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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-02-08
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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. 27/17 08.02.17
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS
 Statements by Turkish Cypriot political parties after a briefing by Akinci on the Cyprus problemTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (08.02.17, online http://www.kibrispostasi.com/erhurmandan-anastasiadise-cagri-herhangi-bir-beklenti-icine-) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci briefed today the leaders or representatives of the political parties represented in the "assembly" of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the island on the Cyprus problem.
In statements after the meeting, Tufan Erhurman, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), pointed out to the importance of not losing the momentum in the negotiations and added that a "new" conference for Cyprus will be most likely held in March, "but it is obvious that this meeting will not be the last station". Noting that the meeting with Akinci was very useful, Erhurman said that this was the first briefing after Geneva and noted: "There is the opinion that the process has failed. This should be erased".
Pointing out that the Conference for Cyprus will convene before the end of March, Erhurman argued: "However, it seems that this meeting will not be the last station".
Alleging that President Anastasiades had a wrong perception as regards Turkey's stance prior to the referendum on the constitutional amendments, Errhuman claimed: "He thinks that Turkey will not make the necessary contribution to the process before the referendum. The perception is that Turkey will become flexible after the referendum. However, it should be known that the process will not become flexible either with the referendum or with the election. The principles of the process are known. Anastasiades must be decisive and courageous enough. In the end of April Anastasiades will not feel at ease. Serious negotiations should be held. My call on him is: Let him not wait for anything, the principles are there. Our call is mainly on him".
The same paper (http://www.kibrispostasi.com/ozyigit-yeniden-toplanan-konferans-sonuc-odakli-olmali-08022) reports that Cemal Ozyigit, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said that what is important is for the conference to be result oriented when it is convened again and added that "no one should ask for interruption or for a break this time". Noting that the "five party conference" will continue in March from the point it had been left at a political level, Ozyigit added: "This process should be result oriented. Greece's concerns or the referendum process in Turkey should not prevent this. The important thing is for it being a meeting leading to a result. […]"
Replying to a question regarding the absence of the "prime minister" and "deputy prime minister" from the briefing, Ozyigit noted that Serdar Denktas was abroad, but Huseyin Ozgurgun should have participated. Recalling that Ozgurgun had not participated in the delegation of his party at the Geneva conference, Ozyigit expressed the view that this was disrespect to the "people".
Kibris Postasi (http://www.kibrispostasi.com/dursun-oguz-bu-uc-aylik-surecin-onemli-oldugu-ile-ilgili-hem) writes also that Dursun Oguz, the general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), stated that they agreed with Akinci that the next three months will be important for the negotiation procedure. He also added that the procedure will not be an easy one. He noted that meetings will be held in Greece and Turkey by the UN Representative and that a five-party conference will be held in March.
Finally, the paper (http://www.kibrispostasi.com/afet-ozcafer-cozum-bu-ulkede-hepimizin-istedigidir-08022017) reports that the general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Afet Ozcafer stated that a solution is everybody's desire in the "country", and added that issues like the natural gas and oil should be included in the negotiation process.
 Akinci held contacts with Siber, the leader of Turkish Cypriot political parties and other "organizations"; Statement by SiberAccording to illegal Bayrak television (08.02.17) the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met today with the "speaker" of the so-called assembly Sibel Siber and the leaders of the political parties with seats in the "parliament".
Akinci then met with the "presidents" of the "autonomous organizations".
Speaking to the press after a half an hour meeting with Akinci, Siber said that they exchanged views with Ak?nc? on the course of the negotiations process.
Supporting that the aim was to reach a viable agreement which will be based on political equality and where the Turkish Cypriots will feel safe, Siber alleged that only the good will of one side is not enough for this.
"At this stage, the Greek Cypriot side should respect the security and guarantee concerns of the Turkish Cypriots and their social memories. A new social memory which the Turkish Cypriots feel in secure could not be established since the opening of the gates 14 years ago. If progress could be achieved on this and the confidence building measures could be implemented then new life experiences could replace the old social memory" Siber argued.
