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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-07-26

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 <>



  • [01] Eroglu: "Anastasiades has tied his own hands up"
  • [02] Gezi Park casualties: Gul and not Erdogan reportedly to represent to the UN General Assembly
  • [03] An unexpected visit by PYD leader to Turkey
  • [04] Final "election" results to be announced around 21.30
  • [05] Turkish columnist says that Ankara involves in policy making in the occupied part of Cyprus and the "Turkish ambassador" is the de facto power
  • [06] Talat comments on the wiretapping of his office in 2009; More on the content of the tape
  • [07] KTOS and KTOEOS condemned the tape recording revealed by Afrika paper
  • [08] Ankara furious over The Times' celeb ad condemning Gezi crackdown
  • [09] Turkish columnist interprets Gul's letter to Egypt interim President Mansour
  • [10] EU raises concerns on media freedom in Turkey after Baydar fired
  • [11] UNDP set to move its centre to Istanbul


    [01] Eroglu: "Anastasiades has tied his own hands up"

    Under the title "Anastasiades has tied his own hand up", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (26.07.13) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu has alleged that President Anastasiades had tied his own hand up by putting the National Council into a position of taking binding decisions, and that this situation would pose obstacles and difficulties to reaching an agreement on the Cyprus problem.

    Eroglu returned yesterday from Brussels where he met with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso and the European Commissioner Responsible for the Enlargement, Stefan Fule.

    In statements at illegal Tymvou airport, Eroglu said that with Barosso and Fule they discussed the issue of occupied fenced city of Varosha, the EU's Green Line Regulation, the so-called change of the Turkish names of roads in the government-controlled area of Cyprus and the negotiations process.

    Eroglu noted that during his meeting he had conveyed to his interlocutors the developments after the election of President Anastasiades and explained what he called as mistakes made by President Anastasiades in his protocol with his coalition partners before the elections. Noting that the views which will be expressed at the negotiations will have to pass from the political party leaders first and afterwards from the National Council, Eroglu claimed that this is a stance which creates obstacles and difficulties to a possible agreement.

    Eroglu said that in his meeting with Barosso and Fule they firstly brought onto the agenda the issue of the occupied fenced city of Varosha and added that Fule told them that the news published in the Greek Cypriot press that the Greek Cypriot side would contact Turkey through Fule and convey its views on Varosha had no connection or relation with him. According to Eroglu, Fule said that they were not considering of becoming "anybody's postman". "We said that we oppose to this kind of views", noted Eroglu adding that they conveyed their complaints for the so-called obstacles allegedly put by the Greek Cypriots to Turkish Cypriot commercial vehicles which trade with the Greek Cypriot side within the framework of the Green Line Regulation and for amendments which the Greek Cypriots allegedly want to make in this regulation "without taking the approval of the Turkish Cypriot side".

    Ignoring the fact that the occupation regime changed all the Greek names in the occupied part of Cyprus (towns, villages, etc.) after the 1974 invasion of the island, Eroglu argued that the decision allegedly taken in the direction of abolishing the Turkish names of roads in the government-controlled area of Cyprus (!) was wrong and "breaks the will of the people for an agreement". He alleged the following: "Taking such a decision in a period during which two peoples who speak the Turkish and Greek languages are looking for an agreement shows how different the Greek Cypriots' point of view towards us is. The important thing for us is that such decisions have been produced for materializing such defective views when we are searching for an agreement".

    Eroglu said that they told the EU officials that the investments in the occupied area of Cyprus within the framework of EU's annual aid of 30 million euros were advancing very slowly, that the contractors were paid with delay for the job they do, and that it was not possible for the money to be used when time passed. Eroglu noted that they expressed their "sensitivities" on this issue and asked for behaving in a "more meticulous" manner.

