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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-09-28

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. 185/16 28.09.2016

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Akinci alleges that Turkey is the only "port" for the Turkish Cypriots to take refuge and disappoints pro-solution Turkish Cypriots
  • [02] Akinci wraps up contacts in New York
  • [03] "Five thousand new citizens by the end of the year"
  • [04] TDP, BKP and the YKP evaluated the outcome of the New York summit
  • [05] Turkish FM stated that that there is "cautious optimism" on the Cyprus problem
  • [06] Ertugruloglu carried out contacts in Washington
  • [07] Religious official to be appointed to students' dormitories in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [08] Cavusoglu holds Ankara contacts
  • [09] Turkey finances the infrastructure in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [10] After the fraud in the occupied area of Cyprus, "Beirut Life" real estate company advertises a project in Paphos
  • [11] AIA Europe to organize a conference in occupied Keryneia
  • [12] Turkey looks to boost defense ties with Azerbaijan
  • [13] Turkey hits dozens of Daesh targets in northern Syria
  • [14] "How to forge ties with post-Brexit Europe?"

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Akinci alleges that Turkey is the only "port" for the Turkish Cypriots to take refuge and disappoints pro-solution Turkish Cypriots

    Under the title "Turkey is the only port for us to take refuge", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (28.09.16) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has reiterated that they want guarantees for "the new federal system" which will be established in Cyprus. In statements to Ankara Anatolia news agency in New York, Akinci said:

    "From whom we could expect this? There is only one port for the Turkish Cypriots to take refuge. And this port is Turkey. [?] We see that a Greek Cypriot merchant, who bought potatoes from Turkish Cypriots, is threatened by Greek Cypriots and an attempt is made for his workplace to be burnt. All these are happening today. Therefore, let no one tell us that you do not need guarantees on this issue".

    Referring once more to the possibility of the negotiating process to be extended in 2017, Akinci alleged: "In our view, this will not be the end of the world, but it is the end of the process. This process will come to the point of stopping by itself".

    According to the paper, Akinci's statements caused joy to the supporters of the status quo in the island and disappointed the pro-solution forces which had placed their hopes [for the solution] on Akinci.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (28.09.16) covers these statements under the title "Solution in Cyprus will be tantamount to overcoming a serious obstacle in Turkey's way to Europe". The paper reports that Akinci argued that even though the solution of the Cyprus problem will not secure by itself Turkey's accession to the EU, it will be tantamount to the lifting of a serious obstacle in front of its EU accession course and many chapters will re-open. "However, this is not the only obstacle, there are more", he pointed out and underlined that with the solution in Cyprus and the accession of the Turkish Cypriots to the EU, the Turkish language will become one of the official languages of the Union.

    Referring to the Cyprus negotiations, Akinci claimed that important progress has been achieved on the issue of the accession of the "TRNC" [Translator's note: The breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus] into the EU and argued that "the EU is one of the chapters on which the most progress has been reached". Reiterating the view that the "TRNC citizens" will become citizens of both the United Cyprus and the EU, Akinci added:

    "The work permits of those who are not citizens and live in Cyprus with work permit will continue to be valid. In fact, if there is an issue of labor force as requirement of the economy, Turkey is our nearest source and there is a qualified labor force. Therefore, more people from Turkey could come and work. The adjustments as regards labor life will become a federal power, but we have taken from now the necessary measures in order for not behaving unjustly to our people who possess work permit in the TRNC. There is no problem on this issue. Their work permits will continue to be prolonged as long as the economy demands this. There is no issue of sending back the people who have come from Turkey".

    Akinci reiterated the position that the territory chapter should be discussed outside Cyprus in a neutral country, such as Switzerland, and right afterwards a five-party conference with the participation of the guarantor powers should take place.

