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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-03-29
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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. 61/13 29/3/13
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Davutoglu reveals Turkish plans for division of Cyprus, admitting that this is the first time in 30 years that Turkey talked of supporting a two-state solutionUnder the title "Davutoglu: Greek Cyprus dependent on Turkey to sell gas", Turkish daily Today's Zaman newspaper (28.03.13, online) reports, inter alia, the following on statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu:
"The Greek Cypriot administration [Editor's note: as he describes the Republic of Cyprus] will have to rely on Turkey to export the natural gas it hopes to extract from eastern Mediterranean fields, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in remarks published on Thursday.
The Foreign Minister also reiterated that if Greek Cyprus [Editor's note: as he describes the government-controlled area of Cyprus] insists on using hydrocarbon reserves off the island to overcome its debt crisis without the consent of the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey is ready to discuss a two-state solution on the island in order to claim the rights of Turkish Cypriots to the reserves.
'There is nowhere that the gas could go except Turkey,' Davutoglu told journalists on his plane en route to Tbilisi. He said Turkey itself needs energy and would also be the best transit option if Greek Cyprus opts for exporting the gas to Europe. 'Which country [in the region] is energy-hungry? If they decide to sell it to Europe, where will it go through? An undersea pipeline through Crete to Greece may be considered but there are big fault lines in that terrain; it is not feasible,' he said. 'So, they are obligated [to cooperate with Turkey.]'
A deal last week between Turkey and Israel to mend fences may also isolate the Greek Cypriots in their plans to export the gas through a route circumventing Turkey. Analysts say the reconciliation deal is likely to pave the way for direct energy cooperation between Turkey and Israel, which also has gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean -- circumventing Greek Cyprus.
Turkey is concerned that the Greek Cypriots could use the gas in a potential deal with Russia or the EU to secure bailout loans. The idea was reportedly discussed in talks between Greek Cypriot and Russian officials in Moscow last week but the discussions produced no deal. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has also cast doubt on the inclusion of hydrocarbon reserves in a loan deal, saying there are concerns regarding commercial viability and questions stemming from Turkish objections.
'If Greek Cyprus insists that those reserves are theirs, this would implicitly give the right to north Cyprus [Editor's note: as he describes Turkey's puppet regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] to say that the reserves in the north belong [exclusively] to the Turkish Cypriots. In such an event, it absolutely requires discussing a two-state solution,' said Davutoglu.
'This is the first time in 30 years that Turkey has openly talked of supporting a two-state solution,' Davutoglu also said. 'We don't put it [two-state solution] on the table as a threat. We put it forward as positive leverage. But it is not possible for us to accept an understanding that 'all resources belong to us'.'
Davutoglu said there are three options: the immediate resumption of talks for a comprehensive political settlement between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots within a set timeframe; or if this were to fail, the establishment of a joint committee of Turkish and Greek Cypriot representatives to decide on how to share the hydrocarbon reserves between the two communities in the absence of a political settlement; and finally a two-state solution that would mean permanent partition of the island.
Turkey has long warned the Greek Cypriot government against unilateral moves to extract natural gas and oil reserves off Cyprus, saying the Turkish Cypriots, who run their own state in the north of the island, also have a say on these reserves.
Subtitle: 'Russian base in Cyprus a dream'
Davutoglu also dismissed prospects that Greek Cyprus could offer military bases to Russia, again in return for a loan deal, saying this is against international law.
'We are a guarantor state in Cyprus and we don't have a military base there. As far as international law is concerned, this [Russian bases in Cyprus] is not possible,' he was quoted as saying by the Star daily. 'We don't take such allegations seriously.' (?)"
 Reactions to Davutoglu's statements; this is a conqueror's mentality; the same policy since the 1950'sTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (29.03.13) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), evaluated yesterday the statements made by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who has said that they had made a proposal to the Greek Cypriots that includes three alternatives on the Cyprus problem and gave the massage of "either a solution or division" will come on Cyprus.
