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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-10-31

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. 208/16 28-31.10.2016

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Burcu: All the issues will be on the Swiss table; the meeting will open up the way to a five-party meeting
  • [02] Kanbay: The Cyprus problem can no longer continue under the current circumstances
  • [03] Reactions to the two different "time zones" in Cyprus
  • [04] Turkish Cypriot daily reports that the occupation regime is preparing to re-open a "representation office" in Tel Aviv
  • [05] CHP deputy chairman: The system of guarantees in Cyprus should remain the same
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot political parties: Participation of UNSC members in an international conference on Cyprus will cause more damage than good
  • [07] Ozersay said he is moderately optimistic about finding a solution by the end of 2016
  • [08] Durust said that Turkey only wants the breakaway regime needs
  • [09] Alanli met with the President of the ECICW
  • [10] CTP aims to cancel the "citizenships" granted illegally by the so-called government
  • [11] Akmina Travel Club brought 60 tourist agents from Germany to the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [12] Figures about the border crossing during the first nine months of 2016
  • [13] A cooperation protocol was signed between the Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans' Union of Cooperatives and the "Turkish Cypriot chamber of shopkeepers and craft union"
  • [14] Erdogan: Capital punishment to be brought to Parliament soon
  • [15] More than 10,000 public officials were dismissed in Turkey
  • [16] Police detained Cumhuriyet's editor-in-chief and four other journalists
  • [17] Cavusoglu and Kerry discussed the US decision to remove families of diplomats from Istanbul
  • [18] Erdogan is given power to directly appoint rectors to universities in Turkey
  • [19] AKP to offer 2 constitutional amendment packages to MHP; AKP's proposal is 90% similar to the U.S. system
  • [20] Court bars HDP co-chair from leaving Turkey
  • [21] Huseyin Muftuoglu appointed as the new Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson
  • [22] The World Backgammon Federation to organize a "championship" in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [23] Nigeria's Minister of Justice visited the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Burcu: All the issues will be on the Swiss table; the meeting will open up the way to a five-party meeting

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 28.10.16), Baris Burcu, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's spokesman, has argued that the Greek Cypriot statements that only territory and property would be discussed in the leaders' upcoming meetings in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland were 'misleading' and 'unfortunate'.

    In a written statement yesterday (Thursday, 27/10/16), Burcu said that all the chapters involving a solution to the Cyprus problem would be on the table, adding this was mentioned in a UN announcement on Wednesday. "The agreement reached between the two sides is that the talks in Mont Pelerin will take place under the auspices of the UN. The UN announcement also contains another important element, that work in Switzerland over the five days is taking place to make a solution before the end of 2016 possible", Burcu added.

    Burcu further argued that even if no agreement is reached in Switzerland, the meeting will open up the way to a five-party meeting involving guarantors Turkey, Greece and the UK.

    All, these, he alleged, meant that statements by President Nicos Anastasiades and his Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides that only territory and property would be discussed: "is unfortunately a statement that is misleading and unfortunate for the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot community".

    Burcu also complained about Christodoulides saying that Turkey remaining on as a guarantor power and the non-return of Morphou were deal-breakers. "This attitude is not acceptable," Burcu argued.

    "I would like to give Mr Christodoulides a friendly warning which is that they will not be able to achieve anything by constantly repeating such slogans. The Greek Cypriot side, at this critical last phase, must refrain from distorting the facts and creating hostility between the two sides. What the two sides need to do is to sincerely work for an agreement. This is what the Turkish Cypriot side has been doing for the past 17 months" he said.

    Burcu also pointed out that the 1960 Treaty of Guarantees and Alliance has five signatories and cannot be scrapped just because the Greek Cypriot side wanted it to be so. "What needs to be done is to update the 1960 Treaties to the present conditions. If the Greek Cypriot side's true intention is to reach a solution then it must abandon its memorized stance which opposes a settlement", Burcu concluded.

