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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-02-27

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] Merkel: we cannot open chapters in Turkey's negotiations as long the Cyprus problem is not solved
  • [02] Davutoglu comments on the election of President Anastasiades
  • [03] Bagis' response to Merkel: "Ankara is ready to open its ports to Greek Cypriots if German Lufthansa starts flights to Ercan Airport"
  • [04] Caglayan: "I did not had time to make a proposal to Merkel on the Cyprus problem"
  • [05] Ria Oomen-Ruijten hopes Anastasiades' election will speed up reunification talks
  • [06] "Anastasiades to the rescue!"
  • [07] "Merkel's visit marks a turn"
  • [08] Eroglu wants an agreement that no agreement could be reached in Cyprus
  • [09] Kucuk: "If Anastasiades sends a representative to the negotiations, we will not degrade our president to that level"
  • [10] Reply by Elcil to Bagis: "The Turkish officials are used to insulting us"
  • [11] Akca discussed with Yorgancioglu and Akansoy the elections in the Republic of Cyprus
  • [12] Hasan Sertoglu the candidate of UBP for the occupied Lefkosia municipality' "elections"
  • [13] Turkey's MGK conveyed yesterday; the fight against terrorism, the Syria crisis and the Imrali process dominated the meeting
  • [14] More about the Imrali process; Demirtas on Ocalan's letter
  • [15] Iran will reportedly trade oil for Turkish ships in order to evade US sanctions


    [01] Merkel: we cannot open chapters in Turkey's negotiations as long the Cyprus problem is not solved

    Under the title "Solution in Cyprus first", Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (27.02.13) reports that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has said that the desired chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations with the European Union (EU) cannot open because of the Cyprus problem.

    During her two-day visit in Turkey, Chancellor Merkel addressed the "2nd Turkish-German CEO Forum" established by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) and their German colleagues BDI. Addressing the forum, the German Chancellor said that a problem regarding the Ankara Protocol exists in Turkey's full membership negotiations. She added: "We cannot not open as many chapters as we want, in case the Cyprus problem does not reach a solution within this framework".

    She went on and said that extremely safe investment conditions exist in Turkey for German businesses adding that their trade volume exceeds 30 billion Euros, but could be further increase. "These investments could take us forward, because there is a very big need in the energy sector", she noted pointing out that the renewable energy resources are also important and not only the classic energy resources. The German chancellor said that the necessary conditions for the development of this sector exist in Turkey.

    Chancellor Merkel noted that Germany wants a result in Turkey's full membership negotiations, "but of course there is a long way in front of us".


    [02] Davutoglu comments on the election of President Anastasiades

    Under the title "Road map to Anastasiades from Davutoglu", Turkish Cypriot Kibris Postasi online newspaper (27.02.13), reports that the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu has sent "a clear message" to the newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades. Replying to questions of Burcu Akkaya, the paper's correspondent in Ankara, Davutoglu said that Turkey had a "developed legal acquis" over the Cyprus problem and pointed out to the "specificity" of the UN parameters on the issue.

    "The reason of the non-existence of a solution until today in Cyprus is not Turkey and the TRNC", alleged Davutoglu reiterating the Turkish argument that "it is the Greek Cypriot side the one that said 'no' in 2004".

    He went on and claimed: "Now Anastasiades came on duty there and he is in a new exam. If he continues that stance and paves the way of a new peace process, he will definitely receive a response. I am saying this in the positive meaning".

    Arguing that the negotiating process slowed down and regressed during President Christofias period, Davutoglu reiterated the Turkish allegation that the Greek Cypriot side has always been the one that not wanted peace. He went on and claimed: "We believe that peace could be achieved on the island based on equal rights and on the principle of bi-zonality, but the important thing is for the other side as well to believe this. I think that the negotiations will gain acceleration, if such a road is followed during Anastasiades' period".

    The paper refers to "a new process" in the negotiations which "will bring with it new policies in the sides".


    [03] Bagis' response to Merkel: "Ankara is ready to open its ports to Greek Cypriots if German Lufthansa starts flights to Ercan Airport"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.13) reports that Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bagis has challenged German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the Ankara protocol, saying that Ankara is ready to open its ports to Greek Cypriots if a German airline Lufthansa starts flights to "Ercan Airport" in "Turkish Cyprus", as the breakaway regime is called.

