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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-01-26

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. 16/16 26.01.2016

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] CHP's foreign relations committee continued its contacts in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [02] Akinci met with the Dutch Ambassador in Cyprus
  • [03] Colak met with the President of the European Women Council
  • [04] Toros called the "government" to speed up its works for the Turkish Cypriot community harmonization with the EU acquis
  • [05] Research shows that the Turkish Cypriots believe that the Cyprus problem is their biggest problem and blame the Greek Cypriots for the non-solution
  • [06] Columnist warns that Cyprus may become a huge construction site after a resolution
  • [07] The remains of 86 persons were found in occupied Maratha and Santalaris villages
  • [08] The self-styled government has reportedly completed its work on the administration of the water from Turkey
  • [09] Familiarization seminars on the EU acquis communautaire in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [10] A budget of 1.3 million euro for financing the development of SMEs
  • [11] Self-styled ministry of tourism attended a tourism fair in Manchester
  • [12] Historical sites from the occupied area of Cyprus are promoted within the "World Heritage Turkey's promotion project"
  • [13] A 52 year old woman died in the occupied area of Cyprus from "Swine flu"
  • [14] EU confident 3 billion euros will be delivered to Turkey soon
  • [15] Turkish Interior Minister: HDP responsible for PKK's activities

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] CHP's foreign relations committee continued its contacts in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the delegation from CHP's foreign relations committee, which is currently in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus for a series of contacts, met yesterday with so-called prime minister Omer Kalyoncu, the former Turkish Cypriot leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Dervis Eroglu and the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties.

    During the meeting with Kalyoncu, the chairman of the committee Ozturk Yilmaz, who is leading the delegation, explained that they are visiting Cyprus in a crucial period where the Cyprus negotiation process is in progress, in order to support, as he said, the Turkish Cypriots in their effort to find a viable solution.

    Also speaking, Kalyoncu stated that the prolonged Cyprus negotiation process progress well and added that all the involved parties are very excited from this.

    Explaining that it is not easy to reach to a solution on the Cyprus problem, Kalyoncu said that there are still three important chapters, the property, the territory and the issue of guarantees and security where no agreement has been reached yet.

    Kalyoncu also said that the issue of security and guarantees is of vital importance for the solution of the Cyprus problem and the Turkish Cypriots taking into consideration the incidents of the past, as he said.

    Also, in statements during the meeting with CHP's delegation, the former Turkish Cypriot leader and leader of the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces (CHP-BG) Mehmet Ali Talat, pointed out to the special interest the Turkish opposition parties show on the Cyprus problem and said that he is pleased from CHP's delegation visit.

    Talat said, inter alia, that the Cyprus problem is "on the rails of the solution". He, however, added that it is difficult to predict when the final text of the agreement will be ready.

    Supporting that the Greek Cypriot side have started realizing that it needs the solution more than before, Talat added that the Greek Cypriots realized that the solution will bring economic prosperity in the island and the opening of the fenced off city of Varosha.

    Talat also added that it is the first time that all the involved parties on the Cyprus problem are so optimistic for the solution.

    On his turn, Yilmaz said that his party wishes for a fair and viable solution of the Cyprus problem to be found, based on the political equality of both sides in the island. He said that it is out of question for the Cyprus problem to be utilized for political purposes and added he will inform CHP's leader Kilicdaroglu about the progress of the talks.

    Moreover, during the meeting with the delegation, the former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, said, inter alia, that before becoming clear that the Greek Cypriot side has good will for the solution, the solution of the Cyprus problem will not be easy.

    Referring to the issue of the water crisis, Eroglu expressed the wish that the crisis will be overpassed soon and said that the solution of the problem will come with the signing of the economic protocol.

    On Turkey's EU bid, Eroglu said that he does not agree with the position that Cyprus is an obstacle for Turkey's EU accession process.

    Also speaking, Yilmaz said that they are in the "TRNC" to personally see the level of progress in the ongoing negotiations process.

    Stating that the Cyprus issue is a national cause for his party, Yilmaz expressed the CHP's support to the ongoing talks.

