TCC Press Review 13 May 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

High privileges for higher education

Various privileges, exceptions and incentives ranging from tax, land, electricity to infrastructure are granted by the state to the higher education sector, which currently has 19 universities. Following the public debate sparked by the land leased to the Rauf Denktaş university for ten years, all eyes have turned to the incentives given to universities. 

Kıbrıs Postası

Akıncı unhappy with collapse of the four-party coalition

National Unity Party (UBP) leader Ersin Tatar claims Akıncı is unhappy with the collapse of the four-party coalition. Tatar added it is obvious in his reluctant meetings with the heads of the political parties, which wasted one week of the Turkish Cypriot people’s time.

  • Worst quality of roads among 140 countries – According to TC Chamber of Commerce 2018-2019 Competitiveness report, the roads in the north are the worst among 140 countries in the world.
  • The Mediterranean is no one’s personal lake – Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said TRNC has its own territorial waters.

Kıbrıs

Should confidence in judiciary be damaged, the country will turn in to the Wild West

Lawyers believe Bulut Akacan, through his newspaper’s (Haberci) headlines and lead stories, plays a dangerous game to harm the credibility of and confidence in the judiciary. Hasan Esendağlı, head of the Bar Association of Lawyers, underlines that malign criticism constitutes a crime.

  • Lack of controls attracts dirty money – The old debate resurrected regarding North Cyprus being a preferred destination for crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • The process commences to form the new government – Akıncı to receive National Unity Party (UBP), Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and People’s Party (HP) leaders and the remaining three on Tuesday. 

Havadis

Casinos biggest enemy of the universities

Havadis speaks with university students studying in the North. All agree the reputation of the North is not all that good. They had the perception it is possible to earn a degree with money but when they arrived in the North, they realized they have to study to graduate.

Diyalog

‘We’re not well’

While former MPs claim that the level of politics in the country has fallen they draw attention to the problems faced by the country.

  • Which fleet is going to fight for us – Former Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Rolandis asks Greek Cypriot leadership, which ignored his warning that Turkey is not joking on hydrocarbon drilling, which fleet is going to fight for the Greek Cypriot side.
  • An exact figure is needed – Famous lawyer (Achilleas) Demetriades demanded an exact figure regarding Greek Cypriot properties in the North.
  • Who wouldn’t want to be in Brussels – We believe that the salaries of MPs in the TRNC, which are lower than 1,500 Euros, are too much but the salaries of MEPs exceed 11,000 Euros when extra benefits are included. 11,000 Euros for Eleni and 1,100 Euros for Biray.

Afrika

Soldiers on instructions lie in waiting

The new government has yet to be determined. A UBP and HP coalition seems to be the most likely scenario but the rising voices of opposition within the UBP against such a coalition have given the signal that other alternatives could be possible. Mustafa Akıncı is meeting separately with the leaders of the six political parties in parliament. Akıncı to hold first meeting with UBP leader Ersin Tatar today. He will then meet with (Tufan) Erhürman and (Kudret) Özersay in turn. Akıncı to receive Cemal Özyiğit, Serdar Denktaş and Erhan Arıklı tomorrow.

  • Body found in Yeşilköy (Ayios Andronikos) – Authorities have not been able to determine whether the decomposed body found on rocks belong to a man or a woman. The body is believed to be that of a migrant.

Main News

No one can dictate terms to Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean

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

OVERVIEW

Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Saturday that the Eastern Mediterranean was extremely important for Turkey.

He said that the Eastern Mediterranean was not anyone’s personal lake and that both Turkey and the TRNC had their own territorial waters in the area. Speaking to CNN Türk, Albayrak said that Turkey was pursuing a different approach on the drilling issue.

He said that Turkey was currently conducting its own drilling with its own ships, equipment and experts.

‘The Eastern Mediterranean is no one’s personal lake,’ said Albayrak, adding that there was a strong will demonstrated by North Cyprus on the issue.

The Turkish minister expressed his view that they will achieve positive outcomes from drilling in 2020.

Albayrak also said that it was important for countries to have friendly relations with a country like Turkey.

We shall not accept anyone dictating terms to Turkey, Albayrak said.

KEY ACTORS
Albayrak
>> Eastern Mediterranean extremely important for Turkey. Turkey and TRNC have territorial waters in the area.
>> Turkey pursuing different approach on drilling with its own experts, ships and equipment.
>> Eastern Mediterranean doesn’t belong to anyone. Strong will demonstrated by TC side on the issue.
>> Important for countries to have friendly relations with Turkey.
>> No one can dictate terms to Turkey in Eastern Mediterranean.


TC police call on GC counterparts to collaborate on fight against narcotics

Yenidüzen
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

The head of the narcotics division in the North Barış Sel underlined the need to collaborate with the South on the issue of narcotics-related crimes.

In an interview with Yenidüzen on Monday, Sel said that police work must be kept separate from politics. He said that negative developments in building confidence between the two sides were hampering efforts to combat drug smuggling.

“I believe that we can prevent all sorts of crimes if police on both sides exchange information,” he said.

Sel pointed out that there was an alarmıng increase in drug-related crimes over the past few years.

He said that ports and crossing points continued to be used to smuggle drugs from South to North or vice versa.

Sel added that five people are currently on trial after they tried to smuggle 207 grams of marijuana and 13 grams of cocaine into the North through the Metehan (Ayios Dhometios) crossing point. Another person was arrested at the Akyar (Strovilia) crossing point trying to smuggle 365 grams of synthetic cannabis. Three people were also charged with possession of marijuana at the Lokmacı (Ledra) crossing point.

Sel pointed out that there was a constant flow of drugs from the South into the North and the Greek Cypriot police had been informed of names responsible.
However nothing has been done on the matter, Sel complained.

He said that drug traffickers were using the political situation on the island to their advantage.

“The Greek Cypriot police is refraining from cooperating with us. We, on the other hand, are ready to cooperate on all matters,” Sel said.


The process to form new coalition commences

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

Mustafa Akıncı will receive the leaders of the National Unity Party (UBP), Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and People’s Party (HP) on Monday morning as part of the official procedure to form a new government. Akıncı will meet with the leaders of the remaining three political parties on Tuesday, the Social Democratic Party (TDP), Democratic Party (DP) and Re-birth Party (YDP).

Akıncı is expected to assign responsibility to form a new government to UBP leader Ersin Tatar following completion of the first round of meetings. Tatar is required to present Akıncı with a list of the new cabinet within 15 days. UBP and HP are expected to form the next coalition. 

On the other hand, Tatar, in a statement to Kıbrıs Postası, accused Akıncı of wasting valuable time of the Turkish Cypriot people by delaying the process of assigning the task of forming a new government. Tatar further claimed Akıncı is reluctant to meet with the leaders of political parties even though the established political practice is well-known.

Tatar underlined that UBP will carry out meetings within the framework of a nationalist government which will protect the TRNC and will maintain good relations with Turkey. He added that his goal is to set up a government that will give hope for the future, implement reforms, and bring peace and stability, as well as a government that will restore a sense of justice. 

UBP currently occupies 21 seats in the 50-seat Turkish Cypriot parliament, followed by CTP with 12 seats; HP nine; DP and TDP three each and YDP two.


Lack of controls attracts dirty money

Kıbrıs
Economy

OVERVIEW

North Cyprus is a preferred destination for money laundering activities, according to the US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. The claims made by the report resurrected the old debate on anti-money laundering measures in place in the North.

Economist Göksel Saydam underlined a lack of controls and inspections as the main reason behind the North becoming a destination for unlawful activities such as money laundering, contrary to the prima facie reason that the North is a tax haven.

The US Narcotics report, confirming Saydam’s viewpoint, notes that Turkish Cypriot authorities have taken steps to address some of the major deficiencies, although “laws” are not sufficiently enforced to effectively prevent money laundering. The casino sector and the offshore banking sector remain of concern for money laundering abuse.

Furthermore, the report states that local experts agree that the ongoing shortage of law enforcement resources and expertise leaves the casino and gaming/entertainment sector poorly regulated, and, consequently, vulnerable to money laundering. The unregulated money lenders and currency exchange houses are also areas of concern.

Saydam emphasizes the North still adheres to archaic systems in company registrations. He added that the first responsibility should lie with the Free-trade Zone administration followed by the Tax authority.

Saydam said the Anti-money laundering committee must maintain a strong intelligence and information-sharing network but the current personnel in all these state bodies are inadequate.

He said the current laws and procedures, as well as the ‘criminal code’ in place, need to be updated to aid money laundering-related inspections, controls and prosecutions.