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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 18-01-26

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

CONTENTS

No. 19/18 26.01.18

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Warnings for refraining from "provocations" during "Peace and Democracy March"
  • [02] Denktas stated that he would not attend today's "peace and democracy march"
  • [03] Arikli warns that a tension may increase with today's march and call Akinci to take the necessary steps
  • [04] Ak?nc? met with the so-called security commander regrading the attack against Afrika
  • [05] The breakaway regime will sign an agreement with 20 countries in the area of health tourism
  • [06] Turkey cool on US offer for 'safe zones' in Syria
  • [07] President Erdogan visits, inspects Afrin operation base in southern Hatay
  • [08] Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri: EU has made some serious mistakes
  • [09] Will Abdullah Gul lead the way to change in Turkish politics?

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Warnings for refraining from "provocations" during "Peace and Democracy March"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (26.01.18) reports that the Trade Unions' Platform, in a press conference yesterday, announced that a "Peace and Democracy march" will be held this afternoon at 17.00 and will end at 20.00 in front of the "parliament" in reaction to the incidents which took place in front of the Afrika newspaper and the "assembly" on Monday, the 22nd of January. A common placard and joint slogans will be carried out during the "peace and democracy march". It was stressed that only the flags of the 21 organizations, which support the march, will be carried and only one common banner that will read: "We will defend peace, democracy and our communal existence". The placards and slogans will be: "Peace, Democracy, Freedom", "We are the people, we exist, we will not be quiet", "Union, struggle, solidarity", "Long live the brotherhood of people", "Shoulder to shoulder against fascism", "This country is ours, we will administer it" and "Put an end to the violence against thought".

    Speaking at the press conference, Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot teachers' trade union, said that "they, as trade union platform, are responsible not only for the workers' rights, interests and payments but also they feel responsible towards the Turkish Cypriot community and their country". He added that "they will not allow any attempts to interfere in the country's institutions or any initiative aimed at splitting the country".

    Meanwhile, under the title "With a single voice, everyone made a call for common sense", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (26.01.18), on its front page, reports that the six political parties with "seats in the parliament" have issued a call for calm and common sense.

    The National Unity Party (UBP), the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the People's Party (HP), the Social Democratic Party (TDP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Revival Party (YDP) in a joint statement issued yesterday called on all segments of society to act responsibly and exercise common sense.

    The statement said: "For the future of our country, we invite all segments of society to act responsibly, irrelevant of their political views or background".

    Furthermore, the paper also reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in a press release issued yesterday, urged the people to exercise good sense and to refrain from actions which will threaten or disrupt the peace. The statement read: "Everyone needs to act responsibly and with common sense in a bid to remove tensions experienced recently which have reached a stage where social peace is being threatened. Of course, staging protests or demonstrating is a constitutional right. However this right must be exercised responsibly. The rally being organized by the Trade Unions' Platform should serve social peace and cohesion in the country. It is of vital importance that the organizers of the march held under the name of peace and democracy not to act in a fashion that will raise tensions". He further added that the same sensitivity should be shown as regards the messages written on placards to be carried as well as the slogans chanted during the march.

    (DPs)

    [02] Denktas stated that he would not attend today's "peace and democracy march"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (26.01.18) reports that the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) Serdar Denktas stated yesterday that its party would not attend the "march for peace and democracy" which is scheduled to take place today in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    Speaking during a meeting with the members of the "trade unions' platform" which is among the organizers of the march, Denktas alleged that they would not attend the march due to the fact that possible provocative actions that might take place in the march would probably cause tension.

    Describing the incidents occurred recently in the occupied area of Cyprus as "unpleasant", Denktas alleged that all these reports written against Turkey especially in this sensitive period are wrong, claiming that any problems should be solved through dialogue and not by using violence and causing disaster. "There is a power willing to harm our ties with Turkey", Denktas further alleged, expressing sorrow over the fact that the gap existing between the people from Anatolia and the Turkish Cypriot is getting bigger.

    Also speaking on behalf of the platform, Sener Elcil, general secretary of "Turkish Cypriot teacher's trade union" ("KTOS"), invited Denktas to attend today's march, stating that it will be a peaceful activity aiming to condemn the unacceptable incidents that took place recently in the "TRNC".

