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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-04-28

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 <>



  • [01] Eroglu's statements after his meeting with President Christofias
  • [02] Akca stated that the breakaway regime imposes embargo on itself in the field of economic and social development
  • [03] Serdar Denktas reacts to Akca's statements
  • [04] Statements by Ozgurgun from Bursa
  • [05] The Islamic Development Bank supports the breakaway regime in Cyprus
  • [06] Charter flights from Azerbaijan to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [07] Atun completes his contacts in the UAE
  • [08] The "consortium of TRNC universities" participated in GETEX Spring 2011
  • [09] Taiwan's Representative in Turkey will give a lecture at "DAU"
  • [10] New decisions from the "council of ministers"
  • [11] Turkish settlers convey their worries to EU Commission's Representative

  • [12] Meral Eroglu participates in a meeting in Ankara
  • [13] Erdogan unveils the project to build a major new water channel in Istanbul
  • [14] Turkey and the UK sign MoU
  • [15] "US asks Turkey to halt the Iranian Bank Mellat's operations and freeze Gahdafi's assets"
  • [16] Turkey and Iran sign MoU for Cooperation in Public Administration
  • [17] Arab countries at the 6th Turkish-Arab Economy Forum in Istanbul


    Statements by Dervis Eroglu after his meeting with President Christofias within the framework of the Cyprus talks, the visit of Huseyin Ozgurgun to Bursa, statements by Halil Ibrahim Akca on the economy of the breakaway regime, reaction by Serdar Denktas to Akca's statements, visits of various "ministers" and illegal universities abroad, and other internal issues are the main topics in the Turkish Cypriot press today. The papers refer also to a letter handed over by a settlers' organization to the Representative of the EU in Cyprus, the construction of a mosque in occupied Thermia village and the visit of the spouses of Dervis Eroglu and Irsen Kucuk to Turkey upon an invitation by President Gul's wife.

    [01] Eroglu's statements after his meeting with President Christofias

    According to illegal Bayrak (online, 27.04.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said that he could comfortably say that convergences had been reached during his meeting with President Christofias on the internal aspects of security and international agreements. Eroglu also drew attention to the fact that the Greek Cypriot side had entered a sensitive period, particularly on statements, due to the upcoming elections in "south Cyprus" on May 22.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting with President Demetris Christofias within the framework of the negotiation process, Eroglu said that convergences had been reached on the internal aspects of security and international agreements. Recalling that his next meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader will be next Thursday on May 5, Eroglu said that they will try to complete this issue following more discussions on the issue at the technical level.

    He said that during the meeting, he had also brought up the opening of a new crossing point at Apliki, near occupied Lefka.

    Pointing out that the elections atmosphere was continuing in the "south", Eroglu said: "The south is going through a sensitive period which is why I do not want to make too many comments. I believe that some of the misreporting or wrong comments are the result of the election atmosphere in the south," he added.

    Asked whether the Greek Cypriot side's latest military preparations along the border had come up at today's meeting, Eroglu said that the issue had come up and that Christofias had told him that the statement was made by a commander and not himself. He expressed the view that he will be able to discuss such issues in more detail with the Greek Cypriot leader once the elections in the "south" are over.

    Asked to comment on the latest statements made by the Greek Cypriot Archbishop, Eroglu said that such statements were in contradiction with secularism. "The south is less secular than we are. We too have religious representatives but they do not see themselves as leaders of society. It seems that the Greek Cypriot Archbishop sees himself as so," he added.

    [02] Akca stated that the breakaway regime imposes embargo on itself in the field of economic and social development

    Under the banner front-page title "Serious warning", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (28.04.11) reports that Halil Ibrahim Akca, self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied part of Lefkosia, has stated that the structure which exists in the occupied area of Cyprus fetters itself and imposes embargo on itself in the fields of social and economic development.

    Addressing yesterday the opening ceremony of the "Career Days" at the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University ("DAU") in occupied Famagusta, Akca delivered a speech on the "Process of Change and Innovation". He said the "TRNC" economy could not advance with its cumbersome "state" structure. He argued that the current structure could not continue and that the package of economic measures should be implemented. He said politicians should pay the price of the implementation of the economic package. Pointing out to the importance of turning the "state" structure into a productive one, Akca claimed that otherwise people will be darkening their own future.