Touching upon the recent attack on Turkish Cypriot cars on Troodos, she said the incident could be considered as a small incident or vandalism, she, however, added that the main point was to catch the perpetrators and prevent such incidents.
Stating that security could not be maintained by reaching a solution at the negotiating table, Siber stressed the importance for the Turkish Cypriot "people" to feel safe.
Responding to journalists' questions, Siber said there are disagreements at the negotiations and that Ak?nc? preserved his cautious optimism.
Following this meeting, Akinci came together with the leaders of the political parties with seats in the "parliament".
Ak?nc? also met with the "head" of the "supreme court" Narin Ferdi Sefik, the "ombudsperson" Emine Dizdarl?, the "attorney general" Askan Ilgen, the "president" of the so-called council of higher education for planning, evaluation, accreditation and coordination ("YODAK") Akile Buke and the "president" of the "public service commission" Kamil Kayral.
During the meetings, Ak?nc? provided information about the course of the negotiations process and listened to their views.
 Yildirim pointed out to "the importance of the achieved security and balance" in CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.02.17, online http://www.kibrisgazetesi.com/kibris/yildirim-guvenlik-ve-dengenin-onemine-isaret-etti/12285) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim met yesterday in Ankara with the UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide.
In statements after the meeting, Yildirim alleged that with the stance which Turkey exhibited in Geneva during the Conference for Cyprus it once more expressed its so-called determination in the direction of finding a just, lasting and comprehensive solution in Cyprus. Yildirim argued that Turkey will continue to constructively contribute to the process and expressed the hope that progress will be achieved during the talks in February. He also pointed out to the importance of the "achieved security and balance on the island".
In his statements, Eide said that the UN exerts every effort for having a result in the ongoing negotiations and that the UNSG closely watches the issue and offers every support.
 Akinci's interview to Turkish daily Hurriyet : "No linkage between Turkish referendum and Cyprus talks"Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.02.17) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in an exclusive interview to the paper's columnist Barcin Yinanc has stated that there is no link between the referendum process in Turkey and the peace talks for Cyprus.
"The Turkish government has told us that there is no relationship between the constitutional referendum process and the peace talks," Ak?nc? told the Hurriyet Daily News on February 6.
"The Greek Cypriot side is attempting to spread the impression that the Turkish Cypriots cannot act before an April referendum and that the north will be more likely to compromise after the vote", Akinci alleged, adding: "We are telling the Greek Cypriots 'we are looking to guarantee our equality, security and freedom, so don't expect ours or Turkey's position on these fundamental issues to change after the referendum," he said.
Underlining the need to keep the negotiation momentum high, Ak?nc? said that following planned meetings in March and April, all the sides will acquire an idea within three months as to whether the process will lead to a solution. "It has been half a century that we have been talking about a solution. The guarantor states have come together for the first time. Never before have we talked in such depth on issues like territory, security and guarantees. These three months are critical", he added.
Turkey should not exclude itself from southern energy corridor
"While accession to the European Union as a motivating factor has weakened for both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, energy cooperation could replace it as the main incentive for a solution", according to Ak?nc?. Although natural gas finds in Cyprus initially appeared to be lower than that those near Israel, Ak?nc? said that new discoveries in Egypt's Zohr field show that the island's natural gas potential is higher than what it first appeared.
"In this case, the most feasible way to carry Israeli and Cypriot gas would be via Turkey to Europe. A similar scheme is valid for electrical grids and water. There are feasibility studies being done by EU funds to connect Israel's electricity system via Crete and Greece to Europe. But that would be way too expensive compared to Turkey, which is already connected to the European electricity grid. Similarly, it has now been proven that water can be brought from Turkey to the island. The potential could be increased and water could be provided to the whole of the island. Instead of tension, we could breed a culture of cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean. And Turkey should not miss the opportunity to be part of this energy corridor to its south," Ak?nc? further said.