    Eroglu said that Barosso and Fule were sincere during this meeting and added that he is satisfied. Eroglu noted that they have many common views and said that he did not take the message that the "embargoes" and the "isolations" allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots will be lifted. He argued that Barosso and Fule clearly understood that the Turkish Cypriots were allegedly right on this issue, that their economy is harmed and that their freedom of traveling was limited, and said that they saw positively the Turkish Cypriot wish for some steps to be taken on this issue within the forthcoming days.


    [02] Gezi Park casualties: Gul and not Erdogan reportedly to represent to the UN General Assembly

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (26.07.13) siting diplomatic sources writes that this year Turkey will not be represented to the UN General Assembly by the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan but by President Abdullah Gul and blames this to the fading image of Erdogan due to the recent developments in the country.

    The paper writes that this is not the first time that Gul represents Turkey to the UN General Assembly; he did so in 2008, 2010 and 2012. However, this year is rather significant; Gul will deliver his speech second, following the speech of the US President Barack Obama who will speak first since USA will be the host of this year's Assembly.

    This is the first time such a privilege is given to a Turkish leader, the paper notes.

    [03] An unexpected visit by PYD leader to Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 25.07.13), under the title "PYD leader arrives in Turkey for two-day talks" reported that the leader of the main Kurdish group in northern Syria, Salih Muslim, arrived July 25 in Istanbul for two days of talks.

    The visit qualified as "unexpected" comes a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a three-hour-long emergency meeting mainly focusing on the latest developments in northern Syria.

    According to daily Hurriyet, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader came to Istanbul at 4:30 p.m. on a flight from Arbil in northern Iraq and is expected to stay two days.

    The Turkish government had expressed strong concerns about the imposition of a de facto autonomous region in the north of Syria after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) affiliated PYD increased its control in the area. The People's Defence Units (YPG), PYD's armed wing, has been engaged in a violent fight with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front for over a week, gaining the control of the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, near the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar.

    The developments had prompted the Turkish government to hold an emergency meeting yesterday, attended by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel and Turkish National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan along with the Prime Minister.

    The government is also working to finalize a democratization package to boost the ongoing Kurdish peace process that started seven months ago. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc had told Ankara bureau chiefs that the package would amend some articles of the infamous anti-terror code to the advantage of arrested members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the PKK's alleged urban wing.

    [04] Final "election" results to be announced around 21.30

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (26.07.13) reports that Nevvar Nolan, chairman of the so-called high election council, made statements about Sunday's 28 July parliament elections and said that ballot boxes will be closed at 18.00 and the first results will start coming out around 19.00. He also estimated that the final results will be announced around 21.30.

    Nolan also said that due to a cooperation protocol signed between the "high election council" and the illegal Near East University, the final results will be announced very quickly. He also stated that the results will be announced at the

    [05] Turkish columnist says that Ankara involves in policy making in the occupied part of Cyprus and the "Turkish ambassador" is the de facto power

    Under the title "Will polls help anything in northern Cyprus?", columnist Yusuf Kanli, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 26.07.13) comments on the involvement of Ankara in the domestic affairs of the breakaway regime during the upcoming "elections" in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, as follows:

    "This Sunday the TRNC [editor's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus] will go to the ballot box to elect a new 50-member legislature. Naturally, everyone thinks they have a chance of coming to power alone.

    What will be the result? It does not mean much who will win unless northern Cyprus overhauls its political system and either opts for a presidential system of governance or parliamentary rule. Insisting on a system where both the president and the prime minister are elected directly by the people has proved to be insane. Ever since the founding of the TRNC, presidents and prime ministers have been engaged in a war of attrition. The late Rauf Denktas was fighting with his premier, Dervis Eroglu ? and both were from the same political party. Ditto for President Mehmet Ali Talat and his premier, Ferdi Sabit Soyer. With Eroglu becoming president, he started a war with his former comrade, prime minister Irsen Kucuk. Perhaps not only Turkish Cypriots but Ankara as well must make a decision against the hybrid form of governance and opt for either presidential or parliamentary rule. Just because the president and the premier come from the same party does not mean the two will not fight, particularly if both leaders are elected directly by the people. There is a need to precisely define the rules of the game.

