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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 14-03-03

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 42/14 01-03.03.14

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Positive ground exists for DP-UBP cooperation in the "municipality elections"; CTP is annoyed by its "coalition partner's" stance
  • [02] Nami: In a sense, isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots have been overcome with the OIC
  • [03] Davutoglu on the Cyprus problem
  • [04] Ozersay: these visits could be perceived as preparations for a larger meeting to be attended by all parties concerned
  • [05] Mavroyiannis and Ozersay will participate in a conference in Brussels
  • [06] MUSIAD to open representation office in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [07] Nami: "We should get ready for the EU"
  • [08] Delegations from the self-styled assembly will follow EU Parliament's sessions
  • [09] CTP participated at the deliberations of the Party of European Socialists' conference
  • [10] CTP "deputy" addresses a conference at the Italian Parliament
  • [11] Denktas sees a policy to cut off the Turkish Cypriots from Turkey during the past ten years
  • [12] New elements provide ground for optimism for Cyprus deal
  • [13] The breakaway regime in the middle of a new economic scandal in Turkey
  • [14] Brucellosis reappears in 60 farms in occupied Cyprus; They have no money to deal with the problem
  • [15] The occupancy rate of hotels in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [16] Turkish Parliament adopts 'democracy package'
  • [17] Brussels offered to hold a working group meeting with Ankara on Chapter 23
  • [18] Davutoglu and Bahceli warn over partition of Ukraine

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Positive ground exists for DP-UBP cooperation in the "municipality elections"; CTP is annoyed by its "coalition partner's" stance

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.03.14) reported that the Democratic Party ? National Forces (DP-UG) and the National Unity Party (UBP) have announced that positive ground exists for cooperation between the two parties in the "municipality elections" which will be held in June 2014 in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus. Delegations from the two parties headed by their chairmen met on Sunday and discussed their cooperation in the above-mentioned "elections".

    In statements after the meeting, Huseyin Ozgurgun, chairman of the UBP, said that a positive ground is being created for an alliance between them in the "municipality elections" and added that "something will come up by the end of the week". He went on and noted: "28 municipalities exist and we see what kind of cooperation we will have. We saw that the ground is positive, but we have to work on it".

    In his statements, Serdar Denktas, chairman of the DP-UG, said that there is a ground for meetings with the UBP, that some work should be done at the competent committees of the parties and that their target is to reach a result within this week. He noted that during this meeting they discussed only the issue of the "municipal elections" and that the DP-UG is still a "coalition partner" in the "government". He expressed the view that being in the "government" with the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) does not mean that they could not be opponents in the "municipal elections" and added that they are continuing their work being committed to their "coalition protocol" with the CTP-BG.

    Commenting on the possibility of his son, Rauf Denktas, becoming a "candidate" in the "municipal elections", Serdar Denktas said that these are speculations and added that if he had not been his son, they might have nominated him. "However, I have no right to put obstacles in front of him because he is my son. I was also son of Rauf Denktas", he added.

    Meanwhile, Kibris (04.03.14) reports that the possible cooperation of DP-UG with the main "opposition" UBP in the "municipal elections" caused great annoyance in the CTP-BG and anger within CTP-BG members.

    Ozkan Yorgancioglu, chairman of the CTP, said that the cooperation of "coalition partner" DP-UG with the main "opposition" UBP in the "municipal elections" is an "unacceptable approach". He noted that as the press reported, the two parties will cooperate in order for taking away from the CTP-BG its current "municipalities" and this is not "ethical". Yorgancioglu announced that the council of the CTP-BG will convene tonight and, among other issues, will evaluate the cooperation between DP and UBP in the "municipal elections".

    In statements to Kibris, CTP's general secretary, Kutlay Erk said that this situation is "a way of behaviour which could be debated from an ethical point of view", but in spite of this such an alliance does not cause problems for his party. He noted that if their party council says that this behaviour causes a crisis in the "government", they will evaluate the situation that will come up. He said that it is possible the coalition between the right wing parties to be turned into a collation for the "presidential elections".

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Realist newspaper (04.03.14) reports that "deputies" of the CTP-BG have strongly reacted to the meetings between the DP-UG and the UBP and expressed the view that "the architect of this process" is the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu. They argued that this alliance has been constructed in order to deal a blow to the solution process and gather the opponents of the solution of the Cyprus problem under the same roof. According to the paper, the CTP "deputies" do not think that this cooperation will be ethical and most of them share the view that from now on "no life for the government is left" and it should be broken down.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Nami: In a sense, isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots have been overcome with the OIC

    According to illegal Bayrak television (03.03.14), the so-called foreign ministry of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus together with the Islam Centre for Development of Trade organized a workshop titled "Export Incentives in line with globalization and Investment Strategies" at the "Near East University" (YDU).

