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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 16-11-21
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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. 223/16 19-21.11.2016
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 How the Turkish Cypriot press covers the resumption of the negotiations in SwitzerlandUnder the title "Greece locked the summit", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.11.16) claims that Greece's so-called insistence on the condition that a five-party conference cannot take place without the full lifting of the guarantees caused a "crisis" in the Cyprus negotiations, which resumed yesterday at Mont Pelerin in Switzerland. During the first day of the talks, neither the criteria on the territory nor the date for a five-party conference was discussed, writes the paper which cites "diplomatic sources" alleging that President Anastasiades did not used well the one-week interruption of the negotiations and that the Greek Cypriot side used this period for gaining time.
Under the title "Hope for summit in December", Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (21.11.16) reports that the attention during the second round of the negotiations at Mont Pelerin has been turned to setting a date for the five-party conference. Yeni Duzen writes also that the Turkish Cypriot side has informed the Greek Cypriot side that it is ready to set a date for the five-party conference in this round of talks and to discuss a map. The Greek Cypriot side wishes a multilateral conference to be held in January 2017 so that open issues to be closed and not to have many open issues during this conference, notes the paper adding that the Turkish Cypriot side insists on holding the conference in December. The leaders, reports the paper, continued their meeting without the presence of their negotiating teams in the presence of the UNSG's Special Adviser and Special Representative in Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide and Elisabeth Spehar, respectively.
Yeni Duzen republishes a map published by Greek Cypriot "Politis" newspaper under the title "Politis' map: Towards 28,7% in the territory". It further reports that Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to discuss a map and denied information published by Yeni Duzen's online version yesterday alleging that pressure is being exerted by members of the Greek Cypriot negotiating team for setting a date for a five-party conference.
Under the title "Greek brake to the procedure", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (21.11.16) alleges that the rejection of the five-party conference by Greece and its stance on the issue of guarantees "locked" the negotiations. "The Turkish side asked for an opening, the Greek Cypriot side could not break Greece's insistence", claims the paper arguing the Greece's stance prevented the discussion of the criteria on the territory and that the Turkish side intends to "ensure" the five-party conference by holding discussion until midnight if necessary. Otherwise, the Mont Pelerin negotiations will fail, argues the paper adding that Akinci gave assurances that Turkey will participate in the five-party conference. According to the paper, the UN has been exerting efforts all day long yesterday to mediate, while the Greek Cypriot side remained silent.
Moreover, under the title "What happened yesterday at the summit", Havadis describes the developments as follows:
"All day long yesterday discussions were held for the meetings to continue in a sound manner in the form agreed on 26 October. Efforts were exerted to overcome the serious deadlock created by the fact that the interruption asked by Anastasiades after the first round to consult with Greece had been used for the creation of a new crisis instead of contributing to the process. The joint statement made by Anastasiades and Tsipras after their meeting came onto the agenda. It was explained that Tsipras' statement that Greece will come to the five-party conference only on the condition of abolishing the guarantees was an enforcement and not a negotiation. The UN showed understanding and tried to overcome the obstacle posed by Greece [?]"
Under the title "Is the new meeting in mid-December?" Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (21.11.16) reports that during the first day of the second round of the talks at Mont Pelerin, the leaders worked having as target a new meeting in December for discussing "some issues which may remain open", the final form of the territory and the issue of security and guarantees. "However, it is said that Anastasiades poses difficulties in the negotiations showing as pretext that some issues have not been completely solved", alleges the paper.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (21.11.16) also alleges that "Greece's obstacle" sealed the first day of the talks at Mont Palerin and that no date for a five-party conference came up, something which was allegedly expected to happen on the first day. After the position expressed by Akinci that the statements made by President Anastasiades and Prime Minister Tsipras are not in harmony with the agreed form of negotiations at Mont Pelerin, President Anastasiades and the Greek Cypriot negotiating team submitted a proposal for holding another round of negotiations before the international conference on the chapters which remain open.
