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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-04-22
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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. 76/13 20-22/4/13
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Russia not to 'risk' Turkey for CyprusTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 20.04.13) with the above title reports, inter alia, the following:
"Russia avoids putting its relations with Turkey at risk for energy projects off the cost of Cyprus, says Energy Minister Alexander Novak, noting that Russia never harms business principles.
Russia will not put its relations with Turkey at risk by getting involved in big energy companies' activities in oil and gas drilling off the coast of Greek Cyprus [Trans. Note: Republic of Cyprus], Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said.
'There are still unsolved issues about Cyprus' offshore and Russia takes notice of them,' said Novak during a press meeting after the 12th meeting of the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission in Antalya on April 20.
Russia has close cooperation with Turkey, Novak said. 'We would never think to harm business principles considering our friendly relations.' However, Novak said the Samsun-Ceyhan crude pipeline project was in an unclear state, noting that if the projects became fruitful, they could seek a new partner instead of former partner Italian Eni.
Turkey decided to suspend energy projects with Italian giant Eni in retaliation for the company's involvement in oil and gas drilling off the coast of Greek Cyprus [Trans. Note: Republic of Cyprus], Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said at the end of March.
Eni has a share in the Samsun-Ceyhan crude pipeline, which is slated to span Turkey from the Black Sea province of Samsun to the oil hub of Ceyhan in the south. Eni, Russia's Rosneft and Transneft and Turkey's Calik are all partners in the project.
Yildiz said that Turkey could consider cancelling the Samsun-Ceyhan deal, adding that they could find alternatives to the Samsun-Ceyhan deal if it was cancelled. Yildiz said Russia's Gazprom and Rosneft would not join in projects in Greek Cyprus [Trans. Note: Republic of Cyprus] due to the strategic cooperation agreement between Turkey and Russia.
Trade volume target not ambitious
The aim to reach a trade volume between Russia and Turkey worth of $100 billion is 'not that ambitious', Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak also said. (?)
The current trade volume between both countries is approximately $34 billion. 'It [$100 billion] means that we would have to triple our trade volume. If we look to the aspects of our trade the primary import materials are energy resources and metals, at around 87%', he said.
Novak emphasized that priority should be given to diversifying the traded goods. 'It is especially important to realize new project in sectors where mostly new technologies are used, such as automotives, the nautical industry, and the machinery sector. Logistical and transportation centres are of great importance in this matter,' Novak said.
For his part, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz stressed that the trade potential between the two countries was huge. 'There are nearly 500 Russian companies operating in Turkey, while Turkish construction companies have $50 billion worth of transactions in Russia,' Yildiz said. (?)"
 US asked Erdogan to delay Gaza tripUnder the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 21.04.13) reports that the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said today he told Turkey's Prime Minister during a meeting in Istanbul to delay his planned visit to Gaza because of the "critical timing," but added that it was Erdogan's decision to make or postpone the visit.
"We have expressed to [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] that we really think that [the visit] would be better delayed and shouldn't take place at this point for many different reasons. Of course the Prime Minister will make his own decision on that," Kerry told reporters in Istanbul, adding that the issue would be further discussed during Erdogan's upcoming trip to Washington.
Erdogan had been expected to visit Gaza this month but postponed it until he travels to Washington to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on May 16.
Kerry also said Israel and Palestinians should not be distracted during this critical peace process, citing the reasons why Erdogan should delay his planned visit top Gaza.
"But it is our feeling that ? the timing of that would be critical in respect to peace process that we are trying to get off the ground. We would like to see the parties begin with as little outside distraction as possible," Kerry said, adding that it would be more helpful for Erdogan to wait for the right circumstances for such a visit.
The Hamas rulers of Gaza slammed Kerry for urging the Turkish Prime Minister to delay his visit to the Palestinian territory, Agence France-Presse reported.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas - who met in Istanbul earlier in the day - of "collusion in a bid to maintain the [Israeli] blockade on Gaza."
"Hamas denounces the U.S. position calling for the cancellation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Gaza. This proves U.S. involvement in consecrating the Gaza blockade," Abu Zuhri said in a statement.
In addition, reporting on the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet (22.04.13) citing diplomatic sources, reports that Erdogan is not planning to change its schedule regarding Gaza. The paper, writes that the diplomatic source that spoke to Hurriyet said that Kerry issued the suggestion for postponing the trip to Gaza to Erdogan at a previous meeting held in April 7 and said that it would be wrong to be interpreted a reaction to the Turkish Prime Minister's visit to Gaza. Erdogan will contact the trip as it was planned, after a visit he will make on May 16 to USA.