    Meanwhile, Burcu, evaluating the negotiation process in a program at "BRT", said that serious progress has been achieved in the negotiations during the last 17 months.

    Stating that consensus was reached on half of the issues during this period, Burcu said: "The progress on hand is serious. If it was not like this then a decision could not be taken for a summit in Switzerland".

    Explaining that the leaders will be in continuous contact in Switzerland, he expressed the hope that progress will be achieved on where remaining disagreements exist.

    Noting that all unresolved issues will be on the table as a whole in Switzerland and that the two leaders will try to reach consensus on these issues, he repeated that the date of a five-party meeting can be set once agreement will be reached on the criteria. Finally, Burcu stressed that the territory issue will not be discussed before a date is set for a five party meeting.

    [02] Kanbay: The Cyprus problem can no longer continue under the current circumstances

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 28.10.16), the illegal Turkish "ambassador" to the occupied part of Lefkosia Derya Kanbay, in a televised address on the celebrations of Turkey's Republic Day on the 29th of October, said that Turkey is proud to celebrate the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

    Alleging that democracy in Turkey continues to grow and flourish every passing day, Kanbay said that all attacks against the integrity, unity and solidarity of the country to this day have been successfully repelled.

    Stating that the Turkish nation will not surrender or bow down to acts of terror or attacks on Turkey's democracy by organisations such as the FETO, Kanbay said that the Turkish people had put up an epic struggle and resistance against the latest coup attempt.

    Thanking the "TRNC" (editor's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus) for its support during these difficult times, Kanbay said: "The TRNC government has shown the necessary sensitivity and in support of the democratically elected government of Turkey has added FETO on its list of terrorist organisations. The people of the TRNC have shown their solidarity with their brethren in Turkey through the solidarity rallies staged in all the major cities across the country".

    Referring to the Cyprus problem and the ongoing negotiations process, Kanbay said that both the Turkish Republic and the Turkish Cypriot "people" remained committed to achieving the goal of a just, lasting, bi-communal, bizonal settlement based on the political equality of the two sides.

    Noting that the Turkish Cypriots had just much a right as the Greek Cypriots to live in peace and security in Cyprus, Kanbay said that the Cyprus problem can no longer continue under the current circumstances. "Despite the fact we are voicing this every opportunity, it is a sad reality that the international community chooses not to show the same sensitivity on this issue", Kanbay argued.

    Finally, he expressed the hope that a just and lasting settlement will be reached in Cyprus.

    [03] Reactions to the two different "time zones" in Cyprus

    Under the title "What time is it in Pyla?" Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.10.16) reports that confusion has been created among the Turkish Cypriots who live in mixed Pyla village, due to the difference of time between the government-controlled area and the occupied area of the island, because of a decision taken by the occupation regime not to take the time one hour backwards on Sunday, as it happened in the rest of Europe, and to follow the practice implemented in Turkey on this issue.

    The Turkish Cypriot head of the village (mukhtar), Necdet Ermetal said that due to the difference of time a situation, to which no one can give an answer, is created in Pyla. He said that some Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of the village have taken their clocks one hour back, but some others have not changed their clocks because "their national feelings predominated".

    Ermetal complained of the fact that they are forced to live between two time zones and said that the Turkish Cypriots, who work in the British Bases and the children who go to school in the government-controlled area of the island, are confused because of the difference in time. He said that the Turkish Cypriots living in Pyla do not know what to do and how to act and are forced to adjust themselves according to the British Bases and the UN, with which they are continuously in contact.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (31.10.16) reports that Burak Mavis, education secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS), has called on the "government" of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus to harmonize the time in the occupied area with Europe. In a written statement, Mavis accused the "government" of behaving like Turkey's "subordinate administration" and argued that many negative developments will take place because of the fact that the implementation of the summer time did not stop. He noted: "[?] Starting work and education in darkness will cause more electricity costs. What will be the safety of our children who go to school on foot in the darkness? While the bi-communal talks are continuing, while the peace and democracy struggle is continuing, a meaningless difference of time has been created between the two communities. It is not acceptable to divide time in our island on which we share a life together [?]".

