Front Page Headlines
Field of peace
The mixed Cypriot village of Pyla became the stage for an incredible show of peace and friendship with the participation of a legendary football star.
- “It may not happen today or tomorrow but it will definitely happen someday” –Legendary football star Didier Drogba speaks to Yenidüzen following Tuesday’s match in Pyla.
I would not have attended even if Maradona or Pele were there!
President Mustafa Akıncı explained the reasons for not attending the football match at the exact time the match was being played.
- “Greek Cypriot police did not allow BRT to broadcast” – Aysu Basri Akter, Director of BRT expressed sadness for missing out an opportunity for peace and reconciliation with the developments in the Pyla football match.
- Money will flow following signing of the economic protocol – Finance Minister Serdar Denktaş said he will be meeting with the Turkish technical delegation regarding the economic protocol.
- Foreign Ministry warns the Greek Cypriot side over armament – Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry, in a statement, emphasized Greek Cypriot side’s arms investments will escalate tension on the island.
Price hike comes with new tariff scheme
Cyprus Turkish Electricity Authority (KIBTEK) Board member Ercan Hoşkara confirmed the increase in kW prices of electricity through the new tariff scheme.
- Turkish Cypriots disappointed but the match and friendship were good – Officials abandoned MTG on the field. When Anastasiades and Drogba kick-started the match, eyes were looking for Akıncı.
- 83 police officers to be expelled from duty – Attorney General’s office has asked the police officers for their defence in view of the ongoing Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETO) investigation.
Three police officers to be expelled
Police Services Commission, tasked with investigating members of Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), has launched a process to expel three officers from duty.
- Friendship and tension intertwined – The football field for the MTG-Nea Salamina match caused tension in politics. Akıncı refused to go to the match due to the football field chosen.
- Tension at Construction Commission – Transportation and Public Works Minister demands the resignation of the President of the Construction Commission Mustafa Akartuna, who was appointed by the Minister.
There are problems with the government
The new electricity tariff announced by KIBTEK (TC electricity authority) drew reaction not only from the public but from Yenal Senin, General Secretary of coalition partner, the Peoples’ Party (HP).
Let this longing end
Mustafa Akıncı’s decision not to attend the Mağusa Türk Gücü-Nea Salamina match in Pyla by citing political equality as an excuse caused resentment within our community. Akıncı was bombarded on social media.
- “Afrika newspaper was attacked” – US Embassy’s human rights report gave room to the attack on Afrika newspaper in 2018.
Bicommunal match in Pyla makes headlines in TC pressYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
CBMs, Negotiations Process
All six dailies gave extensive coverage to the bicommunal football game played in Pyla on Tuesday between Greek Cypriot Nea Salamina Famagusta and Turkish Cypriot Mağusa Türk Gücü FC.
Yenidüzen, in particular, reserved nine full pages for the event which hosted international football star Didier Drogba.
While Yenidüzen covered the event in a positive light, the other dailies reported that the venue dispute and TC leader Mustafa Akıncı’s decision not to attend had marred the bicommunal event.
Afrika and Kıbrıs both reported that Akıncı’s decision had created disappointment in some circles while the TC leader was bombarded with criticism on social media.
In an attempt to clarify his position, Akıncı said during a news conference on Tuesday that he had agreed to attend when he was invited because he was told that the game would take place in the buffer zone. However, the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) later said that they would not be able to take the necessary security measures and that the match was to take place on the south side.
He said that the Peace and Sports organization, responsible for organizing the event, had failed to treat the two sides equally when it changed the venue of the match to a pitch located outside of the buffer zone.
This, he said, raises questions as to the mandate of the UN.
Akıncı said that he is willing to attend events in the south if a similar event is organised in the north.
He gave as an example a theatre play he attended in Limassol some two years ago and a concert Anastasiades attended in Famagusta.
If the principles that had been initially presented to him had been kept, he would have attended the event, he said, adding that when he was invited he was given reassurances that there would be equal treatment.
He said he only found out that the match would not take place in the buffer zone on Friday night when Anastasiades’ office called his spokesman to ask how he was planning on going to the match.
The organisers later told him that the match was moved to a stadium in the village centre as they were informed by the UN that they could not provide the necessary security measures for the game to take place in the buffer zone.
It is sad, he said, that “an organisation that wants to contribute to peace did not grasp the sensitivities in Cyprus.”
He also said that if the UN says they cannot take the necessary security measures in the buffer zone this makes their presence on the island questionable. This is even sadder, he said.
Akıncı said that he wanted to attend the match and those who forced him to hold such a news conference ought to contemplate on how they contribute to peace.
“I had shown an effort to be at the match but this was prevented,” he said.
He also said that political equality was vital for Turkish Cypriots and ought to be protected in all fields.
“This is not a simple fight for status,” he added.
Director of public broadcaster Bayrak Radio Television Corporation (BRT) Aysu Basri Akter expressed her disappointment over missing an opportunity for intercommunal relations. Akter explained to the public with a post on social media the reasons why BRT was unable to broadcast the friendly match from the Pyla Stadium.
She said the BRT crew and the satellite van were not allowed in the venue even though the broadcasting company had been in touch with the organizers since the very beginning. Akter stressed Tuesday’s organization provided the ground for tension rather than friendship. She expressed hope that the sides will objectively evaluate the developments to take decisions that would make up for this tension in future.
