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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-10-16
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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. 196/13 16.10.13
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Turks calculated that they will buy all occupied Greek Cypriot properties in 96 yearsUnder the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (16.10.13) reports that the sum of 138 million 593 thousand and 591 pound sterling has been paid as compensation until today to Greek Cypriots, who had been forced to abandon their property in the occupied northern part of Cyprus due to the Turkish invasion in 1974 and afterwards applied to the so-called Immovable Property Commission established by Turkey.
The paper publishes an interview with Gungor Gunkan, chairman of the above-mentioned Commission, who said that at the moment they have around 5.400 applications before them and added that the number of the applications is continuously increasing.
In statements to GAZETE360 online news portal, Gunkan noted that as of 9 October, the number of the applications in the Commission is 5387. According to Gunkan, only 569 out of the above-mentioned applications have been solved. He said that 671 applications which have not been examined yet, concern properties in the occupied closed city of Varosha. He noted that they are telling those who apply for their occupied property in Varosha that the situation and the status of this city is part of the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem and that the Commission would act having this as starting point.
Gunkan said that in the beginning, the "normal property owners" had been visiting the Commission, but now they are passing away and their inheritors started coming. He noted that the young and middle aged people are saying that they do not even know where their property is and that they only want to take their money and go away.
When asked whether these properties are becoming Turkish properties and whether they will be mentioned as Greek properties in the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Gunkan replied: "They are becoming Turkish. That is, this means that in a possible solution this will not be mentioned as Greek land. I believe that we, this commission, will have great influence here on the issue of territory and property. According to a proportional calculation we have made, I am saying it as plain logic, if things go the way they are, we found that we will finish this job in 96 years. However, this is an enormous financial burden. Certainly, it cannot continue like this. I hope that the Cyprus problem will be solved with a political solution".
Replying to another question, Gunkan said that all the properties in the occupied area of Cyprus, including the military zones, are under the responsibility of the so-called Immovable Property Commission and added that the army informs the commission about his views concerning properties in military zones, but because most of the cases concern compensation of Greek Cypriot property that is located in military zones, the problem cease to exist when the Greek Cypriot properties are purchased by the Commission .
Gunkan said that from time to time they have been hearing allegations that gangs are securing profit over the "land which has become Turkish", but this does not concern the Commission. "The rest is an issue of the ministry of interior and the housing", he argued, adding that the Commission's job is to produce solutions for people who have complaints.
 Crowded mosques for Feast of Sacrifice prayers in occupied CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (16.10.13) reports that the mosques in occupied Cyprus were over crowded for the prayers of the Kurban Bayram (Feast of Sacrifice).
According to Kibris, the people who wanted to pray for the feast were so many, that they prayed in the mosques' yards. It also publishes pictures of the persons praying.
In addition, Kibris writes that despite the warnings issued by the "veterinary department", the animals which were used for the sacrifice custom were not butchered according to hygienic rules but were butchered at the people's houses and in middle of the streets.
 Cleric asks for Hagia Sophia to be used as a mosqueTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 16.10.13) reported that the chief cleric of Istanbul's historical Sultanahmet Mosque requested the transformation of the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque during Eid prayers on Oct. 15, saying that his own mosque was becoming increasingly crowded.
"Sultanahmet Mosque overflowed with people today, but Hagia Sophia was deprived from the community. Hagia Sophia should be allowed to operate as a mosque. I hereby voice our request [to the government] on behalf of you," said Mustafa Akgul to those gathered.
"[Democracy] Packages are being announced and our brothers are voicing their demands via them," Akgul added, referring to the democratization package unveiled by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sept. 30.
The sermon came after the Eid prayer led by the Deputy of Religious Affairs Director Hasan Kamil Y?lmaz.
The status of Hagia Sophia has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, with a number of campaigns to open it for Muslim prayers being initiated, despite claims that this would be disrespectful to the building's past as a church.
 Davutoglu spoke to US and French counterpart about SyrianAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.10.13), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he spoke to US and French counterparts on phone about preparations for a planned international peace conference on Syria, as well as latest developments in the country.
Speaking at an Eid celebration in the central province of Konya, Davutoglu said he once again told US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that the international community should fulfil its responsibility as soon as possible. He added his diplomacy would accelerate in the days following the Eid.
Asked about the date for the conference, dubbed as the Geneva II, was not determined yet, adding efforts continued to hold it in November. Davutoglu also said that it was distressing to see attacks continue in Syria despite the Eid.
About the abducted Turkish pilots in Lebanon, Davutoglu said Monday he expressed his sorrow to Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on phone that the pilots are away from home during the Eid.
He also emphasized that they were continuously putting effort for the pilots to arrive home safely and that they were in continuous contact with Lebanese authorities.
Two Turkish Airlines pilots, who were abducted since August 9 in Lebanon, appeared Monday on Lebanese TV channel in good health.
 Arinc: military service to be reduced next monthAccording to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 15.10.13), Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has announced that the legislation reducing the duration of compulsory military service from 15 to 12 months, will be introduced next month.
"Preliminary studies on this issue have been conducted for a while. I think it will be legislated within the next month. Starting from next month, privates who served for at least 12 months will be immediately released. New conscripts will serve for 12 months accordingly," Arinc told reporters on Oct. 15.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed on Oct. 4 that a study was going on the issue of shortening military service.
The General Staff announced the following day an agreement had been reached with the government to shorten the compulsory military service of male citizens from 15 to 12 months, adding the duration of the short term military service - to which university students can apply - would remain six months. If the plan is enacted before the start of the new year, nearly 280,000 soldiers of the 379,352 who are currently serving in the army will benefit from an early discharge, according to the new regulation.
Around 40,000 soldiers, who have completed 12 months of military service, will be discharged as soon as the legislation is approved by Parliament and published in the Official Gazette.
In 2012, the General Staff began to implement a new system to fight against terrorism by forming and assigning special teams of professional soldiers to conflict areas. A 50,000-place capacity was created for the post, however only 1,500 professional border troops were appointed due to the low level of applications.
"Professional army" members were offered a monthly salary of 3,100 Turkish Liras and an additional 7,000 liras of compensation for every year they serve in the military.
Refusing the obligatory military service due to conscientious objection is illegal in Turkey and punishable with imprisonment by law. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION