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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-02-20

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. 35/17 18-20.02.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Two preconditions by Akinci for returning to the negotiating table
  • [02] "Akinci: 'Do not lead the young generations to the period 67 years ago'"
  • [03] Siber sent a letter to Guterres
  • [04] Burcu called on Anastasiades to take steps and revoke the decision regarding the celebration in the public schools of the 1950 plebiscite
  • [05] Yildirim discussed the Cyprus problem with Merkel and held other contacts on the sidelines of Munich meeting
  • [06] Yildirim argued that the Turkish Cypriot side has been paying the price of the non-solution in the Cyprus problem
  • [07] Ozgurgun claimed that celebration of the 1950 Enosis plebiscite a tactic of the Greek Cypriot side to delay the process
  • [08] Ertugruloglu briefed French students on the Cyprus problem
  • [09] The Turkish Cypriot press argues that the Greek Cypriot side's stance becomes milder
  • [10] KTOS called the leaders to return at the negotiating table
  • [11] Cyprus Panel held in Ankara
  • [12] The UBP would run first if "general elections", were to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus next Sunday, poll reveals
  • [13] A public survey in the occupied area of Cyprus reveals that the expectation of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution has been reduced
  • [14] Erdogan: I'll return to AKP if 'yes' votes prevail in referendum:
  • [15] Opposition MHP dissidents launch 'No' campaign on Turkey's referendum
  • [16] Opposition HDP applies to ECHR over arrest of co-chairs
  • [17] The illegal GAU "university" examines the opening of "campus" in France and Portugal

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Two preconditions by Akinci for returning to the negotiating table

    Under the title "Two preconditions by Akinci to Anastasiades", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (20.02.17) reports that in statements to Anatolia News Agency Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has put two preconditions to President Anastasiades for returning to the negotiating table. The first is that President Anastasiades should state that he does not approve the decision taken by the House of Representatives regarding inclusion of the 1950 plebiscite on Cyprus' unification with Greece in the list of the days which are celebrated at the secondary education schools in the government-controlled area of the Republic. In this manner, he claimed, he should send a clear message both to the Turkish Cypriots and the international community. The second, he said, is to annul this decision. "If this step is taken, we will reevaluate the situation", he added reiterating the view that the ideal of the unification of Cyprus with Greece is "the source of all problems we experience".

    Referring to the recent meeting between the leaders within the framework of the Cyprus talks, Akinci alleged that after leaving the table, President Anastasiades made up a fictitious scenario and tried to create the impression that the Turkish Cypriot side was the one which had abandoned the table. Claiming that everybody saw his political will during the past 20 months, Akinci argued that the effort to burden the responsibility on him is in vain and claimed:

    "[] Yes, at a point we left from this meeting. However, the Greek Cypriot leader himself led us to this point. Every meeting has a level of respect. The limits of this respect were violated. In an environment where we mutually expressed our views, at a point when [UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus] Eide attempted to express UN's view [] that the just concerns of the Turkish Cypriots should be eliminated, the Greek Cypriot leader interrupted Eide and saying with great anger that 'I have nothing else to say', pound on the door and went out. Then we were forced to leave from there. Because the Greek Cypriot leader had abandoned the meeting. In absolutely no meeting we had a break in this manner. []

    They still find it difficult to accept with certain indications the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots. If they will continue facing difficulties in this manner, no result will come out from the negotiations anyway. The Greek Cypriot side should give much more confidence. [] It should prepare its community for these realities. The whole issue passes through a revolution in the mentality. Now is the time to do this".

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] "Akinci: 'Do not lead the young generations to the period 67 years ago'"

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (19.02.17) reported that in statements to Turkish state television (TRT) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has once more criticized the decision to include the anniversary of the 1950 plebiscite on Cyprus' unification with Greece in the list of the days which are celebrated at the secondary education schools in the government-controlled area of the Republic.

    Akinci reiterated that the ideal of the unification with Greece is the only thing that is responsible for what had happened in Cyprus and claimed that bringing this issue onto the agenda during this stage of the Cyprus talks is unacceptable. "We reacted. All parts of the society raised their voice. There were reactions within the Greek Cypriot community itself", he added.

    Noting that a bi-communal technical committee on education has been established with the aim of rebuilding the continuously decreasing confidence between the two communities, Akinci expressed the view that the actual issue is not to find a solution in Cyprus, adding that finding a solution is important but making the solution function is more important. "And we will do this by education the young generations correctly", he said reiterating that "if they are going to make a law amendment, let them amend the law which prevents the use of the cell phones in both sides".

