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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-10-17

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. 199/16 15-17.10.2016

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Akinci optimist about the Cyprus negotiations: "Progress made after every meeting"
  • [02] Akinci stated that they discussed three topics during Friday's meeting
  • [03] Cypriot leaders agree on equal armed forces on Sunday's meeting
  • [04] Akinci met with Solution and Peace Platform
  • [05] Arabacioglu: The Cyprus settlement should become an EU primary law
  • [06] Ozersay: The territorial adjustments should not be discussed without ensuring first the five-party meeting
  • [07] Atun claims that natural gas and oil exists in the occupied area of Cyprus' sea
  • [08] Erhurman alleges that a timetable came out from the tripartite meeting in New York and that Turkey is the only security for the Turkish Cypriots
  • [09] Sinirlioglu on the Cyprus problem
  • [10] Bass: "Energy cooperation is an essential issue for the solution of the Cyprus problem as well"
  • [11] "Is an Israel-Cyprus-Turkey pipeline possible?"
  • [12] Denktas alleges that the "opposition" filed "lawsuit" against "new citizenships" to satisfy the Greek Cypriots
  • [13] A protest at Zodia crossing point: "We won't give Morphou"
  • [14] The occupation regime's "government" is reportedly preventing a study by the IMF and the World Bank on the "TRNC's bank sector"
  • [15] Erdogan: "Turkey will not let terror groups into Mosul"
  • [16] Some 1,500 Turkey-trained Iraqi forces taking part in Mosul operation: Sources
  • [17] Turkish Chief of Staff meets US counterpart in Washington to discuss Iraq, Syria
  • [18] Kilicdaroglu: "Turkey not in Mosul operation due to foreign policy mistakes"
  • [19] Yildirim on presidential system, investments, meeting Medvedev and ties with Britain after Brexit

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Akinci optimist about the Cyprus negotiations: "Progress made after every meeting"

    Illegal Bayrak television (17.10.16) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci stated after the meeting he held with President Nicos Anastasiades in the framework of Cyprus negotiations that they discussed issues that had been previously agreed upon. He said that during every meeting they were able to make further progress and therefore they were optimistic regarding the developments.

    He said that they were sometimes meeting up to 4 times in a week so they wanted to assess what issues had been agreed upon, what remained and where differences continue.

    Akinci said that although they have yet to discuss 2 main chapters, they had discussed and made progress on 4 chapters and therefore they were optimistic about the chapters to be taken up.

    He said that three more meetings remained for this month these being on the 24th, 26th and 31st of October and if need be a few meetings will be held at the beginning of November.

    Akinci said that the issue of territory could be taken up in a third country that is neutral but that efforts towards this issue are still continuing.

    He added that they would continue with the intensified process in order to reach the aim they had set for the end of 2016.

    "Although some differences remain we don't want the future generation to live with the problems we had, we want them to have a different peaceful future" said Akinci.

    [02] Akinci stated that they discussed three topics during Friday's meeting

    Illegal Bayrak (15.10.16) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci stated that they discussed three topics with President Nikos Anastasiades during the meeting they held on Friday, on the framework of the Cyprus negotiations,

    "The federal police issue was one of the important topics discussed today. We discussed matters of policing in a federal state. As you are aware there will be a joint federal police force. Under the federal police a joint investigation committee and a joint research committee and similar formations will be created. This is what we discussed" said Akinci.

    "Similar committees and institutions will be jointly formed in the federation and regulatory bodies will be established. Some of these will be formed within the framework of the permission granted by the federal authority and some will be formed by the founding states" said Akinci and added that they also discussed the joint EU committee to be formed and the need for its efficient operation

    He said that apart from some details they had reached some agreements and added that they also exchanged views on related issues. "Although some differences remain, it is possible to say that we have bridged the gap on many issues" said Akinci.

    He said there is no need to hide anything as some differences do remain and from time to time difficulties are experienced.