    CHP's delegation met further with Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party-National Forces (DP-UG) and Huseyin Ozgurgun, leader of the National Unity Party.

    Speaking during the meeting, Denktas referred to the importance of the delegation's visit in the "TRNC" especially in this "crucial period", while, on his turn, Ozgurgun, referred to the strong ties they have with the CHP.

    (AK)

    [02] Akinci met with the Dutch Ambassador in Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 26.01.16), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met this morning with the Dutch Ambassador in Nicosia Brechje Schwachofer. The latest developments on the Cyprus issue were discussed at the meeting held at Akinci's office.

    Akinci's special adviser for political affairs Meltem Samani and the coordinator responsible for foreign relations Deniz Birinci were also present at the meeting.

    No statement was issued before or after the meeting

    [03] Colak met with the President of the European Women Council

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Emine Colak met with the President of the European Council of Women (ECICW) Cosima Schenk, and the President of the National Council of Turkish Women and Vice-President of the European Council of Women Fatos Inal and their accompanying delegations. ECICW is visiting the breakaway regime upon an invitation of the "Turkish Cypriot Women Council".

    During the meeting, Colak referred to the Cyprus negotiations and stated that issues like how to make the solution of the Cyprus problem viable and how to make the two communities, which are separated for so long, to start living together, are essential after reaching the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    She also stated that everyone has the right to be heard but this is very difficult for a "country" that is not recognized and added that they are exerting great efforts in order to be heard in the international community. "We cannot participate in International activities. And if we try to participate obstacles are put in front of us", she stated.

    She also said that the decision-making bodies, the "government" and the political parties are the areas that required more participation by women.

    (CS)

    [04] Toros called the "government" to speed up its works for the Turkish Cypriot community harmonization with the EU acquis

    Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Trade (KTTO) Fikri Toros, in exclusive statements to the paper, said that the "government" acts slowly towards the legislation of the "laws" for the Turkish Cypriot community's harmonization with the EU acquis and warned that if it does not speed up its works, the threats after the solution will be much more than the opportunities.

    Stating that the solution of the Cyprus problem will bring economic potential, Toros stressed the need for the "government" to implement more quickly the EU harmonization "laws" in order to be able to utilize the economic potentials.

    Toros warned further that the Turkish Cypriot community will have to confront a lot of dangers in case it does not speed up its steps for its harmonization with the EU. "The works continue very slowly. This is not satisfactory. We are worrying for this. If the process is not speed up, the threats that will have to face the first day after the solution of the Cyprus problem will be much more than the opportunities. I say this openly. Everybody should understand this", added Toros.

    He further called the "government" to establish a mechanism in order to speed up the works for the legislation of the "laws" without any other delay.

    (AK)

    [05] Research shows that the Turkish Cypriots believe that the Cyprus problem is their biggest problem and blame the Greek Cypriots for the non-solution

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the "Research Institute" of occupied Keryneia (GAE) has announced the result of a research conducted in 2015 regarding the short-term political, economic and social expectations of the Turkish Cypriots. The research was conducted on 20 December with the participation of 941 persons (48% women and 52% men) in five occupied districts with the aim of comparing the results with similar surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014.

    According to the results, 30.29% of the participants said that the most important problem that should be solved is the Cyprus problem, which had been the most important problem in the surveys since 2013, but the number of the participants who described the Cyprus problem as the most important problem of the "country" increased by 10% in 2015. The percentage of those who believe that this problem will be solved this year is only 27%.

    The reply to the question "who is responsible in case of a non-solution to the Cyprus problem" has not changed during these three years. Every year the Greek Cypriots are considered to be responsible in case of a non-solution, but the number of those considering the Greek Cypriots as the primary responsible for the non-solution increased by 8% in 2015 and reached 57.4%. Turkey is following in the second place as it is considered responsible by 12.6% of the participants. This percentage fell by 5% comparing to the last year's survey. On the contrary, the percentage of those who consider Greece responsible for the non-solution increased to 4.5% in 2015 from 2% last year. Moreover, 6.6% of the participants in the survey consider the Turkish Cypriot side responsible in case of a non-solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The results show that 50.7% of the participants do not believe that the natural gas and oil will contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem. Furthermore, 48.3% of the participants do not believe that the water which had been transferred to the occupied area of the island from Turkey will contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Asked what their biggest expectation from the current self-styled government of the regime is, the replies were the following: 42.9% to solve the Cyprus problem, 22.8% to solve the unemployment problem, and 19.2% to implement the economic "protocol" with Turkey.