Under the title "In mid-December again", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (21.11.16) reports that the leaders are working on choosing a date for a new meeting in mid-December for settling some unsolved issues and for the final form of the territory.
Under the title "The target is mid-December", Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (21.11.16) reports that President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci are discussing to set a date for a five-party conference in mid-December for some issues which have not been agreed yet and for giving the final form to the territory.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (21.11.16) reports that "a big distance was covered yesterday" during the first day of the negotiations at Mont Pelerin. On the one hand the criteria of the territory were discussed and on the other the leaders continue making additional adjustments for the five-party conference, writes the paper which cites "reliable sources" which said that at Mont Pelerin, the sides work with the target to meet again in mid-December for discussing some issues that may remain open, the final form of the territory and the issue of security and guarantees so that solution by the end of 2016 is reached.
Under the title "Take the map, give the date", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (20.11.16) assessed the situation before the resumption of the talks at Mont Pelerin and reported that the leaders were at a difficult position as "the Greek Cypriot side expects reaching an agreement on the territory before the five-party conference, while the Turkish side insists on the five-party conference". If the process goes well, the submission of maps by the sides and setting a date for a five-party conference is expected, argues Havadis noting that "the Turkish side does not approach a full agreement on the criteria of the territory before taking a date for a five-party conference where the guarantees and the map will be discussed simultaneously". The paper writes that the process will collapse if the Greek Cypriot side insists on the complete closure of the territory and a road map for discussing only the guarantees. According to the paper, even though "serious convergence" on the criteria of the territory was achieved, issues such as the number of the Greek Cypriots who will return to settle in the areas to be given back and each side's coastline are still open. "Without ensuring the five-party conference, Akinci and his team are determined to stay away from an agreement on these two issues", argues the paper.
 Akinci is worried about the processTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (19.11.16), on its front page under the title "The process should not be wasted", reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci held a press conference prior to his departure for Switzerland via Istanbul.
Akinci said that the Turkish Cypriot side attended the talks in Mont Pelerin from 7 to 11 November with determination to solve the Cyprus problem and added that he agreed with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades' request for a one week break to give an opportunity to him as a future partner to hold consultations with Greece and the Greek Cypriot side. Asserting that the break in the negotiations created an opportunity for him to hold talks with the Turkish Cypriot political parties and Turkish officials, he noted that he will be in Mont Pelerin to resume the talks from the point where these were left off.
Underlining to the creative proposals the Turkish Cypriot side made and the positive approach it adopted in Mont Pelerin prior to the break in the talks, Akinci argued: "Undoubtedly, it is now the time for the Greek Cypriot side to take a positive step. We will see whether the week that has passed has been enough for esteemed Anastasiades to update the Greek Cypriot side's outmoded traditional stand, which is no more convincing because of the existing realities, in a realistic, logical, reasonable, and just way when we sit at the negotiation table on 20 November. We expect the Greek Cypriot side to adopt a realistic, logical, reasonable, and just approach."
Recalling the Turkish Cypriot side's determination to contribute to the establishment of a structure that will be based on equality, freedom, and security in the future, he pointed to progress that has been achieved in the talks thus far and noted: "The progress yielding a concrete result will depend on the position Nikos Anastasiades will adopt at the negotiation table in the morning on 20 November."
Akinci said that the reports from Greece and the Greek Cypriot side last week made him worry about the Greek Cypriot side's approach he will be confronted with on 20 November and stressed that the Greek Cypriots want the result they prefer to be accepted even before a five-party conference is convened on security and guarantees. He further said: A positive result during the two-day talks in Mont Pelerin must be followed by a five-party conference in three or four weeks. All the unsolved issues in the four chapters must be taken up and solved. Some of the unsolved issues in the four chapters, the land problem and matters related to a final map, and security and guarantees must be solved at different desks in a Burgenstock type format. Any other approach will not lead to the solution of the problem.