    "The Greek Cypriot side must interiorize the federal mentality. We can see from time to time that the Greek Cypriot side finds it difficult to acknowledge that we are establishing a federal state. This is not always the case but emerges from time to time. We must overcome this in order to speed up the process", the Turkish Cypriot leader claimed.

    [03] Cypriot leaders agree on equal armed forces on Sunday's meeting

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.10.16) reports that citizenship issues, including legal residence, property right, basic freedoms, and right to vote top Sunday's agenda between the two leaders in Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci and Nicos Anastasiades.

    They have agreed over the number of armed forces on both sides, according to Akinci.

    In remarks made following his face-to-face talks with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades Akinci said: "We have come to an agreement that there should be an equal number of armed security units and federal investigation units".

    "We had already accepted that the number of the desk officers would be 60-40%", he stated.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader said citizenship issues, including legal residence, property rights, basic freedoms, and the right to vote were the main agenda items on Sunday.

    "We confirmed once again the reconciliation that we had agreed on before, about 'the right of legal residence which will be 20% of the number of citizens in the Turkish Cypriot constituent state'," Akinci added.

    He said the property right was a reconciled agenda item during meetings. "The agreement on this issue has become a mutual understanding. Implementation of this mutual understanding has no concern for us anymore in terms of bi-zones, which has become more of an issue in terms of right to vote in a referendum," he said.

    Asked about the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' comment that "a solution with the permanent presence of Turkish troops on the island is not a solution", Akinci said: "The number of the troops after the solution will not be the same. Reducing the number of the troops is one of the results of the solution.

    "Viewing this issue from this perspective will contribute to the solution, but it's not possible to reach a solution if you say 'zero army, zero security, zero guarantees'", Akinci stated.

    [04] Akinci met with Solution and Peace Platform

    Illegal Bayrak (15.10.16) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with a delegation from the newly established Solution and Peace Platform that is made up of 33 civil society organizations that support a peaceful solution on the island.

    During the visit Akinci thanked the societies for forming such a platform and expressed the hope that a similar platform will be established in the south of the island.

    Referring to the Cyprus solution process he said that they had entered an intensified phase and added that it was their aim to achieve two yes in the event a referendum is held on the Cyprus problem.

    Noting that unlike the Annan Plan period they did not have a prepared plan in front of them, Akinci said that everyone is working to prepare the two sides for an agreement. "We are trying to prepare a Cypriot plan and it's not easy. To find a plan that both sides approve of is not an easy task" said Akinci.

    Speaking on behalf of the platform Okan Dagli said that they fully support the Cyprus negotiations process and will work towards achieving a yes vote in the event a referendum is to be held on the plan to emerge at the talks.

    [05] Arabacioglu: The Cyprus settlement should become an EU primary law

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (17.10.16) reports that Mustafa Arabacioglu, self-styled deputy with the Democratic Party (DP), argued that in case the agreement reached does not become EU primary law, then it will include many risks, adding that they are trying to explain very well how after a possible agreement the bizonality and bicommunality may be "slacken".

    Commenting to the paper on the Cyprus talks, Arabacioglu alleged that the issue that the Greek Cypriot side will not be able to touch is Turkey's active and effective guarantee. He further said that because it is an international agreement, the Greek Cypriots insistently do not want Turkey's guarantees.

    Arabacioglu further claimed that if there is an intention for a Cyprus settlement, then they should not avoid a timetable. He also alleged that "while the Greek Cypriot side says that they want solution, they want to spread their sovereignty to the north. Their biggest aim is to spread their sovereignty in the whole island".

    Arabacioglu also said that one of the factors that influence the bizonality is the property issue. He added that 20% of the Greek Cypriots, meaning around to forty thousands, will have the right to settle in the "north". Then those people will have the right to use their right of vote at the European Parliament and at the local administration, so at the end they will have the right to be citizens. He concluded by saying: "These are very important issues".

