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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-02-24

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. 39/17 24.02.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Akinci: We would be ready to resume talks the very next day the Greek Cypriot side retracts 1950 Enosis plebiscite
  • [02] Burcu accused the Greek Cypriot side of distorting the facts
  • [03] Celik alleges that the EU should exert pressure on the Republic of Cyprus as regards the Cyprus problem
  • [04] Ozersay calls on Akinci to state whether the Cyprus talks could reach a result
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot politicians commented on the recent developments of the Cyprus problem 6 A "cooperation protocol agreement" between Turkey and the occupation regime on the "social security system"
  • [07] The "council of ministers" approved a third mobile operator in the occupied area of Cyprus; statements by Durust
  • [08] Ataoglu went to Amman for the World Health Tourism Forum
  • [09] U.S. Ambassador Doherty visited KIBRIS media group
  • [10] A cooperation protocol between Misurata University of Libya and the "International Final University"
  • [11] President Erdogan to hold rally in Cologne next month
  • [12] Turkish Defence Minister says Ankara- backed FSA takes control of 'almost all' of Al Bab in Syria
  • [13] Turkish deputy PM urges 'terror sensitivity' in media
  • [14] Piri: "the situation in Turkey is worsening on every visit"
  • [15] Over 1,700 arrested over 'terror propaganda' via social media across Turkey
  • [16] Turkish Energy Minister: Turkey may become an energy exporter in next 10 years
  • [17] Turkey, Pakistan see exemplary relations evolving into strategic cooperation
  • [18] Two more Turkish soldiers seek asylum in Greece
  • [19] Main opposition vice chair Boke receives death threat live on TV
  • [20] Commentary views how undecided voters might affect Constitutional referendum result
  • [21] MHP's MP: AKP might postpone the constitutional referendum because of not favorable opinion poll results

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Akinci: We would be ready to resume talks the very next day the Greek Cypriot side retracts 1950 Enosis plebiscite

    Illegal Bayrak television (24.02.17 on line http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=akinci-says-tc-not-making-up-excuses) broadcast that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci stated that the Turkish Cypriot side was not hiding behind any excuses, particularly the upcoming referendum in Turkey, in regards to the continuation of the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Akinci also said that he would be ready to resume talks the very next day the Greek Cypriot side retracts a decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite at schools in the Republic of Cyprus.

    He said that the Turkish Cypriot side was continuing the talks in a calm manner but that this did not mean that it could tolerate such "grate mistakes".

    Speaking during a visit paid to him today, Akinci said that no one could accept a decision aimed at indoctrinating school children with notions of Enosis instead of promoting a culture of peace which was necessary for a federal partnership.

    Stating that much of the written Greek Cypriot press had carried to its headlines the upcoming elections in the Republic of Cyprus the day after the decision was taken by the House Representatives, Akinci said it was wrong to attribute every reaction of the Turkish Cypriots to Turkey.

    "No one should try and attribute every reaction of Turkish Cypriot society to Turkey as if the Turkish Cypriots did not have their own thoughts or their own political will. The Turkish Cypriot people are just as equal as the Greek Cypriots in Cyprus. Everyone should accept this" he said.

    Stating that having friendly relations with a great country such as Turkey would have immense benefits for the Greek Cypriots, Akinci said that the Greek islands were a good example of this.

    "The biggest support to Greece in times of the economic crisis they were experiencing came from Turkey" he added.

    Akinci also said that the failure to reach a settlement in Cyprus will be the source of new tensions over energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    "Not just the Turkish and Greek Cypriots but Turkey and Greece as well as other neighboring countries will benefit from a settlement" he added.

    Akinci also said that he would be ready to resume talks the very next day the decision to commemorate the 1950 Enosis plebiscite at schools in the Republic of Cyprus is retreated.

    "I dare them! Let them fix this mistake and I'm at the negotiating table the next day! Then we'll see who received instructions and who didn't" he said, adding that neither he nor the Turkish Cypriot side was hiding behind of any excuses.

