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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 18-05-02

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 <>

Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review-01-02.05.18 No. 83/18



  • [01] Akinci calls on the Greek Cypriot side to announce whether it accepts the Guterres Framework
  • [02] Denktas: The Greek Cypriot side left the negotiation table at Crans Montana
  • [03] UBP and YDP argue that Akinci's call is to prevent the discussion for confederation or two-state solution
  • [04] KTAMS evaluated Akinci's call as a right step
  • [05] Statements by Ozersay to Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper
  • [06] Commentaries on Akinci's call and on Guterres Framework
  • [07] Denktas: The economic protocol with Turkey was signed three days ago
  • [08] The Turkish voters living in the breakaway regime will cast their vote between 16-18 of June
  • [09] Erdogan due to South Korea for an official visit; Turkey and South Korea agree on cooperation for 2023 agenda
  • [10] Opposition parties agree to unite against People's Alliance in upcoming Turkish elections
  • [11] Parties ready to declare presidential candidates ahead of June snap elections
  • [12] $6 billion economic handout package to go into effect a month before Turkish elections
  • [13] Istanbul court sentences 10 staffers from shuttered daily Zaman to jail terms
  • [14] Opinion polls show that Erdogan will not overcome the 50% at the first round of the presidential elections


    [01] Akinci calls on the Greek Cypriot side to announce whether it accepts the Guterres Framework

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (01.05.18) reported that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has called on the Greek Cypriot side to announce the soonest if it is ready to accept the Guterres Framework as it had been submitted by the UNSG in Crans Montana without "distorting it" with its own interpretations. "Let us declare it as a strategic package agreement. Then the negotiations for completing the remaining empty spaces will also have a meaning", said Akinci on Monday during his address on the occasion of the completion of three years in the Turkish Cypriot community's leadership. Akinci noted that the UNSG could examine the possibility of such a strategic agreement himself or through a high ranking official whom he will appoint.

    Referring to the debates regarding the solution of "confederation" or "two states" in Cyprus, Akinci said that these solutions cannot be achieved at the negotiating table and argued: "At the moment we will officially come forward with this kind of proposal, it is obvious that we will be described as the side which rejects the UN parameters and we will enter into a long-lasting deadlock".

    Akinci noted that diplomacy and dialogue continue to be the means for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, but reiterated the allegation that it would not be realistic to expect different results by reiterating the same things and that it is meaningless to experience once more a period of open ended negotiations which are not focused on the result. "The way out could be searched only within the framework of a strategic package approach with a certain time table", he alleged and argued: "It is possible for all sides to gain during a solution in Cyprus. However, new quests are needed for this. We need approaches which will develop the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation instead of the conflict".

    Noting that all sides should be sincere regarding the Guterres Framework, Akinci claimed: "In the name of the Turkish Cypriot people, I have tried to exhibit the same sincere stance before, during and after Crans Montana within the framework of the UN parameters. In the same way I have said 'yes' to the Guterrres Framework then, I am at the same point today. However, for finding a solution, it is not sufficient only for me being at this point".


    [02] Denktas: The Greek Cypriot side left the negotiation table at Crans Montana

    Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (02.05.18) reports that the "deputy prime minister and minister of economy" Serdar Denktas evaluated the call of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the Guterres framework and claimed that it was the Greek Cypriot side that left the negotiation table at Crans Montana.

    He made these statements speaking to illegal Bayrak where he alleged that on the contrary the Turkish Cypriot side accepted the Guterres framework in Crans Montana.

    Denktas stated that there are pressures that are exerted now for discussing again federation. "Well, federation has been discussed for 50 years now without any results. The mentality has not changed", he claimed. He also alleged that the international community treats the Greek Cypriot side as if it is the legal owner of the island and claimed that "under these conditions the Greek Cypriots will not share anything with the Turkish Cypriots".

    He went on alleging that the Greek Cypriots have not accepted anything despite the fact that Turkey made movements beyond expectation. "Is now the time for the Guterres framework to be discussed? ", he said adding that the pressures should be exerted for its implementation.

