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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-05-02

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. 82/17 29.04-02.05.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Ozgurgun: "The TRNC will continue on its way with or without a solution"
  • [02] Turkish Admiral observed "Barbaros" ? Turkey will allegedly not permit researching and extracting hydrocarbon without a "permit"
  • [03] Prof. Dr Yesilada argues that Turkey has plan B for Cyprus
  • [04] Turkish Deputy Prime Minister at an "international conference" on the economy in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [05] "Festival of North Cyprus" will be held in London on May 5-6
  • [06] Cell phone subscribers reached 663,799 in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [07] A "twin cities park" in Mersin
  • [08] Erdogan: "Turkey and India to deepen economic ties"
  • [09] Questions linger after decree law limiting matchmaking shows in Turkey
  • [10] Thousands mark 1ST May in Turkey
  • [11] Court ruling banned Wikipedia in Turkey
  • [12] President Erdogan expected to rejoin ruling AKP today
  • [13] HDP's Deputy detained amid terror accusations
  • [14] "Turkish-Israeli pipeline deal on the way?"
  • [15] "The EU says Turkey is bigger than President Erdogan"
  • [16] Unplanned development in the occupied town of Trikomo
  • [17] "International festival" at occupied Komi Kepir village

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Ozgurgun: "The TRNC will continue on its way with or without a solution"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (29.04.17) the leader of the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) and so-called prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun alleged that his "government" has accomplished much in its first year in office.

    Speaking at an event organized by his party, Ozgurgun claimed that the "government" had not only mended damaged relations with Turkey during the past one year but had enabled the water brought from Turkey to run through the taps of every household, was effectively implementing the financial assistance protocol and had paid off public debts.

    Ozgurgun also alleged that the UBP is in harmony with its "coalition partner", the Democratic Party (DP) on the Cyprus problem.

    Alleging that the "UBP's strength meant the TRNC's strength", Ozgurgun further claimed that "it is important for the party to stay in office as this is essential for the perpetuity and future of the TRNC".

    "To experience problems with Turkey, to refuse the water brought here, to refuse to sign the economic protocol are not things which the UBP can do. We had agreed to form a coalition with the CTP in an attempt to prevent the country from remaining out of government. We patiently tried to carry on for 9 months but that was how long it could last", Ozgurgun said.

    On the Cyprus problem, he claimed that the UBP and DP were on the same page. "The UBP has been for years stating that it is not possible to reach a settlement with the Greek Cypriots. The Enosis vote only confirmed this" he alleged, stating that the "TRNC will continue on its way in the absence of a settlement".

    "It is the UBP's roots which set up the TRNC. We are the continuation of the TMT" Ozgurgun further stated.

    [02] Turkish Admiral observed "Barbaros" ? Turkey will allegedly not permit researching and extracting hydrocarbon without a "permit"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.05.17) reported that Admiral Bulent Bostancioglu, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, has visited frigate TCG Gaziantep which patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean and observed the work of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa vessel, which is carrying out seismic explorations in the open sea of the occupied area of Cyprus.

    Citing information published by Anatolia news agency, the paper writes that "strong messages" were given with Bostancioglu's visit carried out on 26 April, and that this visit was assessed as a "clear message" that Turkey will not allow foreign companies to carry out hydrocarbon researching and extracting activities without a "permit" in Turkey's so-called area of jurisdiction in the sea. The visit is thought to be a "sign' that all necessary measures will be taken with determination to "protect Turkey's and TRNC's interests and rights".

    Anatolia news agency recalled that the Turkish Naval Forces have been executing out the so-called Mediterranean Shield Operation since 2006 with the aim of protecting the Turkish so-called interests and rights in Eastern Mediterranean and deter "illegal activities".

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Prof. Dr Yesilada argues that Turkey has plan B for Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (30.04.17) reported that Dr Birol Yesilada, professor of Political Science and International Studies at Portland State University (PSU), in an interview to the paper, argued that the Cyprus talks cannot continue in the same way for another 50 years, adding that the UN cannot carry this issue for ever. He said that Turkey has a plan B for Cyprus, which is to connect the "northern part" of Cyprus to Turkey. This plan waits for years now and it has continuously been discussed, he claimed.

    Commenting on the recent statement by Bulut, Turkey's President Erdogan's adviser, that "TRNC is an oversea province of Turkey", Prof. Yesilada said that he believes that this man gives signals that they are ready to use plan B openly as a threat.