"Mr Davutoglu's approach that 'either a solution in the way we impose it will happen or [there will] be division' is tantamount to the mentality of a conqueror and could never be accepted", Izcan said:
Izcan noted that the solution will not be achieved by blackmails and threats, but by working in a constructive manner. He argued that the Turkish Cypriots do not want the division of the island, but solution and peace. He recalled that the ground for the solution in Cyprus is mentioned in the UN Security Council Resolutions which refer to a bi-zonal, bi-communal united Cyprus based on political equality, with a single citizenship, single sovereignty and single international representation.
Izcan wondered "in whose name Mr Davutoglu was speaking" and on whose behalf the proposals made by Davutoglu had been submitted. He also asked the following: "Have these proposals been discussed at our parliament? Are the president of the republic, the government and the political parties represented in the parliament aware of these? Have the opposition parties represented in the parliament something to say for Mr Davutoglu speaking and making proposals on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots or they are all of them scarecrows in a garden?"
Commenting on the issue in his daily column in Havadis (29.03.13), Basaran Duzgun, the paper's editor-in-chief, refers to an interview that the paper had recently published with the retired army officer Ismail Tansu, one of the founders of terrorist TMT organization in the 1950's. Under the title "The days of slavery continue", Duzgun notes that Tansu had explained to the paper the "plan of recovering Cyprus" and had said that "recovering meant 'taking back Cyprus'". Tansu referred also to the establishment of a special unit for Cyprus at Turkey's Special War Department with the approval of the then Prime Minister Menderes. Duzgun goes on and notes, inter alia, the following:
"?The Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) was established and the developments to come were planned. Their aim was not the whole of Cyprus, it was binding the half of Cyprus to Turkey. How interesting, in the photographs of the rallies held during those days shouting 'either division or death', maps were published that almost coincide with the borders of today. In the 1950's. When have the current borders been created? On 16 August 1974. And these borders are still valid. The year is 2013. In a statement made yesterday, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, referring to the position of 'either division or death', said that they would return back to the position of 'either division or two states', if the Greek Cypriots do not come close to an agreement? While reading the statements by Davutoglu, the words of Ismail Tansu came to my mind: 'The duty assigned to us by the Republic of Turkey was to take the half of Cyprus, not the whole of it. Two states could exist now as well'. Ismail Tansu started working for this target in 1957. 56 years passed since then. The current Foreign Minister of Turkey has come to the position of 'either we will die or we will divide it'?"
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.03.13) covers the issue on its front page under the title "Time has come" and reports that this is the first time that an official of the Republic of Turkey has revealed that the division of Cyprus was one of their alternatives. Kibris writes that in statements made to Star newspaper in Turkey, Davutoglu recalled the slogan "either division or death" used in the 1960's and said that "the slogan in 2013 will be 'either solution or division'".
Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (29.03.13) also refers to the issue on its front page under the title "There will be either division or solution in 2013" and reports that Davutoglu referred to the distribution of bonds by Cyprus, especially to Russians, regarding the island's natural gas resources, in return for the deposits in the two problematic Cypriot banks. He said that last Friday they discussed the issue with Prime Minister Erdogan and on Saturday they held an extraordinary meeting and issued a statement. The paper writes that Davutoglu drew attention to the "seriousness" of the Turkish stance and said: "It is the first time in 30 years that Turkey assumed a position in favor of the two-state solution".
Moreover, in his column today (29.03.13) Rasih Resat, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper's editor-in-chief, reports that it is obvious that Davutoglu's statement was not a tongue slip, but a "well-prepared statement". He argues that this is understood by the slogan which was created by changing the one used in the 1960's. Resat expresses the view that the Turkish Foreign Ministry will start referring to this solution at the international platforms. He argues that when oil is involved in the issue, the "international ears will be further cocked and our voice will be listened to."
