TCC Press Review 22 Mar 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Guarantors taking steps

Foreign Ministers of the two guarantor countries in Cyprus; Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Greek Foreign Minister Georgios Katrougalos held a joint press conference in Antalya. While Katrougalos argued that the system of guarantees was outdated and should be scrapped, Çavuşoğlu said that he did not agree and that Turkey’s guarantees were more important than ever.

Kıbrıs Postası

Turkey and Greece do not agree on guarantees

Greek FM Georgios Katrougalos said guarantees are outdated, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu disagreed and emphasized guarantees are very important.

  • We are in politics to restore justice – Prime Minister Erhürman said, “We are here to deliver service to people, encourage production and restore equality” in İskele (Trikomo).
  • Down Syndrome Day marked with colourful socks – 21 March Down Syndrome Day marked in Nicosia with a colourful march.

Kıbrıs

Legislative work needed to fight drug addiction

Tarkan Kızıltuğ, head of the Police Narcotics Unit, emphasized there is no law regulating tapping telephones, electronic tracking or controlled delivery of drug parcels.

  • Turkey to start drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean – Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey will drill for hydrocarbons in areas licensed by Turkish Cypriot authorities.
  • 12 new public prosecutors appointed – The results of the vacancy announced yesterday. Ninety-eight had applied to become a public prosecutor.

Havadis

“Don’t call me a giaour (infidel)”

Greek Foreign Minister had a dramatic statement: “Whenever I meet with Mevlüt, I want him to call me ‘brother’. I would absolutely not want him to talk about me as a ‘Giaour’.”

  • The weakest point of the government is environment – Hasan Sarpten, head of the Biologists’ Association, said investing in environmental protection does not earn politicians votes and therefore the issue is not considered a priority.

Diyalog

Time to boil water in cauldrons

Mukhtars warn of dark days ahead with the new electricity tariff scheme, claiming that people are unable to pay their electricity bills as it is.

  • Needed now more than ever – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said there were differences in views with Greek Foreign Minister Katrougalos on the issue of guarantees.

Afrika

This case will go down in history

Defence witnesses in the Afrika ‘cartoon case’ Senih Çavuşoğlu, Sami Özuslu and Ümit İnatçı testified in court. All three witnesses defended the freedom of the press and expression during their testimonies, arguing that the cartoon was not inflammatory. The prosecution’s claims were refuted.   

Main News

Foreign ministers agree future talks must be results-oriented


Yeni Düzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Afrika, Diyalog
Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process, External Security, Energy

OVERVIEW

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Greek Foreign Minister Georgios Katrougalos agreed that any future Cyprus talks must be results-oriented at a joint press conference held in Antalya, Turkey on Thursday.

Despite their common position regarding the Cyprus talks, the two foreign ministers expressed different views on the issue of guarantees.

Çavuşoğlu told reporters on Thursday that the framework for the talks must be agreed upon before the start of new talks for a mutually acceptable solution could begin.

“We are not in a position to digest another failure. We should not restart talks just for the sake of a conversation. These talks should be goal-oriented and not open-ended. We should determine the frame beforehand,” Çavuşoğlu said, blaming the Greek Cypriots for the collapse of the latest initiative in Crans-Montana.

Regarding the issue of hydrocarbons, Çavuşoğlu reiterated any energy project excluding Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean was not realistic. He stressed Turkey has rights stemming from international law and that it must be understood that nothing can be achieved by excluding Turkey from the picture.

The Turkish FM pointed out Turkish Cypriots also have rights over the hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus and that Turkey will start drilling in areas licensed by the Turkish Cypriot authorities in the months to come.

When asked about his Greek counterpart’s comment on Turkey’s guarantees over Cyprus, Çavuşoğlu said that he did not agree with Katrougalos’ argument that the guarantees were outdated.

He said that Turkey’s status as a guarantor country over Cyprus was “more important than ever” following the Greek Cypriot side’s decision to act unilaterally on the hydrocarbons issue. 

The Turkish FM also said that the dialogue with his Greek counterpart on issues concerning the two countries will be continuing and that he will be visiting Greece at the first opportunity following the upcoming local elections in Turkey.

Katrougalos for his part said the two countries could set a good example for peaceful coexistence.

He said neither Greece nor the Greek Cypriot side was aiming to monopolize the hydrocarbon resources in the region.

The Greek FM expressed the view that such problems should be resolved within the framework of international law without creating room for the escalation of tensions.

