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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 14-07-21

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. 133/14 19-21.07.14

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Eroglu's address on the anniversary of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus
  • [02] Gul: Turkey will always stand by the Turkish Cypriots
  • [03] Gul says that they will not allow the continuation of the current status quo that allegedly victimizes the Turkish Cypriots
  • [04] Eroglu: The Palestinian issue shows why the Turkish Cypriots insist on the guarantees of Turkey
  • [05] Erdogan and Cicek on their messages for the 20 July celebrations: Solution based on two states and two people in Cyprus
  • [06] A number of foreign delegations visited the breakaway regime for the celebration of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus in 1974
  • [07] Eroglu and Nami briefed foreign journalists on the Cyprus problem
  • [08] Eroglu: If the UN says that the UNSC's Resolution No 550 could be debated, the Greek Cypriots will be motivated for an agreement
  • [09] Eroglu's interview to a Turkish daily; "We cannot give land for the settlement of 100 thousand Greek Cypriots"
  • [10] Ozersay's statements after the "special meeting"
  • [11] Talat: Talks are in a deadlock; he accuses Eroglu of not embracing past convergences
  • [12] New violations of the airspace of Cyprus by Turkish F16's in the framework of the celebrations for the 1974 invasion
  • [13] Voices in the occupied area of Cyprus against the Turkish occupation
  • [14] Tension between Turkey, US escalates over Gaza offensive
  • [15] Italy's State Secretary for EU affairs vows to revive Turkey's bid for EU accession

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Eroglu's address on the anniversary of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 19.07.14), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has said that it is high time that efforts aimed at solving the 46 year old Cyprus problem are concluded successfully. He said that the Turkish Cypriot side recently submitted a 5-step road map proposal to that end, adding that the Turkish Cypriot side continued to remain committed to the Joint Declaration signed by the two sides on the 11th of February.

    Eroglu's words came during his address to the "nation" delivered live at noon on Saturday to mark the beginning of the celebrations of 20th July Turkish invasion to Cyprus.

    In his address, Eroglu also said that it is not possible for the Greek Cypriots to deceive the Turkish Cypriots and the rest of the world with open-ended negotiations for another 46 years.

    Stating that a settlement to be reached on the island will contribute to flourishing hopes to bring peace and stability to the region, Eroglu expressed his view that the Greek Cypriot side looks upon the Turkish Cypriot side's roadmap proposal positively and both to work achieving a lasting solution to the decades long problem.

    Claiming that the Turkish Cypriots enjoyed freedom and security under the protection of their own state, Eroglu said that their ultimate aim when working for a solution is to make sure the Turkish Cypriot people will never relive the bitter experiences of the past.

    Expressing the Turkish Cypriots endless gratitude to motherland Turkey for its undying support to the "TRNC", Eroglu said that strong relations between the two countries will continue to grow in the future.

    [02] Gul: Turkey will always stand by the Turkish Cypriots

    The official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey published the press conference by Turkey's President Abdullah Gul during his illegal visit to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Gul in a joint press conference, pointing to the sincere approach of the Turkish side toward the resolution of the Cyprus issue, declared that 'Turkey will always stand by the Turkish Cypriots and lend its support to their security and development. Turkey will also continue to do its part sensitively in terms of the establishment of peace and stability in the island.'

    Gul said that he discussed with the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu the level the negotiation process has reached and the bilateral relations between Turkey and "TRNC". The Turkish side is doing its part so that a fair, permanent and comprehensive resolution can be achieved in Cyprus and this is also appreciated and recognized by the international community, declared Gul, saying: "It is among Turkey's priorities in its foreign policy that the Cyprus issue which has remained unsolved for 51 years must reach a resolution. It is saddening indeed that this issue existing in the middle of the Mediterranean has not been settled yet."

    Gul further suggested that the negotiations be concluded successfully according to an established schedule, as he said, previous open-ended negotiations have missed this opportunity. "A comprehensive political resolution that can be achieved through negotiations and mutual conciliation will serve both countries and the whole region. The recent tragic events occuring in and around the Eastern Mediterranean necessitate that the Cyprus issue should be settled without further delay. Such a resolution will make the Eastern Mediterranean an island of peace, stability and cooperation, creating a great synergy and opportunities not only for the island, but also for the whole region in many areas ranging from the economy to security."