    Noting that the security of the Turkish Cypriots should be safeguarded and the new system should be put under a kind of guarantees, Akinci alleged:

    "Reference is made to a bi-zonal federal structure and the Turkish Cypriot Founding State will be one of these zones. This state will have separate police organization. In the past it had not. There were a number of Turkish Cypriot police officers in the mixed police organization. Now we have separate institutions, courts, parliament, and government. The unilateral amendment of 13 articles of the Constitution was attempted in 1963. The common state was turned into a unitary state of the Greek Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots were left outside of this structure. As Turkish Cypriots we do not want to come face to face with such situations once more. Of course we want guarantees in this new federal system. From whom we can expect this? There is only one port for the Turkish Cypriots to take refuge. And this is Turkey. No agreement has been reached on this issue, but let them excuse us, we do not and could not have the comfortableness to say 'we are finding a solution sir; we are joining the EU, what we need the guarantees for'. [?] Let no one tell us that you do not need guarantees on this issue. Let them leave us live in security, trust to be established between the two communities and in the future we shall see and evaluate the issue. However, it is obvious that this is needed and that it is not possible for the Turkish Cypriot people to approve an agreement which does not include this guarantee".

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Akinci wraps up contacts in New York

    Illegal Bayark television (28.09.16) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader

    Mustafa Akinci stated that there is still enough time to reach a settlement before the end of the year.

    Speaking to the illegal TAK news agency before leaving New York, Akinci said that carrying the negotiations to 2017 without planning and timetables or in an open ended manner would only lead to a Pyrrhic victory.

    Stating that a historical opportunity exists for a settlement on the island, Akinci said that wasting this opportunity would have negative consequences such as deepening the existing division on the island.

    Explaining that they had agreed with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis prior to New York on the message they were to give the UN Secretary General, Akinci claimed that the Greek Cypriot leader had back pedaled after coming under the influence of the National Council.

    Responding to a question as to what degree had the trilateral meeting met the Turkish Cypriot side's expectations, Akinci said that he had not come to New York expecting miracles which he clearly stated at illegal Tymbou airport before departing for New York.

    "We are here to assess the situation and to determine a road map because we obviously have a tight timetable. The deadline is the end of this year" he said, reminding that the UN Secretary General is leaving office at the end of the year and that they wanted him to take on a more active role in the process.

    Highlighting the importance of the trilateral meeting, Akinci claimed that the meeting had once again shown the UN that the Turkish Cypriot side truly desires a settlement. He however added that it would have been better if the milestones had been set.

    "It will be extremely difficult to find such a conjuncture. We are talking about a historical opportunity. Missing this opportunity will have its consequences because I can clearly say that the division between the two sides will become even deeper if it is missed. I also believe that it will be the last shot we have for a federal settlement. I have repeated on many occasions that this will be the last attempt of my generation. A settlement will allow cooperation between neighboring countries on the exploitation of natural gas reserves in the area. This is the view being voiced by experts that is that the most feasible, cheapest and logical way of transporting the gas to Europe is via Turkey" he claimed.

    Asked about how the process will proceed after New York, Akinci said that he and Anastasiadis will be engaged in a new round of intensified talks.

    He said that a camp style meeting format was needed to discuss the territory chapter.

    "After this we can sit down with the three guarantor powers for a five party conference to discuss the issue of security and guarantees. If we can do this, we can leave the technical issues for later and provide the people with sufficient time to understand the process and the agreement to be reached" he added.

    Akinci also stated that there was no need for the Turkish Cypriots to feel disappointed regarding New York as what was experienced is part of the process.

    "Therefore there is nothing to be disappointed about the UN Secretary General's statement. The statement only lacked some elements. It would have been better if we could set a detailed timetable. But as I have said before, the Greek Cypriots have a phobia against timetables and deadlines. They are also strictly opposed to arbitration" he claimed.

    Akinci also warned against those who have been celebrating the latest developments in New York, stating that failure to reach a settlement will have negative consequences for everyone.

    [03] "Five thousand new citizens by the end of the year"

    Under the above title, journalist Mert Ozdag in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (28.09.16) refers to the policy of the occupation regime on the issue of granting "citizenship" and reports that even though it is not officially stated, in unofficial meetings, Turkey demands "citizenship" to be granted to all those who had acquired a "work permit" for subsequent six years. Ozdag writes that the number of the persons for whom Turkey demands "citizenship" reaches 8,627 as of December 2015. "I want to draw your attention to the fact that with granting the citizenship to 8,627 persons, the number will reach 34,500 with the spouses and the children of these persons", he stresses.