Referring to Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Katrougalos said Greece recognized that Turkey did have certain energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey has rights based on international maritime law and Greece is “aware” of that, he added.

“We, as Greece, believe and support that Cyprus has its own rights in its economic exclusive zone. This right concerns both communities [of the island]. We are not cold to assessments that hydrocarbon resources should be used to the benefit of both sides. We have a proposal for the formation of a fund for the fair distribution of the revenues,” he said. 

With regards the Cyprus talks, Katrougalos emphasized parties have achieved significant progress in Crans-Montana but criticized Turkey for insisting on the continuation of the mechanism of guarantees, which he described as outdated.

KEY ACTORS
Çavuşoğlu
>>
Future Cyprus talks must be results-oriented as the sides cannot take yet another failure.
>> Framework of talks must be agreed before the resumption of talks.
>> Cyprus talks cannot continue from where they left off in Crans-Montana.
>> Guarantees not outdated but more important than ever given GCs’ unilateral activities.
>> Any energy project in East Med excluding Turkey is not realistic.
>> Turkey has rights over the natural resources stemming from international law.

Katrougalos
>> Greece & GCs not aiming to monopolise hydrocarbons in the region.
>> Such problems should be resolved based on international law, not tensions.
>> Greece aware Turkey has certain energy rights in East Med based on international maritime law.
>> Greece supports Cyprus’ own rights in its EEZ, concerning both communities.
>> Hydrocarbon resources should be utilized for the benefit of both sides, hence proposal for fund covering the fair distribution of revenues.
>> Parties achieved significant progress at Crans-Montana.
>> Guarantees outdated and must be scrapped.


Akıncı’s advisor defends bicommunal match decision

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

OVERVIEW

Presidential Special Adviser on Political Affairs and History, Meltem Onurkan Samani, said on Thursday those who criticized President Akıncı for his decision not to attend the bicommunal football match in Pyla, aimed to gain political leverage against him in view of the upcoming presidential elections.

She described the criticisms as a sign of insincerity.  

Samani also said that Akıncı has still not made up his mind on whether to run for a second term.

Speaking on Genç TV, the political adviser said, since taking office in 2015, Akinci has been working for a comprehensive settlement and to bring the two communities together.

“He has worked to develop a federal culture on the island, which is based on political equality and the principle of reciprocity,” she said, adding that the Greek Cypriots’ refusal to accept the political equality of Turkish Cypriots was one of the leading problems in Cyprus.

Speaking on the UN’s role in organizing the football match in Pyla, Samani said that the UN was well aware of the Turkish Cypriot side’s sensitivities and should have given prior notice before changing the venue of the match.

She said the UN’s presence on the island has been questioned for more than a year and the fact that the UN was unable to provide security for the match raised this question once more.

Samani said that the other excuse that the venue had been changed because the pitch located within the mixed village did not meet international standards was also unacceptable.

“If the match was going to be played in the south side, then why did the organizers choose Pyla as the location? It was a symbolic game and there was no need to play the match on a pitch which didn’t meet international standards.

On the issue of confidence-building measures (CBMs), Samani said the relevant technical committees were continuing with their work to implement the measures agreed upon at the April 26 leaders’ meeting.

“The permanent connection of electricity grids has been completed. The committee is now working on drafting an agreement to be signed. International experts note that the interoperability issue will be sorted out in a short period of time. There is an agreement to use a centre in Switzerland as the hub to connect the GSM lines on both sides of the island,” she said.

Samani also said the Turkish Cypriot side has completed its responsibilities regarding the return of the Greek Cypriot art work.

The paintings have been wrapped and are ready to be returned. The Turkish Cypriot side is now waiting for the Greek Cypriot side to complete their part to carry out the exchange, said Samani.

Akıncı’s political adviser said that there was deadlock on the issue of crime and criminal matters due to the Greek Cypriot side’s fear of recognition of the north. Samani urged the UN to encourage the sides to collaborate on the issue of crime and criminal activities.

KEY ACTORS
Samani
>> Political equality and the principle of reciprocity are the foundations of federal culture.
>> Main problem in Cyprus is not accepting Turkish Cypriots’ political equality.
>> Bicommunal football match and security concerns re-emphasized the need to question UN’s presence on the island.
>> Technical committees continue their work on CBMs.
>> Deadlock at technical committee on criminal matters due to GC side’s fear of recognition of the north.