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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-01-09

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. 05/17 06-09.01.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Statements by Akinci prior to departing for Geneva
  • [02] UNSG called Akinci in Geneva
  • [03] Akinci sends Guterres letter on Geneva talks
  • [04] Erdogan talks to Guterres, May prior to Geneva meeting
  • [05] Cavusoglu's statements after the meetings he held with Guterres and Kotzias
  • [06] Akinci briefed Turkish Cypriot parties prior to Geneva meeting
  • [07] Ozgurgun alleges that "TRNC" will continue its path whether there is an agreement or not
  • [08] Statements by Talat to AA prior to the Geneva summit
  • [09] Ozersay stated that they expect a final and clear result to come up from the Geneva summit
  • [10] Columnist: "The solution which Erdogan prefers is to annex the TRNC to Turkey's lands as the 82nd province"
  • [11] "Without Cyprus, Turkey would drown"
  • [12] Nine more persons "obtained" the "TRNC citizenship"
  • [13] Ozcafer becomes DP General Secretary
  • [14] Turkish Parliament set to begin charter talks to shift governance system
  • [15] Al Jazeera survey names Erdogan 'Person of the Year'

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Statements by Akinci prior to departing for Geneva

    Illegal Bayrak (09.01.17, online) broadcast statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci at the illegal Tymbou airport before leaving the occupied area of Cyprus for Geneva yesterday.

    Stating that the two sides will continue the negotiations on five chapters between the 9th and 11th of January and that the talks will continue with the participation of the three guarantor powers on the 12th of January, Akinci said that "such a quintet meeting will be held for the first time after many years and I see this as an important development' and added that 'the important thing is not to come together but to produce a positive result. All my wishes are to achieve this in Geneva".

    "As Turkish Cypriots, we will do our best to find a positive solution. All parties should fulfil their responsibilities", he argued and said:

    "All sides need to act responsibly. Firstly, the Cypriots the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots need to be understanding towards each other and to help one another. And the three guarantor states, the UN, the EU and the international community need to also help the Cypriots. We are at a juncture. Now is the time for those contributions".

    He also said that he was not pessimistic but acknowledged that the week ahead in Geneva would be "difficult."

    "If all sides including the guarantors act with determination and sense of responsibility, and make an effort, it is possible to initiate a new period in Cyprus", he said adding that a sustainable peace in the island would be possible only if the parties showed the same responsibility, determination and effort.

    Akinci reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot side wanted a solution under political equality that would guarantee freedom and security for both "peoples" on the island. He said that he wanted the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots to be secured in Geneva this week and added:

    "Since Geneva has become a turning point, since we are going to be talking about territory, and since security and guarantees will come to the table immediately after, we believe it is time to reach clarity on our political equality. When will we talk about this issue if not now? [] The Greek Cypriot side should demonstrate that it can come to terms with the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots including rotational presidency and effective participation in decision making".

    Referring to the security issue, Akinci said that the emotions of the two "peoples" had great importance and stressed the significance of creating an atmosphere where both sides would feel secure.

    Akinci also reiterated that they had been working in close dialogue and cooperation with Turkey adding that this will continue.

    Referring to information published in the media arguing that the occupied area of Cyprus will be annexed to Turkey, Akinci stated that the Turkish Cypriots neither want to become patch up to the "south of Cyprus", as he described the Republic of Cyprus, nor a province of Turkey. He alleged:

    "Turkey has some 800,000 km2 of land. I don't think it needs the small land in Cyprus," Akinci said and added "it has 81 provinces. I don't think it needs an 82nd. And I have no intention of becoming the second Tayfur Sokmen the president of Alexandretta before it became a province of Turkey. [] If the Greek Cypriot side's mistakes come to the forefront and we cannot reach the desired solution in Geneva then the TRNC will face the option to continue on its own path as a democratic and a secular state".

    Akinci said the Turkish Cypriot side wanted a solution under political equality that would guarantee freedom and security for both "nations" on the island and claimed: "We are not dealing with any other plan but this. [] The Greek Cypriot side needs to acknowledge the fact that the passage of time has not helped a solution until now, and it will not in the future. The passage of time leads to environmental changes as well as demographic changes".