    The workshop aims to develop existing relations between the "TRNC" and member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    Delivering an opening address at the workshop self-styled foreign minister Ozdil Nami said he was honoured to host such a workshop in the "TRNC", adding that the workshop will have positive repercussions for the business industry. He invited foreign businessmen to invest in the "TRNC".

    Making evaluations regarding the latest phase reached on the Cyprus negotiations process, Nami said that with the approval of the joint statement a new phase had begun at the Cyprus negotiations process and claimed that the Turkish Cypriots after a very long time have found the opportunity to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Claiming that if both sides of the island show the necessary will then a solution to the half century old problem can be found, Nami said that the island can become an island of peace.

    Pointing to the importance of holding this meeting in the "TRNC", Nami said that "with this meeting the isolations on northern Cyprus had been somewhat overcome".

    Noting the strategic importance of Cyprus, Nami said Cyprus is a bridge between East and West and added that it will continue to fulfil its existing responsibilities.

    According to the website (28.02.14) of the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs, Nami pointed out to the importance of organizing workshops of OIC in the "TRNC", and added: "In a sense, isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriots have been overcome through this organization."

    According to statistical information, OIC member countries realized 35.2 million dollars export to "North Cyprus" and "TRNC" realized 40.2 million dollars export to OIC member states via Turkey. Pointing out that this rate has increased 12.5% in the last 3 years, Nami said that they aim to reach 100 million dollars of business transactions.

    [03] Davutoglu on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily Star (02.03.14) published an interview by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, commenting on the Cyprus problem among other.

    Asked to comment on what they are expecting from the Cyprus issue, Davutoglu said: "Our Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu spoke with the negotiator of the South Cyprus Greek Sector [editor's note: Greek Cypriot negotiator]. The Greek undersecretary and the TRNC [editor's note: Turkish Cypriot negotiator] negotiator also spoke. This is a very important development. For the first time, a Turkish official listened to a representative of the Greek Administration of South Cyprus (GKRY) [editor's note: as he refers to the Government of Republic of Cyprus], and they to us. We said: 'Let us go to the island together and meet with the South and the North.' We wanted to meet at the level of the political leaders. We want to take every step that will bring about peace on the island. My Greek friend Foreign Minister Evengelos Venizelos also wants this. A situation needs to be brought about in the Eastern Mediterranean in which everyone can speak with everyone. A negotiating text has emerged. This text could be the main draft of a 40-year negotiations process. What was lacking was political will, and this has also taken shape. The only worrisome development has been the coalition rift in the GKRY."

    [04] Ozersay: these visits could be perceived as preparations for a larger meeting to be attended by all parties concerned

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 01.03.14), Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay, speaking at the occupied airport of Tymbou upon his return from Athens where he met with the General Secretary of the Greek Foreign Ministry Anastassis Mitsialis, has announced that parallel visits of the negotiators to Ankara and Athens, similar to the ones held on Thursday, will continue in the future. He added: "The door of a new dialogue had been opened".

    He said that such visits will continue in the future with the aim of making concrete contributions to the negotiations process.

    Repeating his view that the parallel visits should not be perceived as negotiations, Ozersay said: "these visits could be perceived as preparations for a larger meeting to be attended by all parties concerned".

    Stating that he had spoken with the Greek Cypriot Negotiator Andreas Mavroyannis over the phone, Ozersay said that he had received the impression that Mavroyannis was happy with the results of his meeting in Ankara. "It is my belief that if all parties concerned are happy with the results such meetings will continue in the future. Perhaps in different forms" he added.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 03.03.14), under the title "Historical opportunity shouldn't be missed, Turkish Cypriot negotiator says", reported that the historical opportunity which has occurred with the recent reunification Cyprus talks should not be missed, according to Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay, who visited the Greek Foreign Ministry's secretary-general in Athens last week.

    "There is a natural calendar for these talks, and this calendar gives us the opportunity to turn this psychologically positive atmosphere into a solid solution. We shouldn't miss this opportunity," Ozersay told daily Hurriyet in a recent interview.