According to Ak?nc?, the Greek Cypriots are also suffering economic losses as they cannot use Turkish airspace and ports, meaning that should also provide a motivation to Greek Cyprus. "In the past, the working class used to raise its voice for peace. Now, the business communities from both sides of the island [are calling for peace], while businesspeople from Turkey and Greece have established a Nicosia forum and meet from time to time. They are giving positive messages for a solution. That's a new development," he stated.
Akinci continued and claimed that a possible solution on the Cyprus problem would also be good for Turkish-EU relations. "The EU's Foreign Minister, Federica Mogherini, told me that a [Cyprus solution] would not be a game changer, it would be the game changer," he said.
On the thorny issue of guarantees, Ak?nc? stated that they were looking for formulas that would provide security for one side without creating a perception of a threat for the other side. "I think the U.N. has an important role to play here. I think it is time for the U.N. to start shuttle diplomacy," he added.
Ak?nc? said also that his view was to retain the guarantee system and review it in 15 years, as that would provide enough time for Turkish Cypriots to test the functioning of the new federal system and see for themselves whether a Turkish Cypriot could indeed become President. The Turkish Cypriot side insists on a rotating presidency, but the proposal has not been accepted by the Greek Cypriot side, leading to a stalemate in negotiations.
Rights of Turkish citizens
Ak?nc? also responded to questions on the highly sensitive issue of the rights of citizens from the Turkish Republic living on the island. "The 2004 Annan plan had foreseen a quota of 40,000 Turkish citizens who had acquired northern Cypriot citizenship being granted the citizenship of a united Cyprus, Ak?nc? said.
"Currently, we made the Greek Cypriots accept that everybody independent of their ethnicity who carry the ID of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will acquire the citizenship of a united Cyprus. The number we were told by the Interior Ministry was 220,000, and we have conveyed this number to the Greek Cypriot side," said Ak?nc?.
When it comes to the rights of Turkish citizens who work in the "TRNC", Ak?nc? said: "They will continue to work. But they will continue to come after getting a work permit in line with the needs of the economy. These permits will be given by the federal government's committees where we [Turks] will also be present," he said.
Ak?nc? also elaborated on the issue of the rights of Turkish citizens living in the island concerning the four freedoms: free movement of goods, services, people and capital. "The issue of Turkish citizens enjoying similar rights to Greek citizens on the island is an issue that we and Turkey attach great importance to. At any rate, we are not talking, for instance, about the free movement of 80 million Turks. That's not what Turkey is asking for. We are looking for formulas for those who will come to the island to reside and which will not be different than the rights of the Greeks residing on the island," explained Akinci.
"At any rate, we have informed Ankara on the talks on these issues and we are in very close cooperation," he added.
 Akinci's second part of his interview to CumhuriyetTurkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (online, 07.02.17), under the title "Akinci: Annexation will not benefit anyone", published the second part of the interview with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci:
"If we are not able to solve the Cyprus problem due to reasons which are not originating from us, then the Turkish Cypriots will continue their path with the existing state. There are some other voices talking about plan B and C. Like annexation by Turkey. Such issues are not included in our agenda. Neither such a development will benefit us nor Turkey.
We have not come to an agreement on the maps. The Greek Cypriots rejected what we have submitted in Geneva and we rejected what they have submitted. There is no rapprochement on the territory chapter. At this moment the maps are locked in UN's safe and they will come out last. The door of the safe where the maps are waiting, it will be opened after we finish everything.
Q: what will it happen in case of non-solution?
A: I took this office, with the sense of conscientious responsibility. I am trying to meet the requirements of this. Despite our determination, if the Greek Cypriots do not take notice our determination towards the solution and if they continue their unrealistic stance, then it falls to the Turkish Cypriots to continue their way with the existing state. If we can obtain a solution, the TRNC will turn into the Turkish Cyprus constituent (founding) state, will take its place in the federal structure with the solution. Besides, we have a state apparatus; we will adapt the new situation. If we will not be able to succeed, it is because of the Greek Cypriots' stance, we will not abandon our state. Either it will be transformed, evolve, take the shape of a constituent (founding) state, or it will continue its way like this. Of course, we desire a solution. However, if we will not be able to solve it due to reasons that do not derive from us, then we continue our path with the existing state. There are some other voices talking about plan B and C. Like annexation by Turkey. Such issues are not included in our agenda. Neither such a development will benefit us nor Turkey.
