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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-02-26

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. 40/13 26/2/13

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Merkel and Erdogan duel over Cyprus for EU bid; Merkel called Turkey to implement the additional protocol
  • [02] Merkel met with Gul; she expressed support for reviving Turkey's EU talks
  • [03] "What if Turkey surprises Merkel and Hollande with a Cyprus move?"
  • [04] "Erdogan and Merkel agree to disagree"
  • [05] Eroglu and Kucuk congratulate President Anastasiades
  • [06] Bagis said that Anastasiades' election could be a new opportunity for a solution; He invited Anastasiades, together with Kucuk and Eroglu to Bosphorus
  • [07] Bagis: "Greek Cypriots elected a new leader, not a President"
  • [08] Bagis: "Anastasiadis should stand strong against those unwilling to settle down with a solution"
  • [09] Yorgancioglu: The ground is ready for the resumption of a negotiating process the soonest
  • [10] Talat commented on Anastasiades' election; Talat: "Whatever will be the stance of the Greek Cypriot side towards the solution, it is the Turkish side that will blow away the process"
  • [11] Turkish Deputy wants Cyprus to be forced to open chapters in Turkey's EU accession negotiations; He met with Tacoy and Nami
  • [12] New statements by Yildiz on the energy resource in the Mediterranean
  • [13] Talat: no one should expect a solution in Cyprus from Eroglu; Kaptan: expecting a step by Eroglu is tantamount to expecting a tear from a dead man's eye
  • [14] Yildiz reiterated that the oil and natural gas to be extracted in the Mediterranean should be divided amongst all Cyprus
  • [15] AKP is reportedly preparing changes in the UBP and the Cyprus negotiations
  • [16] Erdogan: "Kurdish peace process will start after PKK militants leave Turkey"
  • [17] The occupation regime participates in an exhibition in Dubai

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Merkel and Erdogan duel over Cyprus for EU bid; Merkel called Turkey to implement the additional protocol

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.02.13) reported that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed support yesterday for reviving Turkey's flagging EU talks yet butted heads with Ankara on the deadlock surrounding Cyprus.

    "We need Turkey's progress on the implementation of the Ankara protocol. Otherwise, the number of negotiation chapters that can be opened will be limited," Merkel said alongside Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but the latter said Ankara wanted to suspend the protocol until an "embargo" was lifted on "Turkish Cyprus", as the breakaway regime is called. Merkel also called for greater freedom for journalists and religious groups in Turkey.

    Merkel reiterated that although she was hesitating on Turkey's full membership in the EU, Germany wanted Turkey to continue its negotiations with the union.

    "If one chapter could be opened at the moment, that would be a step", Merkel said. Asked if Turkey would implement the Ankara protocol following the elections in "Greek Cyprus", as the Republic of Cyprus is called, Erdogan said the two issues were different.

    "Turkey would like to contribute to a solution in Cyprus if the new leader of Greek Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, is agreeable to such a move", Erdogan said, adding: "Of course, there is Greece's responsibility as well. The Ankara protocol must be adopted in Parliament to take effect. Turkey had taken some steps in line with this understanding but had not yet secured an end to the embargo on northern Cyprus", Erdogan pointed out.

    "Turkey wants to make an agreement with all EU member states in the framework of goodwill and is willing to boost trade with them," he said.

    EU member states decided in 2006 not to open eight chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations and suspended the conclusion of the remaining chapters in process on the grounds that Turkey had failed to fulfill its responsibilities stemming from the "Additional Protocol" to the Association Agreement, which, Brussels says, stipulates that Turkey must open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes. In response to the EU, Turkey says the EU should first end its blockade of "Turkish Cyprus". Erdogan thanked Merkel for the German Patriot systems deployed in Turkey as part of NATO cooperation. "We care about the support to Turkey in the context of NATO. Turkey has been a reliable partner for Germany since Cold War times," Merkel said.

    Germany wants religious groups to be able to practice their activities freely in Turkey, in Germany and everywhere, she said, adding that she would meet with representatives of religious groups in Ankara. "I'll do my best to clarify National Socialist Underground killings," Merkel also said in reference to the group that killed eight Turks and two others in a series of racist murders.

    Merkel said she also discussed the new judicial package with Erdofan. "I told him that we want journalists to work freely in Turkey and that there be shorter periods of detention. Erdogan offered cooperation with us. We'll be in contact about rough justice," she said.