    "I'll call your bluff. The Turkish Republic will open its sea ports, airports, and air space, if Lufthansa embarks on an expedition to Ercan Airport," Egemen Bagis told reporters yesterday, citing Merkel's call on Turkey for progress in implementing the Ankara Protocol.

    "Turkey's ports were open to Greek Cypriot vessels until 1987", Bagis stressed, adding that letting Greek Cypriots into Turkish ports would not mean official recognition of the state.

    "Nobody can expect Turkey to unilaterally open its sea and air ports while Turkish Cypriots are suffering due to the embargo, despite the EU decision dated on April 24, 2004," he said.

    "Merkel is repeating her doubts on Turkey's full membership of the EU, but she has never made an effort to block the negotiation process", Bagis said, adding that on the contrary, during Germany's EU term presidency, Turkey actually opened three negotiation chapters.

    At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 25, Merkel butted heads with Ankara on the deadlock surrounding Cyprus. "We need Turkey's progress on the implementation of the Ankara protocol. Otherwise, the number of negotiation chapters that can be opened will be limited," Merkel said.

    [04] Caglayan: "I did not had time to make a proposal to Merkel on the Cyprus problem"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (26.02.13) the Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan has said, that he did not had time to make a proposal to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Cyprus problem.

    Caglayan said that he had a proposal which he failed to convey to the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Cyprus Issue. "Allow Lufthansa to fly to Ercan Airport and we shall open all our ports to Greek Cypriot vessels and planes", Caglayan said.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of the 2nd Turkish-German CEO Forum, he said that he had not found the time to convey a proposal on Cyprus to the German Chancellor who was in Turkey as guest of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a two day visit.

    "I was going to propose to the German Chancellor to allow Lufthansa Airways to fly to Ercan Airport and that, we, in return would open all our ports to Greek Cypriot vessels and planes" he said.

    Also, touching upon the visa requirements for Turkish nationals when entering the EU, the Turkish Minister alleged that there was a double standard in the practice and requirements, particularly for businessmen.

    [05] Ria Oomen-Ruijten hopes Anastasiades' election will speed up reunification talks

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (26.02.13) reported that Ria Oomen-Ruijten, the European Parliament reporter on Turkey, has expressed hope that new President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will be able to bring back momentum to the negotiations on the reunification of the island.

    In statements to Today's Zaman, she said: "I am hopeful and confident that Anastasiades will be able to bring back the much needed momentum in the negotiations on the reunification of the island, based on a fair and viable settlement for both communities".

    Recalling center-right politician Anastasiades' "yes" vote for the 2004 Annan plan, Oomen-Ruijten called on all parties, including the Turkish government, to use this momentum to make renewed efforts to come to a lasting settlement.


    [06] "Anastasiades to the rescue!"

    Under the above title, Amanda Paul, columnist in Today's Zaman (26.02.13) writes the following about Anastasiades' election to the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus: "The new Greek Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades, will have a baptism of fire. His in-tray is overflowing, including leading Cyprus out of a deep economic quagmire, taking steps to improve the socioeconomic situation and, if that were not enough, get back to the business of negotiating a settlement to the decades-old Cyprus problem.

    There was never any doubt that Anastasiades would be crowned President. He had been the favorite for months, and while he did not manage to make it over the 50% mark in the first round, he walked away with a clear victory in the second. The result was welcomed in the EU. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt tweeted that it offered an opportunity for 'Cyprus to return to Europe'. Many in the EU viewed communist Demitris Christofias as too close to Moscow.

    This election was very different from previous ones as, for the first time in decades, it was not all about the Cyprus problem. Rather, it was all about money -- with the policies of outgoing President Christofias delivering Greek Cypriots the worst economic situation since the division of the island in 1974. Therefore, Cypriots mostly voted for the person they believed could turn the situation around, get a bailout deal in place and get money back in their pockets.

    Anastasiades has a massive task ahead of him. He has pledged to conclude a bailout agreement, which could be as much as 17 billion euro, as soon as possible, putting Cyprus back on the path of stability and growth. While it seems all EU leaders are in agreement about the bailout, he may not be out of the woods as it still needs to go to national parliaments and there are some shaky cases -- for example, Germany. In order to assure there will be no default, he may be forced to privatize some areas, such as the ports, increase health care costs -- which would be extremely unpopular -- or possibly make Turkish Cypriots pay for health care they currently receive for free.