 US Secretary Kerry urges Turkey to re-open Halki Seminary of IstanbulTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 21.04.13) reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkey today to re-open Orthodox clergy schools on Prince Islands near Istanbul that has been kept closed for more than 40 years.
"It is our hope that the Halki seminary will open," Kerry said during a press conference in Istanbul after two days of talks on the Syrian crisis and the Mideast peace process.
Kerry said he discussed religious freedom in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey and the possible re-opening of the theological schools in talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Kerry also met yesterday Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos. As the pressure on Ankara to re-open the seminary is rising, the Government also says it is also in favour of such a move.
 Turkey denies media report Israel seeking access to Turkish airbaseAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.04.013), a spokesperson with the Turkish Foreign Ministry denied Sunday a media report that Israel was set to offer Turkey weapons and military technology in return for access to an airbase near the Turkish capital for training.
"These reports have nothing to do with the reality. They are speculative and malicious," Levent Gumrukcu, the spokesperson, told the Anadolu Agency.
British daily 'the Times' has alleged that the Israeli delegation - expected to arrive in Turkey on Monday - headed by Yaakov Amidror, the cheif of Israel's National Security Council, would propose trading advanced missile defence systems including Arrow anti-ballistic missiles, and state-of-the-art surveillance technology in return to use for training Akinci Airbase, some 35km northwest of the Turkish capital, Ankara, for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
An 1996 agreement between Turkey and Israel allowed Israeli Air Forces to use the Akinci Airbase and Turkish Air Forces to use an Israeli airbase in the Negev Desert. The agreement, along with other military deals, was cancelled by Turkey after the Mavi Marmara incident.
 Eroglu reiterates Turkish side's stance on the guarantees and the settlers; He says economic growth is necessary for lasting solutionTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (22.04.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has visited the Turkish city of Adiyaman and addressed a meeting at the above-mentioned city's university. He claimed that reaching an agreement in the Cyprus problem would be an opportunity for the Greek Cypriots to be rescued from the economic crisis they are facing today. He alleged that if the Greek Cypriots were directed towards the solution in Cyprus, they would have had the support of "the sun of Anatolia", like the Turkish Cypriots.
Eroglu claimed also that the project of transferring water from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus is a "peace process" and their aim is for this water to be used for "preparing the cement of peace" on the island.
Eroglu referred to contacts he had held in Jeddah and Cairo and to the visit of investors from the Islamic world to the occupied area of Cyprus and expressed the hope that their efforts will give concrete results and their GDP will reach 25.000 US dollars in 2023. He alleged that the economic growth of the breakaway regime was necessary for reaching a lasting solution on the island.
Meanwhile, according to Gunes, in other statements Eroglu has alleged that no Greek Cypriot leader until today was thinking of signing an agreement on the Cyprus problem.
Moreover, Eroglu claimed that the reason for the statements by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) that the Cyprus problem should be solved derive from the "fact that they feel guilty". He accused the UN for the UN Security Council's resolution of 4 March 1964 on Cyprus and the EU for accepting the accession of Cyprus to the Union without a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Referring to the so-called embargoes allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots, Eroglu claimed that no Greek Cypriot leader intended to sign an agreement on the Cyprus problem and thought that they might destroy the Turkish Cypriots in time.
Eroglu reiterated the Turkish view that as long as open-ended negotiations and the presence of the UN Peace keeping Force in Cyprus continue, nothing could be achieved on the island. He argued that a road map should be determined in the negotiations. Eroglu claimed that launching negotiations without a road map would not be correct and added that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots' patience has come to the point of being exhausted.
Eroglu alleged that the Greek Cypriots have always wanted only to take at the negotiating table and that two "states" exist in Cyprus. He said that Turkey's active and effective guarantees constitute sine qua non for the Turkish side.
Referring to the illegal Turkish settlers who have been brought to Cyprus from Turkey after the 1974 invasion, Eroglu alleged: "No one has the right to comment on our citizens. There are persons who have come from Turkey's various areas and became TRNC citizens today. I have the right to grant citizenship".
