TCC Press Review 10 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Their plight ends with return

They asked for asylum. They were put behind bars in an old building in unhealthy conditions. The Council of Ministers decided to deport them. Following their humanitarian plight, the 51 Syrian asylum seekers who escaped the war in their country and who were kept waiting at Ercan (Tymbou) airport were shipped back to Turkey through the Turkish Department of Migration. Some of the asylum seekers who were being accommodated at the old Cyprus Turkish Airlines building at Ercan (Tymbou) were there since June 21. Others had only arrived a month ago. The asylum seekers included a pregnant woman and four children, the youngest eight years old.

  • Turkey wants 69 per cent of it – The Permanent Secretary of the Republic of Cyprus’s (RoC) Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tasos Tzionis gave a briefing to the Turkish Cypriot media. Tzionis: “If Turkey’s demands in the Eastern Mediterranean were met, Cyprus would only have 31 per cent of the island’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) remaining.

Kıbrıs Postası

September will be too late

Greek Cypriot Minister responds to President Mustafa Akıncı’s proposal to hold an unofficial five-party meeting. Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides pointed to the hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and claimed: “September will be too late.”

  • We will lose 69 per cent of our EEZ – Greek Cypriot Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Tasos Tzionis said if Turkey’s demands in the seas are accepted, Republic of Cyprus (RoC) will lose 69 per cent of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Kıbrıs

The pleasure of bathing in the sea has turned into a nightmare

A number of people have drowned or almost drowned in May, June and July this year. The figures show the need to introduce certain measures on the beaches. This swimming season, seven have drowned and 20 people almost drowned and hospitalized.

  • Sewage floods the Industrial area – Haspolat (Mia Milia) Industrial Area was flooded by sewage. It is almost impossible to stand the foul odour.

Havadis

Arrived as tourists, returning as refugees

As a result of the new visa requirement, Syrian nationals, who arrived at Ercan (Tymbou) airport as tourists were detained as ‘illegal migrants’ at the airport for months. Now they will be sent to Turkey by ferry.

  • We will not take sides on domestic politics – Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) responds to Akıncı’s harsh criticisms and said they will not be part of debates in domestic politics.

Diyalog

Out of control

Labour Minister (Faiz) Sucuoğlu said that around 10,000 businesses were unregistered. He said the percentage of the unregistered workforce in the country had reached 35 per cent. Sucuoğlu who spoke to Diyalog said that the issue of unregistered workplaces and workers was out of control. He said that work had started to address the issue but this would take time.

Afrika

They smashed his skull

The country has become a place for blood curdling murders. Those who carelessly allow foreigners to enter the country for the sake of financial interest have turned this country into a living hell for the community. A new horrifying murder has been added to the series of murders that have taken place in the country. It has been confirmed that the body found in the trunk of a car parked in the schools’ district was that of 33-year-old Nigerian (Obasanjo Adeola) Owoyalr who had been missing since July 1. An autopsy on his body determined that his skull had been smashed into pieces.

  • The disgrace of the TRNC – 50 asylum seekers from Syria who were detained at Ercan (Tymbou) airport for days under inhumane conditions were sent to Turkey.
  • 100 police officers and 40 civil service officers to be employed – Council of Ministers announces a decision to hire 100 police officers and 40 civil service officers to deal with the growing problem of traffic and crime in the country.  

Main News

TC government says EU’s biased approach pushing Cyprob into further deadlock

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Negotiations Process, EU Matters, Energy, External Security, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Government officials issued statements on Tuesday protesting the EU’s latest statements criticizing Turkey’s drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus.  

Prime Minister Ersin Tatar on Monday claimed the European Union’s (EU) biased attitude in favour of Greece and the Greek Cypriot side was driving the Cyprus problem further into deadlock. 

In a written statement, he criticized the EU for alleging Turkey’s hydrocarbon activities in the TRNC licensed areas were unlawful and a violation of South Cyprus’s sovereignty.