    In response to a question, Akinci said that when it became known that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was going to attend the summit it was certain that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and British Prime Minister Theresa May were also going to attend. He also added that if Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim attends the summit instead of Erdogan, then it was still expected that the prime ministers of Greece and Britain will attend the summit. Stating that a new situation assessment could come to the agenda in Turkey, Akinci noted that the UN Chief held a long telephone conversation with President Erdogan and added that Turkey will make its own decision on the issue.

    Responding to another question regarding President Anastasiades' desire to attend the conference by representing the Republic of Cyprus, Akinci claimed that the issue was very clear, but the Greek Cypriot side gave messages to its own public.

    Akinci also noted that following the Republic of Cyprus' letter to the UNSG on the issue, he also sent a letter to the UN Chief explaining what he called as "the real situation".

    Akinci argued: "The stance of the UN is important here. The UN told us that it will continue its good offices mission within the same framework as it has in the past. There is no explanation beyond this. We are taking part at the negotiations as the two leaders of Cyprus and we will continue like this".

    He also added that they were not close to a "Burgenstock-type negotiations process".

    [02] UNSG called Akinci in Geneva

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (09.01.17) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who is in Geneva, had a phone discussion with the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres. The five-party meeting and the Geneva process in the framework of the 1st December agreement were discussed.

    According to information by the "presidency", Guterres called Akinci in Geneva for the negotiations. During the phone call, which lasted 20 minutes, Akinci said to Guterres that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to participate in the five-party meeting as it was agreed by the leaders on the 1st of December. He also said that he will show the necessary effort in order the meeting to be concluded with success.

    (DPs)

    [03] Akinci sends Guterres letter on Geneva talks

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.01.17) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has underlined the importance of abiding by the agreement reached in December last year between the two sides regarding the participants of the Geneva Conference on Cyprus.

    In a letter to the United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres, Akinci claimed that Anastasiades' insistence in attending the Conference as the President of the Republic of Cyprus was contrary to the agreement between the two leaders reached on December 1.

    Arguing out that he himself was "the elected president of the TRNC", Akinci said that a compromise had been reached with regards to this issue and that Anastasiades' position is totally unacceptable.

    Adding that the settlement of the Cyprus problem is at its most critical peak in its 50-year history, Akinci argued that both he and Anastasiades will present themselves as leaders of the two communities. "Political determination within the agreed framework is required to utilize the full potential of the process," concluded Akinci.

    [04] Erdogan talks to Guterres, May prior to Geneva meeting

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.01.17) reported that United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed during a phone conversation on Jan. 7 that the coming talks in Geneva could be an important opportunity to reach a settlement; Anadolu Agency cited Turkish presidential sources as saying. The Turkish President reportedly said Turkey supported a fair, permanent and comprehensive resolution of the Cyprus issue, which would satisfy both communities.

    Erdogan and Guterres agreed the coming talks in Geneva could be an important opportunity for reaching a settlement.

    Erdogan also talked on the phone with Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which is one of the three guarantor states of the island, on Jan. 7, during which the two leaders "agreed that the Geneva meeting was a real opportunity to secure a better future for Cyprus and to guarantee stability in the wider region," a Downing Street statement read.

    [05] Cavusoglu's statements after the meetings he held with Guterres and Kotzias

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.01.17) broadcast that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that he is very optimistic that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be found soon.

    After his meeting with the newly-appointed United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York the Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu made statements regarding the Cyprus issue to reporters.

    He said that despite serious issues such as territory, borders, security and guarantees remaining, if the two sides are ready to reach an agreement then all obstacles can be overcome.

    Cavusoglu noted that the last phase of the Cyprus problem had been reached and that the two sides and the UN were working in a constructive manner to solve the existing problems on the Cyprus issue and added that Turkey has supported the Cyprus solution process from the very beginning.

    Explaining that in order to overcome some of the existing problems prior to the 9-11th of January Geneva meeting they had been carrying out some contacts, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that on the 12th of January the two sides, the three guarantor countries and the EU will discuss all issues together.