    Asked about jailed journalists in Turkey, Erdogan reiterated the Turkish government's stance that the number of arrested journalists due to their journalistic activities did not exceed "the number of fingers on one hand." "The reason journalists have been arrested is not their articles, but "attempts to stage a coup ? keeping illegal arms, or being a member of terrorist movement", he added. Erdogan also said that Turkey's judiciary was independent, as it is in Germany. "The judiciary is not subordinate to the executive," Erdogan said.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (26.02.13) reports that referring to the result of the presidential elections held in the government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus and the victory of Nikos Anastasiades, chairman of Democratic Rally Party (DISY), Erdogan said that they will see afterwards whether the newly elected President was sincere in the messages he had been sending before the elections. Erdogan alleged that the elections in "south Cyprus", as he described the government-controlled area of the Republic, do not include the entire island. Erdogan claimed that "elections" are also held in the "TRNC", as he called the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, and reiterated the Turkish allegation that "everyone should understand that there are two separate administrations in Cyprus".

    [02] Merkel met with Gul; she expressed support for reviving Turkey's EU talks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.13) reported that the Turkish President's press office said the German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her government's support for reviving Turkey's stalled talks with the European Union during a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Monday in Ankara.

    Merkel told the Turkish President that the two countries carried out regular consultations about the fight against terrorism and latest developments in Turkey's region, adding that economic relations had made a stable progress to reach their current level. "Our multi-dimensional relations based on friendship and ties of alliance are diversifying with each passing day. Our economic relations have a great potential. We closely monitor Turkey's economic achievements and successful performance," Merkel told the meeting with Gul.

    The Turkish President, on his part, said it was important for Germany to support Turkey's EU membership in line with the pledges made to the country, adding that Turkey and Germany had historical ties of friendship and alliance.

    Gul said Germany was Turkey's top trade partner, adding that bilateral trade volume reached $35 billion in 2012 and that 5 million German tourists visited Turkey each year.

    [03] "What if Turkey surprises Merkel and Hollande with a Cyprus move?"

    In a commentary entitle: "What if Turkey surprises Merkel and Hollande with a Cyprus move?" Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.02.13) publishes the following commentary by Barcin Yinanc:

    "There is no reason what so ever for German Prime Minister Angela Merkel to change her stance on Turkey's entry to the EU, a Turkish official familiar with Germany told me.

    'By lifting its veto in just one chapter and not the rest, France has shown us that it does not think differently than Germany, another one told me.

    The feeling among those familiar with the EU process is that not much is to be expected from Europe as the Franco?German front against Turkey will continue to sit tight.

    How about the Cypriot front? After all, the Cyprus issue is technically the main reason why accession negotiations came to a halt as talks on eight chapters have been blocked due to Turkey's decision not to let Greek ships use Turkish ports.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made a genuine effort to solve the Cyprus issue that led to the UN-brokered Annan plan, was extremely disappointed by the EU's stance after the plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots in the 2004 referendum. How can he not? Greek Cypriots were 'rewarded' by becoming an EU member while Turkish Cypriots continued to suffer under isolation.

    Infuriated by the fact that his overtures on Cyprus were not reciprocated, Erdogan did not sign the Ankara protocol (which would open Turkish ports to Greek ships) and remained unmoved when the EU decided to block talks regarding eight chapters in 2006 due to his stance. The EU's decision at that time did not have an immediate effect on accession talks since there were nearly two dozen chapters waiting to be opened.

    Today, there is a leader at the head of the Greek Cypriot administration that can reciprocate Turkey's gestures. It is clear that Europeans won't encourage Greek Cypriots for a solution. On the contrary, the absence of a solution suits their interest since it is slowing down Turkey's entry talks. It will therefore be totally shocking and (though they can't admit it officially) annoying for Europeans if Erdogan were to take the unilateral decision to sign the Ankara protocol.

    It is worth nothing that when the question was put forward during the press conference with Merkel, Erdogan, who can be very sharp and open about expressing his position, did not use rhetoric that categorically dismissed the signing of the Ankara protocol. He said Turkey had previously taken some steps that were not reciprocated. He also said that if there is an understanding on the island for a permanent peace, Turkey will give all the necessary support. He added Greece should also help find a solution, a message he will certainly repeat to his Greek counterpart, who will come to Turkey next week.