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Turkish Cypriot daily reports that the occupation regime is preparing to re-open a "representation office" in Tel Aviv

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (30.10.16) reported that the "representation office" of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus in Tel Aviv, which remained empty due to the tension in the relations between Turkey and Israel after the "Mavi Marmara" incident, will be activated again.

    Under the title "A new period in Israel ? TRNC relations: The way for the Tel Aviv representation office has been paved", the paper writes that the positive course in the relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv has brought onto the agenda the appointment of a new "representative" of the occupation regime in the Israeli capital. The preparations in the "ministry of foreign affairs" for the person who will be appointed have reportedly started and the "diplomatic initiatives" have been intensified.

    The regime's "representation office" in Tel Aviv, which had been opened in the period 2006-2009 during Turgay Avci's term as "minister of foreign affairs", will carry out "consular activities" and observe the cultural and trade relations between the two "countries".

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] CHP deputy chairman: The system of guarantees in Cyprus should remain the same

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 28.10.16), Ozturk Yilmaz, the Deputy Chairman of the main opposition Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP), who was currently in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus carrying out contacts, met with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on Thursday afternoon.

    Speaking during the visit, Yilmaz said that it is out of the question for them to accept a formula for the guarantees different from the current format. Claiming that the system of guarantees should remain the same without being watered down in any way, Yilmaz alleged that the chances of a settlement are lowered due to the Greek Cypriot side's reportedly extreme demands.

    Y?lmaz also argued that the negotiations process cannot continue open ended and without deadlines.

    For his part, Eroglu expressed his concerns regarding a possible five-party conference to take place on the Cyprus issue in the future.

    Reminding that the Turkish Cypriots had voted in favour of a solution in the past at the cost of losing their statehood, Eroglu said that the Greek Cypriot side on the other hand had rejected the same solution because of their refusal to make any concessions. He said that this fact was clearly stated in the report of the UN Secretary General.

    [06] Turkish Cypriot political parties: Participation of UNSC members in an international conference on Cyprus will cause more damage than good

    Under the title "Opposition is cautiously optimistic", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (31.10.16) reports that representatives of four Turkish Cypriot opposition parties have stated that they are cautiously optimistic that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be reached and described as positive the fact that the territory and the unsettled issues on four chapters of the Cyprus problem will be discussed in Switzerland next week. The parties said that they consider as a "correct development" the fact that the negotiations will be carried to Switzerland and that achieving "serious progress" especially on the territory is important.

    They also alleged that the international conference for the discussion of security and guarantees should take place only with the participation of the three guarantor powers and the "two sides" of Cyprus and that the participation of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, as the Greek Cypriot side wants, will create more damage than good.

    The chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Mehmet Ali Talat argued that carrying the negotiations in Switzerland is a "good development", which they had also tried to achieve in the past but could not do it. He alleged that it is "extremely wrong" for the Greek Cypriot side to present as a red line the return of occupied Morfou under Greek Cypriot administration and that the red lines are expressed only at the negotiating table.

    Talat noted that if a serious progress is achieved on the territory and we reach to the point of its solution, a "five-party" conference could take place. He argued that the issue of the maps will be discussed between the two communities, but "if the help of Turkey and Greece is needed, I always find this right, because the visions of Turkey and Greece are different."

    Referring to the wish regarding the participation of the five UNSC Permanent Members in the conference regarding the security and guarantees, Talat alleged: "What is the interest of the five UNSC Permanent Members in Cyprus? They have absolutely no interest. Such an approach is not seen appropriate by the Turkish side. [?]"