    Both Turkey as a guarantor state and the Turkish Cypriots want an agreement which will guarantee the equal status of the Turkish Cypriots, who are the co-owners of the island. They also want a resolution as part of the UN which is based on two founding equal states with equal position. "If an agreement on a resolution based on commonality cannot be reached, it is possible to negotiate other resolution options."

    President Gul further declared that Turkey as the motherland and guarantor of the Turkish Cypriots will not allow them to be made a minority in a Greek state of Cyprus, adding: "Turkey will always stand by and lend its support to the security and development of the Turkish Cypriots. Turkey will also continue to do its part sensitively in terms of the establishment of peace and stability in the island. The Turkish Cypriots, as long as they maintain their economic and political stability and union and solidarity, will be able to make great progress each year. They will find Turkey right beside them in this regard as well. Our siblings in "TRNC' should look to the future with confidence. The Republic of Turkey will continue to fulfil its contractual and historic responsibilities in terms of the protection of the freedom, rights and prosperity of the Turkish Cypriots in the future as well."

    When asked what he could say about how the deteriorating relations between Turkey and Israel might have influenced any resolution scenarios regarding the Cyprus issue, President Gul said that Israel is not a party to this issue, maintaining: "We wholeheartedly wish that a permanent peace be established in the Middle East. We cannot ignore the recent tragedy and agonies in the region. Turkey is doing everything it can in order that a ceasefire can be established there."

    Pointing to the importance of the establishment of peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus, President Gul reiterated that "if peace can be established in the Eastern Mediterranean and if a permanent conciliation can be achieved in the island, the most viable project to transfer the energy resources of the Eastern Mediterranean to the world is through Turkey. Therefore, the establishment of permanent peace in Cyprus will make greater contributions not only to the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but also to the prosperity and other affirmative developments in the whole region."

    [03] Gul says that they will not allow the continuation of the current status quo that allegedly victimizes the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.07.14) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul has alleged that they want a solution in Cyprus and that the time for the solution has come. Addressing the celebrations in the occupied part of Nicosia on the occasion of the 40th anniversary from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Gul said that everyone should know that they will not allow for the status quo, which allegedly turned the Turkish Cypriots into victims, to continue forever.

    He claimed that forcing the Turkish Cypriots to pay the price for the non-solution is "a big injustice" and called on the world and mainly on the European Union to lift the so-called restrictions and embargoes allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Gul said that with the water which will be carried from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus solidarity between the "two countries" will be strengthened with a "new natural bond" and added that their sincere wish is for this water to bring life to both the northern and southern part of the island, as he described the occupied and government-controlled area of Cyprus, and "to be crowned" with a just and lasting solution.

    Gul argued that the Turkish side had shown its will for a solution in 2004, but "this was not realized because of the 'no' vote of the Greek Cypriot side". "There might be some people who want to make this forgotten, but we should not let this be forgotten and we should keep alive in the memory of the whole world that we have shown our sincere behaviour in the ballot box when this was necessary", he added.

    Gul said that with their faith and determination they have brought their "national cause" to a certain point and argued: "No one should expect from the Turkish Cypriots to take a step backwards from this, to abandon being one of the co-owners of the island and accept living as minority in a Greek Cypriot state".

    He alleged that the UN Peace Keeping Force has come to Cyprus 50 years ago to protect the Turkish Cypriots from the Greek Cypriot attacks and claimed that solving the Cyprus problem without knowing this so-called reality would be difficult.

    Gul said that hope is created in the Turkish side by the expectation of the international community that a solution will be found in the negotiating process which started on 11 February this year. He noted that political will is needed for this and alleged that the Turkish Cypriots have this will, something which is allegedly seen by the support offered by the self-styled government and all political parties to the "compromising efforts" exerted by the Turkish Cypriot leader and his team.