    Turkey cannot revitalize accession talks by calling on the Europeans to make up their minds. Europeans will never say 'game over.' The current situation is perfect as they have the best business ties with Turkey while keeping its accession bid in limbo. Turkey needs to take matters into its own hands and come up with an initiative that will give a great push to Cyprus and the EU process.

    This won't be seen as a concession since it is by now apparent that Turkey does not desperately need the EU but that it is interested in a win-win situation in the region. Even if Turkey does not make such a unilateral act, I will not be surprised at all to see intense diplomatic negotiations between Turkey, Greece and the island by summer time".

    [04] "Erdogan and Merkel agree to disagree"

    In a commentary under the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.02.13) columnist Murat Yetkin writes the following about the German Chancellor's visit to Turkey: "Following hours of talks in Ankara, it became apparent in the joint press conference that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Turkish host, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, agree to disagree on a number of political matters, topped by Turkey's half-a-century-old membership bid to become a member of the European Union.

    Merkel made it clear that despite her reservations, the process could proceed chapter by chapter, if Turkey fulfils certain obligations. And if that was not enough to irritate Erdogan, since such a chapter-by-chapter practice has never been applied to any candidate before, Merkel added insult to injury by saying that the Turkish government should abide by the Ankara agreement of 1963 in order to be able to open all chapters without any blocking. The agreement concerns the ban on the southern two-thirds of the Republic of Cyprus ? under Greek rule ? for use of Turkish ports, but claims governance over the Turkish-ruled north, despite their clear will and the presence of Turkish troops there.

    That was it. The two leaders almost got into a skirmish of words in front of an international press crowd, and more than one time. Erdogan made it clear that Greek Cyprus did not represent Turks, Merkel repeated the Ankara agreement, Erdogan intervened and reiterated the Turkish position, etc. One has to congratulate Merkel as the leader of a country hosting around 4 million people from Turkey (some 5% of Germany's population) for her tact in locking Turkish-EU relations to the Cyprus issue as if there was no other problem and her own CDU party was not a major obstacle in between.

    It is true that the economic crisis in Europe and Turkey's involvement in Middle Eastern affairs more than before contributed to the chill in relations in the last few years, but it is also true that the EU is losing political and economic leverage on Turkey.

    Merkel brought up the issue of arrested journalists as a major violation of rights, and Erdogan repeated his line, saying that they were not in jail because of what they had written. Erdogan brought up the issue of lack of cooperation in the field of counterterrorism, and upon a reporter's question Merkel admitted that Germany had made some mistakes but promised more from now on. Merkel also raised the issue of religious freedoms in Turkey, particularly focusing on Christian ? Protestant in particular ? minorities and the free functioning of German foundations in Turkey. Erdogan did not touch that issue much.

    Are there any fields that the leaders of these historical allies agree on? There is, of course. That is business. Merkel, escorted by a group of German investors, met with a group of high-level investors under the umbrella of TUSIAD; Turkey's biggest club of bosses, in order to find ways to open new fields in the Middle East, the Caucasus and beyond. There is no disagreement on that".

    [05] Eroglu and Kucuk congratulate President Anastasiades

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.02.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has congratulated the newly elected President of the Republic, Nikos Anastasiades on the phone and wished him success in his duties. According to a statement issued by his office, Eroglu expressed the hope that President Anastasiades will help in the beginning of "a new and effective process" in the Cyprus negotiations. Eroglu said that he was ready to meet with President Anastasiades with this aim to discuss the issue of how the negotiating process could resume.

    Eroglu argued that the important problems, which he knows that stand in front of President Anastasiades, should not constitute an obstacle for the effective discussion of the Cyprus problem. Eroglu went on and said that he told President Anastasiades that an "early dialogue" which will be launched between them will give a positive message to both their communities and the world that they have good will on this issue.

    Eroglu noted that President Anastasiades told him that he had problems of top priority which he should attend to, but the Cyprus problem is among these problems and he wished to meet with him the soonest in a "social environment" aiming at starting the process.