 Davutoglu: "Turkey will not permit any implementation that will mortgage Cyprus' common future"Under the above title, Turkish daily Kibris Postasi (29.03.13-online) reports on statements by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who referred to the decision of the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus to issue bonds against "the claiming that the natural resources belong to them" with the aim to establish a fund and said that with the above mentioned decision, the Greek Cypriot side aimed to show that it has the unilateral sovereignty of the island.
Replying to several questions during a televised program broadcast by SKY Turk 360, Davutoglu said that Turkey will not remain silent to this situation. He went on and reiterated the three alternatives he proposed yesterday for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Davutoglu said further that Turkey will not permit any implementation which will mortgage the common future of Cyprus.
Referring to Turkey's EU bid, he said that the Cyprus problem is a key issue for Turkey's EU bid and added: "We as well are part of the history of Europe, we will also be a part of its future".
 Babacan: "the solution found by the Europeans for Cyprus is not reasonable"Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (29.03.13) reports that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Ali Babacan has said that the solution found by the Europeans for the economic problems of the Republic of Cyprus had in a way made preparations "for very different problems" for other countries. Addressing a meeting at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO), Babacan expressed the hope that similar methods are not implemented for other countries and that "more reasonable, more trust-focused solutions are formed".
Recalling that the House of Representatives had in the beginning rejected the proposal of the Eurogroup, Babacan alleged that this method is known for the Greek Cypriots, who are allegedly used to agreeing something at the negotiating table and forcing either the people or the parliament to reject it afterwards. He gave as example the Annan Plan, which had been rejected by the Greek Cypriot community in 2004.
Babacan argued that taxing the deposits might have been necessary for Cyprus, because "an unjust situation" had allegedly existed there. He went on and claimed: "They are members of the EU, but this place is a place where everything that should not be done by a European is done. They have perhaps thought that this could be a little punishment, but the element of trust has unfortunately been harmed in this solution. What the citizens living in other countries and having deposits will think? ? What happens in a country when people do not have faith in their deposits, when they doubt whether something will happen to the money they have in the bank? ?Disaster happens".
 Eroglu reiterated that the Turkish Cypriots have equal rights on the Cyprus natural gas resources; He alleged that the marketing of oil and natural gas should pass to Europe via TurkeyAccording to illegal Bayrak television (28.03.13) Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu met today with the Academic Director for the Peace and Conflict Resolution Program of the American University's Washington Semester Program, Eleftherios Michael and his students.
In statements during the meeting, Eroglu said that whether or not, the economic crisis in "south Cyprus", as he described the Republic of Cyprus, will act as a catalyst for a settlement, will depend on the Greek Cypriot side's political will.
Eroglu also briefed the students on the history and current developments of the Cyprus problem.
Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot side had no intention of exploiting the economic crisis being experienced by the Greek Cypriots; Eroglu expressed his view that it was highly difficult for the newly elected "Greek Cypriot leader", referring to President Anastasiades, to persuade the Greek Cypriot public towards a solution during this critical period.
Explaining that hopes for a settlement had been revived with the election of Anastasiades, he expressed the hope that the Greek Cypriot side will overcome the economic crisis as soon as possible, so that the negotiations process may restart in the summer.
Also touching upon the issue of hydrocarbon exploration, Eroglu said that the shortest, cheapest and most feasible way of transporting natural gas to Europe was to build a pipeline across Turkey.
He however complained that the Greek Cypriot side had turned down a proposal by the Cyprus Turkish side to work together on making this possible.
Stressing that the Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over all the island's natural resources, Eroglu said that the Greek Cypriots are ignoring this and try to use the natural gas as collateral as a way out of the economic crisis they are facing.
 Ozgurgun: "Turkey's active and effective guarantee in Cyprus is a sine qua non for a comprehensive solution"According to illegal Bayrak television (28.03.13) the so-called foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun has responded to the Republic of Cyprus Defense Minister Fotis Fotiu's statements against Turkey's existence in Cyprus.
Ozgurgun alleged that the Greek Cypriot Minister's statements prove the fact that the Greek Cypriots do not intend to solve the Cyprus problem.