    (DPs)

    [06] Ozersay: The territorial adjustments should not be discussed without ensuring first the five-party meeting

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (17.10.16), Kudret Ozersay, leader of the People's Party (HP) and former Turkish Cypriot negotiator, said that it is not correct the territorial adjustments to be discussed without ensuring first the five-party meeting. He added that in order the negotiations on the territory issue to begin, the Greek Cypriot side should have promised openly first that it would participate in a meeting with the guarantor countries. Ozersay argued that the commencement of discussing the territory issue without finalizing first the five-party meeting may cause serious troubles to the Turkish Cypriots.

    In a press release issued yesterday, Ozersay said that he is in contact with the "citizens" from the four corners of the "country", adding that the "citizens" are worrying on the one hand from the practices of the "government", which are turned into personal benefits and on the other hand about the messages regarding the territory issue at the negotiations.

    (DPs)

    [07] Atun claims that natural gas and oil exists in the occupied area of Cyprus' sea

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.10.16) reported that Sunat Atun, self-styled economy and energy minister in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that the natural gas discovered in the area will be extracted and exported regardless of the solution to the Cyprus problem. In statements during the "Second Business Forum" between the breakaway regime and Kyrgyzstan held in the occupied part of Nicosia, Atun claimed that natural gas and oil exist in the "TRNC's" seas as well.

    Noting that their exports had been 90 million Turkish liras in 2009, increased to 250 million TL today and the target is to reach 500 million TL in 2023, Atun referred to the energy issue and argued: "Either agreement is reached in Cyprus, or there is no agreement, the gas will be extracted from this area and be transported. Either we will participate in the energy equation proactively, willingly, desirously and believing in ourselves, or we will be looking from behind the train which will be going away. We as government of this period have chosen to proactively participate. [?]"

    Pointing out that "south Cyprus", as he described the Republic of Cyprus, has made agreements on the natural gas issue, Atun alleged:

    "In the same manner, oil and natural gas exist in our seas as well. Of course the days will come when drillings will be conducted and these will be commercially exploited. The south Cyprus administration will either equally accept the Turkish Cypriot existence, sign the solution and we will transfer the natural gas through Turkey with a pipeline which we will build together, or they will remain behind and they will need this route in which we are also included. The pipeline will be built. It will pass through the waters of the TRNC. And the TRNC will also have a say in this".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.10.16) reported that during the forum the "Kyrgyzstan Sovereignty Association" and the "Turkish Cypriot businessmen Association" signed a "protocol" providing for developing the commercial, educational and cultural cooperation between the two "countries".

    Addressing the forum, Dastanbek Djumabekov, chairman of friendship group with the "TRNC" at the Kyrgyz parliament, said that they faced a lot of obstacles during the organization of the meeting and alleged that "the cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the TRNC will be something else, because we are brothers".

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Erhurman alleges that a timetable came out from the tripartite meeting in New York and that Turkey is the only security for the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.10.16) reported that Tufan Erhurman, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the only candidate for CTP's presidency during the forthcoming congress, has argued that a real timetable came up after the recent tripartite meeting of the community leaders with the UNSG in New York and this is the solution of the Cyprus problem by the end of this year.

    In exclusive statements to Kibris TV, Erhurman referred to the guarantees and claimed: "The position of the Turkish side as regards the guarantees is clear. It is not possible for it to change. The Turkish side says that the only way for us to feel secure is the continuation of Turkey's authority on the issue of guarantees".

    Noting that Akinci carries out the negotiation as community leader, Erhurman argued:

    "[?] Akinci has to know and define the expectations of the community taking into account the result of the referendum. A midway must be found. Mr President and Turkey have taken an extremely advanced step for finding a formula on the issue of guarantees. It is the first time that such a serous step was taken. If the people want to feel secure, the Greek Cypriot administration has to see this. The Greek Cypriots should take a new step. The Turkish Cypriots want the safety of their life and property to be secured by Turkey. Initiative and mutual discussions should be carried out for bringing this de facto situation into a legal situation. We need to talk on this. It is wrong for the referendum to ignore the expectations of a big part of the community. If you are a person who believes in democracy, you cannot ignore this demand. Akinci's stance on this point is correct".