    "The method and framework are there, we can reach an agreement in Cyprus. Not just Turkey, but Greece, the two sides in Cyprus, the eastern Mediterranean and the region is in need of good developments. It's not going to be easy but we are determined to find a solution" said Cavusoglu.

    Noting that the most important subject is the views of the two peoples on the island, the Turkish Foreign Minister said "Greece and South Cyprus have more problems. They need to persuade their people. The Turkish side doesn't have a serious problem but of course the Turkish Cypriot peoples' concerns should not be ignored".

    Bayrak also broadcast that Cavusoglu met with the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide within the framework of his US contacts. The meeting between the two men focused on the Cyprus negotiations process. The Turkish Foreign Minister once again clearly voiced Turkey views and stance on the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.01.17) also broadcast that Cavusoglu held a press conference following his meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in New York and stated that he had found the opportunity to discuss the Cyprus problem in detail during his meeting with the UN Secretary General Guterres.

    He said that he had also taken up the issue of security and guarantees during his meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. "We have always been one step ahead in regarding a settlement in Cyprus" he claimed. Responding to criticisms regarding the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus, Cavusoglu alleged that there was no need to feel threatened by the presence of Turkish troops on the island unless there were hostile intentions regarding the future.

    [06] Akinci briefed Turkish Cypriot parties prior to Geneva meeting

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.01.17) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday with the "prime minister" Huseyin Ozgurgun and "deputy prime minister" Serdar Denktas, and briefed them on the strategy to be pursued in Geneva.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting which lasted for 2 hours, Ozgurgun said that there was full consensus on the strategy to be pursued in Geneva. Stating that they all agreed that the Greek Cypriot side too needed to take steps, the "prime minister" said that the Turkish Cypriot side will not be to blame should the talks fail in spite of the steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side.

    "We are going to Geneva in good faith. We shall all be present there, whether it will be president Akinci, the government or the political parties. The guarantor states will also be there. Probably this is the first time such a meeting like this is being held since the 60s. My belief and desire is that the talks should be concluded successfully. These talks successful or not need to come to an end. But should the talks fail, despite all the positive efforts of the Turkish Cypriot side, we will not be the ones to blame" Ozgurgun claimed.

    Akinci also met with the former Turkish Cypriot leaders Dervis Eroglu and Mehmet Ali Talat.

    In addition, Akinci held a similar meeting with the leaders of the opposition parties in "parliament".

    Akinci met with the leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party Tufan Erhurman and the leader of the Social Democratic Party Cemal Ozyigit.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the CTP leader said that they had held a useful meeting. He said that his party shared the concerns and sensitivities of Akinci. Erhurman also said that they had been briefed on the latest convergence papers.

    The CTP leader pointed out that an important duty fell upon the Greek Cypriot side particularly on taking steps on the issue of political equality which was of paramount importance for the Turkish Cypriots.

    "We are hoping to return from Geneva with positive results but Geneva may not be the final station. We will do our best to wrap up the Cyprus problem but if we fail to achieve the desired results then we shall reschedule a new stop and continue working to find a way forward. We are determined to continue working for a solution" he said.

    Also speaking to the press, the leader of the Social Democratic Party Cemal Ozyigit said that his party wanted to see an end to the decades old problem once and for all so that future generations on the island would not have to inherit division.

    "The TDP is going to Geneva to follow the talks with great hopes. Of course we have to think of all the possibilities which is why we are cautiously optimistic. The important thing is that we solve this problem but if we can't, we should at least be able to draw a general framework for an agreement so that we can fill in the details later on. We are determined to continue working for peace no matter what. The attendance of the guarantor powers has further raised our hopes" he said.

    [07] Ozgurgun alleges that "TRNC" will continue its path whether there is an agreement or not

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (09.01.17), on its front page under the title "TRNC will continue its road", reports that self-styled prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun, speaking prior to the Geneva summit, claimed: "As I said, either there will be an agreement or not, TRNC will continue its path and it has the strength to do it".

