TCC Press Review 12 Apr 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

‘Immovable property’ permits for 258 foreigners

Foreign nationals living in the country inclined towards purchasing immovable property. The Council of Ministers, within the framework of the Law on acquiring immovable property or long-term leasing (for foreigners), granted 258 permits in the first four months of this year to foreign nationals to purchase immovable property.

Kıbrıs Postası

Tüfekçi wall

The reasons for the flood in Haspolat (Mia Milia) are revealed. Tüfekçi Ltd is building a new factory plant on the river bed.

  • 8,282,033 TL in aid assistance – Evkaf Administration of Cyprus held a press conference to mark its anniversary and share its annual activities with the public.
  • Notorious sexual harasser released on bail – Bekir Yiğit, who is charged with sending sexual messages to over 500 women, was released on bail on Thursday.

Kıbrıs

1,512 juvenile offenders in 14 years

Children below the age of 16 have been sentenced to jail for various crimes. Robbery tops the list of crimes juveniles are involved in.

  • Three trade unions on strike – TC public servants’ union (KTAMS), TC civil servants’ union (KAMU-SEN) and TC public workers’ union (KAMU-İŞ) are going on one-day strike to protest price hikes in electricity and fuel oil.
  • 17.7m Euro from the EU – EU launched project to finance infrastructure work through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Havadis

People drowning due to fluctuating foreign currencies

Fluctuations in the value of foreign currencies are making people’s lives more difficult. The upward trend for US Dollar continues after the local elections in Turkey and the rate for 1 USD became 5.77 TL on Thursday.

  • New constructions threatening cultural heritage – Ongoing construction at Karakum (Karakoumi) reminds of the collapsed Ayia Thekla Chapel during a hotel’s construction in Bafra (Vokolida) in 2011. In another case, an excavator is photographed destroying an antique burial site in the centre of Kyrenia.

Diyalog

She told the court what happened that night

She went to her boss’ villa late in the night to talk. She then entered the pool with her clothes on after a couple of drinks. When she woke up in the morning, she claimed she had been raped.  

Afrika

The end of a dictator in power for 30 years

Sudan’s bloody dictator Omer el Bashir, who had an international arrest warrant issued against him and whose only friend was Turkey, was toppled by the army and the people.

  • Julian Assange arrested – Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who had been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past seven years, was arrested by British police yesterday. The pressures and threats Assange has been subjected to all these years is a disgrace for humankind.

Main News

Erhürman: TCs can’t sit and wait for Anastasiades to accept political equality

Yenidüzen
Negotiations Process, Governance & Power Sharing, Property

OVERVIEW

Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman said the Greek Cypriot side wants to further complicate the Cyprus problem by resorting to delaying tactics.

Speaking on a news programme on Kanal T on Thursday, Erhürman said Anastasiades has been putting forward constantly changing ideas or proposals in the past ten months.

He first started with “loose federation”, then switched to a “decentralized federation” and even voiced ideas on a “confederation” and “two-state solution” in between, said Erhürman, adding that the Greek Cypriot leader’s latest proposal was for a “rotating prime ministry”. It is obvious Anastasiades wants to stir debates by raising all these ideas, he said.

The premier underlined that Anastasiades has often voiced concern that political equality with Turkish Cypriots was not something he could explain or persuade the Greek Cypriot community to accept. This shows that Anastasiades either lacks the courage or the desire for a solution. As a result, it is not possible to have any expectations for a settlement in the short term, he said.

Erhürman responded to questions on alternative models being tabled at the negotiations and said federations have one constitution, which is put forward for approval in a referendum. The federal constitution naturally includes provisions for property disputes but in confederations, for example, there is not a single constitution thus leaving the people with no legal tools or means to deal with property disputes, he said.

While the federal constitution is binding on all, there are not any binding acts in other models. This is the issue with the alternative models, Erhürman added.

He said efforts to reach a fair and lasting solution on the island must continue because only through a settlement could the veil of uncertainty that hangs over Turkish Cypriots be lifted, allowing them to plan for the future.