In a written statement, Ozgurgun alleged that the Greek Cypriot side's insistence on talking about invasion in Cyprus by ignoring the "reality" that Turkey is in Cyprus within the framework of international agreements, is proof of their intention to continue their provocative attitudes.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot officials are giving empty promises to its people, Ozgurgun said that such statements are also contrary to the United Nations' efforts aimed at bringing the two "peoples" towards a solution.
Ozgurgun also stressed that the continuation of Turkey's active and effective guarantee in Cyprus is a sine qua non for a comprehensive solution for the "TRNC people" and it is the principle for a lasting solution which was also supported by the United Nations.
He also reiterated that it is out of the question to give concession on Turkey's active and effective guarantee in Cyprus.
 So-called finance minister invites British and Russian nationals living in the Republic of Cyprus to buy property and open bank accounts in the occupation regimeAnkara Anatolia news agency (29.03.13) reports that the so-called finance minister Ersin Tatar invited on Friday British and Russian nationals living in "southern Cyprus", as the Republic of Cyprus is called, to move to the "TRNC", breakaway regime, after the "Greek Cypriot administration", experienced serious economic crisis.
Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA), Ersin Tatar underlined that British and Russian nationals seeking a peaceful country, could choose the "TRNC". "British and Russian nationals living in southern Cyprus may buy property and open bank accounts in the TRNC", Tatar emphasized.
"Cyprus may go bankrupt. Yet it is the Greek Cypriot administration which has gone bankrupt. Thanks to the support of motherland Turkey, the TRNC has become a factor of stability in the Mediterranean," Tatar said, adding: "The Greek Cypriot administration will never be the same. Greek Cypriot banks need to implement the laws of the EU if they wish to stay in the Union".
 Turkish daily alleges that the division of the island is shaping up to be the fate of Cyprus for the foreseeable futureUnder the title: "When money starts talking: Time for farewell to status quo in Cyprus?" Turkish daily Today's Zaman (28.03.13) published the following commentary:
"The Cyprus dispute is an impact-proof one: International pressure, international embargoes, peace talks, peace plans, even EU membership, they have all failed miserably over the past decades to end this Mediterranean island's division.
But just as the status quo -- a division that everyone is officially committed to eliminating -- was shaping up to be the fate of Cyprus for the foreseeable future, a debt crisis hit the island's Greek south like a powerful tsunami. With a web of ramifications it seems to have triggered, the crisis may perhaps be the biggest game-changer yet in the decades-old dispute.
The reason why the economic crisis could be a turning point is that it has the potential to change the motives and statures of almost all the actors involved in the dispute. It is obviously a major blow for the Greek Cypriots, who, as the island's internationally recognized government and an EU member since 2004, have felt no significant pressure for a compromise with the Turkish Cypriots. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Greek Cypriot government may find it hard to resist pressure for concessions this time if it is tied to a financial rescue plan.
Even if there is no such deal, the Nicosia government will be hard pressed to tap the island's hydrocarbon reserves off its Mediterranean coast to put its economy back on track. Doing so, however, may require a new, out-of-the-box strategy that involves cooperation with Turkey. There is no doubt that such a strategy would be hard to stomach politically, but chances are that Turkey is the one that holds the key to restoring prosperity in Greek Cyprus. A surprise reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel last week that many expect would lead to energy cooperation between the two US allies in the region further strengthened the Turkish position. Israel has cooperated with Greek Cyprus in their quest to tap hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean and Greek Cyprus relies on Israel's continuing cooperation in order to export natural gas that would be extracted from undersea fields through a route circumventing Turkey. Defiance may not be an option if Israel chooses the cost-efficient path and cooperates directly with Turkey to sell its gas.
