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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-06-15

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 <>



  • [01] Samani: "A failure in Geneva will only serve to weaken the people's belief in a federal settlement in Cyprus"
  • [02] Columnist says everyday statements by Akinci's advisors on the Cyprus problem are a preparation for a possible blame game
  • [03] Ertugruloglu on security and guarantees
  • [04] The "Caner Gonyeli" search and rescue exercise was completed at the presence of foreign representatives
  • [05] Ertugruloglu and Elmas replied to Turanli's accusations for corruption
  • [06] Reactions regarding the "contract" for the occupied airport of Tympou"
  • [07] Sertoglu called on Akinci to work towards lifting the "sport embargoes"
  • [08] Columnist alleges that Turkish Cypriot lawyers "penetrated" the so-called embargo
  • [09] Kibris: "The number of our schools is not enough for the population"
  • [10] Eleven Turkish Cypriot crews in the Cyprus Rally
  • [11] Turkish Cypriot "Farmers' union" asked that the 2019 WFO General Assembly to be held in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [12] A cooperation protocol between Al Manar University and "DAU" was signed
  • [13] Turkish FM urges peace, dialogue in Gulf crisis
  • [14] Istanbul court hands CHP Deputy Enis Berberoglu 25 years jail time in case of intel trucks to Syria
  • [15] "Berberoglu arrest is forcing limits in Turkey"
  • [16] Turkey, EU to discuss joint steps against terror
  • [17] Turkey 'wants to open embassies in all African states'
  • [18] Turkey builds 700 kilometer long wall on Syrian border


    [01] "Samani: A failure in Geneva will only serve to weaken the people's belief in a federal settlement in Cyprus"

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.06.17) broadcast that Mustafa Akinici's advisor for Political Affairs and History, Meltem Onurkan Samani has warned that a failure in Geneva will only serve to weaken the people's belief in a federal settlement in Cyprus which has been fading ever since the referendum on the 2004 Annan Plan.

    Speaking on a program on a private TV channel, she said that the aim of the Turkish Cypriot side is to reach a successful outcome in Geneva.

    She said that exercising political will with an understanding of peace culture is essential in reaching that goal. "The education system in south Cyprus is aimed towards increasing mistrust between the two communities, demonizing The Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish military" she argued adding that younger generations were not being prepared for a federal future.

    "All the parties concerned are negotiating for a federal settlement but what is necessary is not being done in the education system because the Greek Cypriot side does not desire a federal settlement enough" she alleged.

    Samani also pointed out that the confidence building measures were not being implemented "because of the Greek Cypriot side's obsession with the recognition of the TRNC", as she claimed.

    "Unfortunately the confidence building measures have been left for after a solution. The negotiations have reached a stage where the federal model of a settlement is being tested. That is why the perception that Geneva might be the last stop has emerged" she argued adding that only time will tell whether other alternatives will be brought to the agenda if the current talks fail.

    She also pointed out that it is possible to create a formula which addresses the security needs of all the sides concerned.

    [02] Columnist says everyday statements by Akinci's advisors on the Cyprus problem are a preparation for a possible blame game

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's advisors continue making statements on the Cyprus problem. Columnist Mert Ozdag in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (15.06.17) reports the following on the issue under the title "Akinci: Fire at will":

    "As long as the second Geneva Summit approaches, statements made to the press by bureaucrats, who have been keeping quiet until today at the presidency, are drawing the attention. First negotiator Ozdil Nami made a statement, afterwards adviser Erhan Ercin and lastly undersecretary Gurdan Hudaoglu [Translator's note: New statements by Akinci's advisor Meltem Samani were made yesterday]. It is obvious that Akinci has pressed the button. 'Statements are free, fire at will'. I do not know if this drew your attention but the course gives the impression of looking for a ground for a 'possible blame game'. We will see of course. It is still early. Let us see, we will see all together whether the process will be turned into a blame game".


