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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-01-05
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 02/16 05.01.2016
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Akinci to brief the "assembly" on 12 JanuaryTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.01.16) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci will brief the "assembly" of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus on the Cyprus problem. The session will take place on Tuesday, 12 January at 10.00 in the morning.
The paper recalls that Akinci had briefed the "assembly" in September 2015 as well.
 Bozkir to illegally visit Cyprus; He says he is hopeful for a solution in CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.01.16) reports that Volkan Bozkir, Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator, will illegally visit the occupied area of Cyprus tomorrow. Bozkir will meet with Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, self-styled prime minister Ahmet Kalyoncu and the self-styled ministers of foreign affairs, public works and transportation, Emine Erk, Kutlu Evren and Tahsin Ertugruloglu respectively. He will also deliver a lecture at the illegal American University of Keryneia on the "political sciences and the international relations". Bozkir will further give an interview to illegal BRT television.
Meanwhile, in statements to Haber Turk newspaper, Bozkir said yesterday that he is hopeful for a solution in Cyprus. He said: "If the Cyprus problem is solved - and many hopes exist that it will be solved this year - the eight chapters blocked upon a decision of the EU Council and the five chapters blocked by south Cyprus [Translator's note: This is how he describes the Republic of Cyprus] will open in less than no time. We are in the position to open these 13 chapters within two months".
Noting that he is extremely hopeful that a solution to the Cyprus problem will be reached, Bozkir argued that the developments are heading towards a text on which both leaders will agree and that a lot of taboos have been demolished.
Bozkir recalled that water has been transferred to the occupied area of the island through undersea pipelines and that natural gas and oil have been discovered. Noting that these are important developments, Bozkir argued: "The paradigm changed, but Turkey is the one which made the solution possible, this should not be forgotten".
Recalling that eight chapters in Turkey's EU accession talks have been postponed because of the Cyprus problem and it has been said that "no chapter will be closed", Bozkir claimed that even though the EU did not open any chapter, Turkey has technically opened 15 chapters and closed one. He argued that actually within ten years they opened 28 chapters and came to the position of being able to close 15 of them. "We received conformation in the committees as well", he concluded.
 Samani: Both communities need reform in educationTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.01.16) reports that Meltem Samani, Turkish Cypriot member of the technical committee on the education, has said that a reform should be carried out in the education and underlined the importance of working by using a method on which both sides will agree.
Samani said that the Greek Cypriot side has not determined its member in the above-mentioned technical committee and added that it is expected that the necessary statement will be made at the meeting between the leaders on 7 January.
Samani noted that after the appointment to be made by the Greek Cypriot side, the members of the committee will meet and discuss the details of their work and method. She argued that an overall reform is needed in the education.
 Olgun and Ergun describe as "very appropriate" Akinci's statements on the guaranteesTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.01.16) reports that former Turkish Cypriot negotiators, Ergun Olgun and Osman Ertug have described as "very appropriate" Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's statements on the "vital issue of guarantees" and alleged that the reactions of the Greek Cypriot side to Akinci's statements are "worrying".
In a joint written statement Olgun and Ertug said that they find "very appropriate" the fact that Akinci expressed the "sensitivities" of the Turkish Cypriots on the issue of guarantees and said that he shared these sensitivities as "the elected leader of these people". They claimed that this "reality" cannot be changed by the "allegation" that the Greek Cypriots see these guarantees as a threat.
Olgun and Ergun alleged that some approaches of the Greek Cypriot political leadership, which say that no agreement could be reached with the existence of guarantees, do not digest the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots and try to make discriminations between "TRNC citizens", are an obstacle in front of the solution.
They said that the stance and positions exhibited by Akinci on 29 December, especially on the political equality, the bi-zonality, the security and guarantees and the Confidence Building Measures (CBM), are generally reflecting the parameters of the agreement and express what is necessary to be done for preparing the climate. It is absolutely necessary to continue decisively on these, they argued.