    The views as regards the continuity of the self-styled government have not changed since 2013, as the majority relates this continuity to Turkey's stance. 39.5% of the participants in 2015 said that the "government's" continuity depends on Turkey's stance and 34.6% on the "government's" actions and work.

    Asked which institution they trust the most, the participants replied: 41.5% the army (this percentage was 22.69% in 2014), 8.82% the "courts" and 1% the media, the "universities", the political parties, the "departments of the state" and the "police".

    The participants drew a pessimistic picture as regards their economic situation. 65.9% replied negatively to the question as to whether they believe that their earnings or income will increase in 2016. This percentage was 63% in 2014 and 68.6% in 2013. Only 22.7% of the participants replied positively to the above question.

    Asked "which of the following statements describe best the economic situation of your family", 47.7% of the participants said that they can barely get on, 23.6% that they were forced to get a loan and 13.3% that they could save money.

    [31] 5% of the participants in the survey work in the private sector, 15.5% in the "public sector", 19.1% were pensioners, 16.9% were housewives, 10,4% students and 6.6% were included in the "others" category.

    [32] 7% of the participants in the survey were university graduates, 2.3% were holders of a postgraduate diploma, 35.5% were lyceum graduates, 12.2% high school graduates, 15.9% primary school graduates and 1.3% are non-graduates from any school.

    [18] 1% of the participants in the survey said they have no salary, 3.5% said their salary varies between 500 and 1000 Turkish Liras (TL), 22.5% between 1001 and 2000 TL , 30.1% between 2001 and 3000 TL, 18.1% between 3001 and 4000 TL and 7.7% more than 4000 TL.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Columnist warns that Cyprus may become a huge construction site after a resolution

    Columnist Barcin Yinanc, writing in the Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 26.01.16), under the title "Turkey's secret agenda on the Cyprus deal", warns that Cyprus may become a huge construction site after a resolution in the following commentary:

    "'The visit has achieved the objectives we set at the outset ? To meet the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, who can take on board the positions of the Greek Cypriot side', said Greek Cypriot Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) head Andros Kyprianou on his return to the island after visiting Turkey over the weekend. 'The second objective was to hear from their side and possibly to try to diagnose what might be hidden behind their words', Kyprianou added.

    In other words, he was trying to decipher Turkey's 'secret agenda' for any possible Cyprus deal.

    If you ask me, the most evil secret agenda Ankara might have is to see the whole island become a huge construction site after a resolution. In fact, I was very concerned to read in daily Hurriyet that Turkish Cypriot contractors have already inked a deal with their Turkish counterparts to rebuild the 'ghost town' of Varosha, as hopes of finding a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue increase thanks to accelerated talks between the leaders of the Turkish and Greek communities on the island.

    Cyprus is known to Turks as the 'green island'. But I'm not sure how green it will remain if TOKI, Turkey's notorious housing agency, made its entry to the island. If I were a Greek Cypriot, I would rather accept a limited number of Turkish soldiers on the island than accept a flood of Turkish construction companies.

    But in all seriousness, if Turkey has any secret agenda, the only one I can think of would be satisfying its need to be part of an international success story. It badly needs one, which is why it is acting with utmost precaution on Cyprus and seems to have learned from past mistakes.

    One of the lessons learned from the past is the need to leave the two sides alone at the negotiation table. That might sound to be too good to be true, and obviously nobody can expect Turkey to shut down its 'radars' on Cyprus and simply tell both sides to call when they have reached an agreement. Indeed, I'm sure Turkey is keeping a close eye on the process and asking to be informed of all the details. But no doubt it is doing its utmost not to damage the perception that the process is a 'local' one, not an 'international one' (as was the case with the Annan process). It seems that even NGOs have been asked to stay away from the process.