Turkey is aware of its new-found strength that may well allow it to dictate terms for the first time throughout the nearly 40-year division of the island. 'There is nowhere that the gas could go, except Turkey,' Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared confidently in remarks published in newspapers on Thursday. Energy-hungry Turkey, according to Davutoglu, is the best buyer for the Greek Cypriot gas and the best transit option if Greek Cyprus opts for exporting it to Europe. 'Which country [in the region] is energy-hungry? If they decide to sell it to Europe, where will it go through? An undersea pipeline through Crete to Greece may be considered but there are big fault lines in that terrain; it is not feasible,' he said. 'So, they are obligated [to cooperate with Turkey].'
And a blunt decision this week to halt Italian energy giant ENI's operations in Turkey because of its refusal to stop energy exploration off Cyprus is a strong sign that Ankara is ready to show its teeth if this is what it takes to eliminate competition and scare off potential collaborators of Greek Cyprus.
So, brimming with confidence, Ankara announced over the weekend that it might revise its 30-year policy of commitment to reunification of the Turkish and Greek sides of the island in a federal state and push instead for international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) if no agreement is reached on how the energy reserves will be used. This new 'either-settlement-or-partition' plan has been brought to the attention of the UN and other parties as well, Davutoglu said.
Of course whether or not partition is what the future holds for Cyprus depends to a major extent on what the West and other key actors such as Russia would have to say about a permanently divided Cyprus. But balances would still shift significantly if Turkey decides to steer towards that direction. Even if an internationally-recognized KKTC would not be the result of Ankara's new policy, Nicosia is set to feel the heat to either agree to a settlement whose terms Turkey will dictate more freely this time or, as Ankara demands, sit down with the Turkish Cypriots in a joint committee to decide on how the island's hydrocarbon riches will be shared in the absence of a long-term political settlement to end the island's division.
And the Turkish Cypriots will be less interested in a reunification deal with the Greek side as well because with the Greek Cypriot economy in tatters, their main motivation to reunite with the Greek south, economic prosperity is gone. In an interview this week, KKTC President Dervis Eroglu already suggested that any new settlement plan would have to re-examine how far economic integration would go. 'Now the situation is different. The Greek Cypriot economy is in worse shape than ours,' he told the Associated Press.
After nearly 40 years of a stalemate, the Cyprus problem may finally be on the verge of a sea change. What is different this time? Perhaps forcing a makeover in one of the world's most deep-rooted and complicated disputes is a task that money, not politics, could accomplish".
 A workshop on the Cyprus problem in the occupied area of CyprusAccording to illegal Bayrak television (28.03.13), a workshop entitled "Vision study related to the Cyprus problem" was held yesterday at the illegal Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus (ODTU) with the participation of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk, Turkish Cypriot political leaders and other academicians.
Addressing the panel, Eroglu said that the place to test the statements of the newly elected Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades that the process of the Cyprus problem will gain a new acceleration is the negotiation table.
Eroglu also said that the proposal of the Turkish side for a time-table and the method of the give-and-take, and after this to hold a multilateral meeting where the guarantors will attend is still in the table.
Commenting on the developments in "south Cyprus" (Trans. Note: the government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus), Eroglu said that in order to surpass this financial crisis, the Greek Cypriots should turn this into an opportunity by cooperating with the Turkish Cypriots, adding that this can constitute a win-win situation for both sides.
Kucuk, in his part, said that the Cyprus government should take radical decisions in order to be freed from their financial problems, adding that the policies of the Greek Cypriots, who were trying to obtain gains in their favour by using their international recognition has not produced any result.
Noting that "the gas reservoir in south Cyprus and the water that will come in the North Cyprus" will form a good opportunity for solution, Kucuk said that the Greek Cypriot side should stay away from one-sided approaches that increase the tension related to the natural sources.
Ozkan Yorgancioglu, the leader of the Republican Turkish Party United Forces (CTP-BG), said that although the Cyprus problem could not be solved for a long time now, it should be solved now.
The leader of the Socialist Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici said that until now there has always been a delay or a postponement at the solution of the Cyprus problem, adding that today all the parties exhibit a stance in favour of the solution. He also said that the solution in Cyprus is unavoidable.
