TCC Press Review 17 May 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

No insult, just freedom

Acquittal for “cartoon case”. Judge ruled that the claimant could not provide convincing evidence and presented conflicting statements. Court announced the verdict of “cartoon case” which has been going on for eight months. Afrika newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Şener Levent and Director Ali Osman Tabak were acquitted.

  • Act two for UBP-DP – Second round of talks today. Parties coming together again for talks on possible UBP (National Unity Party)-HP (People’s Party) coalition which will be the 28th government if an agreement is reached. Both party leaders and their delegations will be meeting at 2 pm.
  • Red light cameras being installed at the roundabout near Atatürk Sports Stadium

Kıbrıs Postası

Talking about an early election but…

As part of efforts to form a new coalition, there is talk of an early election however the Supreme Election Board does not have any technological infrastructure and suffers from technical issues due to the Election Law in force at the moment.

  • Busy day at the courts – Acquittal in Afrika case; (Bulut) Akacan case postponed; Police officer, who was expelled due to FETÖ (Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization) links testified: My pride harmed.
  • Fuat Oktay to visit the North – Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay to attend a fast-breaking event at Hala Sultan Mosque. It is reported that he will not hold any high-level political meetings.

Kıbrıs

Famagusta and surrounding villages could be left without electricity

AKSA Energy Company (privately owned power plant) wants KIBTEK (TC Electricity Authority) to pay the money it owes them but KIBTEK wants the state to pay them before they can pay AKSA.

  • Acquittal for Levent and Tabak on caricature case – Şener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak acquitted of all charges. The court concluded that the published caricature/photo collage did not insult “any foreign leader” nor did it harm relations with Turkey.
  • First step towards UBP-HP coalition­ – National Unity Party leader Ersin Tatar will hold a meeting with the People’s Party on Friday. Tatar said the two delegations had met on Thursday as well.

Havadis

A fight worth 35m USD

According to news on ODATV, a fraud lawsuit was filed against Sheikh Nazım Kıbrısi’s son Bahauddin Adil however Adil’s lawyer Ali Rıza Görgün rejected the accusations and said they have in response filed a lawsuit for damages incurred and demanded the publication of a correction in a news article.

  • Negotiations underway – National Unity Party and People’s Party delegations are scheduled to meet at 2pm on Friday to find a way to form a coalition. They also had a meeting on Thursday.
  • Acquittal in caricature case – Şener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak acquitted of all charges. The court concluded that the published caricature/photo collage did not insult “any foreign leader” nor did it harm relations with Turkey.

Diyalog

Patients angry

Shortage of medicine at the state hospital. Shortage includes various cancer drugs, sedatives, painkillers and intensive care medicine.

  • Thank god! – Current government repairs wooden dock and lighting at historical Kyrenia harbour as it prepares to leave.

Afrika

Acquittal

A historic decision for Turkish Cypriot politics and the judiciary. Judge Cenkay İnan, presiding over the cartoon/collage case filed against our paper upon instructions, acquitted Şener Levent and Ali Osman on grounds that “politicians and statesmen in particular need to be more tolerant”. The judge’s decision was applauded by the crowd that filled the courtroom.  

Main News

UBP to hold official talks with HP

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

OVERVIEW

The National Unity Party (UBP) is set to hold its second official meeting with the Peoples’ Party (HP) on Friday as part of UBP’s efforts to form a new government. The two parties had met unofficially on Thursday to prepare the ground for Friday’s meeting.

Earlier on Wednesday, UBP headed by Ersin Tatar met with other political parties in the Turkish Cypriot parliament, a day after being handed the mandate to form a new government by President Mustafa Akıncı.

Tatar expressed hope on Thursday that the talks will be successful and that the outcome will be beneficial for the whole country.

He also said that the public should not pay heed to manipulative or false reports as well as misleading posts on social media until the talks are finalized.

UBP has the highest number of seats in the Turkish Cypriot parliament with 21 followed by the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) with 12, HP nine, the Social Democratic Party (TDP) and Democratic Party (DP) three each and the Rebirth Party (YDP) two seats.


Şener Levent and Afrika acquitted on all charges

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The Nicosia District Court acquitted Şener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak on Thursday of all charges brought against them for publishing a photo collage of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Greece. The two were on trial for “insulting a foreign leader” after the newspaper published a cartoon showing a Greek statue urinating on Erdogan’s head. The cartoon first appeared online at the time of Erdogan’s 2017 visit to Greece, and Afrika later published it with the caption “seen through Greek eyes.”