    "We believe we can finish this problem by following a policy of 'give and take' as much as possible. The most important thing to do now is put a political will and leadership forward. [We should also] try to find a middle way for the solution by knowing that we cannot take 100% of what we want," he said.

    But the recent resignation of Cyprus' Cabinet is expected to have a negative impact on the ongoing negotiations, and Ozersay said that political instabilities and crisis in the region present the risk that both sides would fail to achieve a comprehensive solution.

    Ozersay said the meeting in Athens lasted five hours, noting that this was positive beyond expectations. "We talked about all aspects of the Cyprus problem, so we are glad about that. One of the main issues of the talks is equality, which means the talks that were carried out by the Greek Cypriots in Ankara and the talks that we carried out in Athens were described as talks equal to each other. These talks don't create the result for Greece to recognize the TRNC, and they don't create the result for Turkey to recognize the Greek Cypriot state," Ozersay said.

    The Turkish Cypriot negotiator said it was not possible to predict when political, social or economic instability might occur in the eastern Mediterranean region, meaning the talks should be concluded as soon as possible.

    Ozersay also said he talked on the phone with Mavroyiannis, noting that the latter was also happy about his own talks in Ankara. "Like us, the Greek Cypriots also see it as a positive step to continue this dialogue process. So if both sides want this, I expect this dialogue to continue on the base of equality," he said.

    Ozersay said that if the talks continue, there would probably be a deeper discussion of the issues regarding the Cyprus problem. "Maybe the negotiator for the Turkish Cypriots and the negotiator for the Greek Cypriots might visit the guarantor powers together if both sides agree upon this. We believe a solution that might be found would bring stability both to the island and to the region as a whole," he said.

    [05] Mavroyiannis and Ozersay will participate in a conference in Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.03.14) reported that the Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay will participate in a conference in Brussels which will be held between 6-7 of March.

    The conference is organized by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and has the following subject: "Cyprus' Peace Dividend: A Productivity and Sectorial Approach".

    [06] MUSIAD to open representation office in the occupied area of Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 28.02.14), the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD), which is currently paying a series of visits to self-styled state and government officials, is preparing to open a representation office in the occupied area of Cyprus, which will be the association's 150th office.

    Within the framework of the visits, a MUSIAD delegation paid a visit to self-styled assembly speaker Sibel Siber, self-styled prime minister Ozkan Yorgancioglu and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

    Speaking during the visits, the chairman of MUSIAD Nail Olpak said that the aim of their visit is to sow the first seeds of their association on the island. He said that they will be hosting a series of international meetings in the "TRNC" once they set up their representation office.

    For her part, Siber said that it was important for businesspeople to give positive messages regarding the "TRNC".

    [07] Nami: "We should get ready for the EU"

    According to the website (28.02.14) of the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, a briefing on the '2014-16 Programme for Alignment with the EU Acquis', which includes 16 chapters was held in the Conference Hall of the "TRNC ministry of foreign affairs" on Friday.

    In the briefing, the importance and objectives of the program have been explained. It was also stated that in accordance with the program, a total of 83 legislations mainly the Public Reform are planned to be put into practice and 30 of these legislations have been prepared in the last 3 months.

    Self-styled foreign minister Ozdil Nami expressed that the program came up as the result of EU's technical assistance and cooperation and the legal amendments should be approved by the "assembly" and put into force.

    Nami indicated that these studies are parallel to the studies for finding a federal solution to the Cyprus problem and he stressed that it is necessary to get ready for the EU without delay.

    Recording that they welcomed the start of negotiations, Nami said that the EU vision in the joint statement should be well examined and he added that the road and standard was clear.

    Stating that they made a call to the EU authorities to support putting the EU Acquis into practice by the Turkish Cypriots with stronger programs, Nami expressed that they got positive replies. Nami said: "A difficult and rewarding period is awaiting us"

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (28.02.14) broadcast that self-styled foreign ministry's undersecretary Erhan Ercin, delivering the opening speech at the press conference, noted that the harmonization program will not only increase the "TRNC's" trading capacity but will also serve to prepare the Turkish Cypriot side for a possible solution. He added that the chapters regarding the free movement of goods, the right to set up a business and the freedom to provide services, financial control and laws relating to intellectual property rights were added to the harmonization program.

    [08] Delegations from the self-styled assembly will follow EU Parliament's sessions

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 03.03.14), the self-styled assembly of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus will follow the workings of the European Parliament and the Inter-parliamentary Union meeting.