    Akinci criticized again the fact that three deputies from the ruling DISY party had approved right-wing extremist nationalist ELAM party's proposal at the education committee of the Cyprus Parliament and the fact that DISY did not prevent the approval of the proposal at the plenary session by abstaining from the voting. Arguing that except ELAM, Greek Cypriot parties such as DIKO, EDEK and the Greens oppose to a bi-communal, bi-zonal solution, Akinci alleged that these parties might come together and ask for the amendment of the constitution in case of a solution, just like President Makarios had asked in 1963.

    He alleged:

    "This event has shown us that even a small party with two seats could drag with it the majority [of the Parliament]. This event has shown us how necessary security and the deterrence of Turkey's effective guarantees are and how right the Turkish Cypriots are when they ask for these guarantees []".

    Arguing that the 1974 events started with the coup of the 15th of July aiming the unification of Cyprus with Greece, Akinci alleged that the Turkish 20 July invasion of Cyprus prevented this. He claimed:

    "Now there are some who are making comparisons saying 'you celebrate 20 July'. The one was the result of the other. 20 July was an operation that prevented the unification".

    Describing the decision of the House of Representatives as "unacceptable", Akinci alleged:

    "It is a provocation, it is a mistake. [] If they want a bi-zonal bi-communal federation they should first bring together the negotiating table which they have dissolved. He is making calls on me saying 'come to the negotiations next week'. The negotiations could be carried out if a sound basis is created. We as Turkish Cypriots have never run away from the negotiations, we proved it during the referendum 12 years ago. I am a person who has spent all his political past in the way of finding a solution. Unthinkable things like 'Akinci left the negotiating table, he came with a plan, he played a scenario' are being said. The whole world knows that my stance was not that. [] We advanced this process together with Turkey. If the issue could come to the five-party conference, this happened with the contribution of the Turkish side. At the point we have come, it is the Greek Cypriot side's turn to take steps of course. They have taken such a decision when they should pass the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots not only on paper but in action. Correcting this is in their hands. They should open the door correcting the mistake they have committed by closing the door with anger and going out. There are two things: Even before this event, the Greek Cypriot leader had said behind closed doors that he also does not approve, does not adopt this decision. This is not enough. He should say this to the world. The second thing is that this mistake should be corrected, messages that it will be corrected should be given, and steps should be made in the direction for us reestablishing the climate of trust which has been destroyed. And this derives from the past events. []"

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Siber sent a letter to Guterres

    Illegal Bayrak (20.02.17 on line http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=siber-sends-letter-to-guterres) broadcast that the "speaker of parliament" Sibel Siber has sent the joint declaration prepared by the "assembly" with a letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

    The letter consisted of the declaration which condemned the decision taken by the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus on marking the anniversary of the Enosis plebiscite at schools and called on the United Nations to take action for the withdrawal of the decision.

    In her letter, Siber argued that the decision taken by the Cyprus Parliament heavily damaged the negotiations process and further deepened the mistrust between the two sides.

    "Expressing the belief that the UN Secretary General will start an urgent initiative to return from a historical mistake which would cause non-recoverable results, she said this mistake would also harm the good offices mission of the UN Chief at the Cyprus negotiations", Bayrak broadcast.

    [04] Burcu called on Anastasiades to take steps and revoke the decision regarding the celebration in the public schools of the 1950 plebiscite

    Illegal Bayrak (20.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=burcu-speaks-to-brt-2) broadcast that Baris Burcu the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, evaluated the decision adopted with majority by the Cyprus House of Representatives regarding the celebration in the public schools of the 1950 plebiscite.

    Burcu called on Nicos Anastasiadis as the leader of the Greek Cypriot community to take concrete steps and revoke the decision taken by the Cyprus Parliament.

    Speaking on a program broadcast on BRT, Burcu said that "the decision taken by the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives has dealt a serious blow to the Cyprus negotiations process."

    "The sensitivities and the moves made by the Greek Cypriot leader are not aimed towards a solution, its more in line with the presidential elections in the south" Burcu alleged and added that they expected the Greek Cypriot "administration" to take concrete steps on this issue.

    He said that the Turkish Cypriot side wants this decision revoked and that the "Turkish Cypriot parliament and parties outside the parliament have shown a united front on this subject".