    [03] Ertugruloglu on security and guarantees

    Illegal Bayrak television (15.06.17) broadcast that self-styled foreign minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu alleged that the Turkish Cypriots only trust the guarantorship of Turkey and that the important point here is that this should be the sensitivity of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Ertugruloglu also claimed that the system of guarantees could be adapted to current conditions without being watered down but added that any agreement to be reached must ensure the continued presence of the Turkish Armed Forces on the island as well as maintain Turkey's right to unilaterally intervene.

    Speaking to the TAK news agency regarding the upcoming 5-party conference in Geneva, he also alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side desire the successful conclusion of the Cyprus negotiations process.

    He however alleged that the issue of security and guarantees shall continue to be of the utmost importance for the Turkish Cypriot "people".

    Ertugruloglu alleged that the past bitter experiences on the island as well as the conflict stricken environment in the region required the continuance of Turkey's active and effective guarantee on the island.

    "The Turkish Cypriot people only trust Turkey for their security. The important point that requires attention is that this must be the Turkish Cypriot peoples' sensitivity. The system of guarantees can be adapted to address current conditions but the importance of maintaining the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces on the island as well as Turkey's right to unilaterally intervene can never be ignored" he claimed.

    He further alleged that addressing one side's security needs should not create a perception of threat for the other side and he alleged that peace had come to Cyprus when Turkey had exercised its unilateral right to intervene in 1974.

    Ertugruloglu said: "There is nothing to worry about if there are no ill intentions".

    Claiming that it was out of the question for the Turkish Cypriot people to approve a settlement that will water down Turkey's active and effective guarantees, he alleged that the argument that the Treaty of Guarantees and Alliance was not in accordance with EU norms, that there is not enough trust and confidence between the two sides to change, rearrange or remove the system of guarantees in Cyprus.

    He said that the current atmosphere of peace was due to these treaties.

    He also claimed that any concessions to be made on the matter will only serve the interests of the Greek Cypriot side to remove the Turkish troops from Cyprus and scrap Turkey's rights as a guarantor power during the upcoming conference in Geneva.

    [04] The "Caner Gonyeli" search and rescue exercise was completed at the presence of foreign representatives

    Under the front-page title "Stressing of sovereignty in the Eastern Mediterranean", Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.06.17) reports that the last stage of the "martyr lieutenant Caner Goneyli 2017" search and rescue exercise was successfully held yesterday in occupied Famagusta's and Karpasia's open sea.

    Noting that the exercise, which was organized for the control of the level of cooperation and training of Turkey's and "TRNC's" [translator's note: The breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus] search and rescue staff, the paper writes that the last part of the exercise took place at the presence of military observers from Tunisia, Afghanistan, Gambia, Bosna-Herzegovina, Somalia and Senegal as well as journalists from Turkey.

    Turkey participated in the exercise with one frigate, two coast guard ships, four coast guard boats, four helicopters, two airplanes, one coast guard special action team, one search and rescue diving team and one battle search and rescue team. The breakaway regime participated with two helicopters, three coast guard boats and four towing boats.


    [05] Ertugruloglu and Elmas replied to Turanli's accusations for corruption

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (15.06.17) reports that self-styled minister of foreign affairs Tahsin Ertugruloglu, replying to the accusations of the Director of T&T Emrullah Turanli for corruption, argues that the real aim of the campaign against him regarding the "contract" for the occupied airport of Tymbou is that the company wants to avoid the inspection for the airport and not to make the necessary payments for its part. He also argued that the issue of "Ercan contract" has been turned into a "campaign of lies" aiming to cast doubt on his name.

    In a written statement issued yesterday regarding the debate on the "contract" of the occupied airport of Tymbou ("Ercan"), Ertugruloglu claimed that he acted accordingly to the conditions of the "contract".

    On the same issue, Omer Elmas also replying to Turanli's accusations, argued that Turanli has only made two times payments to him as a consultancy service and has stopped paying when the inspections started. Elmas also claimed that Turanli does not comply with the "consultancy agreement" that he signed.


    [06] Reactions regarding the "contract" for the occupied airport of Tympou"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (15.06.17) reports that Cemal Ozyigit, leader of the Social Democracy Party (TDP) said that immediately an investigation should be launched regarding the corruption allegations and the "decisions" which were taken regarding the "contract" for the occupied airport of Tymbou.