He also said he did not agree with the view that nothing can be achieved before a solution is reached. This would mean the Turkish Cypriot community would have to sit back and wait until Anastasiades accepts Turkish Cypriots’ political equality. As a community, Turkish Cypriots did not have the luxury to wait around for a solution to take place, he added.

Regarding the Immovable Property Commission (IPC), Erhürman said the IPC was established to remove the pressure put on Turkey and the North until a solution was found and not to solve the property dispute as a whole. The property problem in its entirety can only be solved through a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem, Erhürman said. The IPC had paid many applicants their compensations and had even returned a few properties. However, due to the economic situation Turkey is currently experiencing, only half of the allocated funds for IPC could be received, Erhürman said. There are efforts underway to generate funding internally as well. The premier also noted that the IPC will not be able to make compensation payments to all the applicants at once but it is still a better functioning mechanism than the one in the south.

Erhürman also said “no” when asked whether he will cast his vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections, adding that he hadn’t crossed over to the south for the past 14 months.

KEY ACTOR
Erhürman (CTP)
>>
GC leader plays for time by throwing different ideas around.
>> Anastasiades either lacks courage or desire for solution if he cannot explain concept of political equality to his community. Hence, solution not expected in the short term.
>> Efforts must continue to find a fair and lasting solution on the island so as to lift veil of uncertainty on TCs, enabling them to plan for the future.
>> Confederations differ from federations in terms of legal tools available for solving property disputes. Federal constitution binding on all, as opposed to alternative models.
>> TCs don’t have the luxury to sit back until Anastasiades accepts political equality & a solution is found on the island.
>> IPC established to take pressure off from Turkey until a solution is found. Funding shortages due to Turkey’s economic problems. Exploring ways to create funds internally.
>> IPC cannot deliver all compensation awarded at once, but it is still a better functioning mechanism than the one in the south.


Siber to parties: Unite against injustice

Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

Former speaker of the TC Parliament Sibel Siber on Thursday called on President Mustafa Akıncı and all parties to stop bickering among themselves and to give a joint message to the UN and the international community to end the injustices committed against Turkish Cypriots. To force a community to live under international isolation because of the failure to reach a settlement is a human rights violation, Siber said in a written statement.

Siber pointed out that the TC parliament should issue a new joint declaration on the issue, particularly following the Greek Cypriot leader’s latest stance.

She said that the latest remarks by Anastasiades once again demonstrated that the Greek Cypriot side did not accept political equality which was a UN parameter.

“The Greek Cypriot leader had promised his people that the Greek Cypriots will retain political power in the event of a solution during his election campaign,” reminded Siber, stating that various circles in the Turkish Cypriot community had played down the importance of these remarks as mere election promises.

Siber said that the UN had an obligation and duty towards easing the isolation of Turkish Cypriots in light of the Greek Cypriot side’s actions.

KEY ACTOR
Siber (CTP)
>> Akıncı & parties should stop bickering & give joint message to international community to lift isolations, following GC leader’s latest stance against political equality which is a UN parameter.
>> Isolations imposed on TCs in absence of a settlement are a human rights violation.
>> UN has obligation and duty towards lifting isolation imposed on TCs.


UBP argues TCs must go their own way without agreement

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Negotiations Process, Energy, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

National Unity Party (UBP) leader Ersin Tatar said on Thursday that reaching the desired conclusion in the Cyprus issue is of vital importance for Turkey and for North Cyprus during a conference at the Karadeniz (Black Sea) Technical University in Trabzon, Turkey. Tatar underlined that the Greek Cypriots’ goal of achieving Enosis is the cause of the Cyprus problem.

He said that the Cyprus Problem remains unresolved due to the Greek Cypriots’ reluctance to share power with the Turkish Cypriots.

This is why, Tatar said, there was no longer any reason left to discuss a federal settlement. He added, if possible a two-state model should be discussed and if not the Turkish Cypriots must go their own way.

The UBP leader pointed out that energy resources are currently the hot topic which is why Cyprus is becoming a lot more important for Turkey’s security and economic interests. He underlined Cyprus is the key for Europe’s strategic enlargement towards Asia and Africa as well.