    Akca said the problems in the occupied part of Cyprus seem simple when someone looks at them from outside the "country" and sees a "public" sector which prevents development. He noted that the structure in the occupied area fetters itself in the fields of economic and social development and imposes embargo on itself. Akca said it is very easy to overcome this problem and added that the potential and the people to do this exist in occupied Cyprus.

    Asked about his proposals for the breakaway regime, Akca pointed out to the existence of the package of economic measures. He said a "protocol" has been signed between Turkey and the breakaway regime for the years 2010-2012, which the public calls "economic package". He noted that no disagreement exists on the implementation of the "protocol" and on what should be done and added that the problem in the implementation of the "protocol" is on the issue of its public acceptance and paying the price for it in the occupied area of the island. He said the price will be paid by the politicians in the short term, but the award will be given in the long term to the children and the young generation of the "country".

    Akca argued that the mentality in the occupied area of Cyprus is that Turkey should always pay the price for everything. He said Turkey might pay the price and change might happen, but this will not be lasting.

    Responding to another question he pointed out to the "injustice" which he said exists between the income of the "civil" servants and the employees in the private sector. He noted that 85% of the "budget" is spent for paying the 32 thousand "civil" servants and the pensioners of the "public" sector. He said this percentage should be decreased.

    Akca argued that life in the occupied area of Cyprus is more expensive than it should have been and added that this situation directs trade to the free area of the Republic and constitutes an obstacle for the exports to Turkey. Akca said the high rates are one of the reasons for this expensiveness. He noted that the production of electric energy in occupied Cyprus costs three times more than the world average and this is one of the factors for the expensiveness.


    [03] Serdar Denktas reacts to Akca's statements

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (28.04.11) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), was the first to react against the statements made by Halil Ibrahim Akca, self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied part of Lefkosia, at the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University ("DAU") in occupied Famagusta.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Denktas said the economic package had been prepared in "great secrecy" and against the will of the "people". He argued that efforts were exerted for the implementation of the package with instructions that had been received from somewhere. "Therefore", he added, "no one should think that our people will accept this package and that as politicians we are ready to pay the price for a package which is not our own".

    Denktas argued that the package is not able to turn the cumbersome "state" structure into a productive one. He added that the effort of decreasing the income of the "civil" servants in order to cover the "budget" deficit could not be accepted. He said he is always ready to pay the price for preventing wrong steps to be taken regarding the future of the Turkish Cypriots and added he could never be a mere spectator when the "people" break off from Turkey and their relations deteriorate because of the mentality that "if Turkey wants something, no one could oppose to it".


    [04] Statements by Ozgurgun from Bursa

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (28.04.11) reported that self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun went yesterday to Bursa in order to give a lecture.

    According to a statement issued by the "ministry", Ozgurgun is to give a lecture today at Uludag University under the title "The Cyprus problem and the international status of the TRNC".

    As the paper writes, after the conference, Ozgurgun will participate in a dinner to be organized by the Bursa Governor's Office and the Bursa Association of Industrialists and Businessmen. Ozgurgun will also deliver a speech entitled "The past, the present and the future of the TRNC".

    During his stay there, Ozgurgun will also have several contacts. Ozgurgun and his accompanying delegation are expected to return to the occupied area tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (28.04.11) reported that Ozgurgun stated during the meeting he held with the Bursa Governor Sahabettin Harput that it is not possible for any steps to be taken in Cyprus without "motherland Turkey".

    Speaking during the conference, Ozgurgun referred to the importance of Cyprus due to its position and situation alleging that it is the first matter in the agenda of the problems with which the international community deals with.

    Refereeing to the strong ties between Turkey and the "TRNC", he said that the Turkish Cypriot people continue moving forward in the negotiation process for the Cyprus talks together with "motherland Turkey".


