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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-02-22

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. 37/17 22.02.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Akinci and Cavusoglu insist on maintaining the Turkish intransigent stance on the Cyprus problem
  • [02] Akinci held a meeting with Spehar
  • [03] Burcu: Leaders' meeting cancelled
  • [04] Cavusoglu held contacts with Turkish Cypriot politicians during his visit to the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [05] Columnist says that the Cyprus negotiations are being punished because of the referendum in Turkey
  • [06] "Twenty six more persons were granted the TRNC citizenship"
  • [07] Survey shows that 89,9% of the Turkish Cypriots consider Turkey's guarantees in Cyprus very important
  • [08] More members resigned from the CTP and TDP
  • [09] A delegation of the "casino businesses administrators union" held contacts in the UK
  • [10] Turkish Minister of Forestry: 2.3m saplings planted in the breakaway regime
  • [11] Yildirim urged the Turks to vote 'Yes' in the referendum; He saluted the Grey Wolves using their symbol
  • [12] Kilicdaroglu: More journalists in jail than in coup periods
  • [13] Bahceli: Vote 'Yes' for Turkish Republic
  • [14] Israel to ease visas for Turkish business people
  • [15] HDP co-chair Demirtas given jail term, MP arrested
  • [16] HDP co-chair Yuksekdag loses seat in Parliament

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Akinci and Cavusoglu insist on maintaining the Turkish intransigent stance on the Cyprus problem

    Under the title "Last call for federation", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (22.02.17) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci held yesterday a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who paid an illegal visit to the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Akinci alleged that the basic reason for not advancing on the issues which are still open in the Cyprus talks is the so-called fact that the Greek Cypriot side has allegedly not "digested" that federation includes equality, no reference to majority and minority could be made and the Turkish Cypriot founding state will be fully equal with the Greek Cypriot founding state. Akinci reiterated the view that as long as there is no rotating presidency and effective participation in the decision making processes, no solution could be found.

    Arguing that they have not interrupted, ended and led the negotiations to collapse, Akinci alleged that President Anastasiades should push away the decision of the Cyprus House of Representatives regarding the inclusion of the 1950 plebiscite on Cyprus' unification (enosis) 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 called also on the Greek Cypriots to raise more their voice against this decision. Moreover, Akinci asked from President Anastasiades to clearly state to his own community, the Turkish Cypriots and the world that the above-mentioned decision was wrong, just like he has said this at the negotiating table.

    Akinci claimed:

    "We are at the very last stage of the negotiating process. There is nothing beyond this. A break was given. We shall see whether it will be possible to meet again. We are at the decision taking stage now. Just like we proceed with courage on some issues, the Greek Cypriot side should also take its decisions. […] We are in the 49th year of the negotiations. Negotiations have been held for almost half a century. We cannot leave our future up in the air any more. Everyone must know this and decide".

    Akinci also alleged that the Greek Cypriots could not digest that the decisions in the federal state's councils cannot be taken with simple majority, the Turkish Cypriot side cannot be an "extra crowd artist" and should have a say. He claimed that this is the most important reason of not achieving progress and alleged that just like he is preparing his community for the solution even on the most difficult matters, President Anastasiades should make his community get used to the fact that a Turkish Cypriot will be able to become president of the common state in rotation. He noted that he has repeatedly stated very clearly that he could not even submit to referendum a solution, which does not include the rotating presidency and the effective participation in the decision making, because "such a solution will not be a solution".

    Describing as very serious the approval of the decision of the Cyprus House of Representatives regarding the 1950 plebiscite, Akinci said that he saw which anniversaries are included in the list of the events which are honored in the Greek Cypriot schools and added that these are international days such as the human rights day, the women's day etc. He argued that the Greek Cypriots should have seen that honoring an event such as "enosis" would have caused reactions in the Turkish Cypriot side.

    In his statements, Cavusoglu has alleged that Akinci, the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team and Turkey's support have played an important role in the fact that the Cyprus talks reached this point and claimed: "In spite of the fact that no reply is given to our constructive approach and often breakdowns were experienced during the past 3-4 months, we have continued our constructive stance".