    Referring to the latest meeting that the "parties that are represented at the assembly" held with Akinci, at the presence of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Denktas stated that "there are rumors about this meeting that the persons participated in it did not even hear", adding that no decisions were taken during that meeting. "Turkey must take initiatives and we need to discuss them. […] If we are talking about a political equality, this means a two-states solution. We should examine the loose federation, the two states, everything", he claimed adding that if there is a will from the Greek Cypriots there could be solution. "We should not be doomed to a solution model that is the wish of the Greek Cypriots", he alleged.


    [03] UBP and YDP argue that Akinci's call is to prevent the discussion for confederation or two-state solution

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.05.18) reports that Oguzhan Hasipoglu, "deputy" with the National Unity Party (UBP), argued that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci made the statement regarding Guterres framework in order to prevent the discussions for confederation or a two-state solution, which have emerged as an alternative solution formulas. He described Akinci's invitation towards the Greek Cypriot side to sit at the negotiating table as important; however, he added there has not been yet any "official statement" regarding this document.

    Hasipoglu wondered what the Guterres document is about and asked what the alterations are made by the Greek Cypriot side since there was not any "official statement" on this issue. He also asked whether the Turkish Cypriot side has accepted the Guterres document framework on its original form. He asked from Akinci to explain to the "TRNC people" this document.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (02.05.18, broadcast that the acting leader of the Revival Party (YDP) Enver Ozturk has said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci should bring to the agenda plan B which is a two state solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Ozturk evaluated the statement made by Akinci calling on the Greek Cypriot side to openly state if it is ready to accept the Guterres Framework without any alterations so that it may be announced as a strategic package.

    Claiming that Akinci had made such a move in a bid to avoid Turkey's offer to switch to a two state model, the acting YDP leader said that sentencing the Turkish Cypriots to another 50 years of open ended negotiations aimed at reaching a federal settlement would be an act of treason.

    He further noted that Akinci should not try to prevent a two state solution in Cyprus.


    [04] KTAMS evaluated Akinci's call as a right step

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (01.05.18) reports that Guven Bengihan, chairman of the "Cyprus Turkish Civil Servants Trade Union" (KTAMS), evaluated Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci's call to the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to sign as a strategic agreement the thesis, which were shaped during the Crans-Montana summit as the Guterres framework, as a right step.

    In a written statement, Bengihan stressed that with Akinci's call the need to form a Federal Cyprus was stressed again, adding that a solution based on the bi-communal, bi-zonal with a political equality Federation, which will be accepted by both sides, is possible with the leaders' performance towards the unification instead of separatism.

    Bengihan said that they also make a call to the leaders to return to the negotiating table by displaying their political will to take constructive decisions.


    [05] Statements by Ozersay to Turkish Cumhuriyet newspaper

    Under the title "TRNC foreign minister Kudret Ozersay explained the key for the solution: 'Cooperation model instead of sharing'", Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (30.04.18, published an interview with Kudret Ozersay, self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Asked whether a climate for negotiations aiming at the solution of the Cyprus problem exists between the sides today in Cyprus, Ozersay replied:

    "I do not think that there is a negotiating process. As a matter of fact there is not. The point the negotiations have come last year in Crans Montana was a collapse in the manner declared by the UNSG. Of course, I am saying this with sorrow. I want a positive result, but unfortunately, this is reality. The Greek Cypriot side has the approach that the negotiations should continue from the point they were left, because it is satisfied with the continuation of the existing situation, the status quo. The approach of the Turkish Cypriot side, however, is definitely not this, because the point which the negotiations remained is the point they collapsed. The fact that the negotiations failed was established by the UNSG as well. As you also said, 14 years passed since the 24 April 2004 referendum on the Annan Plan. Within this period and after this 'no' vote, the UNSG published a report and made the followi ng analysis as to why the Greek Cypriot side replied 'no': 'The Greek Cypriot community is not ready yet to share the administration and the wealth with the Turkish Cypriot community'. Following this failure in the referendum, other attempts were made many times. I have also been a part of the negotiations for 12 years. I have been at the same negotiating table with two UNSGs, two TRNC presidents and four Greek Cypriot presidents. In spite of all these efforts, we saw that the Greek Cypriot community's administration moved away from sharing the administration and the wealth and that it did not come nearer".