    Erhurman noted that the UN reports stress that the parameters of the solution in Cyprus are a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation based on political equality with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international identity. Arguing that they cannot discuss the bi-zonality, Erhurman added:

    "[?] This is not a new parameter. It would also be okay for you to say 'bi-zonal federation'. It should not be forgotten that what will be established in Cyprus was something more than a federation. It has two zones, two communities and political equality. Let no one look for examples. [?] The Greek Cypriot side will keep the rotating presidency until the end because it knows how important this is for the Turkish Cypriots. [?]"

    Erhurman argued that there are two kinds of agreements in the negotiations: those which are put in writing and the oral agreements, which are not binding until they are written down. "It is extremely natural for others not to know them. They are not binding for the two communities", he added.

    Referring to the territory, Erhurman described it as one of the most sensitive issues and alleged that this issue could not be administrated if some things are announced through the press. "While trying to find a solution, reference to concessions is made, but while referring to concessions this should not happen unilaterally", he alleged adding that it should be said that concessions will be mutually given.

    Referring to the "citizenship" issue, Erhurman said that it seems that the UBP-DP self-styled government will grant the "citizenship" to thousands of persons by the end of the year. He argued that during the CTP's period they have been granting "citizenship" only to those who possessed "work permit" for twelve consequent years, adding that the current "government" is "illegally" granting "citizenship" to a lot of persons with a decision of the "council of ministers".

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Sinirlioglu on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (16.10.16) under the front-page title: "Sinirlioglu: Everything is ready for the solution" reports that the former Undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Minister who has currently being appointed to the position of Turkey's Permanent Representative at the UN, in statements to Haber Turk, referred inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and expressed optimism over the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    "I hope that the Greek Cypriot side will continue until the end and will not choose the path of uncertainty. I am hopeful. Mr. Akinci carries out the negotiation talks extremely well. We support him. If no solution is found by the end of the year, then the efforts for reaching to a single-state solution in Cyprus will be ended. If this happens, then we will not accept anything else than carrying out negotiation talks among two states", Sinirlioglu said.

    (AK)

    [10] Bass: "Energy cooperation is an essential issue for the solution of the Cyprus problem as well"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.10.16) reported that the U.S Ambassador to Ankara John Bass told the Anadolu Agency on Thursday that the U.S. strongly supports the objective of peace and stability in the Middle East region.

    Speaking exclusively to Anadolu at the World Energy Congress (WEC), Bass reiterated the U.S.'s strong commitment to negotiations on the island of Cyprus between all stakeholders to achieve a solution- in which energy will also play a starring role, as he said.

    "First and foremost, it is important that the parties on the island find an arrangement that is in accordance with a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We see lots of opportunities and benefits flowing to both communities if they can achieve that goal," Bass added.

    "Energy cooperation, its access and the use of the energy resources in the economic area around Cyprus would be a key factor to accomplish that goal" Bass also said.

    Referring also to the importance of energy, Bass said: "It is a big piece of our strategic partnership with Turkey to cooperate on energy to promote economic development for both countries and to reinforce the importance of ensuring that all of our NATO allies and partners have access to a diverse set of supply and sources. We believe that is an important part of energy security," Bass explained.

    "Seeing so many producing countries, consuming countries, companies involved in upstream, downstream and new technologies, all present in Istanbul is a reflection of how important Turkey is to all of these issues for the next generation," according to Bass.

    "On top of that, to see the Israeli Energy Minister here today with the Turkish Energy Minister, talking about collaborative projects that will benefit both economies is an indicator of how energy can help promote peace and stability. We strongly support achieving those objectives," Bass said.

    (?)Bass commented on the possible gas pipeline project to carry Israeli gas to Europe via Turkey, and cautioned that it would be more important what the concerned companies of the project have to say regarding the commercial viability of the project and whether there is a market for the gas in Europe.

    "That is in part a function of supply and demand, it is a function of future economic growth rates in Europe and demand for energy and it is a function of whether other suppliers out there can deliver the product and at what prices. But I think the really important thing is you have got so many people here today talking about the details and the merits of how it might happen," the U.S. Ambassador said.

