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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 18-05-09

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-09.05.18 No. 88/18

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

Contents

[A] Turkish Cypriot press

[01] Akinci alleges that East-Med does not serve peace and stability in the area

[02] "A tense day for Famagusta"

[03] Ozersay: "The EU officials have to learn to take into consideration both sides"

[04] Turkish Cypriot journalists support Akinci's proposal for acceptance of the Guterres Framework

[05] Columnists assess the reactions against Akinci after his statement on the Guterres Framework

[06] KTOS: "If we do not abandon the Turkish Lira, our community will continue becoming poorer"

[07] Ozyigit carries out contacts in Ankara

[08] Data on tourism in the occupied area of Cyprus for the first three months of 2018


[B] Turkish Press


[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

[01] Turkey's MFA describes US' decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal as an "unfortunate step"

[02] Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu slam France over Quran proposal

[03] Three news surveys on the forthcoming snap elections

[04] Good Party social media team member detained due to FETO propaganda

[05] Turkish court decides to keep US pastor Andrew Brunson behind bars

[06] Turkey to receive first F-35 fighters from US next month


[A] Turkish Cypriot press

[01] Akinci alleges that East-Med does not serve peace and stability in the area

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci alleged today that the East-Med project between Cyprus, Greece and Israel, which provides for transferring Eastern Mediterranean's natural gas to Europe through Italy, does not serve peace and stability in the area. According to illegal Bayrak (09.05.18, http://www.brtk.net/guneydeki-dogal-gaz-ile-ilgili-uclu-zirve-kibrista-bolunmusluge-hizmet-eder/), in a written statement published today Akinci referred to the results of the meeting held yesterday in Nicosia between President Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and claimed the following:

"It is understood that Anastasiades, Tsipras and Netanyahu carried one step forward the project named as 'East-Med' and provides for transferring Eastern Mediterranean's natural gas to Europe through south Cyprus-Crete-Greece and Italy route. South Cyprus, Greece and Israel stated that in 2018 they will sign an agreement for the above-mentioned route. Moreover, it is known that the EU has also secured financing to this project.

As I have many times stated before, this is not a route for peace. It is not possible to contribute to peace and stability in the area by excluding the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey on the issue of the energy resources in Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish Cypriots have also rights on the natural gas resources in Cyprus' open sea. The most reasonable thing to do is to administrate them on the basis of common benefit and transfer them to Europe through Turkey, which, as a route, is the shortest and cheapest one and could be built quicker [than any other rout]. This is the road which is sensible, will serve peace and stability and contribute to the solution in Cyprus.

A new mistake is about to be added to the serious mistake committed by accepting south Cyprus alone to the EU 14 years ago. If the Greek Cypriot side, which has moved away from the solution after entering into the EU, achieves to take alone the natural gas wealth and transfer it to Europe by excluding the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey, their motivation for the solution, which is anyway very little, will cease to exist. This development will serve nothing else than the division in Cyprus.

I call on the entire international community and mainly the EU and the UN, which say that they want peace in Cyprus and cooperation and stability in the area, to stand by peace, stability, economic reasoning and sensibility".

(I/Ts.)

[02] "A tense day for Famagusta"

Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (09.05.18) reports that a delegation of European Parliament Deputies visited yesterday occupied Famagusta in order to inspect the situation; however it was not able to enter the fence off city because it found no "official" in the area.

According to the paper, a group of Greek Cypriots which gathered in front of the Palm Beach hotel received the European Parliament delegation holding banners. In addition a group consisting of members of TMT, the Grey Wolves and the Nationalist Democracy Party (MDP) organized a demonstration in the area holding flags of Turkey and the "TRNC". "Deputies" with the National Unity Party (UBP) went to the area in order to condemn the visit of the EU delegation to which they also handed a letter of protest. The UBP "deputies" noted that the Greek Cypriots gathered in the area stated that they wanted to return to their houses and claimed that this cannot take place in any "state". "We are insulted in our own soil", they stated.

Yeni Duzen (05.09.18) reports on the issue under the title: "Varosha again, shame again" and writes that the European Deputies, who came to the area after ten years to inspect the city, were faced with demonstration by the Grey Wolves and the MDP. The paper also writes that the Deputies faced tension during their visit.