The maps are in the safe
Q: I will be the voice of people's fear. What will happen if I am living in a house with a Greek Cypriot title deed?
A: First, let us disconnect the territory with the property issue. It has been long known that there will be territorial adjustments, and since the very beginning, it has entered in the negotiation process as a chapter. For the property, there are choices like compensation, exchange or return. It has been an understanding since the Annan plan on the issue of the remaining property, the two thirds of the property in the north will be ours. The details of this have been completed (…) We do not want our people who live in Greek Cypriot houses to suffer under no circumstances. This problem will be solved to a large extent with compensations.
Q: Fenced off town of Varosha
A: I will not give a name of place on the map issue, because there is no need for any speculations on this issue. (…) We have not reached an agreement on the maps. The Greek Cypriots have rejected what we have submitted in Geneva and we rejected what they have submitted. For this reason, there is no agreement on the territory issue. At this moment, the maps are locked in UN's safe and they will come out last. The door of the safe where the maps are waiting, it will be opened after we finish everything. On this issue, there will be very little movements. We will create our map highly like the ground. It is not possible that we take as a basis their map, I have announced this from day one, and this map is not accepted by the Turkish Cypriot. We are in pursuit of finding a formula that our people who will change their place to be as few as possible.
I am not going to get into details but the general principle is that there is no need to make someone uneasy or disturb. Forty three years have passed, our people have settled. The Greek Cypriots have also new lives for 43 years now in the South. We will make territorial adjustments, however, we will aim to change the place of the least people is possible. This is the one. The second one is that no one will be displaced without regaining a proper housing, an equal place and business opportunities. We will not say to anyone, 'my brother go and care about yourself'. Everyone will change place after being made sure that they have a house and a job. It is difficult but not impossible. Before achieving the difficult goal, we will not trouble the tiniest our people.
Q: In case of free settlement of the Greek Cypriots in the North, then will the Turkish Cypriots to become minority as it happened with the Turks in Western Thrace?
A: There will not be such a dangerous development. There are some misunderstandings. North Cyprus is a residential area. There will be empty places. The right of abode will be able to be discussed in a way that it will not include any political or other right. Let us say that a Greek Cypriot or a retired Turkish Cypriot wants to go to his old village and build a house. He can do this. In a certain degree, there will be a possession. The Turkish Cypriot constituent (founding) state will make the arrangements regarding how the properties in the North Cyprus will be obtained. Within these arrangements, if someone wants to get an apartment, he or she can come and get it. In this way, the right of adobe will not evolve in any political right or other rights. The legal residences will stay in their own regions.
Q: Will the Turkish Cypriots become a minority?
A: Certainly not. There is no reason even to discuss this. Within years, the right of lawful residence will be given; however, as we said the legal domicile will not pass the 20%. This limit will be the maximum one."
Akinci also explained that the Greek Cypriots who will have the right of the lawful residence will also pay their taxes there and only the right for local elections will be recognized. He added that except of this, they will not have other rights.
Replying to question whether the Turkish Cypriots will live together with the Greek Cypriots, Akinci said that around to 500 Greek Cypriots have been living in the occupied Karpasia area since 1974 and added: "They intimidate our people that they will be a minority. (…) This does not respond to the reality".
Replying to the question that the one fourth of their budget is met by Turkey, how they will determine the financial map of North Cyprus after the solution and whether this money will continue to come from Turkey, Akinci noted that they will not lose their financial cooperation with Turkey and added: "We will be able to make agreements with others without breaking off our relation with Turkey. The financial cooperation and the economic agreement with Turkey will continue. However, the burden for Turkey will gradually decrease. (…) After the Cyprus settlement we will have the right to obtain financial aid from the EU".
Referring to the natural gas, Akinci reiterated that the cheapest, shortest and most rational way to carry Israeli and Cypriot gas would be via Turkey to Europe.