    (DPs)

    [04] Turkish Deputy Prime Minister at an "international conference" on the economy in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Demokrat Bakis newspaper (02.05.17) reports that with the participation of Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek an "international conference on the economy" was organized in the occupied area of Cyprus by the illegal "International Final University", the breakaway regime's "central bank" and the Turkish Cypriot so-called council on the economy.

    Addressing the "conference", Huseyin Ozgurgun, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus, alleged that the "TRNC's" economy is shaped and influenced by the developments in the Cyprus problem and that the so-called embargoes and the "isolation" negatively influence the economy, which is allegedly also influenced by the uncertainty in the Cyprus talks. He claimed that even though the negotiations seem to continue, they had been seriously harmed during the Geneva Conference and the stance of the Greek Cypriot side is allegedly negative.

    In his speech, Simsek also alleged that in spite of the fact that the political situation in Cyprus, the "embargoes" and the status quo constitute a serious obstacle, "beautiful developments" were achieved in the breakaway regime's economy. He argued that the source of the economic development in the occupied area of Cyprus is the reforms and that as long as reforms are carried out, the possibilities and the resources increase. "If you make reforms, countries which do not recognize you will come for investments", he claimed.

    In his address, Sunat Atun, self-styled minister of economy and energy of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, argued that a deceleration had been observed in the regime's economy during the period 2013-15, because of the fact that the "economic program" [with Turkey] had not been signed, but they accelerated the reforms since 2015 and brought economy to "good levels" by materializing the "economic protocols". He noted that ten years ago the "budget deficit" had been like a nightmare for them and a big part of the financing [from Turkey] had been spent for covering this deficit, but today all these "belong to the past".

    According to Atun, the "budget" of the regime increased to 4,5 billion Turkish Lira today from 2,125 billion TL in 2008 and all the targets in the "budget" are achieved. He said that the number of students in the occupied area increased from 35.000 in 2009 to nearly 100.000 today and the number of the passengers who travelled through the illegal Tymbou "airport" rose to four millions. He also said that they estimate that the economic growth will reach 5% this year and 5.5% next year.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] "Festival of North Cyprus" will be held in London on May 5-6

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.05.17) reports that for the first time the "Festival of North Cyprus" will be held in the Business Design Centre in Islington, North London on May 5-6, 2017, under the slogan "We are moving the TRNC to London". The festival has been organized by the Director of "North Cyprus UK Ltd" Zorlu Cezaroglu and the support of the "ministry of tourism and environment" of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In the festival, enterprises from healthcare to higher education, property, manufacturing and tourism sectors will participate.

    Fikri Ataoglu, self-styled minister of tourism and environment, speaking to the paper, said that they, as "ministry", launched an initiative in order to promote "TRNC" in many provinces in the country.

    (DPs)

    [06] Cell phone subscribers reached 663,799 in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.05.17) reported that in the end of 2016 the two cell phone companies, which illegally operate in the occupied area of Cyprus ("KKTCELL and KKTC Telsim), had 804,345 cell phone subscribers. The paper writes that 663,799 of these subscribers were active. If we take into consideration the fact that the population in the occupied area of Cyprus is 313,626, notes Kibris, each person has two cell phones.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] A "twin cities park" in Mersin

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.05.17) reports that the Mayor of Anamur province Mehmet Ture, the "mayor" of the occupied town of Keryneia Nidai Gungordu, the "consular" of the breakaway regime in Mersin Aysen Volkan Inaniroglu, the Director of Culture and Tourism of Bingen municipality, Germany, and the chairman of Anamur twin cities Akif Atlinbicak participated in the inauguration of the "Twin cities park" in Mersin.

    (DPs)

    [08] Erdogan: "Turkey and India to deepen economic ties"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (30.04.17) reported that the Turkish and Indian leaders stressed the importance of trade and direct investment during a business summit in New Delhi on May 1.

    Speaking at the Turkey-India Business Forum, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that meetings held during his official visit to India would mark a new era for business ties, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

    "Since India gained independence, our relations have been based on friendship. Economic cooperation will be further deepened and diversified. This is our sincere wish and we are determined and committed to achieve this," Erdogan said.

    He added that the Turkey-India Joint Economy Meetings - last held in 2014 ? underlined that the negotiations for free-trade agreements should continue.