    Meanwhile, the paper writes that Eroglu is departing today for Bursa where he will be giving a lecture, upon an invitation by the Bursa Uludag University and the Bursa Journalists' Society.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (26.02.13) reports that the self-styled prime minister of the regime, Irsen Kucuk has also congratulated President Anastasiades. According to information obtained from his office, in his message Kucuk wished for the election of President Anastasiades to open the way for the resumption of the negotiations for reaching a lasting and just solution based on the political equality of the "two peoples" in Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Bagis said that Anastasiades' election could be a new opportunity for a solution; He invited Anastasiades, together with Kucuk and Eroglu to Bosphorus

    Under the title: "Turkey says ready to hit the 'reset' button for Cyprus solution", Turkish daily Today's Zaman (25.02.13) reported that the EU Minister Egemen Bagis has stated that Turkey has always been ready to hit the reset button and revitalize the political process to find a solution to the divided island of Cyprus. He also stated the recent change in leadership of "Greek Cyprus", as he called the Republic of Cyprus, could be a new opportunity for such an initiative.

    (?)"Every election is a new beginning. I believe that this new beginning should bring an opportunity to open the door slightly to a solution. We are ready to hit the reset button for a solution in Cyprus," Bagis said.

    To this end, the EU minister stated that Turkey's first suggestion to the newly elected President is to get together with his "counterparts" in the "TRNC". "After coming together with [TRNC] Prime Minister Irsen Kucuk and President Dervis Eroglu, if he would like to come to Istanbul with the TRNC politicians, our invitation to dine at a table overlooking the Bosporus still stands. We would be honored to host the elected leaders of the island all together," Bagis maintained.

    Bagis emphasized that if there would be permanent unification of the island; the Cypriot people would be able to elect a "genuine" President of the would-be "united Cyprus." "The Greek Cypriots did not elect a state leader; this election was to elect a leader for their community. It is our hope that there will be permanent unification of the island and that a united Cyprus would have a legitimate President," Bagis underlined.

    Noting Anastasiades' support of the Annan peace plan for Cyprus in 2004 as an example of him having made the "right" decision in the past, Bagis stated that his same will to do what is right will have a positive effect on a political solution of the long-term problem.

    "[Having elected a leader who supported the Annan plan,] if is possible the Greek Cypriot side will not to inflict its political will on other circles [which would not help with a solution.] Turning this possibility into an opportunity is only possible if a move is made towards the resolution of the Cyprus issue," Bagis claimed.

    Bagis also maintained that those who think the "TRNC" will pay for the delay in arriving at a political solution are wrong, stating that the "TRNC" is the stronger side, politically and economically, notably because it has always sided with the need for a solution.

    Meanwhile, as Turkey states its readiness for a new start towards the solution of the Cyprus question, Peter Stano, spokesperson for the office of EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule, stated the EU Commission's readiness "to support the re-launch of talks between both communities [Turkish and Greek Cypriots] which take place under UN auspices."

    [07] Bagis: "Greek Cypriots elected a new leader, not a President"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.13) reported from Ankara that Turkey's European Union Minister Egemen Bagis said on Monday that the election of a new Greek Cypriot leader should be seized as a fresh opportunity to end the division of the island.

    "The Greek Cypriots have elected a new leader for themselves not 'a president.' In the past, the new Greek Cypriot leader has aptly supported the Annan Plan aimed at securing the reunification. But this apt attitude will not mean anything unless it is valid today," Bagis told the Anadolu Agency after the election of Nicos Anastasiades as the new leader of the "Greek Cypriot administration", as the Republic of Cyprus is called. "I hope a lasting settlement would arrive on the island one day and a legitimate president of the United States of Cyprus would be elected," Bagis said.

    [08] Bagis: "Anastasiadis should stand strong against those unwilling to settle down with a solution"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.13) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Minister of EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis in statements on Monday while meeting with members of the Turkish Cypriot EU Harmonization Committee in the Turkish capital of Ankara, advised the new leader of the "Greek Cypriot administration" as he called the newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, to stand strong against those unwilling to settle down with a solution in Cyprus.

    Touching on Turkey's EU process, Bagis underlined that France blocked five chapters in Turkey's accession talks while Germany did not block any. "In fact, Germany opened three chapters to talks during its term presidency. As such, we cannot place Germany and France in the same category in Turkey's EU membership talks," Bagis also said.

    [09] Yorgancioglu: The ground is ready for the resumption of a negotiating process the soonest

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.02.13) reports that the Ozkan Yorgancioglu, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has said that the negotiating process in the Cyprus talks should start the soonest during this "new period".