“We protest the EU’s remarks regarding Turkey’s plans to launch a second hydrocarbon drilling off the coast of Cyprus in areas licensed by the TRNC,” Tatar said.

He added contrary to EU’s claims, the real cause of concern was the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral and unlawful hydrocarbon activities which disregarded the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

“It is unfortunate to see EU has failed to comprehend this fact,” Tatar said.

Tatar recalled that the Greek Cypriot side had rejected all offers to set up a joint committee on the issue of hydrocarbons so that revenues to be derived from natural gas could be used to fund a settlement.

He noted that the Greek Cypriot side had signed agreements with other countries to the detriment of Turkey’s rights in the region.

“The EU, which has so far overlooked all of the Greek Cypriot side’s actions, is now criticizing Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side,” Tatar said.

These criticisms are a direct attack on the Turkish Cypriots as they cannot be in line with the modern values of the EU, he added.

Tatar also said the Turkish Cypriot side will continue with its hydrocarbon activities as long as the Greek Cypriot side continues its own activities.

“The Greek Cypriot side must know that Turkey and our government are determined to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots with proactive policies and there is no turning back from this path,” Tatar concluded.

Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Cypriot Parliament Zorlu Töre on Tuesday welcomed the news of the arrival of Turkey’s second drillship in Cyprus.

Töre also slammed the EU for its recent remarks concerning Turkey’s drilling activities.

 “We wish to remind both the United Nations (UN) and to the European Union (EU) that the Turkish Cypriot people are one of the two peoples on the island and founding partners of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC),” he said.

He argued that accepting the Greek Cypriots into the EU was one of the biggest injustices committed against the Turkish Cypriot people.

“The EU, which continuously pats the usurper Greek Cypriots on the back, is likely to create bigger tensions and conflicts in the Eastern Mediterranean by maintaining its biased stance and approach,” Töre stressed.

Töre also rejected the remarks made against Turkey by the EU’s Commission Vice-President Frederica Mogherini.

He said the EU can neither be a mediator nor an observer between the two sides in Cyprus as a result of its biased stance.

The Turkish Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a written statement on Tuesday criticizing the EU’s stance.

It said that the EU, through its biased stance in favour of South Cyprus had started to usurp the rights of Turkish Cypriots.

“While the EU needs to acknowledge and respect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, it is increasingly becoming the sponsor of the Greek Cypriots thus shaking the very foundations on which it is built on,” the statement said.

The statement pointed out that the EU’s stance once again demonstrated that it cannot be impartial or just when it comes to the solution of the Cyprus Problem and the hydrocarbons issue.

“Once again, the EU has proven how justified Turkish Cypriots are in not trusting the bloc,” the statement added.

It said that the EU was displaying an unjust and unlawful stance by openly ignoring the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Turkish Cypriots.

The ministry questioned whether or not the rights of Turkish Cypriots on natural gas and wealth were being violated when Greek Cypriots raised the question of their own sovereignty. 

It said that defining the activities carried out by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots as provocative while turning a blind eye to the Greek Cypriot side’s actions was unacceptable.

“The activities conducted in the east and south of the island are not carried out in the name of the Republic of Turkey or within areas claimed by the Turkish state. Turkish Petroleum is conducting drilling activities through licenses granted on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people. Therefore, the [Greek Cypriot side] interlocutor regarding drilling taking place to the east and south of the island is not Turkey but the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC government,” the statement added.

The EU’s stance does not serve peace and stability in the region but threatens it by inciting injustice, the Turkish Cypriot foreign ministry said.

“It is a relief and pleasing development to know that such individuals who have not fully understood or embraced the very principles of which the EU is founded on will not be serving at these positions in the near future,” it added.

The ministry said the statements and stance adopted by the EU in support of the Greek Cypriots despite the Turkish Cypriot side’s continued calls for cooperation, it’s realistic and applicable pragmatic proposals as well as its flexible and constructive approach, is poisoning the climate for compromise and cooperation.