    Another lesson drawn by Turkey from the past is the need to reach out to all stakeholders on the island, especially on the Greek side. The Annan process showed that Greek Cypriots were not ready to accept any solution other than the one promised by their leaders. In that respect, inviting the Greek Cypriot opposition leader to Turkey could be seen as an effort to try to reach out to all stakeholders on the island.

    Obviously, no matter what it does, Turkey cannot convince the Greek Cypriots on certain issues, such as the issue of 'guarantees'. I was in Greek Cyprus ahead (editor's note: the government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus) of the Annan referendum, and was surprised to hear some Greek Cypriots declare they would say 'no' because 300 Turkish soldiers would have remained after the solution (though actually that number was supposed to decrease over time). 'But even if you say "no" you will end up living with thousands of Turkish soldiers on the island', I had replied at the time.

    Even on the guarantees issue, the Turkish side is now looking for a formula that can satisfy both sides. That was also conveyed to Kyprianou, as he said it was his impression that 'Turkey wants to play a role in security matters, but in a different way than today under the system of guarantor powers. I hope to see whether the possibility of a different approach "accepted by both communities" is possible', he added, according to the Cyprus media.

    It seems that a solution on Cyprus stands out as one of the rare instances where the Turkish government is not drawing 'red lines'. As I have said, that likely stems from the need to have a 'success story'. Indeed, this would be a rare thing, especially nowadays in the current international setting."

    [07] The remains of 86 persons were found in occupied Maratha and Santalaris villages

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Member of the Committee of the Missing Persons announced that the remains of 86 persons were found during excavations that took place in the occupied Maratha and Santalaris villages.

    According to the Committee, excavations are continuing to take place in occupied Mia Milia, Dikomo, Karakoumi, Epicho and Petra villages. The excavations are taking place in areas that there is information that can lead to findings of new evidence. For example in occupied Mia Milia there is information about the remains of a Greek Cypriot and in occupied Dikomo about the remains of three Greek Cypriots.

    In addition excavations are taking place in Athalassa in the free areas of the Republic for the remains of three Turkish Cypriots, writes the paper.

    (CS)

    [08] The self-styled government has reportedly completed its work on the administration of the water from Turkey

    Under the title "Now is the gentlemen's in Ankara turn", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the self-styled government has completed its work for the solution of what is described as "water crisis" and concerns the administration of the water transferred from Turkey to the occupied area of Cyprus through undersea pipelines. According to the paper, self-styled prime minister Omer Kalyoncu signed and sent to Ankara a "TRNC document for further consultation".

    Noting that the ball is in Ankara's field now, the paper writes that some provisions of the "document" are the following:

    - The bid document will be prepared within three months.

    - The bid will be completed within the following nine months.

    - Within this (one year) period the Water Affairs Department of Turkey [DSI] will provide the water to the "municipalities".

    - The tenders will be invited by the "Central tender Committee".

    - Two separate bids will be invited: One for the drinking water and one for the water for agricultural use.

    - The "municipalities" will continue collecting the revenues.

    - The "municipalities" will be actively involved in the administration of the water both for the entire "country" and the separate areas.

    - The price of the water will not exceed 4.5 Turkish Liras.

    - During the first year the DSI will offer services without aiming at any profit.

    - A fund will be established with the income of the DSI from the water and this money will be used for covering the debts of the "municipalities".

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Familiarization seminars on the EU acquis communautaire in the occupied area of Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 25.01.16), the European Commission Representation in Cyprus is organizing a series of seminars with the aim of introducing the EU acquis communautaire to the Turkish Cypriots.

    The 4 day "Familiarization Seminars on the Community Acquis" started with sessions on the European Legal Network, EU Migration and Internal Affairs Policies, Foreign Policy and Security, Prevention of Corruption, Social Policies and Employment subjects.