Judge Cenkay İnan read out the verdict and said the court found no evidence suggesting the photo collage harmed Turkey’s relations with the north. The judge added that politicians must show more tolerance to criticism and highlighted that freedom of speech is an indispensable principle in democratic communities. He noted that satire is part of free speech and cited rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which has acquitted journalists over alleged “insults” to politicians.

The Court also noted that the prosecutor’s witnesses did not take the penal code or ECHR decisions into consideration when testifying, therefore, it did not take their testimonies into consideration on the basis that they were not scientific enough.

In comments to the media outside the courthouse on Thursday, Levent highlighted that the court verdict is a historic decision and a milestone in the Turkish Cypriot community’s independence struggle since 1974.

Levent reminded that former Turkish ambassador Derya Kanbay had filed the complaint on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people claiming that Levent had insulted the Turkish President. Kanbay had accused Levent of harming the relationship between Turkey and the north. The court dealt with the case as if it was a murder trial. The prosecution called 25 witnesses and the defence 14. “If this was a trial held in Turkey, the outcome would have been very different. We are Cypriots and citizens of the Republic of Cyprus”, Levent said.
Thanking the court, he said the decision demonstrated that the north of Cyprus, despite being under Ankara’s suzerainty, nevertheless has an independent judiciary.

Levent also faces trial over an article he wrote criticising the Turkish military operation in Afrin, northern Syria. Erdoğan responded at the time by calling on Ankara’s “brothers in north Cyprus to give the necessary response.” His call resulted in the 22 January 2018 violent protests against the paper.


Refugee association condemns TC authorities for deporting refugee

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Afrika
Human Rights, Migration & Citizenship

OVERVIEW

The Refugee Rights Association condemned Turkish Cypriot authorities on Thursday for deporting a refugee to the country s/he came from. The Association highlighted that the deported individual had been recognized as a ‘refugee’ by the UNHCR in the ‘Republic of Cyprus’ administered areas in 2004.

The Association stressed the deportation decision had placed the individual’s life and freedoms at risk, adding that the Turkish Cypriot authorities had violated both international law and the European Convention on Human Rights.


Çavuşoğlu: We are working for solution of Cyprus problem

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası
Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that Ankara is working for the solution of the Cyprus problem and on strengthening solidarity among the Balkan countries for the stability of the region.

In an address in Ankara to international students studying in Turkey on scholarships provided by the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey was in favour of “effective multilateralism”, adding that a strong international organization was needed in order to achieve this.

He added, however, that the United Nations does not meet this expectation.

KEY ACTORS
Çavuşoğlu
>>
Turkey working on the solution of the Cyprob.
>> Turkey working on strengthening solidarity & stability in the Balkans.
>> Turkey in favour of effective multilateralism but UN fails expectations.


Cyprus being thrown into fire

Havadis, Diyalog
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktaş said on Thursday that the United Kingdom must acknowledge the Greek Cypriot administration’s ambitions and irresponsible behaviour as the source of the hydrocarbons problem.

Denktaş recapped the ongoing debate started by the British Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan’s warning to both Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus not to drill in disputed maritime areas. He noted the UK, following aggressive attacks from the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, had to change its tone and called on Turkey not to drill within disputed areas.

Denktaş stressed that the UK as a guarantor nation has a responsibility to warn the Greek Cypriot administration, which is throwing the island of Cyprus into a fire pit with its unilateral hydrocarbon activities, to refrain from escalating tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek Cypriot side has turned hydrocarbons into a dangerous foreign policy issue, instead of utilizing the hydrocarbons as a means to achieve momentum for a solution on the island, he said

Denktaş also said that Turkey will continue to stand with the Turkish Cypriot community in protecting its rights and interests. “The Greek Cypriot administration today must learn its lessons from the past, that all their attempts to disregard the Turkish Cypriots have failed miserably. Therefore, the Greek Cypriot administration must refrain from any actions that will throw the island into the fire,” he said.

KEY ACTOR
Denktaş (DP)
>>
GCs throwing island into a fire pit with unilateral hydrocarbon activities. Must learn from past mistakes that any attempt to disregard TCs will fail.
>> As a guarantor power, UK must warn GCs to refrain from escalating tension.
>> GCs turned hydrocarbons into dangerous foreign policy issue, instead of using them to achieve momentum for Cyprob solution.
>> Turkey will not allow anyone to usurp TCs’ rights.