    [05] The Islamic Development Bank supports the breakaway regime in Cyprus

    Under the title "Support from the Islamic Development Bank", Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (28.04.11) reports that a delegation from the occupied area of Cyprus, headed by the self-styled minister of education, youth and sports Kemal Durust has met with the President of the Islamic Development Bank Dr Muhammed Ali. Salih Mutlu Sen, Turkey's head counsellor in Jeddah, was also present at the meeting, during which the Higher Education Forum of the Islamic Countries, which will be organized in the occupied area of Cyprus this year, and other cooperation projects were discussed.

    Moreover, the Turkish Cypriot delegation participated in a briefing given by bank officials and met with the General Secretary of the Arab Tourism Organization with whom it discussed possibilities for cooperation within the scope of the breakaway regime's potential. The delegation visited also the Executive Director of the Islamic Solidarity Fund and discussed the use of the financial aid provided to the breakaway regime by the Fund and possible future projects.


    [06] Charter flights from Azerbaijan to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (28.04.11), in its front page under the title "Charter flights from Azerbaijan to TRNC", reports that the self-styled minister of tourism, environment and culture Unal Ustel continues his initiatives in Azerbaijan aiming to safeguard the transfer of tourists in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and to reduce the impact of the "embargo".

    Addressing a meeting regarding tourism in the occupied area, Ustel said that from this year, Azerbaijan is one of their target countries for tourism and they will increase their activities to promote the breakaway regime in Azerbaijan.

    The "representative" of the breakaway regime in Baku Zeki Gazioglu said that "they aim to transform TRNC a tourism destination for Azerbaijan like Antalya".

    Sarap Asikoglu, self-styled undersecretary of tourism, environment and culture ministry, said that this year 2 or 3 flights will be organized every week by two different tourist companies, adding that 3.500 tourists are expected from Azerbaijan this summer.

    The delegation of the breakaway regime will also participate in the 10th Azerbaijan International Tourism and Travel Fair (AITF 2011), where they will promote the occupied area. The Fair starts today and will last 3 days.

    [07] Atun completes his contacts in the UAE

    Illegal Bayrak (27.04.11) reported that the so-called minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun has completed his contacts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and evaluated his visit during an illegal Bayrak news program. Atun attended the 13th Trade Fair of the OIC member states and the 14th Private Sector meetings on Small and Medium Size Enterprises organized by the UAE Economy Ministry held in Abu Dhabi.

    Atun stated that his contacts in the UAE had been very intense and fruitful. Explaining that his contacts had been important in promoting and showing investment opportunities in the "TRNC", Atun said he was also given the chance to talk about the experiences that have been encountered in the "TRNC" to members of the Chamber of Commerce and state officials. Noting that important steps had been taken in the field of cooperation, Atun said they also reached an agreement to organize a workshop in the near future.

    Explaining that in the last two years important steps had been taken in the production and exporting sectors in the "TRNC", Atun expressed the belief that exporting of goods will be improved further in the future.

    [08] The "consortium of TRNC universities" participated in GETEX Spring 2011

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (28.04.11), the consortium of "TRNC Universities", consisting of the 6 illegal universities in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, participated in the GETEX (Gulf Education &Training Exhibition) 2011, in Dubai.

    The delegation of the consortium participated in the exhibition with its own kiosk "Study in North Cyprus". The paper also reports that the United Arab Emirates Minister of High Education and Research Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan visited the kiosk of the breakaway regime and wished them every success.

    [09] Taiwan's Representative in Turkey will give a lecture at "DAU"

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (28.04.11), the Representative of Taiwan in Turkey James C.H. Chen and his spouse Maria Y.L. Peng will address a conference tomorrow at the "East Mediterranean University" (DAU) titled "Status quo: Threats and Possibilities".

    The dean of the communication faculty of "DAU" Prof. Dr Suleyman Irvan said that in the conference, the trade, tourism, culture and international relations of Taiwan, a non-recognized country like the "TRNC" will be examined.

    Chen, during his visit in the occupied area, will also meet with "officials" of the breakaway regime.

    [10] New decisions from the "council of ministers"

    Under the title "Several decisions from the council of ministers", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (28.04.11) reported on the decisions taken yesterday by the self-styled council of ministers during its yesterday meeting.

