|Friday, 24 November 2017|
Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-11-23
From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW
CONTENTSNo. 227/17 23.11.17
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Akinci started his contacts in LondonTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.11.17) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has stated his contacts in London by visiting the breakaway regime's so-called representation office in the British capital. According to a statement issued by his "office", Zehra Basaran, the regime's so-called representative, briefed Akinci on her activities.
Yesterday afternoon, Akinci addressed a meeting organized by the so-called "TRNC friendship group" in the UK Parliament. Last night he met at a conference with NGO representatives and Turkish Cypriots living in London to discuss the Cyprus negotiations process and the current developments.
 Siber continues her APA contactsIllegal Bayrak television (23.11.17) broadcast that the "speaker of the assembly" Sibel Siber is continuing her contacts within the framework of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly's General Assembly currently taking place in Istanbul, Turkey.
As part of her contacts, Siber attended the meetings of the Special Committee of Women Parliamentarians and the Committee for Social and Cultural Affairs.
She also attended a dinner reception hosted by the Speaker of the Turkish Assembly Ismail Kahraman and the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim for the Speakers of Parliament from 32 countries attending the APA General Assembly.
On the sidelines of the meetings, Siber gave interviews to the Anatolian News Agency, the Turkish Grand National Assembly TV, Azerbaijan State TV, the Azeri IZ TV and Space TV.
During her interviews, Sibel, who gave information about the latest stage reached in the Cyprus problem, reportedly called on the international community "to take steps towards removing the unjust international isolation imposed on Turkish Cypriots".
"Today, if dialogue is essential for peace, then it is extremely difficult to explain why elected Turkish Cypriot representatives are prevented from being part of these platforms for dialogue" she claimed.
Siber also alleged that "it is irrelevant as to whether or not a state was internationally recognized for it to be included within the international community".
"What is important is whether or not that country or people are being governed as a democracy or whether the institutions of that state are democratic" she claimed.
Drawing attention to the fact that the world was struggling with terrorism, wars and poverty, she said that such meetings are extremely important in addressing these issues.
"Only through dialogue and cooperation can we solve these problems" she said, arguing that Turkey's APA term presidency "was extremely important for the TRNC to be able to participate in the meetings".
Siber is being accompanied by National Unity Party "deputy" Erdal Ozcenk and the Republican Turkish Party "deputy" Ahmet Gulle.
 The process for the "elections" is being intensified – 1st December the last date for submitting "candidacies"Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (23.11.17) reports that six out of the eight political parties, which will participate in the "elections" to be held on 7 January 2018, have chosen their "candidates". Yesterday the settlers' Revival Party (YDP) announced its 50 "candidates" for the "elections". Only the announcement of the "candidates" by the Democratic Party (DP) and the Nationalist Democracy Party (MDP) remained.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (23.11.17) reports that the Cyprus Socialist Party (KSP) announced yesterday that it will not participate in the "elections", because there is not enough time for the party to satisfy the "formalities" deriving from the "election date" and the "election bans". The BKP said that it will support two independent "candidates", who will be its general secretary, Mehmet Birinci and the responsible of the political bureau of its central committee, Osman Zorba.
Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (23.11.17) reports that the self-styled supreme election board announced yesterday that 1st December will be the last date of submitting "candidacies". The "candidates" will be announced through illegal "Bayrak" on Saturday 2 December. The "candidates should, inter alia, present a certificate proving that they have been living in the occupied area of Cyprus for at least three years prior to the "election" date.
 MUSIAD promotes investments in occupied Morfou with a delegation from MunichTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (23.11.17) reports that Okyay Sadikoglu, chairman of the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MUSIAD) in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, together with a delegation from Munich, explored yesterday the occupied Morfou area with the aim to make investments.
Sadikoglu, who visited the area with his close friends Mehmet Gokcebag and Mehmet Gunes, said that the "face" of occupied Morfou started changing with the "universities" and added that this should be supported by making new investments.
 Turkey, Russia, Iran back Syria's territorial integrityAnkara Anatolia news agency (23.11.17) reports that the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran reiterated their support for Syria's territorial integrity during a summit in the Russian city of Sochi on Wednesday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani met in the Russian Black Sea resort for the summit and gave messages highlighting the need for a political solution and territorial integrity of Syria.
In a joint statement at the summit, the three guarantor countries declared that they would continue to cooperate for the sake of reducing violence in Syria. Ôhe three Presidents also emphasized on their strong commitment to supporting the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
The guarantor countries also pointed out the need for confidence-building measures in order to speed up the search for political solutions in Syria. The measures were listed as fast, secure and continues humanitarian aid; release of detainees and identification of missing persons.
In the joint statement, they also agreed to hold the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which will be attended by the Assad regime and the opposition. The opposition groups who will attend the congress would be "the ones that respect Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and non-divisible character". By this description, Turkey's resolute position against the terrorist organization, PKK/PYD, has been reflected.
Opposition groups that will be invited to the congress will be decided by the three countries.