 An interview by Ozgurgun to "BRT"According to illegal Bayrak television (20.04.13), the so-called minister of foreign affairs Huseyin Ozgurgun, in an exclusive interview to illegal Bayrak television, said that the European Union continued to disappoint the Turkish Cypriots. He added that the Turkish Cypriots were wasting time as the EU had no intention of understanding them.
Noting that everyone should support Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu at the negotiating table, Ozgurgun claimed that Eroglu had to this day adopted a positive and constructive approach at the talks.
Ozgurgun alleged that they did not see the Greek Cypriot side willing towards reaching a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
"Our proposals regarding natural gas, property?they're all on the table. We've even told them (Greek Cypriots) that we could accept cross voting under certain conditions. What more can we do", he said.
Asked to comment on Turkish Foreign Minister's earlier statements that either a solution will be reached or the island will be divided permanently, Ozgurgun said that the Turkish Foreign Minister's statements had been distorted. He said: "He didn't say such a thing. Naturally if a settlement can't be reached there are two states on the island".
Reminding that he will be meeting with the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor Alexander Downer on the 26th of April, Ozgurgun said that they will continue to focus on the Cyprus problem even in the absence of a settlement.
Ozgurgun also complained that his "ministry" was experiencing budget problems despite the fact that there were currently 22 "foreign representation offices" in operation. He added that the breakaway regime was currently looking into ways of raising the budget of the so-called foreign ministry.
 Yorgancioglu describes as "important step forward" the developments for Turkish Cypriots' participation in the EP as observersTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (22.04.13) reports that Ozkan Yorgancioglu, chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has said that an "important, without return, step forward" had been taken on the issue of the Turkish Cypriots being invited to participate in the works of the European Parliament (EP) as observers.
In a written statement issued yesterday, Yorgancioglu assessed as important and positive step the initiative by four groups at the EP in the direction of inviting "the elected representatives of the Turkish Cypriots to the EP". He called on the self-styled government to be more serious from now on so that their benefits not to be lost.
Yorgancioglu alleged that in spite of the fact that some "unacceptable" elements exist in Turkey's progress report, some partial improvements proved that successes could be achieved by working with patient and by not losing the EU vision.
Yorgancioglu argued that the representation of the Turkish Cypriots at the EP has come to a point of no return, thanks to the decision of the Socialist Group to take the issue to the Presidential Council and the support offered to this decision by the groups of the Greens and the Liberals.
Yorgancioglu said that as a result of the self-sacrificing efforts exerted by the "parliamentary delegation" and the employees at the "units" responsible for the EU affairs, expressions that were putting preconditions such as the return of occupied fenced city of Varosha for the opening of occupied Famagusta port were abolished from Turkey's progress report. He described as positive and new development the call to the Cyprus government to give the opportunity for the opening of this port and for the Turkish Cypriots conducting direct trade with the EU.
Yorgancioglu said that the CTP will continue working in the Social-Democrat Group, to which it belongs, and in other groups with which it has good relations in order to achieve positive developments for their "people" and for the entire Cyprus being able to benefit from its position in the EU.
 Ozgurgun: Turkey's EU Progress Report unjust and biasedTurkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (21.04.13) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime Huseyin Ozgurgun, commented on the EU Progress Report for 2012 for Turkey and alleged that the parts related to Cyprus "are unjust and biased".
Ozgurgun who described the EU term Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus as "unsuccessful", alleged that every year Turkey receives unjust criticism and claimed that evaluations regarding the Cyprus problem are in favor of the Greek Cypriots stance.
He also claimed that the problem is approached biased and added that the Cyprus problem is between the two sides of the island and not between the Greek Cypriot side and Turkey.
 TDP says the wry situation will definitely change and solution to the Cyprus problem is nearTurkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (22.04.13) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), has said that while very important developments such as the so-called peace process in Turkey, the improvement of the relations between Turkey and Israel and the developments in the Middle East happen, the "wry system" which exists for many years in Cyprus will definitely change. In an article and a statement published in the paper, Cakici argued that "while big changes are happening in the world and in Turkey, efforts are being exerted for the Turkish Cypriots to be administrated with haphazard policies and to be prevented from preparing for the new future".
Cakici argued that because of its strategic importance, and its wealthy oil and natural gas reserves, Cyprus "is on the top of the places for which the calculations of the globalization strategies are conducted". "After the Arab Spring and the spring in Turkey, the turn of the spring in Cyprus will come", he claimed.
