TCC Press Review 30 Mar 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Only pain left behind

Horrific traffic accident on the Famagusta-Nicosia main road near Pirhan (Pyrga) at midnight the other day led to the death of two persons and the serious injury of another. The country woke up to a dark day. The only thing the dreaded night left behind was pain.

  • Akıncı: “We want this country to be rid of uncertainty” – “If you have the goal of reaching a solution then you can’t start from scratch.” TC leader Akıncı spoke on Cyprus Problem on a jointly broadcast TV programme.

Kıbrıs Postası

You had been warned, Mr President

Republican Turkish Party (CTP) MP and former Interior Minister Asım Akansoy emphasized that President Akıncı disregarded the report on population figures, which stated the 220,000 citizens figure only covered those living in the northern part of the island.

  • Brother of gang leader arrested – Police expands its investigation in the Gökhan Naim murder case. Police arrested three more people, one of whom is the brother of the gang leader.

Kıbrıs

Eight dead in three months in traffic collisions

In all fatal traffic collisions this past three months, cars collided with the oncoming vehicle. As a result, authorities and experts opened the road safety issue for discussion once again. Road separators are not adequately placed on the roads.

  • Brother of Naim’s murderer arrested – Police arrested three more people including the brother of the key murder suspect in connection with the Gökhan Naim murder case.

Havadis

One after another in rapid succession

Testimony of Hüseyin Erseyis leads to three more arrests. Police unlocking the organized crime network to reach to the instigator of Naim’s murder.

  • Youth to be guided towards areas in need – Education Minister Cemal Özyiğit emphasized the new scholarship legislation will help the youth secure employment because they will be guided towards sectors in need of qualified personnel.

Diyalog

Let us recognise this disaster

Mountains are being carved, the public is being poisoned and the politicians are just watching.

  • TRNC watching – Greek Cypriots have received approval from UNESCO for 11 products including Kleftiko and prickly pears.

Afrika

She will deliver her twins in jail

The court showed no mercy to seven-and-a-half-months pregnant woman.

  • Registered on both sides – Both sides accept Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the TRNC as part of their own population.

Main News

Akıncı says it’s too early to throw in the towel on Cyprus Problem

Yenidüzen
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

President Akıncı said that it was still early to throw in the towel on the Cyprus Problem. Speaking on a jointly broadcast programme on Sim TV, Kanal T and Genç TV on Friday, Akıncı criticized the Greek Cypriot media for rushing to announce the ongoing process carried out by the UN Secretary-General’s envoy Jane Holl Lute was dead.

Akıncı said that everything regarding the process was not great but that Lute had still not finalized her work.

He said he was expected to talk with Lute on Monday and that she might be visiting the island in the near future.

The president said there was a general sense of pessimism among all parties involved due to the fact that the GC leader Anastasiades went back on previous agreements and would not budge from his current position.

“One of the most important aspects of the work on terms of reference (ToR) is the following: If the ultimate goal is a solution, you cannot start everything from scratch. All parties should announce that they accept previous agreements/convergences,” Akinci said.

He reminded that Anastasiades had acknowledged at the opening of talks in Crans-Montana, political equality, effective participation in decision making and one affirmative vote to be sought in cabinet decisions.

“Now he talks about restricting the latter to issues that are vital for TCs and argued it would be synonymous with a veto system. The GC leader wants to throw away a UN parameter,” Akıncı said.

Akıncı pointed out that any new process would not start from scratch. The sides needed to start by agreeing on the existing convergences, a point where the sides are currently in disagreement, he noted.

The Turkish Cypriot side supported the June 30 Guterres document whilst the Greek Cypriot side talked about another version dated July 4, he added.

Akıncı also argued that it was too early to say the process was over because the guarantor countries had launched a dialogue in Antalya recently.

He said that the foreign ministers of the countries will be meeting on April 12 in Athens.

“We do not know whether more informal developments could follow that and what kind of role Lute would take on. There is a possibility for Lute to return. We should talk to her and clarify the situation more,” he said.

Regarding the solution model, Akıncı said he could not see any Turkish Cypriot leader accepting a model which did not include political equality and effective participation.

He reminded that the Turkish Cypriot side was not opposed to the idea of a decentralized federation and had always supported such a model.

Akıncı, however, added that no matter how decentralized the system may be, the central government will always have a list of competencies.

“Anastasiades made a general presentation for me and said that everything other than single sovereignty, international personality, citizenship, FIR, EEZ, single monetary union, single economy and central bank, could be handled by constituent states. We would not argue against those. When I asked him about how the budget would be passed, he said through a simple majority,” said Akinci.

“Any decision to be taken without our effective participation means a mono-communal unitary state. But if we are talking about minimizing the powers of the federal government and leaving everything to the constituent states without any need for the two sides’ participation, then this would be a two-state solution. TCs will not accept a unitary state and there are no signs indicating that GCs would accept a two-state system.

“Some friends keep saying that we should at least table it [two-state solution]. If we did that we would be moving away from the UN parameters. This would only help to please certain circles in the south but we will not be able to secure a two-state solution.

“In short, a bicommunal and bizonal federation is the only feasible solution model and effective participation is a must. There is no other way,” he added.

Akıncı also reminded that the Cyprus Problem had an international dimension which was why negotiations were held under the auspices of the UN and the EU was involved.  

“I have previously used the analogy of ‘Sirtaki dance’ for a solution in Cyprus to say not only the two sides but all the relevant parties should work together for a solution. At the end of the day, although all parties involved are important and no matter what the solution would be called, it is the Cypriots who will live with it,” he said.