    In a statement issued yesterday regarding the election of Nikos Anastasiades to the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus, Yorgancioglu noted that during this "new period", the CTP will continue their struggle for a solution to the Cyprus problem. He noted that his party attaches importance to the establishment of the ground for the negotiations of the "new period" by the agreements of 23 May and 1 July reached between former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and President Christofias during the negotiations held under the auspices of the United Nations.

    He argued: "In parallel to the great responsibility of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot officials, who are the sides of the problem in the negotiations which will be held under the auspices of the United Nations, the necessity of the international players encouraging the sides is quite obvious?"

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Talat commented on Anastasiades' election; Talat: "Whatever will be the stance of the Greek Cypriot side towards the solution, it is the Turkish side that will blow away the process"

    Under the title: "The solution in the island in connected with the Turkish side", Turkish daily Zaman (26.02.13) reports on statements by the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat who has described the newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus as a "very cooperative", a long-run politician, who is expected as he said, to show a positive stance towards the solution.

    According to Talat, the Turkish Cypriot side's stance on the solution of the political crisis in the island will play a key role, as he said.

    Talat evaluated to Zaman newspaper the election of Anastasiades and said: "First of all, the solution is bound to the stance of the Turkish side and its willingness".

    Referring to the period of 2008 when Demetris Christofias was elected as President of the Republic of Cyprus, Talat said that Christofias term, end up with disappointment, supporting that Chistofias did not do his bit. "He was not able to behave bravely. He followed a timidous line and was unable to opposed to the inside criticism", Talat said, adding that it is for this reason that Anastasiades came into prominence and the international community supported him as well.

    Asked to reply to the question whether Anastasiades will follow a policy which will be in favour of the solution, the former Turkish Cypriot leader said: "He will be affected by classical Greek Cypriot politicians, but still, I consider that he will be willing for the solution. He will be affected, but what I could say is that if the appropriate atmosphere exists, he will exhibit decisiveness towards the solution like he did with the Annan plan. (...)".

    Asked to comment how the current status quo in the island will break down, Talat said: "The main matter is the Turkish Cypriot side. Since it is the Turkish Cypriot side the side which needs the solution, it will be the Turkish Cypriot side the engine power for the solution. The Turkish Cypriot side should be ready for the solution. Turkey should support this and to be the lever to the process. I cannot see this to happen at the moment. The Turkish Cypriot leader is not a leader which is in favour of the solution. Whatever will be the stance of the Greek Cypriot side towards the solution, it is the Turkish side that will blow away the process", Talat concluded.

    (AK)

    [11] Turkish Deputy wants Cyprus to be forced to open chapters in Turkey's EU accession negotiations; He met with Tacoy and Nami

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (26.02.13) reports that Mehmet Tekellioglu, chairman of the EU Harmonization Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), has alleged that in parallel to chapter 22, France should lift the blockade on more chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU, and added that "the Greek Cypriots should also be forced to act in a similar manner".

    In statements yesterday during a meeting with a Turkish Cypriot delegation headed by Hasan Tacoy, the chairman of the so-called committee for harmonization with the EU in the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, Tekellioglu alleged that the Turkish side has always been constructive in Cyprus and noted that "if the necessary steps had been taken in the referendum in 2004, we would have been more relaxed today".

    Tekellioglu referred to the explorations for oil and natural gas in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), alleging that there are some circles who want to unilaterally use the energy resources found around Cyprus. He added that they are obliged to say at every platform that these things are wrong. He claimed that whatever is found "will be of no use without being transferred through Turkey". "Even if they find something there, they need Turkey to transfer this to Europe or elsewhere", he argued claiming that otherwise the cost will be unbelievably high and that therefore the Turkish side should use all these.

    In his statements, Hasan Tacoy said that their efforts as "harmonization committee with the EU" in the so-called assembly aim at bringing the "TRNC" closer to the EU and at making the rights and the voice of the "TRNC" heard in Europe.

    Furthermore, Ozdil Nami, member of the Turkish Cypriot delegation, said that their visit to Turkey coincided with the visit of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and argued that this was important and had "a separate meaning". Nami called on Merkel and the other EU member countries to end the soonest the "unjust practices" allegedly implemented against the Turkish Cypriots.