    (AK)

    [03] Arikli warns that a tension may increase with today's march and call Akinci to take the necessary steps

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (26.01.18) reports that Erhan Arikli, leader of the Revival Party (YDP), claimed that a tension may be occurred during the march of the trade unions' platform and asked from Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to take the necessary steps.

    In a press release, Arikli argued that the recent tension in the community has created serious concerns to all. He made a call to the Turkish Cypriot leader to take the lead and take the necessary steps regarding this. He further argued that representatives of many institutions are not fully aware of this situation and it is thought that this serious situation should be prevented with statements and censures. He warned that in case that slogans against the motherland, the Turkish army, and the "peace operation of July 20" (he refers to the Turkish invasion to Cyprus in 1974) are being chanted during the Trade Unions' platform march, then the tension will be increased.

    Arikli proposed that Turkish Cypriot leader should convene with all the political parties "seated in the parliament" and to make a public call. He also made a call to Akinci to act responsibly.

    (DPs)

    [04] Ak?nc? met with the so-called security commander regrading the attack against Afrika

    Illegal Bayrak television (26.01.18 http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=akinci-issues-warning-for-democracy-rally) broadcast that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci held a meeting with the so-called commander of the "security forces" Command Brigadier General Tevfik Algan.

    The violence which took place in front of Afrika newspaper and the protest held in front of the so-called parliament on Monday, the 22nd of January and the measures needed to be taken in the future were discusted during the meeting.

    Algan during the meeting stressed that "it was out of the question for the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces to disobey President Ak?nc?'s instructions".

    Akinci on his part stated that "a great duty fell on all institutions, especially on the police force, for preserving the domestic peace and social unity".

    Stressing that "it was a fundamental duty of the state to protect the lives and property of its citizens", Ak?nc? stressed that all "institutions should" act with this responsibility.

    Under the title: "Who is telling lies", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (26.01.18) writes that someone is telling lies on the issue and asks Akinci if he gave orders to the "police" not to intervene in order to stop those who attacked the paper: "If you were not the one who gave this order then come up and state this to our community. If the commander is telling lies then you have to say that he is telling lies", Afrika writes, noting that Akinci did not ask from Algan to give him a report on the events, as he did with the "police director" but only asked to be informed on the issue.

    (CS)

    [05] The breakaway regime will sign an agreement with 20 countries in the area of health tourism

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (26.01.18) reports that the so-called chairman of the "council of health tourism" Ahmet Savasan, claimed that the breakaway regime will sign an agreement with the more than 20 countries in the field of health tourism.

    The "council" participated in the 22nd International Tourism and Travel Fair of Eastern Mediterranean (ΕΜΙΤΤ) which took place in Istanbul with the participation of 300 organizations.

    Savasan said that they will sign agreements for development in the areas of health tourism with more than 20 countries like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bulgaria, UK, Jordan and Bahrain.

    (CS)

    [06] Turkey cool on US offer for 'safe zones' in Syria

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (26.01.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/no-security-zone-in-syria-before-trust-with-us-established-turkish-fm-126276) reports that Washington's proposal for the creation of a "security zone" along Turkey's 911-kilometer border with Syria has received a cool reply from Ankara, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urging the U.S. to first take steps to "re-build trust" between the two allies before discussing such military matters.

    "Until trust between the two countries has been re-established it would not be appropriate to discuss such issues," -Cavusoglu told Hurriyet on Jan. 25.

    "Our trust with the U.S. has been damaged. It's not like we can say 'a proposal has been made so we will accept it.' These are serious issues. Trust should be re-built before we can talk about these details," he said.

    Cavusoglu's remarks came two days after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested building a 30-kilometer deep "security zone" along the Syrian border with Turkey at a meeting with Cavusoglu in Paris.

    The proposal followed the Turkish Armed Forces' launching of "Operation Olive Branch" on Jan. 20 in a bid to clear Syria's Afrin province of militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG), which the U.S. has partnered with in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist group directly linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

    "We are not certain what exactly the [U.S.] objective is. First of all we need to fix this skeptical environment," Cavusoglu added.