    Delivering the opening speech of the seminar, the self-styled foreign ministry undersecretary Erhan Ercin pointed out that the European Commission has launched the information seminars on the EU acquis communtaire during a time when efforts towards solving the Cyprus problem are being intensified. "It is difficult to harmonize with the EU acquis communautaire. If these information seminars were held before then the Turkish Cypriot people would have been more prepared for the EU", said Ercin.

    He stressed the desire to move the EU harmonization process forward by using time effectively and added: "The EU countries created the acquis communautaire on the basis of a common understanding for the benefit of its citizens. EU values are important for raising prosperity and creating a truly functioning social justice system".

    [10] A budget of 1.3 million euro for financing the development of SMEs

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 25.01.16), the TAPS project carried out jointly by the EU and the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Development Centre (KOBIGEM) which operates under the "ministry of economy, industry and commerce" was promoted to the press with an event on Monday.

    TAPS, which is short for Technical Assistance Private Sector, is a technical support program aimed at building the capacity of local stake holders and to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector.

    The project which has a budget of 1.3 million euro and which is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises has been active since November last year.

    Speaking at the press conference, the Head of the TAPS project team Jean Claude Duplouy said that the project which will continue for 17 months has a budget of 1.3 million euro. Stating that developing and strengthening the private sector of a country is very important, Duplouy said that he is extremely pleased to be working with small and medium sized enterprises in "North Cyprus" (editor's note: the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus).

    The General Coordinator of KOBIGEM Ebru Kaptan Sertoglu, for her part, said that they are pleased to be working with the EU for the second time. She said that the project, as in the past, will act as a bridge between the "state" and civil society organisations.

    The self-styled minister of economy, industry and commerce Sunat Atun, speaking also at the event, said that he is pleased to be announcing a new SMEs policy. He said that the "government" has been supporting the grant program for small and medium sized enterprises since 2010.

    [11] Self-styled ministry of tourism attended a tourism fair in Manchester

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (26.01.16), the self-styled ministry of tourism attended the tourism fair "Destinations and Holiday and Travel Market", which was held between January 21 and 24 in Manchester, UK.

    Brochures regarding general information of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, nature walking trails and bicycle route maps were distributed during the fair.

    (DPs)

    [12] Historical sites from the occupied area of Cyprus are promoted within the "World Heritage Turkey's promotion project"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (20.01.16) reports that the Turkish Tourism and Promotion Platform (TUTAP) has included in its promotion activities many historical sites from the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus within the framework of the World Heritage Turkey's promotion project.

    The President of TUTAP Fikret Yildiz, in a statement to illegal Bayrak television, said that their aim is to bring 2 million tourists in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus during the tourism season 2016-2017.

    Yildiz explained that the "TRNC tourism" will be promoted in all the promotion activities being held in the Turkic speaking countries with the contribution of TURKSOY and in all the tourism fairs that they will attend.

    Yildiz further said that the historical sites from the occupied area of Cyprus that will be included in the "World Heritage Turkey's project" and can be counted as "World Heritage" are the Lala Mustafa Pasa mosque (editor's note: the Saint Nicholas's Cathedral in occupied Famagusta town), the Selimiye mosque (editor's note: St. Sophia Cathedral in the occupied part of Lefkosia), Bedesten (editor's note: Church of St. Nicholas in the occupied part of Lefkosia), Salamis ruins, the Bellapais Abbey, St Hillarion Castle and the Keryneia castle. He added that these historical sites will be promoted in every platform that Turkey is promoted.

    (DPs)

    [13] A 52 year old woman died in the occupied area of Cyprus from "Swine flu"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (26.01.16) under the title: "First death from the swine flu", reports that a 52 year old woman passed away yesterday in the occupied area of Cyprus because of the H1N1 virus, known as "swine flu".

    According to the paper, the woman was diagnosed with the symptoms of the "swine flu" on January 11 and since then was hospitalized at the "hospital" of the illegal YDU university.

    In statements on the issue, so-called minister of health Salih Izbul called the "citizens" not to panic.

    Meanwhile, 23 more people have gone yesterday to the hospital with suspicions of suffering from "swine flu".