    Fully ignoring the Turkish military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus since 1974, Nami said that there is no other area which is an EU territory and is kept isolated by the EU. He alleged that "these sanctions have no reason".

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] New statements by Yildiz on the energy resource in the Mediterranean

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (26.02.13) reports that Taner Yildiz, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, has expressed the hope that the "structure" established after the presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus will be using "more pro-peace expressions" regarding the issues concerning energy. In statements to A Haber television, Yildiz said that the sides should find solutions and the energy sector will then become "pretext and aim for peace" and not for tension.

    Referring to Turkish Petroleum Corporation's (TPAO) explorations in the sea of Cyprus, he alleged: "The disputable areas are those in which TPAO holds explorations in the south rather than those in the north. We have never supported tension. However, we have always kept in the forefront the interests of both our people and the TRNC. We will not be the side of tension again. In the short term we do not plan to hold explorations in the Aegean. It is not right for some countries to have on their agenda a situation such as holding explorations in the Aegean".

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] Talat: no one should expect a solution in Cyprus from Eroglu; Kaptan: expecting a step by Eroglu is tantamount to expecting a tear from a dead man's eye

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (26.02.13) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has said he knew that there would be a stagnancy on the issue of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem when the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu was "elected" to this post. In statements during a meeting yesterday with the Turkish Cypriot "public" servants' trade union (KTAMS), Talat noted that no one should expect a solution to the Cyprus problem as long as Eroglu is on duty.

    Talat said that after the election of President Anastasiades, a new effort will be exerted on the Cyprus problem, but it is not known whether this effort will bring a result. Talat argued that the important thing for the Turkish Cypriots is the solution of the Cyprus problem and that the Turkish Cypriots are a force that will push forward towards the solution. Talat reiterated the allegation that the Turkish Cypriots need the solution more than the Greek Cypriots do.

    In his statements, Ahmet Kaptan, the chairman of KTAMS, noted that there was no progress on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem and added that Eroglu has been defending for years the existence of a divided Cyprus. He noted that Eroglu is a person that supports the mentality that the current situation is the best solution. According to Kaptan, expecting a step towards the solution by Eroglu is tantamount to expecting a tear from a dead man's eye.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] Yildiz reiterated that the oil and natural gas to be extracted in the Mediterranean should be divided amongst all Cyprus

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (25.02.13) reported that Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz in statements to Today's Zaman in an exclusive interview at the Ministry last week, referred, inter alia to the exploration activities in the Mediterranean and on Turkish-Israeli ties.

    Elaborating on the political relations between the two countries (Turkey-Israel), which were frozen after Israel's raid on a Gaza flotilla that killed nine Turks in 2010, Turkey's Energy Minister said: "The climate is very bad. Those who ruined the weather need to put it right again."

    "Greek Cypriots have also struck natural gas in the Mediterranean, but Turkey maintains that the gas found belongs also to Turkish Cypriots, and that any unilateral steps taken by the Greek Cypriots regarding the finding are against international law".

    Minister Taner Y?ld?z said also that the Greek Cypriots' gas projects "are feasible, but in view of politics, they lose their feasibility," as he said, adding also that the oil and gas to be extracted, needs to be divided amongst all of Cyprus, as he said.

    (?)Referring to the recent agreement that TPAO signed with Shell, one of the world's leading energy firms, to explore for gas and oil in the western region of the Black Sea, Y?ld?z expressed hope that the deep-water exploration being carried out in cooperation with the same company off Turkey's Mediterranean coast may prove fruitful. "To be able to conduct exploration activities in a more capable way in seas surrounding Turkey, the country recently bought a seismic research vessel which can carry out two and three-dimensional seismic surveys. For the vessel, named Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa after the renowned 16th-century fleet admiral of the Ottoman navy, Turkey paid $130 million. It is setting sail this week for research in the Black Sea", Yildiz added.

    (?)

    [15] AKP is reportedly preparing changes in the UBP and the Cyprus negotiations

    Under the title "The boss in the UBP is now the AKP", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (26.02.13) reports that the National Unity Party (UBP) is taken out of the control of Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu and is surrendered to the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The paper writes that messages for unity and solidarity are given after the election held within the UBP last Sunday, but the "cauldron is boiling".

