Front Page Headlines
Five hours to get approval for coffee
The Peoples’ Party, which withdrew from the four-party coalition government, held a five-hour long tense meeting. Permission granted for talks with National Unity Party but not for a coalition.
- An influx of migrants – New migrant tragedy on Monday. A boat carrying migrants from Lebanon to Cyprus sank. While three swam ashore, five people are still missing.
HP ready to form the government
The Peoples’ Party, following a six-hour meeting of the party assembly last night, decided to meet with all parties without any discrimination. The party assembly said it had yet to decide its criteria for talks.
- Palace testing the waters – President Akıncı starts meetings with political party leaders before assigning the task of forming a new government.
- Akar: “We shall defend Turkey’s and TRNC’s rights everywhere – Turkish Defence Minister speaks on Eastern Mediterranean during an event.
HP cracks the door open for a coalition
President Akıncı met with the leaders of UBP (National Unity Party), CTP (Republican Turkish Party and HP (Peoples’ Party) within the framework of efforts to set up a new government. HP, which is the “key party” for any new government, gave the green light for “coalition talks”.
- Greek Cypriots must prove that the slogan “the best Turk is a dead Turk” is not true – Jasmine Movement candidate for European Parliamentary elections Şener Levent makes a call to the Greek Cypriot public.
Akıncı comes under a salvo of attacks
UBP, impatient to set up a new government, strongly criticized the method followed by President Akıncı, accusing him of mediating between the political parties.
- HP sets bargaining price high – Peoples’ Party decided to evaluate coalition offers following a six-hour party assembly meeting.
The record belongs to education
11 governments changed in the TRNC in the past ten years. Seven prime ministers and 49 ministers served in office. Ten education ministers served in the ten years.
- Positive decision – Peoples’ Party ready to hold coalition talks if an offer comes.
- The mandate should be given to UBP – (Tufan) Erhürman (CTP) says no time to lose to discuss how to form a government.
- ‘Delaying tactic’ – According to (Hasan) Taçoy (UBP), President Akıncı deliberately delayed assigning the task of forming a government.
- Reassuring statement – Turkish Defence Minister (Hulusi) Akar says Turkey taking all necessary measures to protect interests and rights in Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
- Greek Cypriots in a panic – Turkish navy holding its biggest naval exercise in history with 131 ships, 57 aircraft and 33 helicopters.
Özersay ready for partnership
Work to determine new members of Turkey’s local administration in Cyprus underway. All eyes turned to Kudret Özersay. HP announced its decision following a meeting that lasted till midnight. HP’s party assembly announced that it was ready to hold talks with any party that came with an offer. Following his meeting with Akıncı, Özersay said that HP will have a set of conditions before entering coalition talks.
- Nicos Rolandis: Who can stop Turkey? – Former Greek Cypriot foreign minister Rolandis says there is no country that will fight for the Republic of Cyprus.
Military exercise in all three seas around TurkeyYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
External Security, Regional/International Relations
Turkey’s largest military exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea, employing 131 navy ships, 57 warplanes, 33 helicopters and 25,900 military personnel, kicked off on Monday and will run through to 25 May. The military exercise is named Sea Wolf (Denizkurdu).
“With the exercise, we aim to show Turkish Armed Forces’ resolution and capability in protecting the country’s security as well as its rights and interests in the seas,” National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday at a fast-breaking dinner at National Defence University (Milli Savunma Üniversitesi).
The exercise aims to boost the Turkish Navy’s units and capacity and will involve the use of domestically produced arms systems and other systems.
During the exercise, Turkish Naval Forces will carry out strategic and operational scenarios similar to crisis-tension situations and wartime. On the first day of the drill, approach and refuelling exercises were held.
On Monday, Akar said that Turkey was taking all necessary measures to defend its rights and interests in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus.
>> Turkey taking all necessary measures to defend its rights and interests in the Aegean, the Eastern Med and Cyprus.
Process of setting up new coalition in North continuesYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Governance & Power Sharing
Mustafa Akıncı officially launched the procedure for the next possible coalition government in the North on Monday by receiving National Unity Party (UBP) leader Ersin Tatar, Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman and Peoples’ Party (HP) leader Kudret Özersay.
Akıncı met with each political party leader for 30 minutes.
All six dailies report he is meeting with the remaining three political party leaders, Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Özyiğit, Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktaş and Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı on Tuesday morning.
Speaking to reporters on Monday after meeting Akıncı, Tatar said that possibilities for the new government were clear, adding that there weren’t many alternatives.
UBP will be part of any coalition formula that emerges, he said. Tatar will evaluate possible alternatives within the party once the mandate to form a government is handed to UBP, he said, adding that he expects Akıncı to give him the mandate on Tuesday afternoon.
Erhürman on Monday said UBP was the only party in parliament that could secure a vote of confidence. He pointed out the country is going through difficult times and there was no time to waste on debating how and who will form the next coalition.
Özersay, speaking after meeting with Akıncı, said the party had yet to decide on whether it will hold coalition talks with other parties or remain in opposition. Özersay also rejected allegations that HP has already held coalition talks with other political parties. He noted that the past 14-15 months of experience will define their coalition talks, should the party decide to enter into talks with the others.