    During theParis meeting, Tillerson admitted that Washington recognizes Turkey's "legitimate security concerns," while urging the Turkish government to keep the Afrin operation "limited in scope and in time." Both Cavusoglu and Tillerson underlined that they do not want to see Turkish and American forces pitted against each other, particularly in Manbij region of Syria, where a number of U.S. troops are deployed along with YPG elements.

    At a press conference in Istanbul, Cavusoglu touched on Turkey's expectations from the U.S. over its ties with the YPG. "[Tillerson] told me that they were considering establishing a 10 km-deep security zone along the 911-kilometer Turkey-Syria border but they later decided to expand it to 30 km-deep because rockets were fired from Syria within that range," he said.

    "The U.S. needs to stop delivering weapons to the YPG. It needs to push the YPG to withdrawing from Manbij if it wants to re-build confidence with Turkey. We have to see all these commitments fulfilled," Cavusoglu said.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag called on the U.S. to "stop supporting terrorists" if it wants to avoid a possible "confrontation with Turkey."

    "Those who support the terrorist organization will become a target in such a battle," Bozdag told private broadcaster A Haber on Jan. 25. "The U.S. needs to review its solders and elements that support terrorists on the ground in a way to avoid a confrontation with Turkey."

    Senior Turkish officials have vowed that Turkey's anti-terror campaign will continue "until all of its borders are cleared of terrorists," including east of the Euphrates, where the U.S. and the YPG are in close cooperation against ISIL. The YPG currently controls around 25% of Syrian territory and Ankara is concerned that it is seeking to establish autonomous rule in the north and east of the country.

    [07] President Erdogan visits, inspects Afrin operation base in southern Hatay

    Turkish daily Sabah (26.01.18 DAILY SABAH https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2018/01/25/president-erdogan-visits-inspects-afrin-operation-base-in-southern-hatay) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday visited and inspected Turkish military units in southern Hatay province bordering northwestern Syria's Afrin, as the Operation Olive Branch targeting PKK/PYD/YPG and Daesh terrorists in the Afrin region continues.

    Erdogan, accompanied by Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, visited the operation base on the sixth day of the ongoing Afrin counter-terror operation.

    Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and Land Forces Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces Gen. Yasar Guler were also present during the high-profile visit.

    Due to the president's surprise trip to Hatay, a previously-planned meeting between Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m was postponed, media sources said.

    According to the Turkish General Staff, the Operation Olive Branch aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and in the region, as well as to protect Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

    The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

    The military also said "utmost importance" is being placed on not harming any civilians.

    The operation in Afrin – bordering Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces – was widely expected in the wake of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which cleared Daesh terrorists from Turkey's border between Aug. 24, 2016, and March 2017.

    Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

    [08] Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri: EU has made some serious mistakes

    Turkish Hurriey Daily News (26.01.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-has-made-some-serious-mistakes-turkey-rapporteur-kati-piri-126313) reports that EU-Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri told daily Hurriyet the following:

    "The EU has made some serious mistakes in this process. Unfortunately, we cannot change the past," Piri said.

    "I hope there is a chance for Ankara to rejoin the [EU] process, given that unless there is a change in the current circumstances, the process will come to an end," the Rapporteur said.

    Piri underlined the importance of regaining trust for both sides and called on the parties to take one another's concerns into consideration.

    While highlighting the current damaged state of trust between Turkey and the EU as an obstacle, Piri seemed somewhat optimistic for the coming year.

    "The year 2017 was dominated with skepticism, which really hurt ties. This year, upon its willing, the Turkish administration can show it is still tied to EU-Turkey relations," Piri said.

    "Both sides need to establish good relations," she added.

    However, Piri said that looking at developments in Turkey, she did not see positive signals in this regard.

    "If we do not see an improvement [in Turkey] by 2019, we will officially request for the negotiations to be suspended," she said.

    Discussing Turkish officials' request for the country's full EU membership, Piri said Turkey does not yet have the political appeal for that to happen.

    "There are legitimate concerns," she said.

    "Turkey is a candidate country and it is risking [its candidacy]," Piri said, calling on the Turkish government to show its willingness for full membership status to the Western union.

    "You can't just say 'We care about the EU [membership]' and not do anything about it," the rapporteur added.