    "Election periods or referendums are sensitive periods. But truly there has been no such request from Turkey. Turkey wants to support a solution by looking at its parameters" he said.

    Akinci also claimed that it was in fact the Greek Cypriot side which was trying to use the upcoming referendum in Turkey to distract attention from the fact that political parties in the south had started working for their own elections set to take place next year.

    [02] Burcu accused the Greek Cypriot side of distorting the facts

    According to illegal Bayrak television (24.02.17) the so-called presidential spokesman Baris Burcu has called on the Greek Cypriot leadership to immediately stop distorting the facts and to try and understand the reactions of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    In a statement issued last night regarding the ongoing crisis at the talks, Burcu claimed that the "Greek Cypriot administration" as he described the Republic of Cyprus, instead of trying to remove the negative situation that emerged in the talks with the decision approved by the Cyprus House of Representatives to commemorate the 1950 Enosis Plebiscite at schools, is issuing false and distorted statements.

    "Those who sabotaged the negotiations process by pursuing a fascist and racist party such as ELAM and who have played a role in taking the decision, rather than rectifying the situation, are trying to lay the blame of the crisis being experienced in the talks on the Turkish Cypriots side", Burcu alleged.

    Touching upon the latest remarks by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who accused the Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci of deliberately stalling the negotiations process and of abandoning the negotiating table to attend the upcoming Economic Cooperation Organizations' summit in Pakistan, Burcu argued the following: "The President's visit to Pakistan was known by both the UN and the Greek Cypriot leader when planning for February's meetings. There weren't any meetings scheduled for March anyway", Burcu alleged.

    Burcu also said that "it was not understandable as to even the most foresighted politicians such as the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides were adopting an attitude which disregarded the facts and exploited the current situation".

    "They must immediately stop distorting the facts and must try and understand the reactions and feelings of the Turkish Cypriot community. The Turkish Cypriot peoples' expectations are for the Greek Cypriot officials to take concrete steps to change the decision approved by the Greek Cypriot House to commemorate the 1950 Enosis Plebiscite at schools", Burcu further argued.

    [03] Celik alleges that the EU should exert pressure on the Republic of Cyprus as regards the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.02.17) reports that Omer Celik, Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator, has alleged that by taking the decision regarding the commemoration of the 1950 plebiscite at the public schools, the Greek Cypriots had not behaved in harmony to the spirit of the Cyprus negotiations and called on Europe to exert pressures on the Greek Cypriot side to "correct this image".

    In statements in Poland during a dinner hosted in his honor by the Turkish Ambassador to Warsaw, Celik reiterated the allegation that Turkey has clearly shown its support to the negotiations and that such loud voices were not heart from Greece. Referring to the guarantees, Celik claimed:

    "Which peace could the EU protect until today or in which problematic field it could provide guaranty? There is no such thing […] If we really want peace and the creation of a full state on two founding states, south Cyprus should not do what it does. However, if south Cyprus thinks behind all this rhetoric that 'I am an EU member state, the inhabitants of the TRNC are a community, they will join me', we as Republic of Turkey do not accept such a thing. This thing will be based on two founding states […]".

    Celik further alleged that the Turkish occupation army invaded Cyprus in 1974 because "cruelties" were taking place and that no example could be shown by which it is proved that the Turkish occupation army constitutes a threat for peace on the island. He claimed that the Turkish army protects their kinsmen life and property on the island.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Ozersay calls on Akinci to state whether the Cyprus talks could reach a result

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.02.17) reports that Kudret Ozersay, chairman of the People's Party (HP), has called on Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci to undertake his political responsibility and brief the "people" on whether he thinks that a result could be reached in the Cyprus negotiations or he sees that a result could not be taken soon.

