Front Page Headlines
Police on the trail
Murder suspect Bilal Ahmad testified in court after being caught in Famagusta on Friday. Police said the suspect voluntarily confessed to committing the crime together with the other suspects Tanveer Ahmad and Azmad Ali Virk.
- “Bizonal, bicommunal federation based on political equality only option” – President’s Special Advisor for Political Affairs and History, General Coordinator for Technical Committees Meltem Samani Onurkan gives an exclusive interview to Yenidüzen.
Circle closing in on Naim murderers
Police have arrested one and are now after two other suspects and the money.
- Protocol agreement is vital – Erhürman emphasized the importance of the economic protocol agreement for Turkish Cypriots, adding that we have not been able to explain ourselves to Turkey yet.
Five people involved in the murder
It is now certain that detainees Faiz Ul Hassan and Bilal Ahmad and fugitives Tanveer Ahmad, Azmad Ali Virk and Ali [surname unknown] have murdered Gökhan Naim.
- Bus service from Famagusta to Derinya (Dherynia) crossing – Serdar Atai from Famagusta Old Town Association (MASDER) said there is demand for the implementation of a bus service between the town and the crossing.
- Famagusta Old Town is too dark – Altun Tabya Hotel owner emphasized Famagusta old town lacks street lighting, working public toilets and public transport.
Fiasco over the collection of monetary fines
According to Labour Department statistics, 3,719 businesses were inspected by Labour Department Inspectors. 1,379,000TL worth of monetary fines were issued, however only 338,625TL have so far been paid.
- Planned the murder, ambushed and killed Naim – Police continues its investigation on Naim murder and still looking for two more fugitives.
Alarm bells ringing
Six people lost their lives and 205 injured in 651 accidents in 71 days.
- They escaped with 2.5 million – Bilal Ahmad, one of three suspects in the Gökhan Naim murder case said that they never intended to kill Naim. Ahmad confessed the two other suspects fled to the South.
We killed him
Bilal Ahmad, arrested by police in Famagusta in connection with the Gökhan Naim murder, has confessed to his crime.
Samani: “BBF based on political equality only option”Yenidüzen
Negotiations Process, CBMs
President Akıncı’s Special Advisor for Political Affairs and History & Technical Committees Coordinator Meltem Onurkan Samani said that a bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF) on the basis of political equality was the only option that could be accepted by all sides.
In an exclusive interview to Yenidüzen published on Sunday, Samani said that the sides had come very close to reaching an agreement in Crans-Montana and that the chance was still possible.
On the issue of confidence-building measures, the Special Advisor said the fact that measures such as GSM interoperability and integration of the electricity grids were only being implemented four years after the initial agreement had been reached was thought-provoking.
“Think of a problem that hasn’t been solved for the past 40 or 50 years despite the fact the two sides have reached an agreement on the solution formula. The stalemate being experienced in the Cyprus Problem is being experienced with the confidence-building measures at a micro level,” Samani said.
She expressed the view that the measures agreed upon were well-directed decisions that will have a positive impact on both communities, impacting their daily lives.
Samani complained that a number of obstacles had been created over the past four years in an attempt to prevent the implementation of the CBMs.
She added that all these obstacles were overcome by adopting a sincere and determined stance as well as through serious efforts.
On why efforts to reach a federal solution have not been successful over the past 40 years, Samani said the reason was either because one of the two sides was insincere, the sides have a different understanding on the agreed solution model or the level of mistrust between the two sides is so high neither side feels ready for a settlement.
She said this issue should be properly addressed during talks, adding that the technical committees on both sides should prepare the communities on the culture of a solution so that the settlement reached can be sustainable.
The foundations, or culture, of a federation are sharing and reconciliation, said Samani, adding that this could only happen through cooperation.
Samani pointed out that cooperation was vital in areas that will impact and ease people’s lives.
She also said that the agreements reached must be explained to the communities in detail so that they get a better understanding of the federation being negotiated.
“For example, if there is to be political equality it must be explained to both communities that this means taking decisions together,” Samani added.
As regards the CBM on mobile phone operability, she said that the Turkish Cypriot side desired the implementation of these measures as soon as possible.
Samani said experts from the EU will be arriving in Cyprus in the coming days to conduct technical work for mobile phone interoperability.
Samani also referred to the return of paintings belonging to Greek Cypriot artists, saying that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready.
She said the paintings had been categorized, their photographs taken and wrapped and will be exchanged with pre-1963 recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists from CyBC’s archives as soon as the Greek Cypriot side was ready.
The special advisor said that education was vital for preparing future generations for a federal settlement, noting that much responsibility fell on the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Education.
Samani said the committee had three missions:
Firstly, to report on the current situation of the education systems of the two sides and to make recommendations.
Secondly, to organize educational activities to bring together students, teachers and families from the two communities. Samani pointed out that the bicommunal Imagine program was successfully implemented bringing together thousands of students and hundreds of teachers. Twenty-five students will be taking part in a field trip on 27 March, followed by another in April.
And thirdly, the committee aims to work on the harmonization of the education systems in a post-solution Cyprus.
Samani said that less progress had been reached on this issue since it was directly linked to the negotiations.
The special advisor also gave information about the work carried out by the Bicommunal Technical Committees on Cultural Heritage, Environment, and Crime and Criminal Matters.
On the issue of crime and criminal matters, Samani pointed out that the lack of cooperation in this area was unhealthy as it encouraged those committing crimes to seek refuge on the other side.
On the possible opening of new crossing points, Samani said the latest two crossing points had opened with great difficulty not only because of the South’s demands but also due to domestic problems.
She said the Turkish Cypriot side was, therefore, approaching the issue with caution but was not closed to the idea of new crossing points as long as the suggestions were reasonable and possible to implement.
Samani said the Greek Cypriot side was trying to achieve trust without cooperation believing that any step taken will result in upgrading the status of the North.
“In fact, this is why the technical committees were set up in the first place. To use this as an excuse not to cooperate at an institutional level is irrational,” Samani said.
She added that the technical committees were doing work but the lack of progress was weakening the motivation of the experts.
>> BBF on the basis of political equality is the only option.
>> Difficulties in implementing CBMs provide micro-level example of stalemate.
>> Long-standing failure to achieve federation due either to: lack of sincerity, lack of understanding on agreed solution model, or deep mistrust between two communities.
>> Technical committees must prepare communities on the culture of a federal solution.
>> Foundations/culture of federation based on sharing and reconciliation. Cooperation is vital in achieving this.
>> Education is vital for preparing future generations for a federal settlement. Technical Committee needs to: prepare overview of education systems on both sides; help bring students, teachers & families together; work on harmonizing systems in a federal Cyprus.
>> Cooperation on crime extremely important.
>> Idea of new crossing points approached cautiously. New crossing points possible if suggestions are reasonable and can be implemented.
>> GC side trying to achieve trust without cooperation.
>> Fear of upgrading North’s status irrational.
>> Technical committees lack of trust weakening motivation of experts.
Demand for bus service from Derinya (Dherynia) crossing to FamagustaKıbrıs
Negotiations Process, Economy
Serdar Atai, vice-president of the Famagusta Old Town Association (MASDER), welcomed the finalization of construction work at the Derinya (Dherynia) crossing, but urged the authorities to increase the number of signposts to direct visitors, who cross from south to north, to access different parts of the Famagusta town.
Atai underlined that a bus service must be implemented similar to the one south of the crossing and said three or four buses could easily take the visitors to different parts of the town.
Berna Altunsoy, owner of Altun Tabya Hotel in the Old Town, emphasized the lack of street lighting, working public toilets and public transport as the main problems in the Old Town.
Altunsoy said it is not possible for tourists to visit the historical buildings and monuments once the sun sets because the Old Town does not have adequate street lighting.
Moreover, Altunsoy said the majority of tourists ask about bus services to Derinya (Dherynia) crossing, Salamis Ruins, St. Barnabas Monastery and to other places but there aren’t any.
Altunsoy stressed that neither the central government nor the local administration have solved the decades-long public transportation problem. Altunsoy also noted tourists suffer a lot from not being able to find working public toilets in the Old Town.