Under the title: "provocation" (09.05.18) Afrika wonders who allowed to the demonstrations to come so near the EU Deputies and the Greek Cypriots who participated in the Famagusta event and notes that it was the army that did not let the EU Deputies to enter the fenced off city.

Havadis (09.05.18) reports on the issue under the title: "The Deputies were left between the two groups".

(CS)

[03] Ozersay: "The EU officials have to learn to take into consideration both sides"

Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (09.05.18) reports that Kudret Ozersay, self-styled deputy prime minister and foreign minister, expressed his satisfaction that the visit to the occupied town of Famagusta on Tuesday with the participation of officials from the European Parliament was completed without any incident or any problem. He added that contrary to what the Greek Cypriot press claimed, the contacts of the European MEPs with "officials" of the breakaway regime was done without any serious incident and there was not any arrest. The "officials" of the breakaway regime reportedly just warned the visitors that taking photos was forbidden.

In a written statement, Ozersay explained that as soon as they were informed that such an event was going to occur last week, they took some measures in consultation with the "security forces" and expressed his satisfaction for the positive results.

Claiming that the EU officials are far from being impartial on this issue as well as on other issues, because they prefer to be informed only from the officials from the one side, Ozersay stressed that one of the fundamental principles in the international disputes is to be informed and being consulted with all sides in an impartial way. He further argued: "Unfortunately, despite all our requests and insistence, the European Parliament officials refused to listen to the Turkish Cypriots' official representatives or officials on the matter", adding that the EU officials have to learn to listen equally and to show the necessary sensitivity to both sides.

Ozersay noted: "Any kind of approach outside this, unfortunately is condemned to be partial" and added: "If they want to help us on solving problems, then they have to give up supporting only one of the sides of the dispute under the jacket 'solidarity with their (EU) member'. Let us not forget, if the Greek Cypriots had said 'yes' to the solution plan, which was put forward in 2004, they would have obtained the fenced off town of Varosha after a little while. Furthermore, the fenced off town of Varosha, which has been in the past many times as part of a package of confidence building measures, has fallen from the agenda as a result of the failure of those initiatives due to the negative stance of the Greek Cypriots. Everyone needs to bear in mind these matters when they evaluate the topic regarding the fenced off town of Varosha".

(DPs)

[04] Turkish Cypriot journalists support Akinci's proposal for acceptance of the Guterres Framework

Under the title "We can never accept the hate speech and insults to Akinci", Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (09.05.18), on its front page, reports that the Turkish Cypriot Journalists' Union (KTGB) and the Press Workers' Union (Basin-Sen) condemned the hate speech and insults towards the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, because he proposed to the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to accept the Guterres Framework.

Sami Ozuslu, chairman of the KTGB, and Ali Kismir, chairman of the Basin-Sen, in a joint statement, said that they, as press organizations, which are sensitive about issues regarding freedom of speech and freedom of press, are feeling uncomfortable with the recent developments. They added that a "lynching campaign" has been launched intensely through the social media against Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci due to his proposal to Anastasiades.

They also said that "they cannot remain silent and accept all these comments, which contain open threats and all kinds of insults from both Cyprus and Turkey".

(DPs)

[05] Columnists assess the reactions against Akinci after his statement on the Guterres Framework

Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (09.05.18) under the title "They pressed the button, they will drink blood", columnist Basaran Duzgun reports that some threats are seen on the social media against Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci after his call on President Anastasiades to accept the Guterres Framework and notes that some persons even say that they will drink Akinci's blood. Noting that two Turkish Cypriot journalists' organizations have expressed their support to Akinci, Duzgun writes, inter alia, the following:

"[] It seems that the situation is serious. There is a campaign in which the president is threatened with bloodshed, that is, with assassination. I do not like at all this expression, but it is used exactly for these situations. 'Some ones have pressed the button'. The button has been pressed in order for destroying Akinci's move. Various 'elements' have been put into action. It is understood that those who drink blood are one of these elements.