Cakici expressed the view that while such important developments are happening in Turkey and the Middle East, Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu and the National Unity Party (UBP) self-styled government, are still trying to pursue policies by continuing the conflicts they had during the congress of their party.
He argued that important developments in Cyprus will happen soon and that the Turkish side should be prepared for them. He said that those who want the current system to continue will be disappointed.
Meanwhile, in statements to daily Star Kibris newspaper (22.04.13), Huseyin Angolemli, "MP" with the TDP, said that because of the peace process between Turkey and Israel, "Cyprus could come onto the agenda with different issues". Under the title "Solution is close", the paper writes that Angolemli argued that the process between Turkey and Israel and the economic problems in the Republic of Cyprus should be assessed as a whole and predicted that "a solution in Cyprus is close". He expressed the view that the best solution would be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
Angolemli said that the big companies, which conduct explorations as regards hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean, come from the USA and other powerful countries and therefore these states should have confidence in the area. "An area with problems is not appropriate for these companies. Therefore, peace should be secured in the area and climate of confidence should be established", he noted.
 Two "deputies" will attend PACE spring session meetingsAccording to illegal Bayrak television (20.04.13), the occupation regime is to be represented at the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly spring session that it to be held in Strasbourg, France between the 22-26th of April. The so-called MP Ahmet Eti from the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) and so-called MP Mehmet Caglar from the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) will be representing the so-called TRNC assembly at the meetings.
 "Turkish Cypriots after a state of their own"Under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 21.04.13) publishes, inter alia, the following feature that the Turkish Cypriots want a state of their own:
"At a time when the TRNC [Trans. Note: the breakaway regime in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus] and the Turkish government have increased efforts for the 'TRNC' to gain international recognition, the man on the street in Turkish Cyprus [Trans. Note: the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] seems overwhelmingly likely to opt for a state of his own.
'I don't think the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides will be able to reach an agreement. We don't want to live together with Greek Cypriots, either,' Refet Tahir Ulusoglu said. Ulusoglu, an 87-year-old Turkish Cypriot who was born and bred in Cyprus, runs a tea garden in Girne [Trans. Note: occupied town of Kyrenia] . 'Greek Cypriots haven't done anything good for me so far,' he told Sunday's Zaman.
When talking to people on the street in 'Turkish Cyprus', you can immediately see they don't trust Greek Cypriots. Even if the two sides should be able to reach an agreement for the reunification of the island, they feel an agreement wouldn't be lasting. (?)
'Even if peace is achieved [at first], problems may well arise after that,' A.K., a university student living in Lefkosa [Trans. Note: occupied part of Lefkosia], commented to Sunday's Zaman, revealing that neither she nor people around her trust Greek Cypriots. Born and raised in 'Turkish Cyprus', A.K. thinks that 'the TRNC should make more efforts to be internationally recognized'. A Girne tour guide in her late 40s speaking to Sunday's Zaman on condition of anonymity also drew attention to the lack of trust toward Greek Cypriots, 'Even if a consensus should be reached now between the two sides, some 10 years later problems would crop up again'.
Walking through the streets or sitting at a caf? in 'Turkish Cyprus' last week, I randomly asked seven people about their expectations of how Turkey and the 'TRNC' should proceed from now on. All those surveyed told me, as if they had formerly agreed to tell the same story, that the 'TRNC' should boost efforts for statehood. Those surveyed were clearly exasperated by the unending negotiations process which has led to nowhere up until now. Most also accused the Greek Cypriots of asking for everything, while denying Turkish Cypriots their rights.
Turkish Cypriots are frustrated by the decades of unfruitful negotiations between the Turkish and Greek sides to reunify the divided island. 'Greek Cypriots don't want peace; they don't want the embargo', said K.A., a 40-year-old Turkish Cypriot who runs a supermarket in 'Lefkosia', He noted that the steps formerly taken by the 'TRNC' to achieve peace didn't get any positive response from the Greek Cypriots. 'Turkish Cypriots are also ready to conclude a peace agreement, but on an equal basis,' he stated.
At the end of March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (?) said: 'If they say, "The south belongs to us and the north belongs to [Turkish Cyprus]," then they should talk about a two-state solution for the problem," said Davutoglu.
The 1st Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) University Sports Games, (?) is a clear message to the Greek Cypriots that a two-state solution is also on the table for the Turkish side.
'We are pleased with observer status at the ECO, but our aim is to achieve full membership,' Dervis Eroglu said at the ceremony. (?)