    The issue concerns the "United Federal Cyprus" as well, he notes, because an agreement on the issue of citizenships has been reached at the negotiating table and a certain number which includes all the "TRNC citizens" has been determined. The "sensitivity" of the issue had been raised during the last meeting between President Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci in Ankara after which the procedure of "granting citizenships" stopped, he writes.

    According to the paper, now "citizenship" is granted to persons who have completed eleven consequent years in the occupied area of Cyprus with a "work permit". As it seems, the procedure of granting "citizenship" to these persons by the end of the year will be intensified, notes the journalist and adds that the number of these persons is around 1,000 and that according to "government" sources another 500 persons have acquired the "citizenship" with a decision of the "council of ministers".

    "If we calculate that within five months [Translator's note: During which the National Unity Party ? Democratic Party is in "power"] 1,000 citizenships were granted and 500 citizenships with a decision of the council of ministers, we reach the number of 1,500", he reports adding that this number very easily increases to 5,000 when the "citizenship" is automatically granted to the families of these 1,500 "new citizens". "We are talking about 5,000 citizenships in five months", he notes adding that "there is still a way to go until 35,000". "However, it is not difficult to say that the policy of 'more citizens' asked by the Turkish officials totally coincides with the policy of the UBP-DP minority government", he says.

    Ozdag writes that from 2004 until today 10,203 persons have acquired the "citizenship" of the regime because of marriage. "I find attention attracting the fact that this exaggerated number of citizenships was acquired through marriage", he notes and adds says that 4,480 "citizenships" were granted as of 2004 to the families of the persons who acquired the "citizenship" upon a decision of the "cabinet".

    In another column, he reports that according to his sources, every day 50 "health certificates" are granted at the occupied Nicosia "state" hospital within the framework of the procedure of acquiring the "citizenship" with a "decision" by the "council of ministers".

    "If we calculate that there are 24 working days per month, this number makes 1,200 in a month. That is, this means 2,400 health reports in two months. Let us take out the 400 of them, as not everyone takes a health certificate for acquiring citizenship. The number of 2,000 remains and this number coincides with the number I referred to in the previous article. That is, we can say that during UBP government about 2,000 citizenships [1,500-2,000] were granted. And this number increases to at least 5,000 with their families. [?]"

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] TDP, BKP and the YKP evaluated the outcome of the New York summit

    Under the title: "BKP and the YKP are not satisfied from the New York summit", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (28.09.16) reports that the chairman of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) Izzet Izcan, in a written statement evaluated the outcome of the New York summit and argued that it became clear that no international conference will take place before a progress is achieved on the chapters that remain open. "Instead of discussing the procedure, it would be better for the two leaders to continue with determination the discussion of the substantial issues in order to pave the way for the solution of the Cyprus problem and also to brief their communities about the current situation", Izcan said.

    Supporting that the solution will not be found by the foreign powers and that the factor of timing is very important, Izcan said: "The negotiation process without artificial timetables and arbitration belongs to the Cypriots. The solution will be found not by the external powers but by the Cypriot negotiators".

    Meanwhile, commenting also on the same issue, the New Cyprus Party (YKP) in a written statement argued that it was proven that the negotiation process continue with the aim of resisting to the external pressure and without the necessary progress in the substantial issues.

    Calling the two leaders to continue the negotiation process with goodwill, the YKP underlines the need for the sides to allow approaching their redlines. "The YKP wants a solution not only for Cyprus but for peace in the whole world", added the statement.

    Moreover, according to illegal Bayrak television (27.09.16) the leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit, stated that the month of October will be determinative for the future of Cyprus.

    In a written statement evaluating the trilateral meeting in New York, Ozyigit said that it would be wrong to become pessimistic about ongoing efforts to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, adding that the efforts to reach settlement which will enable the Turkish Cypriots to integrate with Europe and the international community will continue to the end.

    Stating that the TDP maintained its cautiously optimistic stance towards achieving a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal settlement on the basis of political equality, Ozyigit explained that the two leaders will be engaged in a new round of intensified talks in October to reach agreements in areas where disagreements exist.