    "Reactions to this decision in the south of Cyprus are also on the rise. This issue is not a subject of argument between Akinci and Anastasiades. They should evaluate the damage caused in Cyprus by Enosis and make decisions accordingly" said Burcu.

    He said that while discussions were continuing in order to establish a common partnership state, to add this issue to the current insecurities that already exists is not something that should be taken lightly.

    Referring to the Cyprus negotiations process Burcu said that the process had been deadlocked due to this decision and warned that every passing moment was working against the Cyprus negotiations process.

    "We suffered because of Enosis. We have learned lessons from our past and are working towards creating a peaceful future" said Burcu.

    [05] Yildirim discussed the Cyprus problem with Merkel and held other contacts on the sidelines of Munich meeting

    Turkish daily Yeni Safak (18.02.17) reports that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they attend the 53rd International Munich Security Conference.

    Turkey's delegation to the meeting includes Turkish EU minister Omer Celik, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Youth and Sports Minister Akif Cagtay Kilic, Minister of National Defense of Turkey Fikri Isik and Turkish Ambassador to Berlin Ali Kemal Aydin, among several other officials.

    Regarding the Cyprus reunification talks, the Turkish Prime Minister reiterated Ankara's unanimous support for a peace deal on the island. He said the Turkish Cypriot community has been "paying the price" for a failure to reach a settlement.

    In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (18.02.17) reported that Prime Minister Yildirim and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met Saturday on the sidelines of a security summit in Munich to discuss bilateral ties and highlighted the significance of a common stance against terrorism.

    Recent contacts between the U.S. and Turkey were highlighted during the meeting in which an emphasis was made on a determination for strengthening the relationship, according to a prime ministerial source.

    Yildirim focused on the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and the extradition from the U.S. of its terror leader, Fetullah Gulen, and assured Pence that Turkey is ready to cooperate in various ways with the new U.S. administration, which will open a new page in mutual relations, the source said. The Turkish Prime Minister raised the issue of the fight against the Daesh terror group and said Turkey and the U.S. must take a joint stance in the effort.

    [06] Yildirim argued that the Turkish Cypriot side has been paying the price of the non-solution in the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (18.02.17) reports that Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the Cyprus settlement should be definitely safeguarded, claiming that "the Turkish Cypriot side has been paying the price of the non-solution due to the restrictions".

    Speaking at a joint press conference in Valetta with his Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat, Yildirim alleged: "Turkey, or rather the Turkish Cypriot side is one step ahead for the solution. It has never acted in a way that will suspend the solution".

    Claiming that despite their warnings in 2004 the Greek Cypriot side joined the EU by representing the whole of Cyprus and because of this the solution, which was easier that day, did not happen, Yildirim argued: "We are facing today something which is more difficult. I am sure that a solution will be found there, will safeguard the security in the island, will guarantee continuously Turkey's effective guarantees and will also bring the right of just and equal governance of both sides". Yildirim further claimed that the EU has also its share, the four freedom of Turkey should be guaranteed by the EU.

    Referring to the last crisis in the Cyprus talks, Yildirim claimed: "The previous day, Anastasiades got angry, slammed the door and left. It was reported that 'crisis occurred' but later he said: 'I went for smoking' and I returned. Of course, Turkey and rather the Turkish Cypriot side is always a step ahead".

    (DPs)

    [07] Ozgurgun claimed that celebration of the 1950 Enosis plebiscite a tactic of the Greek Cypriot side to delay the process

    Illegal Bayrak (18.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=ozgurgun-received-nec) broadcast that self-styled prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun claimed that the latest developments regarding the decision taken by the Cyprus House of Representatives to commemorate the 1950 Enosis Day at schools in Cyprus showed that the Greek Cypriot side had entered a tactic to delay the process.

    Ozgurgun who met members of the National Existence Council (NEC) headed by Vedat Celik alleged that the Greek Cypriot side's dreams of achieving Enosis-or union with Greece will never come to life as long as the Turkish Cypriot "people's democracy and state" existed.

    "Those who have been in pursuit of the dream of Enosis should know that it is not possible to destroy the Turkish Cypriot people. This is not possible as long as the Turkish Cypriot peoples's democracy and state exists" he claimed.

    Ozgurgun who accused the Greek Cypriot side of being insincere at the talks and for not abandoning its dream of achieving Enosis, said that "the Turkish Cypriot people should always be prepared".

    "We stated at every opportunity that a settlement would have been reached to this day had the Greek Cypriot side been sincere in its desire to create a federal state. The thought of not being able to achieve Enosis is preventing the establishment of a federation" he claimed.

