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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-06-19

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. 115/17 17-19.06.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Burcu alleges that the statements by the Greek Cypriot side aim at distorting the agreement
  • [02] Akinci met with a delegation of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
  • [03] Ozgurgun: "The Turkish troops will never leave the island"
  • [04] Siber: Turkish Cypriots want the continuation of guarantees even more than Turkey
  • [05] Ozgurgun "distributed title deeds" of rural land to 47 persons
  • [06] The UK intensifies its diplomatic traffic ahead of the Cyprus conference in Geneva for Cyprus talks
  • [07] Twelve organizations asked from Akinci not to sign the "amendment law for the religious department"
  • [08] Nearly 600 Turkish soldiers hospitalized for suspected food poisoning in western Turkey; Symptoms appeared in the occupation regime as well
  • [09] Occupation regime's exports increased by 6,26% in the first quarter of 2017
  • [10] The traffic in the occupied ports of Cyprus increased
  • [11] The number of olive trees in the occupied area of Cyprus decreased dramatically over the years
  • [12] An Ottoman tomb is said to be discovered near occupied Agios Symeon village
  • [13] Erdogan warns Kilicdaroglu over 'justice march'; Kilicdaroglu: There is a Moses for every pharaoh"
  • [14] Cavusoglu: "Macedonia is important for the regional stability"

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Burcu alleges that the statements by the Greek Cypriot side aim at distorting the agreement

    Illegal Bayrak (19.06.17, online, http://www.brtk.net/burcurum-tarafinin-aciklamalari-mutabakati-carpitmaya-yonelik/) broadcasts that Baris Burcu, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, has alleged that the statements made by the Greek Cypriot side regarding the working principle of the Cyprus Conference to be held at Crans Montana aim at distorting the agreement reached during the meeting with the UNSG Antonio Guterres on 4 June.

    In a written statement issued today, Burcu claimed:

    "During the Cyprus Conference, which will continue in Switzerland on 28 June, the Turkish Cypriot side will work remaining faithful to the agreement reached at the three-party meeting with the UNSG Antonio Guterres in New York on 4 June.

    In harmony with the agreement reached and announced with the UNSG Guterres, all chapters will be discussed interdependently and in parallel at the conference, the chapter of security and guarantees will be at the table during the five-party works and all the other chapters at the bilateral works.

    The target at the Cyprus Conference should not be to secure progress on one chapter only, but to reach a conclusion on all chapters and solve the Cyprus problem. For this, the whole of the picture needs to come up by following a parallel process within a framework in harmony with the New York agreement. The Turkish Cypriot side is faithful to this agreement and will participate in the Cyprus Conference with this understanding.

    The statements by the Greek Cypriot side with various approaches regarding the agenda and the working principles of the Cyprus Conference which will continue on 28 June, aim at distorting the agreement reached with the UNSG.

    It is inevitable for everyone to show respect to the agreements which have been reached in order for a positive result to be possible at Crans Montana".

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Akinci met with a delegation of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

    According to illegal Bayrak television (17.06.17) Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with a delegation from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe at the so-called presidential palace.

    The European Parliament's Spanish MP Javier Nart, the Dutch MP Mariekle Schaake and the Bulgarian MP Ihsan Ahmet Kyucchyuk were among the members of delegation.

    Speaking during the meeting, Akinci touched upon the 28th of June Cyprus conference that will take place in Crans Montana and said that the Turkish Cypriot side will conduct the talks with the aim of acquiring two political equal constituent states based on a federal solution. "If our political will is reciprocated then we will be able to find a solution" said Ak?nc?.

    [03] Ozgurgun: "The Turkish troops will never leave the island"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (19.06.17) so-called prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun alleged that the Crans Montana summit should be a last phase.

    Stating that the Cyprus talks had been continuing for 50 years and that it should not turn to endless conferences, Ozgurgun claimed also the following: "According to me this conference should be the last one. A solution should be found at this conference or if not the UN should declare that it is not possible to form a federal structure in Cyprus and that there is a reality of two states side by side in Cyprus."