    The Democrat Party ? National Forces (DP) "MP" Hasan Tacoy and the National Unity Party (UBP) "MP" Hamza Ersan Saner will follow the European Union meetings which began on Sunday and will continue until the 6th of March.

    Meanwhile, another "parliamentary delegation", which will be headed by the Speaker of the Parliament Sibel Siber, will follow the Inter-parliamentary Union meeting which will be held in Geneva between 15th and 19th of March.

    [09] CTP participated at the deliberations of the Party of European Socialists' conference

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (04.03.14) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) participated at the deliberations of the Party of European Socialists (PES) conference which was held in Rome on March 1.

    The paper writes that the general secretary of CTP Kutlay Erk who participated at the leader's meeting held on February 28 met with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

    Apart of Erk, a CTP"s "MP" and member of the party's women organization also participated in the conference.

    [10] CTP "deputy" addresses a conference at the Italian Parliament

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (03.03.14) reported that Armagan Candan, "deputy" with the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) has addressed a conference at the Italian Parliament under the title "Is solution possible in Cyprus ten years after the referendum?"

    The conference was held on 28 February upon an initiative of the breakaway regime's "representation office" in Rome. The "representative" of the regime in Rome, Novber Ferit Vechi and the Turkish Ambassador Hakki Akil also addressed the conference.

    In his statements Candan said that a positive climate has been created now in both sides of Cyprus, that an opportunity exists and should not be wasted and that the solution in Cyprus will be in the benefit of "both peoples" of Cyprus and of the area.

    In his address, Paolo Amato, former Italian Senator, who has also been granted the 'citizenship" of the regime, said that he had become a "TRNC citizen" in order to protest for what he called as injustice against the Turkish Cypriots. He noted that they are exerting efforts to develop the trade relations between Italy and the "TRNC" and alleged that if the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem fail again, it would be inevitable for the EU to accept the occupied northern part of Cyprus as its member and as "separate country".

    Former Italian Ambassador to Ankara, Carlo Marsilli also alleged that the accession of Cyprus into the EU was a mistake and added that this is admitted by the EU leaders as well.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Denktas sees a policy to cut off the Turkish Cypriots from Turkey during the past ten years

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.03.14) reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party ? National Forces (DP-UG) and self-styled deputy prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has alleged that during the past ten years a policy is followed in order for cutting the "TRNC", the breakaway regime, from Turkey. Addressing a meeting of his party yesterday, Denktas claimed, inter alia, the following: "We are part of a big game and if we are not careful in this big game, if we do not stand upright when the day comes, if we do not raise our voice when the day comes, the future of our children is in danger".

    Denktas argued that the reason of the recent activity in the Cyprus problem is the interference of foreign powers. He said that they should be careful and added: "If a text of an agreement which eliminates our rights comes in front of us, we must be ready to explain in cooperation the dangers to our children. Because if, thinking that one day our children will be saved from the problems we have experienced, we vote yes to a plan which will slyly eliminate our fundamental rights, if the Greek Cypriot side also says yes, you must know mothers and we must know that after a while our children will be obliged to keep guard in emplacements. When we go to referendum this time,? let us know that we will say 'yes' or 'no' and be prepared for the consequence of both of them?"

    Denktas went on and claimed: "?Four countries which are concerned with the Cyprus issue the TRNC, south Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, are all with problems and have responsibilities. This is not a coincidence at all. During the past ten years a policy is followed in order to cut us off from motherland Turkey. All these are not coincidence?"

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] New elements provide ground for optimism for Cyprus deal

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 03.03.14) with the above title published an interview of regional specialist Hugh Pope with HDN's journalist Barcin Yinanc.

    Pope said that there is a will among both Turkish and Greek Cypriots to find a solution for the divided island, adding that Israel's urgent need to export gas from the eastern Mediterranean influences players such as the United States, driving them to press the opposing sides toward a deal.

    Greek Cypriots are finally starting to come around to agreeing to a solution in which Turkish Cyprus would have total control over the north of the island, according to regional specialist Hugh Pope of the International Crisis Group.

    However, as the old paradigm based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation has worn thin, the sides should not stick to the old paradigm, but rather explore all other options, according to Pope.

    Replying to whether there are any reasons to be optimistic about the new round of talks, Pope said: "There are some new elements providing grounds for some optimism. One is that the Prime Minister of Turkey has clearly signalled the green light that he wants a settlement; he wants a revitalization of the EU process.