    "Turkish and Israeli companies are discussing a possible gas pipeline between Israel and Turkey to transport natural gas supplies to Europe from the Leviathan gas field, which holds an estimated 620 billion cubic meters of gas", Bass stated.

    [11] "Is an Israel-Cyprus-Turkey pipeline possible?"

    Under the above title, Serkan Demirtas writes the following in Hurriyet Daily News (16/10/16):

    "The recent week-long World Energy Congress in Istanbul had two major bookends. On the very first day, Turkey and Russia signed the much-awaited the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline agreement and announced that they would deepen energy cooperation. On the last day, Israeli Minister of Minister of National Infrastructure Yuval Steinitz held extensive talks with his Turkish counterpart Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, which produced a verbal agreement on engaging dialogue for energy cooperation.

    Known for his advocacy in normalizing ties with Ankara, Steinitz has become the first Israeli Minister to visit Turkey since relations came to a halt in 2010 due to the Mavi Marmara crisis. He told reporters that he had agreed with Albayrak to "immediately establish dialogue between the two governments" to examine the project's feasibility.

    The project is about building a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey in order to deliver natural gas to Turkey and Europe, in the event that necessary agreements could be provided between the two governments. Israel sees Turkey as a strong option for delivering its gas - produced from the Leviathan and Tamar offshore reserves to world markets among others - but the negotiations will surely be difficult.

    Equally important is the fact that large gas reserves have also been discovered off Cyprus. Despite disagreements between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over demarcations of maritime economic exclusive zones in the Mediterranean, many believe that the possibility of marketing these reserves to Europe via Turkey could be a game changer in efforts to resolve the decades-old Cyprus problem.

    Not only in terms of economic returns, but cooperation between Turkey, Israel and Cyprus on such a big project could introduce a new strategic triangle in the Eastern Mediterranean at a time when the wider region really needs action that can bring stability.

    Needless to say, a precursor of such a prospect is determination from the Turkish and Greek Cypriots to complete talks for the reunification of the island. Along with the Cypriots, the contribution to be provided by three guarantor countries - Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom - as well as the European Union and the United States, will be vitally important to make these efforts a success.

    Not only would securing a Turkey-Israel-Cyprus triangle serve the strategic needs of each country, but it would also give additional opportunities to major energy companies who would have a great interest in transporting natural gas to world markets through a to-be-built pipeline.

    That is why U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass' statement that Washington supports the gas pipeline proposal is important. "Seeing the Israeli energy minister here today with the Turkish energy minister, talking about collaborative projects that will benefit both economies, is an indicator of how energy can help promote peace and stability. We strongly support achieving those objectives," Bass told Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress (WEC).

    However, the U.S. support should not be limited to the Turkey-Israel part. The peace and stability of the entire Eastern Mediterranean requires the participation of a unified Cyprus. Any failure in the Cyprus talks has the potential to undermine Turkish-Israeli energy cooperation. This makes the unification of Europe's last divided island even more important."

    [12] Denktas alleges that the "opposition" filed "lawsuit" against "new citizenships" to satisfy the Greek Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (15.10.16) reported that tension was created within the National Unity Party (UBP) ? Democratic Party (DP) self-styled government in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus because of "lawsuits" filed by political parties and civilian organizations against some of its decisions such as the "second city planning decree" of occupied Keryneia, purchasing vehicles without inviting tenders, "illegally" distributing "citizenships" etc.

    The paper writes that Serdar Denktas, self-styled deputy prime minister, has said that in case the "lawsuits" continue coming, they will discuss again the so-called "good administration law" and annul all "decrees".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (15.10.16) reports that Denktas alleged that the obstacles put by the "opposition" are related to the "foreign policy" and that the issue of the "citizenships" was taken to "court" in order to "materialize the numerical demand of the Greek Cypriots" on the issue of population. He further claimed that the "lawsuits" on the "decrees" were also filed to "satisfy the Greek Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] A protest at Zodia crossing point: "We won't give Morphou"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.10.16), under the title "We will not give Morphou", reports that the platform "we won't give an inch of land" held a protest march yesterday at the crossing point of Zodia.