    Arguing that the comprehensive solution will be possible on the basis of the existing realities on the island, Gul expressed the view that "new positive conditions" for a solution exist now contrary to the past.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Eroglu: The Palestinian issue shows why the Turkish Cypriots insist on the guarantees of Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.07.14) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has alleged that the developments in the Palestinian issue are one of the "clearest indications" of why the Turkish Cypriots insist on "the continuation of the active and effective guarantees of motherland Turkey".

    Addressing the celebrations in the occupied part of Nicosia on the occasion of the 40th anniversary from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Eroglu said that Cyprus' importance for the area and Turkey increases and added that Cyprus is at a key point in the marketing to the world of the energy resources of the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia. He noted that a big part of the world trade passes through Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus bears great importance from this point of view. Arguing that economic power could be maintained only if it is backed by military power, Eroglu said that Cyprus, because of its position, has very serious advantages for military operation from the sea, land and air.

    He claimed that he wants an agreement in the Cyprus problem and works with his team in this direction. He added, though, that wanting peace and agreement does not mean that he will ignore the "rights of the Turkish Cypriot people, the sensitivities of motherland Turkey and its special position regarding Cyprus".

    He added: "We are ready for an agreement on the basis of the existing realities in Cyprus and within the framework of the leaders' joint statement of 11 February 2014, but we can never say 'yes' to demands which could cause return to the pre-1974 period".

    Eroglu noted that during the meeting of the leaders on 24 July, he expects from President Anastasiades to reply to the five-step road map submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side as regards the course of the negotiations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Erdogan and Cicek on their messages for the 20 July celebrations: Solution based on two states and two people in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (20.07.14) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sent a congratulation message to the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu for the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus.

    Erdogan said in his message that Turkey wants a permanent solution to the island based in the political equality of the two "peoples" in Cyprus adding that the agreement in Cyprus should be mutual. He also said that together with the Turkish Cypriots they maintain the stance that they will always be a step ahead as regards the Cyprus problem. "We expect that the negotiations which were launched on February 11 under the UN auspices to end up the sooner possible after a referendum to a just and permanent solution", Erdogan said.

    On his part, the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Cemil Cicek on his message stated that an environment of trust must be created in Cyprus so that the two "peoples" of the island to live in peace and freedom. He went on and said that the July 20 anniversary is a day of pride, joy and trust not only for the "TRNC" but for Turkey as well.

    [06] A number of foreign delegations visited the breakaway regime for the celebration of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus in 1974

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (19.07.14) reports that a number of foreign delegations visited the breakaway regime for the celebrations of the Turkish invasion to Cyprus in 1974 and held contacts with various "officials", among them, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, the speaker of the "assembly" Sibel Siber, the self-styled prime minister Ozkan Yorgancioglu and the self-styled foreign minister Ozdil Nami.

    The paper writes that the following foreign officials visited the breakaway regime: Edith Harxyi, former deputy foreign minister of Albania and current chairman of the Albania Political Center, Mihail Formuzal, President of Gagavuz and Dimitri Constantinov, speaker of Gagavuz assembly, Azeri Deputies Musa Gasimli and Sahib Aliyev, Pakistan Deputies Sema Mohiuddin Jameeli and Imran Zafar Leghari, a delegation of Turkish Assembly Deputies consists of Omer Faruk Oz, Mehmet Erdogan, Ali Halaman and Ramis Topal, and Burundi Deputy, Melchior Nankwahimba. The latter asked during his meeting with Yorgancioglu for the breakaway regime's assistance for his country, which he said is extremely poor.

    [07] Eroglu and Nami briefed foreign journalists on the Cyprus problem

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 19.07.14), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu met on Saturday with a group of foreign journalists who are in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus to observe the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion to Cyprus.

    During the meeting, Eroglu briefed them on the history of the Cyprus problem and the ongoing Cyprus negotiations process.

    Underlining the importance of the 1974 Turkish invasion, Eroglu alleged that the Turkish Cypriots would have been subject to a genocide had it not been for the timely intervention of the Turkish Armed Forces. He claimed that the ethnic cleansing of the Turkish Cypriots had been planned in advance by the Greek Cypriots as outlined in the Akritas plan.