    Speaking to ADA TV, Ozersay was asked to comment on a proposal expressed by the Democratic Party leader and "deputy prime minister" Serdar Denktas, who had claimed that a referendum should be held and the "people" should be asked whether they want the continuation or the interruption of the Cyprus negotiating process. Ozersay replied the following: "Before the referendum, president Akinci should come out and make a statement. The question whether the negotiations will be continued or not, should perhaps not be answered unilaterally, but both communities should answer it at simultaneous referenda".

    Furthermore, Ozersay expressed the view that the negotiations have not been completely interrupted. Asked whether the two conditions put forward by Akinci will be accepted by the Greek Cypriot side, Ozersay alleged: "If they can burden on the Turkish side the responsibility for the deadlock in the negotiations, they will not take a step. If the world does not accuse the Turkish side, they will pretend that they are taking steps. […] The current situation suits the Greek Cypriots, because by giving the image of a good climate and the impression that the solution is approaching, they invite companies which carry out natural gas explorations in the island. Agreements for investments are signed […]".

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Turkish Cypriot politicians commented on the recent developments of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.02.17) under the front-page title: "Support to Akinci from the right-wing parties and calling from the left-wing parties to return to the negotiations", reports on statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians and NGO's regarding the recent developments on the Cyprus negotiation talks.

    According to the paper, the right-wing parties in the occupation regime expressed support to the stance of the Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci concerning the crisis experienced in the negotiation process after the decision of the Cyprus Parliament to approve the celebration of Enosis at schools, while, the left-wing parties called Akinci to continue the negotiation process.

    Commenting on the recent developments, the leader of the People's Party (HP) Kudret Ozersay, stated, inter alia, that it is not a surprise for them that the negotiation process had reached to this point and alleged that efforts were exerted to pump the "people" with empty hopes.

    Describing the Enosis decision as a "test paper" for the Greek Cypriot side, Ozersay claimed that the Greek Cypriot side's priority is not the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Also, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) in a written statement, called on the two leaders to show goodwill and exert sincere efforts with the aim to reach to a federal solution on the Cyprus problem.

    In his turn, the leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit, expressed the view that the Enosis plebiscite decision has damaged the negotiation process and thus stressed the need for the Greek Cypriot side to remove the decision and create the conditions for returning to the negotiating table.

    Moreover, commenting on the developments, Ersin Tatar, "deputy" with the National Unity Party (UBP) in the occupied part of Lefkosia, described Akinci's decision not to attend the schedule meeting between the two leaders as correct and right and alleged that "there is no agreement in any chapter of the negotiation process". He also added that Akinci and Nami's mistake was that they were stating that a referendum will take place in three months and that this issue will be finished.

    Also, Mustafa Arabacioglu, "deputy" with the Democratic Party (DP) in the occupied part of Lefkosia, accused the Greek Cypriot side of insincerity towards the solution of the Cyprus problem, alleging the following: "Someone who really supports the negotiation process would not support the approval in Parliament of the Enosis decision".

    On the same issue, the "chairman" of the "Turkish Cypriot chamber of trade", Fikri Toros, expressed the view that the "blockage at the negotiation process" is a "blockage which the two leaders do not deserve", due to the fact that the two leaders had shown a decisive stance from the first day of the launching of the negotiation process.

    Expressing the view that the negotiation process will be revived right after the Enosis decision will be removed and become invalid, Toros expressed hopes that DISI party' initiative to make the decision ineffective will be successful and thus the two leaders will be able to re-launch the negotiation process next week.

    (…)

    (AK)

    [06] A "cooperation protocol agreement" between Turkey and the occupation regime on the "social security system"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (24.02.17), the so-called minister of labour and social security Hamza Ersan Saner has signed in Ankara yesterday with the participation of Turkish Minister of Labour and Social Security Mehmet Muzzinoglu, a "cooperation protocol on social security".

    The "agreement" was "signed" at a ceremony held in Ankara yesterday. Speaking at the ceremony, Saner stated that Turkey had provided full support to the "TRNC" in the field of social security, as it does in other fields.

