Statement by Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The friend of Northern Cyprus shares its Daily News of Life and Times around the world
By Kathy Martin…
People around the world can scarcely be unaware that there is trouble in the Gaza Strip and West Bank border areas of Palestine and Israel. The world press blatantly displays the death rate (usually around 10:1 in favour of the Israelis). Of course, in war for every death there is at least one wounded, sometimes permanently such as when a person’s limb is destroyed.
By Ismail Veli…….
Turkey and Israel seem to have signed a deal that would help mend their relationship which was damaged when Israeli commandos attacked the human rights ship, Mavi Marmara in 2010. A jubilant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement and stated that the economic benefits for Israel would be positive. Israel agreed to pay a compensation package amounting to about 20 million Euros, but this would more than be made up with increased trade and improved security co-operation in the volatile world of the Middle East. In addition the Russian government made an announcement that President Erdogan apologized for the downing of a Russian jet in November of last year. Erdogan is reputed to have sent his condolences to the pilot’s family.
Turkey has been hit by sanctions from Russia at a time of falling tourist numbers from the EU. Terrorism has affected people’s view that Turkey is too risky. Russian tourists have stayed away in droves, and the growing number of refugees has put a massive strain on Turkey’s economy. But the timing of Erdogan’s apology has in my opinion been affected by the British people’s vote to Brexit from the EU, Turkey’s change of mind with Russia cannot be a coincidence. With Europe in turmoil, any new and unwanted additional members, in particular Turkey with its 80 million people and Islamic roots would cause fragmentation beyond repair. For once Erdogan may have woken up and smelled the coffee. For all his bluster his advisers probably told him that a re-alignment outside the EU was essential to restore some confidence to Turkey’s volatile position in a region of infinite turmoil. Pragmatism and common sense seems to have finally prevailed. Contrary to some thoughts I don’t believe Turkey’s position has been strengthened as a result of a Brexit vote.
Perhaps the need for Europe to keep Turkey firmly on side vis a vis the immigration problem may have given Turkey an advantage, but the dream of being accepted into the EU is as remote as ever. Another sad bi-product of the EU problem is that Turkey may finally lose hope of ever joining the group. If so the necessary reforms needed to bring Turkey to a higher level of democratic reforms may continue its downward spiral. Unless Erdogan’s increasing authoritarian rule is reversed the people of Turkey are unlikely to fulfill their dream of a Western style Democracy for the foreseeable future.
The positive news of Turkey’s Israeli and Russian rapprochement may bring some joy on the diplomatic and economic front, but it’s unlikely that Erdogan’s attitude will change sufficiently to bring about the kind of democracy that would make Turkey even remotely acceptable to an increasingly nationalist Europe.
By Ralph Kratzer
Capers (“Gabbar” in Cypriot Turkish) have been known for their useful characteristics for a long time and their popularity is constantly increasing.
The Latin name of the shrub is “Capparis spinosa” and it has been known for its edible bud and fruit. Caper buds or berries have various culinary and medical uses and the perennial shrub grows wild in walls and rocky coastal areas. It bears rounded, fleshy leaves and big white to pinkish flowers, but it’s probably not the kind of plant you would like to have in your garden. It looks like weed and has no aesthetic beauty, but it is highly resilient. The Caper is native to the Mediterranean region and is especially abundant in Anatolia, eastern Black Sea coast, south-eastern Turkey and Cyprus.
Hundreds of years ago a man called Saint Celebi said about the Caper: Despite the sandy grounds and the dry conditions, there is a plant named “gebre” here, used by the locals to make pickles. They pick the buds and fruit, pickle them in vinegar and oil, producing a highly beneficial dish.