    Eroglu alleged that "Turkey's timely military intervention on 20th of July 1974 following the coup carried out by the Greek Junta brought peace to this island and freedom to the Turkish Cypriots. This why we celebrate today the 'Peace and Freedom Day'" he said.

    Later the group met with the self-styled foreign minister Ozdil Nami who informed them on the latest stage reached in the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Speaking during the visit, Nami said that the Turkish Cypriot side is working to achieve a bi-communal, bizonal partnership federation based on the political equality of the two sides. He claimed that Turkey had intervened in Cyprus 40 years ago based on its rights stemming from international treaties against an attempt by Greece to annex the island.

    [08] Eroglu: If the UN says that the UNSC's Resolution No 550 could be debated, the Greek Cypriots will be motivated for an agreement

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.07.14) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has alleged that if the United Nations says that the UN Security Council's Resolution No 550 could be debated, the Greek Cypriots will be motivated for an agreement on the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking during a meeting with Turkish and foreign guests who were visiting the occupied area of Cyprus within the framework of the celebrations on the occasion of the 40th anniversary from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Eroglu claimed that "in case it is said that this Resolution could be lifted, the Greek Cypriots will be more motivated".

    Eroglu argued that he could not say that he sees a will for a solution in the Greek Cypriot side, but in spite of this "we have an expectation". He said that the Turkish Cypriot side "produces a policy taking into consideration the changes happened after 1974", while the Greek Cypriot side does not think in this way.

    As regards the interest of the USA in the Cyprus problem, Eroglu said that Turkey asked from the USA to enter into action on this issue and added that the US Ambassador to Nicosia exerted an influence in reaching an agreement on the joint declaration.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Eroglu's interview to a Turkish daily; "We cannot give land for the settlement of 100 thousand Greek Cypriots"

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (20.07.14) under the title: "Greek Cypriots are good horse dealers" published an interview of the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to the paper's journalist Leyla Tavsanoglu.

    Evaluating in his interview the ongoing Cyprus negotiation process, Eroglu reiterated his known positions on the Cyprus problem accusing the Greek Cypriot side for following delaying tactics at the table with the aim to lead the talks at an open-ended stage.

    Stating that the negotiations went backwards 20 years with the discussion again of the CBMs, Eroglu accused the Greek Cypriot side for presenting the CBMs to be a foreground and alleged that it is because they want to spend the time.

    Alleging that the Turkish Cypriot side is the side which has the will for a solution, Eroglu said that the Greek Cypriot side's aim is to force them to leave the table.

    Criticizing the Greek Cypriot side for its insistence to present the issue of Maras [Translator's note: fenced off city of Varosha] as a Confidence Building Measure (CBMs), Eroglu said that the Greek Cypriot leader, as he called President Anastasiades, has used during his election campaign the slogan "We will take back Varosha", and thus, as he said "he compromises that the Varosha issue is a CBMs in order for the Greek Cypriot people to trust him".

    Reiterating that the Varosha issue is a part of the comprehensive solution, Eroglu added that Varosha will be discussed under the "Territory" chapter only. "If you would like to reach to an agreement with us, lets finish in a limited time the next six chapters", said Eroglu. He went on adding that except from the "guarantees issue", the other four chapters were discussed by him and the former Greek Cypriot leader, Demetris Christofias in two years and by Christofias and Talat in other two years.

    Referring to the "guarantees issue", Eroglu alleged that this should be discussed together with the guarantor countries which are Turkey, Greece and the UK. "This means that we will discuss the guarantees issue in a five-partite meeting at the final stage", Eroglu said, adding that maps and figures will be discussed at the final stage as well.

    Asked to reply to the journalist's comment: "As we know, you have rejected to give land for the settlement of 100 thousand Greek Cypriots?", Eroglu said: " We cannot give land for the settlement of 100 thousand people. We have agreed that the territory issue and the maps will be discussed at the final stage. We said that this means you do not want an agreement. Look, the CBMs should in no circumstances overshadow the solution", he argued.