    The protesters, which were around 100 persons, were holding placards reading "We won't give Morphou", No to church administration and to surrender", "Immigration is not a solution".

    The protesters chanted also slogans like "Morphou is and will always be ours" and "Cyprus is Turkish and will always be Turkish".

    Speaking on behalf of the platform, Mustafa Caluda said that it is their aim to make the Cyprus church and the Greek Cypriot leadership that claim rights over lands in the "TRNC" understand that they do not accept giving any piece of land that belongs to the "TRNC".

    Alleging that the platform is not against peace but is against accepting just any peace for the sake of peace being brought to the island, Caluda called on Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to display a clear and net stance at the talks that the occupied area of Morphou will be left to the Turkish Cypriot administration.

    The platform, which consists of 21 non-governmental organizations, left at the crossing point a key symbolizing the fact that they own the occupied area of Morphou.

    (DPs)

    [14] The occupation regime's "government" is reportedly preventing a study by the IMF and the World Bank on the "TRNC's bank sector"

    Under the front-page title: "Obstacles from the government to the IMF and the World Bank", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (15.10.16) reported that the so-called government of the National Unity Party-Democratic Party (UBP-DP), puts obstacles and prevents the works which are carrying out by officials of the IMF and the World Bank, after the UN' demand concerning the "banks" in the occupied area of Cyprus, providing as an excuse that "it is not right to provide information to foreigners concerning the TRNC's banks".

    According to the paper, the works by the IMF and World Bank is of vital importance for the determination of the "banks' needs" in the occupied area of Cyprus and for achieving their reforms and change in the framework of the transitional period in case of a solution.

    The paper adds that the fund of 3 million euro which is necessary for the study is available. It also writes that officials have stated to the paper that the study will be financed and that a bi-communal committee has been already established for this study, into which "representatives" of the so-called ministry of finance will also participate. The officials said further that the "TRNC" prevents the inspection of the "bank and finance sector" by foreign organizations.

    The paper adds further that as it was made known, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has brought the issue into the "agenda" during the closed-session of the so-called assembly the other day, however, the "government" insist on its intransigent stance.

    (?)

    (AK)

    [15] Erdogan: "Turkey will not let terror groups into Mosul"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.10.16) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey will not allow terrorist organizations to enter Mosul, Iraq.

    "We will not allow Mosul to be given to either Daesh or other terrorist organizations," Erdogan told a ceremony in the Black Sea province of Rize.

    Erdogan criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government, asking "where was the Iraqi government" when Daesh entered Mosul.

    "We are ready with the coalition forces for combat there against Daesh and other terrorist organizations," Erdogan said.

    About Turkey's training base in Bashiqa, which Baghdad has said it wants closed, Erdogan said: "Nobody should speak about our base in Bashiqa. This base will stay there. Because Bashiqa also acts as insurance against terror attacks targeting Turkey."

    Erdogan said in its current Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey entered Jarabulus, in the Syrian province of Aleppo along Turkey's border, and then the town of Al-Rai. "Now where are we heading? To Dabiq [in northern Syria], and there we will declare a 5,000-square kilometer area a safe zone cleared of terror," he added.

    The Turkish President said Turkey has no territorial designs, adding: "But there are 3 million refugees in our country. Let us prepare a place for them, let them return to their soil, make them live safe there; this is the step we will take."

    In addition, Turkish daily Sabah (17.10.16) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Shiite militias must be excluded from the operation to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with his United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Ankara, Cavusoglu said the Iraqi army and local fighter are the forces who should lead the battle with the support of Peshmerga and coalition forces.

    "Peshmerga is already in the region and provide its support, locals should not be forced to make a choice between Daesh terrorists and the Shiite groups, which are attacking Sunni Muslims in the region," the foreign minister said, emphasizing the importance of reducing the sectarian tensions in the area.

    [16] Some 1,500 Turkey-trained Iraqi forces taking part in Mosul operation: Sources

    Turkish Hurriyet daily News (17.10.16) reports that around half of some 3,000 Iraqi forces trained by Turkey at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq are taking part in the operation to drive Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from the city of Mosul, Turkish military sources said on Oct. 17.