 A delegation of the so-called assembly carried out contacts in EquadorAccording to illegal Bayrak television (28.03.13) a delegation from the so-called assembly attended the 128th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union which was held in the Equadorian capital, Quito.
The "TRNC" delegation also held various contacts with foreign parliamentarians during their stay in Quito. The delegation was headed by the "deputy speaker" of the "assembly" Mustafa Yektaoglu who also held various contacts with foreign parliamentarians.
According to a statement issued by the "assembly", the delegation met with British Parliamentarians headed by Robert Walter and discussed the latest phase reached at the Cyprus negotiations process.
The delegation which paid a courtesy visit to the Turkish Ambassador to Quito Kaya Bakkalbas? also met with French Parliamentarian Josette Durrieu and Czech Parliamentarians, as well as the mediator of the Inter-Parliamentary Union's Group of Facilitators for Cyprus, Jaroslav Lobkovicz.
 Cavusoglu participated in Cartes Asia 2013 fair in Hong KongAccording to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (29.03.13), the so-called minister of interior and local administration Nazim Cavusoglu flew to Hong Kong to participate in the Cartes Asia 2013 fair between 25-29 of March, as a guest of the TURKSAT Satellite Communication Cable TV and Enterprise A.S.
 Minority school on Imbros Island set to reopen after 50 yearsTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.03.13) reported that Turkey's Education Ministry has responded positively to a demand to reopen a Greek minority school on the Aegean island of Gokceada [Imbros] that has remained closed for nearly half a century.
Announcing his Ministry's decision to grant permission for the reopening of the Private Gokceada Greek Primary School, Education Minister Nabi Avc? told Anatolia news agency on March 28 that the decision was valid as of the date of the announcement.
Laki Vingas, who is in charge of minority foundations in Turkey's Foundations Directorate General, told the Daily News by phone today that he was very happy about the decision, which came after a long period of struggle.
"The school was among many others that were closed some 50 years ago", Vingas noted. "For half a century we have been working on creating a future starting from point zero", he said.
Vingas said he was thankful for the government and the bureaucrats who lent support to the reopening of the school, which will be operational by the next school year starting in September.
Commenting on a question about whether this was a clue that Heybeliada Halki Seminary would also be reopened, Vingas said the two issues were different but related. "First of all, it makes us very happy to see that the government has a will to solve the problems," he said.
The school, which was opened in 1951, had been shut down in 1964 following a decree issued by Turkey's second President and Prime Minister at the time, Ismet Inonu, on the pretext of the growing tensions in Cyprus that led to an exodus of Greeks. The school in Gokceada was shut down shortly after.
Only Turkish citizens are allowed to receive education in minority schools, in accordance with the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. According to Anatolia news agency, since 2011, three Greek minority primary schools and one Greek minority high school were closed down by the Education Ministry upon demands by the founders of the schools.
The ministry is heeding applications for either the opening or closing of minority schools, Anatolia news agency added.
 TOBB chairman to chair with Israel the Jerusalem Arbitration courtTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.03.13) reports that the Israeli and Palestinian businesspeople were delighted by the appointment of Turkey's top business leader, R?fat Hisarc?kl?oglu, as the chair of the Jerusalem Arbitration Center (JAC) founded by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The start of the normalization process for Turkish-Israeli relations has boosted this optimism.
Hisarc?kl?oglu met with both Palestinian and Israeli businessmen on March 27 and then participated in the inauguration ceremony of the Jerusalem Arbitration Center protocol.
"I'm fully confident that the Jerusalem Arbitration Center will facilitate economic and commercial relations between Israel and Palestine more," TOBB chairman Hisarc?kl?oglu said during the dinner after the protocol ceremony.
The Israeli and Palestinian National Committees of the ICC founded the JAC, a body that enables the resolution of conflicts caused by contracts in an efficient manner without going to court, in 2011.