According to research conducted in Israel, capers are effective in the treatment of diabetes. Other research has shown their positive cosmetic effect against irritations of the skin and bristly hair. In European countries capers are said to have a carminative, constipation-relieving, diuretic and aphrodisiac effect. In Spain it is used in the treatment of strangury, inflammation and poisonings. In India the sprouts, roots and seeds are used to produce an analgesic medicine. In addition, various researches have shown that “rutin”, a powerful antioxidant contained in the buds, acts against bleedings in the capillary veins. Furthermore, it is said to heal paralysis, rheumatism, anaemia, enlargement of the spleen and as well to benefit the functioning of the liver.
For culinary uses the Caper buds are pickled in vinegar to produce a delicious dish, often used as a seasoning or garnish. Especially in Cyprus these pickles are a common ingredient in many local dishes.
Naturally, such a healthy and delicious product with the previously named diversity of usage is worth a fortune. The buds and other parts of the shrub are used for medical products, in the food industry and for cosmetics. For many countries growing and exporting Caper products it is a great source of income. Main importing countries are the USA, Germany, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, UK, Australia and Canada. For example Spain, both growing and processing capers, is making millions of Dollars in this business.
If you have ever tasted this small green delicacy, which is used as an ingredient in a great variety of Mediterranean dishes, you will understand why…
By Guy Taylor – The Washington Times
A top official from the Turkish north of Cyprus says the Greek Cypriot government has jeopardized a delicate peace process between the two long-divided sides by pursuing “hegemony” over oil and gas exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
“The moment of truth has come,” M. Ergun Olgun, the chief Turkish Cypriot peace negotiator, told The Washington Times, asserting that Greek-Cypriot officials must decide “whether they want power-sharing with Turkish Cypriots or to be the masters of their land only.”
While talks between the two had appeared to gain historic momentum early last year, the process effectively broke down during recent months amid bitter disagreement over oil and gas in waters surrounding Cyprus — situated just south of Turkey and just west of Israel.
Greek Cypriot officials suspended the talks in October, citing “aggressive” moves by Turkey to support Turkish Cypriot exploration in areas where the Greek Cypriot government had already signed its own licensing deals with outside companies to drill.
Mr. Olgun pushed back at such assertions during a visit to Washington last week.
In an interview with The Times, he claimed the Turkish Cypriot side simply wants “inclusion” in the ongoing exploration activities, and that it is, in fact, the Greek Cypriots who have endangered the peace process by icing his side out of the licensing deals.
In addition to contracting the U.S.-based Noble Energy Inc. to search for oil and gas off the island’s coast, the Greek Cypriot government is said to be in talks with Israel and Greece over plans for a major pipeline that would eventually transport liquid natural gas to the European Union — a plan that reportedly went out of its way to exclude Turkey.
According to Mr. Olgun, the Greek Cypriot side is essentially “trying to claim and, in fact, coerce the [Turks] to accept its hegemony.”
“Cooperation on the hydrocarbons issue is a must,” he said. “By claiming they have the single sovereign rights to exploit this resource, the Greek-Cypriots are blocking that cooperation, first with the Turkish-Cypriots and through that with Turkey.”
His remarks presented a stark departure from optimism expressed last year by both Cypriot sides toward the prospect that a true reunification might be on the horizon after more than four decades of division on the island.
Cyprus was split into an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south and a Turkish-speaking north in 1974, when Turkish forces invaded after a coup by supporters of a union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent republic in 1983. But during the decades since, Turkey has never recognized the Greek Cypriot government as a sovereign nation, while most of the world — including the U.S. — has never formally recognized the Turkish Cypriot state.
Washington has long called for a federalized unification of the two sides. But in 2004 the Greek Cypriot side rejected a United Nations plan for reunification — a plan that was endorsed by Turkish Cypriots — and Cyprus joined the European Union as a divided island.
More recent years saw the island’s economy hurt badly by its exposure to Greece’s recession-hit markets. The development appeared to inspire Greek-Cypriot interest in unifying with the north, and the two sides suddenly came together in February of 2014 with an eye on sharing the potential windfall from the region’s energy reserves.
Ironically, the oil and gas dispute is now sucking the wind out of such goals.