    In his statements after the meeting, the "spokesman" of the "ministerial council", self-styled minister of interior and local administrations Nazim Cavusoglu announced that among the decisions being taken was the "approval of the draft bill which provides for the extend of the retirement age for the civil servants from the age of 60 to the age of 65". Also, he announced the declaration of the marina of occupied Karpassia as a port and the appointment of around 30 police officers with good knowledge of English to the illegal Ercan airport in order to overcome the congestion which appears at the illegal airport due the increasing number of tourists.


    [11] Turkish settlers convey their worries to EU Commission's Representative

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (28.04.11) reports that the settler's association People's Justice Council (HAK) met with the Representative of the EU Commission in Cyprus Androulla Kaminara. Kaminara met in the doorstep with the delegation and received a letter from HAK. The term chairman of HAK Ahmet Iscan explained that this letter was written in order to express their worries that stem from the obscurity regarding future developments in the island and from the political arguments that emerge after the ongoing negotiations regarding the status of those who gained "TRNC citizenship." Later on, Kaminara invited the delegation in the building of the representation for a more thorough discussion on the letter's content.


    Main focus in today's Turkish press is on Erdogan's "crazy" project about "Istanbul Canal," a project creating a second Bosphorus for the passage of ships. Of interest are also a "tape scandal" which led to the resignation of two senior members of MHP, the funeral of a Turkish soldier of Armenian descent with the ceremony carried out in an Orthodox church, developments in Syria and other internal issues.

    [12] Meral Eroglu participates in a meeting in Ankara

    Turkish daily Hurriyet (28.04.11) reports that Turkey's First Lady Hayrunnisa Gul hosts a meeting in the presidential palace in Ankara in order to promote the education of children with disabilities. Montenegro President's wife Svetlana Vujanovic, Albania President's wife Teuta Topi, Georgia President's wife Sandra Elizabeth Roelofs and the Turkish Cypriot leader's wife Meral Eroglu will participate in the evaluation meeting of the campaign "Education overcomes all obstacles," which is under the auspices of Mrs Gul.

    Also, Turkish Cypriot illegal Bayrak television (27.04.11, online) reports that the so-called prime minister's wife Gulin Kucuk and the so-called minister of labour and social Security Serife Unverdi will accompany Mrs Eroglu during her contacts in the Turkish capital. During their stay in Ankara, Mrs Eroglu, Mrs Kucuk and Mrs Unverdi will attend a series of activities organized within the framework of the campaign.

    [13] Erdogan unveils the project to build a major new water channel in Istanbul

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (HDN ? 27.04.11) reported on statements of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who announced that he plans to build a major new water channel connecting the Black Sea and Marmara Sea to reduce traffic on the heavily congested Bosphorus.

    The "Istanbul Canal" would cut through the city's European side, measuring 40 to 50 kilometres long, about 150 meters wide and 25 meters deep.

    "There have been always big dreams behind the big steps and big victories in history. And now we have a dream for our nation and Istanbul. We are rolling up our sleeves for 'Kanal Istanbul', one of the greatest projects of the century that will outshine the Panama and Suez canals," Erdogan told the audience at the Istanbul Congress Centre. The project, he said, will transform Istanbul's geography into "two peninsulas and one island." Erdogan said the preliminary studies and the drawing up of the project are expected to take two years, starting after the general elections in June. The expected completion date is 2023.

    The Prime Minister declined to disclose either the exact location for the waterway or its estimated cost. "This is a secret; I won't give this information in order to avoid speculations," he said, adding that "financing will not be a problem." "Residential and business areas, complete with an airport that would be Istanbul's third, will be built on the banks of the new waterway," he said. "There will be income coming from the housing and residential areas as well as the highways around the canal," Erdogan said.

    As the paper reported, Erdogan said that the project aims to minimize the threat posed to the city by the transportation of hazardous materials on tankers through the narrow, 30-kilometer-long Bosphorus Strait. "One of the main objectives is to reduce traffic through the Bosphorus and minimize the environmental threat," he said.

    According to Erdogan, ships carry 140 million tons of oil, 4 million tons of liquefied petroleum gas and 3 million tons of chemicals through the Bosphorus annually, threatening the nearly 2 million people living and working on the banks of the waterway.