We thought that the barking of some ones [asking] 'whom Akinci asked and made this move' [and] 'has he taken permission from Ankara', was because of 'their dependence on some circles'. However, when the issue spread to the media and the politics in Turkey, we realized that the issue was beyond of what we thought. It seems that the 'deep' part [Translators' note: The deep state in Turkey] rose from the dead again. The deep operation that took place during the Annan Plan period, is repeated now exactly the same. And moreover, without making any change in the scenario. [] Akinci became a 'traitor who tries to sell the country'. And those who support Akinci's proposals became traitors of the country.

Do you know what is the aim of all these? It is to prevent a possible bargaining process. To put away the recommencement of the negotiations. To destroy the initiatives for a federal solution. []"

Meanwhile, writing in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (09.05.18) Sami Ozuslu reports that he cannot understand those who consider themselves "nationalists" and "protectors of the country" and talk big when they refer to "sovereignty", but now they are asking Akinci whether he had asked Ankara before making his call regarding the Guterres Framework. Under the title "Let us not elect a president any more", Ozuslu writes:

"[] On the one hand you will refer to 'sovereignty', self-administration, being a people, but on the other you will treat the leader elected by these people as 'having taken permission'. That is, these people will elect a president, but he will know that whatever Ankara says will happen. Is that so? Cooperation is another thing and the issue of deciding is something else. If we do not have such a claim, let us go to Ankara as Turkish Cypriots and hand over the key so that we are saved. Let us bind to Turkey northern Cyprus which resembles a 'little Turkey' from economic, military, cultural and many other points of view. []

However, then no one will demand sovereignty and things like this from the Greek Cypriots. No one will ask for 'political equality' on this island. It will not be possible to refer to the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriots. []

Those who do not take seriously the project of 'becoming Alexandretta', should look at the background of the 22 January attacks [Translator's note: The attacks against Afrika newspaper after the Turkish President's statements] and the debates on the Guterres Framework. All freedoms in this community are under serious threat. The same thing is valid for the freedoms of thought, expression, organization and the press, but this is also the case with the freedom of the president deciding upon his own initiative. [] Since he will not be able to say even a single word without consulting with Ankara, let us not elect a president of the republic again. Let Turkey administrate this place together with those who said 'have you asked Ankara?' and let the whole thing end. []"

Finally, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi newspaper (09.05.18) columnist Serhat Incirli says that the reactions against Akinci are unacceptable, but what is actually unacceptable is the "bizarre" stance of those who react against him. He argues:

"[] Ankara has definitely approved Akinci's call on Anastasiades. If Turkey had not tell him 'go ahead Mr Mustafa', Akinci, who even a few days before this proposal was exhibiting an unbelievable stance against the solution, would not have made a turn! The information in the meeting held during Cavusoglu's [Translator's note: The Turkish Foreign Minister] visit with the chairmen of the parties represented in the parliament, have been leaked on purpose. Behind closed doors, Akinci was told 'go ahead Mr Mustafa'. []"

Incirli goes on and says that the bizarre thing is that those who attack Akinci have been told to do so by Ankara, which had said to Akinci to go ahead. He claims that if there is a "new deep state" in Turkey now, President Erdogan should not be very relaxed regarding the election results or for the period after the elections.

(I/Ts.)

[06] KTOS: "If we do not abandon the Turkish Lira, our community will continue becoming poorer"

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (09.09.18) reports that the Turkish Cypriot primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) stated that if the Turkish Cypriot community will not abandon the Turkish Lira, it will continue to become poorer.

It also stated that the Turkish Cypriot community should adopt a more stable currency adding that this will stop the Turkish Cypriots from being under Turkish command.

(CS)

[07] Ozyigit carries out contacts in Ankara

According to illegal Bayrak television (09.05.18, http://www.brtk.net/?englishposts=ozyigit-in-ankara), the self-styled minister of national education and culture Cemal Ozyigit, who is currently in Ankara, as part of his contacts met with the President of the Student Selection and Placement Centre (OSYM) Mahmut Ozer.

He will also be meeting with the President of the Higher Education Council (YOK) Prof. Dr. Yekta Sarac and will pay a visit to An?tkabir the mausoleum of Ataturk this afternoon.

Tomorrow, Ozyigit will be meeting with the President of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) Hasan Mandal, Turkish National Education Minister Ismet Y?lmaz and the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Coordination for Cyprus Affairs Recep Akdag.

Ozyigit who is being accompanied by his "undersecretary" Asim Idris will return tomorrow.