Referring to the property issue, Akinci said: "The property issue will overcome with the solution. On this issue, the commissions will be represented by equal numbers of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The dominant thought is that the property issue will be solved to a large extent with compensations. Compensations, exchange and return will be discussed. There are properties which are empty and will be able to be returned. The return will be able to be discussed with the condition that they will not overcome the one third and the two thirds will remain to the Turkish Cypriots. On the issue, not a total agreement has been obtained but the tendency is towards this direction". Akinci also referred to Titina Loizidou case and further said: "Within 10 years, there have been more than 6 thousand applications by the Greek Cypriots to the immovable property commission. Around to 600 applications were paid. Approximately 300 million euro were paid. However, these properties, differently of Loizidou case, have become Turkish. The price of those who have given (their properties back) is that that they have transferred their property right and not lost their property right. These properties were transformed into Turkish title deeds. The property that the Greek Cypriots left in North Cyprus is approximately to 1.5 million donum. We have left a total of 500 thousand donum of property in the South. There is a serious difference".
On the same issue, Akinci said that in case there is not a Cyprus settlement, then there is the risk that a number of cases will be opened in the ECHR against Turkey and added: "Because twelve years have passed; we could only deal with the 600 from the 6,000 applications. New applications at the ECHR have started filing again by saying that the commission does not work. It means that if this work is not solved radical with a solution, probably this commission will continue to pay million euro and Turkey is the only competent authority which will be able to pay this. Or the system will collapse in the ECHR and we will also start to pay the loss of use after this at the ECHR. The Greek Cypriots will continue to have the right of property despite these payments".
 Akinci says that the works at Deryneia and Apliki crossing points should intensifyTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.02.17, online http://www.kibrisgazetesi.com/kibris/verilmis-kararimiz-var-hizlanin/12280) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci inspected yesterday on the spot the works for the opening of the crossing point in the occupied area of Apliki.
During the visit, Akinci stated that both the self-styled government of the regime and the Greek Cypriots should intensify their works for the opening of the crossing points in Apliki and Deryneia. "The peoples of the area want this. What is necessary for the opening of the two gates should be done the soonest", he said.
Noting that he did not wish to give a date regarding the opening of the crossing points, Akinci argued that it would not be realistic for him to say that they would open within 1-2 months and that if he said this he would be lying to the people. "There is a lot of work to be done. Therefore, I am giving the message for speeding up", he added recalling that a decision at the political level had been taken on this issue more than a year ago.
Referring to the work that should be done, Akinci said:
"[…] The stabilization of a part smaller than one kilometer in our area has almost been completed in Apliki. It is a stage during which paving with asphalt could be completed in 20 days. Except for this, there is a buffer zone of 500 meters which will be jointly made. There are works for a road of 2,5 kilometers which should be made in the Greek Cypriot side. There are the cabins of the police and the customs which should be made. It seems that these will take time. In the same manner, the asphalting works in our area in Deryneia will be completed within 3-5 days. Yesterday, I saw that the works have advanced a lot. There is a small distance in the buffer zone. The part which the Greek Cypriots should finish is smaller than the one in Apliki. It seems that the necessary infrastructure works, the police cabins which should be made there will also take time".
Furthermore, Akinci said also that next week a meeting will be held at his "office" with the participation of all interested "organizations" for discussion how the works could be speeded up.
 "The Deryneia project will be completed in five months"Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.02.17, online http://www.kibrisgazetesi.com/kibris/derinya-projesi-5-ayda-tamamlanacak/12288) reports that a representative of the Umay Construction Company, which won the tender for the works at the crossing point in the occupied part of Deryneia area, said that they had signed the contract the day before yesterday and that the asphalting works carried out by another company was about to be completed.
The representative noted that Umay Construction will carry out the wiring works and the building of three watch boxes which will be removed from the area. According to the official, the company was given a timetable of 150 days to finish the work, but they are planning to complete it within 110 or 120 days. The cost will reach 700 thousand TL, he noted.
