TCC Press Review 21 May 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

89 per cent of business people: Bribery is common

Report prepared to measure perceptions of corruption in North Cyprus and raise awareness in the fight against it reveals shocking findings. There is a common perception that corruption is greater in political offices and is carried out by high-level officials. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents believe there is bribery and corruption in North Cyprus.

  • Last bend on the road to a coalition – Basic principles agreed. Ministries divided 7:3. (National Unity Party leader Ersin) Tatar: “Much progress has been achieved on the issue of basic principles. We will form a government in eight days.
  • Bicommunal Engineers and Architects for Peace– “We shall be heading to the polls for the European elections.”

Kıbrıs Postası

Government done – Agreement reached…

National Unity Party (UBP)-People’s Party (HP) negotiations on the government concluded with an agreement reached on the seventh day. UBP will have seven ministerial seats and the office of the Prime Minister. HP will maintain the three ministries it held in the four-party coalition.

  • A well-structured presidential system can be implemented – Economist Mehmet Saydam said a new structure ensuring separation of powers while maintaining a balance could be designed to implement a presidential system in the North.

Kıbrıs

Corruption and bribery widespread

Friedrich Ebert Foundation academics Ömer Gökçekuş and Sertaç Sonan published the Corruption Perceptions in North Cyprus 2018 report. The report, which was written as a result of the business community’s response to questionnaires and feedback provided during workshops, reveals the highest amount of corruption is related to public land and state incentives.

  • UBP-HP government almost done – The parties, which continue their meetings to form a new coalition, spoke more positively on Monday. UBP created the perception there are no obstacles before the formation of a government.
  • “Caricature case” to be taken to Appeals Court – The Attorney-general’s office is going to file a case at the Appeals Court to reverse the judgement given by the Nicosia District Court on Şener Levent and Ali Osman Tabak.

Havadis

Almost there!

UBP leader Tatar who was given the mandate by the President to form a new coalition is on the verge of an agreement with HP following a series of official and unofficial meetings.

Diyalog

Two million damage

(Tufan) Erhürman refuses to sign a 25 Kuruş automatic price hike to fuel leaving it to the new government. UBP leader Ersin Tatar said that Finance Minister Serdar Denktaş had called and warned him to introduce the price hike as failure to do so would cause the Treasury to lose two million TL.

  • Cabinet to be presented to the palace tomorrow – In a statement to Diyalog, Tatar said (HP leader Kudret) Özersay will become a stronger foreign minister.
  • We’re waiting for service – No roads in good condition left in the country; broken road signs and lighting poles lie everywhere.

Afrika

Fear of 80,000 in the South

The number of Turkish Cypriot voters in the North who will be voting in the European Parliament elections on Sunday, 26 May, is worrying politicians in the South. The most sought out topic in the South currently is the number of Turkish Cypriots who will be voting in Sunday’s election. This figure which cannot be predicted in any way has created serious concern among Greek Cypriot political parties. There are currently 80,000 Turkish Cypriots with Republic of Cyprus citizenship who have the right to vote. This figure raises fears in the South.

  • Ministries divided: 7 UBP, 3 HP – Tatar said that the People’s Party had insisted on the Department of Youth and Sports but we told them that this would not be possible.

Main News

Majority of TCs believe corruption is widespread in North Cyprus.

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs
Economy

OVERVIEW

A whopping 89% of Turkish Cypriots believe bribery and corruption exist in North Cyprus, according to the findings of the ‘Corruption Perceptions in North Cyprus: 2018 report’, published by Yenidüzen and Kıbrıs on Tuesday.

The annual report, aimed at determining perceptions on corruption in North Cyprus and raising awareness of it, points out that corruption is most widespread in dealings concerning state-owned properties and incentives at the higher political level. A 59% majority of Turkish Cypriots believe that corruption is a serious problem.

According to the report, 38% of respondents said that transferring public resources to private companies, individuals or groups was “very common” while 43% said they believed that there was a tradition of giving bribes and kickbacks to win public tenders. Other cases where corruption is believed to be widely practiced is while taking out loans from public banks, applying for permits or at customs.

Again, 55% of participants said they believed that public resources were exploited by ministers or high-ranking officials for their individual interests or those of their political parties.

Politicians and political parties are seen as the two groups where corruption is the highest with 58% and 54% of respondents believing so respectively.

The majority of respondents believe that lifting political immunity, limiting political appointments and removing discretionary funds are among the best ways to tackle corruption.

The report, prepared by Friedrich Ebert Foundation academics Ömer Gökçekuş and Sertaç Sonan, will be presented at an event on Tuesday morning at the Merit hotel in Nicosia, Yenidüzen and Kıbrıs report.