    He alleged that they started seeing more often the Greek Cypriot side's not constructive stance and that in Geneva Greece and the Greek Cypriots showed that they were not ready for a solution. He claimed that with the enosis decision the Greek Cypriot side exhibited its real intention and that they have not woke up from their past dreams.

    Noting that President Anastasiades is his personal friend, Cavusoglu argued that this is why he was speaking frankly and alleged:

    "Friendship is another thing. Here we are discussing a serious issue. We are trying to solve a problem. We are trying to bring peace, tranquility and stability on the island. We are personal friends, but we have to say his mistakes. […] Why you slammed the door and went out? Why the enosis decision came out? You should avoid the lies such as 80 million will invade Europe which you wrote in your letter to Junker. […] They should correct their extremely wrong mistake which shows how right the Turkish Cypriots are on their security concerns. They should know the following: As Turkey we will continue being by the Turks of Cyprus' side and supporting the tranquility and the security of our brothers. I am sending this message to those who have not abandoned their dream of enosis yet and those who have become their instruments. Let them come to their senses, correct their mistake if they want a solution and return to the table like human beings […]".

    Alleging that if there is no solution Turkey and the "TRNC' will decide together what will happen, Cavusoglu argued that they are not without options.

    Asked why he insists that the "enosis decision" should be changed, Akinci argued that "Since Anastasiades' party secured that this decision was taken, it can also secure that it is changed". He claimed that he is not hiding behind his finger on the issue of the annexation to Turkey if no solution is reached and added that he opposes to annexation to Turkey as he opposes to enosis. He added: "However, the other side should know that we cannot achieve our target by ourselves. […] We cannot establish a federation from the place we are siting. We can establish together only a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal structure where we will live in security. […]"

    Akinci reiterated that if this does not happen the "TRNC" will continue its way and added: "However, there is another reality: Life does not remain static. Let them understand very well this message. Demography changes, physics changes. Nothing remains static. Therefore, the Greek Cypriot side should understand how important the following few months are. I have said it many times".

    Responding to a question on the security and guarantees, Cavusoglu said that it would not be correct to say that an agreement or a convergence has been achieved between the sides on this issue.

    Responding to a question regarding the possibility of annexation of the occupied area of Cyprus to Turkey in case of not reaching a solution, Cavusoglu alleged that the Greek Cypriots are deliberately spreading some rumors on this issue and reiterated the allegation that this is the last window of opportunity for a solution, which should be used well.

    Cavusoglu also alleged that the recent stance of the Greek Cypriots proved that the security concerns of the Turkish Cypriots were right.

    Noting that war ships are patrolling in the area, Cavusoglu threatened: "If we are being patient, we are doing this hoping for a solution. We will also take the necessary steps".

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Akinci held a meeting with Spehar

    Illegal Bayrak (22.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=akinci-received-spehar-2) broadcast that the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar held a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci yesterday.

    The latest situation in the Cyprus talks was discussed at the meeting which lasted for an hour.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, the UN Special Representative said that she had exchanged views with Akinci on the latest situation. She added that the meeting had been useful in terms of clarifying as to what was going on with the talks.

    [03] Burcu: Leaders' meeting cancelled

    Illegal Bayrak (22.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=leaders-meeting-cancelled-2 ) broadcast that Baris Burcu the spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci announced that Thursday's scheduled meeting between the two leaders to continue with the Cyprus negotiations process has been cancelled,

    Burcu said that the Turkish Cypriot side, in light of the current developments, had conveyed its views and requests to the relevant parties.

    "We hope that the necessary steps will be taken soon and a new meeting date will be set" Burcu said in a statement to the TAK news agency.

    Burcu stated that "the Turkish Cypriot side was expecting the Greek Cypriot leadership to retract the Greek Cypriot parliament's Enosis decision as well as to take concrete political and administrative steps on the issue".

    He also said that Akinci had conveyed during his meeting with the UN Secretary General's Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar yesterday that steps taken on the matter by Anastasiades were insufficient.

    Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot side had highlighted the gravity of the issue both through diplomatic channels and public statements, Burcu expressed the hope that the Greek Cypriot leader will do what is necessary to overcome this problem.

    [04] Columnist says that the Cyprus negotiations are being punished because of the referendum in Turkey

    Under the title "The negotiating table which is being punished", columnist Basaran Duzgun in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (22.02.17) reports that the crisis caused in the Cyprus talks regarding enosis [Translator's note: The ideal of Cyprus' unification with Greece] will be prolonged until the referendum in Turkey. He explains why:

    "Because in this environment, neither Akinci and Anastasiades can carry out a bargaining nor any strength remained to Ankara for making concessions. You see that the MHP basis is speedily sliding towards the no vote. Leading names of the MHP are openly taking place in the no campaign. It is said that persons who are not AKP members but voted for the AKP are confused. As you understand, things in Turkey are mixed up, the climate is tensed.

    The campaign has not started yet. After it starts it will become more tensed. Therefore, in these conditions, it is obvious that Ankara does not want to suffer attacks such as 'you made concession in Cyprus'. The CHP is waiting in ambush for launching the campaign that 'Erdogan sold out Cyprus'. The MHP is silent for now, but this does not mean that it supports Erdogan's Cyprus policy. A development contrary to MHP's views in Cyprus might put an end to AKP-MHP alliance. Since AKP's target is the referendum now, the situation suits it of course. It is appropriate for the current situation in Turkey to talk against Anastasiades, to criticize the Greek Cypriot side.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu came, spoke in harmony to the new situation and left. He accused Anastasiades a lot. He talked about the Greek Cypriot side not wanting a solution. 'If there are no guarantees, if there is no equality, there will be no solution', he said and left.

    President Akinci closed the curtain of the negotiating table. He said that he would not go to the negotiations in case Anastasiades did not take steps. Therefore, the negotiating table suffered [from what happened]. The negotiating table was punished. How long the negotiating table will remain punished depends on the referendum. If the result of the referendum is no, woe to the negotiating table".

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Cavusoglu held contacts with Turkish Cypriot politicians during his visit to the occupied area of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak (22.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=cavusoglu-visited-ertugruloglu) broadcast that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with "foreign minister" Tahsin Ertugruloglu as part of his contacts in the breakaway regime.

    Ertugruloglu claimed that the developments on the Cyprus problem "was part of the national cause, determined, conducted and defended jointly by Lefkosia and Ankara". Claiming that the Turkish Cypriot "people" always felt the support of "motherland Turkey", he expressed the belief that the uncertainty felt by the Turkish Cypriots in this struggle should end.

    On his part Foreign Minister Cavusoglu reminded that they had inaugurated the "foreign ministry's digital archive system" and the new information technologies infrastructure project during his last illegal visit to the breakaway regime in November.

    He said that they were now working "on increasing the number of representative offices of the TRNC in Turkey and abroad".

    Stating that there were steps to be taken in this direction in the period ahead, Cavusoglu alleged the following: "Unfortunately at the current point reached in the negotiations process which is related to the future of Cyprus, we started to see that the Greek Cypriot side does not share the same sincerity and constructive approach put forward by Turkey and the TRNC."

    "We know about all these however we wanted a lasting solution and supported the continuation of the negotiations with patience. But we saw that this was misused. The Enosis decision taken recently, to leave the table in Mont Pelerin and to abstain from discussing critical issues… Unfortunately, we cannot see a similar approach. We gave clear messages today. If the Greek Cypriot side wants a solution then it should act sincerely and show and prove its desire for a solution" the Turkish Foreign Minister added.

    He said that he hopes that "the Greek Cypriot side will correct its mistake" and , added that they will always fulfill these prospects including the guarantee and security issue.

    Illegal Bayrak (22.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=ozgurgun-cavusoglu-meet) broadcast that "prime minister" Huseyin Ozgurgun met with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu yesterday.

