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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 17-08-07

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. 150/17 05-07.08.17

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Akinci: Either the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots will be accepted or the existence of two "entities" will continue
  • [02] Reference by Akinci to a possible "two separate states" solution and the opening of occupied fenced off Varosha in harmony with the UN
  • [03] For the first time Akinci refers to a possible "two state solution in the EU"; Reactions by the CTP
  • [04] Akinci: "We have to move forward"
  • [05] Members of the "Property Compensation Commission" criticize the "government"
  • [06] Two Turkish Cypriots were arrested for "violating a military forbidden zone" in the occupied village of Louroudjina
  • [07] Basketball tournament to be held in the occupied area of Cyprus with the participation of Euroleague and Eurocup teams
  • [08] Commentary: "Two states in the EU"
  • [09] Cavusoglu and Lavrov discussed Syria and bilateral ties at ASEAN summit
  • [10] Erdogan criticizes Turkey's top religious body for 'being late' in struggle against Gulenists
  • [11] Commentary: "Turkey: Toward a more religious, less secular social order?"

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Akinci: Either the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots will be accepted or the existence of two "entities" will continue

    Under the title "Either equality or two separate entities", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (07.08.17) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has argued that the Greek Cypriot side should carry out a "very serious assessment" [of the situation in Cyprus after the failure of the Crans Montana Conference] and that as time passes two "separate states" will be rooted in Cyprus and not the unification of the island.

    Addressing a festival in occupied Galateia village, Akinci claimed that if a federal solution were to be found in this country, two politically equal founding states and rotating presidency would have to apply. Either the Greek Cypriots will accept the "politically equal existence of the Turkish Cypriots with a federal understanding or the existence of two separate entities will continue", he alleged.

    Akinci further said that the Turkish Cypriot side was at the stage of carrying out assessments at this point and that the communities which shared Cyprus should definitely have a peaceful relation. He noted that the Turkish Cypriots wanted to become part of the world and get rid of the so-called embargo allegedly implemented on them.

    Furthermore, the Turkish Cypriot leader alleged that the Greek Cypriots went to the Cyprus negotiations in Mont Pelerin, Geneva and Crans Montana thinking that the Turkish Cypriots would take no steps. He argued that in Mont Pelerine the Greek Cypriots asked for a recess and left, in Geneva Greece asked a break and in Crans Montana the Greek Cypriots prevented the Greek Prime Minister from coming to the Conference.

    Referring to the advisers of the United Nations for Cyprus, Akinci alleged that all of them were attacked by the Greek Cypriots when they left, as was the case with Espen Barth Eide. He argued that the Turkish Cypriots also had disagreements with Eide and they expected him to speak more clearly at some points, but they never attacked him publicly or offended him.

    Finally, Akinci said that during the past few days he had held meetings with various Turkish Cypriot organizations and established that there was a broad consensus within the Turkish Cypriot community that the Turkish Cypriots did not want to become a minority in a unitary Greek Cypriot state or become a province of Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Reference by Akinci to a possible "two separate states" solution and the opening of occupied fenced off Varosha in harmony with the UN

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (07.08.17) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has signalled that in case a political solution was not found in Cyprus, they would head towards a "two separate states" solution. In statements to Milliyet's correspondent in the occupied area of the island, Akinci claimed that in case of a non-solution, "the two separate states will continue by taking roots side by side".

    Akinci reiterated the accusations against the Greek Cypriot side for the failure of the Cyprus Conference in Crans Montana and alleged: "We want a peaceful relation on the island. We will continue speaking the language of the world. We are the side which approved the federal solution in 2004. We have been the side which pushed for a solution in all the processes since then. This culminated in Crans Montana. The Greek Cypriot side is the one that took no steps. […]"

    Accusing the Greek Cypriot side of being like a bride who does not want to dance and makes up various excuses, Akinci claimed: "I am saying what happens in the flow of life. Either we will find a formula under a federal roof on the basis of equality based on sharing. Something which we have tried to do and the Greek Cypriots did not accept. In this sense, we do not need to speak ill of the UN parameters. The Greek Cypriots are the side which was not in harmony with these parameters. The whole world saw this. If the one side does not accept these parameters, this means that it is not ready to share. Then, two roofs exist anyway. Now look, the issue is the following: Two states exist anyway. One is not recognized. What we have been saying until today? Either we will establish a federal solution and we will turn the TRNC into one of two equal founding states or if this does not happen, these two separate entities will continue taking roots. Could these two entities meet under the EU roof? The conjuncture will determine this. We want to become part of the world".