    (AK)

    [14] EU confident 3 billion euros will be delivered to Turkey soon

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 25.01.16), the European Union assured Turkey on Jan. 25 that a package of three billion euros for Syrian refugees will soon be released, also stressing the need to further stem the influx of irregular migrants from Turkey to Europe before a key summit to take place on Feb. 18 in Brussels.

    "The talks are ongoing. I am very confident that the amount that was decided before will be there in very reasonable timing," EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said at a press conference in Ankara after high-level political meetings with senior Turkish officials.

    Mogherini, European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish EU Minister Volkan Bozkir came around the same table as part of enhanced political dialogue between Ankara and Brussels following the Nov. 29 joint statement. The EU delegation later met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

    "Today's high-level political dialogue is an essential element of our overall framework of dialogue and cooperation. It provided us with the opportunity to discuss issues high on both of our agendas in a comprehensive manner and that will feed into the preparation of the next EU-Turkey Summit," read a joint statement issued after the Jan. 25 meetings.

    One of the most urgent issues is the delivery of a financial aid worth 3 billion euros to Turkey to step up support for Syrian and other refugees in Turkey in exchange for the Turkish authorities cutting the illegal flow of migrants to Europe. Italy has blocked the release of the money because of an internal disagreement within the EU. Mogherini said that she wanted to play down "this dramatic approach" over the issue, emphasizing that the funds were "not pocket money".

    "We are doing the preparatory work for spending this money in an appropriate way. Because again it's not pocket money, it's money that goes to projects. The commission is carrying out all the assessments of the needs for the projects," she said.

    Cavusoglu also sought to urge calm over the delay. "We don't take it personally ? But any delay is affecting the daily life of the refugees, their schooling and their medical needs," he said.

    The joint statement reiterated its commitment to provide the financial assistance. "The EU confirmed its commitment to expand significantly its overall financial support by creating a EUR 3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey. The need to finalize and swiftly move forward the implementation of the Refugee Facility in cooperation with Turkey, in line with the needs assessment, was underlined," it stated.

    Turkish and EU officials also reviewed the results of recently intensified efforts to stem the number of refugees traveling from Turkey to Europe before a crucial summit between Turkey and eight like-minded countries in February.

    "The need to achieve further results in stemming the influx of irregular migrants and in fighting criminal smuggling networks was underlined. Turkey and the EU agreed to step up their cooperation to reinforce the interception capacity of the Turkish Coast Guard and acknowledged the importance of maintaining a system of coordinated reporting on migration and refugee flows," the joint statement read.

    Meanwhile, Turkish and EU officials also exchanged views on the ongoing fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in a number of towns in south-eastern Turkey. "We had the opportunity to discuss problems in southeast Turkey. The EU condemns all sorts of terrorist attacks," Mogherini said, calling for an "immediate ceasefire" of PKK attacks while calling for the resumption of peace talks that collapsed last summer.

    "The EU also continues to be committed to fight against the presence in Europe of the PKK, which is on the official EU terrorist list, with a view to preventing PKK terrorist attacks. The EU stressed the importance of an urgent return to the solution process and attaches the utmost importance to achieving a peaceful and sustainable solution for the benefit of all the people of Turkey," the joint statement said.

    [15] Turkish Interior Minister: HDP responsible for PKK's activities

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (26.01.16) reports that the Interior Minister of Turkey Efkan Ala stated that the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) is responsible for the continuation of the military operations in south eastern provinces of Turkey between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish military.

    Ala stated that the party's Deputies should stand up to PKK and call on the militants to abandon their guns and return to peace talks. However the Deputies of HDP do not act in this way and therefore they are responsible for the continuation of the attacks and the non-end violence, he claimed. He went on and argued that Turkey has changed and is far more democratic than in the 1980s and 1990s, but PKK has not changed, insisting on old practices and ways. Finally he stated that unless PKK militants abandon their arms, the peace progress cannot be launched again.

    In addition, the paper reports that tanks rolled through the ruined streets of the Cizre district of the south-eastern province of Sirnak yesterday as military operations against PKK continue. Official statements indicate that 446 PKK militants have been recently killed during military operations.

    (CS) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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

    (DPs/ AM)


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