 Talat and Kalyoncu said that the payment of the 13rd salary is attached to the economic protocol and the water crisis issueTurkish Cypriot daily Diyalog (05.01.16) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot leader and leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Mehmet Ali Talat admitted that the reason for not paying the 13 salary is due to the water crisis with Turkey. Talat explained that due to the water crisis, the economic and financial protocol with Turkey was not signed. Because the protocol was not signed, the loan for the 13rd salary didn't happen.
Replying to questions at the Turkish Cypriot private channel Diyalog TV, Talat said that they want to make the payments as soon as possible, but they still don't know the exact day.
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (05.01.16) reports that the self-styled prime minister Omer Kalyoncu repeated that the economic protocol of the payment of the 13rd salary is attached to the water issue.
Commenting on the issue to the paper, Kalyoncu said that they will submit to Turkey a new proposal within 3-4 days. He explained that according to Turkey's stance on this new proposal, it will become clearer whether the chain problems that preventing the payment of the 13rd salary will be solved or not. Kalyoncu clarified that it is not possible to make the payments this week.
 Ozersay will announce tomorrow his political partyTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis (05.01.16) reports that Kudret Ozersay, former Turkish Cypriot negotiator, said that he will announce tomorrow, January 6, his party constitution, his vision, his solution proposals for the problems and his founding party members.
Ozersay will submit tomorrow morning the application for founding a political party at the so-called ministry of interior and hold a press conference later at the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce to explain the vision of his political party.
 A Turkish general who admitted that the Turks had set mosques on fire in Cyprus diedTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (05.01.16) reports that retired General Sabri Yirmibesoglu, former Head of Turkey's Special War Department, has died in Istanbul at the age of 88.
The paper recalls that in an interview to Haber Turk in 2010, Yirmibesoglu explained the working system of the above-mentioned Department and admitted that they had set mosques on fire in Cyprus. He had said, inter alia, the following: "[?] There is a rule in the Special War Department. In order for increasing the people's resistance, sabotage is carried out to some values presented as if the enemy did it. A mosque is set on fire. We have set mosques on fire in Cyprus. Mosques are set on fire for example".
 Talat is in Ankara for a round table meeting on the Cyprus issueAccording to illegal Bayrak television (online, 05.01.16), the leader of the Republican Turkish Party United Forces (CTP-UG) Mehmet Ali Talat is paying a one day visit to Ankara today.
The reason behind Talat's visit to Ankara is the round table meeting that will take place on the Cyprus issue.
The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) organises the round table meeting that will be held closed to the press and evaluate the latest phase reached on the Cyprus issue.
The meeting is being held under the Chatham House rules, which means that you can speak frankly without being identified by name or affiliation during the meeting.
Talat will return to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus tonight after completing his contacts in Ankara.
 MHP signals readiness to lift immunity of HDP lawmakersAccording to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 05.01.16), Turkey's main nationalist leader has signalled his willingness to lift the immunity of lawmakers from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) while also blaming the President and the government for the growth in recent militancy.
"If the immunity of the so-called HDP politicians is to be lifted, there is no obstacle before [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu and the AKP [Justice and Development Party]. Let them come; let's resolve this problem completely in Parliament. Let's finish it off entirely, let's facilitate the judiciary's business," MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said.
Prosecutors last week opened a criminal investigation into the co-leaders of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, over comments supporting a democratic autonomy model that could be applied throughout the country.
Over the weekend, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed the probe, saying the pair should "pay the price" and be stripped of their immunity.
All of the HDP's Deputies have said they are willing to forego their parliamentary immunity, while encouraging AKP colleagues to also do so.
But Bahceli also voiced his suspicions regarding "secret bargaining" between the AKP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) amid government-led military operations in Southeast Anatolia that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds after locals erected barricades to prevent access by Turkish forces.
"Are the current urban clashes aimed at aggravating bargaining over a new Constitution? Let me ask more openly: Is the AKP currently conducting talks with the PKK? Did Erdogan make a promise of a federation to the PKK in Oslo?" Bahceli asked while addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his party, referring to discussions in Oslo between the PKK and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in 2011.
"And more importantly than everything else, are the days of violence and dismay that we have been experiencing part of preliminary work for a presidential system that is based on autonomy?" he asked.