While Mr. Olgun would not say so explicitly, his visit to Washington last week seemed driven by a desire to encourage the Obama administration to take a more proactive role — perhaps by calling on the Greek-Cypriot government to embrace a more multilateral approach to the exploration activities.
“There is a need to facilitate cooperation in the area based on the Greek principles of political equality and co-ownership of [natural resources],” Mr. Olgun said. “The enemy of this is unilateralism. We have to deter unilateralism.”
“The U.S. is a friend of both the Turkish-Cypriots and the Greek-Cypriots, as well as a friend of Turkey and Greece and a strategic ally of Israel,” he added. “All these are key players in the region, and we need cooperation between all of them for eastern Mediterranean security and stability.”
Whether the message had any traction with the Obama administration remains to be seen.
After speaking with The Times, Mr. Olgun met with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, who declined to comment for this report.
Her office pointed instead to remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig, who recently urged “both Cypriot sides and other interested international parties to redouble efforts toward a resumption of settlement talks.”
U.S. officials “hope to see the talks resume as soon as possible,” said Mr. Koenig, who called on the two sides to work with the U.N.’s special adviser on Cyprus, Barth Eide.
Mr. Eide is slated to visit the island on Tuesday and Wednesday. In a statement last week, his office said the “purpose of the visit is to ascertain directly from the leaders their views of the current impasse.”
But there is little mystery around the matter, according to Mr. Olgun.
There should, he said, be a “transitional executive council to start sharing power and acting together on issues until a final agreement” can be reached on how oil and gas exploration will proceed, along with how potential revenues will be shared.
“A Turkish-Cypriot offer has been on the table to start cooperating by forming a joint committee that will be involved with respect to all the previous contracts signed without challenging or obstructing the execution of contracts and activities that are currently underway,” Mr. Olgun said.
The recent drop in global oil prices is only adding urgency to the situation, he said.
“This is a deep-sea exploration, which is quite expensive,” Mr. Olgun said. “To make the price attractive, which is the best way? Is it going to be a floating LNG terminal? Are we going to sell it to Egypt?
“Are we going to make a pipeline to take it to Turkey? Which is the market that we can at competitive prices sell this product? Do we need to take it to Europe? Through which route can we take it to Europe?” he asked. “These are all valid questions that should be negotiated between the two sides.”
Source: Washington Times
The Turkish Navy has been authorized by the government for the full implementation of recently amended rules of engagement in the eastern Mediterranean in the face of growing tension between littoral countries, including Turkey, Greek Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over oil and natural gas drilling projects.
“The Prime Ministry handed over the rules of engagement to the Chief of General Staff and the Chief of Staff handed them over to the Naval Forces Command. We will act in line with these rules of engagement in the event we face a situation over this issue,” Adm. Bülent Bostanoğlu, the naval forces commander, told reporters Nov. 9 in Muğla as he participated in the Blue Whale-2014 naval exercise.
“Our naval forces elements will continue their mission of situational awareness in the region.” Bostanoğlu’s statement came after a question on which rules of engagement the Turkish Navy would follow if Turkish vessels confront Greek or Israeli warships in the eastern Mediterranean.
Tension between Turkey and the Greek Cyprus – Greece duo has increased recently after the Greek Cypriot government issued licenses for oil and natural gas exploration in its claimed economic exclusive zones in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey strongly criticized the move, saying it was a clear breach of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots’ rights and sent a seismic exploration vessel to the region for its own drilling purposes and one warship for the surveillance of foreign platform vessels being used for oil exploration.
“The Turkish Naval Forces is providing support and close protection to the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa Research Vessel. On the other hand, it continues to keep the drill ship hired by the Greek Cypriot administration under surveillance from nine kilometers’ distance. The order given to us for the moment is not to enter into this nine-kilometer area. That’s why no incident of harassment or disturbance has occurred,” he said.