Responding to a question, Akinci said that he might hold talks with Turkish officials in Istanbul before he leaves for Mont Pelerin. Asked to comment on the activity that was held by the Solution and Peace Platform in the occupied part of Nicosia with the slogan "Time for Peace", he said that it showed the Turkish Cypriot "people's" good will and determination to have the problem solved.
Responding to a question as to whether the failure to achieve a result in Mont Pelerin will mean the end of the solution process, Akinci said: "I would not say that. We made a significant effort to achieve our target in 2016. Nevertheless, I wish to say again that risks will exist in 2017".
 Siber: "Permanent derogations are very important"Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (21.11.16) reports that the self-styled assembly speaker Sibel Siber evaluated the recent developments of the Cyprus problem and wished the two Cypriot leaders every success in the new phase of the Cyprus talks, noting she wished a bi-communal, bi-zonal solution based on political equality to be reached.
Siber, who was speaking during a television program, stressed the importance of permanent derogations, claiming that without these the population and the territory in the north cannot be protected.
She went on and added that with principles of good will and good intentions the two communities in Cyprus can reach a solution and can live in Cyprus together.
 Denktas is no optimist about the Cyprus negotiation processUnder the title: "The map is clear", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (21.11.16) reports that the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) and so-called deputy prime minister Serdar Denktas stated that he is neither pleased nor optimist on the process of the Cyprus negotiations. He made these statements speaking at a local meeting of DP in occupied Morfou.
Denktas claimed that despite the fact that no map has been submitted yet on the property and the territory issues, the map regarding these issues is clear and well known. He said that around 80,000 Greek Cypriots want to return to the territory that will be returned if a settlement is reached and added that this development creates worries and uncertainty to the current inhabitants of Morfou. He went on and added that the fact that both in the current procedure and in 2004 talks Morfou was a subject of negotiation at the talks creates a lot of stress to the persons living at the village.
Referring to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Denktas stated referring to him that this must be the end of these kinds of practices. "Let us repeat our call from here. This is the end, it has to be the end. Nobody can condemn the Turkish Cypriots to live in such an uncertainty", he stated.
He went on and alleged that the only road for a solution is the reaching of an agreement between the "TRNC" and the Republic of Cyprus and claimed that the Turkish Cypriots must defend the "TRNC" alleging that they can go nowhere without Turkey. He also claimed that Turkey is an opportunity for the Greek Cypriots as well who should "get used to it", as he said, since Turkey will always be a neighbor of the island. "We cannot take the island and put it away from Turkey", he stated.
 Turkey's main opposition: "We took" Cyprus by shedding blood, we will not give it away at the negotiating tableTurkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.11.16) reported that Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), has said that he will not accept Cyprus to be "given away". Addressing a meeting of local chairmen of his party, Kilicdaroglu criticized the Turkish government and alleged that "if things continue going like this, these [the AKP government] will give away Cyprus as well". He claimed the following:
"I want to draw [Prime Minister] Binali Yildirim's attention from here. We are closely following the developments in Cyprus. We have taken Cyprus. We have written CHP's nationalism on Pentadaktylos Mountains, in the Mediterranean. We have martyrs there. We shed blood there for the independence of this country. Now you will attempt to hand over to them a big part of Cyprus at the table".
Arguing that they will not allow this to happen, Kilicdaroglu alleged:
"Why Turkey went to Cyprus? Because people of our kin there, children, women, and men, were murdered. Very well, we went to Cyprus and what happened? Peace came to Cyprus. Has anyone's nose bled? No! Now they came with the Annan Plan [asking] what concessions we can give. The Turkish side accepted it. Who rejected it? The Greek Cypriot sector. It ended my brother. What are you bargaining about? Which place you will give away and to whom? We do not accept this".