    In statements to the Turkish news agency IHA, Ozgurgun alleged that "the agreement to be reached will create huge serious problems; in case Turkey's active and effective guarantees are not included, the two sides are not clearly determined and a strong partnership is not formed based on the equality of the two people".

    On the same issue, under the title "We are secure", Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (07.01.17) reports that Ozgurgun, during a visit at the occupied village Agyia, called the inhabitants to "relax, because he knows Turkey's view on the Cyprus talks". He argued that Turkey will never say 'yes' to an agreement that will put into trouble Turkish Cypriot territory and its people. I can say this clearly, we are secured".

    (DPs)

    [08] Statements by Talat to AA prior to the Geneva summit

    Under the title: "I am cautiously optimistic prior to the Geneva summit", Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (09.01.17) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, evaluating to Ankara Anatolia news agency the negotiations to take place in Geneva, stated that the Cyprus negotiations to take place in Geneva between 9-12 January is a development being expected for a long period. "If no solution is reached on the Cyprus problem and the process collapse, the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades will lose the 2018 elections. A successful result on the Cyprus problem is a precondition for his elections", Talat alleged.

    Stating that he is cautiously optimistic prior to the Geneva summit, Talat argued also that the "no front" in "south Cyprus", as he described the Republic of Cyprus has already taken action. Talat added that after the remarkable progress at the talks, there is no other option than solving the problem.

    Expressing the hope that the guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and Britain which will be attending the five-party meeting in Geneva will solve the security issue, Talat added the following: "There is a lot of work needed to be done in this process. The federal Constitution as well as the preparation of the Constitution of the two founding states. []".

    Noting that the Greek Cypriots must understand that it is not possible to please all parties during the Cyprus talks, Talat said that it would be better if the Greek Cypriot leader, as he called President Nicos Anastasiades stop dealing with them and instead focusing on solving the Cyprus problem. "The same problems exist on the Turkish Cypriot side but President Mustafa Akinci is not paying any heed to this and in spite of the opposite stance of the coalition parties in the government, he is focusing on the solution process. This is the right stance", Talat also alleged.

    Referring to the 2018 elections that will take place in the Republic of Cyprus. Talat argued that it would be better and wiser to reach to a solution on the Cyprus problem prior entering to the pre-election period. The solution of the Cyprus problem is necessary for both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. If the Cyprus problem is not solved and the process collapse, Anastasiades will lose the elections. The solution of the Cyprus problem is a precondition for his elections", he added.

    Expressing the view that the negotiations in Geneva do not constitute the last last chance for the solution, Talat added: "The negotiations will continue but they will get harder. There is no other option than the solution. The recognition is also a solution. If there will be division, this should be negotiated also. Therefore, this is not the end of the road for the Turkish Cypriots, but in fact, it will be very difficult after this. It will be more difficult for the new generations to reach a solution", Talat also argued.

    (AK)

    [09] Ozersay stated that they expect a final and clear result to come up from the Geneva summit

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.01.17) reported that the leader of the People's Party (HP) Kudret Ozersay, in statements during a reception for the 1st anniversary of the establishment of his party, referred to the Geneva summit and stated that they expect a final result to come up from the summit. "If they put a comma and not a full stop, this process will serve the status quo", Ozersay alleged.

    Pointing out that there are serious disagreements between the two sides on the issues related to who will be attending the summit and how will the sides be represented, Ozersay stated that they follow this development anxiously. He further claimed that the Greek Cypriots disobey and disrespect some things agreed prior to the summit. "We realize from the letter sent by the president to the UN Secretary-General that there is a problem concerning this issue".

    Reiterating also that his party supports the efforts aiming to reach a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, Ozersay added that they will continue showing a constructive stance.