    Stressing on the almost $6.5 billion trade volume between the two countries; Erdogan said he predicted this figure would increase. "But it is for sure that the bilateral trade volume is not to Turkey's favor; that is a reality. As of last year, Turkey's exports to India were $652 million while its imports from India were $5.75 billion. So, this is not sustainable for Turkey," Erdogan added.

    "I think it would be beneficial to raise it to $10 billion," Erdogan further said, adding: "We have to increase reciprocal investments and the trade volume should be balanced. As fast as possible, steps should be taken to achieve that".

    Erdogan also noted that Turkey would like to further develop cooperation with India in the IT, high-tech, software, aerospace and renewable energy sectors where India had made "great progress" under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    "The growth in our bilateral trade over the years has been impressive. I understand that bilateral trade has increased significantly since President Erdogan last visited India," Modi said.

    "India and Turkey are among the 20 largest economies in the world. Both economies have shown remarkable stability... We are seeing an increase in the presence of Turkish companies in India. I am certain that it will get even better in the time to come," he added.

    "Our aim is to create an efficient business environment in India. India is seeing a major push for better infrastructure, and Turkish companies can be a part of this massive exercise. We are building more than 30 million homes, developing new airports and sea ports, modernizing our railways, building highways across the country at a rapid pace. "Turkey can be a part of this," Modi said.

    (?)

    Erdogan arrived late April 30. He was accompanied by several Cabinet Ministers and a 150-member business delegation.

    [09] Questions linger after decree law limiting matchmaking shows in Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.17) reported that the future of TV dating shows in Turkey remains under a cloud after a state of emergency decree published on April 29, with the country's television watchdog saying a "study is under way" on the matter.

    "We are having the legal consultancy department conduct a study," RTUK chair Prof. Dr. Ilhan Yerlikaya told daily Hurriyet.

    "We'll make an announcement to the public tomorrow [May 2] after their work is over. We do not want these shows anyway and we have stated this before," Yerlikaya said. His remarks came after reports that such matchmaking shows had been banned with the decree.

    Daily newspaper Haberturk, however, quoted RTUK as saying that the decree had not banned such shows, but had made the penalties against them harsher. In the event of serial violations of regulations, even the license of the TV station airing the show could be revoked.

    "In radio and television broadcasts, shows where people are introduced to each other and/or brought together to find friends ... cannot be made," read the state of emergency decree law published in the Official Gazette on April 29.

    The government says dating shows receive thousands of complaints every year and RTUK levels fines against them for violations of broadcasting principles almost every week.

    [10] Thousands mark 1ST May in Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.17) reported that thousands of people have marked May 1st International Workers' Day in Turkey, with police detaining dozens of protesters during the events.

    The official demonstrations in Istanbul were held in the Bak?rkoy district after the authorities banned celebrations from being held in Taksim Square.

    The police presence was heavy across the city, with helicopters buzzing overhead.

    Representatives of political parties and labor unions attended the gathering in Bak?rkoy, including the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), the Turkish Doctors' Union (TTB), as well as the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

    Strict security measures were taken during the event and control points were set on the roads leading to the area. The police searched the demonstrators as well as the banners they carried.

    The groups gathered in several points around Bak?rkoy and marched to the area while carrying banners reading slogans in support of workers' rights.

    Three people were detained near the area after opening a Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) flag.

    A brawl also erupted between the police and a group at the entrance of the area after members of the latter refused to undergo a search. The police determined that the group was carrying banners of illegal organizations and detained some in the group, as others tried to knock down the police barricades. Police then opened fire into the air to disperse the crowd.

    DISK head Kani Beko, KESK head Lami Ozgen, TMMOB head Emin Koramaz and TTB head Prof. Rasit Turkel entered the meeting area together.

    The demonstrators stood in silence for one minute to commemorate those killed in 1977 at Taksim Square, when suspected ultranationalists opened fire from what is now the Marmara Hotel.

    (?)

    Meanwhile, dozens of protesters who attempted to enter Taksim Square were detained. Two women entered the square despite tightened security measures and the heavy police presence early on May 1. The women unfurled a banner in the square but were initially halted by traffic police before being taken to the police headquarters.

    Police in Mecidiyekoy used tear gas and rubber bullets on a group of protesters who were attempting to march toward Taksim Square chanting "Taksim is ours and it will remain ours."

    Meanwhile, some 165 people were detained during the celebrations, Dogan News Agency has reported.

    (?)It also added that the security forces seized 85 Molotov cocktails, three fireworks, and 95 paint-filled bottles, as well as masks and banners during operations on April 30 and May 1.