President Erdogan said: "Exclusion of terrorist elements -- that target both Syrian political union and territorial integrity and our country -- from the process, will be among Turkey's priorities."
The Russian President pointed out that the summit was a means to strengthen the territorial integrity of Syria. Vladimir Putin said the Astana process prevents the division of Syria and moves the country towards a "new phase of political solution", with the cooperation of Turkey and Iran.
"We are pleased to see that the three countries have agreed on Syria's territorial integrity, independence and unity, and we are in close cooperation to ensure peace and stability in Syria," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
Recalling that the meeting in Sochi constitutes an important step for ending the Syria crisis, Rouhani noted that the solution can be achieved through joint political work, referring to the Astana process launched in January.
 Erdogan calls on EU to focus on domestic politics, not TurkeyTurkish daily Sabah (21.11.17) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the steps taken by the European Union to mount pressure on Turkey and called on European countries to focus on their domestic politics.
Speaking at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) weekly parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Erdogan said the EU is struggling to hold itself together while shaking its finger at Turkey at every opportunity.
"They have trimmed funds lately. You should first focus on clearing terrorists out of your country and form your own governments," Erdogan said, referring to the EU recently cutting pre-accession funds to Ankara and Germany's efforts to form a government, which have failed.
 Italian Ambassador underlines Turkey's place in EuropeTurkish daily Yeni Safak (22.11.17) reports that the Italian Ambassador to Ankara stated that Turkey has a place in Europe because of its lengthy ties and the role it has played in protecting the continent in recent years.
Luigi Mattiolo told Anadolu Agency that Turkey -- a NATO ally and a candidate for EU membership -- remained a "strategic partner".
"We always felt and we are still convinced that Turkey's place is in Europe because our history, culture, and values make us members of the same family," he said.
He pledged an event in Istanbul next year to improve tourism ties between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is due to address a Turkish-Italian business forum and meet his opposite number Angelino Alfano in Rome on Thursday.
Mattiolo said Turkey and Italy shared "direct challenges to the regional stability that are still emerging from the broad crisis area just beyond Turkey's southern border".
"These certainly include the management of the largest migration flows that we have seen in recent history, an area where our strategic cooperation and shared experience can greatly contribute in fighting human trafficking networks and in addressing the root causes of migration."
Mattiolo added: "We Italians understand very well Turkey's position because, just like Turkey, we are an arrival point of refugees."
The Ambassador, who was posted to Ankara in 2015, spoke of his "deepest appreciation for the generous effort that Turkey is making to benefit of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from the armed conflict" in Syria.
However, he warned that it was not a "battle we can win alone" and called for collective agreement to deal with migration. "It is a problem demanding global solutions, not only at national level but rather at the European and international level," he said. "We need a comprehensive approach in order to address the root causes of displacement and migration."
Mattiolo also emphasized bilateral trade and investment with Turkey and pointed to Italian support for Turkey's EU bid.
"Italy has always considered Turkey as a strategic partner with whom cooperation is not only necessary but also mutually beneficial," he said.
"Trade volume in 2016 reached almost $18 billion and the Italian presence in Turkey consists of 1,400 companies," Mattiolo said. "So far this year, we have observed an improvement of 9.5% in trade volumes with Turkish exports growing faster than imports from Italy.
"Also, Turkey is a popular destination in Italy for health tourism while Turkish entrepreneurs have invested a lot in accommodation facilities in Italy."
Meanwhile, Murat Salim Esenli, Turkey's Ambassador to Rome, said Cavusoglu would meet Alfano to " take a close look at the international agenda". Italy is a "very important strategic partner in many fields for us," he added.
 Defense Minister: First Russian S-400 missile system planned to be delivered to Turkey in 2019Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (23.11.17) reports that the first Russian S-400 missile system is planned to be delivered to Turkey in 2019, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Nov. 22.
Speaking to the Parliament's Planning and Budget Committee, Canikli said the agreement for the procurement of the missile system was signed and two S-400 systems, with one being optional, would be procured as part of the agreement.
"The first delivery of the S-400 air-defense systems is planned to be accomplished in 2019," the defense minister said.
"Once these systems are received, our country will have secured an important air defense capability. This solution aimed at meeting an urgent need will not hinder our commitment to developing our own systems," he said.
Turkey has been in negotiations with Russia to buy the S-400 for more than a year, a decision seen by Washington and some of its other allies in NATO as a snub to the Western military alliance.
Turkey has also had talks with the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium on developing its own missile defense systems, after signing a memorandum to strengthen cooperation on defense projects between the three countries, Canikli said.
"With the memorandum in question, Turkish, French and Italian firms have started cooperation to identify, develop, produce and use a more advanced version of the SAMP-T [missile system] in a common consortium," he said.
Turkey aims to bring talks with EUROSAM to a "definitive end" soon, Canikli said, adding that Ankara aims to finalize the deal by the end of 2017 at the latest.