“The EU’s latest judgemental statements and stance do not abide by international law. International law and the Law of the Sea states that in cases of disagreement, the parties must without further delay, find solutions through negotiations. The adoption of a biased approach by the EU contradicts the principles of fairness and is unacceptable,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile the papers report that Turkey will intensify its hydrocarbon search and drilling activities including in areas licensed by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, according to Turkey’s 11th Development Plan submitted to the Turkish parliament on Tuesday following its approval by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The plan covers the years from 2019 to 2023. According to the five-year plan, Turkey will carry out a total of 26 drillings in the seas until the end of 2023.

KEY ACTORS
Tatar (UBP)
>>
EU’s biased attitude favouring Greece & GC side pushing Cyprob further into deadlock.
>> Real cause of concern is GC side’s unilateral and unlawful hydrocarbon activities which disregard TC’s rights.
>> The GC side has signed agreements with other countries to the detriment of Turkey’s rights in the region.
>> The EU has overlooked all of the GC side’s unilateral actions.
>> EU criticisms are a direct attack on TCs and are line with the EU values.
>> TC side will continue with its hydrocarbon activities as long as the GC side continues its own activities.
>> Turkey & the government are determined to protect the rights of TCs with proactive policies. No turning back from this point.

Töre (UBP)
>>
Accepting GCs into the EU was one of the biggest injustices committed against TCs.
>> EU, which continuously supports GCs o is likely to create bigger tensions & conflicts in the East Med.
>> EU can neither be a mediator nor an observer between the two sides in Cyprus as a result of its biased stance.

Özersay (HP)
>>
EU, through its biased stance in favour of South Cyprus, usurps the rights of TCs.
>> EU needs to acknowledge and respect the rights of TCs.
>> EU’s stance demonstrates it cannot be impartial or just when it comes to Cyprob & hydrocarbons issue.
>> EU displays an unjust and unlawful stance by openly ignoring the sovereignty and sovereign rights of TCs.
>> Defining Turkish and TC activities as provocative while turning a blind eye to GC side’s actions is unacceptable.
>> TPAO is conducting drilling activities through licenses granted on behalf of the TCs. GC’s interlocutor is not Turkey but the TCs & TRNC government.
>> EU’s stance does not serve peace and stability in the region but threatens it by inciting injustice.
>> EU’s position in support of the GCs despite the TC side’s continued calls for cooperation, pragmatic proposals & constructive approach, is poisoning the climate for compromise and cooperation.
>> EU’s latest judgmental statements and stance do not abide by international law.


Disrespecting Akıncı means disrespecting TC community’s will

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

OVERVIEW

Turkish Cypriot Public Servants’ Union (KTAMS) expressed its support to President Mustafa Akıncı on Tuesday following the latest attempts to sideline and discredit him.

In a written statement, KTAMS said that the actions of the Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) were disrespectful of the Turkish Cypriot community.

While the visiting Turkish vice president had opted not to meet with Akıncı during his latest visit, the president was excluded from a list of dignitaries delivering speeches at the 1st Economic Forum organised by the Turkish-TRNC Chamber of Commerce Forum.

“Insolence and attacks by local collaborators have exhausted our limits” the statement read.

 KTAMS noted those who attempt to disregard the Turkish Cypriot community’s will and its highest-level representative, have suffered the appropriate political consequences in the past. “The Turkish Cypriot community is a community which has embraced democracy and which is respectful of freedoms and human rights. It is also courageous and bold enough to stand strong against any attack on its own will,” the statement concluded.

The leader of the Nationalist Democracy Party (MDP) Buray Büsküvütçü said on Tuesday that any attempt to disrespect Akıncı was unacceptable. In a written statement, Büsküvütçü said his party will not keep silent against any attempt to disrespect or disregard the office of the presidency despite differences in political views.