 Eroglu calls on Akinci not to "waste" the "rights" of the Turkish CypriotsTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (20.11.16) reported that the former Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu called on the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to be very careful at the Cyprus negotiations.
Eroglu who was evaluating the new phase of the Cyprus negotiations at Switzerland said that Akinci must understand the Greek Cypriot stance at the negotiation very well so that he will not "waste the rights of the Turkish Cypriots", as he said. He also said that Akinci should not submit a map before the Greek Cypriot side accepts the conducting of a five-party meeting and before a date is set for such a meeting.
Finally, Eroglu alleged that no concession must be made as regards the Turkish guarantees in Cyprus.
 Ozyigit on the Mont Pelerin talksTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (21.11.16) reports that the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit, evaluating in an exclusive interview to the paper the 1st round of the Mont Pelerin talks, supported that Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci has shown a direct and a decisive stance. He stated that because of this stance, the Greek Cypriots felt the need to re-evaluate the situation and thus they had asked for a one week-break. "We also felt the need to re-evaluate the situation in this break. In this framework, we held separate meetings with AKEL and DISI. What is important and necessary now is to show decisiveness. We are expecting for the Greek Cypriot's stance towards the five-party meeting. A very important rapprochement has been achieved on the criteria on the territory issue. And this would be presented on maps that will be brought into the agenda. Our expectation as Turkish Cypriots is for this process to open the path for a five-party meeting with the determination and announcement of the place and date. [?] We hope that the leaders will undertake the necessary steps that will open the path for a five-party meeting", said Ozyigit.
Asked to comment on his latest meetings with AKEL and DISI and reply to the question: "In which direction is the approaches of the Greek Cypriot political parties on the five-party meeting?", Ozyigit noted that the Greek Cypriots speak about a multi-party conference and not a five-party conference. "That would mean the participation of the Republic of Cyprus and the Security Council? But we insistently say that if the guarantee issue is to be discussed, and if steps are to be taken on the guarantees, these steps can only be taken together with the guarantor countries. It is for this reason that we should speak about the participation of the three guarantor countries and the two communities. Besides that, if any agreement is reached, this would be presented in front of the EU and the UN. Thus, the Security Council will be informed and will express its opinion. In the first stage, they should understand this; there should be a five-party meeting, and if this would be turned into a multi-party meeting, it is upon the leaders to decide", Ozyigit also said.
Asked to comment about his expectations from the 2nd round of the Mont Pelerin talks, Ozyigit said that they are self-controlled optimistic and that they continue to hope.
 Burcu stated that Nikiforos and Toros exercises will not be conducted this year as wellTurkish daily Milliyet newspaper (20.11.16) reported that the Nikiforos exercise, carried out by the Cyprus National Guard, and the Toros exercise, carried out by the Turkish military forces in Cyprus would not be conducted this year as well.
According to a written statement issued by so-called presidential spokesman Baris Burcu, after the announcement of the postponement of the "Nikiforos exercise" in "south Cyprus", it has been decided for the annual exercise Toros which is jointly organized by the "Turkish military forces" and the so-called Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces Command (KTBK), not to be conducted as well, as it happened the previous years.
 "The Solution and Peace platform" held an event for supporting the Cyprus talksAccording to illegal Bayrak television (19.11.16), the Solution and Peace Platform organised the "Now is the time for peace" walk.
Many organisations that form the Solution and Peace Platform carried out the event prior to the Cyprus summit in Switzerland to express their support to the process and called on the leaders by chanting their slogan 'Now is the time for peace'.
A joint statement on behalf of the organisations that took part in the event was read out by Mine Balman and Merthan Hamit.
The statement noted that the never ending migrations, pains and the never uniting country were like a slap in the face every day.
Explaining that the negotiations process that has been continuing for years had from time to time become pointless and a perception was created that as though it would never come to an end, the statement noted that now it looked as though the migrations, the pains and the division was about to come to an end.
"We, who have been forced to walk in darkness, can now see the light at the end of the road", noted the statement.