Last year, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed a request by the 'TRNC', which has observer status at the organization, to open a permanent OIC representative office at its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At the beginning of the month, Eroglu paid a visit to Saudi Arabia and got together with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Turkish OIC secretary-general, to speed up the process of opening the 'TRNC's representative office' at the OIC. (?)"
 Russia says oil pipeline via Turkey not financially viableTurkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 21.04.13), with the above title, reports the following:
"The planned Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline, to pump Russian oil from Turkey's Black Sea coast to the Mediterranean, is 'economically not viable', Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Today's Zaman over the weekend in the strongest acknowledgement yet from Moscow that the project will be delayed indefinitely.
Introduced in September 2005 as a joint project between Turkey's Calik Holding and Italy's Eni, the 1 billion euro oil pipeline project attracted the attention of Russian energy investors Rosneft and Transneft. The two sought to gain stakes of as much as 25% each in the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline. Ankara and Moscow both welcomed the proposed route, with the former hoping the pipeline would reduce tanker traffic through the environmentally sensitive Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits and the latter seeking new routes to world markets. Turkey sees over 100 million tons of petroleum products pass through its two straits -- the only maritime outlet for Russian crude -- each year.
Following the early euphoria, however, were growing concerns on the Russian side that the proposed shipment tariffs for Samsun-Ceyhan oil were less attractive than the fees imposed for oil transported via the Bosporus Strait, where accidents are a concern due to congested oil tanker traffic.
The project is now on shaky ground.
'It depends on whether this project will be competitive enough to survive. ? However, it does not seem so at the time being,' Novak said. Further revealing Moscow's waning interest in the pipeline, Novak said that pumping Russian oil to world markets via Turkey's Black Sea coast to the Mediterranean would be as much as 40% more expensive than sending the oil via the Bosporus. 'We need a technical feasibility report to prove this is favourable enough for us to go further,' Novak explained as his Government's stance. He added that the 'companies who have brought the project to the table will need to make sure the project is financially attractive.'
Back in December, Novak said Russian parties offered to pay $55 per ton of crude to flow through the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline; however, Ankara insisted the price be set at $77. 'This $22 difference is what blocks the talks,' he told a meeting in Moscow in December. The Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline is designed to have an annual crude transfer capacity of 50 million tons. If Russia were to provide the entire capacity of crude, this would mean Russian firms would have to pay Turkey $1 billion more than they expect given the price difference. Moscow, in this case, would need to guarantee additional supplies from eastern neighbours to feed the pipeline.
'If it is profitable enough for the investors, we would love to see it built; otherwise, there is no meaning in insisting. ? This is not the end of the world,' the Russian Minister said on Saturday in Antalya.
Yildiz: New firm could replace Eni on Samsun-Ceyhan project
Novak is not the first to voice the idea of possibly scrapping the project; Transneft earlier raised concerns over the viability of the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline, saying the proposed Trans-Balkan Pipeline from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis is a more attractive project. This project was, however, scrapped by the Bulgarian government due to environmental and supply concerns in December 2011.
Another problem crippling the project is Ankara's recent ban of Italian firm Eni from projects in Turkey due to the company's involvement in energy exploration in Greek Cyprus [Trans. Note: Republic of Cyprus], a Government Turkey refuses to recognize.
Also evaluating the developments, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Today's Zaman in Antalya on Saturday, that Ankara is open to a new company to replace Eni on the project. 'We asked them to make a decision and they preferred to go ahead with their Cyprus plans,' he said."
 Fifty off-shores banks ended their activities in the breakaway regimeTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.04.13) reports that 50 off-shores banks ended their activities in the breakaway regime during the last eleven years.
The paper writes that according to data by the "central bank" and the self-styled financial ministry, between 2001 and 2012, fisty banks which were activated in the breakaway regime stop operating either because they faced Trade registry problems or their licenses were cancelled.
 The breakaway regime distributed plots at Ardana villageTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (20.04.13) reports that the self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk distributed building plots at occupied Ardana village to 74 young persons.
The distribution, which took place in a ceremony where "officials" of the breakaway regime attended, is part of a project aiming to offer building plots to two thousand youngers, according to Kucuk.
 Historic and religious buildings in occupied Famagusta are falling offTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.04.13) reports that cultural, religious and historic buildings which are of a great world value in occupied Famagusta are falling off because of the lack of interest by the breakaway regime, according to the spokesman of the "Famagusta Initiate" Dr Okan Dagli.