    Turkey has been locked in a row with Iraq's central government over the presence of Turkish troops at Bashiqa and over who should take part in the U.S.-backed assault on Mosul.

    "Around half of the 3,000 are currently taking part in the operation. The other half are being kept in reserve," one of the sources told Reuters.

    In addition, reporting on the same issue, Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.10.16) reports that the U.S. military deployed to the east of Iraq's Mosul has started shelling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets as part of an operation to retake the city, a Peshmerga commander said on Oct. 15, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

    Peshmerga Commander Omer Huseyin told the agency that American howitzers, deployed some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away from Mosul city center, were hitting ISIL targets.

    Both Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command stated such operation had not begun yet, as reported by the Ankara Anatolia news agency.

    In addition, Turkish Prime Ministry sources also said there was no Turkish military presence in the operation yet, private broadcaster CNN Turk reported. According to sources, Ankara also warned Washington of Shia forces to not to enter the region, saying that it would trigger a sectarian war which would last for hundred years.

    [17] Turkish Chief of Staff meets US counterpart in Washington to discuss Iraq, Syria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.10.16) reports that the U.S.'s top general met Turkey's Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar at the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Sunday to discuss recent regional developments, including an operation to free Mosul, Iraq, from Daesh.

    Akar is in Washington for join a counter-Daesh coalition meeting that kicks off on Monday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

    In a nearly two-hour meeting, the two top commanders reportedly discussed a range of issues, including Turkish military operations in Syria and the upcoming Mosul operation.

    The meeting between Gen. Joseph Dunford and Akar was held in on the heels of an operation by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels that recaptured the city of Dabiq, a Daesh stronghold in northern Syria.

    Another key agenda point during the meeting, according to Turkish military sources, was the upcoming operation to retake Mosul from Daesh.

    General Akar underscored Turkey's concerns about refugee flow and sectarian feuds that might rock the city after Daesh fighters are removed.

    [18] Kilicdaroglu: Turkey not in Mosul operation due to foreign policy mistakes

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.10.16) reports that Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu stated that Turkey is not participating in the battle to retake Mosul from jihadists because of the government's wrong foreign policies.

    "The Mosul operation has begun. Turkey is not at the table. Why is Turkey not at the table?" he said. "I have to defend and protect the interests of my own country. But this foreign policy is dragging Turkey to disaster. We are following the wrong foreign policy."

    [19] Yildirim on presidential system, investments meeting Medvedev and ties with Britain after Brexit

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (17.10.16) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that the adoption of a presidential system in Turkey will be a "key structural reform," saying that the system was needed for lasting stability, continued development, growth, strong government, national unity and brotherhood across the country.

    "Turkey cannot resolve its problems unless it has a stable government. It needs a strong government to maintain its unity and brotherhood. Now the Justice and Development Party [AKP] government has secured this, but for political and economic stability to become permanent, a presidential system is needed," he said at meeting with a group of economy journalists late Oct. 15 in his office in Istanbul.

    Yildirim also said that the Turkish government will organize a road show with more than 20 leading global CEOs and investors from various sectors in Turkey on Oct. 27 to ease their concerns about the Turkish economy and provide information about opportunities and reforms.

    "We will take new steps to attract more investment now," Yildirim said, adding that Turkey needed more investment to grow and revive its financial markets.

    Asked about an ongoing normalization process between Turkey and Russia, Yildirim said the relations had yet to return to their pre-crisis levels but that both sides hoped to attain such level soon.

    "We will meet Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in the near future. The main aim of the meeting will be to take decisions to speed up economic ties and joint investment projects...They want a gradual transition in the visa regime. We are not pushing for more," he said.

    Yildirim also said there would be significant developments in ties with Britain after the country's exit from the European Union. "They showed a clear and robust stance about Turkey following the July 15 coup attempt. They have clearly showed that they are with Turkey, which is of great value to us," he added. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (CS/AM)


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