    Asked to comment on the stance of the international community, Ozersay alleged that the Greek Cypriot side, as he described the Republic of Cyprus, joined the EU in 2004 without the Union asking for the solution of the Cyprus problem before Cyprus' accession and to say to the Greek Cypriots that their accession course would only advance if they fulfilled certain conditions, as it happens in the case of many countries, including Turkey. He claimed:

    "[…] And now we are experiencing a very similar situation on the natural gas issue as well. The international community should say the following to the Greek Cypriot community: if you want to benefit from this natural gas either you will solve the Cyprus problem and behave positively or if you cannot solve it, I understand that this is a problem of 50 years, but then you will reach an agreement with the Turkish Cypriots, at least limited in one issue, the energy issue. On matters such as how this could be solved, how it could be extracted, with which companies, with which percentages it will be marketed in the world market. If it is said that at least an agreement in this manner is reached with the Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots will exhibit a different, a more sensible stance".

    When he was reminded of the decision taken during the recent summit of the EU leaders and he was asked whether the West uses Cyprus as a "trump card" against Ankara, Ozersay argued:

    "I think that the EU produces policies outside justice and rationality within the framework of the solidarity among its members. On the issue of the natural gas for example, we know that when it comes to problems regarding the sea area of jurisdiction of Malta, Tunisia, Libya and similar countries, even the International Court of Justice discussed these issues for years and only in this manner reached a conclusion. It says that you are right and you are wrong. While the decision on jurisdictions, continental shelves, exclusive economic zones, and natural gas and oil issues are taken after listening to the arguments for many years, the European Council sits and in two days says 'I have the principle of solidarity with my members'. Therefore, with its eyes closed it protects its members by saying you are right and you are wrong. This is neither just nor rational. That is, on the one hand the current stance of the EU does not help in the solut ion of the Cyprus problem and on the other it poisons, in a sense, the relation between the sides of the disagreement in Cyprus. […]

    Perhaps, member states in the EU see the Cyprus issue as a very good pretext or an instrument to be used for Turkey's accession process not to advance. This could be seen in this manner. This situation may me related with their general point of view towards Turkey's EU accession perspective. It is absolutely necessary for the Greek Cypriot side to be encouraged for a partnership. However, there is no such situation at the moment".

    Asked whether the "key to the solution" will come out from an alliance in the field of energy on the basis of common interests, Ozersay alleged:

    "The natural gas is actually providing an opportunity, if they want to use it of course. What is this opportunity? Taking this wealth to the international markets depends on a precondition. Either the Cyprus issue will be solved or you will take the consent of the Turkish Cypriots, [and] you carry it out together. The second one is also possible. At the moment they say this, things in the Cyprus issue will begin going right, the paradigm will change and things will settle down. If they do not say this, I do not have any hope that a solution will happen in the near future. There is a serious problem in the will of the Greek Cypriot leadership and community in sharing the administration and the wealth. What we are testing here is the international community's intention, sincerity. […] From our point of view, there are no negotiations now. Because president Mr Akinci did not appoint a negotiator. This means that there are no neg otiations. Secondly, the president says clearly that a change of the mentality of the Greek Cypriot side is needed. I personally think that this change cannot happen in a day, in a month".

    Asked how the non-solution will be overcome, Ozersay claimed:

    "[…] There is a reality: In spite of the fact that the two sides say the same, they wish different things from this solution. They do not want the same thing when they say bi-communal, bi-zonal federal solution. My view and the view of my party, the People's Party (HP), is that the two sides in Cyprus need to start cooperating the soonest. Since there is a problem in sharing the administration and the wealth, we need to walk from the models based on sharing towards models based on cooperation. What I mean with this is that instead of trying to impose a model from the top to the bottom, a limited number of issues, 3-5 issues will be determined from the bottom to the top and cooperation will begin without the sides giving up their legal status, without entering into debates saying you recognized me, or you did not recognize me. For example on certain issues such as the cultural heritage, health, natural gas, civil aviation. […]"

    Asked to comment on the Turkish side's stance regarding the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the hydrocarbons, Ozersay argued that the Turkish side "changed is paradigm" after 2011 by saying that "since you are not waiting for the solution, since you are not taking our consent, we will not only protest about you, we will also make international agreements like you, we will authorize companies, we will determine some fields in the sea". He also alleged: "Actually, the international companies refrain from working in disputable areas, in areas where disagreements exist, because in a sense they are buying risk. Therefore, because of the dissuasive steps taken in the last period, many companies started not seeing this positively".