    Now, Ankara is involved in policy-making in northern Cyprus in the very same fashion the Turkish military was once upon a time behaving in Turkey. Thus the confrontation in northern Cyprus has two sides, the president and the premier, but indeed the Turkish ambassador is the de facto power, if not the puppeteer pulling the strings of the premier. Why? Nasraddin Hodja has an answer in his famous "who can blow the whistle?" story. Whoever pays for it of course can blow the whistle? If the Turkish Cypriot economy is mostly financed by Turkey, thanks to 'international isolation forced on the north by Greek Cypriots', and if there is a 'demanding' Ankara, then can there be a way out? If a government wants to follow something other than what Ankara or its ambassador in Nicosia dictates, then who will pay the salaries of the civil servants? It's so simple?

    So, to become a working democracy, northern Cyprus must decide which form of governance it wants. That's not enough. It should also find a way of becoming integrated with the global economy and cease being some sort of Turkish protectorate.

    Well, it is sad for a Turkish Cypriot to admit all these things, but can there be a way out without a proper diagnosis of the problem? Greek Cypriots have been complaining of Turkey making decisions on behalf of Turkish Cypriots. 'The same Greek Cypriots, acting as the government of the entire island, insists on a global embargo ? not only on trade but education, sports, health, indeed everything ? on Turkish Cypriots.' Why? Because Turkish Cypriots don't want to become serfs of the partnership state usurped by the Greek Cypriots and insist on having full equality in the sovereignty of the island.

    After all, does it indeed matter who wins in northern Cyprus? The left? What was that confession by Talat in newspapers last week that his government failed so badly that perhaps a general strike might help it find a face-saving formula to explain economic collapse of 2009? Or was it the right which has been engaged in a war of attrition, thanks to the generous contributions of Ankara and its governor-general, pardon, ambassador in northern Cyprus?

    Unfortunately, most Turkish Cypriots still approach the elections with a 'who will pay more?' opportunism which, I am afraid, will be of little help to solving the quagmire."

    [06] Talat comments on the wiretapping of his office in 2009; More on the content of the tape

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.07.13) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has commented on the debates started in the Turkish Cypriot community, because of the leak to the press of tape recordings as a result of wiretapping of his office prior to the "parliamentary elections" in 2009. The tape included a conversation between Talat, his then spokesman, Hasan Ercakica and the former "undersecretary" at the so-called ministry of finance and current so-called minister of finance, Zeren Mungan.

    Talat told Kibris that he did not want to make a statement on this issue, but noted that a debate and an interrogation should be carried out on how this tape was leaked to the press rather than the content of the tape. "How this conversation was recorded", he wondered noting that this is what is important and argued that "its content are issues which could be discussed at every meeting".

    The paper reports that it could not reach Ercakica and Mungan when it attempted to take their views on the issue.

    Referring to the content of the conversation, the paper writes that Mungan was briefing Talat on the economic situation in the occupied area of Cyprus and that they discussed the situation at the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines which went bankrupt, the support which they had asked from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) prior to the "parliamentary elections" in 2009, the economic measures which were not implemented and ways to weaken the trade unions which could oppose to the economic program imposed by Turkey.

    Talat said that if the CTP came to "power" he could interfere with the work of the "government". When Mungan told Talat that the then Turkish Minster Responsible for Cyprus, Cemil Cicek had given him a sign showing that he wanted CTP to establish a "government", Talat replied that this could happen only with AKP's help.

    Mungan said that "serious" increases to the salaries of the "civil" servants were made during the period 2003-2008 due to the inflation rate and that the money which came from Turkey for investments was spent for paying the salaries, adding that this is why they accumulated in three months the credit of one year.

    Talat said that serious measures should have been taken for getting out of the economic difficulties and added that the only obstacle on this issue would be posed by the trade unions. Ercakica replied that they should leave the trade unions to go on strike for one month in order to save 80 million Turkish liras from the salaries of the "civil servants", which would have been paid by the trade unions in case of a strike.

