly $4.3 billion worth of exports in the period. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    /EI


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