    The "extension" of the "contract" of the occupied airport of Tymbou with a "decision" of the "council of ministers" for four more years is a new scandal added to the chain, Ozyigit said.

    On the same issue, the deputy leader of the Revival Party (YDP) Sunalp Dervis Sencer asked the resignation of the "foreign minister" Tahsin Ertugruloglu, who was a "minister of transport" in the period that the "agreement" was signed.

    The paper reports that the deputy leader of the Communal Liberation Party New Forces (TKP) Tozun Tunali asked the resignation of the "coalition government" and added: "The people do not want even to look at you anymore. We are tired and have enough of you. Resign before the assembly closes for holidays".

    Meanwhile, the "independent deputy" Hasan Tacoy argued that he cannot know who is lying and who is telling the truth. He added that the "prime minister" should take measures, otherwise he will be exposed.

    The "deputy" with the Democratic Party (DP) Mustafa Arabacioglu noted that Turanli's allegations are very serious and wondered why he revealed them now.


    [07] Sertoglu called on Akinci to work towards lifting the "sport embargoes"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (15.06.17) reports that Hasan Sertoglu, the "chairman" of the "Turkish Cypriot football federation" commented on the recent statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on the "embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots" and called on him to take action against these practices.

    Akinci alleged last Tuesday that the prevention of the "right: of holding sports in the breakaway regime is one of the biggest problems faced on the "embargoes issue" and claimed that it is "a crime against humanity".

    Referring to Akinci's statements, Sertoglu expressed the belief that the Cyprus negotiation that continue will have no results; therefore they should all work towards lifting the "embargoes". "Because we got bored playing between us", he stated.


    [08] Columnist alleges that Turkish Cypriot lawyers "penetrated" the so-called embargo

    Under the title "The lawyers penetrated the embargo", columnist Oguzhan Hasipoglu in Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (15.06.17) reports that the Turkish Cypriot "bar union" has met with the Limassol Bar Association during the European Lawyers Football Championship organized recently in Slovenia. "The game was perhaps the first game during which the teams of the two countries went out to the pitch and met friendly during an official tournament abroad and offered their flags to each other", argues the columnist adding that the Turkish Cypriot lawyers started participating in these tournaments thanks to a French lawyer named Vincent Pinatel, whom Hasipoglu met in Istanbul in 2006.

    Hasipoglu notes that these tournaments are not only a football game but panels on the law in sports are also held and the changing of FIFA rules are discussed. He also said that the issue has a "social aspect", as, for example, the center forward of the Hungarian team with which they played six years ago is the Hungarian Prime Minister now.

    The columnist argues that during their conversation with the lawyers from Limassol they observed that they think that the possibility of an agreement and a solution to the Cyprus problem is low and said that if a solution is not reached within this year, each community should go its own way.

    He also claims: "I will say the following: 43 years passed since 1974. In both communities a new generation is coming. Our lawyer colleagues, who had complained about us 11 years ago, now came and congratulated us when we were rejoicing in the field with the TRNC flags and took a picture with us. They invited us to Limassol to play a friendly match. Some things are changing now on the island and it seems that the prejudices are collapsing".


    [09] Kibris: "The number of our schools is not enough for the population"

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (15.06.17) reports that the population in the occupied area of Cyprus is rapidly increasing and that the number of schools, teachers and classes is not enough before this increase of population. In the 2016-2017 educational year the number of students in each class reached 45, notes the paper adding that "the excessive number of students in the classes brings failure" and that "teachers are not interested with each student to a sufficient extent".

    According to data on the "official" website of the self-styled ministry of education, 113 "state" primary schools exist in the occupied area of the island, 19 lyceums and 13 high schools. "When the number of the country's population and the percentage of those illegally living in the country are compared with the number of schools, a worrying picture for the educational system is coming up", notes the paper.

    The Turkish Cypriot secondary school teachers' trade union (KTOEOS) argues that the occupied part of Nicosia and occupied Famagusta need one new lyceum each and occupied Keryneia needs one new high school.

    The Turkish Cypriot primary school teachers' trade union (KTOS) argues that three new primary schools are needed in occupied Famagusta, one in the occupied part of Nicosia, two in occupied Keryneia and one in occupied Karpasia.