US arms provided to YPG 'could furnish an army of 30,000 troops'
Canikli also said the weapons provided to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) by the United States could furnish an army of 30,000 troops.
"These weapons will turn on us one way or another. Any location, any point the YPG terrorists are placed at poses a threat to Turkey," he said.
Although Turkey conveyed its unease at Washington for arming the YPG fighters, Canikli said they have observed an increase in arms support, both in terms of quality and quantity, to the Syrian Kurdish group which Ankara assumes to be an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The U.S. suggested that the majority of those transferred to Syria were for use by U.S. personnel, Canikli said, expressing his suspicion for this argument since the American army has 500 troops in the war-torn country according to the figures provided by U.S. officials.
The Minister also said he delivered all the documents proving "all the organic relations between the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD] and the PKK."
Elaborating on the purge within the Turkish Armed Forces after the July 15 coup attempt, Canikli said a total of 8,570 personnel from the military were discharged after they were "determined to have organic links" to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO).
 Commentary urges Ankara not to break off with West, NATOTurkish daily Sabah newspaper (23.11.17) publishes the following article by Burhanettin Duran under the title: "Is it time for Turkey to leave NATO?"
"An invisible hand is trying to move Turkey away from Western-oriented organizations such as NATO, yet Ankara should not fall into this trap.
A scandal that took place during drills at NATO's Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway last week has sparked outrage in Turkey. The Turkish government and opposition parties were united in their vocal criticism of the military alliance over insults directed at Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Although NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and others apologized to Turkey over the incident, President Erdogan warned that "a simple apology was not enough" and said he thought that Turkey, not just himself, had been targeted. Clearly, it takes much more than sheer oversight for this kind of a scandal to unfold. It appears that anti-Turkey sentiments, which have been promoted by Western governments for some time, made their way into the drill. The fact that apologies made by the Secretary-General of NATO, an organization that diligently goes over every little detail in each event, and the Norwegian Defense Minister failed to address Turkey's concerns is closely related to the direction that Turkey-NATO relations have taken in recent years. NATO's overall approach to the July 15 coup attempt and failure to turn over Gulenist soldiers to Turkey were detrimental to the confidence between Ankara and the alliance. Again, Turkey's strained relationship with the United States and the European Union has an indirect influence on the country's affairs with NATO.
In recent years, Turkish officials repeatedly pointed out that their country has been left alone in its fight against terrorist groups such as the PKK and the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO). Meanwhile, efforts by Turkey to strengthen its cooperation with Russia, including a decision to purchase the S-400 missile defense system, have been portrayed in the Western media as a step incompatible with the spirit of NATO. To make matters worse, certain groups in Western capitals, who accuse the Turkish President of being a dictator, have been campaigning for Turkey's departure from NATO. Under the circumstances, the identification of Ataturk and Erdogan as the alliance's enemies raised questions in Turkey about the country's NATO membership.
Skeptics argue that the organization, which, they say blatantly ignores Turkey's national interests, has been behind all military coups and memoranda since 1960 and therefore cannot be trusted. Among the most extreme views shared in the debate is a call on the Turkish government to leave NATO, which has been "openly hostile" against Ankara.
First of all, it is important to note that "removing" Turkey from NATO is virtually impossible because there are no clauses pertaining to the forcible removal of member states in the North Atlantic Treaty. Nor does Turkey's frequent criticism of certain NATO allies mean that the country ought to leave the alliance.
The charge of unfairness brought against the Western-centric international system by Turkish President Erdogan, along with the questions he raises about the sincerity of his allies' friendship with Turkey, symbolizes Ankara's quest for a new and more just relationship. As such, the Turkish President's remarks are intended to correct the asymmetrical nature of Turkey's relations with the West – as opposed to 'badmouthing' Western countries. Needless to say, President Erdogan does not subscribe to an essentialist view that rejects the West altogether. As such, there is an important distinction to be made between Turkey criticizing NATO to protect its interests and the country's potential departure from the alliance.
Both the European Union and NATO are international organizations, in which Turkey seeks to maximize its national interests. To be clear, Turkey's membership in such organizations is not an emotional question to be resolved through public campaigns. And it goes without saying that we cannot afford to take steps promoted by certain groups that would like to see Turkey shut the door on either organization.
All decisions must be based on an analysis of where the world is going and rational calculations based on long-term interests. And I do not believe that leaving NATO before the uncertainty caused by the Trump administration's stance on transatlantic affairs is over and we know where the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) is headed. We cannot afford to commit ourselves to any one side without figuring out how the rivalry between the United States, China, Russia and Europe will play out. However worn out, multilateral organizations such as the European Union and NATO remain strategically important during this period of uncertainty.
As a country that is located at the heart of global and regional turmoil, Turkey must preserve its relations while engaging such organizations critically and to strengthen its bilateral relations with various players. Simply put, this formula means to manage a strained relationship with the West without breaking it off. For the time being, we must ensure that the anti-Turkey campaigns do not push us in the wrong direction.
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