Later on Monday night, following an intense meeting of the party assembly which lasted for over five hours, Özersay announced his party’s decision to hold coalition talks with any party that approached them.
The HP leader stressed that the party’s decision did not mean that it would be entering a coalition at all costs. There was still the possibility HP could remain in opposition if it failed to reach an agreement.
The party assembly did not identify any criteria for talks as their decision on Monday was a procedural one, simply approving meetings with other political parties.
TDP’s Özyiğit told state broadcaster BRT on Monday that HP, which had previously refused to even drink coffee with UBP, was skilfully making its way into a coalition government.
The 14-month long period had proven that the Turkish Cypriot community could actually survive without financial aid from Turkey, he said. However, HP’s resignation ruined it all, Özyiğit added.
Denktaş also repeated the idea that the responsibility to form a new coalition should be given to UBP. Nonetheless, the law is clear and Akıncı can give the mandate to whomever he wants, since it is entirely up to him, he said. If it is not possible to form a new government in 45 days time, the law calls for an early election, Denktaş concluded.
Meanwhile, UBP General Secretary Hasan Taçoy on Monday accused Akıncı of deliberately delaying the process of forming a new government. Commenting on BRT about the coalition process, Taçoy claimed Akıncı wants TDP to be part of the government because he is already planning his strategies for the 2020 presidential elections.
Taçoy noted UBP is likely to be in better harmony with HP while CTP has already closed its doors to a possible coalition.
Şener Elcil, General Secretary of TC Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) on Monday criticized Özersay for allowing his ambitions to take over his principles of ‘clean politics’.
Turkey has always interfered with domestic politics in the North and more recently, had imposed an economic embargo to end the four-party coalition, Elcil added.
Claiming that HP is part of a pre-planned scenario being acted out, Elcil said Özersay could have never been a believable political figure even though he came out with promises of clean politics.
Influx of migrantsYenidüzen
Migration & Citizenship, Human Rights
A new migrant tragedy was recorded on Monday when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sank off the coast of Cyprus. Three of the migrants on board were able to swim ashore but five are still missing, Yenidüzen reported.
The paper also reported that 79 migrants were officially registered to have arrived in the North in 2019. Most were deported due to the absence of legislation dealing with migrants.
In another incident last Friday, 20 Syrian migrants were picked up by police in Gayretköy (Avlona). The court in Morphou ordered the migrants, who had been discovered hiding in a citrus orchid, to remain in police custody for an additional 15 days.
Human rights experts in the north complain that migrants arriving in the country are treated as criminals due to the absence of laws for asylum seekers or migrants. Burcu Mahmutoğlu who runs a project on asylum in the North said that the absence of asylum law in the North meant that migrants who fled their countries for numerous reasons and who sought refuge in other countries were treated as criminals in the TRNC.
Project coordinator for the Refugee Rights Association (RRA) Fezile Osum said that steps should be taken in accordance with conventions and agreements that have become part of domestic law.
Lawyer Ramadan Sanıvar argued that migrants who face the risk of persecution in their own countries should not be sent back.
Greek Cypriots have to prove nationalists wrong at European electionsKıbrıs
European Parliament (EP) candidates for the Jasmine Movement, Şener Levent, Faize Özdemiciler, Oz Karahan, Zeki Beşiktepeli and İbrahim Aziz said that the upcoming EP elections will be a test for Cyprus.
Speaking on a programme aired on Kıbrıs TV, EP candidate Levent said they aimed to become the voice of the Turkish Cypriot community in the international arena and to help reunify the island.
He said that these elections must show to the world that Turkish Cypriots can vote for Greek Cypriots and Greek Cypriots can vote for Turkish Cypriots.
Levent said that the voters must also prove nationalists on both sides and their nationalist rhetoric wrong.
He also said that Turkish Cypriots should not be suppressed by Greek Cypriots.
“We are numerically a minority. The other side does not harbour the best intentions for these elections. They do not want Turkish Cypriots taking part in these elections. The other side has planned the elections on the conviction that Turkish Cypriots will not vote. We are a strong community and we need to give out that message. Turkish Cypriots need to show themselves here,” he said.
Candidate Beşiktepeli argued that the EP elections were the only way out of the illegal situation Turkish Cypriots were trapped in.
Candidate Karahan said that no party in the South could, in essence, represent the Turkish Cypriots.
He said their aim was to represent Turkish Cypriots in the international arena.
Candidate Aziz said that he did not belong to the North or to the South but was waging a joint struggle.
He argued that the Greek Cypriot AKEL (Progressive Party of the Working People) had nominated a Turkish Cypriot candidate purely for strategic purposes.
Aziz accused AKEL of being insincere on the issue of a federal settlement.
>> Jasmine movement aims to be voice of TCs in the international arena.
>> EP elections must show the world that TCs & GCs can vote for each other.
>> Voters must also prove nationalists on both sides wrong.
>> TC community must give message it is a strong community & show its presence in these elections.
>> EP elections only way out of illegal situation TCs are trapped in.
>> No GC party can, in essence, represent the TCs. Jasmine movement aims to represent TCs in the international arena.
>> AKEL nominated TC candidate for strategic purposes.
>> AKEL not sincere on federal settlement.