Tatar said, according to experts Turkey is the most suitable country in the Eastern Mediterranean region to become an energy hub once the Cyprus problem is solved. He added, however, the Greek Cypriot side is not forthcoming for a solution and on the contrary is attempting to form anti-Turkey alliances in the region. Tatar said the EASTMED project was the most recent example of such an alliance.

He highlighted that “Blue Homeland” is a new terminology created to protect Turkish interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean.

It is not possible for the Turkish Cypriots to sit back and observe the developments while others carry out their unilateral activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Tatar added.

Tatar concluded by underlining it is now obvious that a federal solution with the Greek Cypriots is nothing but a dream; therefore, it is time for the Turkish Cypriots to come up with a road map for themselves.

Meanwhile, UBP MP Ersan Saner on Thursday urged the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) members to encourage the Greek Cypriot side to re-write history books and to refrain from expressions of enmity and hatred during his address of the Culture, Science, Education and Media Committee meeting.

Saner noted history is an undeniable part of one’s culture and identity, underlining the importance of history education. He reminded the Committee that the Council of Europe had recommended the two sides to adopt new approaches in history education. Saner underlined the Turkish Cypriot side did their part, however despite international pressure, the Greek Cypriot side refrains from amending their history books, which results in Greek Cypriot youth growing up with animosity against Turks. Saner added that the Greek Cypriot parliament adopted a decision to commemorate the Enosis day at schools in 2017. He said the parliament’s decision is awfully saddening.   

KEY ACTORS
Tatar (UBP)
>>
GCs refusal to share governance is the reason for not being able to solve the Cyprob.
>> Since GCs do not want to share power, no point in resuming talks for a federal solution.
>> TCs must come up with a road plan of their own because it is not possible to reach a solution with the GCs.
>> GCs form anti-Turkey alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean region and EASTMED is an example of such alliance.
>> Blue Homeland project aimed at protecting Turkish interests in East Med.

Saner (UBP)
>> History books should be re-written and should not contain content that raises enmity or hatred.
>> GC side refraining from changing history books despite EU council recommendations resulting in GC youth being educated to dislike Turks.
>> PACE should encourage GC side to change history books.


Nami: High time to stop making TCs pay for lack of progress

Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Yenidüzen, Afrika
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Economy and Energy Minister Özdil Nami said that the Greek Cypriot is refraining from collaboration with the Turkish Cypriot side despite repeated offers, during his opening remarks at the 10th Energy Efficiency Forum and Fair in Istanbul, Turkey. Nami said the Turkish Cypriot side has planned and is implementing reciprocal steps to counter Greek Cypriot unilateral moves. There are international agreements and signed protocol agreements between Turkey and the TRNC, he said. The activities will be carried out as planned in line with these agreements, he added.

Nami noted that one of the priorities for his ministry was dealing with the energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Joint Energy Working Group, established by experts from the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot Energy Ministries, has been working on plans to supply the north with electricity via a cable line from Turkey, he said.

Nami underlined, however, there were political obstacles created by the European Union and due to the Cyprus problem.

Turkish Cypriot people once more are forced to pay the price of unfair isolations, said Nami, adding that the Turkish Cypriot side had done everything possible for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

He pointed out that, despite all efforts, the Greek Cypriot leader had abandoned the negotiations table, leaving the problem unsolved. It is high time to put an end to making the Turkish Cypriots pay the price for the absence of a solution through unfair isolations.

Nami emphasized that the Turkish Cypriot side’s position is clear on the energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean; that these resources could be used to create a peace project. It is possible to establish collaborations that will embrace all relevant sides and the energy resources could be a source raising the prosperity of our region, Nami said.  

KEY ACTOR
Nami (CTP)
>>
GC side rejecting all TC calls for collaboration on hydrocarbons.
>> TC side planned with Turkey and is implementing reciprocal moves on natural reserves.
>> TCs made to pay the price of unfair isolations due to absence of solution.
>> Reserves can be a peace project for relevant sides and a source of wealth for the region.
>> Despite TCs constructive approach in negotiations, GC leader abandoned the talks leaving the problem unsolved.