    More than 30,000 police officers were on duty across Turkey's largest city, while three helicopters and 120 water cannon vehicles were also deployed, according to the statement.

    Some 4,500 police officers were on duty in the capital Ankara, while 4,000 were on duty in the western province of Izmir.

    In Izmir, a quarrel erupted between CHP members and police at the entrance of the city's Gundogdu Square, which CHP deputy Mustafa Balbay attempted to stop. The sides briefly stopped their quarrel when the National Anthem started to play, but it descended into a brawl after the anthem ended.

    In the southeastern province of Diyarbak?r, strict security measures were also taken.

    [11] Court ruling banned Wikipedia in Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.17) reported that an Ankara court ordered to ban Wikipedia in Turkey after the site's administration refused to remove two English language pages which claimed that Turkey channeled support to jihadists in Syria, daily Haberturk reported on May 1.

    The court's justified decision to ban Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopedia, was published on April 30. Wikipedia will become accessible only if the administration agrees to remove the content, according to the decision.

    It also claimed that such access ban decisions had been made in European countries before. "A ban has been implemented on the website 'www.wikipedia.org,' based on the Law No. 5651," the decision stated.

    Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, expressed support for the Turkish people after the ban through his Twitter account.

    "Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people I will always stand with you to fight for this right," he said.

    Turkey's telecommunications watchdog announced that the country had blocked access to Wikipedia on April 29, citing the law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.

    "After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law No. 5651, an administrative measure has been taken for this website [wikipedia.org]," the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said in a statement on its website.

    State-run Anadolu Agency, quoting the Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry, reported on April 29 that the site was blocked for "becoming an information source acting with groups conducting a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena."

    "Instead of coordinating against terrorism, it has become part of an information source that it is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena," Anadolu Agency quoted the Ministry as saying in a statement.

    [12] President Erdogan expected to rejoin ruling AKP today

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.17) reported that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will hold a ceremony on May 2 to welcome the return of its founder, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, marking a first in Turkish politics as the head of state is able to formally retain links with a political party in line with recently approved constitutional changes.

    "We can announce that our President and the founder of our party will regain his membership of the AK Party at a forthcoming ceremony," Yasin Aktay, the spokesperson of the AKP, told reporters after a lengthy party meeting on May 1st.

    "The ceremony will include all party officials, AKP lawmakers and other related officials", Aktay said.

    Erdogan will first make his request to register with the AKP and will then address the party on May 2 before he is re-elected as party chairman through an extraordinary convention slated for May 21.

    "We envisage the election of our President as the chairman at the convention," Aktay stressed.

    The AKP's Central Executive Committee (MYK) and Central Decision Board (MKYK) were convened on May 1 to discuss the details of Erdogan's return to the party and the upcoming extraordinary convention.

    Erdogan had chaired the AKP for 13 years from 2001 but had to step aside when he was elected President in August 2014, as the constitution prevented Presidents from being affiliated with a political party on the grounds of the impartiality of the President. He was replaced first by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and then Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m.

    Y?ld?r?m will leave the chairmanship of the AKP just before May 21 and the party will elect Erdogan as the new chair. The constitutional amendment that was approved by the April 16 referendum paves the way for the President to retain membership of a party, as the amendment removed the provision blocking the party affiliation.

    Although the system change will be stipulated after parliamentary and presidential elections, which are expected to be held in 2019, certain articles of the amendment go into effect immediately including possible party membership of the President.

    As Erdogan is expected to be the only candidate for the AKP leadership in the upcoming congress, the "new era" in the ruling party will likely commence with changes in the executive and the Cabinet.

    Prime Minister Y?ld?r?m had earlier hinted that the government is anticipating a cabinet reshuffle, ahead of preparations for a new campaigning process for the 2019 election.

    The cabinet change, in which six or seven Ministers are expected to be changed, and the changes in the executive branch are planned to be realized within the same time period. The party is not planning to make the cabinet amendment before its extraordinary congress.

    Apart from the changes in the AKP's top officials, the party is also planning to renew its metropolitan and provincial organizations, as well as the local administrations that it holds, within the framework of the 2019 election preparation.

    After "No" votes prevailed in Turkey's largest cities Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir in the recent referendum, the AKP is focused on refreshing its local organizations.

    The party has established a Committee to evaluate the referendum performance, which will prepare a report for President Erdogan and Prime Minister Y?ld?r?m. The Committee will investigate the reasons behind the decrease in the AKP's votes in big cities, while establishing a strategy for the 2019 election.