    Erdogan said the new channel would afford the daily passage of up to 160 vessels, including the largest ships, and would have bridges to allow car traffic.

    HDN subtitle: Critics cautious on project

    "I wouldn't say it is a 'crazy' project [as the Prime Minister calls it]. This is a century-old idea," Korhan Gumus, an architect and chairman of the Human Settlement Association, told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday, adding that he did not expect such a project to relieve Istanbul's traffic problems.

    "I still do not understand the purpose of the project. Do we want to change the geography?" asked Gumus, emphasizing that the Prime Minister has not shared enough details on the plan and its economic and other costs to call it a "project." "Rather than a project, just a will [to do something] has been expressed," Gumus said. "The 'project' might even be thought of as a plan to increase the value of land in the area where the waterway is planned to be built."

    Gumus also expressed his reservations on the identity of the project team being kept secret. "This is a large and serious urban project and the public has the right to know the team that prepared it," he said. "Such a project may not come to life just because the Prime Minister says so. It must be debated and developed in a more systematic way."

    "It is crucial to see the reason why such a project would be realized," Orhan Demir, a member of the Istanbul City Planners Chamber, told the Daily News on Wednesday. He added that if the main aim is to decrease the number of tankers passing through the Bosphorus, this would not be a good justification. "There are already alternative projects aiming to decrease traffic in the strait, such as oil pipeline projects," said Demir.

    Mehmet Gurkan, a city planner and deputy secretary general of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture agency disagreed with the critics, calling Erdogan's plan a very important project for the region. "I believe it will relieve the excessive sea traffic through the Bosphorus Strait," Gurkan told the Daily News on Wednesday. The project is crucial regarding protection of the settled areas surrounding the Bosphorus strait, according to Gurkan, who added, however, that further details of the project have to be revealed in order to assess its positive and negative points.

    Furthermore, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (27.04.11) reported on the same issue and under the subtitle, "CHP response to project", writes that the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu asked, "How is this a new project?" in his initial comments on the Prime Minister's revelation. Kilicdaroglu said the idea of opening a canal that will connect the Marmara to the Black Sea to bypass the Bosporus strait has been a dream of many since the Ottoman times. "Compare our projects to those of the AKP. The human is at the heart of our projects. The happiness of people. We want an order in which not even a single child has to go to bed hungry. Their projects are concerned with how to make their supporters richer, how to win contracts for them." He said the CHP and the AKP were as different as black and white in their way of thinking. "We hold the people of our country to be above anything else. This is who we are." He said he did not have the opportunity to get an aerial tour of the area, but reiterated that the human element cannot be found in any AKP project. "If there was the human element, two-and-a-half month old Kubra wouldn't have died of hunger in the arms of her mother. He says he will open a canal. First, find a solution for Kubra. A two-and-a-half month old child died under their government. He [Erdogan] could at least apologize. He will not even do that; go ahead and announce your crazy project. We do not need crazy men, we need thinking men in this country."

    [14] Turkey and the UK sign MoU

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.04.11) reported that the Turkish State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan said that they planned to double the trade volume between Turkey and the United Kingdom by 2015 which was recorded as 11.9 billion USD in 2010.

    Caglayan and the British Trade and Investment Minister Lord Stephen Green signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Wednesday related to the Third Term Meeting of the "Turkey-UK Economic and Commercial Partnership Committee" in Ankara.

    Speaking at a joint press conference following the signature ceremony, Caglayan said that the businesspeople and companies of the two countries enjoy important cooperation in diverse fields. "There is great potential for business in the fields of energy, environment and construction in the two countries and also in third countries," Caglayan said.

    "Turkish businesspeople have important investments in the United Kingdom. The trade volume of 11.9 billion USD does not represent the potential between the two countries. The trade volume should be doubled by the year 2015," Caglayan underlined. "In order to boost commercial and economic relations, I will travel to the United Kingdom with a group of Turkish businesspeople after the June 12 elections," Caglayan also said.