    Alleging that Greek Cypriot attempts to unite the island with Greece had caused much bloodshed on the island which had been ended with the Turkish invasion Ozgurgunm claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side, on more than one occasion, had proven its readiness to reach a settlement on the island.

    The president of the National Existence Council Vedat Celik for his part said that "the Greek Cypriot parliament's decision had shown how founded and justified the Turkish Cypriots' concerns were regarding a settlement on the island".

    [08] Ertugruloglu briefed French students on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (20.02.17) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Tahsin Ertugruloglu held a meeting with students and members of the administration committee of the Dauphine University of Paris and informed them about the Cyprus problem and the progress of the negotiations.

    According to a statement issued by the "foreign ministry", Ertugruloglu's speech was in the framework of a program regarding peace initiatives. Ertugruloglu addressed a panel of 26 students and teachers, writes the paper and adds that the self-styled foreign minister explained the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus problem.

    (CS)

    [09] The Turkish Cypriot press argues that the Greek Cypriot side's stance becomes milder

    Under the title "Step backwards by Anastasiades", Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (20.02.17) reports that President Anastasiades has said that the decision of the Cyprus House of Representatives to include the anniversary of the 1950 plebiscite on Cyprus' unification with Greece in the list of the days which are celebrated at the secondary education schools in the government-controlled area of the Republic was wrong both as regards its time and its target. According to the paper, after this statement the Greek Cypriot side thinks that the ball is in Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci's field and that Akinci has no excuse any more for not participating in the meeting between the leaders next Thursday.

    Meanwhile, journalist Osman Kalfaoglu reported in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.02.17) that the Turkish Cypriot side describes as a method which will put an end to the crisis in the negotiations and ensure the resumption of the process the proposal, which was submitted by DISY to the Cyprus Parliaments' committee on education and provides for transferring to the Ministry of Education and Culture the authority regarding the celebrations of historic days in the schools of the Republic.

    The Turkish Cypriot side thinks that in case the proposal passes, President Anastasiades might give an instruction in the direction of not commemorating the 1950 plebiscite and if there is a will this issue could be settled. A high ranking official told the journalist that "a new step has come out now" and that "the steps which are taken will be followed". The source said that Akinci's participation in Thursday's meeting will depend on these steps.

    It is said that the tension experienced during the last meeting between the leaders annoyed the Turkish Cypriot side and that the reason for this was that the "allegations by the Greek Cypriot side have no relation with reality." A foreign diplomat told Kalfaoglu that the fact that President Anastasiades left the meeting without taking permission, contrary to the diplomatic rules during this kind of tensed meetings, justifies the withdrawal of the other side from the table.

    Moreover, writing also in Kibris (20.02.17), columnist Ali Baturay reports that DISY's proposal and President Anastasiades' aforementioned statement are a sign of a milder stance by the Greek Cypriot side. According to Baturay, President Anastasiades' statement "means apology by the Greek Cypriot leader on behalf of his parliament and shows that he wants to negotiate". "The steps taken in the south are a sign of moderation and this is why tension from the north should also be decreased", he notes and expresses the view that Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci will take into consideration DISY's law proposal and President Anastasiades' statements and that he is satisfied from these developments.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] KTOS called the leaders to return at the negotiating table

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.02.17) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Teachers' Union (KTOS) called the two leaders to return at the negotiating table by stressing that the cause of the Cyprus problem were the policies of "Taksim" and "Enosis" ("Partition" and "Union") imposed from outside. KTOS called them to continue to work for an independent united federal Cyprus.

    Sener Elcil, general secretary of KTOS said that by starting discussing over "Taksim" and "Enosis" the two leaders will jeopardize the future of this country and the solution of the problem will become distanced.

    On the same issue, the Social Democratic Party (TDP) said that the latest developments at the Cyprus talks are sad, adding that they should continue the negotiations with determination by abolishing the incidents which have become the reason to suspend and sabotage the Cyprus negotiation process.

    In a written statement, TDP said that the decision of the Cyprus House of Representatives to celebrate the 1950 plebiscite in public schools is unacceptable. TDP called all the concerned sides to exhibit the same political will for a solution, adding that the decision of the Parliament regarding the 1950 plebiscite does not coincide with the sincerity towards solution.