    Ozyigit accused also the circles opposed to a settlement of trying to strip the people of hope by repeatedly giving false messages that the process is blocked.

    "Statements made in New York have reaffirmed the goal of reaching a settlement in a short period of time. Even though it has not openly been stated, a natural timetable has been set" he said.

    He also underlined the importance of both sides embracing any settlement agreement to be reached and how both sides should take into consideration each other's rights and sensitivities while seeking to safeguard their own.

    (AK)

    [05] Turkish FM stated that that there is "cautious optimism" on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (28.09.16) reports that Boris Johnson U.K. Secretary of State stated during his visit to Ankara that there is "cautious optimism" on the Cyprus problem. He made these statements speaking during a press conference with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

    Johnson noted that the U.K. and Turkey have very similar positions on Syria, saw grounds for "cautious optimism" on the Cyprus issue, and vowed to continue supporting Turkey's bid for European Union membership.

    He also said that his Turkish hosts had not brought up the controversy caused by the crude poem he composed mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this year. He was yet to meet Erdogan when he made the statement. When a reporter asked during the news conference whether he would apologize for the poem, Johnson simply said no one had yet brought it up.

    He added that he hoped for a new "jumbo" free trade deal with Turkey after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, adding that "We are leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe."

    On his part Cavusoglu stated that cooperating with the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in any potential operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria's Raqqa would mean "putting Syria's future at risk,".

    He also criticized the U.S. for not meeting its promise of securing the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish fighters from the region.

    [06] Ertugruloglu carried out contacts in Washington

    According to illegal Bayrak (28.09.16,http://www.brtk.net/ertugruloglu-washingtonda/) self-styled minister of foreign affairs Tahsin Ertugruloglu, who continues his contacts in Washington D.C., gave an interview to the Washington National Public Radio reporter Michele Kelemen yesterday.

    Evaluating the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, Ertugruloglu argued that everyone hopes that the negotiations will end with a just and permanent settlement based on the equality of both sides in the island. He added that apart from the two sides in Cyprus, the international community should be prepared for both the success and the failure of the on-going negotiations. He claimed that the Turkish Cypriot "people" have the need to free themselves of the reportedly international isolation and the political uncertainty.

    Meanwhile, Ertugruloglu also met with officials from the U.S. Department of State, "BRT" reported.

    Attending a lunch offered by Turkey's Ambassador in Washington Serdar Kilic for his honour, Ertugruloglu evaluated and exchanged views on the latest stage of the Cyprus issue.

    Later, attending a round table meeting at the think tank Brookings Institute Ertugruloglu made a representation.

    (DPs)

    [07] Religious official to be appointed to students' dormitories in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (28.09.16) reports that a religious official will be appointment in students' dormitories in the breakaway regime.

    This will take place in the framework of an agreement reached last March, between the General Directorate Higher Education Trust and Dormitories of the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Directorate of Religious Affairs, according to which the project for the "spiritual guiding" at the students dormitories is expanded. The project was first applied to 83 dormitories in 43 regions.

    The paper writes that the aim is this to be applied to the students' dormitories "Necmettin Erbakan", "Bulent Ecevit" and "Refika" which are located in the breakaway regime in order for the "spiritual world" of the students to be enriched.

    Commenting on the issue, Huseyin Ekmekci in his column in daily Havadis (28.09.16) strongly criticizes this development and wonders why there is not any "official reaction", either by the "ministry of education" or the "Religious affairs directorate" in the breakaway regime against this. "(The universities) may be located here but we do not administrate them", he writes, adding that the aim of the development is the production of a religious youth.

    (CS)

    [08] Cavusoglu holds Ankara contacts

    Illegal Bayrak (28.09. 16) broadcast that self-styled minister of agriculture and natural resources Nazim Cavusoglu held contacts in Ankara.

    Cavusoglu met with the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Tugrul Turkes, the Turkish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Faruk Celik, the Minister for Forestry and Water Works Veysel Eroglu and the

    Turkish Minister for Finance Naci Agbal.