    Once he has secured a bailout deal, he will also need to focus on the Cyprus problem as pressure will mount from the UN for the talks that were put on 'hold' last June to be restarted. During his victory speech, Anastasiades spelled out that Greek Cypriots should realize the country would be partitioned if there were no cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots. Appealing to the Turkish Cypriots, he stated he was sending a 'message of peace, friendship and sincere intention to seek a solution that will lead to a modern and European homeland that will respect the human rights of all its citizens'.

    However, while Anastasiades has a long history of supporting a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, he has indicated that he does not want to be chief negotiator. This would represent a significant change as until now it has always been the two leaders who have taken this role, and this idea has not been welcomed by the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community, Dervis Eroglu. It may have been part of the deal made with his coalition partner, the Democratic Party (DIKO), as it is rumored the likely candidate would come from DIKO. While Anastasiades' Democratic Rally (DISY) voted for the UN's 2004 Annan Plan, DIKO vehemently opposed it.

    In terms of foreign policy, which seems set to be headed by former Foreign Minister and current member of the European Parliament Ioannis Kasoulides, who is well-respected in the west, changes are afoot. First will be the expected application for Cypriot membership of the NATO-affiliated Partnership for Peace (PFP). It will be interesting to see the Turkish reaction to this, although as it is only the PFP, Turkey has no veto. Of course it would be a different matter if Cyprus decided to apply for NATO membership. It also seems that Anastasiades may be ready to unblock some of the chapters that Nicosia presently blocks in Turkey's accession talks as well as accepting Turkish Cypriots to have observer status in the European Parliament. Although, in return, they may propose the shelving of the unimplemented direct trade regulation for Turkish Cypriots, requesting that it be replaced with something else. However, whether this strategy will bring a positive result remains to be seen".

    [07] "Merkel's visit marks a turn"

    In a commentary under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (26.02.13) published the following by columnist Yavuz Baydar who commented on Merkel's visit to Turkey:

    "German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Turkey must be added as another positive step toward melting the icy relationship between Ankara and the EU. It follows two other important recent steps. First, France unblocked a chapter coming during the current talks with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and secondly, Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly (57.5%) voted for the Democratic Rally (DISY) leader, Nikos Anastasiades in the presidential election, a strong signal of a mood change on the island.

    Merkel's visit was long overdue. It has been well-noted that she has visited Turkey only once in three years, while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited Germany four times. Should it be interpreted as the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) now being in accord with its coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), about the strategic importance, economic performance and crucial democratic transformation of Turkey? Perhaps. One can hope that the visit and the positive sound of her messages indicate a long-lasting change of mind.

    Cynics have seen 'no progress' between Erdogan and Merkel on Turkey's EU accession process. But the truth is, Merkel not only endorsed France's unblocking move, but also signalled that other chapters may follow, with perhaps a second one even before the end of the Irish term presidency in the EU. One understands that she needs to balance very carefully in an election year for Germany on a subject which can shake and stir the votes.

    But deep down, she knows that she has the backing of some party heavyweights about remaining committed to coalition protocol on Turkey's accession and support for it to continue.

    There are many aspects to why Germany should be more active, frank and clear about its relations with Turkey and its policy on the EU negotiations. Pro-EU arguments based on today's Turkish economy speak for themselves, as outlined by Kemal Dervis, the vice president of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and a former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey, for the daily Handelsblatt on February 25, 2013 in an article titled "Die Politik is am Zug" ("The policy is on track"). Apart from fine figures on inflation, growth, reduced deficit, employment, strong currency and reserves, German politicians do look with admiration at 'hardworking' Turks (a virtue they value highly), when they compare them with the Mediterranean citizens of the EU. Turkey with such an economy is now too big for Germany to ignore, and far too important to be seen only as a simple trading partner, no doubt. Therefore, the tough visa regulations and the particularly rigid implementation of it attributed to German general councils in Turkey must be eased; liberalized in the sense that, once having passed a security check, Turkish citizens must be given five-year, multiple-entry Schengen visas.

    Nor should there be any doubt that increasing defense cooperation through NATO on Syria creates a new momentum for Berlin to realize more deeply Turkey's significance on the south-eastern flank of the continent, as it shoulders increasing burdens. Stability in Turkey, in that sense, can be said to be serving the stability of Germany, and of Europe as a whole.