The Turkish naval commander said the ongoing Blue Whale exercise had nothing to do with ongoing tension and that it was a biannual exercise whose preparations started two years ago. “The objective of the exercise is to improve cooperation with our allies and particularly to perform anti-submarine defense operations,” he said.
The tension between Turkey and Greek Cyprus has recently turned into a regional one as the latter took advantage of the former’s worsening relations with Egypt and Israel, which both have similar claims in the eastern Mediterranean. Greek, Greek Cypriot and Egyptian leaders came together at a tripartite summit in Cairo where they discussed regional security and economic cooperation.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Nov. 8 accused Turkey of “provocative actions” that he said Ankara was hindering the island’s peace talks and compromising security in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Turkey’s provocative actions do not just compromise the peace talks, but also affect security in the eastern Mediterranean region,” Anastasiades said at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
“For the [Cyprus peace] negotiations to succeed, Turkey needs to show a positive intention and adopt a constructive stance through positive and effective steps in this direction,” he said.
Ankara issued a notice that a Turkish seismic vessel would carry out a survey until Dec. 30 in the same area where the Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas is operating. Ankara opposes the Greek Cypriot government’s exploitation of offshore energy reserves before a deal is reached to solve the decades-long division of the east Mediterranean island.
Source: Hürriyet Daily News
This week I got some unusual Words of the Week via Facebook.
If the occasion would not be so terrible and cruel, one could smile about these words.
But the scenes of the reality with which we are confronted daily in the news, sticks the laugh in our throats! We all can only hope that there will be peace in Gaza soon! But who will help the Palestinians rebuild the devastated region?
By Chris Elliott……..
A friend of mine in the past said “You like writing so what do you know about Cyprus and 1948?” My answer was that I didn’t know and I decided to find out what the mystery was all about although it leads to the darker side of Cyprus history which then links to ongoing conflict today outside Cyprus.
Way back following the end of WW2, illegal immigration (Aliya Bet) was increasing with European refugees from the horrors of the death camps trying to reach Palestine. The British Authorities who controlled Palestine at that time had published a white paper in 1938 which restricted the number of immigrants who could enter Palestine and in the ensuing years many ships full of immigrants tried to reach their destination some with disastrous results.
Some readers may be aware of the ship Exodus which sailed from the port of Marseille in July 1947 with 4,515 immigrants including children. British destroyers accompanied this vessel and on July 18th 1947 they forced it to stop in international waters and boarded the ship on which two immigrants and a crew member were killed and 10 or more people were injured. The ship was then taken into the port of Haifa in Palestine where the immigrants were forced onto more ships and sent back to Europe to displaced persons camps at Am Staunear nr Lubeck and Pöppendorf in Germany. These events of course differ somewhat from those depicted in the film “Exodus”.
The events were covered by the media and world opinion condemned the British policy which was then changed and, following this, newly detained illegal immigrants were sent direct to detention camps in Cyprus and this is where the mystery begins.
Arriving refugees that numbered up to 50,000 were sent to nine camps located in the Dhekelia and Famagusta areas during the period 1946 to 1949. Of the Xylotymbou camps in the Dhekelia area no trace can be found today. Caraolos camp north of Famagusta was said to have been a prisoner of war camp built by the British to hold Turkish prisoners of war during the period 1916 to 1923. Today it is believed the location of this camp is in a Turkish Cypriot Military controlled area and therefore cannot be verified.
Reports say that the tented camps proved to be unsatisfactory and German POW’s were brought over from North Africa to help refurbish the camps which were then the cause of conflict with the Holocaust survivors held there. A number of people were killed and injured during trouble between these groups.
This subject still remains a veiled mystery as whilst research has shown differing opinions as to places and events, the biggest myth is the events described in the novel “Exodus” which were filmed in part here in Cyprus and also in Israel.
Reports indicate that some detainees did in fact tunnel out of the Caraolos camp and a number of small fishing boats were stolen but detainees were recaptured. The tale of the ship Exodus being hijacked in Famagusta harbour is just that, a story based loosely around a number of historical events.