Explaining that the potential agreement on the island will allow both "peoples" on the island to look to the future in peace, the statement added that they expect both leaders to take steps that will bring peace to the region. The statement concluded by saying that now is the time for peace.
 Toros "The possible climate at the Mont Pelerin talks has risen our hopes for possible cooperation in the business world"Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (20.11.16) reported that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) Fikri Toros evaluating the Cyprus negotiation process, argued that positive climate in the talks has affected positively the business world in both sides of the island.
Referring to the Mont Pelerin talks, Toros said that their hopes have been increased and thus the meetings between the Turkish Cypriot business circles and the Greek Cypriot business circles have been increased as well. Toros explained that they hold frequent meetings with the Greek Cypriot businessmen circles in order to unite their forces and decide mutually for possible cooperation after the solution.
He further said that the current political and legal obstacles prevent the willingness of the business circles in both sides to cooperate and added that a possible solution on the Cyprus problem will constitute the basis for the establishment of new partnerships.
Supporting that the trade potentials created to the "south" by the "north" within the framework of the Green Line Regulation as fall astern, Toros argued that with a possible solution on the Cyprus problem, all obstacles that exist concerning the trade between the two sides will be overpassed.
 Tired of EU's delaying tactics, Erdogan points to Shanghai PactTurkish daily Sabah newspaper (21.11.16) with the above title reports that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that it is time for Turkey to openly think about alternatives to the European Union, suggesting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the economic, political and military organization that counts China, Russia and the central Asian republics among its members, as a perfectly plausible substitute.
While Pakistan and India are also currently in the process of becoming full members, Turkey is a dialogue partner.
Turkey has more options than tying its entire future to the EU, President Erdogan said, speaking to journalists at the end of his official tour of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
"I mentioned my desire for Turkey to become part of the SCO with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Kazakhstan President Nulsultan] Nazarbayev. Iran also wants to get in. Putin said it was under consideration. I believe if Turkey became a member, its room for manoeuvre will broaden considerably," he stated.
Erdogan described developments in the EU as ushering a new era for the future of the Union. "I see Brexit as an auspicious development. Similar things can happen in other countries. There is grumbling in France and also in Italy", the President said.
Erdogan continued to say that a united stance among EU members was a thing of the past, citing last week's Foreign Ministers' Summit in Brussels he said, "They gathered with some urgency and no one besides Austria said anything about suspending Turkey's membership negotiations".
He furthermore criticized the EU for dragging its feet on lifting visa restrictions for Turkish citizens. "People from Latin American countries do not need visas, but Turks do," he said, adding that the migrant deal that entailed a readmission agreement and visa liberalization would be rescinded if all clauses of the deal were not applied.
When asked if there was nothing encouraging emanating from Europe, Erdogan said: "It is impossible to comprehend them". He said that European leaders never saw Turkey as a future member.
"From time to time, we see insults directed at myself, claims that there is no freedom of expression in Turkey. Meanwhile, terrorists prance around in French, German and Belgian streets. This is what they understand of freedom," Erdogan added.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 20.11.16) reported that main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Ozturk Y?lmaz has said that aiming to become a member of the Shanghai Pact, whose members are countries where "one-man rules" is predominant, will only cause more problems for Turkey's foreign policy.
Y?lmaz, who is CHP's deputy chair responsible for foreign relations, said Ankara was already carrying out dialogue with the Russian-led Shanghai Pact and these relations could be improved, but the group could not be an alternative to the EU. He stressed that it cannot be compared with "either NATO or the EU".
"First of all, in the Shanghai Pact there is no common operative hierarchy similar to NATO. There is no structured strong army establishment. There is a group that is formed on the axis of fighting terror. Secondly, it is not a group similar to the EU at all," said Y?lmaz, stressing that it was formed to fight against ethnic-religious radicalism and extremism.