    Speaking during the visit Cavusoglu said that he was pleased to be carrying out a visit "to state and government officials in the TRNC" as it gave him the chance to exchange views and make evaluations on the Cyprus problem.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister said that it also gave him the opportunity to discuss "Turkey and TRNC relations".

    Ozgurgun on his part touched upon the Cyprus problem alleging that the main reason behind the pains experienced on the island was due to the "Greek Cypriot side's dreams of Enosis". "If these dreams are taught at schools in the south then it will lead to new disasters in the country" he said.

    He said that while discussions were taking place for a bi-zonal bi-communal agreement all of a sudden the issue of ENOSIS appeared, and said that he hopes that "the Greek Cypriot side :will retract from its decision and will move towards finding a solution".

    "If not then we together with Turkey are determined to take counter measures" Ozgurgun alleged.

    Illegal Bayrak (22.02.17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=siber-received-cavusoglu) also broadcast that Cavusoglu met with the "speaker of the parliament" Sibel Siber.

    "Deputy speaker of the parliament" Huseyin Avkiran Alanli and "Turkish ambassador to Lefkosia" Derya Kanbay were also present at the meeting during which the decision of the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus to commemorate the 1950 Enosis Plebiscite was taken up.

    Stating that they have taken up the latest stage reached at the negotiations process and the Enosis decision during the meeting held at the "TRNC Presidency" Cavusoglu said that the "TRNC parliament" gave the necessary reaction to the decision. He also said that Turkey too responded accordingly.

    For her part, Siber said that the Cyprus problem was not the only issue on Turkey's agenda which included a wide range of other diplomatic issues.

    She also argued that "the government, parliament, the opposition, civil society and the people all expressed a joint view on the Enosis decision".

    She said that "bringing back the Enosis issue, which was the source of all the traumas and troubles in the past, to the agenda was unacceptable", and she said that the Turkish Cypriots had been forced to live in ghettos because of Enosis.

    She also claimed that the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades's remarks that the Turkish side's reaction was exaggerated and unnecessary, was unacceptable, and alleged that the decision cannot be compared with the Turkish invasion. "20th of July was a result of Enosis. It would never have happened had there been no attempts to achieve Enosis. It is not right to teach this to students at this age" Siber argued.

    Stating that a solution was not possible without the existence of goodwill, she said a settlement could not be reached by poisoning the minds of children.

    Explaining that they have sent a letter to the United Nations with this aim, Siber expressed the hope that the UN's stance will also be in this direction.

    She said that the political equality was one of the main principles of a solution, and she expressed the hope that this mistake will be corrected and a positive result will be obtained.

    [06] "Twenty six more persons were granted the TRNC citizenship"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (22.02.17) reports that the "coalition government of UBP-DP (National Unity Party – Democratic Party) continues to grant 'exceptional citizenship' with a decision of the council of ministers".

    The paper reports: "The decision of the council of ministers granting the TRNC citizenship to 17 persons was published in the official gazette on February 17 and the decision for granting the TRNC citizenship to 9 persons was published on February 16".

    The persons, who were "granted the citizenship as published in the official gazette", are the following:

    • Cizel Canli, was born in occupied village of Pentayia, 1993

    • Elvin Ozlem Ergil, born in 1991

    • Fatma Vergi, born in Aydin, 1969

    • Bugay Yildirim, born in Menemen, 1995

    • Umit Inak, born in Istanbul, 1979

    • Ramazan Demirtas, born in Cinar, 1976

    • Aziz Parlak, born in Reyhanli, 1972

    • Gamze Ondag, born in Izmir, 1981

    • Seher Sinem, born in occupied town of Keryneia, 1997

    • Mehmet Bayrakci, born in Altinozu, 1994

    • Caner Kurumus, born in Kumlu, 1997

    • Nimet Ozdemir, born in Sahinbey, 1995

    • Cilem Canli, born in occupied village of Pentayia, 1996

    • Bekir Torer, born in Islahiye, 1970

    • Osman Polat, born in Istanbul, 1995

    • Enes Alaman, born in Golbasi, 1997

    • Nedim Cete, born in Reyhanli, 1997

    • Ismail Kurt, born in Kalkandere, 1962

    • Derya Gokdemir, born in Izmir 1981

    • Muhammed Ali Hayirsever, born in the occupied part of Lefkosia, 1997

    • Seda Arici, born in the occupied part of Lefkosia, 1997

    • Kubra Ozdemir, born in Sahibey, 1997

    • Busra Cete, born in Reyhanli, 1996

    • Bulent Capar, born in Afsin, 1975

    • Ahmet Harbelioglu, born in Antakya, 1976

    • Ahmet Kuzhan, born in Pazarcik, 1997

    (DPs)