[08] Data on tourism in the occupied area of Cyprus for the first three months of 2018

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (09.05.18) reports that the "tourism planning department" gave information about tourism in the breakaway regime between Januuray and March 2018.

According to the date, 226,177 persons were hosted in the 139 facilities activated in the breakaway regime in the above mentioned period. Compared with the same period last year there was a 1,6% increase in accommodation but 1,7% decrease in the occupancy rate.

(CS)


[B] Turkish Press

[01] Turkey's MFA describes US' decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal as an "unfortunate step"

Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.05.18- https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/turkey-us-decision-on-iran-deal-unfortunate-step-/1139498) reported that Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the United States' decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal was an "unfortunate step".

"Turkey has always defended the stance that issues regarding Iran's nuclear program should be resolved through diplomacy and negotiations and has made intensive efforts in this direction," the Ministry said in a press release on its website.

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) accepted in 2015 was an important step taken to prevent proliferation. The plan in question has shown that even the most difficult of subjects could be resolved through negotiations."

The Ministry said further that Iran's compliance with the deal has been confirmed by periodic reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "As such, we consider it an unfortunate step that the U.S. has decided to withdraw from the deal", said the statement.

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action must be protected and continue to be implemented in full transparency, uninterrupted and complete, under the control of the IAEA," it added.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on his Twitter account that the multilateral agreement would remain in place thanks to the other countries' participation, while Trump's decision will cause instability and new conflicts.

"Turkey will maintain its resolute stance against all forms of nuclear weapons," he added.

EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik tweeted that "Unfortunately, the U.S. decision has an approach that will open doors to very bad developments."

"While there is no evidence that Iran is violating the agreement, the U.S by taking this decision means to take the exact opposite position of its allies," Celik said. "We are at a time where more negotiations are needed," he added.

Celik further said that while serious problems with North Korea are being resolved with diplomacy and while this has become a new hope for diplomacy, it is very wrong trying to damage an agreement that Iran is abiding by and an agreement that is functioning.

Bucking pressure from the U.S.'s closest European allies, President Donald Trump on Tuesday pulled the U.S. out of the landmark nuclear agreement that world powers struck in 2015 with Iran.

Trump opted not to extend sanctions relief on Iran ahead of a May 12 deadline, vowing instead to re-impose nuclear-related economic penalties.

The 2015 nuclear accord placed unprecedented restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions, but Trump has consistently railed against it since he began his bid for America's highest office, repeatedly claiming it is the "worst deal" he has ever seen.

All of the U.S.'s negotiating partners -- the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU -- agree that maintaining the accord is the best way to reign in Iran's nuclear program.

[02] Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu slam France over Quran proposal

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-slams-france-over-quran-proposal-131497) reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted as "ignorant" a manifesto recently published by prominent French intellectuals and politicians, which suggested that some Quranic verses incite hatred and violence and should be removed.

"Hey, West! You keep attacking our holy book. You should know we won't attack your sacred books, but we will take you down," Erdogan said in a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on May 8.

His comments came after 300 French intellectuals and politicians including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls signed a manifesto published in Le Parisien on April 21.

The manifesto stated that a number of Quranic verses incite violence and hatred toward Jews, Christians and nonbelievers.

Erdogan slammed "Western countries" for being "Islamophobic, Turcophobic, xenophobic and racist."

"Who do you think you are to attack our sacred book? I wonder if they have ever read their own Holy Bible or Torah. If they have, they would probably also demand to ban the Bible," he added.

"We will not attack your sacred books with the same language no matter how much you do all these things, because we are not as ignorant as you. We have a stance and a character ... No matter what people say, we will continue to shout the reality," Erdogan said.

()

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08 2018 18:00:28-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-leader-kilicdaroglu-blasts-france-over-quran-manifesto-131532) reported that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal K?l?cdaroglu has joined the chorus of critics of a manifesto published by prominent French intellectuals and politicians suggesting that some Quranic verses incite hatred and violence.

"It is not the Quran that is out of date, but you," K?l?cdaroglu said on May 8 addressing his CHP parliamentary group. "This attitude or judgment is the judgment of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and Daesh. [In this way] you are giving them your support," he said, adding that the world accepts Islam as a religion of peace. "There is no fight, grudge, or anger in Islam. In Islam there is merit and peace. How dare you define Islam this way? Respecting people's faith is necessary for human dignity," K?l?cdaroglu said.