    Important decisions were taken during the meetings, Bayrak broadcast. An agreement was reached to speed up the tender process for the "water transfer project" as well as other additional investment projects.

    An agreement was also reached with the Turkish Minister for Forestry and Water Works Veysel Eroglu to prepare projects for rain water and sewage.

    Delegations from Turkey will be arriving in the breakaway regime in the coming days to meet with "officials" from the "ministry of agriculture".

    During his meeting with the Celik, Cavusoglu discussed the establishment of a farmer registration system, livestock purchases and other issues of cooperation between the two "ministries".

    Celik who spoke during the meeting stated that the water from Turkey will have an important and positive impact on farming in the breakaway regime.

    [09] Turkey finances the infrastructure in the occupied area of Cyprus

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.09.16), self-styled minister of public works and communications Kemal Durust, who is currently in Ankara for contacts, met yesterday with Turkey's Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communications Ahmet Alsan and discussed the ongoing projects included at the "Land roads Master plan 2012-2020". Aslan said that 44 million TL were sent this year to the occupied area of Cyprus for the construction of roads.

    In a statement prior to the meeting, Arslan stressed that Turkey will continue its full support for the existence, security, rights and prosperity of the "TRNC" (translator's note: the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus). He added that during the period 2004-2015, a total of 500 million TL at current prices were transferred to the "TRNC" for the "transportation and communication sector". He explained that they support many investments with the aim of completing the highway network, the improvement of the aerial and maritime transportation as well as the development of the communications infrastructure. He further said that this year 123 million TL were sent for the transportation and communications sector, adding that they aim to construct 400Km new roads, from which the 145km will be for single route and 255km for dual carriageway.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (online, 28.09.16) broadcast that Durust, speaking after the meeting, said that he had invited Minister Arslan to the "TRNC" and added: "Hopefully Mr Arslan will be visiting us next month. He has given his word that all necessary financial and technical contributions will be made to speed up ongoing projects in the TRNC".

    Stating that the state e-project was also discussed during the meeting, Durust said that he had briefed his Turkish Minister on the work carried out on the project in the past.

    In his meeting with the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Tugrul Turkes, Durust said that he had conveyed the "government's" short-term expectations and requests regarding ports and motorways in the "TRNC". "Our meetings were quite productive. We shall continue to receive Turkey's strong support in upgrading our infrastructure", he concluded.

    (DPs)

    [10] After the fraud in the occupied area of Cyprus, "Beirut Life" real estate company advertises a project in Paphos

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (28.09.16) reports that when the fraud of "Beirut Life", real estate company, which would have built 17-storey residence buildings in the occupied area of Cyprus and was misleading the people of Middle East origin with false promises that they would get a Turkish passport and "permanent residence permit" when they purchase a house from the project, was unmasked, turned to "south Cyprus".

    The paper explains that the company removed from its account the advertisement regarding the project in occupied area of Cyprus and replaced it with a project in Paphos. "Beirut Life" advertises that it will build villas with swimming pools in Paphos and the project will be completed in three years, adding that according to Cyprus law, those who invest three million euro can obtain a passport.

    (DPs)

    [11] AIA Europe to organize a conference in occupied Keryneia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (28.09.16) reports that the annual meeting of the EU department of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Europe) will take place in occupied Keryneia between September 29-October 2.

    According to the paper, a conference will also take place on the issue: "Communicating Across Culture", where more than 60 architects from the EU and the USA will participate.

    In statements on the issue, the "mayor" of occupied Keryneia Nidai Gungordu described the event to take place in as very important and said that more details on this could be found at the website www.aiaeurope.org.

    (AK)

    [12] Turkey looks to boost defense ties with Azerbaijan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.09.16) reports that Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik attended the opening ceremony of the International Defense Industry Fair (ADEX 2016) along with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Serbia, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates.

    Isik said the fair would help to boost cooperation between Turkish and Azerbaijani firms. The ADEX 2016, which will run until Sept. 30, is hosting 216 defense companies from 34 countries. Turkey is participating with 42 companies.