In statements to Kibris, Dr Dagli said that because of the way they are built and the climate in occupied Famagusta, many buildings need special care but they do not receive it by the "officials".
 KRG Turkey's natural extension, says Turkish deputy PMTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 22.04.13) reports that Northern Iraq has become an "economically natural extension of Turkey," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan has said.
Turkey's investments in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) region, the trade figures between the two sides, and energy projects between Ankara and Arbil, all contribute to the growing links, Anatolia news agency quoted Babacan as saying, after an International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) meeting held in Washington between April 18 and 20.
He also claimed that Turkey had avoided distancing itself too much from the Iraqi central government in Baghdad, noting that Turkey had a clear policy that respected Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity. Turkey does not want to see Arbil and Baghdad drift apart, Babacan said, stressing that Baghdad should follow a "uniting policy" of close ties with the KRG.
Turkish firms' investments in the region currently reach more than $700 million, the Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said at the beginning of this year. Exports to Iraq were worth around $11 billion last year. In addition, the government is continuing to encourage Turkish energy companies to sign more agreements with the KRG for the region's rich oil and gas reserves. A leading Turkish energy company, Genel Energy, is particularly active in the region.
 Turkey to sign 6 agreements with Kuwait and MoU with ChinaAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.04.13), Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, speaking at the signature ceremony of the Turkey-Kuwait 9th Term Joint Memorandum of Understanding on Friday, said that Turkey and Kuwait agreed to raise their bilateral trade volume to $1 billion by 2016. "As two Ministers, we will provide the necessary support needed for this purpose,"Simsek added.
"We decided to sign six agreements with Kuwait on maritime, cooperation between small and medium scale businesses, cooperation in youths and sports fields, cooperation in education and science, cooperation between free zones and in preservation of environment and natural sources," Simsek also said.
Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas al-Khalid al-Salih, in his part, said that the meeting they held would promote cooperation between Turkey and Kuwait. Turkey has become the most favourite holiday destination of Arab tourists, al-Salih also said.
[A] A. also reports that Turkish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Animal Breeding Mehdi Eker, during a gathering with journalists at the Turkish Embassy in Beijing on Friday, said that he has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in regards to food safety with Zhi Shuping, Minister of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision.Eker stated that signing this memorandum of understanding was very important for Turkey's export of agricultural raw materials and food industrial commodities to China. Mentioning that food products from Turkey couldn't directly enter the Chinese market, Eker stated that the memorandum of understanding paved the way.
"We aim to accelerate the work in this field. We have the potential to multiply Turkey's agricultural product exports to China worth $70 million currently," Eker said, adding that they have signed an agreement in regards to plant health and invited Zhi Shuping and the related personnel to Turkey.
 Countdown to start for two new Turkish satellitesTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 22.04.13) with the above title, reports that the Turksat 4A and Turksat 4B satellites, which have been built jointly by Turkish and Japanese engineers, are about to be completed, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim has said.
"98.8% of Turksat 4A and 89% of Turksat 4B is finished. After their tests are completed, we will send Turksat 4A to space at the end of this year and Turksat 4B in the first quarter of 2014," Yildirim said.
"With Turksat 4A, also the African continent will be covered by our satellites. With this satellite, we will be able to cover the entire continent", Yildirim said.
Turksat 4B is also being assembled alongside 4A, and will host 43 channels when finally operational. Turksat 4B will be orbiting at 50 degrees east and, like Turksat 4A, will cover North Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
It will also offer internet services, and will be able to provide cheap broadband Internet to those regions in Turkey where the internet is not available through the current terrestrial infrastructure, as well as to some neighbouring countries. With the launching of the two satellites, Turkey's satellite capacity will increase to three times the present one.
 Israeli, Turkish delegations start talks on compensation for killing of 9 TurksAccording to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 22.04.13), an Israeli delegation arrived in Turkey today for talks with Turkish officials concerning the compensation to be paid to the families of victims of an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in 2010.
A plane carrying the delegation landed at Ankara Esenboga Airport in the morning then the team moved to Foreign Ministry building to meet Turkish officials, led by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu. The Israeli team is expected to be headed by Yaakov Amidror, the Prime Minister's National Security Advisor, and the Premier's Special Envoy Joseph Ciechanover. The meeting is closed to the press. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION