TCC Press Review | 13 March 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Let’s look after our freedoms

Police arrests over claims of possessing books of outlawed organisations and membership to such organisations has reignited the debate on human rights in the country.  

Kıbrıs Postası

Committee on standby over IT law

The long-awaited IT law has not been sent to the parliamentary sub-committee yet due to the Public Works Ministry’s insistence on wanting to compare past bills.

  • Being in possession of a book is not the reason – Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars said Gargınsu is accused of advocating for a terror organisation.
  • Two ceremonies for Küçük – Former prime minister İrsen Küçük will be laid to his eternal rest on Wednesday.

Kıbrıs

Copper mine polluted the water

Officials implemented measures to prevent copper contaminated water to flow into Lefka and Morphou but the colour of the river has already changed. Water test results out on Monday.

  • Gargınsu accused of being a member of a terror organization – Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Council member’s arrest causes outrage.
  • 300 renal failure patients in the North – Feriha Tel urged people to be organ donors on World Kidney Day.

Havadis

Libraries are a crime scene

Bengül Gargınsu was arrested for being in possession of books promoting terrorist organization. Court remanded her in custody for two more days.

  • 419,000 TL paid for imaginary students – Two arrested for deceiving the Education Ministry over school bus services.
  • State funeral to be held – İrsen Küçük will be laid to his eternal rest with two ceremonies on Wednesday.

Diyalog

All eyes on this investigation

CTP Council member Bengül Gargınsu has been arrested on charges of being a member of an outlawed organisation and possessing propaganda material belonging to the organisation.

  • You’ll have to ask Erdoğan – Finance MinisterSerdar Denktaş’ response in parliament to questions as to why financial assistance from Turkey hasn’t arrived yet.

Afrika

Disgrace

Fascist practices in Turkey are now being implemented in the TRNC. Police who raided Bengül Gargınsu’s home the other day arrested her on charges of possessing a book belonging to an outlawed organisation. The court ordered her to remain in police custody for two days.

Main News

Senior CTP member arrested for alleged possession of ‘propaganda material’

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Human Rights, Internal Security, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Council member Bengül Gargınsu was arrested by police on Tuesday in connection with possession of a book banned in Turkey and written by the leader of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).

CTP General Secretary Erdoğan Sorakın confirmed the arrest, stating that Gargınsu was taken by police on the charge of “being in possession of propaganda material belonging to an outlawed organization”.

Sorakın also noted that Gargınsu appeared before court on Tuesday and was to remain in police custody for two more days.

The CTP General Secretary said legal proceedings will continue in accordance with the law but it was not yet known whether or not police would charge her for violation of any laws. Sorakın refrained from providing further details on the case and said everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He reminded that domestic judicial procedures have repeatedly validated the rights and freedoms ensured by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). He said CTP will continue with their efforts to amend the penal code in accordance with universal human rights as the party strongly believes no one in the Turkish Cypriot community can be deprived of the basic human right of freedom of expression.

CTP leader and Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman, in a post on social media, stressed the importance of confidentiality in police investigations.

He emphasized that the executive could not intervene with the judicial process but added that being in possession of a book could not constitute a crime on its own, referring to the European Convention on Human Rights.

He said that the principles of the presumption of innocence, rule of law, and independence of the judiciary were important.

Erhürman also said he will be following developments in the case with a focus on human rights, freedoms and democracy.

CTP MP Asım Akansoy condemned Gargınsu’s arrest via a social media post on Tuesday. Akansoy said her arrest for a book in her possession cannot be reconciled with the rule of law or democracy.

He said: “We must not allow Turkish Cypriots’ democratic life to be impaired by imported problems or imported measures. Therefore, we need more democracy, more freedoms and peace.”

Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars said that the charges brought against Gargınsu were not just limited to possession of a banned book but other crimes such as membership of an outlawed organisation.

She said the press must be more careful when reporting such incidents.

Baybars also pointed out that no one could or should intervene when the police are investigating a case.

“Nevertheless, possession of a book does not constitute a crime. It is freedom of thought,” Baybars told a TV programme.

She also said that a list of banned books did not exist in the TRNC.

The only thing that is illegal is possessing propaganda material belonging to a terrorist organisation and this is how the issue should be approached, she added.

Other civil society organisations, political movements and smaller parties also condemned the arrest of Gargınsu.

KEY ACTORS
Sorakin (CTP)
>> Domestic judicial proceedings have repeatedly validated the rights and freedoms ensured by the ECHR.
>> CTP to continue efforts to amend penal code in accordance with universal human rights.
>> No one in TC community can be deprived of the basic human right of freedom of expression.

Erhürman (CTP)
>>
Confidentiality in police investigations important.
>>
Executive cannot intervene with the judiciary.
>> Possession of a book cannot constitute as a crime on its own as stated in ECHR.
>> Principles of presumption of innocence, rule of law and independence of judiciary important.

Akansoy (CTP)
>> Arrest for possession of book cannot be reconciled with rule of law or democracy.
>> Democratic life of TCs cannot be impaired by imported problems or imported measures. More democracy, more freedoms and peace needed.

Ayşegül (HP)
>>
Charges against Gargınsu not limited to book possession, but involve other crimes such as membership of a banned organisation.
>> No one should intervene in police investigations.
>> No list of banned books exists in the TRNC.
>> Possessing propaganda material belonging to terrorist organisation is illegal.  
>> Possession of a book is not a crime but freedom of thought.

Akıncı’s position on Kızılyürek’s candidacy well known

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
EU Matters

OVERVIEW

Presidential Spokesperson Barış Burcu on Wednesday refuted claims that Akıncı supports Kızılyürek’s candidacy. The spokesman referred to a recent photograph showing Akıncı with Kızılyürek and said: “It was a mere coincidence for the two to meet at Büyük Han in the Old Town Nicosia.

Burcu said attempts to link Akıncı to AKEL’s campaign were forced, adding that Akıncı’s position on Kızılyürek’s candidacy was well known.

He said Akıncı believes representation in the European Parliament (EP) can only be achieved through the solution of the Cyprus problem. Akıncı believes Kızılyürek’s victory would not mean he is representing the Turkish Cypriot community at the European Parliament.

KEY ACTORS
Akinci
>> Representation in the EP can only be achieved through a Cyprob solution.
>> Kızılyürek’s victory would not mean he represents TCs in the EP.


Greek Cypriot side desires continuation of status quo

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Negotiations Process, CBMs

OVERVIEW

Special Adviser on Political Affairs and History and General Coordinator of Technical Committees at the Turkish Cypriot Presidency, Meltem Onurkan Samani, said on Tuesday that the Greek Cypriot side desires the continuation of the status quo while implying solution models for autonomous areas that are not based on political equality.

The Greek Cypriot side was doing this under the pretext of proposing new ideas, she said.

Samani added that claims TC leader Mustafa Akıncı rejects a two-state solution and recognition of the TRNC are baseless.

She emphasized that the Turkish Cypriot side will not discuss political equality or effective participation in decision-making processes. She rejected the Greek Cypriot side’s claims that effective participation will hamper the functionality of the federal state.

On the bicommunal technical committees, Samani reminded that the Technical Committees on Culture, Gender Equality and Education were established under Akıncı’s term. She emphasized the three committees aim to transform the mindsets of the people, with substantial projects and long-term goals.

Samani highlighted that the main goal of the technical committees is to facilitate the solution and not to substitute the solution or further strengthen the current situation.

She stressed that “trust can only be achieved when the two sides collaborate”, and highlighted the important role of solidarity in establishing a federal culture. Samani said the Turkish Cypriot leadership has been pushing since 2015 for cooperation in all fields.  

The Greek Cypriot side’s fear of elevating the TRNC’s status or even recognition has made the work of the bicommunal technical committees harder and caused a loss of motivation among Turkish Cypriot members. Despite the difficulties, Samani said the education technical committee achieved progress.

The presidential advisor reminded that the Bicommunal Technical Committees on Culture and on Economy and Trade will convene on 13 March in the buffer zone to discuss the details of the two CBMs agreed by Akıncı and Anastasiades on 26 February.

KEY ACTOR
Samani
>> GC side desires continuation of status quo under pretext of proposing new ideas.
>> Claims on Akıncı rejecting two-state solution are baseless.
>> Political equality and effective participation not subject to debate.
>> Main goal of technical committees is to facilitate the solution not substitute it.
>> Trust can only be achieved through collaboration.
>> Fears of upgrading/recognising the North hampered the work of technical committees & demotivated TC members of the committees.
>>Education committee achieved progress despite problems.


Environmental society calls for help to prevent mine pollution

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Economy

OVERVIEW

The Environmental Society of Lefke sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, urging her to take measures to prevent pollution from a mine in Foukasa flowing into Lefka through streams.

Society Chairman Ahmet Hızlı said that foamy water has been flowing from the Lefka stream for the past week.

He said that the pollution created from the Foukasa mine which was still operational was directly impacting the health of people living in the North.

The society also asked for Spehar’s support to pressure the company to clean the pollution in the area and to compensate people on both sides affected by the pollution.