Hisarc?kl?oglu, who heads Turkey's Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), was selected as the international head of the arbitration court by the International ICC's Israeli and Palestinian representatives in a consensus to mediate business-related disputes between the two parties.
Palestine's ICC Head Munip El Masri said the initiative will have a positive effect on relations between the two countries, while Israel ICC Head Oren Shachor said that he believes the Arbitration Court will serve as bridge for the peace process.
Throughout the two-day contacts, it was clear that the business leaders on both sides had substantial confidence in Hisarc?kl?oglu.
The meeting had already been scheduled but gained heightened significance in the wake of Israel's apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident. The beginning of the normalization process of relations between the two countries was said to have delighted businesspeople. Turkey, represented by TOBB chairman Hisarc?kl?oglu and his team, had been putting in considerable efforts to encourage businesspeople on both sides to act together and it is apparent that these efforts and close contacts have yielded a renewed trust. Recovering relations between Turkey and Israel means new business opportunities for both parties' business representatives.
Hisarc?kl?oglu's former deputy chairmanship of the ICC board played a great role in the Israeli and Palestinian ICC representatives' decision to select him as the co-chair of the JAC.
Hisarc?kl?oglu has particularly emphasized the contribution of businesspeople to the peace process through their activities.
"Israeli and Palestinian politicians should enable free circulation of goods and people as it is the key to a business-friendly environment". Hisarc?kl?oglu said during the ceremony where he officially accepted a position as co-chair of the Jerusalem Arbitration Center (JAC).
He praised the recent elimination of quotas and customs taxes between sides. TOBB head said, however, politicians should take a further step and enable the free mobility of goods and people, as free circulation is the key to business.
 Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a mutual cooperation dealTurkish daily Today's Zaman (28.03.13) reported that the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia convened in the Georgian port city of Batumi on Thursday for a tripartite meeting to discuss bilateral ties and regional cooperation.
Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu, Azerbaijan's Elmar Mammadyarov and Georgia's Maia Panjikidze signed a cooperation deal to enhance existing mutual trust and cooperation at the end of the joint meeting. The agreement reportedly comprises the fields of economy, energy, environment, culture, education, sports and youth.
(?) The Ministers held a press conference following the trilateral meeting and described the agreement of cooperation.
Noting the outstanding relations between the three countries in the last 20 years, Davutoglu especially highlighted the importance of regional projects in transportation and energy, including a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, a Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and also a Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.
Davutoglu also noted that the strengthening of relations between the three countries will be a boost to the stability of the region. Commenting on the restoration of churches across Turkey, Davutoglu said that if there is any need, churches can be established for Christian Georgians living in his country. On the sidelines of his visit to Georgia, the Turkish Foreign Minister had a meeting with Illia II, the spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, in Tbilisi on Wednesday.
Speaking to the press, Panjikidze said Turkey and Azerbaijan are among Georgia's top economic partners in the region, adding that Tbilisi will do its utmost to deepen the cooperation among the three countries. Panjikidze also remarked on the trilateral mechanism as an indicator of the close partnership among the sides.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Mammadyarov also said that the cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia serves as a model for the region, and noted that traveling without a visa across the region was one of the issues discussed in the meeting.
The third trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers is expected to be held in Azerbaijan, in all likelihood in the second half of 2013.
 Turkey's Economy Minister called the EU either to revise the Customs Union or to totally cancel itTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.03.13) reported that Turkey has urged the European Union to restructure the terms of the current Customs Union, or cancel the Customs Union altogether and make a separate free trade deal with Turkey.
Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan told daily Hurriyet the following: "If this system aggrieves us then we tell the European Union: Let's revise this system, lift the visas, lift the quotas on our goods and say 'Turkey is also a side in this deal,' while making free trade deals with other countries. Or we could leave the Customs Union and you could make a free trade deal with us".
The Minister was expressing his concerns over the damage that the EU's free trade deals with other countries has on the Turkish economy, triggered by the possibility of the EU signing deals with the world's largest economies, the United States and Japan.