    [10] Eleven Turkish Cypriot crews in the Cyprus Rally

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (15.06.17) reports that eleven Turkish Cypriot crews will participate in the Cyprus Rally, which starts tomorrow in Larnaka. It is also reported that the Cyprus Rally will offer points to the participants for the European Rally Championship, the Middle East Championship and the "TRNC" 2017 Rally championship.

    The paper further writes that the Castrol Ford Team from Turkey has arrived to the island to participate in the rally. The Turkish team entered into Cyprus through the occupied port of Keryneia.


    [11] Turkish Cypriot "Farmers' union" asked that the 2019 WFO General Assembly to be held in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (15.06.17) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Farmers' Union were represented in the 2017 General Assembly of the World Farmers' Organization (WFO) in Helsinki, Finland.

    According to a press release by WFO, Theo de Jager was elected as the new President.

    The paper reports the the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot "Farmers' Union" Ibrahim Alkan carried out contacts during the general assembly, where he exchanged views regarding the difficulties and the drought in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    During his meetings with other Farmers' Unions' Presidents, members of the WFO, Alkan conveyed the request that the WFO General Assembly 2019 to be held in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.


    [12] A cooperation protocol between Al Manar University and "DAU" was signed

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (15.06.17), the illegal Eastern Mediterranean university ("DAU") attended a workshop titled "Pioneer Development Projects: Experiences and Lessons" organised by the University of Lebanon in collaboration with the "Middle East Technical University, North Cyprus Campus" ("ODTU Kuzey Kibris").

    A cooperation protocol between the Al Manar University in Lebanon and the "Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU)" was also signed during the visit.

    During the visit, the "EMU team" visited Lebanon Al Manar University Rector Prof. Dr Sami Menkara at the Rector's office and a joint collaboration protocol was signed between the two "institutions". They also exchanged information on prospective accreditations and joint collaboration projects. The "EMU team" also visited the Chair of the Lebanon Chamber of Engineers where possible accreditations and future collaborations were discussed.


    [13] Turkish FM urges peace, dialogue in Gulf crisis

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.06.17) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday the crisis between Qatar and some Arab countries should be resolved "through peace and dialogue".

    Speaking to AA during his visit to Qatar's capital, Doha, amid a diplomatic row in the Gulf region, Cavusoglu said the efforts by Turkey so far and the future steps to be taken were discussed during his meetings with several top Qatari officials.

    Accompanied by Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Cavusoglu met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Economy and Trade Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani.

    "The situation we have been going through in this [holy month of] Ramadan is a really undesired one. There is such a crisis between sister countries and there are some steps that directly affect people. We must absolutely overcome it. We need to overcome it through peace and dialogue," Cavusoglu said, underlining that Turkey is contributing to the peace process.

    Cavusoglu also said he would visit Kuwait later Wednesday and meet Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Friday in Mecca.

    [14] Istanbul court hands CHP Deputy Enis Berberoglu 25 years jail time in case of intel trucks to Syria

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.06.17) reports that an Istanbul court sentenced main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoglu 25 years in prison on June 14 for "leaking state secrets" in the Syria-bound intelligence trucks case, prompting a storm of reaction from the CHP.

    Berberoglu, who became the first CHP lawmaker to be handed prison time, was accused of providing daily Cumhuriyet with video purporting to show Turkey's intelligence agency trucking weapons to Syria.

    A Cumhuriyet report in May 2015 claimed that trucks allegedly owned by the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) were found to contain weapons and ammunition that were headed for Syria when they were stopped and searched in southern Turkey in early 2014.

    The Turkish government, however, accused followers of the Gulen movement in the judiciary and security institutions of illegally ordering the search, claiming that the trucks were carrying "humanitarian aid to Turkmens" in the war-torn country.

    The Istanbul 14th Court of Serious Crimes first gave a life sentence to the CHP lawmaker on charges of "revealing the information of the state that should stay secret for the purposes of political and military spying." But the court subsequently reduced the sentence to 25 years. The court also said the lawmaker would be stripped of his political rights following the announcement of the decision.