Akıncı noted that everyone was aware the current situation on the island was not sustainable and that the ultimate goal of the Turkish Cypriot side was to put an end to the uncertainty.

EU membership was an opportunity missed and natural gas which has become a source of tension can still be transformed into an opportunity, said Akıncı.

He said the Greek Cypriot side was concerned more about a possible declaration of a non-solution than anything else.

“Officially admitting that the Cyprus Problem cannot be solved is not an easy choice to make for anybody which is why we are not there yet. But if we get there, Lute can do that,” he said.

Regarding Turkey, Akıncı said that Turkey is an important actor in the region and that nothing can be achieved by excluding it from the picture.

Commenting on the population issue, Akıncı underlined the importance of having accurate population data in any given country.

He said that a population census which was scheduled for 2018 but did not take place due to budget constraints could be done in 2019. Regarding criticism that his remarks (on population and citizenships) at preparing him for the next presidential election, Akıncı said he was always interested in the issue of citizenship and population. He added that he conducted talks on the basis of the population data he was given by the Turkish Cypriot Interior Ministry three years ago which was 220,000 and that the same ministry uttered another number about a week ago which was 350,000.  

“Which number is right? There is a difference of 130,000… Moreover, the finance minister said the population was 800,000. Why do we need to make estimates based on the number of mobile users or number of vehicles registered or bread sold in this country? All we need to do is to carry out a population census and let everyone know what the population number is… One must know the population data accurately for planning purposes,” Akıncı said.  

On the return of criminals, President Akıncı said he would like to discuss this issue with the UN and with Anastasiades. He pointed out that this was a humanitarian issue and that it may be possible to find a formula that will be acceptable to both sides as was the case with mobile phones.

On whether or not he intends to run for a second term, Akıncı said he had not made up his mind yet and that it was too early to say. Political developments in the coming months will help him decide, he added.

KEY ACTOR
Akıncı
>>
Too early to say the process is dead. Lute still to complete the ongoing process. Turkey & Greece currently in new dialogue.
>> If the ultimate goal is reaching a solution you cannot start from scratch.
>> Sides need to agree on existing convergences before process starts.
>> TC not opposed to decentralized federation, always supported it.
>> TC side remains committed to June 30 Guterres Framework.
>> Anastasiades told him single sovereignty, international personality, citizenship, FIR, EEZ, single monetary union, single economy and central bank to remain federal powers, rest could be handled by constituent states.
>> Anastasiades also said the budget would be passed through a simple majority.
>> But taking decisions without effective participation would mean unitary state and leaving all decisions to constituent states would mean two-state solution.
>> TCs will not accept unitary state and no sign of GCs accepting two-state solution.
>> Tabling two-state solution will mean moving outside of UN parameters, which would please some GCs but will not achieve two-state solution.
>> Bicommunal and bizonal federation is only feasible solution model and effective participation is a must.
>> Cyprus Problem has an international dimension. Involvement of all parties necessary for a solution but ultimately Cypriots will live under the agreement reached.
>> EU membership an opportunity missed but natural gas can be transformed into an opportunity for a solution.
>> Current situation unsustainable and TC side’s goal is to end uncertainty on the island.
>> Officially admitting Cyprus Problem cannot be solved not easy choice for anybody.
>> Turkey important regional actor and nothing can be achieved by excluding it from the picture.
>> Population data necessary for accurate planning. Talks conducted on the basis of figures given by TC interior ministry. Census could be held in 2019.
>> Way could be found for return of criminals following talks with UN and GC side. 


You had been warned, Mr President

Kıbrıs Postası
Migration & Citizenship, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Republican Turkish Party (CTP) MP and former Interior Minister Asım Akansoy revealed on Friday that President Akıncı disregarded a report on population figures, which stated the 220,000 citizens figure only covered those living in the northern part of the island.

Akansoy also reminded that the speaker of the parliament at the time, Sibel Siber, had written a similar report to Akıncı highlighting that the number of citizens presented to him was the figure for those living in the north. Siber had stressed in her report that the Greek Cypriot side had initially presented a figure of 635,000 citizens only to amend the number later to 803,000 to include those living abroad. She had said that when one examined the population figures and the ratios between the two communities, it could be clearly seen that  Turkish Cypriots remained at 20%.

In this regard, the 4:1 ratio proposed for Greek nationals versus Turkish nationals when granting citizenships was introduced at the talks with the aim of protecting the one-fifth population ratio on the island.

Furthermore, Siber had warned that accepting such a ratio would automatically cause the same ratio to be applied in governance, power sharing, rotating presidency, revenues, budget, etc. 

Akansoy stressed that it is understood Akıncı presented the 220,000 figure at the negotiations table, which he uses as the basis to question today’s figures on citizens. Akıncı disregarded the reports submitted from the Interior Ministry and the Parliament then but today claims to have been deceived on the number of citizens. Akansoy said the current numbers presented by today’s Interior Minister are plausible.

Güven Bengihan, head of the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants’ Union (KTAMS) stressed the need for new laws on citizenship and immigration in a statement issued on Friday. Bengihan pointed to the conflicting numbers presented by the officials in the public domain and said the community has lost its trust in the state.

Population transfer and lack of controls upon entry are the main reasons for chaos in the country, Bengihan added. He also linked the lack of controls at entry points to the increasing crime rates in the north.

KEY ACTORS
Akansoy
>>
Akıncı disregarded previous reports on the 220,000 citizenship figure, which only reflected the number of citizens living in the north.