    (AK)

    [10] Columnist: "The solution which Erdogan prefers is to annex the TRNC to Turkey's lands as the 82nd province"

    Under the title "Could 2017 be TRNC's last year?" columnist Metin Munir writing in T24 online newspaper (07.01.17, http://t24.com.tr/yazarlar/metin-munir/2017-kktcnin-son-yili-olabilir-mi,16294) reported that the solution which Turkish President Erdogan prefers in Cyprus is to annex the occupied area of the island to Turkey. Munir wrote the following:

    "One small thing and two big things unknown exist as regards the Cyprus negotiations. The small unknown thing is whether the bargaining between Mustafa Akinci and Nicos Anastasiades will be concluded with a solution. Akinci wants to give as little territory and property as possible and take as much share as possible from the Republic of Cyprus for the Turkish community. Anastasiades wants to give the smallest possible share from the Republic of Cyprus and break off as much land and property from the TRNC for the Greek Cypriot people.

    These two leaders, wanting the solution more than any other leader of Cyprus until today, could not reach an agreement during the last 18 months. During the summit planned to be held in Geneva after some days, they will gather all their strength and try to reach a result, like two contesters who have approached the end of the marathon.

    The big unknown [thing] will be Turkey's or more correctly Erdogan's stance on the issue of this agreement which will be reached or will not be reached. The solution, which Erdogan prefers (but is not mentioned openly) is to annex the TRNC to Turkey's land as its 82nd province. It is known that he has expressed this wish to some Turkish Cypriot leaders during private meetings. A source, who knowns what Erdogan thinks on this issue said: 'Ataturk annexed Alexandretta and Erdogan wants to be the leader who annexed Cyprus'.

    Erdogan's first priority is to pass from the Parliament and a referendum the constitutional amendment which will establish the presidential system. In order for achieving this, he needs the MHP, which is the party with the most hawkish stance on the Cyprus issue. It is out of the question for the MHP to see with sympathy a solution which will mean hauling down the Turkish flag in Cyprus and the Turkish troops abandoning the island. A certain part of the Turkish people, perhaps the majority, most likely thinks in the same manner with the MHP on this issue.

    A solution which will not be popular among the people is not a development which Erdogan could risk these days. Leading AKP members are saying that public opinion polls exceed 60% for the presidency. This may be an extremely optimistic prediction. According to a public opinion poll concluded a short time ago by Gezici Research Company, known for its correct predictions, 57-59% of the people of Turkey do not support the presidential system.

    Erdogan wants to submit the constitutional amendment to the people's voting in the first quarter of the new year. Accepting to end the de facto Turkish sovereignty which exists in the one half of Cyprus in the eve of this vital voting for him is a possibility that is very far away.

    The best policy for Erdogan is the annexation or steps in the end of which annexation will come. This will make him a hero in the eyes of the great majority of the Turkish people. It will increase his chance of winning in the referendum.

    Some Cypriot observers say that the annexation is impossible. According to their arguments, two reasons exist for this: 1) The international conditions are not appropriate and 2) The Turkish Cypriots will oppose to annexation.

    The Turkish Cypriots will oppose to annexation, but not all of them. There is a big and powerful circle of interests among the Turkish Cypriots which prefers annexation to the unification with the Greek Cypriots. Moreover, the Turkish Cypriots do not consist only of Turkish Cypriots any more. There are tens of thousands among them and may be these are in numbers that constitute the majority from Anatolia who have been granted the TRNC citizenship. By the middle of next year, the TRNC citizenship will be granted to approximately 30 thousand new citizens from Turkey. There are so many applications that it is not possible to walk in the corridors of the office of the ministry of interior in Nicosia which examines the applications.

    In addition to all these, Ankara has many weapons to influence the Turkish Cypriot community and mainly the money. The right wing and left wing parties which are in power are standing by to implement AKP's every command.

    As far as the international circumstances are concerned, Erdogan is not a leader who cares very much about the international circumstances and the circumstances are not so contrary to this. No state will recognize the annexation of the TRNC to Turkey, as they had not recognized Crimea's annexation to Russia. However, just like it has happened in Crimea, no state will attempt to change this situation by force. Will the West implement embargo on Turkey? This is also not very likely. Turkey's cooperation on the issue of the migrants is more important for the EU than Cyprus. Similar calculations are valid for the USA. What about Russia? What Russia's stance will be, as the Greek Cypriots' and the Orthodox peoples' protector? I think that Putin will not go further than a protest act, which will serve in Turkey further being cut off from the West.