    In his first remarks after the ruling, Berberoglu said those who created such a victimization should be ashamed of themselves.

    Berberoglu, who was present at the hearing, was taken to the police station on the court premises to be imprisoned in Istanbul's Maltepe district. Following the court's decision, the CHP held an emergency meeting, after which party Chairman Kemal K?l?cdaroglu is expected to make an official statement. K?l?cdaroglu was also known to have called Berberoglu on the phone following the court ruling, telling him: "Don't be upset, we stand right behind you. We'll continue our struggle until you get your freedom."

    Meanwhile, the party's deputies quit a plenary session in parliament to protest Berberoglu's arrest.

    "The imprisonment of our lawmaker is a bitter example showing that the judiciary is under the complete control of the executive organ," CHP deputy chairman Engin Altay told reporters outside Istanbul's Caglayan courthouse.

    "If judges make their decisions thinking 'how can I please the dictator, how will my rulings make the dictator look at me sympathetically to the point that the dictator advances me [in my career]?' then God damn such justice. This decision is a move to intimidate everyone who is not happy about the AKP. It is also a move to intimidate a society that says 'let democracy march,'" Altay said.

    Cumhuriyet's Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul, was also present at the hearing on June 14, while the newspaper's former editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, did not attend as he left for Europe last year.

    "It is a decision to obstruct journalism," Gul told reporters outside the court.

    The court ruled to separate Berberoglu's file from that of Dundar and Gul, who are accused of "intentionally and willfully aiding an armed terror group." The court, which did not render a verdict for Gul and Dundar, saying their trials would continue.

    Berberoglu is a former journalist, who started his career at business daily Dunya in 1981. In his long journalism career, Berberoglu also worked for Cumhuriyet, CNN Turk and Radikal. He also served as daily Hurriyet's editor-in-chief from 2009 to 2014. Berberoglu was elected to the CHP caucus during an extraordinary meeting on Sept. 5-6, 2014. He was subsequently appointed as the party's vice-chairman responsible for relations with the media on Sept. 14, 2014, by K?l?cdaroglu.

    In addition, speaking at a press conference at the party's headquarters earlier, CHP head Kemal K?l?cdaroglu stated that he would be in Ankara's Guvenpark at 11:00 a.m. with a banner in his hand reading "Justice." "We will start our march in Guvenpark at 11 a.m. tomorrow," K?l?cdaroglu said. "We want justice," he said. "Until democracy and justice comes to this country."

    Media reports said the CHP would launch a march from the capital city to Istanbul. K?l?cdaroglu also stressed that those who ordered the arrest of Berberoglu will be trapped under that decision,

    "[Berberoglu] has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without any evidence. What kind of a mentality or law is that? We never accept that. Those who made that decision will be trapped under it," K?l?cdaroglu told reporters at the party's headquarters.

    "We living a process that the real criminals are not put on trial but the innocent are tried and jailed," he added.

    Berberoglu, who became the first CHP lawmaker to be handed prison time, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 accused of providing daily Cumhuriyet with video purporting to show Turkey's intelligence agency trucking weapons to Syria.

    [15] "Berberoglu arrest is forcing limits in Turkey"

    Under the above title, Hurriyet Daily News (15.06.17) publishes the following article by Murat Yetkin:

    "Enis Berberoglu, a member of Parliament for the social democratic Republican People's Party (CHP), was sentenced to 25 years in jail by an Istanbul court on June 14 and immediately put in prison.

    The court ruled that Berberoglu had "knowingly helped a terror organization" by providing "state secrets" to the media. It is all about the news of how gendarmerie forces stopped Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) trucks on Jan. 19, 2014, as they were carrying military material to Syria.

    The arrest of the CHP Deputy, who is also the former editor-in-chief of Hurriyet, is a part of a court case in which journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul of daily Cumhuriyet are also on trial. Dundar is living in Germany and Gul was together with Berberoglu when the court read out its ruling. Berberoglu was accused of providing video material about the search of trucks to Cumhuriyet; the photos and videos were already in the media, but they were placed under restriction afterwards for reasons of national security. The prosecutors, judges and gendarmerie commanders who became involved in the MIT truck operation were either arrested or placed under an arrest warrant for their alleged links with the illegal network of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-resident Islamist preacher who is accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.

    Right after the ruling and before being put in jail, Berberoglu said he was sentenced "without any evidence" and would "get in jail, get out and take those who made the ruling to court." He said it was journalism on trial.

    The CHP has strongly reacted to the ruling. Engin Altay, a spokesman for the CHP, said in front of the courthouse that the ruling was fabricated by "so-called judges who want to please the dictator." Altay said the ruling was manipulated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), and it aimed to deter opposition in Turkey. In parliament, another spokesman, Ozgur Ozel, said after an emergency session of the CHP parliamentary group that his party would not "surrender to fascism."

    The fact that he was immediately put in prison, without waiting to provide an opportunity to launch an objection as a member of parliament is forcing the limits of politics in Turkey.

    It is difficult to see this example as a purely criminal case; it has political dimensions and it has media freedom dimensions.

    The ruling came at a time when Turkey is already under pressure because of journalists and politicians in prison.

    I have worked together with Berberoglu for years as a colleague and as a friend. At one point, he decided to quit journalism and get into politics. As far as I know him and as far as I know Turkish system, I believe he will come out of jail with his head up -- although I cannot predict the same thing for those who made the ruling.

    Rulings like this are likely to weaken the position of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Parti government in their diplomatic ventures, especially with the West.

    It is very sad and a shame to report and write commentaries about friends and colleagues put in jail one after another.

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.06.17) also reports that the cousin of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the chairman of a large company has told daily Hurriyet that there is a big potential to improve economic relations between Turkey and Qatar, adding that the Gulf country is looking to conduct more investments in the Turkish market.

    [16] Turkey, EU to discuss joint steps against terror

    Turkish Hurruyet Daily News (15.06.17) reports that Turkey and the European Union will hold a senior anti-terrorism dialogue meeting within a month, aiming to take joint steps to combat terrorism, one of the main causes of tension in ties between Ankara and Brussels.

    Brussels has recently been displaying a "more serious stance" on the issue of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO), whom the Turkish government accuses of being behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, diplomatic sources told Hurriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.

    EU officials have asked Ankara to send dossiers as evidence to back their allegations against FETO, the sources added.

    The issue was part of talks held in Brussels on June 13 between political directors from Ankara and Brussels. The sides discussed the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), along with the issue of banning symbols of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the EU.

    Brussels is working on appropriate ways to tackle the issue, the sources said, noting that the bloc may extend the practice to Germany, where symbols of terrorist organizations are banned, and the entire union.

    Another topic discussed in the directors' meeting was talks on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone, which was promised as part of a migrant deal signed by the EU and Turkey in March 2016. Brussels has long been waiting for Turkey to fulfil five remaining criteria to open visa dialogue with Ankara, including the revision of the anti-terror law by the Turkish government. The government readied a draft work for the remaining criteria, but is waiting for the approval of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The March 2016 deal, which aims to stop migration through illegal channels in the Aegean Sea by cracking down on human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, had also become a source of tension between the bloc and Ankara, as the latter criticized Brussels for displaying slow pace in sending humanitarian funds.

    While Turkey is asking the EU to speed up the flow of funds for refugees and to press on member countries to increase the number of migrants they take in, Brussels believes the process with Turkey is the fastest, in terms of bureaucracy, so far in EU history.

    Turkey and the EU initiated to upgrade the existing Customs Union agreement on industrial goods by extending it to agriculture products, services and public procurements.

    The European Commission notified the European Council that it was ready to negotiate with Turkey and called for a mandate late 2016. But the EU is eager to further move on the process after the Cyprus talks, which aims to reunite the island. The mandate for the modernization of the Customs Union is likely to be delayed to fall season, according to sources.

    One of the important agenda items at the Brussels meeting is the opening of new chapters in Turkey's EU accession negotiations. Stressing that Turkey is still under a state of emergency, the EU side told Turkish officials that "new chapters could be opened only if Turkey normalizes."