    Yet, Piri also mentioned the EU "should never fully close its doors on Turkey," as shutting down negotiations would mean the EU "does not care about human rights and the rule of law in Turkey."

    Looking forward, Piri said the upcoming summit is appropriate and that it should be goal-oriented, instead of acting as a "photo op."

    Although the EU has been critical of Turkey's policies for the past year and a half, the EU is also at risk of losing the Turkish public and the perception in Turkey that the union has failed them should change, Piri said, regarding the Turkish public's declining appetite for EU membership.

    "We are running late to comprehend certain things. We did not realize the refugee crisis until it hit Europe and we did not offer our help," Piri said.

    "A day after the [July 15, 2016] coup attempt, Europe had moved on without fully comprehending what the incident meant for the Turkish public. Sympathizing a bit more with issues that are important for the Turkish public could help mend ties," she added.

    "What the Turkish side needs to do [to mend the ties] is clear as day," said Piri.

    [09] Will Abdullah Gul lead the way to change in Turkish politics?

    Under the above title, Seda Demiralp writes the following in Hurriyet Daily news (26.01.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/seda-demiralp/will-abdullah-gul-lead-the-way-to-change-in-turkish-politics-126321):

    "As Turkey's 2019 presidential elections approach, many have been wondering if anyone stands a chance against incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who won every election he entered since 2002. Circulation of power, which is routine in democracies, has not taken place in Turkey for the past 16 years and whether that will change in 2019 is a big question.

    As other parties repeatedly failed against Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), opposition groups have been suggesting that perhaps change is more likely to come through a division within the ruling party. They have argued that if the rival faction in the AKP split off to form a new party, it could mobilize millions of frustrated voters, who are desperate for change, and come to power.

    With these expectations, eyes have turned to Abdullah Gul, the former President and a co-founder of the AKP, as a presidential alternative to Erdogan. Many wonder if he is "the one" who would finally bring an end to the extreme polarization between AKP's supporters and opponents, which has plagued the Turkish society in the past years, and put Turkey back on the road to democracy and the rule of law.

    Over the past few years, Gul has received attention and respect not only from rival factions within the conservative camp but also from secular groups.

    One reason for this is the fact that according to many, Gul is "presidential material," thanks to his gracious manners, polite personality, impressive education background, and other qualifications.

    And despite his comradeship with Erdogan, Gul has been giving signals that he is not entirely happy with the path the AKP has taken.

    Finally, the third reason is the assumption that he is capable of moving a significant number of AKP members and supporters with him if he decides to form a new party. And it is this assumption where the problem lies.

    Gul can be a powerful candidate who could, theoretically, bring positive change to Turkish politics, but today, this seems unlikely to happen. From the perspective of Gul, all the incentives are against him running for the post, and from the perspective of the AKP members and supporters, all the incentives are against supporting Gul.

    And it is not about Gul. It is about the current incentive structure of Turkish politics. With the same party enjoying a single party government for a decade and a half, today Turkey carries many characteristics of a dominant party system, which are hard to change.

    And when they do change, it is unlikely to begin with a split in the ruling party. As democratization scholar Barbara Geddes shows, rival factions are unlikely to defect if the pay-off to defect and overthrow the dominant faction is not high enough while the cost of defection is too high (and highest, if the attempt fails). This is pretty much how the current situation in Turkey is.

    Most AKP members realize that if Erdogan steps down, the AKP may lose office, and then, many of them will lose their positions. This would be too costly, because in a dominant party system like Turkey's, incumbents have far too much advantage during elections and being in office can allow access to various privileges. More importantly, most AKP members find that if the seculars win office again after 17 years, they will fight tooth and claw to stay there. Seeing the seculars in power again, however, is something they avoid at all costs. In the polarized context of today's Turkey, many AKP members do not see a bright fate for themselves after a possible ouster. This is why they are most likely to cooperate with Erdogan, even if they have issues with some of his policies and would prefer to see Gul as their leader.

    Knowing this, what are the chances that Gul would run for presidency?

    In other words, Gul may not be "the one" who will lead the way to change in Turkish politics. And opposition groups in Turkey need to stop waiting for some faction in the ruling party to stand up and do the job for them. At this point, this is not how change is likely to begin."

    TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    (CS/ AM)

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