    Talat said also that he was positive to a "coalition government" between the UBP and the CTP and added that in case this happened, the CTP should have taken the "ministry" of finance. He noted that if CTP could not have taken the "ministry" of finance, it should have controlled the "ministry" of foreign affairs, having the sole responsibility for the Cyprus problem.


    [07] KTOS and KTOEOS condemned the tape recording revealed by Afrika paper

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (26.07.13), the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS) and the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOEOS), in a joint written statement yesterday, protested against the tape recordings that took place prior to the 2009 "parliament elections" between the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, his spokesman Hasan Ercakica and Zeren Mungan, current undersecretary of "ministry of finance" and at the time advisor of Talat.

    Guven Varoglu, general Chairman of KTOS, and Tahir Gokcebel, Chairman of KTOEOS, said in the written statement that these tapes recordings exposes openly the dirtiness in the political life at the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, adding that these tapes recordings have also revealed how the "north part of the island" is administered. They added that the dirty political bargaining of the politicians as well as their bribery works, are again in the agenda. They also noted that the tape recordings of personal meetings or the private life is used widely by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey.

    [08] Ankara furious over The Times' celeb ad condemning Gezi crackdown

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 25.07.13) with the above title reported that government officials gave a quick response to the letter recently published in "The Times" targeting the ruling party's treatment of Gezi Park protesters, accusing the celebrities who penned the lines of "insincerity," as well as of working with anti-government figures in the country.

    Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Huseyin Celik described the letter, which was penned by a list of famous figures, including actors and authors, as an example of "arrogance," saying it "was served to them [the writers] by those inside the country."

    Celik also accused the celebrities of "ignoring" the situation in Syria and events in Egypt, and of harbouring anti-AKP feelings.

    "The answers that need to be given will be given. This is extremely arrogant and out of place behaviour. We strongly refute and condemn it," Celik said.

    The letter both damages the publication's respectability and the reputation of those who signed it, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief political advisor, Yalc?n Akdogan, who called the full-page ad "unacceptable" and "tactless."

    A group of internationally renowned artists and scholars condemned the Turkish authorities' heavy-handed crackdown on the Gezi Park protests in a full-page letter published July 24 in the British broadsheet The Times, addressed to Prime Minister Erdogan. The signatories, including figures known for their activism such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and movie director David Lynch, described the Turkish government as "a dictatorial rule" and slammed Erdogan's uncompromising stance regarding the protesters' demands.

    "The fact that such an ad that was filled with political polemics and deliriums was published by The Times not only damages the respectability of that newspaper, but also damages the reputation of those who signed under such inappropriate descriptions of the Turkish government and prime minister," Akdogan said.

    He said "disinformation" was at work over the Gezi interventions, adding that "those who want to see excessive use of police force should look at the interventions in Britain in recent times."

    "An attitude that likens the will of the 1.5 million who gathered at Kazl?cesme to the Nuremberg trials is committing a hate crime, and is also disrespecting the national will," Akdogan added.

    The Republican People's Party (CHP) also received its share of criticism, with the advisor accusing the letter-writers of joining a campaign that "repeats the CHP's sayings." "Will they join the CHP in local propaganda campaigns?" he said.

    "Those who did not publish anything with regards to the coup in Egypt, or did not object to the ongoing cruelty against Muslims in Myanmar, do not have any sincerity or credibility," Akdogan added.

    [09] Turkish columnist interprets Gul's letter to Egypt interim President Mansour

    Under the title "Gul tones down Turkey's Egypt stance", columnist Murat Yetkin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 26.07.13) interprets Gul's letter to Egypt interim President Mansour as follows:

    "Turkish President Abdullah Gul's letter to Egypt's Interim President Adly Mansour on July 24, congratulating the country's national day was a result of the Turkish government's move to 'tone down' its strong stance against the new administration in Cairo brought to power by military who toppled the elected President Mohamad Morsi on July 3, a high-ranking Turkish official told the Hurriyet Daily News.