    Let those, who do not want annexation, prepare their prayers. If Akinci and Anastasiades return from Geneva empty handed again, 2017 may be TRNC's last year or one or two years before its end".

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] "Without Cyprus, Turkey would drown"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (09.01.17) publishes the following article by Fikret Bila:

    "The Cyprus talks are expected to restart next week in Geneva. The Greek Cyprus administration is like a reluctant seller.

    It is a full member of the European Union, representing the entire island as if northern Cyprus has not existed for 42 years and as if the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has not existed for 33 years.

    There is a southern Cyprus that was awarded with full membership despite rejecting the Annan Plan in 2004.

    The EU is continuing to support it. Counting on this, bargaining is being conducted which will diminish the TRNC, which in time will erode the Turkish Cypriots or force them to migrate, which will extend sovereignty over the Karpaz Peninsula in the northeast and strengthen its strategic position and which will monopolize the eastern Mediterranean natural gas resources around the island.

    It does not stop there; they also demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island and the end to Turkey's guarantor state status.

    Any agreement reached under these conditions will be the end of the gains of the TRNC, as well as the end of the Turkish Cypriots, and will pose a serious threat to Turkey's existence and security in the Mediterranean.

    Reputable historian Professor Ilber Ortayli conspicuously summed up the significance of Cyprus in a panel organized by Union of Turkish Bar Associations and the National Opinion Center.

    "We have to accept the facts in the Middle East," he said. "For us to withdraw from Cyprus is out of the question in this situation. We should not allow an international intervention in Cyprus. We should not act like the crazy girl freely distributing her grandmother's dowry. If there is no Cyprus, Turkey would drown. If people are opting to become refugees right under our nose, we have to think this over."

    The two major obstacles standing in the way of the Greek Cyprus Administration to abolish the TRNC and extend sovereignty over the Turkish Cypriots is Turkey's guarantor state status and the presence of Turkish troops on the island.

    If the Turkish Cypriots have been able to live in safety since 1974, the reason is these two assurances. It is not realistic for the Greek side to think that they could easily remove these assurances that are vitally important for the Turkish Cypriots.

    Another attention-grabbing aspect is that the Western world, while it is heading every other place, is making an effort to unify Cyprus. In a process where Yugoslavia was bloodily separated based on ethnicity, where Czechoslovakia was separated without blood, where Iraq and Syria have been separated into three pieces led by the U.S., where there are attempts to separate Turkey into Turkish and Kurdish parts, the effort to unite Turks and Greeks in Cyprus, even though they are from different religions and nations, is, if nothing else, very thought-provoking in term of timing.

    The thesis that the Turkish side has been defending all along has been the solution based on "bi-zonal and bi-communal" equality with two democracies.

    The Greek side, Greece and the European countries behind them have never accepted this solution. At each negotiation phase, they have asked for and insisted on more territory, the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island and the acceptance that Turkey is not a guarantor state. As a matter of fact, in the Greek side's approach, there is no new step that requires a change in the thesis of the Turkish side. On the contrary, there have been suggestions brought to the table that are even more backward than the Annan Plan, which was full of clauses against the Turkish side.

    On the Cyprus issue, there is nothing new, in other words, all is quiet on the Greek Cypriot administration and EU front."

    [12] Nine more persons "obtained" the "TRNC citizenship"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (07.01.17) reports that the "coalition government" in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, which has been "granting" tens of "citizenships" in every meeting of the "council of ministers", "granted" nine more "citizenships" at the last meeting of the "council of ministers".

    According to a "decision of the council of ministers" published in the "official gazette" on January 5, 2017, the following persons "obtained" the "TRNC citizenship":

    Baris Torunogullari, born in Susuz, 1982.

    Mustafa Atacan Erpek, born in Ankara, 1984

    Usak Aysen Turkman, born in 1952

    Huseyin Zoroglu, born in Denizli, 1985

    Mehmet Ozbek, born in Altinozu, 1963

    Turgay Ok, born in Tarsus, 1990

    Mehmet Aksoy, born in 1991

    Gulhan Celikbag, born in Adana, 1975

    Meryem Ekenel, born in Antakya, 1997

    (DPs)

    [13] Ozcafer becomes DP General Secretary

    Illegal Bayrak television (07.01.17) broadcast that Afet Ozcafer has been elected as the new General Secretary of the Democrat Party.