    Furthermore, Cemal Ozyigit, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), described as a "positive step" the fact that the meeting in Switzerland was clarified, but added that the steps to be taken there are more important. He argued: "I think that the territory issue is extremely important, because some exchanges of views have started between the sides and the guarantor powers on the issue of guarantees. On the territory, however, each side has expectations". He alleged that the statements that Morfou is a red line and no solution could be achieved without its return are not correct, just like the mentality in the Turkish side that Morfou cannot be returned.

    Referring to the participation of the five UNSC Permanent Members in the international conference on the security and guarantees, Ozyigit argued that when an agreement is reached on this issue, it will go to the UNSC and therefore he does not consider this as an issue worthy of discussion between the sides. He added: "The Turkish side insists on a five-party [conference]. Perhaps it will want to add an EU representative as well. I think that the sides should behave more constructively on this issue. This is not a pre-condition, an obstacle. [?]"

    Meanwhile, Izzet Izcan, chairman of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), described as a positive and correct development the continuation of the discussion of the territory and the remaining chapters in Switzerland. He argued that all issues should be discussed at the negotiations table without red lines, because the red lines before the beginning of the discussions mean "imposing your views to the other side" and decreasing the chances for success. He said that their expectation from the process in Switzerland is the preparation of the ground for a multi-lateral or a five-party meeting.

    Asked to comment on the wish of the Greek Cypriot side regarding the participation of the five UNSC Permanent Members in the discussion of the securities and guarantees, Izcan claimed: "As long as the number increases, finding a solution becomes more difficult, because the more the number of sides increases the more the interests are. Therefore, the content should not be very broad. The UN is anyway on the table. [?] If views are wanted, the EU or other institutions could be called and their views to be taken, but increasing the number of the participants means the end of the multi-national conference before its beginning".

    Finally, Alpay Durduran, member of the executive council of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), said that they are satisfied with the continuation of the negotiations, but argued that the course of the discussions is negative. He claimed that the red lines of the sides cause difficulties in the negotiations and eliminate the effort of preparing the people for a solution. Durduran said that he does not expect much from the process in Switzerland and argued that it will be difficult to hold a five-party conference.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Ozersay said he is moderately optimistic about finding a solution by the end of 2016

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (31.10.16) reports that the chairman of the People's Party (HD) Kudret Ozersay stated that his party wishes that a just and balanced solution to be reached in Cyprus the sooner possible. He also said that there is still hope, not really based in concrete evidence that the solution could be reached by the end of 2016.

    He went on and claimed that the continuation of the guarantees system "is the only way out" and added that in case a solution is not reached the developments ahead of us do not look promising. "What is essential is the two sides to have a common B plan after this point", he said.

    Ozersay further said that he is happy that the criticism and the suggestion he made to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the Cyprus negotiations had a result. He also claimed that maps should not be discussed at the territory issue before a date is set for a five-party meeting. He also said that he is concerned that there is not a specific report on this issue at the UN statements.

    (CS)

    [08] Durust said that Turkey only wants the breakaway regime needs

    Under the title: "Turkey is enough for us", Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (31.10.16) reports that self-styled minister for public works and communications Kemal Durust claimed that it is because of Turkey that the breakaway regime became "the island of education and tourism".

    He made these statements during the meeting of the "Turkey Cyprus Cooperation Society" at the Topkapi Fatih Municipality's Social complex.

    He said that the "government" supports a solution of the Cyprus problem but that the issue of guarantees and property are the fundamental issues for reaching a solution. "We want a solution but we do not have the strength to suffer until the emotions of the Greek Cypriots being fulfilled. We cannot wait forever. We need to be able to stand on our own feet, to gain a prosperous future in freedom, gain a structure that is sovereign, genuine and autonomous. We need to be able to carry on, on our own independent path with the support of motherland Turkey", he stated.

    He also said that nobody should feel annoyed about the fact that the Turkish Cypriots feel this way and that they want to communicate more with Turkey. "We have no power, other than Turkey for supporting us in this region. Turkey is just enough for us", he stated.