    Lord Green, on his part, said that the UK was the most crucial country supporting Turkey's EU bid. "Our support to Turkey will continue until Turkey becomes an EU member," Green stressed. "Turkey happens to be one of the fastest economically growing countries in Europe. The Turkish economy has become 'sophisticated'. There is great potential for investment between the two countries especially in the fields of construction and energy," Green underlined.

    "Turkey and the UK should share information. The two countries go through tough times. We have to strengthen economic relations by finding common points in our growing economies. Our universities and businesspeople could share their experiences. The contractors of the two countries can cooperate in Northern Africa and Asia, Green also said.

    Moreover, AA reported that the British Minister met with the new Governor of the Turkish Central Bank Erdem Basci, in Ankara, where they discussed investments and the financial climate in Turkey. Green expressed the British support to Basci on the Turkish government's move to make Istanbul a financial hub, officials said, adding that Green, former Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings plc., exchanged views with Basci on the finance industry.

    [15] "US asks Turkey to halt the Iranian Bank Mellat's operations and freeze Gahdafi's assets"

    Under the above title, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (27.04.11) reported that the United States has asked Ankara to halt the operations of the Iranian Bank Mellat in Turkey and to freeze the assets of Libya's leadership so as to support international efforts to impose financial pressure on the regimes.

    "The most significant existing relationship between Iran and the Turkish financial system is through the Bank Mellat branches in Turkey," David Cohen, Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, told the Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Tuesday.

    Bank Mellat has three branches in the country located in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

    According to the paper, Cohen held meetings in Ankara with government officials on Tuesday and convened with banking officials in Istanbul on Wednesday. The Undersecretary's visit was the third of its kind since last August and focused on the full implementation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against Iran, whose nuclear program has caused international controversy. Turkey's growing trade and economic ties with Iran have resulted in closer financial relations between the two countries --a development that concerns the international community.

    "The global financial system has increasingly restricted Iranian access to major banks around the world, and Iran is increasingly turning to the branches of their banks abroad, including the Mellat branches here in Turkey. We are concerned about the continued operation of the Mellat branches here," Cohen said. "UNSC Resolution 1929 identified Bank Mellat as a facilitator in hundreds of millions of dollars in proliferation transactions over a period of seven years," he said.

    With the European Union delivering a strong blow to the bank's operation in Europe and tougher restrictions being imposed against it by South Asian countries, more financial transactions have begun to flow through the Iranian lender's Turkish branches, the Daily News has learnt. The U.S. believes that these banks are used as a stepping-stone in transferring Iranian funds to Europe or elsewhere in return for materials that could be put toward the country's nuclear program.

    Cohen said Turkey's position was "very much aligned in terms of the ultimate objective, which is to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability." The Undersecretary, however, said the international community was still concerned about Turkey's relationship with Iran. "One of the issues that concerns us is Turkey's effort to increase exports to Iran, which carries with it a substantial risk. If you increase trade and financial relationship with a country like Iran, you risk them taking advantage and abusing that relationship," he said.

    "We've seen it here, and elsewhere where Iran has trade and financial relationships. It is essential that Turkey increases its vigilance of this relationship," Cohen said. According to Cohen, the Turkish government shares the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program for quite obvious reasons.

    The U.S. official also warned Iran's leadership that the West would not forget about it amid the ongoing protests throughout the Middle East. "The spreading revolts in the Middle East and North Africa will not shift the U.S. and the international community's focus on Iran," Cohen said. "It is exactly the opposite. We continue to work with our allies to ensure that sanctions are being applied while looking for additional steps to increase the pressure on Iran."

    Another important subject raised by Cohen was the assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family, as well as the Libyan Central Bank's funds in Turkey; the UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973 call for all such assets to be frozen. "I have no doubt whatsoever that the Turkish government shares the objective of the U.S. and the international community in applying financial pressure on Gaddafi as a means to encourage him to step aside," Cohen said. "The [Turkish] government has assured us of full compliance with the Security Council Resolutions against Libya."

    The Daily News has learnt that Cohen encouraged the Turkish authorities "to communicate more directly with the financial sector on the obligation to freeze any assets in the Turkish financial sector." International media have accused Turkey of not freezing Gaddafi's assets in Turkey in order to avoid hurting the country's multibillion investments in Libya. Washington believes that Gaddafi's family and Libyan investors have assets in Turkey, the Daily News has learnt.