 Ozgurgun on the Cyprus problemAccording to illegal Bayrak television (07.02.17) so-called prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun alleged that the "TRNC" with its "democracy and all its institutions is a strong state".
Attending an event called "Discover north Cyprus" which was organized jointly by the Turkish Hurriyet Newspaper, the "Association of Turkish Travel Agencies" and Tasyap? Compamy, Ozgurgun .stated that 42 "governments" were established in 42 years as a result of this strong "democracy", claiming that the culture of democracy achieved in the "country" will carry the "TRNC" to the future.
Touching upon the Cyprus problem during his speech, Ozgurgun claimed on the need for two politically equal states to reach an agreement on the basis of Turkey's active and effective guarantee.
Reminding that 7 summits, 4 in New York and 3 in Switzerland were held on the Cyprus issue so far and that no conclusion was reached during any of these summits, Ozgurgun alleged that the Greek Cypriot side cannot stand Turkish presence in Cyprus.
Stating that the "TRNC" will continue its way if a solution based on political equality and guarantorship cannot be found, Ozgurgun alleged that "the TRNC will continue its way strongly and as legal as the state in the "south", as he called the Republic of Cyprus.
 "Time for UN shuttle diplomacy in Cyprus"In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.02.17) under the above title, columnist Murat Yetkin writes the following: "The talks between the Greek and Turkish sides in Cyprus have come to such a stage that it is time for the United Nations to resume shuttle diplomacy, according to Mustafa Ak?nc?, the president of the TRNC.
"Too much effort has been spent so far. It shouldn't be wasted," Ak?nc? told the Hurriyet Daily News in an interview on February 6 in his office in Nicosia.
Ak?nc? and Nicos Anastasiades, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, have been trying hard for almost a year to find a solution to reunite the island. It has been divided since the intervention of the Turkish military in 1974 in reaction to a right-wing Greek military coup, justifying it on the grounds that the coup put the lives of the Turkish Cypriot community in jeopardy.
The talks under the auspices of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres have been able to bring the five parties together around the same table for the first time in many years: The Greek and Turkish Cypriot governments and the three guarantor countries of the 1960 foundation agreement: Greece, Turkey and the U.K.
They are working on a model based on a federal Cyprus Republic with two communities. There are opposing parties on both sides and memories are still fresh after more than four decades. A big majority on the Turkish side (around 90%) thinks the maintenance of a Turkish 'guarantee' represented by the military presence – even if only symbolic - is necessary for any deal with the Greeks. A majority of Greek Cypriots, meanwhile, think the Turks living on the island cannot have political rights and should accept to minority rights.
That makes Anastasiades and Ak?nc?'s job even more difficult. But they have still managed to bring the talks up to a certain point.
Actually, two former Presidents, Glafkos Clerides and Rauf Denktas, had managed to agree back in 2004 to take a reunification plan presented by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to a simultaneous referendum. The Turkish side approved the plan but the Greek side rejected it. The European Union then did not keep its promises to Turkey, which supported the agreement, about lifting the trade embargo on the Turkish Cypriots and not taking the Greek government-run Republic of Cyprus into the EU. Brussels kept its embargo in place and accepted Greek Cyprus as a member, also representing the Turks on the island against their will. This further increased mistrust between the Turkish government and the EU.
President Tayyip Erdogan was the Prime Minister of the time and does not want to be faked a second time.
It is obvious that without an incentive from the EU, the Greek Cypriots will not be inclined to support an agreement, thinking they have nothing to lose from the status quo despite economic troubles. Many think that the natural gas resources found in the Mediterranean could be an answer.
The Turkish Cypriots, meanwhile, have plenty to gain from an agreement, not least the prospect of becoming a member of the EU. They also want the Greek Cypriots to see that peace based on political equality with the Turks on the island could bring new future opportunities.
Ak?nc? points to the underwater gas fields found off of Israel and Egypt, which are actually closer to Cyprus than Egypt. The most feasible way to transport this gas would likely be a pipeline from Cyprus to Turkey for transport to European markets. Such a route could also be used for fresh water and electricity transport.