    Akinci reiterated the allegation that behind closed doors the Greek Cypriot leadership accepted that the rotating presidency would have been accepted in the end, but said the opposite to its community. Referring to the February 2018 presidential elections, Akinci described them as "an important opportunity for the Greek Cypriots to come face to face with what they want" and alleged that the Greek Cypriots should decide whether they wanted a solution in which two politically equal entities would live under one roof. He also accused the Greek Cypriot leadership of not preparing their community for a solution.

    Referring to the opening of the occupied fenced off city of Varosha, Akinci said that the fact that the city remained closed for 43 years benefited no one and that a way out should be found. "I have said this before the elections. I asked for the closed [city of] Varosha to be of service to the people and not the snakes. I said that the Greek Cypriots could return here under UN supervision. However, I demanded the opening of the Famagusta port together with the Tymbou airport for international flights. […]"

    Noting that there was no decision regarding occupied Varosha at this stage, Akinci noted: "However this [the opening of Varosha] will be examined with all its political and legal aspects. It is important to be in harmony with the UN while taking this decision. We attach importance to this".

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] For the first time Akinci refers to a possible "two state solution in the EU"; Reactions by the CTP

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (05.08.17), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has referred, for the first time, to a "two state solution under the EU roof". Addressing representatives of Turkish Cypriot organizations during a briefing after the failure of the Cyprus Conference in Crans Montana, Akinci argued that he had devoted his entire life in finding a federal solution in Cyprus and alleged that at the point we have reached "a common reason should be searched for different formulas" adding that "one of these could be two separate states within the EU".

    Moreover, Yeni Duzen (06.08.17) reported that referring to the recent developments in the Cyprus problem and the view regarding "two separate states under the EU roof", Tufan Erhurman, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) said that the formula of the solution in Cyprus was determined in the UN Security Council Resolutions as a bi-zonal bi-communal federation based on the political equality and that considering which countries are Permanent Members of the Security Council, it did not seem possible for this formula to change in the short and medium term. "We do not think that it is correct to suggest a 'vision' with anger or with sentimental approaches and not with reason and a solution focused perspective", said Erhurman in statements to Yeni Duzen.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (07.08.17) reports that Dogus Derya, CTP's "deputy", also reacted to Akinci's statements regarding "two separate states". In her social media account, Derya noted: "We have not elected you to talk about two separate states and make division permanent. If we wanted this, we would elect Eroglu. If you will not exert efforts to achieve the solution you have promised, the most honorable stance would be to resign from your duties. […]"

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Akinci: "We have to move forward"

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 05.08.17), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said that the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide had had a daunting responsibility on his shoulders to maintain a very delicate balance between the two sides during the 27 months of intensive negotiations.

    Speaking at the farewell reception he hosted for the departing UN Special Envoy, Akinci claimed that there were times when Eide came under severe and unfair criticism mainly directed at him from "South Cyprus" and added: "I must also admit that there were some occasions where we, as Turkish Cypriots, felt that he should have been more outspoken. However, he has always maintained his integrity and professionalism and focused in a dedicated manner on the task he came here to accomplish. As the Turkish Cypriot side, despite our rare ups and downs in relation to him, deep in our hearts we knew that he was genuine in his endeavours to help our communities and as such, we always maintained a relationship based on respect and mutual understanding, even at the most stressful times".

    Stating that with the facilitation of the UN, the two sides in Cyprus had achieved unprecedented progress over the past two years, Akinci however pointed out that this effort had not been enough to walk the final mile. He further argued: "We have to reflect, as the Secretary-General suggested, and analyse the situation carefully. This evening is not the proper time for pointing out who is to blame. Being in peace with my consciousness is what I sincerely feel at this hour. But this is not enough. We have to move forward. To live under unwarranted isolation from the rest of the world should not be the fate of Turkish Cypriots".

    Akinci completed his speech by also thanking the UN Special Representative Elisabeth Spehar and the Good Offices Mission for their support.