    The Democrat Party's Assembly which convened on January 6, determined the new General Secretary as well as the party's new central executive committee.

    According to the a statement issued by the DP, Ozcafer was elected as the new DP General Secretary after receiving the highest number of votes.

    The other two candidates were Mehmet Erol Aktoprak and Kemal Hifsioglu.

    Huseyin Hakki Cebi, Ozan Erenay, Mehmet Erulku, Hande Kayasal, Refik Kuman, Nevzat Nevzat, Hasan Tosunoglu, Eribe Yagcioglu and Osman Yalcin were elected as members of the new central executive committee.

    [14] Turkish Parliament set to begin charter talks to shift governance system

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (08.01.17) reports that Turkey's Parliament is set to commence two-stage discussions on government-drafted constitutional amendments on Jan. 9 that are set to usher in a major change in the country's governance system for an executive presidency despite oppositional concerns that it will lead to authoritarian rule.

    While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) plans to finish the discussions on the 18-article constitutional proposal in the general assembly in six days, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which opposes the proposal, is planning to block the talks.

    The CHP's decision came after meetings held with the AKP about the procedure regarding the discussions to be taken in parliament. The two parties failed to agree on the procedure for the three-day meetings.

    The CHP's request to extend the duration of the lawmakers' speeches on the items was rejected.

    Parties have different plans for negotiations. Taking the previous constitutional negotiations into consideration, the ruling party anticipates that it will finish discussions on each item in a maximum of four hours. For each item, a total of seven resolutions can be given, four from parties and three from lawmakers.

    With this calculation, the AKP plans to finish the discussions of three items every day, by working 12 hours on average each day. The party is planning to pass the package on Jan. 24 in parliament and plans to hold a referendum on April 2.

    However, discussions and obstacles may result in the periods being exceeded. If the debate between the opposition and ruling party grows, the CHP may demand "a continuation of negotiations," or it may prolong the process by issuing motions of no-confidence against ministers.

    The process of the constitutional package may be interrupted because the motions of no-confidence are obliged to be negotiated within a certain period of time.

    The final decision regarding the constitutional offer will be made in the second round of voting, which is scheduled for Jan. 21. The lawmakers will vote on each item first and then on the entire package.

    The second round of voting is expected to be finished in three days because no speeches or resolutions will occur in this round. In this case, each item will be voted and if the item receives fewer than 330 votes, it will be dismissed from the package. After each item is voted, the entire package will be submitted for a vote. If the entire package does not receive at least 330 votes, the package will be considered rejected. The offer cannot be submitted to the assembly for another year.

    AKP and MHP out to avoid losing votes. The bloc of the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with whom the government drafted the charter proposal, is making a special effort to prevent any defections from their parties in an effort to reach the 330 votes needed to bring the constitution to the referendum. The total number of votes of two parties reaches 355, but seven lawmakers from the MHP have already publicly declared their opposition to the package.

    Despite criticisms about the content of the package, the AKP does not expect any losses in the votes, while the number of defectors from the two parties is not expected to exceed 15 lawmakers.

    Nevertheless, the parties are taking precautions to prevent any losses.

    [15] Al Jazeera survey names Erdogan 'Person of the Year'

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.01.17) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was named 2016's "Person of the Year" in a survey by Al Jazeera's Arabic service on Saturday.

    According to Al Jazeera's Arabic service website, around 130,000 people voted in the survey carried out on the Doha-based network's Facebook page.

    Erdogan came out as 2016's "Person of the Year" by bagging 40 % of the votes.

    Omran Daqneesh, the five-year-old Syrian child who was photographed in August 2016 with his face covered in dust and blood after an attack by regime forces, came in second with 34 % votes.

    Slain Tunisian aviation engineer Mohamed Zouari, who was reportedly behind the drone program of Palestinian group Hamas, came in third with 17 % votes. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    (CS/AM)


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