    (AK)

    [10] Ozersay's statements after the "special meeting"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 19.07.14), the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot negotiators Kudret Ozersay and Andreas Mavroyiannis met for a nine-hour marathon session on Friday, in an attempt to decide upon low-level confidence building measures and methodology, before the two leaders' meeting on July 24.

    Speaking to reporters after the "special meeting", which was outside the framework of the negotiators' regular encounters on the core issues of the Cyprus question, Ozersay said that the session had witnessed some serious negotiating on how to proceed with the process.

    Noting that the meeting had nevertheless passed in a cordial atmosphere, Ozersay said: "There are already a number of proposals on the table. Our discussions focused around these proposals, stating that all proposals submitted had been examined one by one. "We agreed to present to the leaders the outcome of the work we did. After all, all these convergences or agreements are subject to their approval. As a result I'm not in a position to explain in detail one by one all the issues that have been discussed in the past 9 hours."

    Pointing out that next Tuesday meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Ozersay said that the process of presenting proposals on all issues and discussing these had been completed. He also reminded that next Thursday's leaders' meeting will be the last meeting before a short summer break.

    Responding to a question on a possible second round of parallel visits to the respective capitals of Turkey and Greece by the negotiators, Ozersay said that all they knew is that there is an obstacle regarding the visit from Greece.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready for a second round of parallel visits, Ozersay said that it is necessary to discuss what kind of a role the guarantor powers will play in future steps and at what level or stage they will be involved in the process. "This is why the parallel cross visits are very important", he said.

    [11] Talat: Talks are in a deadlock; he accuses Eroglu of not embracing past convergences,

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 19.07.14), former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the current negotiations process has entered a deadlock. "What we are seeing in the negotiations process is a deadlock. The two sides are locked in theoretical discussions, exchanging general positions and papers. This is what is being done", he said.

    Speaking on "BRT" on Friday, Talat said that the Turkish Cypriot side had truly put forward a concerted effort to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem during his term as "president".

    Stating that convergences had been reached for the first time during his term in office with the drafting of convergence papers, Talat said that these convergences had been pushed to the backburner and shelved after 2010. Accusing his "successor" Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu of not embracing these past convergences, Talat said: "Taking all these into account, we really see that the talks are in a deadlock".

    Talat also said that the fact that the negotiators are conducting the talks on behalf of the leaders is also part of the problem. "The leaders have already withdrawn themselves from the negotiations. So once the actual negotiators who are the leaders don't meet frequently then it is very difficult to achieve any progress", he added.

    Expressing his view that the Turkish Cypriot side does not possess the sufficient will for a settlement, Talat said that the important thing is achieving convergences and drafting them into papers.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi Daily News (online, 21.07.14) reports that Talat said that Cyprus is no longer as a top agenda topic for Turkey, adding that this is due to the "serious crisis" that Turkey is having on the foreign policy front.

    Noting that his hopes for a solution have faded, Talat said: "Turkey is in the ring of fire and they are also in the elections process. In this atmosphere, I can't see any solution on the horizon".

    Reiterating his criticism about the current round of negotiations where the past convergences are not taken into consideration, Talat said that it's not only the Greek Cypriot side who ignored them but also Eroglu created this situation by taking the "cross voting" out of the package and giving the impression that past convergences could be ignored.

    According to Talat, the Turkish Cypriots are deeply affected by the fading hopes due to the problems with the negotiations and that they are in a risk of losing their identity. "We are experiencing an identity loss. The Turkish Cypriot's existence is wearing down because of a leader who doesn't understand this. You can be nationalist but if you don't calculate the outcomes this can cost you a lot. We will lose our identity by doing nationalism", said Talat.

    [12] New violations of the airspace of Cyprus by Turkish F16's in the framework of the celebrations for the 1974 invasion;

    All Turkish Cypriot dailies (21.07.14) report on the various "celebrations" which took place in the occupied area of Cyprus on the occasion of the "40th anniversary" of the Turkish invasion in the island.

    In this framework, an air show of the "Turkish Stars aerobatic team" of the Turkish Air Forces, together with the "Soloturk show team" of the Turkish Air Forces was presented in a "ceremony" which took place in front of Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia.