    According to the paper, it seems that nothing can be the same anymore and that plans are being made for eliminating the so-called "Kasif team" [Translator's note: those so-called MPs who supported Ahmet Kasif for the post of UBP's chairman] upon instructions by the AKP, which does not want the supporters of Eroglu in the party. These persons will not become "candidates" in future "elections", notes the paper arguing that it seems certain that the UBP under Irsen Kucuk's leadership will suffer its first defeat on 7 April during the "municipal elections" in the occupied part of Lefkosia.

    "It is believed that the UBP, which will enter into the general and local elections next year for the first time without Eroglu, has already lost the chance of becoming the first party", writes the paper noting that it is not yet known how Kasif's team will continue being in the UBP and whether they will leave the party.

    Commenting on the same issue, Kartal Harman writes in his daily column in Turkish Cypriot Kibrisli newspaper (26.02.13) that with the result of the UBP congress held last Sunday, the Eroglu era ended in the occupied area of Cyprus, or this era was closed by the AKP.

    Noting that they will "not continue with Eroglu" from now on, Harman refers to statements made yesterday by the Turkish EU Minister, Egemen Bagis who had invited the newly elected President Anastasiades to have fish with him at Bosporus, in case he goes there with Eroglu and Kucuk. Harman argues that this statement shows that Ankara does not want to continue the Cyprus negotiations with Eroglu.

    (I/Ts.)

    [16] Erdogan: "Kurdish peace process will start after PKK militants leave Turkey"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (25.02.13) reported that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said in the wake of the second parliamentarian visit to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan that Turkey's peace process will effectively begin after armed militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leave Turkey.

    "This process will de facto begin after terrorists go to a second country from the border," Erdogan said. "Then there's Makhmour Camp, this issue should be resolved after discussions with the United Nations, because that camp is effectively an incubation center [for the PKK]. And there's Kandil Mountain [where the PKK has its main bases] on the other side. This is an issue we have to resolve with the northern Iraqi administration. But all of those are the steps that will be taken after [the PKK militants] in Turkey leave our country," Erdogan said.

    Erdogan's remarks, which were originally delivered to journalists on board a plane en route from Dubai to Ankara late February 24, were reported a day after by Anatolia news agency.

    The Premier reiterated assurances that military operations would not be conducted against PKK militants during their withdrawal from Turkish soil. "The previous mistakes will not be made. We will take necessary precautions," Erdogan said, tacitly referring to the military operations in 1999 that killed over 500 PKK militants as they were withdrawing from Turkey after a call from Ocalan following his capture.

    Though launching the new process means taking risks, Erdogan said they were determined to maintain the momentum. "Unless we take that risk, we cannot come to a conclusion. If other active layers of society share this risk with us ? the media is very important here ? our progress will speed up", he said.

    Suggesting that the recent peace process should be defined as the "resolution process" instead of the "Imral? process" ? in a reference to Imral? island, where Ocalan is serving a life sentence, Erdogan said Kurds living in both eastern and western Turkey supported the process.

    Meanwhile, the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) Parliamentary Group Administrative Board met yesterday at the party headquarters for a briefing by BDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan, Istanbul Deputy S?rr? Sureyya Onder and Diyarbakir deputy Altan Tan about their February 23 trip to see Ocalan.

    (?)

    BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas is expected to reveal Ocalan's messages to the public today during his speech at the BDP's parliamentary group meeting, while Erdogan is also expected to make his first comments on the content of the February 23 meeting.

    At the same time, the National Security Council (MGK), which brings together the country's top civilian and military leaders, will hold a regular bimonthly meeting during which the ongoing "peace process" is likely to be discussed at length.

    Separately, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Faruk Logoglu rebuffed yesterday Ocalan's decision to describe the detained suspects in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case as "captives."

    "The state has captives in its hands. So does the PKK. The PKK has to treat its captives very well. I hope they will rejoin their families in the shortest time," Ocalan said in a letter read out by Buldan following their February 23 visit.

    "Turkey has no captives in its hands. There are people who committed crimes, who are involved in terror crimes or armed terror activities," Logoglu said during a press conference in Parliament.

    [17] The occupation regime participates in an exhibition in Dubai

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (26.02.13) reported that the occupation regime participates at the Gulfood 2013 Food Exhibition which takes place in the town of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

    According to the "Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry", the fair has opened yesterday will close on February 28.

    The occupation regime participates at the fair with seven firms and under the umbrella of the "Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry", writes the paper.

    (AK) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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

    /EI


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