Final touches being put to new cabinet

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

OVERVIEW

The National Unity Party (UBP) and Peoples’ Party (HP) are inches away from forming a new government, according to the Turkish Cypriot dailies.

On Monday, UBP leader Ersin Tatar announced that agreement had been reached between the two parties on the basic principles and working guidelines for the new coalition.

Tatar told reporters on Monday that agreement had also been reached on the distribution of ministries and government offices.

He also said that HP leader Kudret Özersay will become a stronger foreign minister because the two parties’ views on the Cyprus Problem overlapped.

Tatar said that the cabinet ministries would be divided 7:3 with the foreign ministry, interior ministry and ministry for public works and communications remaining with HP.

“Our aim is to have completed the process of forming a new government within the next eight days,” Tatar said.

He also admitted that holding early elections was the last resort as this would have been costly for everyone.

The two parties were scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning at UBP headquarters in Nicosia.

Diyalog newspaper reported that Tatar could be presenting his new cabinet to President Akıncı as early as Wednesday.

The daily also published a list of the ministries, departments and institutions distributed between the two parties.


GC parties worried about TC turnout for European elections

Afrika
EU Matters

OVERVIEW

Afrika newspaper reported on Tuesday, that some Greek Cypriot political parties were worried about a possible high turnout of Turkish Cypriot voters in Sunday’s European Parliament elections.

According to the paper’s sources, Greek Cypriot political parties were worried particularly because there was no way of predicting how many of the 80,000 eligible Turkish Cypriot voters would actually vote.

The paper writes that a high turnout could upset balances and affect the outcome of the elections.

Afrika says that all election polls or surveys conducted in the South to date have excluded Turkish Cypriot voters, adding further to the parties’ frustration.

The paper, however, gives room to rumours that secret polls have been conducted in the North and have not been announced.

Meanwhile, the Bicommunal Engineers and Architects for Peace have called on Turkish Cypriots to vote in Sunday’s election.

Members of the group held a press conference at the Home for Cooperation on Monday.

The group said that Turkish Cypriots were European citizens and that all Cypriots must work together for the benefit of the island.

UniteCyprusNow, in a statement on Monday, said that procedures at all crossing points during the 26 May European Parliament elections will be an important demonstration of goodwill by the officials on both sides.

“The sides should show respect to the fundamental democratic rights by taking the necessary measures at the crossing points. Any kind of backlog at the crossing points at either side of the island, any slowdown of the crossings, or any other problem that will negatively affect the participation of Turkish Cypriots and other EU citizens living in the northern part of the island in the vote, would constitute direct interference in EU citizens’ right to elect and be elected,” the statement read.

The group called on officials on both sides to provide efficient, prompt and civilized service at the crossing points during this important election, which will take place before the eyes of Europe. They also called on the United Nations and the European Union to exercise due care.


Site visit to CMC and other mines completed

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis
Economy

OVERVIEW

A site visit to monitor the damage caused by the Cyprus Mining Company (CMC) to the environment has been completed.

Lefka Environment and Publicity Association and Laona Foundation completed the site visit to observe the environmental damage caused by the CMC Mining Company to the region specifically and to Cyprus generally within the framework of the EU-financed Civic Space Technical Support Project.

The site visit in the first leg of the project focused on the Skouriotissa (Fugasa) mining area. Hellenic Mines Company, which manages the mine, informed project officials that it will start mining for gold with cyanide and that Greek Cypriot officials will soon issue the necessary permits.

The second leg of the project was a site visit to Mathiatis mining area, which is a candidate to be included in the UNESCO list of “ancient mining galleries”. The participants visited copper and gold mines.  

Following the site visits, Association officials presented their findings to the participants and outlined that the Greek Cypriot side must implement the relevant EU regulations on environmental protection. The same officials also expressed their health concerns for residents living in a village near the mining activities.

The project is implemented by the Lefka Environment and Publicity Association and Laona Foundation. It is financed by the European Union and technical support is provided by the Civic Space Project.


Final preparations underway for Turkey’s second drilling platform

Kıbrıs Postası
Energy

OVERVIEW

Deepsea Metro-1, which is the second hydrocarbon platform purchased by Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) has docked at the Çolakoğlu Port, İstanbul for its final preparations and branding prior to being deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean area.

Deepsea Metro-1, which was purchased for 262.5m USD, is 229m in length with a gross tonnage of 51,283. It can drill up to a depth of 10,000 feet. It was brought to Yalova from Algeciras Port in Spain two months ago for branding purposes.

The second drilling platform was purchased in line with Turkey’s national mining and energy policies.