    Afterwards the "aerobatics team of the Turkish stars" presented a show in front of the Ataturk monument in occupied Keryneia.

    Also, a parade was held at Dr Fazil Kucuk Boulevard in the occupied part of Lefkosia on Sunday attended by the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, the Turkish President Abdullah Gul and several Turkish and Turkish Cypriot politicians. The official opening of celebrations begun with a 21-gun salute.

    Moreover, the ships of the Turkish Naval Forces: Gaziantep frigate, Bordrum corvette, Poyraz Hucumbotu and Gur Denizaltisi docked at the occupied port of Keryneia between July 19-20 and will remain open for visits from the public.

    (AK)

    [13] Voices in the occupied area of Cyprus against the Turkish occupation

    Under the title "The guardians of the 'plundering system'", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (21.07.14) compares the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the developments that followed with the actions of Israel in Gaza and reports the following:

    "You, who are so-called by the side of Gaza, who support Palestine and the Palestinians while cursing on Israel, you are so-called 'supporters of peace'. You, who are running to celebrate under the name of 'Watch of the Dawn' for blessing a war while Gaza is bombed, are the guardians of the plundering system created in the northern part of Cyprus together with 1974. Israel is building settlements on the Palestinian lands and settles Israelis there and you find this inhuman and illegal. Is that so? You clowns, do you think that there is a difference between what Israel does and carrying population from Turkey to Cyprus after 1974, settling it in the Greek Cypriot houses and building hotels, mosques and complexes of buildings adjacent to mosques on the land of the Greek Cypriots?"

    Meanwhile, Afrika reports also that the Communist Labor Party organized yesterday a protest against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Members of the party marched towards the so-called embassy of Turkey in the occupied part of Nicosia. They shouted slogans in favor of a united Cyprus, the brotherhood of the peoples and against the USA, the EU and the guarantors powers in Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] Tension between Turkey, US escalates over Gaza offensive

    According to Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 20.07.14), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to a US statement that his strong rhetoric against Israel's deadly attacks on Gaza are "offensive and wrong," saying the US is the one making offensive statements by insisting Israel is exercising its right to self-defence.

    During a press briefing on Friday, US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said, the US believes Erdogan's statements are "offensive" and his "provocative rhetoric is unhelpful and distracts from urgent efforts to bring about a ceasefire" between Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza, and Israel, following Erdogan's statements that Israel is committing genocide.

    During a televised interview on the private TGRT television station on Sunday, Erdogan rejected Psaki's claims.

    "? I first call on America to evaluate themselves. The US is the one who has made offensive and saddening statements up to now. ... If America still says 'Israel is exercising its right to self-defence' in face of these [developments], now America has to engage in some self-criticism here. America is the one who is being offensive," he said adding the US, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, "should act in a fair manner."

    Erdogan was apparently referring to Friday's remarks from US President Barack Obama that the US supports Israel's right to self-defence, even though he encouraged the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to minimize civilian deaths in its ground offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

    "No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunnelling into its territory," Obama told reporters at the White House after a phone conversation with Netanyahu.

    On Saturday Erdogan also rebuked the US for criticizing his remarks, saying Israel's attacks on Gaza have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.

    "Some Americans ask why Mr Prime Minister [Erdogan] made such a comparison. What's that to you? You're America, what's Hitler have to do with you?" he said during a presidential campaign rally in the Black Sea port city of Ordu and added: "The people will be killed, you, huge America, say Israel has the right to self-defence instead of seeking justice. What defence? It is using disproportionate force."

    During the interview on Sunday, Erdogan reiterated his criticism of the US, asking how they can turn a blind eye to children being killed on a beach.

    "Just like we feel offended when they make their statements, they should have no problem with us speaking our minds. Should they send us a text so that we can read it as our statement?" asked Erdogan.

    "[Israelis] have no conscience, no honor, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism," Erdogan said during a presidential campaign rally in the Black Sea port city of Ordu.

    In his remarks on Saturday, Erdogan also criticized women's rights associations, alleging that they have the same mentality as Shaked, who was accused of inciting violence after posting a quote saying, "mothers of the martyrs should also be killed."