    [07] Survey shows that 89,9% of the Turkish Cypriots consider Turkey's guarantees in Cyprus very important

    Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (22.02.17) publishes the third and last part of a survey conducted for the paper using the method of face to face interviews with 2,178 persons in the occupied area of Cyprus during February 2017.

    Asked whether Turkey's guarantee on Cyprus should continue, the 89,9% of the participants replied that they consider very important the issue, only the 7,6% said that they do not think guarantee is an important issue and the 2,5% did not answer.

    Asked to evaluate the performance of the "coalition government" UBP-DP, the 44,2% of the participants said that its performance "very unsuccessful", the 24,5% said that its performance is "unsuccessful", the 22,5% said that it is "successful", only the 1,9% said that it is "very successful" and the 6,9% did not reply.

    Asked whether "early elections" should be held, the 32,1% of the participants said "yes", the 30,2% said "no", the 29,9% said that it does not make difference and the 7,8% did not reply.

    (DPs)

    [08] More members resigned from the CTP and TDP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Bakis newspaper (22.02.17) reports that the resignations in both the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the Social Democracy Party (TDP) continue.

    According to the paper, 26 members of the CTP stated that they will resign from the party and are expected to submit their resignations to the party's central committee today.

    Also, 60 members of the TDP have sent their resignations to the party the day before yesterday. The total number of the members who resigned from TDP has reached to 237.

    (AK)

    [09] A delegation of the "casino businesses administrators union" held contacts in the UK

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.02.17) reports that a delegation of the "casino businesses administrators union", and of the "union of gambling games in the TRNC" held several contacts in London, in the framework of the Excel Fair.

    According to the paper, the "chairman" of the "casino businesses administrators union", Ahmet Arkin and the member of the "administration board" of the ""union of gambling games in the TRNC" Ayhan Saricicek met with representatives of the sector in the UK and Europe and attended a reception organized by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) and the European Club Association (ECA).

    Arkin and Saricicek exchanged views with representatives of the sector of several countries regarding the developments of the "gambling sector" in the "TRNC". The paper adds that Arkin and Saricek attended the reception upon an invitation by a group of British MPs.

    (AK)

    [10] Turkish Minister of Forestry: 2.3m saplings planted in the breakaway regime

    Illegal Bayrak television 21.02.17 on line http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=2-3m-saplings-planted-in-trnc) broadcast that a total of 2.3 million tree saplings were planted in the occupied area of Cyprus this year, the Turkish Minister of Forestry and Water Works Veysel Eroglu has said.

    In a written statement Eroglu said that some of the species planted will provide a source of income for "locals" in the future.

    The trees were planted as part of a "cooperation protocol" between Turkey and the breakaway regime.

    The Turkish Minister also said that forestation efforts were not only restricted to open areas, adding that a recreation area will be created near the dam in occupied Panagra village where water from Turkey flows to.

    Eroglu added that places such as the Hala Sultan Theology College were also areas where trees were being planted as part of the "cooperation protocol".

    [11] Yildirim urged the Turks to vote 'Yes' in the referendum; He saluted the Grey Wolves using their symbol

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.02.17) reported that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has urged the Turkish people to vote in favor of changing Turkey's Constitution in the upcoming April 16 referendum.

    Yildirim dismissed claims saying that a "Yes vote" would end up dividing Turkey.

    In remarks made during the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on Tuesday, he blamed terror groups such as the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization for trying to split the country.