 Kati Piri: We have to freeze the accession part of TurkeyTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 21.11.16), under the title "Rejected European Parliament Rapporteur hopes for fruitful talks in Turkey in future", reports that the cancellation of the visit of a European Parliament delegation to Turkey after Ankara refused to see one member "is a temporary thing", said Kati Piri, the European Parliament's Rapporteur who Turkey rejected.
"Politics is not about agreeing with each other. You can have disagreements. Our door remains open. I hope very much that what happened now with this visit is a temporary thing. I hope in the future I can also have fruitful talks with my Turkish counterparts," Piri told daily Hurriyet.
The EU lawmakers cancelled the visit after Piri was refused due to her recent remarks on the possibility of halting Turkey's EU membership bid. In a statement, she said that the European Parliament cannot allow Turkey to have "a pick-and-choose approach on who speaks to whom".
Piri said that she represented the majority opinion in the European Parliament, including eight political groups. Even though her position for keeping Ankara anchored to the EU had not changed, "we have to have a reaction against the ways things are unfolding in Turkey", she said.
"We can at the moment continue dialogue but not on accession. We should freeze those talks because at this moment it is not credible to talk about Turkey being integrated in the EU while all these things are unfolding. I am not calling for a formal stop of accession talks ? But for us at this moment looking at all the events we have to freeze the accession part", Piri added.
She noted that "everyone had many different opinions and assessments" of what is happening in Turkey, but talks about how Ankara can integrate in the EU were not credible at present.
"Week after week things have been going in a worse direction... Turkey is declining in the entire rule of law indexes and freedom of media indexes ? Until we see a reversal of this decline it is not credible to talk about opening new chapters or taking new initiatives", Piri said.
On the formal suspension of talks, Piri recalled that the European Parliament, together with the European Commission and the Council of Europe, has said formally suspending negotiations would happen if the death penalty is reintroduced.
Ankara is currently mulling reinstating the death penalty in a constitutional package and putting it to a public vote in a referendum, but Piri described such a move as crossing a "red line" in Turkey's relations with Europe.
"The European Commission and member states have also reiterated this to the European Parliament. One thing is for sure: A reintroduction of the death penalty would lead to triggering a formal suspension," she said.
Piri noted that the leverage of both Ankara and Brussels over each other has "disappeared" in recent months. "We have come to this point and we have to talk about what would happen in the worst case scenario, where will would have to stop accession talks," she said.
"Any ideas are always welcome on how we could improve these relations. I think the most important thing is to see things starting to normalize in Turkey, to see the rule of law being respected and legal cases starting up," Piri said, adding that this would make it easier for EU counterparts to have a more fruitful dialogue with Turkey.
 Turkish-Arabic business chamber to be establishedAccording to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 20.11.16), Turkey's top business organization has said it will establish a Turkish-Arabic Chamber through a deal with the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC), in a bid to further boost economic and trade ties with the region.
The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) will sign the deal with the UAC, which has a total of 22 members representing an economy worth $2.7 trillion in total, at a ceremony in Istanbul on Nov. 24, according to a TOBB statement on Nov. 20.
TOBB President Rifat Hisarc?kl?oglu said the new chamber will make a great contribution to boosting trade and investment relations between Turkey and Arab countries.
The new organization will include 22 UAC representatives and 22 TOBB representatives, according to the statement.
Since its establishments in 1951, the UAC has been headquartered in Beirut. Its members include the chambers and unions of 22 Arab countries, which in turn represent and organize all private sectors in their countries, according to the organization website.
The UAC has recently increased and diversified its activities portfolio to better serve its members, the Arab economic community at large, and Arab-foreign joint chambers, the organization states on its website.
 Protests force Turkish government to revise child abuse draftColumnist Murat Yetkin, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (21.11.16), writes:
"A midnight draft by six ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) MPs upended Turkey's already hectic political agenda after Nov. 18.