    (CS)

    [09] Alanli met with the President of the ECICW

    Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (31.10.16) reports that the "deputy speaker" of the so-called assembly Huseyin Avkiran Alanli met the other day with the President of the European Council of Women (ECICW) Cosima Schenk, its accompanied delegation composed of European Women and the members of the "Turkish Cypriot women council".

    Speaking during the meeting, Alanli referred to the important contribution of the Turkish Cypriot women to the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots, not only in the present but also in the past.

    Also speaking, Schenk referred to her contacts in the "northern part" of the island and argued that they understood from their contacts that the role of the Turkish Cypriot women in the Turkish Cypriot society is in a much better point if compared with several other European countries.

    (AK)

    [10] CTP aims to cancel the "citizenships" granted illegally by the so-called government

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (28.101.16) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) applied to the "high administrative court" for the cancellation of 40 "citizenships" granted by the so-called government. The party safeguarded the cancellation of 18 "citizenships" granted by the "government' some months ago.

    Speaking to the press, CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat stated that the "government" continually is breaking the "law" on this issue and that CHP will continue to apply to the "court" over this issue.

    (CS)

    [11] Akmina Travel Club brought 60 tourist agents from Germany to the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.10.16) reports that the Akmina Travel Club, which transfers tourists from Europe to the occupied area of Cyprus with charter flights, has brought 60 tourist agents from Germany to the breakaway regime in order to show them and promote the tourist attractions of the "TRNC" and later on to bring tourists.

    Speaking on the issue, so-called minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu argued that Cyprus is a safety place for tourists to visit it and called the "hoteliers" not to worry about the hotel occupancy for 2017. He further called the "investors" to finish their investments in the "tourism sector" the soonest possible. "My worry is that the number of beds will not be enough in 2017", said Ataoglu.

    (AK)

    [12] Figures about the border crossing during the first nine months of 2016

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.10.16) under the front-page title: "There is huge influx of tourists but lack of care", reports that due to the lack of personnel at the crossing points, the influx of tourists who want to visit the occupied area of Cyprus, are forced to wait in long queues at the crossing points of the "TRNC". The paper refers especially about the crossing point in Ledra street and writes that due to the fact that only two persons are working there, tourists are forced to wait for hours in order to cross over to the breakaway regime.

    Meanwhile, according to figures provided by "officials" of the "tourist planning organization", in the first nine months of 2016, 853,874 tourists crossed over from the free area of the Republic to the occupied areas of Cyprus. Moreover, according to same figures, during the above mentioned period, 1,639,000, people crossed over from the free areas of the Republic to the occupied area of Cyprus and vice versa, while 753, 023 out of them were Greek Cypriots and 231,983 were British citizens writes the paper.

    (?)

    (AK)

    [13] A cooperation protocol was signed between the Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans' Union of Cooperatives and the "Turkish Cypriot chamber of shopkeepers and craft union"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (28.10.16) reports that the "Turkish Cypriot chamber of shopkeepers and craft union" (KTEZO) signed a cooperation protocol with the Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans' Union of Cooperatives (TESKOMB) in Mersin, Turkey.

    The protocol provides co-operation in issues regarding quality, professional education and solving various problems that shopkeepers face.

    Reporting on the same issue, illegal Bayrak (30.10.16) broadcast that self-styled minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun, who attended the signed-protocol-ceremony alleged that "despite all embargoes enforced against the TRNC, the TRNC people have progressed through their many efforts".

    Further claiming that Turkey had become one of the few super powers of the world, Atun said the "TRNC" is in the process of finding a permanent solution which will be based on equality.

    (CS)

    [14] Erdogan: Capital punishment to be brought to Parliament soon

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.10.16), Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he believes the Parliament will pass the reinstatement of the death penalty sometime "soon".

    Addressing a crowd in Ankara, who chanted slogans of "death penalty" for terrorists, Erdogan said: "No worries, it is [coming] sometime soon. The government will submit it [a bill] to Parliament, which I believe will pass it".