    Asked to comment on the debates regarding the solution of confederation and the arguments that the federation collapsed, Ozersay replied:

    "Let me say some basic principles regarding this. First, whatever will happen as of today in Cyprus, it will not happen unilaterally. It is not possible for the sides to impose on each other the solution which is ideal for them. I think that what will happen as of today should happen through negotiations again and with a common consent. Secondly, if we need to be realistic, […] because the Greek Cypriot community behaves hesitantly on the issue of sharing the administration and the wealth, we should sit and discuss with the Greek Cypriot side models based more on cooperation. And what we mean by models based on cooperation is to cooperate on some issues limited in number without the debate of whether the sides recognized each other, without giving up their status and they should build the trust on this".

    Claiming that the sides should focus on issues on which they could reach an agreement rather than on unsolved issues, Ozersay alleged that as long as the Greek Cypriot side is not ready to share the administration and the wealth, a federation to be established through outside pressures will not be viable.


    [06] Commentaries on Akinci's call and on Guterres Framework

    Columnist Ercin Sahmaran, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.05.18), reports that Esra Aygin is a journalist, who follows closely the latest developments on the Cyprus problem. She also published at her social account the Guterres framework document.

    Sahmaran continues to write: "This document was submitted to both sides on June 30. Guterres referred in length regarding this document which was submitted to the UN Security Council. In other words, it is a document which has been recorded by the Security Council.

    As it is known, this issue is in the agenda again. It is discussed in both sides. First, president Akinci: 'If the Greek Cypriot side is ready to accept the Guterres framework as it was presented to us, that is without watering it down or distorting it with its comments, then it must announce it. Let us then announce it as a strategic document for an agreement. That will make talks to fill up the remaining spaces meaningful.'

    Foreign Minister Christodoulides' answer from the South: 'We want the resumption of the Cyprus talks as soon as possible. However the information we obtained from the international community is that Turkey does not want to start any negotiation without completing first its election process'.

    I also agreed to this view, I have also written it before that while there is an election period in Turkey the Cyprus problem is not at the agenda.

    Well, why then this issue is again at the agenda?

    If this document opens the way for the negotiation, is there a conjuncture today?

    It is difficult to answer these questions positively, so there is only one aim.

    Domestic politics, while former president Talat and former parliament speaker Siber are warming up again in the political arena, Akinci made an effort to take part at this arena.

    It seems to be three candidates already from the leftists for the presidential elections to be held in 2020.

    When we look at this mentioned document, there is a proof to the deadlock issues. If there is a progress on these issues, then an important path is opened towards the solution. Of course, the most important issue is the necessity to discuss in a different and separate format the military issue of 'Security and Guarantees'. (…)"

    On the same issue, columnist Mete Tumerkan, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.05.18), under the title "Anastasiades may be the founder of the game", reports, inter alia, the following:

    "(...) One of the most fundamental issues reached was the issue that the Greek Cypriot side does not want a federal solution. The other issue was to continue the evaluations with all concerned sides until the elections in Turkey and in the meantime, the context of these meetings to be remained confidential and at this stage not to take a step on the Cyprus issue.

    Meanwhile, the meeting among president Akinci, prime minister Tufan Erhurman and deputy prime minister Kudret Ozersay revealed that there was not a ground for the resumption of the Cyprus talks and for this reason they should follow the policy 'wait and see'.

    Shortly, there was an agreement both internally and with Ankara that there would not be any step on the Cyprus issue at this stage.

    However, Mustafa Akinci took a step to break all these agreements. Akinci the other day made a call to the Greek Cypriot leader regarding the Guterres document.