()

[03] Three news surveys on the forthcoming snap elections

Turkish daily Sabah (08.05.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/05/09/incumbent-president-likely-to-be-re-elected-in-first-round-on-june-24-survey) reported that a survey by the Optimar Research Company shows that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will likely be elected in the first round of presidential elections on June 24.

The survey was conducted with the participation of 2,107 people between April 27 and May 2. Without the distribution of abstainers, 51% of the people said that they would vote for Erdogan while 52.4% of participants also said that they would vote for the People's Alliance. Furthermore, 9.7% of the participants have not made their decisions yet.

The presidential elections will be held next month. Erdogan announced that Turkey will head to presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, following a surprise call from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli for snap elections.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the MHP formed an alliance for the upcoming elections while the opposition bloc has announced that they would run separately with their candidates.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) announced that party chairman Kemal K?l?cdaroglu will not run in the elections and instead Muharrem Ince will be the presidential candidate. The Good Party (IP) announced that its party chairperson, Meral Aksener, will run in the presidential elections. The Felicity Party (SP) previously said that Temel Karamollaoglu is their candidate for presidency.

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Sozcu newspaper (09.05.18-https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2018/gundem/son-anketler-24-haziran-secimleri-icin-son-anketler-neyi-gosteriyor-iste-anket-sonuclari-2393629/) publishes the results of a survey conducted by Mediar Research Company between April 26-29.

The survey was conducted in several provinces in Turkey with a sample of 2,660 people. According to the results of the survey, in the parliamentary elections the "People's Alliance" receives 42.5%, the Republican People's Party (CHP) 22.9%, the Iyi Party (Good Party-IP) 17.1%, the People's Democracy Party (HDP) 13.2% and the Felicity Party (SP) 3.1%.

Regarding the presidential elections, the survey reveals that the presidential candidates will received the following votes:

-Recep Tayyip Erdogan: 42.11%

-Muharrem Ince: 20.11%

-Meral Aksener: 19.70%

-Selahattin Demirtas: 13.38%

-Temel Karamollaoglu: 3.08%

Moreover, Turkish daily Aksam (09.05.18-https://www.aksam.com.tr/yasam/secim-anketi-sonuclari-2018-son-dakika-24-haziran-son-secim-anketi-hangi-parti-ne-kadar-oy-alir/haber-732758#) reports on the results of a survey conducted by Optimar Research Company in Turkey between April 27-May 2. The survey was conducted in 26 provinces in Turkey with a sample of 2,107 people.

According to the results of the survey, in the question: "Would you vote in favour of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential elections?", 51% of the participants (without the distribution of the undecided voters) replied positively.

Also, replying to the questions "Would you vote in favour of the People's Alliance established by the AKP and the MHP?", the 52.4% of the participants in the survey said yes, while 10.3% of the participants presented as undecided.

Further, the Turkish website demokrahaber (09.05.18- https://www.demokrathaber.org/siyaset/gezici-secim-anketlerini-degerlendirdi-erdogan-in-oy-orani-h101439.html) reports on statements by Murat Gezici, owner of the Gezici Research Company who has stated in a televised program in Turkish Deutche Welle that according to the results of the recent surveys in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive 46% in the forthcoming presidential elections in June 24, while the chairman of the Iyi Party (Good Party) would receive 25-27%.

Gezici further stated that AKP and MHP would lose the majority in the new Parliament to be established after the June 24 elections. Gezici added that HDP would not confront any problem with threshold and would receive 11%.

(AK)

[04] Good Party social media team member detained due to FETO propaganda

Turkish daily Sabah (09.05.18-https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terror/2018/05/09/good-party-social-media-team-member-detained-due-to-feto-propaganda) reports that Kerim Colakl?k, a member of the newly-formed Good (Iyi) Party's (IP) social media team, was detained yesterday for reportedly carrying out propaganda for the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO).

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued a warrant for Corakl?k early yesterday over posts on his social media account.

He was later detained from his house in Ankara and will reportedly be sent to Istanbul once his file was completed.