    Isik has called for further enhancement of defense ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

    [13] Turkey hits dozens of Daesh targets in northern Syria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.09.16) reports that Turkish forces hit dozens of Daesh targets as part of its ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, military sources said on Tuesday.

    A Turkish General Staff statement said 30 Daesh targets had been hit with 57 artillery rounds.

    A total of 1,337 detected targets have been hit since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield, the military added.

    [14] "How to forge ties with post-Brexit Europe?"

    Under the above title, Selin Nasi writes the following in Hurriyet Daily News (28.09.16):

    "Former European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein once said Turkey was too big, too poor and too different to become a full member of the European Union.

    Indeed, the opponents of Turkey's EU membership have always come up with plenty of arguments to undermine the process. Some claimed that Turkey was geographically more Middle Eastern than European, some focused on the income disparity and the army of unqualified poor workers waiting to invade Europe's job market, while others stood against Turkey's membership simply because it is Muslim.

    Turkey has indeed lost its appetite for reforms and moved further away from the Copenhagen criteria since it started accession negotiations in 2005. Yet, looking back over the years, the blunt statements of European leaders mocking Turkey's accession ideal were of little help either.

    The same goes for the EU decision to accept Greek Cyprus as a member in 2004 despite the lack of a settlement on Cyprus. Ultimately, the decisions fueled suspicions among Turks that there was no place for Turkey in the EU ? even if it fulfilled all the requirements one day ? since the EU was a Christian club and would remain so.

    The long-stalled negotiations between Ankara and Brussels were reinvigorated last November as a result of the contentious refugee deal. Under a May agreement, the EU agreed to provide financial aid for refugees in Turkey, liberalize visas for Turkish citizens and revive Turkey's EU accession process in return for Turkish moves to limit the number of asylum seekers coming to Europe.

    But in reality, the domestic political contexts in both Europe and Turkey are not conducive to Turkey's EU membership.

    Given the rise of populist, anti-immigration and anti-Islam movements in Europe, the issue of enlargement no longer seems to be on the EU's agenda.

    Regulations which were put into force under the state of emergency declared after the failed coup of July 15 have drawn criticisms from the EU, and the visa deal was subsequently postponed until the end of the year.

    Today, Turkey's accession negotiations have turned into a blame game on both sides. A number of crucial accession chapters are blocked by Greek Cyprus' veto, and Europe is also dragging its feet because Turkey does not meet EU standards on democracy and the rule of law. In contrast, Ankara argues that the opening of new chapters would provide an impetus to improve democratic standards in the country.

    Faced with such a stalemate, is there a way to define a new relationship between Turkey and the EU? This was one of the hot topics discussed at the latest Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) Foreign Policy Forum panel last week. Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) and a visiting scholar of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, reflected on the current state of EU-Turkey ties from a historical perspective, presenting an alternative strategy to end this vicious circle.

    Ulgen considered Brexit a window of opportunity to build a new narrative between Ankara and Brussels. "Even though Britain wants to exit Europe, it wants to maintain full access to the single market. This is going to push Europe toward a direction that it had resisted before. Whatever model the U.K is going to negotiate with the EU may actually be a blueprint for our relations."

    For Ulgen, Turkish-EU ties would be highly transactional and based on mutual benefit rather than a convergence of values. "The membership process was designed to drive a convergence of values. But the new framework will miss this important component," said Ulgen.

    Certainly there are questions to be raised. Is it possible to defend such a framework at the domestic level, given that negotiations will no longer have any transformative power over Turkey?

    Ulgen gave the refugee deal as a perfect example of such transactional understanding already taking shape.

    But how is that any different than German Chancellor Angela Merkel's infamous offer of "privileged partnership" in 2004? Ulgen asserted that the privileged partnership was an ambiguous concept. What he proposed instead is a complementary framework based on economic integration without abandoning an ultimate accession target.

    "Accession dynamics have lost their credibility to the extent that they generate acrimony and hostile feelings on both sides. We cannot build a constructive relationship on that basis anymore, unfortunately. When the political environment both in Turkey and Europe changes in our favor, we can reinvigorate accession."

    Sounds like a realistic and constructive antidote to political naivete." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (CS/AM)


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