    According to a statement released by the so-called prime ministry press and public relations directorate, Ozgurgun evaluated the Cyprus issue to the Ulusal Channel.

    Reminding that the Cyprus Conference was reconvened in Geneva after 43 years and that no result was obtained as a result of the conference, Ozgurgun stated that new conference will convene in Switzerland upon a call made by the UN Secretary General, he, however, claimed that according to the current state no development will occur there.

    Ozgurgun also alleged that they were always ready for a viable agreement in Cyprus which will be real, include Turkey's guarantee and protect the rights of Turkey on the island and which will also be on the basis of equality. He, however, accused the Greek Cypriot side that had never accepted this.

    "It is not accepting while we are going to the quintet conference and it says Enosis, it demands the withdrawal of the Turkish army. What will happen at a quintet meeting with such an approach? In other words, there is a climate that the quintet conference will be held just for the sake of it. The three guarantor countries will drop everything and continuously go to Switzerland just because the two peoples here and the UN Chief want. It is turning out to be this way and this is saddening", Ozgurgun further alleged.

    Expressing the need for getting an outcome from a quintet conference, he claimed: "We should either agree or get along. We said this many times. There was no outcome at the first conference and it does not seem like there will be an outcome at the second."

    Stressing that if no result will be obtained as a result of the two quintet conferences then it should not turn to a series of conferences, Ozgurgun alleged further the following: "A result should be obtained at the quintet conferences meeting. If we cannot obtain a result from 50 years of negotiations process, then there is no meaning to continue negotiating. The reality of two states in Cyprus should also be accepted. If we cannot establish this federal structure, if one side forcefully wants to annex the island with Greece and wants the whole island and if we don't accept this, it is as simple as that we will not give these Turkish lands to Greece."

    Alleging that the Turkish Cypriot side had a will for a solution and that the Greek Cypriot side has no intention or will for a solution, he claimed: "Even at some points we criticized President Mustafa Ak?nc? for 'crossing the line'. Mr. President always had a well intention however the Greek Cypriot side never had such an intention, approach or desire."

    Accusing the Greek Cypriot side for sitting at the table as a result of delaying tactics, Ozgurgun asked: "for how long we will continue to waste our time at the table?"

    Asked to comment on the news that an agreement was reached at the talks for the withdrawal of 80% of Turkish soldiers from the island, he alleged that this is out of question. "Turkey is a guarantor power in Cyprus and it is the Turkish Armed Forces which maintains peace on the island".

    Alleging that it is a reality that a conflict would occur in Cyprus if the Turkish Armed Forces was not deployed on the island and that the Turkish Cypriots were being attacked in the "south", Ozgurgun claimed that "if the Turkish army will not be on the island then these attacks will start in the north also. No one will be able to stop these spoiled groups. The aim is to terrorize and make people leave the island. It is obvious that these will all happen in the absence of the Turkish army. That's why they demand the withdrawal of the Turkish army."

    "However, the Turkish army will never leave. If it leaves then the Turkishness would come to an endpoint on the island and conflicts would start without the guarantee of the Turkish army. It is the Turkish Army which preserves peace on the island since 1974" Ozgurgun alleged.

    Stressing that the issues of withdrawal of the army and territorial concessions should not be discussed at the negotiating table, he claimed: "Turkey's guarantee should in no way be diluted. However, the Greek Cypriot side says 'I only discuss these two issues'. The negotiations process should come to an end in such an environment. The Greek Cypriot side's main intention is to remove the guarantee of Turkey and the army as well as to get territory concessions."

    Stating that as announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the only concession on territory would be to give "Maras" [Translator's note: fenced off city of Varosha] in return to an overland connection to Erenkoy [occupied Kokkina], Ozgurgun argued that this statement by President Erdogan was the official position on the territory issue.

    Alleging that as a result of the Greek Cypriot side's unilateral oil exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey took up a clear position and that Turkey and the "TRNC" were determined on this issue, Ozgurgun claimed that the two sides have equal rights on the resources found on the island, adding that they will never abandon their equal rights and that it was Greece and the Greek Cypriot side who cause problems here.