    According to Pope, Erdogan has changed his mind for domestic political reasons, because he feels there is the need to get voters' support. He is also trying to rebuild Turkey's international reputation, which is under attack at the moment. A Cyprus settlement would be great news. What's great about it is that it matches with an existing wish in the [Turkish] Foreign Ministry to get it done; they really want to get it done. You can see it. Foreign Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu really pushed and the Foreign Ministry is also really pushing. He went to the island to ensure these talks started again. He took a direct part in making sure that this all happened; that means getting everybody lined up, not just in Turkey but also on the Turkish Cypriot side to start talks again.

    Referring to the joint statement, Pope said: "A Greek Cypriot leader has now said if you go back it will be under Turkish Cypriot jurisdiction and authority; obviously, there will be individual rights, et cetera, but the day-to-day administration will have nothing to do with Greek Cypriot context. It is a substantive joint declaration and most sides are happy about it, even if it took a long time to agree on it. It is one of the most substantive joint declarations in the last 40 years."

    Pope argued that the Israelis are in a hurry, they have finally understood that they cannot have a pipeline if there is no settlement on Cyprus. Because the owners of the Leviathan field in Israel are in a hurry, they need to take a decision in the next several months. What they can do which is more expensive for them is build a floating natural gas platform. They will make less money. Israeli operators of that gas field need to take a decision soon. That is putting some pressure on the players to do something.

    For instance, it is one reason Americans are interested. There is another reason why they are interested [and that is] possibly thanks to the fact that Turkey told them that it wants a settlement; the U.S. wants to see good relations between Turkey and Israel as the pipeline would cement that.

    Also, there is this whole strategic idea of Israel, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus being a strategic anchor in this turbulent part of the world. But, in general, the Americans have seen this as an opportunity to do a deal.

    According to Pope, the three-quarters of the Greek Cypriots are against the elements of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

    Meanwhile, columnist Yinanc, in HDN (online, 04.03.14), under the title "Second track diplomacy is urgently needed in Cyprus", writes: "Therefore, now that the talks have started between the leaders of the two communities; we urgently need second track diplomacy and confidence building measures. But forget about the opening of Varosha or the Ercan airport (editor's note: the occupied airport of Tymvou) to international traffic. We need measures that would increase dialogue between all relevant sides. We need an exchange of students, academics, journalists, businessmen, NGO's, especially between "Greek Cyprus" and Turkey.

    The international players including Washington, which seem to have seen an opportunity for a deal, should leave aside red tape and facilitate these contacts."

    [13] The breakaway regime in the middle of a new economic scandal in Turkey

    Turkish daily Taraf newspaper (03.04.14) reported that thousands of fake bank accounts are said to be opened by the Ziraat Bank, which is one of the three state banks in Turkey.

    According to the paper, around 500 million Turkish Lira were stolen during the last two years using 4.541 credit cards which were issued by Ziraat bank. The paper cites information according to which these credit cards were reserved by bureaucrat families which are close to the Turkish government.

    Taraf argues that the limit for each credit card was 50 thousand Turkish Lira and adds that most of the cards were issued by the branch office of Ziraat Bank in the breakaway regime.

    In addition, Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (04.02.14) writes that Ziraat Bank denied the report.

    [14] Brucellosis reappears in 60 farms in occupied Cyprus; They have no money to deal with the problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (04.03.14) reports that the disease of brucellosis has been established in 60 farms in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus and that the disease is spreading because there is no money in the "budget" for fighting against it.

    The chairman of the union of livestock producers, Mustafa Naimoglulari confirmed that the brucellosis microbe was established in 60 farms and criticized the "state" for not launching a fight against the disease. He said that blood should have been taken from the animals for analysis in order to establish which of them are contaminated.

    In statements to the paper, the self-styled minister of agriculture, Onder Sennaroglu said that they have taken money from UNOPS to deal with the issue, but they could not eliminate brucellosis. He noted that he knows that money could not be an excuse, but the cost of this issue is very high. "?I have to say that resources are needed and we have no resources at the moment", he admitted adding that they have applied to the EU for money.

    (I/Ts.)

    [15] The occupancy rate of hotels in the occupied area of Cyprus

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (online, 03.03.14), the occupancy rate for hotels, in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, in February was 47% for five star hotels and 22% for other establishments. According to the numbers given by the "North Cyprus Hoteliers Association", the occupancy rate for 5 star hotels has increased by 7% from January and reached the same percentage as February 2013.

    Other touristic establishments occupancy rate has decreased by 15% compared to January, and decreased by 29% from last year's rates.