    "I think my speech would not be complete before saying a few words regarding the exceptional work and support shown by the special representative of the secretary-general in Cyprus, Ms. Elisabeth Spehar and every single member of the good offices mission team during our process. Over the course of hundreds of meetings, they have worked day and night with our teams, shared the wisdom they accumulated from similar peace processes around the world and helped us bridge our differences with the Greek Cypriot side. We thank you for your support and for your patience with us", he said.

    The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide for his part said that Akinci was a true friend, a true leader and genuinely sincere and added: "I know that he was always genuine and sincere with what he said. We were generally at the same point of view but we had our differences from time to time. Still, these differences were always within a framework of respect. This country and the world need such leaders during these difficult times. Leaders who do what they say and say what they do".

    [05] Members of the "Property Compensation Commission" criticize the "government"

    Under the title "The state does not do its duty", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (07.08.17) reports that Ayfer Said Erkmen, 'chairman' of the "Property Compensation Commission" established by Turkey in the occupied area of Cyprus, has told the paper that the decrease in the number of applications by Greek Cypriot refugees was obvious, that the "Commission's" only duty was to be a "court" and that the "ministries" of "interior" and "finance" on behalf of the breakaway regime's "government" were those which implement the decisions taken by the "Commission". Noting that the "TRNC government" was the plaintiff in the applications filed to the "Commission", Erkmen noted that their relations with the current UBP-DP "government" were not good and that they had been trying to get an appointment with "prime minister" Ozgurgun for over a year.

    Moreover, in statements to the same paper, the 'deputy chairman' of the "Commission", Romans Mapolar said that a wrong impression existed in the society that the "Commission" did not have money and did not make payments. "The Commission does not make payments, it takes decisions", he noted adding that the compensations were paid by the "ministry" of interior on behalf of the "government". Delay in the payments does not mean that our work is obstructed, he alleged.

    Finally, Gungor Gunkan, 'member' of the "Commission", told the paper that since 2014 Turkey had been asking for the implementation of the "special assessment tax" but the 'governments" could not prepare the "contribution law". "With the implementation of this law, the property issue could have been solved to a great extent", he alleged.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Two Turkish Cypriots were arrested for "violating a military forbidden zone" in the occupied village of Louroudjina

    Under the title "We are under military pressure", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (06.08.17) reports that the Turkish Cypriots Bekir Karabocek and Erkan Egmez were arrested by the breakaway regime on August 4 in their attempt to cross by from the government controlled area of Cyprus to the occupied area of Cyprus near the occupied village of Louroudjina. They were accused of "violating a military forbidden zone".

    According to the paper, a soldier who tried to stop them was slightly injured by the car, which was driven by Bekir Karabocek.

    While the two arrested men were coming out of the "court", Egmez said: "We are under military pressure".

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.08.17) reports that ErkanEgmez is a TV presenter at a Turkish Cypriot channel.

    (DPs)

    [07] Basketball tournament to be held in the occupied area of Cyprus with the participation of Euroleague and Eurocup teams

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (07.08.17), the "Near East University" ("YDU") in the occupied area of Cyprus will hold a basketball tournament titled "Dr Suat Gunsel Basketball Cup", bringing together Euroleague and Eurocup teams such as Galatasaray, Hatay, BSB, CB Avenida, ZWZ USK Prague and Castors Brained.

    In a press release, it has been announced that the "International Dr Suat Gunsel Basketball Cup" would be hosted for the second time and that it would take place on 14-17 September, 2017 at "Near East University".

    (DPs)

    [08] Commentary: "Two states in the EU"

    Columnist Yusuf Kanli, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 07.08.17), comments on the latest statement by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci after the failure of the Cyprus talks:

    "Everyone has an idea about the intractability of the Cyprus problem as well as the need to resolve it. What kind of settlement should the island have? More than 50 years of intercommunal talks have failed in several attempts to resolve the problem.

    Once upon a time, the discussion was to give Turkish Cypriots some autonomous rights without disrupting the effectiveness of governance. That exercise failed because of Greek Cypriot objections. For some time, a 'cantonal resolution' was considered. That faltered as well. The Acheson plans and such bids devised by the Americans and the British for a partition of the island could not be f accepted either. Since 1975, the two sides, under the auspices of the goodwill mission of the United Nations Secretary-General have been negotiating on how to forge a federal Cyprus. In 2004, a UN-negotiated federation plan was flatly turned down by Greek Cypriots in a referendum. Turkish Cypriots accepted that plan, yet it takes two to tango and there was no partner. Renewed efforts and a Turkish Cypriot president full of empathy toward Greek Cypriot feelings did not work either. This last federation bid hit the rocks again with Greek Cypriots delivering yet another "oxi" (no).