    The source, who asked not to be named, said that the decision was taken in an emergency meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on July 24, mainly on Syria, but during which developments in Egypt and the Middle East were discussed in detail.

    Erdogan had called that meeting mainly regarding the high tension along the Turkish-Syrian border following the fierce fight between the radical Islamist Al Nusra and the Kurdish autonomist Democratic Union Party (PYD) militants, causing Turkish worries regarding the civil war in Syria and the Turkish government's own initiative to pursue peace with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for a political settlement to the Kurdish problem; having obvious links with Iraq and Iran where Kurds live as well. A number of Ministers including Foreign, Defence, Justice and Interior ministers and ranking officials including the Chief of General Staff and head of National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had attended the meeting. In the evening hours, Gul's press advisor Ahmet Sever spoke to Anadolu Agency, revealing that Gul has sent a message to Mansour congratulating him because on the national day.

    It should be noted that Gul's has been the first message from Turkey to the interim administration in Egypt; there were no messages for Mansour before because of him assuming power, since PM Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had underlined a number of times before that Ankara would not acknowledge the interim government after the coup against Morsi as a legitimate one. Perhaps that is the reason why Sever had to add another sentence to his statement to Agency that Gul's message had been 'written and sent in consultation with related bodies of the government', seemingly as a pre-emptive measure against possible speculations.

    Before the July 24 meeting, there had been a number of developments which caused Ankara to fine tune its Egypt policy. Egypt's Ambassador to Ankara, Abderahman Salaheldin, had declined to attend the fast-breaking dinner invitation on July 18 by Prime Minister Erdogan, who delivered another bitter speech against the coup in Egypt and criticized the Western and Arab reluctance to condemn it. On July 19, Selahaddin had paid a visit to Foreign Minister Davutoglu to talk about the situation in Cairo. On July 22, HDN published an interview with Selahaddin, who said that he believed that the problems of the day were not so important and the Turkish-Egyptian ties would be back on track soon. The same day there was a telephone conversation between Davutoglu and the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during which the Middle East, Syria and Egypt issues were reportedly discussed.

    On the same day, July 24, almost the same time as the meeting in Ankara finished, the Pentagon had announced that the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to the interim government was suspended by President Barack Obama. Turkish sources told HDN that the position of the Turkish government might have been a factor in the U.S. decision to suspend the military delivery to Egypt, which had been seen as an approval of the coup in Egypt when it was first announced, but that decision and the phone conversation between Kerry and Davutoglu did not have any effect on Ankara's decision to tone down.

    According to the HDN source, there were a few reasons behind his toning down. At first, Ankara understood that the political settlement in Egypt is likely to take some more time, since the people of Egypt are divided between pro and anti Morsi lines. Secondly, it would be much more difficult to try to support the return to democracy in Egypt as soon as possible without working political channels between Ankara and Cairo. Thirdly, Turkey had always worked in a complimentary role in Egypt's efforts in the Middle East peace process, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And fourthly, the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood power in Egypt would affect the situation in Palestine (because of Brothehood-linked Hamas in Gaza) and the Brotherhood-motivated armed opposition in Syria. The assessments within the Foreign Ministry and the Intelligence based upon the political balances in the region seemingly played an important role in Erdogan's toning down his strong stance to undo the coup and bring Morsi back to power immediately.

    The Turkish government's toning down on Egypt policy might have reflections on its Palestinian-Israeli and Syrian policies as well."

    [10] EU raises concerns on media freedom in Turkey after Baydar fired

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 25.07.13) with the above title reported that the European Union has criticized and raised concerns about the state of media freedom in Turkey in the wake of Yavuz Baydar's sacking from the Sabah daily.

    The European Commission, in a statement to Today's Zaman, underlined the importance of several issues regarding freedom of expression. Editorial independence, transparency of media ownership and being free from political interference were cited as the three basic pillars of media freedom.