    When last three years occupancy rates are evaluated, 16% increase is observed for the period of 2012-2014, but compared to last year's results, a 16% decrease is observed. In addition, during February 2014, 31 venues were declared as out of business.

    [16] Turkish Parliament adopts 'democracy package'

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 02.03.14), Turkish Parliament finalized a heavy-scheduled plenary on Saturday before going to recess ahead of the local polls, adopting a "democratization package" that introduces the right to political campaigning in languages other than Turkish. The bill was first submitted to Parliament early December.

    Parliament has gone to recess until March 26 due to the looming local elections on March 30.

    The democratization package that was first announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sept. 30, 2013 was seen as an attempt to recover the tarnished image of the government due to the Gezi Park protests. Here are some of the most important aspects of the adopted bill:

    - Political parties and candidates will be able to use any language or dialect in all forms of campaigning, thus legalizing material in Kurdish. Bans on Kurdish names for settlement places are also being lifted.

    - Political parties will be able to implement a co-leadership system, on the condition of having such a system in their party statute and having no more than two co-leaders.

    - Political parties that receive more than 3% of the total number of valid votes cast in a general parliamentary election will receive treasury funds. The fund will be no less than 1 million Turkish Liras. This arrangement will enable the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to receive a treasury fund.

    - Preventing the announcement of religious beliefs, opinions and convictions either by force or by other illegal acts will be sentenced with jail terms from one to three years. The same sentences will apply to those who intervene in a person's choices about lifestyle based on his belief, opinion or convictions.

    - The punishment for the hate and discrimination of different languages, religions, races, nationalities, political understandings and sects will be increased to between one and three years in prison. Religious lifestyles will be protected through constitutional amendments that increase the punishment for those who abuse the rights of people for praying and participating in religious ceremonies.

    [17] Brussels offered to hold a working group meeting with Ankara on Chapter 23

    Under the title "Turkish government unveils blueprint to boost rights, freedoms", Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 04.03.14) reports that the Turkish Government has issued a Human Rights Action Plan, in a step considered as a prerequisite for the opening of Chapter 23 of the EU accession process, which covers the judiciary and fundamental rights.

    The action plan, which was published in the Official Gazette after its approval by the Justice Ministry, is set to harmonize Turkish legislation with the framework defined by European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) jurisprudence.

    It contains 46 objectives under 14 headings, aimed at preventing ill-treatment and arbitrary detentions, resolving the legal and structural problems that cause lengthy trials, and limiting restrictions on freedom of assembly. The plan was prepared by the Justice Ministry's Human Rights Department after a workshop organized with the participation of experts from the ECHR and the European Council.

    The plan comes at a time when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is under heavy fire for recent legal arrangements on the Internet, the judiciary and the national intelligence agency, which have been pushed amid corruption and graft allegations since December.

    Although reluctant to open new chapters in the accession process, Brussels instead offered to hold a working group meeting with Ankara on Chapter 23, mirroring the methodology used for Chapter 22, which was delayed following last summer's Gezi Park protests. The action plan focuses on critical violations regarding law enforcement, which were particularly seen during the Gezi protests. These violations include the harmonization of detention and arrest orders with European standards, as well as ensuring transparent internal investigations in the event of crimes committed by security personnel.

    The plan also intends to enhance the rights of defendants, including during the interrogation process. It stresses that interrogation methods such as searches, asset seizures and wiretapping conform to ECHR standards. The plan also partially responds to one of the main calls from Brussels regarding freedom of assembly by implementing "alternative measures instead of bans" for unannounced demonstrations. It also envisages judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers being briefed and informed about European standards.

    [18] Davutoglu and Bahceli warn over partition of Ukraine

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (03.03.14) reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that a possible partition of Ukraine will also affect Georgia, Moldova and Belarus.

    Davutoglu held a telephone-conference March 1 with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, along with other foreign ministers from the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Italy and the U.K. The ministers discussed possible solutions to the rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia, according to diplomatic sources. On the same day, the Foreign Minister met top Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and emphasized the importance of Ukraine's unity, stability and well-balanced healthy relations. He also underlined the importance of Crimea and Crimean Tatars for Turkey.

    In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.03.14) reports that the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli also stated that he is against the partition of Ukraine. Bahceli issued a written statement noting that MHP is objected to the partition and the division of Ukraine and its enslavement by Moscow. He also expressed his solidarity for the Crimean Tatars. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio


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