    Referring to that the military exercise held by the Greek Cypriot side, he repeated his views that no outcome will be obtained in Switzerland as a result of the Greek Cypriot side's stance. "If no agreement will be reached then the UN should identify and confirm this", Ozgurgun claimed.

    Stressing that they loved Turkey and Anatolian people a lot and that they desired motherland Turkey to be healthy, happy, strong and stable, Ozgurgun concluded by saying the following: "Our cause in Cyprus is the one which should not be solved without motherland Turkey. It is the support and power of Turkey which makes us strong in this cause."

    [04] Siber: Turkish Cypriots want the continuation of guarantees even more than Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Detay newspaper (19.06.17) reports that the self-styled speaker of the "assembly" Sibel Siber criticized the statements of President Nicos Anastasiades on the guarantees issues and claimed that the Turkish Cypriots want the continuation of guarantees even more than Turkey.

    Siber, who was speaking during a television program alleged that "it is obvious that (Anastasiades) took a step back regarding the negotiations, with statements that are against the spirit of the talks and he is criticized for this by international observers". She also alleged that the aim of President Anastasiades is to get rid of the international pressure in case there is not a solution and to turn the criticism to Turkey.

    She went on claiming that the opinion that the Treaty of Guarantee is against the EU acquis communautaire is wrong and serving a particular purpose. She also alleged that the "Greek Cypriots administration" as she called the Republic of Cyprus, became an EU member together with the Treaty of Guarantee.

    (CS)

    [05] Ozgurgun "distributed title deeds" of rural land to 47 persons

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.06.17) reported that self-styled prime minister Huseyin Ozgurgun "distributed title deeds" of rural land to 47 persons who live in the occupied villages of Vitsada, Knodara and Psyllatos.

    The "distribution of the title deeds" was held during a ceremony the previous night in the occupied village of Knodara. The "title holders" were 13 from the occupied village of Vitsada, 15 from the occupied village of Knodara and 19 from the occupied village of Psyllatos.

    Speaking in the ceremony, Mustafa Bostanciogullari, the "head man" of the occupied village of Knodara, said that the population of the village was more than 700 persons in 1974 and now less than 400. He added that the main reason of the decrease is due to youth migration.

    The "head man" of the occupied village Psyllatos, Huseyin Kaptan, said that their population was decreased from 500 persons to 200.

    Self-styled minister of interior Kutlu Evren, speaking also during the ceremony, said that the "distribution of rural plots" is one of the projects that have been launched with the instructions of Ozgurgun.

    Ozgurgun, for his part, explained that their aim besides give "giving service" to the youth is to give life to the villages.

    (DPs)

    [06] The UK intensifies its diplomatic traffic ahead of the Cyprus conference in Geneva for Cyprus talks

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (17.06.17) reported that the UK, one of the guarantor countries of Cyprus, has upped the pace of its diplomatic traffic with the parties ahead of a five-way conference to be held in Geneva to reach a final agreement for the reunification of Cyprus.

    Britain's High Commissioner to Cyprus, Matthew Kidd and the British Ambassador to Turkey, Richard Moore, recently came to Ankara for discussions with Turkish officials regarding the upcoming Geneva Conference where the Turkish Cypriot leader and the Greek Cypriot leader, the United Nations and guarantor countries Turkey, Britain and Greece, will participate in talks on June 28 to achieve progress on security and guarantees and other negotiating chapters.

    "The United Kingdom can help by being in touch with all parties, Kidd told the Hurriyet Daily News in an interview, noting that the "Greek Cypriots", as the Republic of Cyprus is called and Ankara did not talk very much.

    "We can sometimes help to ensure that there is proper understanding of how others are approaching moments like Geneva. There is always a risk that they may misinterpret each other's signals," he said.

    "Turkish and Greek Cypriots are closer to an agreement than ever for various reasons", according to Kidd, who said the island's "peoples" were more familiar with each other thanks to crossing points. "The two communities were more suspicious of each other in 2004, when the Annan Plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum, because there was little contact over the previous 30 years", Kidd added.

    "I think that has led to a really important starting point for the discussion on security and guarantees. This time there is a sort of a shared recognition that security has got to work for both sides, and that any model which delivers reassurance to the security of one side but at the expense of leaving the other feeling less secure is not the answer. I think that would not have happened in the same way in 2004 when there hadn't been that opportunity for both sides to stay in touch with each other and feel each other's concerns. So I think that is another reason for believing that this time can be different because there is a different kind of engagement on the island on a public level," Kidd further said.

    Another factor pushing the two leaders of the Island, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak?nc? and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, toward a settlement is their personal background, according to the diplomat.

    "They have done more difficult stuff than their predecessors. The discussions that they were able to have on the territory issue, for instance, required a level of trust between them that probably none of their predecessors would have had. It helps that they are the same age, they were born in the same city. They both see themselves as offering their generation the last chance to do this. They start with the same kind of commitment to try to do this for their grandchildren," he said.

    "The Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, along with other stakeholders recognize that the discovery of natural energy resources off of Cyprus could provide an incentive to reach a political settlement on the island", Kidd further said. But he acknowledged that it could be used more positively to help build support for the process.

    Britain has repeated its pledge to offer a portion of its two bases to the future unity state of Cyprus in a bid to contribute to peace efforts in the island ahead of the June 28 conference.

    In order to contribute to a comprehensive agreement between the two communities, the U.K. is ready to transfer a portion of its sovereign territory from the British military bases on Cyprus to the people of the island, Moore told the Daily News.

    Formally and legally, the bases are not part of the Cyprus settlement process because they are under British sovereignty, the Ambassador said.

    "We will be ready to do what we can again in helping with some territory, so we would probably give some territory from our sovereign base areas that would help when there are small percentages being calculated," Moore said, referring to a British proposal at the time of the Annan Plan in 2004.

    In the context of the Annan Plan, the British offered to cede Cyprus a significant part of the military bases, and the British diplomats assured that the proposal was still on the table.

    "We have reconfirmed that we would do the same," Kidd said.

    Asked if the status of British military bases on the island, Akrotiri and Dhekalia, would change in the event of a settlement in Cyprus, Kidd said Britain hoped they would not.

    "It does not call into question the bases because their existence depends on a different agreement. What we would like to think is that actually their existence and some of the things that they do contributes at least indirectly to creating security for Cyprus as well. So they are a positive factor in the overall answer to the settlement conundrum that we have been talking about, not a negative one. We cannot take that for granted. We have to explain why that is so. And we have to make reassurances on that, to try to be transparent," the British official stated.

    Commenting on the U.K. view of guarantees, the British official stressed that if the two leaders, at the end of the discussions, "think that it would be useful to them, it would make them feel more secure to have a continued guarantor structure with Britain," then his country would be open to such a development.

    "But it is not for us to start by saying, 'OK we are here, we are ready to be a guarantor still.' It is for them to design a system with the help of the guarantors and others. If the Cypriots come to us and say, 'We would like you to continue to be a part, we think this is the right way to look forward,' then we would look positively at that," Kidd said.

    [07] Twelve organizations asked from Akinci not to sign the "amendment law for the religious department"

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.06.17), twelve organizations among them some political parties and trade unions asked from the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci not to sign the "amendment law for the religious affairs" which was sent to the "presidency" after it was approved by the "assembly" of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of Cyprus.

    The organizations held yesterday morning (Friday) a demonstration protest in front of the "presidency". Nazen Sansal, Baraka activist, speaking on behalf of the organizations said: "We are here in order the president (Akinci) not to sign the law". He added: "Geneva is important, but Lefkosia is also important". Sansal explained that it was said that the "amendment law for the religious affairs department" was made in order to improve the rights of the "employees in this department"; however, the aim of this law is the Sunni- Islamisation.

    Sansal further said that the "law" is contrary to many principles of the "constitution" and particularly the principle of secularism. He criticized the fact that the "law" envisages to bring a religious official from abroad.

    Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers' trade union (KTOS), speaking also during the protest, said that they conveyed to Akinci their objections regarding the "amendment law for religious affairs".

    (DPs)

    [08] Nearly 600 Turkish soldiers hospitalized for suspected food poisoning in western Turkey; Symptoms appeared in the occupation regime as well

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (18.06.17) reported that a total of 590 Turkish soldiers were hospitalized late Saturday in the western province of Manisa following complaints of nausea and vomiting. It is the latest case of mass poisoning at military bases in Manisa that have been plagued by such incidents since late May. An investigation is already underway while police early Sunday arrested 21 employees, including executives of the catering firm that provides food to the base and others in the province.

    The soldiers' complaints at the 1st Infantry Training Battalion Command began following a dinner. The Manisa Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Sunday that 731 soldiers were affected by the tainted meal.

    Turkey's Defense Minister Fikri Is?k and Commander of Turkish Land Forces Gen. Zeki Colak arrived in Manisa to oversee the issue. Speaking to reporters after visiting soldiers at the hospital, Is?k said 372 out of the 590 soldiers were transferred to hospitals while others were treated inside the military compound. A total of 72 soldiers remained in hospitals and none of them are in critical condition, Is?k said.

    On May 23, more than 1,000 soldiers were hospitalized in the same military compound after consuming the food and one death was reported.

    On Saturday, 69 soldiers suffering from similar symptoms were also hospitalized.

    Meanwhile 35 soldiers, who completed their training in Manisa and were dispatched to the "TRNC", were also hospitalized with similar symptoms in the occupied part of Lefkosia. One remains in critical condition.

    Authorities say it is too early to reach a conclusion regarding the cause of the poisoning as not all the soldiers treated for poisoning consumed the same foods. The early poisoning cases were linked to salmonella bacteria found in meals that were served at the bases. Subsequent poisoning cases reported at three separate military bases in the same city have angered the public. Social media users called for a thorough investigation while some even speculated that soldiers might have been "deliberately" poisoned.

    The Manisa governorate announced yesterday that food services from the catering firm were suspended and meals will be provided to the base temporarily. Manisa Governor Mustafa Hakan Guvencer said a delegation from the Public Health Institute, the highest public health authority and a delegation from the Land Forces Command that oversees military bases hosting training for conscripts, were investigating the issue. Military compounds in Manisa function as two main training bases for thousands of conscripts who are dispatched to other cities after completing a month-long training course there.

    [09] Occupation regime's exports increased by 6,26% in the first quarter of 2017

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.06.17) reports that the exports of the occupation regime within the period January-March 2017 reached 32 million 199 thousand 202 dollars increasing by 6,26% comparing to the same period of 2016 when they had been 30 million 300 thousand 571 dollars.

    According to data published by the so-called trade department, the exports in March 2017 increased by 18% comparing to March 2016 rising to 13,4 million dollars. Citrus fruits are in the first place in the breakaway regime's exports constituting 41,31% of the total exports. The dairy products, which were at the first place of the exports with 12 million 657 dollars in the first three months of 2016 fell to the second place with 11 million 262 thousand dollars during the same period of 2017 decreasing by 11,02%.

    The majority of the exports in the first quarter of 2017 were made to Turkey (59,4%). However, the exports to Turkey decreased by 2% in March 2017 comparing the same period of last year. On the contrary, the exports to third countries, which constitute 40,6% of the total exports in the first quarter of 2017, increased by 59%.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The traffic in the occupied ports of Cyprus increased

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.06.17) reports that the traffic in the occupied ports of Cyprus increased during the first four months of 2017.

    According to data given by the self-styled ports department directorate, 614 marine vessels, such as transport vessels, cruise ships, tankers, yachts, military ships, submarines and towing boats, entered into the occupied ports and 615 vessels departed from there.

    In the same period of 2016, 592 vessels entered in to the occupied ports and 593 vessels departed from there.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] The number of olive trees in the occupied area of Cyprus decreased dramatically over the years

    Under the t?tle "The olive trees are dying in agony", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (18.06.17) reported about the decrease of the number of olive trees in the occupied area of Cyprus, noting that the main reason for this is the construction of houses and other buildings.

    The paper noted that while there were one and a half million olive trees in 1974, this number has reduced to 475,000 today.