Italy uses the Armenian card in the Eastern Mediterranean

Kıbrıs Postası
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Prof. Dr Gürkan Kumbaroğlu, head of Turkish Energy Economy Association, said the Italians are interested in the reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean and not with the Italian Parliament’s acceptance of a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide in 1915. Kumbaroğlu underlined there is an increasing tendency in certain countries to play the ‘Armenian card’ against Turkey despite Turkey’s stern reactions. The goal is to create difficulties and if possible exclude Turkey from the energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean, he added.

Kumbaroğlu noted France has been leading the pro-Armenian campaigns but now Italy has joined in by accepting a bill proposing to accept the Armenian genocide.

Kumbaroğlu reminded that the Greek Cypriot administration has called on French, Italian and American oil companies TOTAL, ENI and ExxonMobil to bid for hydrocarbon exploration in block seven, which is a disputed area. Both TOTAL and ENI responded positively to the call made, however, a large section of the block lies within Turkey’s area claimed on the basis of its continental shelf, he added. Kumbaroğlu stressed both France and Italy seem to be building a front against Turkey ahead of starting drilling with the energy games played on land now being moved to the sea. He pointed out that the US did not respond positively to the invitation to bid from the Greek Cypriot administration in block seven instead continuing its exploration in block ten. He said there will not be a conflict between Turkey and the US in the region. On the contrary, an energy alliance formed by Turkey, US and Israel would be a more strategic move that will nullify the Greek Cypriot administration’s moves with Italy and France, he added.


Property permits for foreign nationals on the rise

Yenidüzen
Property

OVERVIEW

Yenidüzen reported on Friday that there is a growing trend by foreign nationals living in the TRNC to purchase immovable property following an amendment in the law enabling foreigners to buy property in the country. The paper reported that 258 permits were issued in the first four months of this year alone. The head of the Real Estate Agents Association Hasan Sungur said that contrary to claims sales to foreigners were on the rise.

He said that it was Turkish nationals who had stopped purchasing property in the north despite legal arrangements introduced to make it easier for them to purchase immovable property.

Sungur said that the biggest problems foreign nationals faced was when purchasing property near military zones. He said foreigners were not allowed to purchase any property that was 500m close to a military area, a problem which needed to be addressed by the authorities, he added


New constructions threatening cultural heritage

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

A construction pit, which reached the perimeters of a historical church in Karakum (Karakoumi) is threatening a building of cultural heritage value, several of the dailies reported on Friday. Turkish Cypriot chair of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, Ali Tuncay shared a photograph of the ongoing construction on social media. Tuncay questioned which authority within the Turkish Cypriot bureaucracy has issued the permit for the construction and who is legally accountable. Tuncay accused the authority that permitted the construction and not the construction company in his post.

Havadis draws similarities with the ongoing construction at Karakum (Karakoumi) and the collapsed Ayia Thekla Chapel as a result of a hotel’s construction in Bafra (Vokolida) in 2011. Kıbrıs Postası claims the ongoing construction belongs to Girne (Kyrenia) University. In another incident, an excavator is photographed carrying work over an antique burial site in the centre of Kyrenia. A video showing the excavator working was shared by Batuhan Halim on social media on Thursday.


EU launches €17.7m ‘Local Infrastructure Project’

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

OVERVIEW

The European Commission has launched the ‘Local Infrastructure Services’ project with €17.7m funding at a press conference held at Bandabuliya Sahnesi (theatre) on Thursday. The project will be implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and additional funding will be made available on a yearly basis for the coming three years. The project will be managed by a Steering Committee and will have an Advisory Board to support the beneficiaries and to make recommendations on the projects to be implemented.

Through this project, the EU will present local administrations and beneficiaries with the opportunity to apply with their proposed projects for funding. Constructing anti-flooding measures, cycling lanes and walking paths, recreational areas and building an approximately five-kilometre long park including environmental awareness facilities along the Kanlıdere (Pedieos) River are among the plans of the project.

Kjartan Bjornsson, head of the Cyprus Settlement Support Unit under the Commission’s Structural Reform Support Service, said water, wastewater, solid waste management and economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community will be the priorities of the project in his statement given at the press conference. 

Mahmut Özçınar, head of the Municipalities’ Union, speaking at the event, emphasized the importance of utilizing the funds available correctly and added that local administrations will have to be more competitive among themselves.