    [17] Turkey 'wants to open embassies in all African states'

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (15.06.17) reports that Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz, speaking in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, said: "We do not want to develop relations with only certain countries, but all of them.

    "Turkey does not discriminate between countries. We see potential in every place we visit."

    The number of Turkish missions in Africa has jumped sharply in less than a decade. In 2009 there were only 12 Turkish embassies in African states; now there are 39, according to Foreign Ministry figures.

    Yildiz was leading a delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to find out about the impact of drought and famine in the East Africa region.

    Ethiopia has been hit by severe drought over the decades, affecting around 7.8 million people. Last week it appealed for international emergency food aid, saying supplies would run out in July.

    Yildiz told Anadolu Agency they could examine problems such as drought, famine and natural disasters in-depth during the visit.

    Yildiz also spoke about Turkish relations with the African continent.

    "Turkey aims for a win-win policy throughout the continent, not for short-term economic interest…but for long-term solidarity in international relations," he said.

    During a meeting with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, Yildiz discussed the transfer of Fetullah Terrorist Organization-linked (FETO) institutions to Turkey's Maarif Foundation.

    The Maarif Foundation was established after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey to take over the administration of overseas FETO-linked schools.

    "Turkey values Ethiopia's place in the African Union and they value Turkey's strategic partnership with Africa," Yildiz added.

    The Turkish Minister will visit South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia next.

    [18] Turkey builds 700 kilometer long wall on Syrian border

    Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (15.06.17) reports that Turkey has finished the construction of a 700-kilometer wall along its border with Syria to block terrorist infiltration into the country, with Defense Minister Fikri Is?k saying a similar wall would be built on the border with Iran in the country's east.

    Speaking in Parliament, Is?k said most of the wall construction had been completed along the 828-kilometer border, Turkey's longest.

    The Minister said an "integrated protection" system would be installed along Turkey's borders as part of security precautions.

    As part of the "integrated security" system, lighting, a sensor system and cameras will be installed along the border, the defense minister said, adding that security would also be enhanced by the use of drones and broader surveillance.

    Noting that the security system would be put in practice at all borders in time, Is?k said wall construction efforts had been started on the Iranian border by the Interior Ministry and that authorities had been considering a variety of options for the Iraqi border.

    Turkey's border with Syria is largely flat, although the mountainous terrain along the Iranian border could create more challenges in the construction of further walls for the ostensible purpose of halting the infiltration of terrorists.

    "While the physical border security systems are being built, we are also switching to a multiple system. It will be a system that integrates wall, road, lightening system, fiberoptic censors, cameras, balloons and drones," Is?k said, adding that the pilot implementation of the system would soon be implemented.

    "The efforts for it were concluded and the pilot practice will be carried out soon. We can't tell you the place yet. The second stage will be implemented in accordance with a certain schedule on all of our borders after the construction of the walls end," he also said.

    Turkey launched efforts to increase border security to prevent militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from infiltrating the country.

    Both groups have staged deadly bomb attacks that have claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

    During his speech, Is?k said the system would facilitate precautions when a threat approaches the border.

    "This system is not a struggle like watching if someone jumped over a wall, but it features taking precautions when a threat approaches the border. The precautions will be able to be taken from far. The first practice is starting as a pilot. We will then develop the system on the Iranian and Iraqi borders," he added.

    Is?k also said the decision on the style of the precautions on the Iraqi border had yet to be taken.

    "The decision on whether the practice on the Iraqi border will be with a wall or an integrated system alone hasn't been taken yet. We are laying emphasis on different alternatives. The system we call wideband observation determines the slightest movement, detects it and raises an alarm. We are now at the stage of making a decision for the Iraqi border," he said. The Minister said the remaining part of the wall on the Syrian border would be completed by the end of July.

    "The terrorist group PKK is planting mines to delay the building of a wall and weakening security precautions. There are short-term delays for that reason, but we are at the last stage. The terrorist organization is planting home-made explosives on the spots that will be covered with a border. We have cleared over a thousand home-made explosives and between 4,000 and 5,000 mines. That's why it was stalled off a little but, otherwise it would have been over by now," he added.


    (CS / AM)

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