    The European Commission said it was concerned about measures taken against some journalists such as dismissals and criminal sanctions. The commission's statement comes just after Baydar, the ombudsman of Sabah, was fired from the newspaper. Baydar, a well-known liberal columnist, was invited by the European Commission to address the Speak-Up conference at the end of June in Brussels. In his speech, Baydar had strongly criticized the Turkish government, the ownership of media by big business and some of his colleagues for confusing journalism with political activism. He also served as president of the US-based Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO) between 2003 and 2004.

    Peter Stano, the spokesman for Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, also stressed in the statement "the significance of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness" in terms of press freedom.

    "Freedom of expression, together with pluralism, tolerance, broadmindedness, as well as editorial independence and transparency of media ownership, free from political interference, are key elements in any democracy," he said.

    Without naming Baydar by name, Stano said: "In this regard, the Commission expresses its concern for the recent measures taken against some journalists, including dismissals and criminal sanctions."

    Hasan Cemal, a well-known liberal columnist was also fired from the Milliyet daily in March for his critical remarks vis-a-vis the government.

    Freedom of press and expression has been the focal point of the European Union regarding Turkey for the last several years. The European Commission in its yearly progress reports has strongly criticized the government and the cosy relationship between media and big business.

    The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with its affiliate in Turkey, the Turkey's Journalists Union (Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi,TGS) has expressed its outrage at the dismissal of senior Turkish journalist, Yavuz Baydar, from the daily newspaper Sabah, a statement from the institution said on Thursday.

    [11] UNDP set to move its centre to Istanbul

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 26.07.13) reports that Turkish and U.N. officials have reached an agreement in principle to move the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Centre in Bratislava to Istanbul amid what many are considering an assertive step toward the creation of a U.N. hub in Istanbul.

    The Turkish government expressed willingness for such a move and offered attractive incentives to promote the relocation of the regional centre from the Slovakian capital to Istanbul, sources told the Hurriyet Daily News.

    The top U.N. official based in Ankara, approached by the Daily News on July 24, confirmed the ongoing talks between U.N. and Turkish Foreign Ministry officials for the drafting of the legal agreement which will eventually have to be ratified by Parliament.

    Kamal Malhotra, U.N. resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative for Turkey, said such relocation would be reasonable for the U.N. side for several reasons.

    A senior Turkish diplomat, speaking to the Daily News yesterday, also confirmed the proposal, while underlining that the move should be considered within the framework of Turkey's target of turning Istanbul into a centre for international organizations, given that it has already become a global financial centre.

    "In regards to its own mission, the UNDP positively approached the idea, since with this office it will be closer to Arab Spring countries, North Africa and the Middle East," said the same senior diplomat, speaking under the customary condition of anonymity.

    Recalling that Turkey hosted the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in May 2011, the diplomat said the UNDP, through its office in Istanbul, would more comfortably reach out to LDCs, a majority of which are located in Africa.

    Ankara has offered attractive incentives, but both the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the U.N. refused to go into detail on the issue. However, Turkish officials said it was usual for aspirant host countries to offer such incentives and that this was not a case specific to Turkey.

    "[There is] a financial package which I don't want to go into detail [about]," Malhotra said when asked about the incentives. "They made an offer to help us with this decision because otherwise there is no reason for us to move, but it is part of Turkey's overall ambition to play a major role in the U.N. which as you know, is also linked to Turkey's bid for the U.N. Security Council and also to make Istanbul a hub," he said.

    Both Malhotra and the Turkish diplomat emphasized Turkey's rising profile as a donor country not only with its humanitarian assistance efforts, but also with contribution to global development.

    "To relocate to Istanbul from Bratislava obviously could not be made unless we knew what the financial package was. That was a decision made already before," Malhotra said.

    The UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre supports 25 countries and territories in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). If it eventually moves to Istanbul, it will not be the first ever U.N. office in Istanbul. Since 2011, the Eastern Europe and Central Asian Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been located in Istanbul.

    U.N. Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, is also considering whether to open a regional office in Istanbul while the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has already appealed to the Turkish government to open a centre for regional competitiveness in Istanbul. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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