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It arrived and landed
Following the handover of the Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport to the Turkish Armed Forces, the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) landed at the airport on Monday morning.
- Weapon systems removed – Defence policies analyst Turan Oğuz, in his statement to Turkish media, said all UAVs (10 TB2 & 3 ANKA type) in the Turkish inventory are armed but the weapons systems were removed before deploying them to north Cyprus because the Greek Cypriot side carries out unarmed reconnaissance missions.
- All eyes on Erhürman – The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) is expected to announce its presidential candidate during its expanded party assembly meeting on Tuesday evening.
Universities’ student-bus permits to be revoked
Ahmet Aydın, head of the Road Safety Department, said once the public transportation system through regional companies is established, the student-bus permits given to the universities will be revoked. He added a transition period is granted to the higher education institutions until the end of the 2019-2020 academic year and the routes for accordion-buses have been limited. Kıbrıs Postası had reported previously that the accordion-buses used by the universities pose serious risks in traffic and they are out of the scope of insurance coverage as well.
- First UAV took off from Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport.
41,219 foreign students from 140 countries
The number of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot students studying in the north dropped in the current academic year compared to the previous 2018-2019 academic term. The number of students from third countries increased by 5901. There are now 7916 Nigerian students studying in the north.
- Turkish Cypriots expect Johnson to keep his promise – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to address the issue of direct flights to North Cyprus and to tackle isolations imposed on the north before the elections.
A naval base in İskele (Trikomo)
Havadis’s report of plans for a naval base in İskele (Trikomo) has been confirmed by officials at the highest level just as did its earlier reports on armed and unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles. Havadis had first brought the story to readers on October 29. CTP MP Asım Akansoy asked the Ministry of Tourism and Environment whether there were plans to construct a naval base in a forest area in İskele (Trikomo). The Tourism Ministry in a written response said there were no such plans. However, the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus (KTBK) in its response to Akanoy’s enquiry sent to the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed its plans to build a new headquarters, barracks and facilities at the site. It, however, said there were no plans to construct an ammunition depot.
- UAVs land at Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) – Just three days after Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport was transferred to KTBK to be used as a base for UAVs, the first drone landed at the airport. The UAV took off shortly after landing for its first mission flight in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Challenging the embargoes
25,776 planes landed and took off from Ercan (Tymbou) Airport in the first 11 months of 2019, carrying a total of 3.7m passengers. 376 of these planes were private while 178 of them were military transport planes. Also, more than 3000 ferry services were held to and from the TRNC for the same period.
- They will continue to come – First UAV landed at Geçitkale (Tymbou).
Go home UAV
The first reaction to UAVs came from KTÖS (Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union). Şener Elcil: “The transformation of Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) Airport into a military base and the military advances made by Turkey with the excuse that the Greek Cypriot side was in an arms race and the British were using its bases to launch attacks is a direct attack on those supporting peace in Cyprus.
- Akıncı and Anastasiades spoke at a workshop – The bicommunal education committee organized a workshop on leadership in education.
First Turkish UAV lands at Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airportYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security, External Security, Regional/International Relations
The first Turkish drone aimed at supporting Turkish vessels conducting hydrocarbon exploration and drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean landed at Geçitkale (Lefkonkio) (Gecitkale) airport in the north around 9 am local time on Monday after a five-hour flight from the Dalaman Air Naval base in Turkey.
The TRNC cabinet decided to allocate the use of the airport last Friday for the deployment of both unarmed and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to counter to what it said provocative moves from the Greek Cypriot side.
Shortly after landing at Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko), the TB2 type UAV took off for a short reconnaissance mission before returning to its new base.
A mobile control and command centre has also been set up at Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport.
“It can be seen how necessary and urgent the decision to allocate Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) to use of UAVs,” Transportation and Communication Minister Tolga Atakan in response to criticisms directed at the cabinet.
Speaking at a news programme on Bayrak, Atakan pointed to the Greek Cypriot side’s agreements with Israel and investing in UAVs.
Rejecting the allegations of warmongering, Atakan stressed the decision was taken to ensure the country’s security given Turkey’s activities in the region.
“The UAVs will also support and increase our capabilities in tackling irregular immigration and human trafficking issues, which are both growing problems in the region,” Atakan noted.
The Minister also denied claims that the decision was taken secretly.
“On the contrary, the decision was shared with the public on the day it was taken,” he stressed and added the Civil Aviation Department, Ercan (Tymbou) Air traffic controllers and Turkish Navy will work in coordination.
He said that air traffic control at Ercan (Tymbou) will also monitor every activity.
Meanwhile, the leader of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) İzzet İzcan on Monday criticized the Turkish Cypriot government’s decision to allocate Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport for the use of UAVs.
He argued that the move will only serve to raise tensions in the region.
The BKP leader also underlined the need for the Cyprus negotiations process to start as soon as possible to create a demilitarized Cyprus.
He said that the two communities need to derive lessons from the conflicts in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, keeping away from armaments.
“We don’t want UAVs, armed or unarmed in our country,” he said.
Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Cypriot parliament Zorlu Töre on Monday expressed support to the government’s move, arguing that it had become a necessity for UAVs to assigned missions over Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.
In a written statement, Töre said that recent military actions by the Greek Cypriot side, its increased military spending and the fact it will be conducting nine new drilling operations in 2020 was a clear indication that the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo will steadily increase its provocative actions.
The Cyprus Socialist Party (KSP) in a written statement on Monday criticized the move, stating that the island should be cleared of all foreign forces, nuclear warheads, fighter planes and UAVs.
“We do not want to be a party to unjust wars in the Middle East,” the statement read.
The KSP also called for the immediate cancellation of the Treaty of Guarantees.
“In light of these developments, it has become a necessity for Turkey to take more affirmative actions in the region,” he said.
The Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers’ Union (KTOEÖS) has criticized both Turkey and the Greek Cypriot authorities for their armament policies and for giving nationalists concessions.
In a written statement on Monday, KTOEÖS President Selma Eylem said that authorities on both sides of the divide were trying to maintain the status quo thus implementing or advocating policies that will lead to war.
Eylem described the government’s decision to allocate Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport for the use of Turkish UAVs as a “dangerous step” and urged authorities to revoke their decision.
“We would like to remind everyone that such policies will not only harm our country but the entire region,” she said.
Eylem also called on the leaders to take on an initiative to reach an agreement within the framework drawn by the UN Secretary-General (UNSG).
The General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) Şener Elcil also criticized the government for its decision regarding the UAVs.
He described the transformation of Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport into a military base as a clear and direct attack on those who support peace in Cyprus.
Elcil also urged the leaders to urgently return to the negotiating table.
Recalling that Cypriots suffered greatly throughout history at the hands of invaders and foreign powers due to the island’s strategic location, Elcil said that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was waging a policy of tension, conflict and war with its neighbours.
He added that the presence of the British bases, the ongoing armament campaign pursued by Greek Cypriots and Turkey’s increasingly growing military presence on the island not only harmed efforts to reach a peaceful settlement on the island but raised the risk of conflict in the region.
“A settlement in Cyprus is important of clearing the island of all military elements. Therefore, it is important that both leaders return to the table as soon as possible,” he said.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay on Monday said that the UAVs to be stationed in north Cyprus “will protect the interests of both the TRNC and Turkey.”
In a Twitter post, Oktay added the UAV will serve for peace and regional security. He also shared the first video footage taken of the TB2 type Bayraktar UAV landing at Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) airport.
Defence policies analyst Turan Oğuz, in his statement to Turkish media, said all UAVs (10 TB2 & 3 ANKA type) in the Turkish inventory are armed but the weapons systems were removed before deploying them to north Cyprus because the Greek Cypriot side carries out unarmed reconnaissance missions.
>> The decision to allocate Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) is to ensure the country’s security given Turkey’s activities in the region.
>> The UAVs will also support & increase our capabilities in tackling irregular immigration and human trafficking issues, which are both recent problems in the region.
>> Civil Aviation Department, Ercan (Tymbou) Air traffic controllers and Turkish Navy will work in coordination. Air traffic control at Ercan (Tymbou) will also monitor every UAV activity.
İzzet İzcan (BKP)
>> Decision to station UAVs will only serve to increase tensions in the region.
>> Process to solve Cyprob & create a demilitarized Cyprus needs to begin urgently.
>> Two communities should derive lessons from neighbouring countries suffering from conflict.
>> Move to station UAVs in Cyprus has become a necessity.
>> GC military actions indicate that a steady increase in provocative actions will take place thus making it a necessity for Turkey to take such affirmative action.
>> Island should be cleared of all military elements.
>> Cypriots do not want to be a party to conflicts in the Middle East.
>> Guarantees should be scrapped immediately.
>> Move to station UAVs a dangerous step both for Cyprus & the region.
>> Both sides trying to maintain the status quo on the island.
>> Transforming Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko) into a military base is a blatant attack on those supporting peace & solution in Cyprus.
>> Such efforts not only harmed efforts to reach a solution but also raised the risk of conflict.
>> Leaders must return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.
>> The UAVs will protect the interests of both the TRNC and Turkey.
>> UAVs will serve for peace and regional security.
Turkish army confirms plans for naval base in İskele (Trikomo)Havadis
Internal security, External Security, Regional/International Relations
The Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus (KTBK) confirmed that the old harbour used for carob trading in İskele (Trikomo) is to be converted into a naval base, Havadis reports.
CTP MP Asım Akansoy had asked for the tourism ministry and the prime ministry to confirm or deny the allegations of establishing a military base in the area following a report in Havadis newspaper on October 29, 2019.
The Tourism Ministry in a written response said there were no such plans. However, the KTBK in its response to Akanoy’s enquiry sent to the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed its plans to build a new headquarters, barracks and facility at the site.
It, however, said that it had no plans to construct an ammunition depot.
The area supposedly reserved for a military base is marked as “forest land” in the Development Master Plan.
KTBK also noted in its response that it has already acquired the necessary permits from the Department of Roadworks, the Water Board and the Town Planning Department.
The military is expected to fence off the area before commencing work.
Due to its proximity to the shore, the masterplan restricts constructions of buildings taller than two stores for the exception of hotels which can build to a maximum of four stores.
Education vital for building a culture of peaceYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
CBMs, Human Rights
“No matter what it will be called, the new structure to be established by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots must ensure all its citizens live in freedom, equality and security,” President Mustafa Akıncı said on Monday.
He added the most important factor in ensuring the sustainability of this structure is a culture of peace.
Speaking during the Transformational Leadership in Education event, organized by the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Education, Akıncı said: “It is obvious we need to work towards replacing the culture of violence, which leads to wars, conflicts, pain, inequality, racism and discrimination with the culture of peace through education.”
He emphasized that the culture of peace dictates approaching differences through dialogue rather than violence; and making the effort to finding a solution through humane means.
“These factors of the culture of peace are also needed to make the federal solution functional as well,” Akıncı emphasized.
Akıncı, addressing the school principals attending the event, emphasized the importance of transformational leadership in education.
He said the teachers must be concerned about the skills and values to be taught to the students rather than the amount of information.
“The children must be equipped with problem-solving abilities, critical thinking and analytical thinking skills as well as being secular and inquisitive. They have to be able to tolerate differences,” Akıncı said, adding that “only then will they be able to create peaceful models of co-existence.”
Also speaking at the event, general coordinator of technical committees Meltem Onurkan Samani announced that ‘Imagine’ has launched its project to produce joint education materials within the European Council’s principles on education.
She also thanked the two leaders for their presence at the event.
Samani, who is also the Turkish Cypriot chair of the bicommunal technical committee on education, said the Imagine project activities are carried out by taking into consideration the sensitivities of the two sides. She went on to further explain the goals of the Imagine project.
>> New structure to be established by TCs & GCs, must ensure all its citizens live in freedom, equality & security.
>> The most important factor in ensuring sustainability of this structure is a culture of peace.
>> Work needed to replace the culture of violence, which leads to wars, conflicts, pain, inequality, racism & discrimination with the culture of peace through education.
>> The culture of peace dictates approaching differences through dialogue rather than violence, and making the effort to finding a solution through humane means.
>> Culture of peace is also needed to make the federal solution functional as well.
>> The teachers must be concerned about the skills & values to be taught to the students rather than the amount of information.
>> The children must be equipped with problem-solving abilities, critical thinking & analytical thinking skills as well as being secular and inquisitive.
>> They have to be able to tolerate to differences. Only then they will be able to create peaceful models of living together.