 MHP agrees to talk on Constitution, but is strictly against the presidential systemAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.01.16), Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Monday agreed to help draft a new Constitution to replace the 34-year-old charter produced under the last military regime.
"We suggest that the work on changing the Constitution should go on as if it never had stopped," MHP Deputy Chairman Oktay Ozturk said. "We should go on discussing the 61st article."
In 2013, Turkey's parliamentary parties formed a commission to rework the Constitution introduced in 1982 following a military coup two years earlier. The commission could only agree on 60 articles before it was disbanded.
Ozturk's comments followed a meeting between Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahceli, who heads the smallest of Turkey's four parliamentary parties, for talks on a new Constitution.
Omer Celik, deputy chairman of Davutoglu's Justice and Development (AK) Party, said a constitutional commission had been agreed with the MHP. He told journalists that all four parliamentary parties would have equal representation on the commission.
Last week, Davutoglu enlisted the support of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), in creating a new Constitution.
Talks with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were cancelled last month following remarks from HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas on autonomy for the southeast's Kurdish-majority provinces amid continuing violence.
Celik did not explain how the HDP would be represented on the commission given its absence from talks. "They excluded themselves from the process," he said. "We had asked the HDP for an appointment as a matter of respect to its voters. We cancelled the appointment due to the disrespectful attitudes of HDP leaders to the Prime Minister and the AK Party."
The AK Party aims to replace the current parliamentary system with a presidential model under a new Constitution. However, opposition parties have repeatedly said they support the parliamentary system.
"If there are certain failing parts in the parliamentary system, they should be handled and the system should be strengthened," Ozturk said, stressing Turkey's 93-year history under a parliamentary system.
Davutoglu is expected to brief Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman, who will decide how the commission will operate, in the coming days.
On the same issue, Turkish daily Sabah (online, 05.01.16) reports that speaking to reporters following the meeting, Ozturk said that they are on the same page with the AK Party regarding a new constitution, although he noted that the MHP is strictly against a presidential system.
Ozturk also underscored that the MHP is in favour of strengthening the parliamentary system in Turkey, rather than a presidential system. "The first four articles of the Constitution are MHP's red lines" Ozturk told reporters and added that his party is opposed to discussing these articles.
 HDP plans to hold 'autonomy' rallies amid tension with gov't over self-rule policyTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 04.01.16) reported that the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is planning to hold rallies in favour of "autonomy" and "self-rule" before the end of January, at a time when one of its co-chairs is being investigated over his call for greater Kurdish self-governance.
The HDP's general convention is scheduled to be held on Jan. 24 and the party will hold a conference before the convention along with its constituents, HDP spokesperson Ayhan Bilgen told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 4.
"Autonomy" and "self-rule", two concepts embraced at a recent convention of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an association of Kurdish political organizations, will also be discussed during this conference, Bilgen added.
At the convention held in late December, the DTK released a declaration calling for self-rule in Turkey's southeast, escalating political tensions at a time of renewed clashes between the security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants.
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas was one of the participants in a two-day congress of Kurdish groups that called for more self-governance, during which he said "there will be a Kurdistan in the next century and it could include an independent state". A prosecutor opened an investigation into Demirtas on Dec. 28 over his call, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said over the weekend that he supports criminal probes into HDP leaders over their comments about self-rule.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, HDP spokesperson Bilgen said that the HDP would hold rallies under the motto "Autonomies and Democratic Turkey". He said the exact schedule of rallies would be set at a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting of the party scheduled to take place later on Jan. 4.
"Our general project for Turkey is democratization. Therefore, whatever is on the agenda concerning ways to carry out this democratization will be discussed", Bilgen added.
The HDP plans to hold workshops and town-hall meetings on "autonomy" and "self-rule", particularly focusing on Turkey's western provinces, Anadolu Agency reported.
 500 journalists were fired and 70 others were attacked during 2015 in TurkeyAccording to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 04.01.16), around 500 journalists were fired and 70 others were subjected to physical violence in 2015, the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) has said.
"The greatest threats against journalists have been lawsuits filed against them and facing imprisonment," the TGC said in a report which depicted the state of journalism in 2015.