    "With this agreement we will benefit from the experiences of Turkey in the field of social security" Saner said, adding that the "agreement" will allow cooperation between the two "countries" without the need for an update for a long period of time.

    Pointing out that the problems experienced in the field of "social security" will be overcome with the "agreement", Saner said that from now on those who have worked in the "TRNC" but have moved back to Turkey will be able to benefit from all of Turkey's social security institutions in the event of illness, receiving their pensions or in other urgent situations.

    For his part, Muezzinoglu reminded that a "cooperation agreement" in the field of social security between the two "countries" had been last "signed" in 1987. He explained that the "agreement" had been updated due to the developing and changing conditions.

    [07] The "council of ministers" approved a third mobile operator in the occupied area of Cyprus; statements by Durust

    According to illegal Bayrak television (24.02.17) so-called minister of public works and communication Kemal Durust, in statements yesterday after the meeting of the so-called council of ministers, supported that they had launched work to bring 4.5G mobile data network to the "TRNC".

    The so-called council of ministers which convened yesterday gave the green light for a "tender" to be launched for 4.5G.

    Speaking in a press conference yesterday, Durust explained that the technical work for 4.5G will be carried out by the "institute for information technologies and communication". He added that it will take more than a year to prepare the ground for 4.5G.

    "I don't know if we will have a third mobile operator in the country but it is my desire to see conditions for competition" he said.

    He added that the "telecommunication department", which he stressed, will be restructured but not privatized, will have the most important license for 4.5G.

    "We shall restructure the telecommunications department so that we can obtain faster and better quality service" Durust said, adding that the new "telecommunications department" will be a "joint private-public enterprise".

    Durust also reassured that the rights and jobs of the current "telecommunications department employees" will be safeguarded in the transition."They will experience no problems. The privatization law is quite clear. The main structure and backbone will be state run. The entire fiber optic cable network will belong to the state" he stressed.

    Responding to a question as to whether there will be an increase in cell towers if the third mobile operator company comes to the "TRNC", Durust reminded that electromagnetic waves from cell towers as a precaution against public health were being routinely measured by the "institute for information technologies and communication".

    [08] Ataoglu went to Amman for the World Health Tourism Forum

    Illegal Bayrak (24.02. 17 online http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=ataoglu-in-amman) broadcast that self-styled minister of tourism and environment Fikri Ataoglu is in the Jordanian capital, Amman to attend the World Health Tourism Forum.

    Ataoglu is being accompanied by his "undersecretary Ismet Esenyel, private secretary Kazim Turkkan, press adviser Kemal Oneren and the "president of the health tourism council" Ahmet Savasan.

    The forum which is being organized by the World Health Tourism Council has 319 members from 53 countries, including Brazil, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Britain and Greece.

    [09] U.S. Ambassador Doherty visited KIBRIS media group

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.02.17), U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Kathleen Doherty visited yesterday KIBRIS media group, where she met with Asil Nadir, chairman of the executive board of KIBRIS media group.

    The US Ambassador was accompanied by US embassy officer on public affairs Glen Davis and Ipek Uzunoglu, program assistant at U.S. Embassy.

    During the meeting, Nur Nadir, the deputy chairman of KIBRIS media group, Ali Baturay, KIBRIS editor in chief and Serhat Incirli, KIBRIS news director also participated.

    (DPs)

    [10] A cooperation protocol between Misurata University of Libya and the "International Final University"

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (24.02.17), the illegal International Final University (UFU) in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus signed a "cooperation protocol" with the Libyan Misurata University.

    The signing ceremony of the protocol was held at the Misurata University between the Dean of the "International Final University" Prof. Dr Abdullah Y. Oztoprak and the Chairman of the Misurata University Prof. Dr Altaher M. Alhubge.

    The protocol aims to facilitate academic staff and student exchange between the two

    "universities" and enhance academic excellence by realizing joint scientific research and joint conferences as well as other educational, scientific and cultural activities.