    Merkel did not say much on Turkey's Kurdish peace process, but given the presence of large, politicized Turkish, Alevi and Kurdish communities in her own country -- take it for granted that solutions on all social rifts here will ease tensions there. Interests overlap. And in that case, it is demanded that Germany more thoroughly consider indirect, discreet assistance to endorse Turkey in its struggle against historical demons. The EU membership process, kept alive and well, is the best help.

    Merkel is certainly right in her arguments about Cyprus, even if it is an issue that still needs time, given the stalemate. But, it has become also clear that Erdogan is willing to resolve the issue in a broader context. He expects a complementary signal from Anastasiades, and has in mind a 'package solution' that should involve Cypriots as well as Greece, energy and economic cooperation, and have the backing of Britain. Germany can play a crucial role for the Eastern Mediterranean, if Erdogan's ideas make any sense".

    [08] Eroglu wants an agreement that no agreement could be reached in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot Kibris newspaper (27.02.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has said that the sides should agree whether an agreement could be reached in Cyprus or not and added that "if an agreement will not be reached, this is also an agreement". In statements yesterday during a visit to Turkey's Orhangazi district governor, Eroglu said that a new President of the Republic was elected now in "South Cyprus Greek Administration", as he described the Republic of Cyprus, and wished to meet with the new President within the forthcoming days.

    He argued: "I wish we sit and talk in the forthcoming days. If there will be an agreement, there will be [an agreement], if there will not be one, this also is an agreement. That is, if there will not be an agreement; let us agree on that as well".

    Claiming that the world has continuously expectations from Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side on the issue of securing an agreement, Eroglu alleged, inter alia, the following: "We are trying to make the state we have established continue living and while we are doing this we are continuing together searching for an agreement by which we will be able to live in Cyprus in security with our honor and dignity".


    [09] Kucuk: "If Anastasiades sends a representative to the negotiations, we will not degrade our president to that level"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (27.02.13) reports that Irsen Kucuk, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, has said that the leaders of the communities carry out the duty of "negotiator" in the Cyprus talks and added that the support of his "government" to the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu will continue, if the Greek Cypriot side continues the negotiations in this manner.

    In statements to Kibris TV, Kucuk said: "If [Translator's note: newly elected President] Anastasiades sends a representative to the negotiations, then we will not degrade our president to that level".

    Kucuk argued that the newly elected President of the Republic was supported by EOKA-B organization and that his statements before the elections did not give much hope for a solution. "I do not expect positive developments soon", he said.

    Referring to the statement made recently by Eroglu that his telephone calls were wiretapped, Kucuk said he does not think that this is possible. Noting that he received no information until today telling him that the telephones were wiretapped, Kucuk added: "Personally I am relaxed on this issue".

    Kucuk said that he will not take his opponent in the race for the National Unity Party's presidency, Ahmet Kasif and his supporters to the disciplinary committee of the UBP and added that their aim was to win the "elections" in occupied Lefkosia "municipality" and come to "power" alone during next year's general "elections".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (27.02.13) publishes an interview with Irsen Kucuk, who said that he is the president of the party and will not allow anyone to consider that "two authorities" exist in the UBP. Criticizing Eroglu's stance during the recent congress of the party, he argued: "Eroglu has personally become a side in the congress. He participated in the congress. He has personally carried out the campaign against me. He tried to put pressure on everyone, including the ministers, and direct them".

    Referring to the statement made by the Turkish Minister Responsible for EU Affairs, Egemen Bagis, who invited Kucuk, Eroglu and President Anastasiades to have fish in Istanbul, Kucuk said, inter alia, the following: "During this new period, I and my government will be more active in the foreign policy. I hope that the President of the Greek Administration Anastasiades accepts this invitation of Mr Egemen Bagis and we will go altogether to have fish in Istanbul".