    About possible reinstatement of the death penalty for those involved in terrorist acts, Erdogan reiterated his stance that the decision would be up to Turkish lawmakers in Parliament. He once more said that he will approve reinstating the death penalty if Parliament approves.

    Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said the death penalty is a "social request".

    Speaking to journalists at a reception marking Saturday's Republic Day, the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Yildirim said that his party could negotiate with opposition parties over the reinstatement of the death penalty.

    [15] More than 10,000 public officials were dismissed in Turkey

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.10.16), a total of 10,131 employee within public offices have been dismissed by legislative decree published in the official gazette late Saturday.

    This decree made it easier to sack public officials believed to be members of terrorist organizations or groups involved in activities against the country's national security or those in contact with terrorist organizations or groups.

    Thirty-two officials from the Parliament, 183 from the Court of Cassation, 249 from Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, 2,534 from the Ministry of Justice, 102 from the Foreign Ministry, 2,219 from the Ministry of National Education, 2,774 from the Ministry of Health, 101 from the Turkish Armed Forces have been removed from their positions.

    Also, 15 media firms, including the Dicle News Agency and many newspapers and magazines were closed by the decree. These companies are believed to have spread propaganda for the PKK terror group.

    At least 1,082 police officers, including former, retired and dismissed have been stripped of their ranks by the decree because of links to FETO and parallel state.

    Their gun licenses, retired police identification cards, pilot licenses and ship crew documents and passports have been cancelled. The officers will not be again assigned to their civil services and they cannot benefit from rights provided depending upon their ranks. The also cannot establish a private security firm or partner or be employed by a private security firm.

    Separately, the decree said those who were injured during the July 15 coup attempt would receive the war veteran title.

    [16] Police detained Cumhuriyet's editor-in-chief and four other journalists According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.10.16), police detained the editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, Murat Sabuncu, in Istanbul on Monday, according to a police source.

    The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said that the homes of the daily's Executive Board Chairman Akin Atalay and author Guray Oz were also searched. The reason for Sabuncu's detention was not revealed to the media.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 31.10.16) reports that Turkish police have detained the editor-in-chief of daily Cumhuriyet and at least four other journalists, the newspaper reported early on Oct. 31, while CNN Turk reported that at least 13 warrants have been issued for the newspaper's journalists and executives.

    In addition to Sabuncu, Oz, Ayd?n Engin, Hikmet Cetinkaya and Hakan Kara have all been detained in raids, Cumhuriyet said, adding that the journalists have been banned from meeting with lawyers for five days.

    The journalists are accused of aiding the Gulenist movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Onder Celik, Bulent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Gungor, Eser Yener, Muslum Oz?s?k, Turhan Gunay and Nebil Ozgenturk are all being sought for apprehension, the daily added.

    The daily also said that the home of caricaturist Musa Kart, who is also the subject of a detention warrant, was currently being searched.

    Authorities sent out a notice to apprehend Atalay because he is currently overseas.

    A similar notice was issued for former Editor-in-Chief Can Dundar, who went abroad following a conviction in a case related to the alleged transfer of weapons by Turkey's intelligence services to rebels in Syria.

    A great majority of those whose detentions were sought are members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation's Executive Board.

    The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office, meanwhile, issued a statement saying the probes were launched on charges that the suspects were "committing crimes on behalf of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO) and the PKK even if the newspaper was not a member of them".

    [17] Cavusoglu and Kerry discussed the US decision to remove families of diplomats from Istanbul

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 30.10.16), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the latter's decision to remove the families of U.S. Consulate personnel in Istanbul due to security reasons.

    Cavusoglu called his U.S. counterpart early on Oct. 30 to discuss the State Department's new travel warning, Turkish diplomatic sources said. They added that Kerry shared information with Cavusoglu on why such a decision has been taken, while the two Foreign Ministers also talked about ongoing joint anti-terror efforts.