    (DPs)

    [11] President Erdogan to hold rally in Cologne next month

    Turkish Sabah newspaper (24.02.17) reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to hold a rally in the German city of Cologne next month despite German politicians vehemently opposing the idea, German media outlets reported.

    According to German tabloid Bild, President Erdogan will call Turkish-Germans to gather at a rally in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), as Turkey nears a referendum for constitutional changes.

    "Apparently uneasy with Erdogan's visit, German politicians expressed their extreme discontent over the planned rally. NRW Interior Minister Ralf Jager told German newspaper Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger that the NRW has already suggested to the Federal Government that the rally be prevented", Sabah reports and writes the following: " Germany's highest court had earlier decided to prevent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from addressing the rally. Whether or not the German Federal government will do anything to prevent Erdogan from addressing a rally in Cologne remains to be seen".

    [12] Turkish Defence Minister says Ankara-backed FSA takes control of 'almost all' of Al Bab in Syria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.02.17) reports that Turkey-backed FSA seizes 'almost all' of Syria's Al-Bab -- Turkish Defence Minister confirms strategic town under almost full control of Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army forces"]

    AL-BAB, Syria (AA) - The Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by the Turkish military, has taken control of "almost all" of Syria's strategic town of Al-Bab, Turkish Defence Minister confirmed Thursday [23 February].

    "Almost all of al-Bab is under control now, and a sweep operation is ongoing," Fikri Isik told reporters in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

    "When the operation is over, we will be able to say that Al-Bab has been completely cleared of Daesh [DA'ISH, Arabic acronym for ISIS] elements."

    An FSA commander said earlier Thursday that FSA fighters were clearing the town of landmines and booby traps planted in the area by Daesh terrorists.

    "The center of Al-Bab is now under opposition control," FSA Commander Ahmed al-Shahabi told Anadolu Agency.

    "We are advancing cautiously due to the many mines and explosives left behind," he said.

    The Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield aims to provide security, support U.S.-led coalition forces, and eliminate the terrorist presence along Syria's northern border with Turkey.

    The operation, which began last summer, relies heavily on FSA fighters backed by Turkish artillery and air support.

    [13] Turkish Deputy PM urges 'terror sensitivity' in media

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.02.17) reports that Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus urged the media Thursday to be "cautious, conscious and aware" when reporting on terrorism issues.

    "The media uses such a venomous narrative sometimes that it is equal to what the terror groups say," Kurtulmus told a conference in the Turkish capital Ankara.

    Kurtulmus said with terrorism there came an "imperial narrative" that is "venomous and as dangerous as terrorist groups".

    "You need to take a closer look at time before the United States invaded Iraq, when the Mosul problem began," said Kurtulmus. "'Shia militants', 'Turkmen militants', 'Arab militants', 'Turkish - Kurdish terror groups', [the media] used these kinds of definitions to make it seem like there was a civil war going on."

    He also said the Western media avoided using terrorist groups' names in Mosul.

    "I request from friends in the media that we need to be careful and not pamper to this imperial narrative," Kurtulmus said. "We need to use our own language, our own narrative in this fight against terror."

    [14] Piri: "The situation in Turkey is worsening on every visit"

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (24.02.17) reports that the European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri during a visit to daily Cumhuriyet with other EU parliamentarians Elisabetta Pietrobon, Mariska Heijs and Jorgen Siil said that "the situation in Turkey is worsening on every visit".

    Piri said it was upsetting to see journalists in jail due to their journalistic activities, stating that it was even worse to see this situation in a country that is in EU accession talks.

    "We have been trying to visit daily Cumhuriyet on every visit to Turkey. But unfortunately, the situation in Turkey is getting worse. Press rights and the treatment against press members are crucial for the European Parliament. Because it expresses the situation of the democracy in a country," she said.