    [10] Reply by Elcil to Bagis: "The Turkish officials are used to insulting us"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (27.02.13) reports that Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS), replied yesterday to the Turkish Minister Responsible for EU and Chief Negotiator, Egemen Bagis, who had invited the newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades to have fish at Bosporus in Istanbul. Elcil invited Bagis to Lefkosia to have bullez, a traditional Cyprus food. Elcil said, inter alia, the following in his statement:

    "In an insolent manner Mr Bagis sends invitations for having fish in Istanbul's Bosporus? In order for enriching Egemen Bagis' knowledge and explain to him the realities in Cyprus, we invite him to have bullez in Lefkosia? When they achieved the result they wanted in the elections in the north [Translator's note: the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus], they know started making statements regarding the south north [Translator's note: the government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus]. AKP, which offered every material and moral support for the election of Irsen Kucuk, has done this to receive a disproportionate return? Bagis continues hiding behind the yes vote of the Turkish Cypriots and make insolent statements. The officials from Turkey, who withdrew absolutely no soldier for the solution, who cause "pain" to all Cypriots at the barricades, who transfer population to the island and distribute citizenship, who usurp our political will, who plunder the Greek Cypriot properties and who still keep Varosha close, have turned insulting us to their habit?"


    [11] Akca discussed with Yorgancioglu and Akansoy the elections in the Republic of Cyprus

    Under the title: "Close cooperation is important", Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar newspaper (27.02.13) reports that the so-called Turkish ambassador to occupied Lefkosia Halil Ibrahim Akca visited yesterday the headquarters of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG), where he met with the chairman of CHP, Ozkan Yorgancioglu and the general secretary of the party Asim Akansoy.

    According to a statement issued by the press office of CTP-BG, during the meeting, the elections which took place in "south Cyprus", as the Republic of Cyprus is called, as well as the possible developments to be formed on the negotiation process were also being discussed.

    Speaking during the meeting, Yorgancioglu referred, inter alia, to the strong ties exist between Turkey and the "TRNC" and stressed the importance of the establishment of dialogue in all aspects, as well as the need for a more close cooperation with Turkey, having in mind, as he said, that the Cyprus problem will come again into the agenda.


    [12] Hasan Sertoglu the candidate of UBP for the occupied Lefkosia municipality' "elections"

    According to Turkish daily Haberdar newspaper (27.02.13) the National Unity Party (UBP) has approved unanimously yesterday during the meeting of the "party council" Hasan Sertoglu, as the candidate of the party at the forthcoming "by elections" to take place at the occupied Lefkosia municipality on April 7.

    Speaking after the party's meeting, Kucuk referred to the "elections" at the occupied Lefkosia municipality and stressed the need to take action in order to win also this "elections", as he said.

    On his party, Hasan Sertoglu said that they will work together with UBP with unity and solidarity and added that it will not be difficult to win the "elections". He continued and said that he is a candidate who aims not to create more problems to the "municipality" but to solve the problems, as he said.


    [13] Turkey's MGK conveyed yesterday; the fight against terrorism, the Syria crisis and the Imrali process dominated the meeting

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (26.02.13) reported that the National Security Council (MGK) held its regular bi-monthly meeting on February 26, just three days after a delegation from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) made a critical visit to Imral? island for talks with the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as part as an ongoing peace process between the government and the PKK.

    Although there was no comment made directly on the talks with the PKK during the MGK's meeting, which was presided over by President Abdullah Gul and saw the participation of top civilian and military officials, the nation's fight against terrorism and security operations planned for the coming months dominated the five-and-a-half hour assembly, according to an official statement.

    "While our fight against terrorism continues with determination, [the council] has discussed measures that could be taken to ensure our people's security and peace," the statement said.

    The meeting convened as a potential PKK ceasefire and retreat by militants were said to be on the agenda of the peace process.

    The Syrian civil war and the continuous flow of refugees into Turkey were also among important discussion points at the meeting. Civil and military leaders in the MGK also examined the latest situation in Iraq and North Africa, according to the official statement.

    [14] More about the Imrali process; Demirtas on Ocalan's letter

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (27.02.13) reports that the parties involved in the ongoing resolution process expressed their determination for eventually finding a peaceful resolution to Turkey's decades-old conflict with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he would even drink hemlock poison if it meant achieving peace.

    "If our Justice Ministry is allowing BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] deputies to Imral? as part of the resolution process, the only reason is [to see] whether a step could be taken [toward a solution]; it was this," Erdogan said on February 26 in an address to his party's parliamentary group, reiterating that he was ready to even "drink hemlock poison" if it would pave the way for serenity in the country.

    BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, meanwhile, said that the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, who recently met with three BDP Deputies, believes that the recent process will beget an eventual resolution to the Kurdish issue. "Neither we, nor the state can abandon that process," Demirtas quoted Ocalan as saying in a letter he said they received from Ocalan the morning of February 26. The letter was reportedly sent through a courier by the National Intelligence Service (MIT).