The U.S. and the EU launched moves on February 13 to open negotiations on a new free trade pact, while Japan and EU have reached a separate agreement to kick-off talks on a comprehensive cooperation, including the elimination of barriers and restrictions on trade.
The free trade agreement between the EU and third parties enables these other countries' goods to enter European markets or Turkish markets via Europe with zero duties, but the decision to provide the same privileges to Turkey is up to the discretion of the third party. Turkey is the only non-EU country included in the Customs Union.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama to encourage Washington to continue talks with Turkey for a free trade agreement simultaneously with the EU.
Gearing up its efforts to prevent the neglecting of Turkey in the process, the government and Turkish businessmen have been pressuring the United States to make a separate deal with Turkey, but Caglayan's recent remark indicates that Ankara also has another potential path to follow. "The Customs Union has begun to work completely against Turkey. Under these circumstances, to switch to a Free Trade Deal would be more in line with Turkey's interests," Caglayan said during a meeting of automotive industrialists on March 27.
"Since Turkey is the demanding side, the opposite party is asking for a number of compromises that put Turkey in a disadvantageous situation", the Minister said.
South Africa, Mexico and Algeria are all countries that have inked free trade deals with the European Union in the last 10 years.
In 2012, Turkey bought $1.3 billion worth of goods from South Africa, while selling only $382 million. It bought $867 million worth of products from Mexico during the same period, but sold $206 million. It exported $1.8 million worth of goods to Algeria while importing $2.6 billion, according to figures provided by Caglayan.
 Turkey to replace F-16s with local jets by 2023According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (29.03.13) Turkey's Defense Undersecretary said yesterday that Turkey eyes replacing F-16s with locally produced fighter jets by 2023.
"We're working on the conceptual design of a new fighter jet that will replace our F-16 fighters," Defense Industry Undersecretary Murad Bayar said yesterday on the sidelines of the two-day International Air&Space Power (ICAP) Conference being held in Istanbul.
Daily News reported that recently, Turkish arms manufacturer TAI has signed a technical assistance deal with Swedish Saab on technical assistance to build a fighter jet.
Turkish officials have been in talks with Saab (and with Korean Aerospace Industries) to find the best modality for the ambitious project of building its own fighter since 2010 and 2011. In August 2011, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, signed a deal with TAI to carry out the conceptual design work for fighter and jet trainer aircraft Turkey hopes to build.
In recent months a Turkish delegation, including SSM officials, visited Saab headquarters and production facilities in Sweden. And more recently, TAI and Saab penned a preliminary agreement for technical assistance which will pave the way for a subsequent support deal.
In yesterday's statements, Bayar said that the project of designing a local fighter began last year and after some trials one of the designs has matured.
After completing the design phase, the undersecretary will make an offer on developing a fighter to the Defense Industry Executive Committee, the highest defense procurement body of Turkey, which includes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Defense Minister Ismet Y?lmaz, Chief of the Turkish General Staff General Necdet Ozel, as well as Bayar himself.
Recalling that Turkey had been one of the partners in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) consortium that builds F-35 fighters, Bayar said the roles of the new model to be developed and the F-35 would be different. Therefore, new fighters will be configured as air-to-air planes and they will complement each other with F-35s.
Defense sources had told to Daily News that the program was exposed to the risk of a prolonged conceptual design and this would make the whole project "not very meaningful."
Meanwhile, asked about how Turkey's recently launched Gokturk-2 satellite would serve the Turkish Armed Forces, Bayar said that the satellite would provide intelligence to Turkey by taking photos of certain regions, which will be used in the operational plans of the army. "The first visuals have already arrived", he said.
In addition, he said Turkey also had ambitious plans to develop and upgrade its unmanned aircraft, ANKA.
"The new ANKA will be 4 tons, [the current model is 1.5 tons] and its carrying power, capabilities and sensors will be developed accordingly," Bayar said, stressing that this would be one of the most important projects of the upcoming period. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION