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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 15-11-26

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 225/15 26.11.2015

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Davutoglu: "One of our essential priorities is to be a negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem"
  • [02] Akinci: Within five months we achieved progress that had not been achieved in 47 years
  • [03] Newly appointed Turkish Foreign Minister pays an illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [04] Akinci refers to "national teams" formulas in sports
  • [05] Bozkir: "EU to open Chapter 17 on December 14 or 15 in Brussels"
  • [06] Famagusta Initiative called the Turkish Cypriot side to intensify the works for the opening of Deryneia and Apliki crossing points
  • [07] Eide visited Talat
  • [08] Concerns that the tension between Turkey and Russia will influence tourism in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [09] "YODAK"'s delegation attended the general assembly of the UK NARIC
  • [10] Research in the occupied area reveals an increase of 5.6% amongst the high school students who are users of illegal substances
  • [11] Erdogan and Davutoglu said that Turkey does not want escalation with Russia
  • [12] Commentary on the tension between Turkey and Russia
  • [13] Russia stops import of Turkish products
  • [14] Russian airstrikes target aid convoy in north-western Syrian town of Azaz

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Davutoglu: "One of our essential priorities is to be a negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem"

    Turkish daily Sabah (online, 26.11.15) reports that Turkey's Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader Ahmet Davutoglu, following the official presentation of the members of the 64th government, presented the government's programme to the Parliament on Wednesday.

    The program covered certain topics such as democratization, political stability, sustaining the development of Turkey and making a new constitution. Above all it emphasized that this government will completely be a "reform government" in the framework of the 2023 vision.

    On the Cyprus issue, Turkish daily Radikal (online, 26.11.15) reports that Davutoglu said that one of their essential priorities is to be a negotiated solution to the Cyprus problem and the Turkish Cypriot "people" to take their rightful position in the international community. He added: "We will continue as until today to take decisive steps for the strengthening of the economic structure of the TRNC (translator's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus) and the increase of its prosperity. We will continue to our constructive contribution as a guarantor country for a just and permanent solution, which is being negotiated, on the basis of the fundamental founding political will and the political equality of both people in Cyprus, who are joint owners of the island and we will also support the efforts of the United Nations towards this direction".

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 26.11.15) reports that Turkey's new government under Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has set the adoption of the presidential system in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's desires as one its top priorities, together with the approval of a new Constitution and improvements on democratization.

    "The new Constitution should also include a search for the most effective and healthiest administrative system in order to allow Turkey to reach its targets for 2023 and beyond on democratization and development," Davutoglu said in an address before Parliament late on Nov. 25 as he outlined his new government's program.

    It is of critical importance to adopt a pluralistic and participatory administrative model that functions efficiently with the new Constitution, Davutoglu said, adding that he would also effect stability while preventing the imposition of political tutelage on the government.

    Recalling that the current parliamentary system falls short of meeting necessary democratic norms because of the coups d'etat in 1960, 1980 and 1997 that weakened the role of democratically elected governments, Davutoglu said, "We, as the AKP, are of the opinion that there is no difference between the parliamentary and presidential systems in regards to their suitability to democracy if the latter is built with a democratic perspective."

    Because of political instabilities due to an "undemocratic parliamentary system" and the need for a more dynamic and effective government model in line with vision of a "New Turkey", Davutoglu said, "That's why we believe the presidential system is a more suitable administrative model."

    Erdogan, who was elected as the first President through a direct vote, is an advocate of presidential system and has frequently pressed the government to prioritize the change in the system.

    The new Constitution will have a pro-freedom, human-focused nature, based on the principle of the separation of powers and check-and-balance mechanisms, he said. "We believe a presidential system with these aspects will be more suitable to Turkey's political experience and future vision".

    (DPs)

    [02] Akinci: Within five months we achieved progress that had not been achieved in 47 years

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.11.15) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that the progress achieved in the negotiations within the past five months had not been achieved during the last 47 years and added that if both sides continue like this, finding a solution will be possible within months, not years.

    In statements yesterday in the occupied area of Cyprus after meeting President Anastasiades and Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide within the framework of the Cyprus talks, Akinci noted that they want to make concrete statements in the forthcoming stages of the negotiations and reiterated that their target is to hold a referendum before May 2016, arguing that this is something that both sides want very much.

    Referring to the incidents in Syria, Akinci described them as "saddening developments" adding that this situation will not influence the negotiations in Cyprus. He said that they want more "peaceful and stable" developments to happen in our area.

    Referring to the visits of Foreign Ministers of various countries to the Republic of Cyprus, Akinci noted that this is an indication of the increased international interest for the Cyprus problem and expressed the wish to have the opportunity to share the views of the Turkish Cypriots with the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, but added that no statement had been made yet on this issue.

    Noting that reaching a result in the negotiations now is closer than ever before comparing to the past 47 years, Akinci described as "productive" the intensive negotiations held in November adding that they have come to a "good point" within a month.

    According to Akinci, the leaders decided yesterday to establish a committee on education because of the attacks carried out against the Turkish Cypriots last week in the government-controlled area of the island. "The future generations must grow up with peace and tolerance", he noted adding that the decisions of this committee are important for preparing the society for the future.

    The paper writes that according to Eide's statement after the meeting, the leaders will meet three times next month, that is, on 4, 15 and 20 December, while the negotiators will be meeting every day.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Newly appointed Turkish Foreign Minister pays an illegal visit to the occupied area of Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 26.11.15), the newly appointed Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is paying his first illegal "official foreign visit" to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    As part of his contacts, Cavusoglu met with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. Following their meeting, Cavusoglu and Akinci held a joint press conference at Akinci's office in the occupied part of Nicosia.

    Cavusoglu, who arrived in the occupied area of Cyprus this morning, first paid illegal visits to the graves of late Turkish Cypriot leaders Dr. Faz?l Kucuk and Rauf Raif Denktas. He then met with the self-styled foreign minister Emine Colak. They exchanged views on the Cyprus negotiations process and discussed bi-lateral relations between Turkey and the "TRNC" during the meeting which lasted for 30 minutes.

    Colak said that the meeting had been useful in evaluating her recent contacts in New York, Washington D.C., Paris, London and Brussels.

    Cavusoglu, for his part, said that they discussed a wide range of issues from the Cyprus negotiations process, bi-lateral relations and the water transfer project. He later inspected the information and e-archive infrastructure project at the "foreign ministry".

    Cavusoglu also met with self-styled prime minister Omer Kalyoncu and attended a working lunch of the two "countries" delegations hosted by Akinci. As part of his contacts, Cavusoglu also visited the Bogaz Martyrdom and the headquarters of the Turkish occupation forces in Command Cyprus.

    Cavusoglu and his accompanying delegation will leave the occupied area of Cyprus this afternoon.

    [04] Akinci refers to "national teams" formulas in sports

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.11.15) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said that two ways exist for the lifting of the so-called embargo in the field of sports, which is allegedly implemented on the Turkish Cypriots. In statements the day before yesterday within the framework of the so-called presidency cup in basketball, Akinci argued that one of these ways is the recognition of the "TRNC", as he described the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, and the other is the solution of the Cyprus problem. He said that the most realistic way is the solution. He added: "We cannot overcome the embargoes in the current situation, but this does not mean that we will lean to the one side. Let us exert efforts and knock on every door".

    Responding to the question why the field of sports is not included in the confidence building measures between the two communities, Akinci noted that we should be cautious on this issue and added: "Sports is not like listening to music, it includes competition and sides. There might be supporters and fanatic elements. I am not opposing to this, but its timing should be well thought".

    Called to comment on a meeting held between the Cyprus Basketball Federation (KOK) and the Turkish Cypriot so-called basketball federation, Akinci said that he supports such meetings and added: "The sides may recognize or not recognize each other. There is no drawback in negotiating. We are also negotiating without recognizing the official titles. This point should be accepted: The federal roof will have two founding states and sports will be in these fields of power. For example, we are not going to abandon basketball. We will play more. We will be opened to the international arena. Therefore, it is wise for these institutions to have relations from now. It will start unofficially and afterwards will be continued".

    Referring to a formula as regards the Cyprus national team, Akinci said: "At the national teams' level there might be a single basketball team or like the example of Britain, separate national teams might be formed. I think that a dialogue is useful. Evaluations must be made and the most appropriate must be done".

    Asked to comment on the Turkish Cypriot so-called football federation's chairman, Hasan Sertoglu's statement that they will buy a team in Europe, Akinci said that he is following the issue through the media and does not want to make a comment without being informed. He noted that he is planning on discussing the details with Sertoglu within the forthcoming days.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Bozkir: "EU to open Chapter 17 on December 14 or 15 in Brussels"

    Turkish daily Sabah (26.11.15-online in English) reports that the Turkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkir has said that the EU will open Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy in Turkey's EU accession talks in December.

    "Hopefully, we will open Chapter 17 on December 14 or 15 in Brussels," Bozkir said at the Turkish Ministry for EU Affairs in Ankara on Thursday.

    Out of 35 policy chapters, so far 14 chapters have been opened and 17 remain blocked, including Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy and Chapter 26 on education and culture.

    The Cyprus issue remains a major obstacle to Turkey's EU membership bid.

    Bozkir added that five or six more chapters may open sometime in 2016.

    Bozkir also touched upon the relations between Turkey and Russia and said that the two countries "do not have the luxury of unfriendly relations"

    He also noted that he expected ties with Moscow to be maintained following the incident, which elicited a furious response from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    [06] Famagusta Initiative called the Turkish Cypriot side to intensify the works for the opening of Deryneia and Apliki crossing points

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (26.11.15) under the title: "Let's do the necessary and open the crossing points", reports that the Famagusta Initiative, in a written statement yesterday, gave information concerning the process for the opening of Deryneia and Lefka-Apliki crossing points and called the Turkish Cypriot side to regulate the soonest possible the issue of the Deryneia road.

    The Famagusta Initiative explained in the statement that the "process for the opening" of the two crossing points continues. It added that as they were informed by the Mayor of Deryneia in a meeting they held, the Greek Cypriot side has prepared the 300 metre road and is waiting for the Turkish Cypriot side to proceed with the necessary regulation in order to asphalt the 2.7km road which is in its responsibility.

    Referring to the meeting the Famagusta Initiative held last week with the so-called minister of interior Asim Akansoy with whom they discussed the issue, the Initiative said that they were informed by Akansoy concerning the process of the works for the opening of the two crossing points and added that Akansoy promised them to speed up the works.

    The Initiative explained in the statement the social, cultural and economic benefits from the opening of the two crossing points and called the Turkish Cypriot side not to wait for the European Commission to approve the amount of 1.2 million euro which was demanded for the asphalt of the road, the electricity and the water infrastructure in the area, since, the process will be prolonged.

    "We consider that by all means, the state is able economically to make the infrastructure and to asphalt the road", said the Initiative.

    (AK)

    [07] Eide visited Talat

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (26.11.15) reports that the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide met with the leader of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CTP-BG) Mehmet Ali Talat.

    According to a written statement issued by CTP, the meeting took place at the party's headquarters and lasted for an hour.

    During the meeting, Eide and Talat discussed the recent developments on the Cyprus problem.

    (AK)

    [08] Concerns that the tension between Turkey and Russia will influence tourism in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.11.15) reports that after the crisis in the relations between Turkey and Russia, which came up after Turkey had brought down a Russian airplane in Syria, "black clouds" started wondering above the efforts of the tourism sector of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus to penetrate into the Russian market.

    In statements to Kibris, Faiz Sucuoglu, self-styled tourism minister of the regime, said that the situation is bad and wished for the relations between the two countries to get improved the soonest. "These incidents will scare the people", noted Sucuoglu recalling of the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov's call on the Russians not to visit Turkey. After these statements, important Russian operators announced that they had stopped the sales for Turkey, said Sucuoglu pointing out that this situation will influence the breakaway regime's tourism, because the occupied area of Cyprus "does not seem much different than Turkey in the eyes of the foreign countries".

    Sucuoglu noted that it was not easy to promote and market the breakaway regime in Russia, but they succeeded and created a formula on the issue of the flights. He pointed out that they are waiting now because of the crisis and added: "I am not pessimistic. If the crisis continues, Turkey's tourism and both countries' economy could be seriously influenced. I think that reason will prevail in both Turkey and Russia on this issue".

    Meanwhile, writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (26.11.15), columnist Resat Akar reports that Sucuoglu met yesterday with a leading Russian tour operator, who told him that, upon an instruction which came from above, they included the occupied area of Cyprus in their "boycott list".

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] "YODAK"'s delegation attended the general assembly of the UK NARIC

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (26.11.15) reports that a delegation of the so-called higher education planning evaluation, accreditation and coordination council ("YODAK") in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, composed by Prof. Dr Huseyin Gokcekus, chairman of "YODAK", and Prof. Dr Olgun Cicek, member of "YODAK", attended the annual general assembly of the "UK NARIC". [Translator's note: UK NARIC is the designated United Kingdom national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. It performs this official function on behalf of the UK Government]

    The general assembly took place in London between November 23-24. Within the framework of their stay in London, Gokcekus and Cicek held a private meeting with the chairman of UK NARIC, Dr. Cloud Bai-Yun with whom they reached to an agreement.

    The agreement envisages that the UK NARIC will undertake initiatives to solve the problem of equivalence which the students who graduate from the "TRNC universities" experience in some EU countries.

    Also "YODAK"'s delegation held contacts with the director and officials of Quality Assurance Agencies (QAA). Within the framework of the meeting, "YODAK", YOK (Turkey's Council of Higher Education) and QAA, agreed to cooperated and establish a joint working group that will carry out the evaluation of the "TRNC universities" in 2016.

    (AK)

    [10] Research in the occupied area reveals an increase of 5.6% amongst the high school students who are users of illegal substances

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (26.11.15) reports on the results of a research which was conducted in the occupied area of Cyprus concerning the "penetration of the use of psychoactive substances among high school students in the TRNC" and writes that according to the results of the research, there is an increase of 5.6% on the users of illegal substances.

    According to the paper, 2,236 high school students attended the research. Commenting on the results of the research, so-called prime minister Omer Kalyoncu pointed out to the spreading of drugs in the "country" and called all related bodies to protect children of all ages from illegal substances.

    (AK)

    [11] Erdogan and Davutoglu said that Turkey does not want escalation with Russia

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 25.11.15), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Nov. 25 said that Turkey did not want any escalation with Russia over its downing of a Russian plane on the Syrian frontier but vowed to always defend the Turkish borders. "We have no intention to escalate this incident. We are just defending our security and the rights of our brothers", Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

    "Turkey has never favoured tensions and crisis, it has and will always favour peace and dialogue," said Erdogan. But he added: "No one should expect us to remain silent when our border security and our sovereignty are being violated."

    On the same issue, HDN also reports that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, echoing Erdogan following the downing of a SU-24 Russian jet the previous day, said on Nov. 25 that Turkey is not aiming to escalate tension with Russia.

    "Russia is our friend and neighbour. Our bilateral communication channels are open. But our security, as for every friendly country, should be based on the principle of respect under international law. It's normal to protect our national airspace", Davutoglu said, addressing party members in Parliament.

    Everybody should know that Turkey will take all necessary measures to maintain its border security, he said. The Prime Minister also said that "both parties should take care not to escalate the tension".

    The downing of Russian jet on Nov. 24 was not an incident that Turkey desired, Davutoglu said. While noting Turkey's strong political, economic, cultural ties with Russia, Davutoglu said that Ankara had underlined the importance of avoiding such incidents in every meeting with Russian officials.

    [12] Commentary on the tension between Turkey and Russia

    Columnist Murat Yetkin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 26.11.15) under the title "The day after", comments on the tension between Turkey and Russia after Turkish jets shot down the Russian warplane as follows:

    "The shooting down of the Russian war plane by Turkish jets by the Syrian border on Nov. 24 caused many capitals around the world to hold their breath for a few hours.

    This was the first Russian plane to be downed by a NATO country since the Korean War, and it came at a time when Russia was flexing its muscles to protect the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. (?)

    However, neither the international community nor the specific circumstances of the incident have allowed the escalated tension to become a large-scale crisis.(?)

    Nov. 25 showed that this crisis management had worked not so badly.

    Perhaps encouraged by a telephone conversation with Obama, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan - who had closed Nov. 24 by saying that Turkey was not happy to have shot down the plane that had ignored repeated warnings - opened Nov. 25 with another statement on the issue, saying that Turkey did not want to escalate tension. Erdogan was followed by Prime Minister Davutoglu, who said that Turkey had not wanted to shoot down a Russian plane, but it was obliged to as it had repeatedly violated Turkish airspace despite warnings.

    Later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov over the incident, but it seems that Lavrov is not prepared to meet him yet, at least until the upcoming Balkan Summit on Dec. 3. It is understandable that Russia needed time.

    President Putin issued some harsh statements over the incident, including claims that Turkey's leaders were trying to spread "Islamization" in the Middle East. He also supported Lavrov in saying that Russian tourists should not come to Turkey. Meanwhile, the decision to send brand new S-400 missile systems to Syria and to send the missile cruiser "Moskova" off the coast of Latakia (despite the fact that its mission was announced quite a while ago), as well as the carrying out of huge operations with the Syrian army against Turkmen militia near the Turkish border, can be seen as measures aimed at assuaging the fever in the Kremlin and in the Russian public.

    Still, Lavrov's statement that Russia would not get into a war with Turkey over the shooting down of the jet summarized everything. Breaths that were held one day were somewhat relieved the next.

    It is clear that Russia will not let the incident go unanswered. At some point it will respond sometime, somewhere, against Turkey or something Turkish. But economic interdependence between the two countries remains strong: From the natural gas trade (as Turgut Ozal foresaw in 1984 when it was started), to Turkish construction companies' work in Russia, from nuclear energy to tourism. This interdependence makes it harder for the two countries to go further. After all, a number of Russian tourism agencies have already announced that they have continued to accept customers for the Turkish Mediterranean coast for the spring and summer 2016 seasons, despite statements from the Kremlin."

    [13] Russia stops import of Turkish products

    According to Turkish daily Sabah (online, 26.11.15), Russia has reportedly stopped the import of Turkish products onto its soil as of Thursday, following the downing of a Russian warplane for violating Turkish airspace.

    According to Adnan Dalgak?ran, who is a member of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, Russian customs are refusing to accept Turkish goods and products, for a number of excuses including inventory and others.

    All vehicles without a Turkish license plate ?including those with Kyrgyz, Romanian and Kazakh plates- , carrying Turkish products are also denied entry, according to reports.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 26.11.15) reports that Russia is considering cancelling a raft of joint business projects with Ankara after Turkey shot down of one of its warplanes, top government officials said on Wednesday, igniting concern among Turkish companies from the tourism, construction and food sectors, which all benefit from Russian business.

    Russia and Turkey have important trade and economic ties -- their bilateral trade volume in 2014 touched $30 billion. Ankara and Moscow had earlier vowed to raise this figure to as much as $100 billion by the year 2020. Shortly after the downing of a Russian warplane, Moscow said that Ankara could expect to be on the receiving end of economic and business sanctions, warning that the move could result in cancelling some important joint projects. Initially, Russia came up with a number of economic retaliations relating to critical sectors such as tourism and food.

    Turkey's trade ties with Russia will become difficult after the incident, former Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Eurasia coordinator Tugrul Erkin told the Sozcu daily, saying that Turkish exporters and importers could be subject to extra taxes. "Contractors and exporters are thinking quite pessimistically," Erkin said. "Investors are also thinking this way, pondering 'what kind of reaction will they show us after this'," he added.

    Textile producers, on the other hand, are even more nervous. "Turkish textile and apparel producers have a corner in the Russian market. Many Turkish brands have investments in Russia. They are gaining experience in Russia. However, due to the economic crisis in Russia, our exports have shrunk to very low levels. We were already waiting anxiously for the sector to recover," Istanbul Apparel and Textile Exporters Association (IHKIB) President Hikmet Tanr?verdi told the Hurriyet daily.

    Turkish construction and beverage companies also have significant interests in Russia. Shares in Enka Insaat, which has construction projects in Russia and two power plants in Turkey using Russian gas, fell for a second day on Wednesday. Brewer Anadolu Efes, which has six breweries in Russia and controls around 14% of the market, also saw its shares fall on Tuesday. Turkish shares hit six-week lows on Wednesday and the lira extended losses on fears that rising tensions with Russia could hurt the already shaky economy. The lira fell to as low as 2.89 against the US dollar on Wednesday. Shares in Turkish Airlines slipped to new two-month lows while developer Enka shed 2.7%.

    Turkey imports almost all of its energy from Russia, including 60% of its gas and 35% of its oil. Russia's state Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) is due to build Turkey's first nuclear power station, a $20 billion project, while plans are on the table for a gas pipeline from Russia known as TurkStream. Russia is also active in the Turkish banking sector. Russia's Sberbank operates in Turkey and signed a 500 million euro loan deal in June to finance the construction of Istanbul's third airport.

    When looking at trade ties with Russia, Turkey is on the weaker end of the two countries' trade balance. As of the end of 2014, Turkey had imported more than $23 billion in goods from Russia while exporting just under $6 billion. While natural gas accounts for the bulk of the imports, the countries share trade ties in other sectors including the textile, food and automotive industries. In the first nine months of this year, Turkey imported $15.8 billion in goods from Russia, exporting only $2.7 billion. Here are the key areas of economic and trade relations between the two countries:

    Tourism

    - Turkey's seaside resorts are among the most popular tourism destinations for Russians; for Turkey, Russia is the source of the second-largest number of tourist arrivals after Germany.

    - Turkey, which has visa-free travel with Russia, has become more attractive for Russian tourists after Moscow suspended flights to Egypt. About 4.4 million Russians, including 3.3 million Russian tourists, visited Turkey in 2014.

    Food

    - Turkish food exports so far have not been affected by Moscow's ban on most Western food imports launched in 2014. Last year, 4% of Turkey's exports, mainly textiles and food, worth $6 billion went to Russia, Renaissance Capital said in a note on Tuesday.

    - Turkish food exports to Russia have fallen 40 percent over January to September this year to $2.7 billion.

    - Russia is Turkey's biggest export market for fruits and vegetables, at the $1 billion mark, with the second largest buyer of Turkish produce being Germany, at $300 million.

    Energy and commodities

    - Turkey is the second-largest buyer of Russian natural gas after Germany. Russia is Turkey's largest natural gas supplier, with Ankara buying 28-30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of its 50 bcm of natural gas needs annually from Russia.

    - Russia also supplies oil and oil products to Turkey. Russia was its fourth-largest supplier in 2013, according to the Russian Embassy in Turkey.

    - Turkey together with Egypt is the largest buyer of Russian wheat. It bought 4.1 million tons of Russian wheat in the previous marketing year, which ended on June 30. Turkey is also a large buyer of Russian steel semi-finished products.

    Projects

    - Turkey commissioned Russia's state-owned Rosatom in 2013 to build four 1,200-megawatt reactors in a project worth $20 billion.

    - Russia and Turkey also have the TurkStream pipeline project, an alternative to Russia's South Stream pipeline to transport gas to Europe without crossing Ukraine. The South Stream plan was dropped last year due to objections from the European Commission.

    - Russia's Gazprom has recently almost halved the planned capacity of its TurkStream gas pipeline project to 32 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.

    Construction, retail

    - Turkish contractors have been engaged in nearly 2,000 projects in Russia since 1988 at a value of nearly $62 billion. In 2014 alone, contractors were pursuing 47 projects in Russia with a total value of $3.9 billion.

    - Russians have also shown significant interest in the Turkish housing sector, as the third top foreign buyer of Turkish real estate in the first ten months of this year.

    - A total of 36,000 Turkish people work in Russia, including 1,000 employers, while Turkish investors hold $6.5 billion in investments in this country.

    - More than 30 Turkish brands operate around 7,000 stores in Russia, though that number has reportedly declined recently amid the country's economic crisis. Most of them are clothing stores, while furniture and home furnishing brands are active in Russia.

    [14] Russian airstrikes target aid convoy in north-western Syrian town of Azaz

    Turkish daily Sabah (online, 26.11.15) reports that at least seven people died, 10 got injured after an apparent airstrike, reportedly by Russian jets, targeted an aid convoy in northwestern Syrian town of Azaz near a border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday.

    Footage filmed at a crossing on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey's southern province of Kilis showed lorries burning. The head of the rebel-run border crossing in the same area said separately that air strikes hit a garage for commercial trailers, killing seven lorry drivers.

    Anadolu news agency reported that 20 lorries were targeted, which were carrying cement and iron brought from Turkey in a regular procedure.

    Speaking to Daily Sabah, Serkan Nergis from the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said that the tucks were probably carrying aid supplies or commercial materials.

    An aid worker who filmed the aftermath initially said that it appeared that aid trucks had been targeted. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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

    (DPs/ AM)


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