    The U.S. decision to remove families of Istanbul-based diplomats has been taken upon intelligence on a potential attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is under pressure due to the Mosul and upcoming Raqqa operations in Iraq and Syria, sources said. The U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition launched a major offensive in both countries to ultimately defeat the jihadist group that has dominated the region since 2014.

    The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning for the families of U.S. Consulate personnel in Istanbul late on Oct. 30, ordering them to leave the country after it gathered "security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent."

    The decision does not affect the Consulate's personnel in Istanbul and is only applicable for family members based in Istanbul.

    [18] Erdogan is given power to directly appoint rectors to universities in Turkey

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 30.10.16), Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be able to appoint rectors to universities directly without having to consider the preferences of academics following the imposition of the latest state of emergency decree on Oct. 29.

    The regulation brings an end to the practice introduced in 1992, which states that rector candidates are elected by the academics at the universities in question before being presented to the President, who can either accept the recommendation or choose another scholar as rector.

    The authority to directly appoint rectors was part of an omnibus bill that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sought to pass after the attempted July 15 coup, widely believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, but was retracted after the opposition parties fought against it.

    With the new regulation, the President will choose from three rector candidates determined by Turkey's Higher Education Board (YOK) for state universities. However, the President will be able to appoint a rector directly if he does not select one of those presented by YOK within a month and the body does not present a new candidate. The rectors will be able to work for a maximum of two terms in state universities.

    [19] AKP to offer 2 constitutional amendment packages to MHP; AKP's proposal is 90% similar to the U.S. system

    According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (online, 31.10.16), Turkey's ruling AKP has prepared two different constitutional amendment packages that were built on three fundamental principles: A full presidential system, check and balances and accountability. Ankara is expected to reveal these packages after discussing them with the opposition MHP.

    One high-level AK Party source told Daily Sabah that two different constitutional amendment packages have been finalized and will be proposed to the MHP in the coming days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m have done the final check this week.

    Currently, the AK Party has 317 seats while the MHP has 40; the combined seats of the two parties are not enough for the direct passing of the proposal. Yet, if the proposal receives between 330 and 366 votes, the constitutional change can be moved for a referendum, which pushes the AK Party to seek agreement with opposition MHP. Accordingly, the AK Party has prepared two different constitutional amendment packages. The first one consists of only 17 articles which include a full presidential system and articles regarding the regulation of transition periods of the parliamentary system. In the meantime, the AK Party's second amendment package consists of 59 articles and is considered a more comprehensive package, designed to replace all articles of the current 1982 Constitution which was written by the military junta after the 1980 coup.

    The AK Party is expected to reveal these packages after discussing them with the MHP and, if a compromise is reached, one of the packages will be submitted to the Parliament within 10 days. A high-level source also indicated that both of these packages were built on three fundamental principles which are a full presidential system, check and balances and accountability. The AK Party's presidential system will include a unicameral Parliament as opposed to a bicameral one, which is typically seen in countries with an existing presidential system. Furthermore, there will be an effective separation of powers, along with an extensive checks and balances mechanism.

    In accordance with the reformed separation of powers principle, the Parliament will have the duty of overseeing the President's actions, to a certain extent. "We aim to minimize the possibility of confrontation of legislative and executive power with two packages," a high-level AK Party source said under condition of anonymity. "With these proposals, neither the President will dominate the Parliament nor will Parliament have the power to block the system," a source added.

    According to the proposals, when the President considers renewal of the parliamentary elections necessary, the presidential election will also be renewed on the same date. The current Constitution states no appeal shall be made to any judicial authority, including the Constitutional Court, against the decisions and orders signed by the President. Both of the AK Party's proposals change this article and hold the President accountable for the decisions and orders like Prime Ministers. In addition the proposals suggest that all the Ministers have to be chosen among non-parliamentarian figures. Moreover, if one parliamentarian is appointed as Minister, his/her deputyship will end automatically, the proposals suggest.