Another recent interesting turn of events is that we have established contact with a group of people who, as small children, were attending a school provided for servicemen’s children at a later period of the Caraolos camp history and they like so many others have been trying to learn more of the disappearing past.
For those students of history who wish to carry out their own research on these camps there is some interesting film footage on British Pathe. .http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=58318 of arrival and departure of people from these camps.
Detainees started leaving the camps and Cyprus after the State of Israel was founded on May 14th 1948 and as we all know the people of the State of Palestine are now confined to 2 areas surrounded by the State of Israel. This is a strange situation where the State of Palestine has been recognised and friction continues with the State of Israel.
Here in Cyprus we have two states The Republic of Cyprus and The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus but only one state is recognised by the world but at least we have had peace if not harmony for the past 40 years.
We hope by publishing this article it will capture the interest of other people and that we can start to discover more of the history of Cyprus during those past years before it disappears forever..
For those who would like to learn more of the Exodus the following video trailer tells more of the events in those days long gone by.
Turkish Cypriot chief negotiator Özersay played down the prospect of a quick solution in peace talks with his Greek rivals, warning that the discovery of natural gas in the region was possibly more of an obstacle than of help.
“The fact that one community – one of the co-owners – is treated as if they were eligible to do whatever they want about hydrocarbons without getting the consent of the other, it cannot help the Cyprus problem, on the contrary it could be a kind of obstacle,” negotiator Kudret Özersay said.
The recent discovery of natural gas under the sea between Cyprus and Israel has added a new dimension to the divided island’s strife and also heightened tensions between the two sides.
The significance of the find has been amplified by the Ukraine crisis and its possible impact on Russian gas supplies to Europe.
Speaking to reporters in Paris, Özersay said the next phase of talks was uncertain, the first time either side has warned of possible trouble ahead since talks were restarted in February.
“We are against the idea of talks just for talks. We don’t want to be the prisoners of that. We don’t know what will be the next stage, there isn’t a roadmap that we have agreed on,” he said.
Power sharing, redrawing property boundaries and the claims of thousands of displaced persons are key issues in the conflict. Any agreement must be put to separate referendums in Cyprus’ two communities, which are both mistrustful after previous failed talks.
“Our counterpart is unwilling to accept fully the convergences that were agreed, [and] they want to change some of these convergences that were [agreed] before,” Ozersay said, declining to give specific details.
“This is something disturbing for us and we’re not happy to see this.”
He was referring to the position of the present Greek Cypriot leadership that any agreements brokered in previous peace talks between 2008 and 2012 would be reviewed. Those were partial convergences on issues such as competencies of a future Cyprus federal government and on the functioning of the economy.
Özersay said there had been broad progress on issues ranging from federal legislature to a federal judiciary and a federal police.
“So far we achieved certain progress on certain issues. Is it sufficient? No.”
He also said both sides had failed to agree on the fate of the northern Cyprus town of Varosha, once a thriving holiday resort that welcomed Hollywood stars like Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, but which has been left deserted since 1974, occupied only by patrolling Turkish soldiers.
“We failed [on Varosha]. I don’t want to going to more details why, but we failed,” he said.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in a landmark visit to Cyprus on May 22 that the rival leaders had agreed to speed up the slow-moving talks, restarted after a two-year hiatus, to patch up one of Europe’s most intractable rifts.
Everybody is welcome but do come on time before 7.00pm to lay out your table and to settle down as darkness closes in around you to see the big screen light up and let the music of the Ramallah concert delight and inspire you.
This is a film by Paul Smaczny and is about the West – Eastern Divan Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim, the youth orchestra founded in 1998 by Barenboim and his close friend Edward Said, which consists of musicians from Israel and Arab countries. The concert in 2005, was an historical landmark in the development of musical and human relations in the Middle East.
Call 0533 841 8308 or email email@example.com to reserve your place and make a donation of 10TL to St Andrew’s Church.