Turkey condemns Greek newspaper headline abusing Erdogan

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Updated 20 September 2020

Turkey condemns Greek newspaper headline abusing Erdogan

  • The two NATO countries are already locked in a heated dispute over energy exploration in contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: The Turkish government has condemned a headline in a Greek newspaper that insults President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging Athens to take action.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had already summoned Greece’s ambassador over the headline in Dimokratia newspaper, also available on its website.
The headline “Siktir Git Mr. Erdogan,” which means “f*** off” in Turkish, appears next to a photo of the president in the Greek newspaper, which also added the English translation.
“On behalf of the Turkish government, I condemn in the strongest terms the publication of insults directed at our President ... on the front page of an extreme right newspaper,” Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, wrote in a letter to Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas made public on Saturday.
He urged Greece to bring to account those responsible for the “shameless” action.
“Insulting a foreign leader is nothing but a sign of helplessness and lack of reason, and does not fall within the scope of press freedom or freedom of expression,” he said.
The Greek Foreign Ministry had said on Friday freedoms of expression and the press were fully protected in the EU member country but added: “The use of offensive language is contrary to our country’s political culture and can only be condemned.”
The two NATO countries are already locked in a heated dispute over energy exploration in contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s deployment last month of research vessel Oruc Reis prompted the neighbors to stage rival air and naval drills in strategic waters between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete.

HIGHLIGHT

The two NATO countries are already locked in a heated dispute over energy exploration in contested waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

Last weekend, Ankara pulled the vessel back to the shore for maintenance and replenishment after its one-month mission.
But Turkey extended the operations of another research vessel, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, off Cyprus until Oct. 18, according to a message on Friday on maritime alert system NAVTEX.
Turkey’s drill ship Yavuz will also remain off Cyrus until Oct. 12.
Erdogan said on Friday he wanted to give diplomacy a chance with Oruc Reis pulled back on the port and did not rule out a meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis via videoconference or in a third country.
French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country backs Greece in the dispute, welcomed the Turkish leader’s willingness for dialogue, saying southern European leaders had delivered a similar message to Turkey during a meeting in the Corsican city of Ajaccio last week.
“In Ajaccio, we sent a clear message to Turkey: Let’s reopen a responsible dialogue, in good faith, without naivety. This call is now also that of the European Parliament. It seems to have been heard. Let’s move on,” he tweeted in French and Turkish.
EU leaders are due to discuss possible sanctions against Turkey at their meeting on Sept. 24-25.


Turkish Cypriots elect Erdogan’s candidate amid east Med tensions

Turkish Cypriot politician Ersin Tatar celebrates his election victory in Turkish-controlled northern Nicosia, Cyprus October 18, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 October 2020

Turkish Cypriots elect Erdogan’s candidate amid east Med tensions

  • The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations,” while multiple countries have staged military drills in the region in recent months

NICOSIA: Turkish Cypriots in breakaway northern Cyprus on Sunday narrowly elected right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar, backed by Ankara, in a run-off poll, at a time of heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Tatar, 60, clinched his surprise victory in a second round of presidential elections, winning 51.7 percent of the vote, official results showed.
He edged out incumbent Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, 72, a supporter of reunification with the Greek Cypriot south of the divided island, leaving attempts to relaunch long-stalled UN-brokered talks hanging in the balance.
Tatar is an advocate of a two-state solution and held the post of premier in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Ankara.
He controversially received the open backing of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the election campaign.
In a victory speech to hundreds of cheering and Turkish flag-waving supporters, Tatar thanked Turkey’s head of state and said: “We deserve our sovereignty — we are the voice of Turkish Cypriots.
“We are fighting to exist within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, therefore our neighbors in the south and the world community should respect our fight for freedom.”
There was no immediate official reaction from the Greek Cypriot government or ruling party in the south of the island, which is a European Union member state, although opposition parties were quick to lament the outcome.
Erdogan was swift to celebrate the victory, which followed a high 67-percent turnout at the polls.
“I congratulate Ersin Tatar who has been elected president ... Turkey will continue to provide all types of efforts to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people,” he wrote on Twitter.

HIGHLIGHT

Ersin Tatar edged out incumbent Mustafa Akinc, leaving attempts to relaunch UN-brokered talks hanging in the balance.

In a telephone call the same night, Erdogan said he was confident the two leaders would maintain close cooperation in all areas, “starting with the hydrocarbon linked activities in the eastern Mediterranean,” his office said.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly assertive regional power that is now engaged in a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters.
The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations,” while multiple countries have staged military drills in the region in recent months.
The second-round ballot was triggered after Tatar won 32 percent of the vote on Oct. 11 ahead of Akinci, who garnered just under 30 percent.
Akinci was tipped to secure a second term, having won the backing of Tufan Erhurman, a fellow social democrat who came third last time around.
After his defeat, Akinci, who had accused Ankara of meddling in the polls, thanked his supporters and said: “You know what happened ... I am not going to do politics on this.”
The TRNC, with a population of about 300,000, was established after the north was occupied by Turkey in 1974 in reaction to a coup that aimed to annex Cyprus to Greece.
Earlier in October, Turkish troops angered the Republic of Cyprus by reopening public access to the fenced-off seaside ghost town of Varosha for the first time since Turkish forces invaded the north.
The reopening was announced jointly by Erdogan and Tatar at a meeting in Ankara just days before the first round of polling.
It drew EU and UN criticism and sparked demonstrations in the Republic of Cyprus, which exercises its authority over the island’s south, separated from the TRNC by a UN-patrolled buffer zone.
On the eve of Sunday’s vote, Greek Cypriot demonstrators massed at a checkpoint along the so-called “Green Line,” holding signs that read “Cyprus is Greek,” in protest at the reopening of nearby Varosha to the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey has repeatedly said it seeks to defend Turkish and Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Akinci’s relationship with Ankara had come under strain, especially after he described the prospect of the north’s annexation by Turkey as “horrible” in February.
When Akinci took office in 2015, he was hailed as the leader best placed to revive peace talks.
But hopes were dashed in July 2017 after UN-mediated negotiations collapsed in Switzerland, notably over Greek Cypriot demands for the withdrawal of the tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers still stationed in the TRNC.