The draft recommended a change to Article 103 of the Penal Code regarding penalties for the sexual abuse of children, (ie. those under the age of 15). It followed a Constitutional Court ruling on July 13 this year, which said that if the government did not make corrective changes in the penal code within six months (expiring on Jan. 13, 2017), convicts currently in jail for child abuse could be set free. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag vowed that a correction would be made to introduce gradually heavier penalties as the age of the child victim got younger. That soothed the reactions from society and a parliamentary commission was set up to find the right wording.
But the midnight draft suggested something beyond the reconciliation reached by the parties in Parliament. If it had passed, all those currently in jail for child abuse would have been freed "for one time", meaning that it would not be applicable in future.
When Bozdag defended the case in parliament, he said there are some who have suffered because of "early marriages". He added that the proposal aimed to save young grooms who have married under the legal age from jail, saying provincial governors and even MPs had taken part in celebrations of some of those weddings.
Angry reactions against the motion grew further after his words. Opposition MPs said that instead of prosecuting public officials who ignored such marriages' illegality, Bozdag was praising underage marriages. They said such a proposal would open the way to rape-weddings, in which a rapist could be left free if he agreed to marry his young victim. Others noted that nobody asks the girl in remote rural areas whether she wants to marry her rapist.
Upon fierce reactions in parliament, mostly by the social democratic main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), voting on the draft was postponed to Nov. 22.
It was not only the CHP deputies who were reacting. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also expressed outrage. The MHP also had another particular reason to react negatively. During recent talks on constitutional amendments, Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m told MHP leader Devlet Bahceli that they would be consulting his party on legal changes. But the draft came as a bad surprise for the MHP too. Bahceli was so angry that he postponed the first constitutional draft review with the AKP, which was supposed to take place on Nov. 18.
There were also reactions from within the AKP, particularly from women MPs. Many Whatsapp groups started to hum and, toward the end of the day, the government-friendly Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) issued a protest asking Ankara to review the draft, which it said could open the way for more abuse of children.
KADEM's statement was actually almost the same as reactions from other NGOs, though in a milder tone. But it turned out to be the most important one. The head of KADEM is an academic, Sare Ayd?n Y?lmaz, and her deputy is Sumeyye Erdogan Bayraktar, the daughter of President Tayyip Erdogan. KADEM has been perceived by other women's associations as a kind of backyard of the AKP, so it is remarkable that it also reacted against the draft motion.
Following the KADEM statement, the Justice Ministry issued its own written statement defending the draft once again and vowing that there would be no step back because of "political speculation" from the opposition. But at almost the same time, Prime Minister Y?ld?r?m was having a meeting with Nurettin Canikli, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of relations with parliament. In the meantime he also had a telephone conversation with Erdogan.
There were a number of questions: The Prime Minister had urged ministers during the cabinet meeting on Nov. 14 not to introduce a draft on the issue without consulting the opposition parties. Why was no consultation made? Why did they bring the issue to the agenda in the middle of the night, when President Erdogan had left the country (for official visits to Pakistan and Uzbekistan), causing the impression that they were involved in a fait accompli?
It seems that the necessary change in the penal code will be made, as the Constitutional Court requested. It may include an attempt to address early marriages that do not involve violence or abuse. But if it includes anything more than that, suggesting the legitimization of child abuse or forced marriages, there are likely to be more protests and reactions from the Turkish society."
 Arikli elected as the leader of the Revival Party (YDP)Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (21.11.16) reports that Erhan Arikli has been elected in the leadership of the Revival Party (YDP) during the 1st general congress of the party which took place yesterday.
According to the paper, during the congress the party's "executive organs" were also appointed
Speaking during the congress, Arikli referred, inter alia, to the Cyprus problem and stated that his party would say "yes" to a solution that will safeguard that they would not become refugees again, that will not dilute Turkey active and effective guarantees, and a solution that will not harm their "sovereignty and political equality".
(AK) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION