Front Page Headlines
No negotiations, just a meeting
Cypriot leaders met, took reconciliatory steps.
The mountain gave birth to a “delayed CBM”
Akinci-Anastasiades meeting resulted in renewing the four-year-old CBM agreement which could not be implemented due to the Greek Cypriot side and return of artwork.
- Guardian claims Exxon finds huge reserves in block 10 – The paper further claims US-Turkey on the verge of tension over hydrocarbon exploration.
- Agriculture Minister Sahali will not tolerate cattle farmers like the previous time – Minister Sahali warns cattle farmers to behave when staging a protest.
Nice initiative from the leaders
Leaders agreed on beneficial and humane measures during three-hour long unofficial meeting on Tuesday.
- “We are struggling to defend the Turkish Cypriots’ rights” – Turkish FM Cavusoglu spoke in Ankara.
- Import companies outraged – Chamber of Commerce objects to Agriculture Ministry increasing tariffs on agricultural product imports to fill Insurance Fund.
The tide turns
Akinci and Anastasiades take important decisions on CBMs in a three-hour long unofficial meeting.
- Legal action will clear this matter – Sener Elcil spoke on the issue of Republic of Cyprus citizenship for children of mixed marriages.
Akıncı and Anastasiades go back 4 years to take up electricity and mobile phones but refrain from negotiating the solution of the problem.
- Conditions have not matured – Anastasiades spoke after Tuesday’s meeting, giving little hope for progress.
- Come on, let’s find a solution – A former pasta factory located in the open section of Maras (Varosha) has become a hangout for junkies and alcoholics.
Progress on the issue of confidence-building measures.
- Yasemin (Jasmine) Movement announces candidates – Yasemin Movement to attend European Parliamentary elections with 6 candidates.
Leaders agree to implement a number of CBMsYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Negotiations Process, CBMs
President Mustafa Akinci said his meeting with Anastasiades was held in two parts – the first part on confidence-building measures (CBMs) and the second part on the essence of the Cyprus Problem.
Akinci, pleased with the outcome of the meeting, said the two leaders have reached an agreement on the permanent connection of the electricity grida and on mobile phone interoperability.
Akinci reminded that there had been temporary connections of the electricity grids in the past, noting that engineers have checked the compatibility of the systems and now the system will remain permanently connected. The transfer of electricity will be on a need-basis.
Akinci said the mobile phone interoperability issue was also resolved during Tuesday’s meeting and that GSM operators will have to separately sign agreements with a hub based in Europe in order to link the GSM lines on both sides. The relevant technical committee will be tasked to carry out the necessary work.
In terms of CBMs, Akinci announced that the two leaders have agreed to de-mine nine minefields on each side of the island, underlining that the ultimate goal is to create a mine-free Cyprus. He added that military officials, who had already carried out the necessary preparatory work, will deal with the technical details of the demining process.
Akinci said the Turkish Cypriot side proposed as a goodwill gesture to return paintings belonging to Greek Cypriot artists kept in the north, adding that in response, Anastasiades agreed to return pre-1963 recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists kept at CyBC archives. The Culture Committee is tasked with the exchange of the above mentioned CBM.
Akinci said Anastasiades presented his proposal on the decentralization model in principle, however, he did not go into the details of competencies to be transferred to the constituent states and to be kept with the central government. He stressed that no matter how limited the competencies will be at the central government, these powers will be exercised jointly, which brings together the concepts of political equality and effective participation.
Akinci underlined that the sides maintain their positions on this issue while Anastasiades will further elaborate on his proposal.
Moreover, the UN Spokesperson’s office issued a statement on Tuesday following the two leaders meeting, announcing the agreements and goodwill gestures achieved.
>> Obstacles to permanent connectivity of electricity lines and mobile phone interoperability removed.
>> Nine minefields on each side to be cleared as a result of the agreement reached.
>> TC side agrees to return GC paintings kept in the north and GC side agrees to return TC artists’ recordings at CyBC archives.
>> Anastasiades presented his decentralization views in principle.
>> Political equality and effective participation in decision making to remain at the core of federal government.
>> GC and TC sides maintain their positions on political equality and effective participation in decision making.
Party reactions to leaders’ meetingYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Negotiations Process, CBMs
Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, via social
media on Tuesday, said he found the agreements reached by the two leaders as
very important. Ozersay noted that all the decisions taken during the leaders’
meeting, from electricity to mobile phones and to demining, will contribute to
building trust between the two sides through collaboration.
Ozersay expressed his desire to see collaboration extended to other areas such as the return of criminals and hydrocarbons.
The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) welcomed the CBMs reached by the two leaders. CTP stressed the CBMs on the permanent connection of gridlines and mobile phone interoperability will alleviate the daily needs of the two communities.
Moreover, CTP noted exchanging the works of Greek Cypriot artists with pre-1963 recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists is a very positive step together with the significant decision on demining.
CTP embraces the two leaders’ decisions that will assist in establishing the federal culture and that will facilitate bringing the two communities closer.
The Social Democratic Party (TDP) welcomed all the points outlined in the joint statement, describing the CBMs as a great response to the climate of hopelessness prevailing in the country.
It said the joint statement constitutes the best proof that with confident steps the two sides will get closer to the goal of a comprehensive solution and peace, as long as there is political desire and determination.
TDP said it was happy to see that Akinci’s decisive attitude since the beginning vis-à-vis the confidence-building measures had come to bear fruit.
The party said while aware of the difficulties, it will continue to support the process based on UN parameters, as well as its persistent advocate Akıncı.
>> Agreements reached by leaders will contribute to building trust between the communities.
>> Collaboration should be extended to other areas such as hydrocarbons and return of criminals.
>> Agreed CBMs will alleviate daily needs of two communities & help establish federal culture that will bring two sides closer.
>> Leaders’ agreement best proof that two sides will get closer to a comprehensive solution.
>> TDP to continue supporting Akıncı’s efforts and solution process based on UN parameters.
Bicommunal Initiative issues call to leadersYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
The Bicommunal Peace Initiative (BPI) staged a demonstration on Tuesday at the entrance of the UN Protected Area calling on the leaders to work towards a solution. The group which unfurled a banner with “PEACE AND SOLUTION NOW” written in English, Greek and Turkish, warned that time was running out for a bicommunal, bizonal federal solution.
A statement by BPI said that the island was on the brink of sliding into permanent division and the return to violence stood as a real possibility.
It added that the two leaders seemed not to appreciate their historic duty, diverging further and creating an atmosphere that made an agreement appear impossible.
The Initiative said that there were attempts to marginalize Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and that they were witnessing the reopening of issues agreed upon such as the issue of political equality of Turkish Cypriots with so-called ‘new ideas’ being put on the negotiating table.
The Initiative insists that the only viable solution for the reunification of Cyprus and peace is based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality.
It demanded that the leaders come out from 26 February meeting with a clear decision to return to the negotiating table and positively respond to the pending issues as these remain since Crans-Montana.
>> Time is running out for a federal solution.
>> Island on brink of permanent division with return to violence possible.
>> Attempts to reopen issues already agreed upon (TC political equality) by putting ‘new ideas’ on table.
>> Only viable solution is a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality.
>> Leaders must make clear decision to return to negotiating table & tackle pending issues.
Cavusoglu: Striving to protect the Turkish Cypriots’ rightsKıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Yenidüzen, Diyalog
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey is striving to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people. He added that Turkey will not refrain from doing all that is necessary to protect the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot people in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking during a visit to a war veterans’ association, Cavusoglu said he will look into the distribution of war medals to veterans of the Cyprus war.
Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) is continuing its hydrocarbon explorations in the Mediterranean in areas licensed by Turkey and the TRNC.
Bayraktar stressed that Turkey continues active exploration activities in an open process with all the national and international actors involved. He said Turkey was only open to establishing partnerships with companies that take Turkey’s concerns and sensitivities into consideration, regardless of the state of their bilateral relations. Bayraktar also expressed his strong belief that energy could play a critical role in overcoming political conflicts.
The deputy minister made the comments at an event entitled, ‘How will Global LNG Market Expansion and the Shale Gas Revolution Change the Market Dynamics’, organized by the Atlantic Council in Turkey.
>> Turkey will not refrain from anything to protect the rights of TCs.
>> TPAO continues its active hydrocarbon explorations in the Mediterranean.
>> Establishing partnerships only possible with companies that take Turkey’s concerns into consideration.
Number of Turkish Cypriots running for European Parliament on the riseYeniduzen, Afrika
A Turkish Cypriot political movement, the Yasemin (Jasmine) Movement announced that it will be taking part in the European Parliament (EP) elections with six candidates.
Oz Karahan, Leyla Kiralp, Zeki Beşiktepeli, Faize Ozdemirciler, Ibrahim Aziz and Sener Levent will be running in the EP elections, according to an announcement made by the movement’s spokesman Sener Levent.
Levent said that the decision was an important step towards a solution and peace in Cyprus. He said that the movement will carry the voice of all those who support a reunified Cyprus to the international arena.
The movement announced that it will be introducing the candidates at a press conference in the coming days.
Niyazi Kizilyurek who visited the Revolutionary Workers’ Trade Union (DEV-IS) as part of his election campaign said that they aimed to attract as many Turkish Cypriot voters as they can to vote in the European Parliamentary elections.
AKEL’s Turkish Cypriot candidate said that it was extremely important for Turkish Cypriots to demonstrate that they are Europeans.
Kizilyurek also repeated his view that the EP elections were not based on ethnicity but political views.
DEV-IS leader Hasan Felek expressed support to Kizilyurek, expressing the belief that he will accomplish much if elected.
Levent (Yasemin Movement)
>> Candidate’s decision to run an important step for peace and a solution.
>> If elected, candidates will be the voice of reunification supporters.
>> Important to have as many voting TCs as possible in EP elections.
>> Important for TCs to demonstrate they are European.
>> EP elections are not based on ethnicity but political views
Sener Elcil: Legal action will clear this matterHavadis
The Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTOS) General Secretary Sener Elcil said only one case had been filed so far with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the Republic of Cyprus for refusing to grant citizenship to a child born into a mixed marriage.
He said the case was rejected by the ECHR on grounds that domestic legal remedies had not been exhausted. Elcil stressed that the Greek Cypriot administration had preferred out-of-court settlements with previous cases filed at the ECHR and granted plaintiffs citizenship in exchange for the withdrawal of their cases. As a result, there is no precedent at the ECHR.
KTOS is preparing to file a collective case at the Greek Cypriot courts as the relevant Greek Cypriot authority has not concluded examining each application, which was proposed as an intermediary action, added Elcil.
KTOS, together with the Cyprus Turkish Secondary School Teachers’ Union (KTOEOS), received more than 6,000 applications from children born into mixed marriages. After the applications were categorized, the files were submitted to the Greek Cypriot Interior Ministry on 21 August 2017.
>> KTOS to take the citizenship applications to Greek Cypriot courts