    The last exercise was a futile attempt anyhow. Back in 2004, Greek Cypriots made their decision and declared that they did not want a federal solution that required the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the governance of the island with Turkish Cypriots on the basis of political equality. Although, it is still questionable whether Albert Einstein did indeed use such an expression, can anyone refute the saying, "insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?" The Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly clearly refused all prospects of a partnership state and once that was achieved, they used force to kill their partners, the Turkish Cypriots, from 1963 to 1974. More than 50 years of negotiations have produced no results and if another 50 years are spent on seeking a Cyprus federation there will be no results unless Greek Cypriots change their mind-set and stop believing that they own the island and that Turkish Cypriots are some 'aliens' who deserve nothing more than advanced minority status.

    The International Crisis Group and many others have been penning articles for years suggesting that perhaps a confederal or a two-state settlement in the European Union–which indeed amounts to some sort of effective confederation–must as well be considered. Finally, for the first time, it was great to listen to Mustafa Ak?nc? clearly sending a loud message to the Greek Cypriot side that the time was up for them to make a decision. Ak?nc? said the Greek Cypriot electorate must see that time was not working in favour of the unity of Cyprus. In the next presidential elections (in February), they should make a wise decision and elect a leader willing to achieve peace and prepared to make some painful compromises. "If there will be a federal solution, there has to be two politically equal constituent states and rotation of the presidency. They have to accept this," he said. As Akinci underlined, Turkish Cypriots are determined not to become a minority patch of a unitary state administered by the Greek Cypriots or to become a province of Turkey.

    Thus, Akinci stressed, perhaps the time has come to consider two states in the EU… What can I say, even a wrong clock might show the exact time once a day.

    Two states in the EU might be painful for both sides. Greek Cypriots must accept a Turkish Cypriot state next door. Turkish Cypriots must accept the price of having such a state by making some generous territorial concessions. Apart from that, from special relations with Turkey to Turkey's military presence and guarantees, all thorny issues which have been very worrisome for Greek Cypriots will only become the issues of the Turkish Cypriot state. Thus, the island will be united in the EU. (…)"

    [09] Cavusoglu and Lavrov discussed Syria and bilateral ties at ASEAN summit

    According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (online, 06.08.17), Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov reiterated their determination to enhance bilateral cooperation with regard to Syria, on Sunday following their meeting on the side-lines of the ASEAN summit.

    Speaking to journalists in Manila, Cavusoglu said that with Lavrov he discussed the situation in the war-torn Syria and bilateral ties between the two countries. "As you know, we evaluated [the situation in] Syria. We also discussed preparations for the upcoming Astana meeting. We evaluated the visa issue, [exports of] some products, again mainly tomatoes. Essentially, there is nothing serious left [on our agenda] other than tomatoes," Cavusoglu added.

    He further said that the two sides discussed ways to further improve economic relations, adding that the meeting was useful.

    The Turkish Foreign Minister is scheduled to have a short meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during dinner.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Lavrov and Cavusoglu "substantively discussed the situation in Syria, including within the context of implementing the memorandum on creation of de-escalation zones in the Syrian Arab Republic, strengthening the ceasefire procedures in the country and promoting the establishment of the process of political settlement."

    [10] Erdogan criticizes Turkey's top religious body for 'being late' in struggle against Gulenists

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 05.08.17), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Turkey's top religious body for "being late" in the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO) of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

    Erdogan said the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) was notified on the issue "countless times" but "efforts were delayed."

    "Raising generations with knowledge in their minds and faith in their hearts has always been a fearful dream for some. There were some who couldn't accept religious vocational [imam-hatip] schools. They were worried that a different generation might emerge. Just for this reason, the educational system was turned upside-down. FETO exploited this weakness and became a trouble for our country. I would like to say that our Diyanet has serious deficiencies on this issue," Erdogan told students from the east and southeast of the country at an event organized by the Diyanet in Istanbul's Zeytinburnu district on Aug. 5.