    (DPs)

    [11] Cyprus Panel held in Ankara

    Illegal Bayrak (18.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=cyprus-panel-held-in-ankara) broadcast that the latest developments in the Cyprus negotiations process were discussed at a panel organized by the Ankara Bar Association.

    The panel held in Ankara was titled "What's happening in Cyprus" and was moderated by the Chairman of the Turkish Retired Officers Society Retired Air Marshall Erdogan Karakus.

    The Speakers on the panel included Gaziantep Independent MP Prof. Dr. Umit Ozdag, Retired Lieutenant General Cumhur Evcil and Prof. Dr. Hasan Unal from the Department of International Relations at the Atilim University.

    Speaking first, Prof. Dr. Ozdag said that throughout the island's political history, the Greek Cypriots perceived Turkish presence on the island as illegitimate.

    He argued that there was a great contradiction in the Cyprus negotiations process.

    "On the one hand the Greek Cypriots are saying they want to establish a new partnership and live together. Then they go off taking decisions to further indoctrinate Greek Cypriot youth with notions of Hellenism and union with Greece. One of these two approaches is a lie and cannot go hand in hand" he said.

    Retired Lieutenant General Evcil for his part said that Turkey's guarantees in Cyprus would continue, that Turkish troops would not withdraw from the island and that large territorial adjustments were not possible.

    Prof. Dr. Unal from the Atilim University's Department of International Relations alleged that 7 states had emerged in the Balkans following the dissolution of former Yugoslavia, all of which had become members of the EU.

    He further claimed that one needed to question as to why so much effort was being put into unifying Cyprus where two "peoples" with separate ethnic and national identities existed while 7 separate states elsewhere with similar conditions were all allowed to join the EU separately.

    [12] The UBP would run first if "general elections", were to take place in the occupied area of Cyprus next Sunday, poll reveals

    Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (20.02.17) under the front-page title: "A five-party parliament", reports on the results of a public survey conducted by a research company on behalf of the paper, right after the discussions launched in the occupied area of Cyprus for the possibility of "early elections".

    The public survey was conducted with the face to face method, with a sample of 2178 persons in February 2017.

    In the possibility that "elections were to take place next Sunday", in the occupied area of Cyprus, 62.8% of the participants replied that they would go to the polls while 26% said that they would not go, 8.7% presented as undecided while 2.5% did not reply.

    Also, replying to the question which party they would support in case of "early elections", only five parties would succeed to pass the 5% "election threshold", for "entering" the "parliament", reveals the survey, while the participants replied as follows:

    -National Unity Party (UBP) 36,1%

    -Republican Turkish Party (CTP) 19,8%

    -People's Party (HP) 16,9%

    -Social Democratic Party (TDP) 9,4%

    -Democratic Party (DP) 8,9%

    -Rebirth Party (YDP) 3,3%

    -United Cyprus Party (BKP) 1,9%

    -New Cyprus Party (YKP) 1,6%

    - Communal Liberation Party-United Forces (TKPYP) 1,3%

    -Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) 0,8%

    Moreover, asked to reply to the question: "Which problem they consider the most important one in the TRNC", 22.2% of the participants said the unemployment problem, 19,5% said the economy, 13.1% said the problems in the "health sector", 11.2% said the Cyprus problem and 34% said other problems.

    (AK)

    [13] A public survey in the occupied area of Cyprus reveals that the expectation of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution has been reduced

    Under the title: "The expectation for a solution is very low", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.02.17) reports that according to a public survey conducted by the CMIRS (The center for migration, identity and rights studies), a non-profit organization in the occupied area of Cyprus, the "people's" will and expectations for a solution is lower in January 2017, if compared with the same period last year.

    According to the results of the public survey, which is conducted every three months, the interest of the "people" on the Cyprus problem fell to the second place, since the participants said they considered it as the second problem they confront. Also, the will of the "people" for the solution has been reduced from 80.52% in January 2016 to 65.29% in January 2017. Moreover, the pessimism of the "people" towards a possible solution is in the lower level, writes the paper, with a percentage of 19.51% in January 2017, comparing with the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, the "director" of the "center", Mine Yucel has stated that 46.79% of the participants in the survey have said that they support the position of the Turkish Cypriot delegation which attends the "negotiation talks", while, 28.52% said that they do not support it and 24.7% refuse to reply to the question.

    Also, 39.16% of the participants said that they would vote "no" in a possible referendum on the Cyprus problem and 25.51% said that they would vote "yes". 24.7% said that they are undecided. In the same question set in the public survey that took place on January 2016, 49.6% replied that they would vote "yes" in a possible referendum, 20.2% said "no" and the undecided were 24.4%.