    The Turkish government, meanwhile, does not share many of the criticisms raised by the American government. "We have never said that we won't abide by the U.N. Resolutions. We implement them. In the case of Iran, we recently stopped an Iranian plane," a senior Foreign Ministry official said. "On Libya," the official added, "there is great unfairness against Turkey. They should better answer how the Libyan leadership could transfer billions of dollars and pounds to the United States or to the United Kingdom during the strict embargo imposed on Libya."

    [16] Turkey and Iran sign MoU for Cooperation in Public Administration

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.04.11) reported that the Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday to have various contacts. Yazici first met the Iranian Presidential Advisor Lutfullah Firuzende Dehkordi with whom he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) envisaging cooperation in areas such as "public administration and supporting the public personnel system".

    Yazici is expected to meet Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Iranian Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Dr Shamsedin Hosseini.

    [17] Arab countries at the 6th Turkish-Arab Economy Forum in Istanbul

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (27.04.11) reported on the statements of the Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, during the 6th Turkish-Arab Economy Forum held in Istanbul, who said that the political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East will "provide stability and prosperity in the long run" by creating open societies and stronger institutions.

    As the uprisings reach its borders, Turkey will support "open societies" in order to boost trade and investment in the region, Simsek noted. "Do not be afraid of your own people," the Minister said, addressing nearly 500 businessmen from 22 Arab countries who attended the event. "What's happening in the region now will lead to prosperity in the end." The change in the region will pave the way for "stronger institutions", Simsek said, emphasizing that the Middle East and North Africa will "eventually benefit economically" from the grassroots demand for democratization. "Turkey itself has benefited from raising the level of fundamental rights in the country," the Finance Minister added.

    Suggesting that surging oil and gas prices provide "a great opportunity to invest more abroad" for Arab businessmen, Simsek also expressed a positive outlook on energy costs. "[Arab] capital could flow into Turkey," he said, noting that such inflows would lay the foundations for better economic integration.

    "Bilateral trade between Turkey and Arab countries stood at around $6.9 billion eight years ago. As of 2010, it has reached $33.5 billion," he said.

    Taking the floor after Simsek, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the head of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) said the level reached in bilateral trade was not sufficient. "The total import volume of Arab nations stands at around $600 billion," he said. "Turkey's annual imports are at around $180 billion, but Arab countries account for only $10 billion of this amount."

    As the paper reported, the political instability engulfing the region has, however, taken a toll on Turkish exports. In February this year, exports to North Africa dropped by 19.6% compared to a year ago.

    Hisarciklioglu pointed out that Turkey has been working on a new industrial zone in Jenin, the largest town in the north-western West Bank on Palestinian territory. "We are building up this industrial zone to promote peace through industry and investments," he said. "Turkey currently is working on the infrastructure of the project," he added.

    Mohammed al-Fatah Naciri, the Ambassador of the Arab League, called for an end to the Israeli embargo against the Palestinians. He also said that economic cooperation between Arab countries and Turkey serves "the common interest of all".

    "Turkish constructors account for almost 40% of all projects in Arab countries," said Hisarciklioglu, adding that the total volume of such contracts has reached $76 billion. "The number of Arab tourists to Turkey has surged thanks to the lifting of visa requirements with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan," he added.

    "The number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey was around 250.000 a decade ago. As of 2010, the number stands at 1.8 million," Minister Simsek said.

    According to the paper, few of the speakers praised Turkey's economic success, holding it up as an example for the region. "Turkey's experience is the best proof yet that correct economic policies can lead to resounding success on the international level," said Rouf Abou Zaki, the chief executive of Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group, which organized the event along with Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).

    Noting that Turkish investors have penetrated deep into Iraq, the country's Finance Minister Rafe al-Issawi said those who come first to Iraq "will have the greatest profit." "Iraq needs investments mainly in electricity production," said al-Issawi, adding that his Ministry would give letters of guarantee for Turkish companies considering such investments. "We also need nearly 3 million new houses," he said, inviting Turkish construction companies to Iraq. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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