    (?)

    [13] HDP's Deputy detained amid terror accusations

    Turkish daily Sabah (01.05.17) reported that a parliamentary Deputy from the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HPD) was arrested yesterday in the scope of two separate investigations, one regarding counterterrorism.

    HDP Sanl?urfa Deputy Ibrahim Ayhan was detained at Sanl?urfa GAP Airport by a squad from the Police Department's counterterrorism branch after the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office obtained a warrant for his arrest.

    Sources informed that Ayhan's statement will be taken by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.

    Officials obtained an arrest warrant for the HDP Deputy amid accusations that he made propaganda for a terrorist organization and for alleged irregularities found in bookkeeping entries made during his tenure as the provincial head of the Democratic Regions' Party in 2009.

    The HDP has come under fire for its close links to the PKK terrorist organization. Members of the party have so far refrained from calling the PKK a "terrorist group" and have attended the funerals of PKK militants, two of whom were identified as the suicide bombers that killed dozens of civilians in multiple bombings in Ankara. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU and Turkey. Formed in 1978, the organization is fighting against the Turkish state for an independent Kurdistan and since the 2000s the group has since shifted its goal towards gaining autonomy in the predominately Kurdish regions of Turkey.

    [14] "Turkish-Israeli pipeline deal on the way?"

    In a commentary under the above title, columnist in Turkish Daily Hurritet Daily News (29.04.17) wrote the following:

    "'We could have Israeli gas in Turkey in the next three to four years," said Shaul Meridor, the Israeli Energy Ministry's Director General, at the eighth annual Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit.

    The delegations have been engaged in very constructive talks in the last couple of months, Meridor says, noting that a deal between the two governments could occur soon, once the technical and commercial aspects of the pipeline project to transport Israeli gas to Europe via Turkey are agreed upon.

    When the Energy Ministers of both countries met on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in October 2016 ? which also marked the first Ministerial-level visit since a reconciliation deal following the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010 ? they agreed to establish working dialogue to explore the possibilities of carrying Israeli gas from the Leviathan gas field to Turkey via an undersea pipeline. This proposed pipeline would then be connected to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and thus reach European markets.

    Since the discovery of the Tamar gas field and, even more so, the rich Leviathan reservoir, Israel has been considering various options to export its gas, including one plan to ship it via LNG terminals in Egypt, another to export it through a pipeline via Cyprus, Greece and Italy and a third to send it via Turkey.

    Although the Turkish route has been highlighted as the most profitable one, the project is not without its political difficulties. Given the fact that the only viable route for the pipeline crosses Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone, a political settlement on the island is seen as a pre-condition for the pipeline project so as to avoid a diplomatic crisis.

    But today's positive tone on the part of Israeli representatives implies either a change of perspective regarding Cyprus ? to the extent that they no longer see it as an impediment ? or that some positive developments might be underway, although there is hardly a hint of a political settlement in sight between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Based on concrete mutual gains, energy cooperation has been an ideal topic for both Turkish and Israeli leaders to rally their people around, incentivizing the normalization of relations. Relations between Turkey and Israel, however, have several dimensions. There are many fields aside from the energy sector where the two countries have yet to improve cooperation.

    However, the course of normalization has often been wrongly tied to the signing of the gas deal, which has also caused speculation.

    For instance, in early April, the governments of Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy signed a preliminary deal to construct a pipeline to transport Eastern Mediterranean gas (combining Israeli and Cypriot gas) to Europe.

    Given the skepticism toward the feasibility of the project, which would make it the longest and deepest subsea pipeline ever built, the deal's agreement was perceived by many as a geopolitical move to bypass Turkey, especially when assessed in conjuncture with Turkey's souring relations with Europe.

    Still, Meridor strongly emphasizes that alternative pipeline projects are not mutually exclusive and that they should be interpreted not as competing but complementary to each other.

    Indeed, from the outset, Israel's export strategy has relied upon exploring different alternatives. One should also note that Israel has already concluded deals to supply gas to Egypt and Jordan for about 15 years. So the deals we've been focusing on lately are equally important, albeit long-term, projects for Israel.

    Having said this, energy projects involve both economic and political aspects, with several dynamics at play. Projects need to first make sense on business terms, meaning both the profitability and security of investments matter. In this respect, the prices of global and Israeli gas are among the factors that are likely to determine the course of the negotiations.