    (AK)

    [14] Erdogan: I'll return to AKP if 'yes' votes prevail in referendum:

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (19.02.17) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will return to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) if the "yes" side prevails in the upcoming referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted to an executive presidency.

    "When the 'yes' votes emerge from the referendum, an opportunity for me to register with the party [again] will be born," Erdogan told journalists in a plane upon his return from official visits to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    Turkey will have two years to shift to the presidential system if the charter amendments are accepted in the referendum on April 16.

    When asked whether he has a plan for the following two years, Erdogan said the transition process should be prepared appropriately.

    Noting that the process was continuing without any obstacles in terms of governance, Erdogan said preparing society for the system was of great significance through the legalization of the de facto situation, just as was proposed by opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli last year.

    Erdogan also said legal regulations would be implemented after the referendum before 2019.

    Commenting on the debate on branding naysayers as "terrorists," Erdogan said they had to look at who is saying "no."

    Erdogan also commented on the lifting of lawmakers' parliamentary immunities. "What was the HDP saying in the streets? 'Lift the immunities,' they said. We lifted the immunities of the entire Parliament. Some lawmakers went [to the police] and gave their testimonies courteously, and so the judiciary gave its judgement on them. However, some of them escaped. There are those who are abroad. What happened to those who were apprehended? Some of them were arrested and some of them are waiting for the judicial process. Now, for example, they are saying 'no' now," he said.

    [15] Opposition MHP dissidents launch 'No' campaign in Turkey's referendum

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (19.02.17) reported that opposed to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli's strong support for the government-supported constitutional change shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, dissident voices within the MHP have launched a "No" campaign at a congress in Ankara on Feb. 18.

    The campaign, titled "Turkish Nationalists say No," launched with a congress attended by dissident MHP members, former and current lawmakers, and former Idealist Hearths (Ulku Ocaklari) heads.

    Led by Meral Aksener, Sinan Ogan, Koray Aydin and Umit Ozdag, who all tried to run for the MHP leadership last year but saw their attempt stymied by the party and the court system, the "No" campaigners gathered together over 1,000 supporters at the capital's Nazim Hikmet Culture Center.

    "When the articles of the constitutional amendment are examined, neither stability will be ensured nor will terror come to an end, nor will turmoil in the administration be over. The real cause of instability are those who have been in power for the last 14 years," MHP Kayseri deputy Yusuf Halacoglu said at the meeting, slamming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for "bringing turmoil to the country."

    "There is no item in the constitutional amendment that demands a 'Yes,' either for the republic or the survival of Turkey or the future of the Turkish nation," Halacoglu added.

    The MHP dissidents previously announced that they had formed a group to campaign for a "No" vote in the upcoming referendum, due to be held on April 16.

    Holding its first meeting in Ankara on Jan. 31, the group announced that they would contact other nationalist and conservative parties to coordinate campaigning.

    [16] Opposition HDP applies to ECHR over arrest of co-chairs

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (19.02.17) reported the People's Democracy Party (HDP) has announced plans to file an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the continued arrest of the party's co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

    According to the statement made by the HDP headquarters, a delegation consisting of deputy leader Saruhan Oluc, Group Deputy Chairperson Filiz Kerestecioglu and lawmakers Mithat Sancar, Ertugrul Kurkcu and Osman Baydemir will be in Strasbourg today and tomorrow.

    The delegation will be accompanied by the HDP's European representative, Faik Yagizay.

    At the moment, a total of 12 HDP lawmakers, including Demirtas and Yuksekdag, remain in custody, facing hundreds of years in jail over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).

    Demirtas faces 102 different probes that include charges of "managing a terrorist organization," "inciting people to violence and hatred" and "praising crime and criminals."

    Demirtas's first hearing will be held on April 28, 12 days after the constitutional referendum that will decide whether the current parliamentary system should be shifted into an executive presidency.

    [17] The illegal GAU "university" examines the opening of "campus" in France and Portugal

    Turkish Cypriot daily Democrat Bakis newspaper (20.02.17) reports that the "chairman" of the "administration board" and "founding rector" of the illegal American University of Keryneia ("GAU") Serhat Akpinar has stated that besides the seven "campus" of the "university" in several countries, they are evaluating proposals coming from France and Portugal, for the opening "a university campus" in Paris (France) and in Portugal as well.

    (AK) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (CS / AM)


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