    Akinci, without making the necessary consultations with any of his partners now, doing a surprise move to all, said that he is ready to sign the Guterres document without changing anything.

    At this stage, he took this step primarily to save the 'Guterres framework' and to keep it on the agenda. In this way, he aimed to tackle other evaluations and discussions. He may have taken this step as an emotional reaction. (…) according to Akinci, with this taken step, the advantageous position of the Turkish Cypriot side in Crans-Montana will be protected. (….)

    So much…

    Perhaps, at this stage the Turkish Cypriot side or Turkey need such a step at the eye of the international public opinion?


    At this stage, if Anastasiades makes a good use of the ball, this proposal, then he can be the founder of this game. We will continue to melt away with futile negotiations and empty promises. (…)"


    [07] Denktas: The economic protocol with Turkey was signed three days ago

    Turkish Cypriot daily Diyalog newspaper (02.05.18) reports that "deputy prime minister and minister of economy" Serdar Denktas stated that the economic protocol between Turkey and the breakaway regime was signed three days ago and will be implemented within a month.

    Denktas who was speaking to illegal Bayrak also stated that the self-styled government will launched an important project as of July 1st.


    [08] The Turkish voters living in the breakaway regime will cast their vote between 16-18 of June

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.05.18) reports that the High Electorate Board of Turkey announced the dates that the Turkish voters living abroad will cast their vote for the forthcoming elections to be held in Turkey on June 24.

    According to the paper, the Turkish citizens who live in the breakaway regime will be able to cast their vote between 16-18 of June.


    [09] Erdogan due to South Korea for an official visit; Turkey and South Korea agree on cooperation for 2023 agenda

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.05.2018- reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was welcomed in South Korea with a warm ceremony early Wednesday, ahead of a bilateral summit aimed at boosting ties.

    Erdogan's two-day state visit at the invitation of President Moon Jae-in comes less than a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stepped on South Korean soil for the first time.

    Turkey and South Korea on Wednesday agreed on close cooperation for successful implementation of Turkey's 2023 Vision agenda, according to a joint statement from the two countries' leaders.

    The statement came after Erdogan's official meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the presidential palace in Seoul.

    Turkey's 2023 Vision, marking the centenary of the Republic of Turkey, sets specific targets for improvements in the areas of economic activity, energy, healthcare, and transport for 2023, including becoming one of the world's top 10 economies.

    Erdogan and Moon also discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, including the Palestinian and Syrian issues, said the statement, adding that both leaders stressed more joint efforts from the international community for a lasting political solution in Syria.

    The two leaders agreed to increase contact and cooperation between their governments and the private sector.

    They also agreed on cooperation on counter-terrorism, the refugee crisis, world peace, and stability, along with some other issues.

    On bilateral issues, they agreed to expand bilateral cooperation on transport, infrastructure, and the energy and defence industry sectors.

    Both leaders also attended a signing ceremony for four bilateral agreements on cooperation in higher education; information, telecommunication, space and satellite technologies; industry and energy; and health and medical science.

    [10] Opposition parties agree to unite against People's Alliance in upcoming Turkish elections

    Turkish daily Sabah (02/05/18- reports that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), IYI Party (Good Party), Felicity Party (SP) and Democrat Party (DP) agreed early Wednesday to form an alliance for the June 24 elections against the People's Alliance.

    The official statement is expected to be released on Thursday. The name of the alliance will be determined by the party leaders, sources said.

    IYI Party Chairperson Meral Aksener initially had a different view on forming alliances with other parties. Having asserted that she would very much like to form an alliance with the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP), Aksener had insisted that the Good Party would "walk alone."

    "We will not form alliance. We are not afraid, we are sure, we believe in ourselves," Aksener said.

    Both the CHP and the IP also previously declared that in case if there is no clear winner in the first run, they will support each other's presidential candidates in the second round of voting.

    The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) decided to form a political alliance for the presidential elections after MHP Chairman Devlet Bahceli announced that his party will not name a candidate for the 2019 presidential elections and will support the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdocan. The Great Union Party (BBP) also later announced that it would join the AK Party's and MHP's center-right election bloc the People's Alliance, and support Erdogan as their joint candidate.