    However, Erdogan did warn his supporters against taking their anger out on the country's Jewish population. "I don't approve of any [bad] attitude towards our Jewish citizens in Turkey, despite all this. Why? They are the citizens of this country," he said.

    Netanyahu's remarks, calling Erdogan's statement anti-Semitic came after the Israeli Foreign Ministry advised Israelis to "avoid non-essential visits" to Turkey or to be especially vigilant and steer clear of anti-Israel demonstrations in the country.

    Israel also ordered the families of Israeli diplomats in Turkey to return on Friday following protests outside the Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul.

    Israel further decreased the number of its diplomats in Turkey according to a statement from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's office, Israeli media reported on Friday. Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel were already downgraded after an Israeli raid of the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara in 2010. The Israeli Ambassador in Ankara was expelled during the course of the crisis.

    Turkish media reported an explosion of pro-Hitler tweets, and some liberal Turks reacted with outrage on Twitter when a pro-government newspaper published a Hitler-themed crossword.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 20.07.14) reported that Turkish and U.S. officials are set to meet in Washington D.C. in the coming days to continue consultations on regional issues, at a time when the Middle East is going through turmoil from Israel-Palestine to Iraq.

    The visit also comes at a time when Erdogan has increased his criticism of the U.S. administration over its alleged tolerance of Israeli operations in Gaza.

    "A delegation headed by Ambassador Feridun H. Sinirlioglu, the undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Turkey, will pay a working visit to the United States on July 21-13, 2014 to discuss current bilateral, regional and global issues," the ministry said in a written statement on July 20.

    "As part of the visit, the delegation is scheduled to meet with senior counterparts from various agencies, notably the United States Department of State and the National Security Council," the statement said.

    Sinirlioglu's visit marks his second trip to Washington D.C. since early June, after he went there to discuss developments in Iraq on June 8-10.

    [15] Italy's State Secretary for EU affairs vows to revive Turkey's bid for EU accession.

    Under the title "Middle East turmoil makes Turkey's EU membership more crucial: Italy", Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 21.07.14) reports that recent developments in the Middle East ramp up the importance of Turkey's membership for the EU, Italy's State Secretary for EU Affairs Sandro Gozi said, vowing to revive Turkey's stalling membership process.

    Speaking in an exclusive interview with Hurriyet, Gozi said that the real motivation behind granting membership candidacy to Turkey was external security and economic interests between the EU and Turkey, as well as support to the transformation and modernization of the Turkish society.

    According to the Italian parliamentarian recent geopolitical developments in the Middle East has made Turkey's membership bid even more crucial.

    "[Turkey's] membership is much more important than 10 years ago because of [the recent turmoil and violence in] Syria and Iraq and the strong economic integration between the EU and Turkey," Gozi said, whilst being interviewed by Hurriyet's Cansu Camlibel.

    The EU should "think how and why we have granted candidate status to Turkey," according to Gozi, who repeatedly asserted that Italy is "probably the most convinced country [in the EU] that Turkey should become a member state."

    However, the politician stressed there are crucial steps that need to be taken by Turkey to assure the EU over some issues, with the accession strategy being one of them. "We also still need to favour the modernization of Turkish democracy and society, because we have [recently] seen some signs of instability in Turkey. We think that the re-launch of the accession strategy could also help the country to tackle these issues," he said.

    Regarding the issues that need to be tackled, Gozi said, "We want to have a clear idea over the independence of the judiciary and prosecutors [and] the freedom of the media and social media [in Turkey]."

    He said this is why Italy believes that Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security) should be opened.

    Gozi also preserves his optimism regarding the Turkish government's determination for the EU bid, which has been criticized by civil society actors.

    "We know that Turkey has been going through a very difficult internal phase. But we fundamentally believe that there is still an interest," he said.

    He said Turkey's recent attempts to warm relations with Greek Cyprus and Armenia are signs of Turkey's EU commitment. "We interpret this progress as not only corresponding to a national interest of Ankara but also for Turkey to play a new role for better relations with the EU. Because for us, the Armenian and the Cyprus issues are important," he said. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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


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