    Recalling the hard times Turkey went through in 2016, including the July 15 defeated coup, Yildirim argued that Turkey was now back on track after it learnt its lesson from last year. "Those planning to darken the future of Turkey are doomed. No power can now block Turkey's rise. Turkey has taken very firm steps. Despite everything it stays stable, no doubt!" he added.

    "They said no to whatever contributed to Turkey's stable progress. Now they have started a campaign to block the transformation of a democratic Turkey," he said.

    He also praised the Turkish people living abroad who are expected to vote Yes in the referendum. Yildirim argued that the Yes campaign will be embraced from Germany to Turkey's northeastern border province of Kars.

    On the same issue, Turkish daily Milliyet (22.02.17) reports on Yildirim's statements under the title: "Message to the Grey Wolves from Yildirim". The paper publishes the photo of Prime Minister Yildirim, presenting him saluting the Grey Wolves by using their symbol of salute.

    (AK)

    [12] Kilicdaroglu: More journalists in jail than in coup periods

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.17) reports that more Turkish journalists are currently in jail than were in prison under junta rule in the 1980s, main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has said, slamming the government for staging a "civilian coup" in an attempt to stage a purge after the July 2016 coup.

    "The number of jailed journalists has exceeded 150. It had never happened during the period of any coups," he said.

    Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kilicdaroglu also criticized the detention of Deniz Yucel, German daily Die Welt correspondent, on the grounds of being a member of a terrorist organization, abuse of personal data and terrorist propaganda on Feb. 17.

    Yucel had gone to the Istanbul Police Station to testify within the scope of an investigation over the hacking of the private email address of Turkish Energy and Natural Sources Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    "They were calling Deniz Yucel to testify. They took him into custody. He has been detained for a long time. I hope he regains his freedom in a short period of time," he said.

    Kilicdaroglu also criticized the mass dismissal of public officers from their post with state of emergency decrees, especially the dismissal of academics.

    "During the Sept. 12 [1980 coup d'etat], the number of academics who were sacked from their posts was 127. The number of teachers who have been dismissed is 4,811 since the July 15 coup," Kilicdaroglu said, referring to the date of the declaration of the state of emergency rule as a "civilian coup."

    "You are worse than Sept. 12," Kilicdaroglu said.

    Kilicdaroglu also stated that Turkey was suffering from "more immediate problems" such as unemployment, increased agricultural problems and drops in the number of tourists, adding that the Turkish citizens should vote "no" on the constitutional amendments to address those issues more effectively.

    "Those who want democracy and freedom and to live comfortably in his/her own country as a citizen of this country hand in hand! Let's vote 'no,'" he said.

    [13] Bahceli: Vote 'Yes' for Turkish Republic

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (22.02.17) reports that the leader of the opposition party in Turkey supporting the government's campaign for a presidential system on Tuesday said a Yes vote was a vote for "Turkishness".

    Devlet Bahceli, head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), called for people to vote in favor of changing Turkey's constitution in the April 16 referendum.

    "For sure, we will say 'Yes' for the state, we will say 'Yes' for the nation, we will say 'Yes' for the republic, we will say 'Yes' for the survival of the Turkishness," he told MHP lawmakers in Ankara.

    He added that a presidential system would "bring peace to the country and order to the state".

    The MHP leader slammed the intraparty opposition movement which has been campaigning for saying 'No' in the referendum, calling on them to establish their own party.

    "They say 'No' just because we say 'Yes'. If we said 'No', rest assured that they would be saying 'Yes'," he said.

    The MHP's support allowed the constitutional reform bill to pass through Parliament last month with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposals to a referendum.

    Constitutional reform has been under discussion since then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was voted president in August 2014.

    [14] Israel to ease visas for Turkish business people

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (22.02.17) reports that Israel will provide Turkish business leaders with longer visas to the country in the future, according to Israel's Consul General to Istanbul, Shai Cohen.

    "For example, if one of you is involved in a visa application, it will be a three-year, multi-entry visa type," Cohen said Feb. 21 at the Turkey-Israel Business Forum organized by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM).