    "We have expressed these warnings from squares countless times and conveyed them in our private meetings. But the Diyanet was late in efforts, especially in the east and southeast," he added.

    Erdogan's criticisms came only days after Diyanet head Mehmet Gormez, who had led the institution for the past seven years, announced his resignation, on July 30.

    [11] Commentary: "Turkey: Toward a more religious, less secular social order?"

    With the above title, columnist Serkan Demirtas, writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 05.08.17), commented on the regression of the secular system in Turkish society:

    "On April 16, the Turkish public voted in favour of a set of comprehensive constitutional amendments that overhaul the governance system into an executive-presidency model, a move considered to be the beginning of a new era in Turkey. In line with the amendments, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as the chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in May but we have to wait until the 2019 elections - if not earlier - to assess the implementation of the amended constitution.

    However, some steps taken by the government in recent weeks and months particularly in the education and social fields signal more changes ahead regarding public life in Turkey in this very new era.

    A change in the curriculum that has left evolution out and added the concept of "jihad" as part of Islamic law in books was interpreted as yet another major blow on the quality of education in Turkey, with concerns that it would cause a further drift from secularism.

    The AKP's education policies have long been established in favour of promoting and expanding vocational religious schools accompanied with increased hours of compulsory and selective religious courses almost at all grades. The introduction of the 4+4+4 model to the Turkish education system paved the way for the government to increase the number of students enrolled in vocational religious schools up to one million.

    Concerns are growing on the basis that the education system skips academic and scientific needs in favour of ideological priorities heavily determined by the AKP government. This kind of an educational preference would surely not help raise a democratic culture, respect for the other and tolerance of dissident ideas among the youth.

    Interventions against education system are not limited, however. Some religious-conservative foundations are increasingly becoming more influential in all aspects of education. A report published by the daily Cumhuriyet on Aug. 2 revealed that the Education Ministry allowed the Ensar Foundation to organize courses in nearly 1,000 public education centres under a recently signed protocol.

    This religious foundation had made the headlines last year after a teacher working in one of its branches in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman was convicted of sexually abusing 10 schoolboys aged 10 to 12 from 2012 and 2015.

    It should also be noted that the Ensar Foundation has very strong links with the AKP. It receives strong support from Erdogan who has recently vowed for religious generations in his address at the general convention of the Ensar Foundation in Istanbul.

    A similar protocol was signed between the Family and Social Policies Ministry and the Muradiye Foundation for the latter to enjoy financial support from the Ministry for 31 educational centres under the title of "Children House" located in Ankara. This foundation is believed to follow the principles of the Naqshbandi order, a Sunni religious community.

    Among other foundations, the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TURGEV), a charity nongovernmental organization that has Erdogan's son Bilal Erdogan and his daughter Esra Albayrak as board members needs particular attention. Especially, its influence in shaping higher education in Turkey cannot be underestimated. TURGEV is also in close cooperation with the Ensar Foundation.

    One other development that flared up discussions on secularism was a draft law allowing muftis and civil servants of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) to register and perform marriages. Those who are against the draft law argue this move will undermine secularism and will pave the way for child marriages while supporters recall that the changes will not introduce amendments on the marriage criteria.

    One of the most important effects of this change would be the introduction of a religious body in the implementation of the civil code that could successfully maintain an order in shaping social life in Turkey.

    Not necessarily related to all aforementioned observations, complaints on interventions on lifestyle, on the way women dress and etc. are increasing. Unfortunately, this is not only a product of poor education but also of polarization within the society.

    Having said all, a special clause needs to be devoted to the change in the Diyanet as the top cleric Mehmet Gormez, who has run one of the largest institutions of Turkey, has announced his retirement. It's believed that Gormez and Erdogan were in disagreement over a score of issues concerning religious decisions because of different interpretations of Islam. It's also believed that Gormez's successor will be a figure more loyal to the President and more cooperative.

    All these perhaps are foundations of the vision frequently voiced by Erdogan on Turkey's future. It will be of vital importance to observe the reaction of the Turkish public opinion in the elections against this vision that recedes secularism in both educational and social order."

    TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.pio.gov.cy

    (DPs / AA)

    Copyright (C) 2017 Press and Information Office, All rights reserved.


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