In a statement, the Prosecutor's office said that it was carrying out an investigation against FETO's social media operations. Corakl?k's posts on microblogging site Twitter also came under the scope of this investigation.

Colakl?k was previously detained in September 2016 as part of an investigation carried out by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office but was later released under judicial control.

In October 2017, a group of breakaway members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) founded IP under the leadership of Meral Aksener.

Aksener was a prominent figure among MHP dissidents, who heavily criticized the policies of the MHP's chairman of 20 years, Devlet Bahceli.

The intraparty debate ended when the dissidents were dismissed from the party and the issue landed in court.

Bahceli has accused Aksener of having close ties with FETO. He claimed in December 2015 that FETO used one of his party candidates as a "political tool."

[05] Turkish court decides to keep US pastor Andrew Brunson behind bars

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily news (08.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-court-decides-to-keep-us-pastor-andrew-brunson-behind-bars-131492 May 08 2018 12:34:00) reported that the panel of judges overseeing the trial of jailed pastor Andrew Brunson, in a case that has inflamed tensions between Turkey and the United States, has decided to reject his demand to be released during the trial.

At the end of the hearing on May 7, the court in the Aegean province of Izmir decided to keep Brunson in jail up until the next hearing on July 18.

During the hearing Brunson denied the allegations of three secret witnesses who accused him of helping the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, referred to by the authorities as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO).

Brunson, the leader of a small Protestant Christian church named "Yeniden Dirilis" (Resurrection), rejected all accusations in the second session of his trial, insisting that he "never permitted politics in church." "I do not accept the charges. I would like to say openly and clearly that the PKK is a terrorist organization I do not support any Kurdish group that carries on terrorist activities against Turkey. If we were sympathizers of the PKK those Turks would not stay in our church," he said.

"My service that I have spent my life on, has now turned upside down. I was never ashamed to be a server of Jesus but these claims are shameful and disgusting ... What more should I say? I want to return to my home," he added, requesting to be released pending trial.

Brunson's lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, said they will insist on demanding his release, stressing that he is mentally depressed.

Brunson was arrested in October 2017 and now faces up to 35 years in jail on terror and spy charges.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the U.S. State Department have repeatedly called on the Turkish government for his release.

"Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason. They call him a spy, but I am more a spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs!" Trump tweeted on April 18.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who will soon meet new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, said Brunson's case was a legal one.

"They say 'the government should release him.' Is it up to me? This is a decision the judiciary will make," Cavusoglu told broadcaster CNN Turk in an interview on May 6.

[06] Turkey to receive first F-35 fighters from US next month

Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (09.05.18-http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-to-receive-first-f-35-fighter-from-us-next-month-131537) reports that the United States will deliver the first F-35 joint strike fighters to Turkey on June 21 as part of a longstanding partnership between the two allies, despite attempts by the U.S. Congress to block the procurement of such weaponry to the Turkish government.

According to defence industry authorities, the delivery of the first of the 30 F-35 fighters will be made on June 21 in a ceremony that will be held in the U.S.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which are a part of the U.S. Department of Defence's JSF program, along with a number of prominent NATO allies including the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands, have been planning to upgrade their air force fleets with 100 F-35 aircrafts to be jointly produced under this program. The first package, however, is about the delivery of 30 F-35 fighters.

Pilots from the TSK will receive intense training at the headquarters of the main producer of the F-35, Lockheed Martin, before the fighters will be transported to Turkey later this year, sources have said. Sources have also informed that arrangements are underway on military bases in Turkey where the F-35s will be deployed.

Turkey's current air defence is based on strong F-16 fleets. The TSK is planning to change some of these fleets with the incoming F-35s.

The delivery of the first F-35 fighter will take place at a time when a number of U.S. Congressmen have been urging the U.S. administration to suspend the procurement of these fighters to Turkey because of the latter's decision to upgrade its air defence systems with Russian S-400 anti-ballistic missile systems.

Turkey has strongly criticized the U.S. Congress' move and vowed to retaliate. "If they take such a step at a moment when we are trying to mend our bilateral ties, they will definitely get a response from Turkey. There is no longer the old Turkey," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told private broadcaster CNN Turk in an interview on May 6.

TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

(AK/ AM)


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