    The AK Party source also indicated that they are planning to drop the election threshold to 5% from the current 10% and change the election system to a single-member district system. After switching the system to a presidential one, AK Party officials expect President Erdogan's continuation of his duty without having a new presidential election.

    Meanwhile, AK Party Deputy and Chairman of Parliament's Constitution Committee Mustafa Sentop, in an interview with the Haberturk daily (30.10.16), spoke about his party's presidential system proposal and said that a Turkish President would have less power than a U.S. President in their proposition, the so-called "Turkish model presidency".

    Sentop objected to the claim that the AK Party's proposal would provide too much power to the President. "In the current system, the government has authorization to declare a state of emergency, issue statutory decrees and make regulations. In our proposal, the President is only able to publish statutory decrees. And even this power is conditional because he will not have the authorization to issue a statutory decree that contradicts an existing one. On the other hand, the Parliament can make the President's decree invalid. Also, the President cannot issue decrees regarding basic rights and liberties. In the U.S., the President has that right. Obama has published 276 decrees so far. He even published a decree that was opposed by the Congress concerning armaments. We confined this power in our proposal and give our President less power than the U.S. President," he said.

    Sentop added that even though the AK Party's proposal is inspired by the U.S. presidential system, it is different in some points since it offers a single Parliament and unitary presidency instead of a federal system. It also proposes direct elections. "Other than these, I can say that it is 90% similar to the U.S. system," he concluded.

    [20] Court bars HDP co-chair from leaving Turkey

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 30.10.16), a Turkish court has barred a leader of an opposition party from leaving the country, accusing her of "belonging to an armed terrorist organisation," the state-run Anadolu news agency reported Oct.29.

    Figen Yuksekdag, co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), was also accused of "terrorist propaganda" and banned from leaving Turkey "because of activities that indicate she might flee" abroad, according to Anadolu.

    The HDP denounced the decision as "totally arbitrary" and said it would appeal.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    Hours after the ban on Yuksekdag was announced, authorities ordered the closure of several pro-Kurdish media, including the Dicle News Agency, according to a decree published late on Oct. 29 in the official gazette.

    [21] Huseyin Muftuoglu appointed as the new Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News newspaper (online, 28.10.16), Turkey's Ambassador Huseyin Muftuoglu has been appointed as the new spokesperson of Turkey's Foreign Ministry, from his current position as chairman of the South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial - Coordination Committee (SEDM-CC).

    Muftuoglu replaced Tanju Bilgic, who has been appointed as Turkey's new Ambassador to Belgrade.

    Muftuoglu previously served as Turkey's Ambassador to Dakka between 2013 and 2015, and he was Turkey's Permanent Representative to the U.N. He earlier worked in the Cyprus department of the Foreign Ministry.

    He graduated from Ankara University's Faculty of Political Sciences and he has a postgraduate degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

    National Intelligence Service Deputy Undersecretary Ismail Hakk? Musa has been appointed as Turkey's new Ambassador to Paris, according to the official gazette published on Oct. 28.

    Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ali Kemal Ayd?n, meanwhile, has been appointed as the new Ambassador to the Turkish Embassy in Berlin.

    The Foreign Ministry recently accelerated its reshuffle of Ambassadors following a brief halt after the July 15 coup attempt.

    [22] The World Backgammon Federation to organize a "championship" in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish daily Milliyet (31.10.16) reports that the World Backgammon Federation with the cooperation of the Hotel Merit Tourism Group will organize in the occupied area of Cyprus the "4th Merit International modern backgammon championship".

    The "championship" will be take place between November 2 and 6. According to the paper, besides Turkey, players from 45 different countries are expected to participate.

    (AK)

    [23] Nigeria's Minister of Justice visited the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (29.10.16) reports that Abubakar Malami, Nigeria's Minister of Justice and Attorney-General participated in a seminar organized by the "national organization of Nigerian students" of the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University (DAU).

    (CS) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (DPs/AM)


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