Education Minister and Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Özyiğit questioned the UN’s presence on the island.
He said that there was no reason for the UN to remain on the island if it was unable to take on responsibility for such a small event in the buffer zone. Speaking on BRT, Özyiğit added organizers of bicommunal events must take into consideration the sensitive balance between the two sides.
Özyiğit refuted the accusations made against President Akıncı, noting that he is the president and leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. He could not have attended the match like any ordinary person. There is the principle of reciprocity. If there are not two matches planned, then only one match should have been played in the buffer zone. Akıncı has a political position and he is trying to protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people, he said.
National Unity Party (UBP) MP Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu argued Anastasiades was handed the opportunity to exploit the MTG-Nea Salamina football match for his own political gain when Akıncı announced his decision not to go to Pyla. In a written statement, Hasipoğlu added that Akıncı failed to give a message on lifting the sports embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots to the international community because he chooses not to attend the match.
Hasipoğlu supported Akıncı’s criticism of the UN but added Akıncı would have come across more sincere if he had supported the Foreign Minister’s efforts in New York days before the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate.
Yenidüzen reported that the event had become a show of peace and friendship in Cyprus providing extensive coverage and highlights from the event.
Football star Didier Drogba and founder and President of Peace and Sports Joel Bouzou, in an exclusive joint interview with Yenidüzen and Haravgi, said that their global mission was to use sports as a means to achieve peace.
Bouzou said he had insisted on Drogba being part of the organisation mainly because the event was about football. He also said that there were plans to continue the project.
Drogba hailed the event as a success and said that their goal was to sow seeds of friendship. The second half of the match had shown that this was possible, he added.
Drogba said the seeds will grow someday in the future, if not today or tomorrow.
“We touch the hearts of young generations and we have a greater chance of changing them. We will try to inspire them if we have the opportunity,” he said.
President of Mağusa Türk Gücü FC Koral Bozkurt drew attention to embargoes imposed on Turkish Cypriot athletes and said that the game played with Nea Salamina was extremely important in terms of breaking those embargoes.
“Today we played a match with a UEFA registered team. We gave importance to this match in the name of showing the world that we are here, we play football and we have good teams,” he said.
Bozkurt also pointed out that what had motivated them was that football was bigger than politics and that they had successfully drawn attention to the sports embargoes imposed on Turkish Cypriots.
>> Peace and Sports failed to treat the two sides equally.
>> UN made its position questionable by failing to provide security for an event in the buffer zone.
>> Political equality vital for Turkish Cypriots’ existence, it’s not simply a fight about status.
>> UN presence on island meaningless if they can’t even take responsibility for a simple event in buffer zone.
>> Two sides’ sensitivities must be taken into consideration when organizing bicommunal events.
>> By not going, Akinci gave an opportunity to Anastasiades to turn the football match into a political show.
>> Akıncı is right to criticise the UN but not sincere otherwise he would have supported Ozersay’s efforts in New York.
>> Akıncı failed to give a message against sports embargoes imposed on the TCs.
Akıncı discussed CBMs with VerweyKıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs
President Mustafa Akıncı received Maarten Verwey, Director General of the Structural Reform Support Service of the European Commission (EC) on Tuesday, report the papers.
Akıncı shared details of his 26 February meeting with Anastasiades including the CBMs and issues related to the core of the Cyprus problem. Akıncı expressed his expectation to see the decision on mobile phone interoperability to be implemented.
In response, Verwey said the EC sees use of mobile phones on both sides of the island as an important issue, adding that the Commission supports the measure.
TC warning over GC arms purchasesKıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
External Security, Regional/International Relations
The Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, warned the Greek Cypriot administration to cease purchasing armaments, which go beyond defence needs.
The ministry said the Greek Cypriot side’s actions were extremely provocative and insincere at a time when the effort was being made to reinstate trust between the communities.
The statement said that in addition to purchasing armoured vehicles and heavy guns from Serbia; and tanks from Germany, the Greek Cypriot side is purchasing two naval boats from France as part of a defence agreement signed between the two countries.
The ministry reminded that a station to be built at the naval base in Mari as part of the said agreement will be at the disposal of the French Navy. Additionally, the ministry underlined the Greek Cypriot administration has launched efforts to lift the US arms embargo.
The statement said that such a move would only escalate tension between the two sides. “The Greek Cypriot side’s actions are a threat to the Eastern Mediterranean and also mean weakening the attempts to establish a partnership based on collaboration on the island. The heavy armament of the Greek Cypriot side clearly shows the Greek Cypriot leadership’s vision for the future of the island and contains a high level of animosity,” the statement read.
Özyiğit: “Federation most rational model”Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Afrika
Leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Özyiğit said that the federation solution model was more than just a romantic ideal pursued by those who support a settlement in Cyprus.
Addressing a reception on Monday celebrating the TDP’s 43rd anniversary, Özyiğit reminded that negotiations to reach a federal solution in Cyprus had been going on for more than 50 years.
“This is by far the most rational model of settlement for Cyprus. It has been the basis of the negotiations since the late Denktaş and is the most reasonable and rational model when one takes into account the joint history of the two communities, the links and differences between them, international law and conjuncture,” Özyiğit said.
The TDP leader also said that the TC community lost every time it abandoned its goal of a federal settlement in pursuit of other adventures.
>> Federal settlement most rational model for solution in Cyprus.