    As Yossi Abu, Delek CEO, the main shareholder of Leviathan gas field, rightfully points out: 'You need to develop commercial, technical and political segments, which naturally take time. The main challenge is to do it with the right timetable. I think there is a great window of opportunity for us to reach a deal.'

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his keynote speech on the 2nd day of the summit, also underlined the strategic imperative of transforming Turkey into an energy hub.

    With or without the pipelines, Turkey and Israel have a lot to gain from regional cooperation.

    And as Professor Ahmet K. Han from Kadir Has University suggests, if the parties sign a deal in the upcoming months or even before that, this will doubtlessly manifest the willingness of both sides to improve relations, and move their reconciliation process up a notch".

    [15] "The EU says Turkey is bigger than President Erdogan"

    In a commentary in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (02.05.17) columnist Barcin Yinanc, commenting on the recent Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's (PACE) decision to reopen the monitoring procedure on Turkey, supported that the decision "has further muddied the water in terms of Turkish?EU relations. How could it not?

    PACE decided to place Turkey under the monitoring procedure until 'serious concerns" about respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law "are addressed in a satisfactory manner.'

    PACE is concerned about what the EU calls the Copenhagen criteria, which need to be fulfilled in order to be a candidate for EU membership. PACE's decision practically strengthens the arguments in Europe that Turkey's accession process should be officially suspended. I say "officially" because accession talks are physically frozen at present.

    But the EU's political body avoided taking such a decision in its meeting last Friday, saying the door is still open to Turkey becoming a member and it was up to Ankara to do its part to keep this door open.

    EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that despite the doubts expressed by some Foreign Ministers during the meeting, Brussels for now is in favor of continuing the protracted accession talks with Turkey.

    "It is up to them to express their willingness to continue to be a candidate country and to continue to be interested, or to not join our family," Mogherini said.

    As I have been arguing for some time, the EU does not want to be the one to push the button to end Turkey's membership process, which would not serve its interests in the medium or long term.

    Talking about closing the doors on Turkey may well be beneficial for populist leaders building their careers on the fears of voters who think that building walls can be a panacea to their problems. But leaders with common sense know that freezing accession talks with Ankara will not be the magical formula to decrease unemployment levels and increase growth in Europe. For now, populist leaders have not yet taken over the EU.

    That is why until Turkey gives a definite sign that it no longer wants to be a member, the EU will abstain from being the one to say "it's over."

    Some in Europe might argue that Turkey has already given such a sign by voting "yes" in the referendum.

    Some short-sighted commentators in Europe, especially in Germany, almost celebrated the result that came in favor of Erdogan. "You Turks voted for Erdogan and this means you have a made a choice: You don't want to be part of the EU," you can almost hear them say.

    But it's worth pointing out that Americans as a nation have not been the target of such demonizing rhetoric despite electing someone like Donald Trump, nor have Hungarians been targeting for repeatedly electing Victor Orban, someone you can hardly label as a beacon of democracy.

    The EU has taken into consideration that one in every two Turkish citizens voted against the constitutional changes favored by Erdogan. Instead of equating Turkey with Erdogan, it said "Turkey is bigger than Erdogan."

    But obviously it will be increasingly difficult to keep Turkey under the "candidate" status while it continues to fall short of fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria. Ultimately, a credit account has been opened for Turkey, which will come under review after the German elections this autumn".

    [16] Unplanned development in the occupied town of Trikomo

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (30.04.17) reported that 310 "building permissions" were given to the occupied village of Trikomo within two years (2015-2016). There were 153 "licences" in 2015 and 157 in 2016.

    According to the paper, the "building permissions" were for 123 residences, 12 aparments, 13 offices, 4 housing estates, 4 hotels, and 154 "permissions" for workshops, car parkings, storehouses and similar buildings.

    The paper also reported that the "Eastern Mediterranean University" got also in touch with the occupied municipality of Trikomo in order to open a "campus" there. Meanwhile, owners of a university in Turkey continue their contacts with the "municipality" in order to establish a new "university" in the area.

    (DPs)

    [17] "International festival" at occupied Komi Kepir village

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.05.17) reported that the 19th so-called "Eco-Day" will be held on Monday, 7 of May, at occupied Komi Kepir village. During the activity, the "municipality" of the occupied village will host the so-called 1st International Mediterranean Slowfood Festival with the participation of representatives from Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Israel.

    (I/Ts.)

    TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (AK/ AM)

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