    The AK Party has won every election since it was formed in 2001. The party has participated in five general elections so far, namely the 2002, 2007, 2011, June 2015 and the November 2015 snap elections, winning 34.3%, 46.6%, 49.8%, 40.9% and 49.5% of the votes respectively.

    [11] Parties ready to declare presidential candidates ahead of June snap elections

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.18- reported that ahead of the tight electoral schedule for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be held on June 24, political parties are ready to declare and register their presidential candidates.

    Political parties and individual candidates have begun to submit their applications to the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) as official applications for the presidential elections began on May 1.

    The candidates that will run for presidency with 100,000 signatures are obliged to apply by May 2, while political parties have to present their candidate by May 5.

    The tight schedule has put parties in action, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the joint candidate of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), is expected to make his official application on May 4.

    The party will convene its party group on May 3 and the party is trying to present him as the candidate with all the lawmakers' votes.

    Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) candidate has not yet been announced. The CHP's spokesperson Bulent Tezcan said on May 1 they will declare their candidate on May 4 with a special organization, which will be held in Ankara.

    Tezcan said the candidate "will be the right candidate."

    As the parties are also obliged to issue their pre-election alliance protocol by May 6, Tezcan said the opposition parties "are in a positive stage" in alliance negotiations.

    "Democratic powers will show they are able to act together in the polls," he said.

    The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has also not yet announced its candidate. However, imprisoned former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas is stated as "the front-running potential candidate," HDP co-leader Sezai Temelli said on April 30.

    "We have a pool of names. We have received suggestions for the presidential candidate. Talks carried out within and outside the party suggest that Demirtas has emerged as the potential front-running candidate," he said.

    Presidential candidates who need to gather 100,000 signatures to run for presidency have a tight schedule, as they have only two days to apply to the YSK.

    Since the applications began on May 1, the first application came from Motherland Party (VP) leader Dogu Perincek.

    IYI (Good) Party leader Meral Akcener will also apply to the YSK on May 2 to be a presidential candidate with 100,000 signatures.

    Even though the IYI Party's group in Parliament allows her to be a presidential candidate without signatures, in Aksener's statement last week, she said she does not want to "instrumentalize 15 CHP lawmakers" who have resigned from their party to join the IYI Party to ensure their participation in elections.

    After speculations over former President Abdullah Gul's candidacy finalized, the Felicity (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoglu declared his candidacy on May 1.

    He is also expected to make his application to the YSK on May 2.

    Citizens who would like to give a signature for candidates will go to provincial election boards between May 4 and May 9. Citizens can only give one signature for one candidate.

    The ultimate candidacy list will be declared in the Official Gazette on May 13, and the official election campaign period will begin afterwards. The list will not change in the event that a candidate withdraws or dies.

    [12] $6 billion economic handout package to go into effect a month before Turkish elections

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (01.05.18- reported that the Turkish Parliament is due to put into effect a "debt restructuring and social reform" package costing nearly $6 billion ahead of the June 24 snap elections, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Group Chair Bulent Turan said on April 30.

    "The general assembly [of Parliament] will be working until May 17 for the legislative regulations before breaking off for the elections," Turan told reporters at Parliament.

    The package, announced by Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m on April 30 after the Cabinet meeting in Ankara, includes schemes to restructure tax and premium debts to public institutions as well as traffic, election and military service fines.

    "We are solving the disagreements our citizens have with public institutions through this package," Y?ld?r?m said, adding that citizens would need to apply by the end of July to take advantage of the new measures.

    The government will also take steps toward registering the nearly 13 million buildings without deeds in Turkey, Y?ld?r?m said, adding that a "structure registration document" would be implemented. He said the move would earn 48 billion liras.

    In addition, the government will hand out 1,000 liras to pensioners before the two main annual Muslim holidays and increase an allowance of 265 liras, paid every three months to citizens over 65 years old, to 500 liras.

    Students who have been unable to complete their university degree in seven years will also be allowed to go back to school "as long as they have not been linked to terrorism," Y?ld?r?m said.