    She also said they observed the actions of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), saying that they were breaching the criterion of the EU. Piri urged for the lift of the state of emergency, adding that regardless of the outcome of the constitutional referendum, Turkey would not be able to normalize easily.

    "I do not believe that Turkey can enter a process of normalization until the state of emergency is lifted, the referendum results are regardless of this. Opposition lawmakers and journalists have been jailed and thousands of people have been dismissed from their duties during the state of emergency, which the government said it would not affect the lives of citizens. There is a terror threat against Turkey, it is clear. But we are worried that mentioning 'terrorists' has become easy and their right to defend themselves are not given," she said.

    Meanwhile, Piri visited Mehmet Gunal, the deputy chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on Feb. 22 at the Turkish Parliament.

    Gunal criticized the European Parliament during their meeting, saying that relations between Turkey and the EU turned into an unending relationship. "Either we get married, or you take your ring and go away," he said.

    [15] Over 1,700 arrested over 'terror propaganda' via social media across Turkey

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (24.02.17) reports that some 1,734 people have been arrested for "making terror propaganda" on social media since the failed July 2016 coup attempt, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

    "Cyber-police" working on identifying suspects making terror propaganda online have so far detained at least 3,894 people out of 22,088 identified by police since the coup attempt.

    Some 1,328 suspects have been released on probation and 1,734 have been arrested up to now.

    A total of 69,937 social media accounts have been identified allegedly conducting "propaganda for terrorist organizations or terrorist acts."

    Meanwhile, 18,194 suspects are reportedly waiting for detention orders from prosecutors, while police are still working on identifying the owners of 47,849 social media accounts, according to officials.

    Police have also worked to identify people who were allegedly making propaganda from abroad and have informed border gates of people detected.

    Previously, 948 people were detained for allegedly providing support to terror or spreading "terror propaganda" through social media after twin bombings in the Besiktas district of Istanbul in December 2016 that claimed 46 lives, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Feb. 8.

    Security forces conducted operations across Turkey between Dec. 11, 2016 and Feb. 6, targeting suspects who allegedly supported terror organizations, spread "terror propaganda," and "insulted statesmen or the security forces" through Facebook and Twitter after the attack.

    [16] Turkish Energy Minister: Turkey may become an energy exporter in next 10 years

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (24.02.17) reports that Turkey may become an energy exporter in a decade's time, Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak has argued.

    "Turkey, which spends $50 billion in energy and mineral imports every year, may turn into an energy exporter in the next 10 years," Albayrak said Feb. 22 in a ceremony in Ankara to mark the 15th anniversary of the founding of sector regulator Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK), an event held by the Association of Energy Experts.

    "We aim at bringing energy to the public with better quality and price. Beyond that, a big Turkey should now be an actor in a wider picture that has a say in energy, which is an important raw material today, in regional and global means. We need to build this," he said.

    Turkey produces 49.3 % of its power needs from local resources, he said, stressing on the importance of local and renewable resources.

    "In the next 10 years, we need to increase the share of domestic resources in electricity generation to at least two-thirds. We have to carry this ratio to over 50 %. We will all work together shoulder to shoulder. From now on, we will look for more resources, and we will do the regulations and the open ground for the investors, being supportive in a triple win-win outlook. We will produce nuclear power and domestic coal. We need to develop resources with richer calorific values. Turkey is importing 50 billion dollars of energy every year, for energy, will start paying less," he added.

    Albayrak spoke before he headed to Azerbaijan, a leading energy partner for Turkey, on Feb. 23.

    Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev welcomed Albayrak ahead of a ministerial meeting on the Southern Gas Corridor project in the country's capital, Baku.

    Azerbaijan aims to finalize the Southern Gas Corridor by 2020. The project includes the South Caucasus Pipeline, Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

    [17] Turkey, Pakistan see exemplary relations evolving into strategic cooperation

    Turkish Sabah newspaper (24.02.17) reports that Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif's visit to the Turkish capital marked the two countries' willingness to seek exemplary relations and take cooperation to a whole new level in number of areas.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Turkey to co-chair the fifth session of the Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting alongside Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in the capital Ankara yesterday. As Yildirim and his Pakistani counterpart praised Turkey and Pakistan's long-lasting exemplary relations during the joint press conference, Sharif affirmed his determination to combat the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO) network in Pakistan, stressing that "Turkey's enemies are also Pakistan's enemies." Prime Minister Sharif also met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and paid a visit to the Turkish Parliament "to reaffirm Pakistan's unequivocal support and solidarity with the government and people of Turkey against the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15."

    Speaking at Cankaya Palace Thursday during the joint press conference, Sharif reiterated Pakistan's solidarity with Turkey against the coup attempt.

    Prime Minister Yildirim praised Pakistan for displaying "a spirit of brotherhood and historical solidarity" immediately after the coup attempt.

    [18] Two more Turkish soldiers seek asylum in Greece

    Turkish daily Yeni Safak newspaper (24.02.17) reports that two Turkish soldiers, allegedly part of the group that tried to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016, are being held in Greece after requesting asylum, sources confirmed on Thursday.

    According to officials familiar with the matter, the two men -- both of whom served in the Turkish special forces -- crossed into Greece on Feb. 15.

    Two days later, they turned themselves in to the Greek authorities and requested asylum after admitting to illegally entering the country.

    Both soldiers are currently being held in custody in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece. They allegedly fled arrest in Turkey due to information tying them to Erdogan's attempted assassination on the night of the failed coup.

    [19] Main opposition vice chair Boke receives death threat live on TV

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (24.02.17) reports that main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) vice chair and spokesperson Selin Sayek Boke has received a death threat after appearing on a television program on Feb. 21.

    A suspect reportedly called CNNTurk, while Boke was on a live TV program presented by journalist Sirin Payzin, threatening her that she would not be able to get home alive and would be killed after she leaves the studios.

    The channel's administration informed the police immediately after the call, while they also informed Boke about it and added that police would be waiting for her at the end of the program.

    Boke was reportedly escorted to the airport with tightened security measures to travel to her home in the capital Ankara.

    Earlier, Boke had answered questions in a Central Executive Board meeting about death threats journalists were receiving, saying, "I was not brought up in the woods to be scared by owls." "If we did not fear for our children's future, we would not be in politics. If we want to build a Turkey where our children do not live in fear, we should jointly struggle without fear. These threats cannot defeat us," she said.

    [20] Commentary views how undecided voters might affect Constitutional referendum result

    Turkish daily Karar Online newspaper (23.02.17) published the following article by Etyen Mahcupyan under the title: "Who Are These Undecided Voters?"

    "Field studies show that about 90 % of the CHP [Republican People's Party] and the HDP [Peoples' Democratic Party] electorate will say ''no'' to the constitutional change that will be put to a referendum. The argument that the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] has a more volatile sociological base does not correspond with the field facts. In fact, the 71 % '''no'' vote, which the Metropoll opinion pool came up with in November, remains exactly the same in the month of January. However, as far as the ''yes'' vote is concerned, it is a different situation. While the ''yes'' vote among the CHP electorate was 15.3 % in November, two months later this figure dropped to 2.4 %. As for the MHP electorate, this dropped from 24.7 to 18.7 % during the same period. The undecided among the CHP electorate rose from 2.6 to 4.8 % while the %age of the undecided MHP electorate rose from 4.3 to 9.8 %. While the %age of the undecided CHP electorate did not increase much, some of the MHP electorate who previously said ''yes'' turned into undecided. Among the HDP electorate, these %ages remain roughly the same.

    It appears that the ''yes'' vote among the electorate of the other political parties outside the AKP [Justice and Development Party] will continue its trend to fall. The fluctuations from the ''yes'' vote toward the undecided can grow the ''no'' front even more in the coming days. In contrast, the AKP electorate is consolidating itself at the opposite end. While the ''yes'' vote increased from 78 to 82 % in two months, the ''no'' vote dropped from 12 to nine % and the undecided fell from 10 to nine %. Unless we assume that those who oppose the constitutional change will suddenly begin to have a positive view of the draft, we can envisage that persons who are at some place in this transition remain undecided. In other words, between November and January, about three or four % of the AKP electorate might have switched from ''no'' vote to undecided and the same %age of the electorate might have shifted from undecided to ''yes.''

    In any case, this means that the AKP has a high chance of influencing its own electorate to increase support for the referendum. Given that the undecided among the MHP corresponds to one % of the overall electorate while this figure for the undecided among the AKP electorate is five %, the government is expected to channel all its energy toward its own electorate.

    The question is whether this effort will be enough for the referendum or not… The Metropoll survey has some promising findings for the government. If an election were to be held today, the vote would be shared as follows: The AKP 43.4%, the CHP 20.3%, the MHP 9.3%, the HDP 8.6%, other 1.7%, undecided 6.3%, protest 3.1%, no response 7.3 %. When those who did not declare their vote for various reasons are distributed across the parties, the AKP gets 52 % of the vote. This figure was 49.5% in the November survey conducted by the same company.

    Now, let us put these figures next to the figures for the referendum: 82.2 % of the AKP electorate are saying ''yes,'' in other words, we start with 35.7 points. Additionally, 2.4 % of the CHP electorate, 18.7 % of the MHP electorate, and 6.6 % of the HDP electorate are saying ''yes,'' as well. Respectively, 0.5, 1.7. and 0.6 points. In this way, the ''yes'' vote reaches 38.5 %. In contrast, when we add all the ''no'' vote using the same method, the figures are the AKP 3.9%, the CHP 18.8%, the MHP 6.6%, and the HDP 7.6 %; that is, 36.9 % in total.

    In other words, if the undecided votes are distributed across, the ''yes'' vote is 51-49 %. However, there is an odd situation here. If we directly go with the Metropoll's question on the referendum, the result is, including the 13.6 % undecided, is 42.4-44 % in favor of the ''no'' vote. When the undecided votes are distributed across, it is still 51-49 %, albeit in reverse order.

    The reason behind this oddity has to do both with the difference between the 1 November elections and today's share of the vote and with the fact that the questions starting with ''if elections were held today'' and ''if the referendum was held today'' create different undecided voter groups. It is likely that those who remain undecided in response to the election question tend to go for ''no'' in response to the referendum question. If we were to distribute this equally, the 16.7 % undecided would have been distributed as 8.5-8.2% in favor of the ''yes'' vote. However, we understand that in the survey this was distributed as 6.5 % ''yes'' and 10.2% ''no.'' Those who say they will protest an election if one were held are perhaps planning to vote ''no'' in the referendum. Those who would remain undecided between the AKP and the MHP in an election do not perhaps support the ''presidential system.'' It is possible to come up with many probabilities and we do not know the answer. However, we can argue that the side who can correctly identify the undecided voters are closer to their preferred outcome in the referendum.

    [21] MHP's MP: AKP might postpone the constitutional referendum because of not favorable opinion poll results

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.02.17) reports that Yusuf Halacoglu, MP with the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) who had stated that he would vote "no" in the referendum on the constitutional amendments in Turkey, has argued that the results of the public opinion are negative for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), that the AKP is panicked and could postpone the referendum one week prior to its taking place by putting forward the justification of a "war".

    In statements to Turkish Sozcu newspaper, Halacoglu expressed the view that epithets such as "terrorists, devils, infidels" for those who will vote "no" derive from the ruling party's fear. He noted: "[…] One man from their party in Manisa comes out and says: If yes does not come out, there will be civil war. What does this mean? Does it mean that tomorrow you will come to kill those who voted no? […] There is a very big panic".

    (I/Ts.) TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (CS / AM)


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