Turkey completed the construction of a water pipeline from mainland Turkey to Cyprus in 2016, and everyone you talk to on the streets of Northern Cyprus is now happy to see running water 24/7 for the first time ever.
Turkish Cypriot leaders have always known that they would have to give land concessions for any solution, but Ak?nc? struck a cautious note. "I cannot take any agreement to my people for a vote without political recognition and Turkey's guarantee," he told me.
Peace in Cyprus could be helping solve many other issues in the region, such as terrible problems like the Syrian civil war and the Israel-Palestine conflict. There is no bloodshed in Cyprus anymore, but continuation of the Cyprus problem blocks many positive opportunities in the East Mediterranean and the Middle East, one of the most problematic regions in the world".
 Tenders for the construction of new roads in the breakaway regime to be opened in TurkeyTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris (08.02.17 online http://www.kibrisgazetesi.com/kibris/dag-yolu-icin-ankarada-ihaleye-cikiliyor/12270) reports that the so-called minister of transportation Kemal Durust stated that tenders will be opened in Ankara on February 27 for the construction of the 17km occupied Kythrea- Keryneia road.
He also stated that 2017 will be the year that a lot of projects will take place regarding the construction of roads. Durust referred to the construction of another 9km road, from Keryneia to Ayios Epiktikos and said that it is unavoidable the road to be two-line. He also said that tenders will be opened in Ankara for both projects and added that works continue for the improvement of the occupied Keryneia-Karava road as well.
 Cars of Turkish Cypriots were attacked in TroodosTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi (08.02.17 on line http://www.kibrispostasi.com/trodosta-bes-turk-bir-de-rum-plakali-araca-saldiri!-07022017) writes that five vehicles with registered numbers of the breakaway regime and one with registered numbers of the Republic of Cyprus were attacked at a parking place of a hotel in Troodos.
The owners of the cars were having holidays in Troodos.
 Ataoglu claims that activities for promoting tourism of the breakaway regime bear fruitsIllegal Bayrak (08.02.17 on line http://www.kibrispostasi.com/kktc-ingiltere-ve-irlandada-ses-getirdi-07022017) broadcast that the self-styled minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu alleged that the promotion and marketing activities carried out abroad have started to bear fruits for the breakaway regime.
In a written statement, Ataoglu claimed that the promotion and marketing activities carried out in Turkey and at international platforms have reflected positively to the "country's tourism".
"When we look at the number of tourists visiting the TRNC, I can see that our country has benefited from the fairs and road shows we attended with the representatives of the tourism sector" he alleged.
"Our aim while gaining optimum benefit from mass tourism is to develop alternative tourism types and to increase the tourism revenues. With this aim, we are working towards diversifying the tourism sector; such as culture, sports and health tourism and to extend it throughout the year" Ataoglu added.
Noting that the Istanbul EMITT Fair has provided motivation for the sector and that preparations were continuing for the ITB Berlin Fair, Ataoglu said that the tourism promotion and marketing activities were continuing without pausing.
"Within this framework, north Cyprus was represented at the Destinations the Holiday & Travel Show in the UK, the Holiday World Show in Ireland and the Holiday World Show in Dublin" he said.
 Erdogan blasts credit rating agencies: "What is the referendum to you?"Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.02.17) reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again slammed credit rating agencies over their recent downgrading of Turkey's credit rating, in which many cited the upcoming vote on constitutional amendments to shift from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential system.
"Have you seen the justifications that they [credit rating agencies] used for the downgrade? 'The constitution vote in Turkey.' It is none of your business whether or not the constitution vote is held. Who are you?" Erdogan said at a meeting of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara on February 7.
Fitch downgraded Turkey's sovereign debt to "junk" late on January 27, snuffing out its last remaining investment grade by underlining deepening concerns over the country's political and security developments.
The ratings cut, although widely expected by the markets, came hours after Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for Turkey to "negative" from "stable," citing growing constraints on policymakers' ability to contain inflation and shore up the tumbling lira currency.