    The measures are estimated to cost the state between 22 and 24 billion Turkish Liras (almost $5.9 billion), according to Y?ld?r?m, who said it will be paid for by revenue from plans to register millions of unlicensed properties.

    "The pay bonus amount is 1,000 liras before the Ramadan holiday and 1,000 liras before the Feast of Sacrifice holiday. Regarding pensioners more than 12 million, it is a substantial amount of money but we have no problem in terms of resources," he said, adding that the package was "well-calculated by experts and approved by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

    AKP governments led by Erdogan have often rolled out incentives ahead of elections over the course of its 16 years in office.

    Earlier this month, Erdogan called snap parliamentary and presidential elections for June 24. The elections will herald the launch of an executive presidential system narrowly approved in a controversial referendum in April 2017, which was marred by allegations of fraud.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said the decision to hold snap polls will help to cut short the period of uncertainty and to implement reforms.

    "Firstly, uncertainty will be reduced. Secondly, the presidential system will open the path for Turkey. Thirdly, putting reforms quickly on the agenda offers an opportunity to resolve existing problems," Simsek told private broadcaster NTV on April 30.

    "After the new government is set up, these reforms could be brought forward for a very fast start," he added.

    Simsek also stated that Turkey's focus on savings, with a savings ratio of around 25% over the last 12 months, fell short of its investment appetite.

    "Our main goal is to channel existing savings into productive areas. We will enable taxes, incentives and credit policies to ensure that savings are channelled into the right areas," he said.

    [13] Istanbul court sentences 10 staffers from shuttered daily Zaman to jail terms

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (01.05.18- reported that an Istanbul court sentenced 15 of 10 former staffers of the shut-down daily Zaman to a range of jail terms on terror-linked charges on April 30.

    The former staff members were sentenced to jail terms of up to nine years for "aiding an armed terror group without being a member of it."

    While five suspects of the case were released by the order of the Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court, the files of three of the suspects were separated from the case.

    All suspects who gave their final testimonies to the court were acquitted of charges of attempting a coup d'etat, as well as of attempting to remove the constitution and the Republic of Turkey.

    While suspects Hakan Tasdelen, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardes and Faruk Akkan were sentenced to nine years in jail, suspects Osman Nuri Arslan, Ahmet Irem and Yuksel Durgut received jail terms of seven years and six months.

    Suspect Murat Avc?oglu was sentenced to three years, one month and 15 days in jail for "consciously aiding the organization while not being a member of it."

    Suspects Cuma Kaya, Alaattin Guner and Huseyin Turan were sentenced to five years in jail for the same charges before they were released

    Zaman and its English edition Today's Zaman, both now shuttered by the authorities, were close to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who is widely believed to have been behind the deadly July 2016 coup attempt.

    [14] Opinion polls show that Erdogan will not overcome the 50% at the first round of the presidential elections

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (01.05.18, published the results of an opinion poll by PIAR polling company on the upcoming presidential elections in Turkey.

    In the question, if the elections were held today, which party you would have voted for, the 32.3% of the respondent said that they would have voted for the People's Alliance (Erdogan), the 17.1% for the Republican Turkish Party (CHP), the 8.8% for the People's Democracy Party (HDP), the 12.8% for the Good Party (IP), the 1.8% for the Felicity Party (SP), the 11% were undecided voters and the 16% of the respondents would not cast a vote.

    When the undecided votes are being distributed, the results are the following:

    People's Alliance: 44.24%

    CHP: 23.42%

    HDP: 12.05%

    IP: 17.53%

    FP: 2.49%

    Meanwhile, the paper (30.04.18, published an opinion poll of the Mediar Analiz polling company, which also showed that Erdogan cannot be elected from the first round.

    In the question, which candidate do you think to vote for presidential elections on June 24th, the 42.11% of the respondents said that they would vote for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the 20.11% for CHP candidate, the 19.70% for Meral Aksener, the 13.38% for Selahattin Demirtas, the 3.08% for Temel Karamallaoglu and the 1.62% for others.



    (AK/ AM)

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