    Citing information by the self-styled ministry of agriculture and natural resources the paper wrote that there were 74,235 olive trees in 2015 in occupied Famagusta and this number was decreased to 46,115 in 2016.

    The occupied Trikomo area has the biggest number of olive trees (181,550) however the number of trees does not reflect the oil production which is very low, according to the paper. In occupied Morfou the number of trees is 62,820 but again the oil production is very low as well.

    The paper further reported that the production of oil is not enough for the needs of the persons living in the breakaway regime and therefore oil and its products are imported mainly from Turkey. Spain, Egypt and Malta.

    (CS)

    [12] An Ottoman tomb is said to be discovered near occupied Agios Symeon village

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (19.06.17) reports that a scalp was discovered in an area the paper refers as Elisi, between the occupied villages of Agios Simeon and Korovia.

    The paper writes that the "authorities" were activated about the issue and adds that it is estimated that the remains may belong to a tomb dated in the Ottoman period.

    (CS)

    [13] Erdogan warns Kilicdaroglu over 'justice march'; Kilicdaroglu: There is a Moses for every pharaoh"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (17.06.17) reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned the leader of the main opposition party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu against making a planned protest march from Ankara to Istanbul, telling him "don't be surprised" if legal proceedings were opened.

    Kilicdaroglu called the march after former journalist turned CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in jail on Wednesday for leaking classified information to a newspaper.

    But Erdogan said his actions were damaging for the country and appeared to warn Kilicdaroglu he could even face legal troubles.

    "Calling people out onto the street is neither good for them or for the country," Erdogan told a business conference in Istanbul.

    "Wandering around with a 'justice' placard in your hand is not going to bring justice. If you are looking for justice, then the place in Turkey to find justice is the Parliament", Erdogan further said, adding: "If the judicial authorities invite you in somewhere tomorrow then don't be surprised."

    Kilicdaroglu, 68, has made the word "justice" the slogan of his march, clutching a stick with the word emblazoned on a card.

    His plan is for the 450-kilometre (280 miles) trek to culminate at Maltepe prison in Istanbul where Berberoglu is being held.

    Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (18.06.17) reported that Kilicdaroglu has blasted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks on the party's "justice march" from Ankara to Istanbul, saying "there is a Moses for every pharaoh" after Erdogan suggested legal action against the march.

    "They want to threaten us with the judiciary, calling on judges and prosecutors. We know very well what coup plotters have done in this country. We know what they all did in the 1970s, 80s, and in 2017 ... Now they criticize so much but they cannot say: 'We have justice in our country. Why are you walking?' Because they know very well that there is no justice," K?l?cdaroglu told reporters in the Kahramankazan district of Ankara, setting out on the fourth day of his march on June 18.

    [14] Cavusoglu: "Macedonia is important for the regional stability"

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (19.06.17) reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday that Turkey considers FYROM a "very important" country for the stability and security of the region,

    Speaking during a joint news conference with his "Macedonian counterpart" Nikola Dimitrov in capital Skopje, Cavusoglu said that "Macedonia is not just important for the Balkans, but for the larger region".

    "Macedonia is an exemplary country in Europe and beyond in terms of the harmonious coexistence of different ethnic and religious groups," Cavusoglu said.

    He added that "Macedonia is a country most deserving of NATO membership. Turkey will continue to support Macedonia's NATO accession process and will also encourage the European countries and the EU to display a more constructive interest in Macedonia," Cavusoglu argued.

    Referring to the dispute over "Macedonia's constitutional name", an issue which remains unresolved since "Macedonia" gained its independence in 1991, Cavusoglu alleged that creating obstacles such as "artificial names" was unfair to both Macedonia and the region.

    "Turkey is the first country to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name, and it has defended and supported Macedonia on every platform using its constitutional name," Cavusoglu added.

    Dimitrov, for his part, said that "Macedonia's foreign policy would be based on the integration of the country with NATO and the EU".

    "This is not only because we want to be members of these institutions, but also because we want to live by their values.

    "Our goal is to paint a positive picture for Macedonia, to contribute to lasting stability and welfare in the region, and to establish good relations to promote good neighborhood policy," he said.

    TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (AK / AM)

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