The 18-article package that will bring drastic changes to Turkey's political system will be put to a referendum on either April 2 or 9 in accordance with the date selected by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) after President Erdogan approves the amendments.
 Trump reiterates US support for Turkey in call with ErdoganTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.02.17) reported that the U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated support for Turkey "as a strategic partner and NATO ally" during a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 7, the offices of both leaders said.
Trump also spoke about the two countries' "shared commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms" and welcomed Turkey's contributions to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders emphasized that Turkey and the United States are friends and allies, a statement from the Turkish Presidency said.
Turkey, a NATO member, is a powerful player in the region but Erdogan's relations with former U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as with Western Europe, have at times strained.
Ankara has been frustrated by Washington's reluctance to hand over the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.
The two NATO allies are also at odds over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.
 New CIA Director to hold its first visit abroad in TurkeyTurkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.02.17) reports that the CIA Director Mike Pompeo will pay a visit to Turkey on February 9, the first visit abroad under the new U.S. administration, private broadcaster CNN Turk has reported.
The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO) will reportedly mark the top of Pompeo's agenda during his discussions with the Turkish officials.
According to Presidential sources, the visit was decided during a 45-minute telephone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on February 7.
 Bahceli: "I prefer Erdogan to 'naysayer comrades'"Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (07.02.17) reported that the chairman of the the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli the sole opposition party in Parliament backing the ruling party's constitution amendment bid, has said he would prefer President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the camp of naysayers.
"I openly announce it here. Everyone should understand that if I have to make a choice between Dogu Perincek and his naysayer comrades and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, I would pick Mr. Erdogan absolutely and with no exception," Bahceli said, while addressing his party Deputies in a weekly speech on February 7.
Perincek is the leader of Turkey's Patriotic Party (VP), a leftist-nationalist movement under the veteran politician.
The MHP will vote "yes" in the upcoming referendum to preserve the eternity of the Turkish state, Bahceli added. "We will say 'yes' for the people, 'yes' for the state, 'yes' for the Republic and 'yes' for the eternity of the Turkish state," Bahceli said.
His words came amid criticism from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) accusing the MHP of complicity in the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) zealous rush to change the Constitution. He said his party remained unchanged in its stance on the presidential system.
"We say 'yes' to a presidential governance system, not to the presidency. We say 'yes' to a systemic regeneration, to debunk the lies of the CHP, who are supporting a regime change and are standing alongside terrorists," Bahceli further added.
Bahceli stressed Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m's earlier comments regarding naysayers, who had said the opponents of the constitutional changes were composed of terrorist organizations.
Bahceli stated the CHP was standing side by side with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO), Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP), Party of Labor (EMEP) and the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP).
Some of the Idealist Hearths (Ulku Ocaklar?), an organization with close ties to the MHP, have also said they will vote "no" in the referendum, as have a number of MHP Deputies. "They've asked us why we would say 'yes.' Do we ask them about it? They even asked why we went after the AKP and the President. We are not running after anyone," he said.
"We are saying 'yes' to the survival of the system, not to a person. We are not saying 'yes' to a party, an ideology, a segment or a thought, but we are saying 'yes' to the continuity of the Turkish Republic," he said.
Recalling his initial comments which directed him to support the constitutional amendment, Bahceli said the charter changes were necessary because the present de facto presidential system was violating the current Constitution.
"[But] if anyone has hostile plans for the first four articles of the [current] Constitution, they have to pass over our dead bodies," he said.
 Turkey sacks nearly 4,500 public staffAnkara Anatolia news agency (08.02.17) reports that Turkey dismissed 4,464 public staff on Tuesday over suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), according to a notice in the Official Gazette.
The staff -- 2,585 Education Ministry staff, 893 from the gendarmerie, 417 from the General Security Directorate, 49 from the Interior Ministry and 520 from other Ministries -- was sacked by executive order under emergency powers.
According to the Official Gazette, 17 staff who had been dismissed previously were reemployed. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION
(AK / AM)