"The unemployment rate in journalism rose by two times. Around 500 journalists lost their jobs in 2015, while 70 others were attacked," the TGC said.
The TGC said bans on coverage of specific stories, access bans to several news websites and verbal and physical attacks on media outlets were trending topics during 2015.
"Journalists were targeted in rallies as well as on social media," it added.
The TGC said hours-long arrests and physical violence were faced by journalists.
"There are currently 30 journalists who have been imprisoned," it said, adding that censorship had always been in place during the year. "More than 200 news websites were denied access," it added.
 Turkey's exports drop 8.7% in 2015According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.01.16), Turkey's exports reached $143,9 billion in 2015, an 8.6% decline from $157.6 billion in 2014, Turkish Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas told the press on Monday.
Elitas, who is responsible for the country's foreign trade, said in a joint press conference with Mehmet Buyukeksi, the head of Turkish Exporters' Assembly, that the trade deficit narrowed 25.5% in 2015, as exports fell.
"The political events and conflicts in the world, in particular around Turkey, were a major source of instability. We had to respond with new strategies to the situation. Our experts are following new developments and are taking necessary measures", Elitas said.
Turkey's exports increased from $36.1 billion in 2002 to nearly $158 billion in 2014, according to the ministry.
Elitas said imports saw a 14.5% decline in the same period to $207.1 billion in 2015 from $220.4 billion in the previous year.
According to Elitas, export volumes increased in 2015, although their value decreased. "The main reason for the decline in our exports to European countries, especially to Germany, was the drop in the value of the euro against the dollar", Elitas said.
"In 2015 the euro fell 19.7% against the U.S. currency from the previous year. While the dollar value of our exports to Europe was $64.3 billion in 2014, this figure dropped to $58.7 billion in 2015," Elitas said.
"The low value of the euro cost Turkish exporters $12.9 billion in revenue," Elitas added. He pointed out that Turkey is among many countries seeing losses in exports performance in the weak global economy.
The Turkish government's targets reaching exports of $500 billion by 2023.
 Turkey's 'national flagship' set to sail in 2021According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 04.01.16), Turkey's first locally-made flagship, recently named "TCG Anadolu", is set to sail in 2021, Turkish daily Milliyet has reported.
TCG Anadolu, which is currently being constructed at Sedef Shipbuilding in Istanbul, will become the "mother ship" of Turkey's navy as its largest and most well-equipped warship.
Speaking to Milliyet, Sedef Shipbuilding board member Orkun Kalkavan expressed pride over taking responsibility in a large-scale military endeavour. "We are proud to demonstrate the power of our country's defence industry with a well-equipped ship capable of cross-continental operations," Kalkavan said.
Built by the Turkish Naval Force and the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, TCG Anadolu is designed to be 225 meters long and 32 meters wide. It will weigh a total of 28,000 tons when fully loaded.
The "multi-purpose amphibious ship" will be able to carry eight combat helicopters, an amphibian battalion of 700 officers, and a total of 1,400 passengers. Its redesigned runway will be suitable for the landing of F35B Lightning II fifth-generation combat aircrafts.
Reports indicate the flagship's weapons systems will also be produced locally in a joint effort by Turkish defence producers Havelsan and ASELSAN.
 Turkey's religious body says engaged couples should not hold handsTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 04.01.16) reported that the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Turkey's top religious body, has stated that engaged couples should not hold hands or spend time alone together during their engagement period.
"In this period, it is not inconvenient for couples to meet and talk to get to know each other, if their privacy is considered. However, there could be undesired incidents with or without their families' knowledge ? such as flirting, cohabitating or being alone [with one another]. This encourages gossip and holding hands, which Islam does not allow," the Diyanet said, responding to a public question.
It urged couples to fulfil their engagement period "in line with Islamic norms," encouraging couples not to have a religious marriage unless a civil marriage had been decided upon.
The Diyanet - which is one of Turkey's best funded state institutions, largely provided for by public taxation - has previously made headlines with controversial rulings on the usage of toilet paper and cleaning products containing alcohol. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
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