    "There's a certain determination and desire this time. Parties have focused on the target. They don't regard the process as hanging on by a thread. We are making persistent efforts in order for that process not to fail," Demirtas told a group of reporters on February 26. When asked whether the PKK could declare a ceasefire on March 21, at Nevruz ? a spring festival for many people in the Middle East that is of crucial importance to Kurds ? Demirtas said that there's a de facto ceasefire, indicating that the PKK is not carrying out armed action and the army is not conducting considerable military operations against the PKK. He added that the de facto ceasefire can become official after the process makes progress. "Withdrawal of PKK militants will become definite after discussions between Ocalan and Kandil, the mountain where the PKK's headquarters and training camps are based", according to Demirtas.

    Demirtas, who had yet to read the whole letter when speaking to reporters, said that the handwritten letter by Ocalan arrived at the BDP's headquarters in a white, unsealed and unmarked envelope. Ocalan wrote one letter, with three addressees on separate cover letters: the BDP, Kandil and the European wing of the PKK. The BDP Party Assembly gathered and discussed Ocalan's letter and the BDP's Central Executive Board will respond to Ocalan's letter before deciding whether or not to reveal its content.

    According to sources, Ocalan lays out certain conditions for the PKK's disarmament in his letter. Certain legal assurances should be provided for the PKK's withdrawal from Turkey and the withdrawal can be completed by the end of August, Ocalan was quoted by sources as saying.

    For disarmament of the PKK, according to Ocalan, Turkey needs to strengthen local administrations by removing its reservations on the Council of Europe's European Charter of Local Self-Government. The definition of a neutral citizenship, which will not define anyone as Turkish or Kurdish and establishment of a truth commission in Parliament to examine rights violations, are required conditions for a resolution, Ocalan reportedly wrote. Demirtas said that Ocalan expects a response to his letter within two weeks".


    [15] Iran will reportedly trade oil for Turkish ships in order to evade US sanctions

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (26.02.13) reported that a news report has said on Tuesday that Ankara is now considering an Iranian bid to exchange oil for Turkish ships and coast guard boats in a deal worth more than $3 billion, amid US-led sanctions on the transfer of some international currencies and gold to Iran over Tehran's suspected nuclear program.

    Turkey, Iran's biggest natural gas customer, has been paying Iran for its exports with Turkish lira because sanctions prevent it from paying in dollars or euro.

    Iranians then use those liras, held in Halkbank accounts, to buy gold in Turkey, and couriers carry bullion worth millions of dollars in hand luggage to Dubai, where it can be sold for foreign currency or shipped to Iran. Halkbank had also been processing a portion of India's payments for Iranian oil.

    US officials sought to prevent Turkish gold exports, which indirectly pay Iran for its natural gas, from providing a financial lifeline to Tehran, largely frozen out of the global banking system by the Western sanctions.

    To avoid the latest sanctions, Iran is now considering trading the oil and gas it exports to Turkey for Turkish industrial products, Turkey's Vatan daily reported on Tuesday. The bargain could create a sector worth $20 billion in the long run. The shipping industry is a candidate to profit most from this move by Iran and has already been taking measures to turn the crisis into a business opportunity.

    A senior official working in a Turkish shipbuilding yard told Vatan that Iranians want to buy their products and they are particularly interested in purchasing coast guard boats, search and rescue vessels, river craft and small cargo ships. He added that demands like these have already been conveyed to Ankara and that they are awaiting answers from officials.

    Officials in the shipping industry say the demand from Iranians have already amounted to up to $3 billion.

    Turkish Shipbuilders' Association (GISBIR) chairman Murat K?ran also confirmed the demands from Iran in his interview with Vatan. K?ran stressed that international investment is creating new opportunities for Turkish businesses. He said if Ankara approves the bargain, the sector will have a chance to revive its business.

    The report said that the export of shipping industry has significantly declined with a 60% drop to $1.1 billion, due to a decline in global demand. The ship-for-oil bargain with Iran will make the sector significantly more vibrant.

    The report added that Turkish coast guard boats and search and rescue vessels are world-class brands. Different types of Turkish boats are already being exported to Romania, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Georgia, Egypt and Pakistan.



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