    "The visa application will be a multi-entry visa type, so you will be able to travel for an unlimited number of times to Israel if you wish," he said. "We have already begun to work on facilitating the procedures for businessmen to come to Israel."

    TIM discussed the improvement in mutual ties between the two countries following a normalization process.

    Cohen said they had witnessed a great change in mutual relations and that they had begun to see the effects of the reconciliation process on all stakeholders.

    "Experts say that our trading potential is $8 billion, while the current figure is about $4 million to 5 billion," he said, setting a three-year target to reach the goal.

    Turkish Airlines currently operates 10 to 12 flights to Tel Aviv per day, while Israeli businesspeople also fly to different destinations with the Turkish national carrier.

    Cohen also said he would discuss non-tariff barriers faced in the fruit and vegetable trade with Israeli officials and inform Turkish businessmen on the matter as soon as possible.

    TIM Chairman Mehmet Buyukeksi said the business group aimed to reach 71,000 exporters this year and that its members provided employment to 3.1 million people.

    TIM aims to increase the employment figure to 3.5 million by the end of the year, he said.

    Turkey's exports to Israel reached $3 billion dollars as imports have touched $1.4 billion in the last 10 years, the business leader noted.

    Noting that the figures were insufficient, Buyukeksi said he believed that the two countries had much greater potential.

    Buyukeksi said the goals were not limited to mutual trade and that TIM wanted to build a system in which the two sides could win together in third countries, especially in Africa.

    Commenting on tourism ties, Buyukeksi said 300,000 people from Israel visited Turkey last year. "We want to increase the target to 400,000 this year."

    Israel is the country with the most female entrepreneurs, Buyukeksi also said. "We attach great importance to entrepreneurship. I hope we will do important work on entrepreneurship in Israel."

    [15] HDP co-chair Demirtas given jail term, MP arrested

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (22.02.17) reports that Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, who is currently under arrest, was sentenced on Feb. 21 to five months in prison on charges of "insulting the state and its institutions," while the party's Diyarbakir Deputy Idris Baluken was arrested for a second time in Ankara.

    The Dogubayazit 2nd criminal court of first instance on Feb. 21 sentenced Demirtas to five years in prison on charges of "denigrating the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the institutions of the state."

    Police also detained Baluken following an appeal against his release in a case filed as part of a terror investigation on Feb. 21. He was later arrested.

    He had previously been released on Jan. 30 after being arrested on Nov. 4, 2016. An arrest warrant was later issued for him.

    The court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Feb. 17 had issued an arrest warrant for HDP Diyarbakir Deputy Baluken.

    Baluken faces an aggravated life sentence and up to 23 years in prison on four separate charges, namely "disrupting the unity of the state and the country," "being a member of armed terror organization," "engaging terror organization propaganda" and "refusing to disperse despite warning in illegal demonstration and marches."

    At present a total of 12 HDP figures, including Demirtas and Yuksekdag, remain in prison and face hundreds of years in jail.

    [16] HDP co-chair Yuksekdag loses seat in Parliament

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily news (22.02.17) reports that Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Figen Yuksekdag, who has been in jail for three months on terror charges, has lost her parliamentary status for a prison sentence she received in a previous case.

    Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Aysenur Bahcekapili read out a Prime Ministry motion at the start of the parliamentary session on Feb. 21, regarding Yuksekdag's sentencing on "terror propaganda" on Nov. 27, 2013, which was approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals on Sept. 22, 2016.

    According to the Constitution, the loss of the parliamentary seat "through a final judicial sentence or deprivation of legal capacity, shall take effect after the final court decision in the matter has been communicated to the plenary" of the Parliament, without the necessity for a vote.

    Yuksekdag, who was also the party's lawmaker from the eastern province of Van, was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016, over her alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). She currently faces over 80 years in prison.

    Ahmet Yildirim, HDP's deputy parliamentary group leader, said the decision was "void."

    Yuksekdag's bio on the Turkish Parliament's website was also immediately removed after the decision, with her name transferred to the list of those whose deputyship has ended. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (CS / AM)


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