The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) responded to the statement made by Akıncı’s spokesman Barış Burcu.

In a written statement on Tuesday, KTTO said they will not be allowed to be dragged into domestic political debates.

The Chamber also rejected the allegations on “any recommendations not to allow the President to speak” and said “instead the Chamber focused on its intense economic discussions. “KTTO is experienced and professional enough not to be part of domestic political debates,” the statement added.

The Cyprus Businesspeople Investors and Economy Association (KİYED) on Tuesday demanded an apology from the Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) for disrespecting Mustafa Akıncı by leaving him out of the list of dignitaries to speak at the 1st Economy Conference. “We have to look out for our own authorities,” KİYED said.


Tzionis says Turkey wants 69 per cent

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası
Energy, Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) Tasos Tzionis said on Tuesday that the arrival of Turkey’s second drillship off the coast of Cyprus was a new provocation.

In a briefing to members of the Turkish Cypriot media on the RoC’s position regarding hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Tzionis said that Cyprus would only have 30 per cent of the island’s continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone remaining if Turkey’s demands were met.

He said that Turkey wanted 69 per cent of Cyprus’s continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Tzionis said that South Cyprus was conducting activities in the area within the framework of agreements signed with neighbouring countries and in line with international law.  

He expressed the view that the Continental Shelf Delimitation Agreement signed between Turkey and the TRNC was a serious mistake.

“How can it be possible for the Turkish Cypriot leadership to hand over rights of the RoC’s EEZ to Turkey? This is very difficult to comprehend,” he said, adding that there was no difference between violations committed on land or at sea.

He argued that Turkey’s interest in the region had nothing to do with the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and that it was not possible to separate the hydrocarbons issue from a comprehensive settlement.

Regarding operations conducted by Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), Tzionis said there will be serious consequences for those who work with TPAO.

He said that information was being collected on all private individuals and corporations involved and that legal cases will be filed against these individuals.

“They could be forced to pay a fine of €1 million or face up to five years in prison. Legal action has already been launched against three companies,” he added.

Tzionis also drew attention to the presence of a large number of Turkish warships in the region and said that the RoC was threatened by this presence.

“We have no fighter jets or warships. Who will intervene against Turkey if we are confronted? This problem cannot be solved through military threats,” he said.

Tzionis reminded that the resumption of Turkey’s EU negotiations process depended on the approval of the RoC.

“The problem is not only hydrocarbons. We have disagreements over territory, property, security and guarantees and other issues. There is still much time before the natural gas is extracted and turned into revenue. We can reach a solution to the Cyprus Problem during this period,” he said.

Also touching upon the latest proposal made by Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay in Geneva for energy companies to sit and negotiate a deal, Tzionis said that this was not a logical proposal because such a move would exclude the Cypriots from the process.

“On one side of the table, you would have TPAO and the energy firms NOBLE, ENI and EXXON sitting at the other end. What about the Cypriots?” he asked.

Tzionis also said that there was no link between the issue of Maraş (Varosha) and the issue of hydrocarbons.

He said he was not aware of any effort to link the two issues.

“The conditions under which Maraş (Varosha) [sic] can be reopened is clearly stated in the 1979 High-Level Agreement,” he added.

KEY ACTOR
Tzionis
>> Arrival of Turkey’s second drillship a new provocation.
>> RoC will lose 69 per cent of its EEZ if Turkey’s demands are met.
>> RoC conducting activities in the area within the framework of agreements signed with neighbouring countries and international law.
>> Continental Shelf Delimitation Agreement signed between Turkey & TRNC serious mistake. TC leadership should not have handed Turkey rights over the island’s EEZ.
>> Turkey’s interest in the region has nothing to do with interests of TCs
>> It is not possible to separate hydrocarbons issued from a comprehensive settlement.
>> There will be serious legal consequences for those working with TPAO. Legal action will be taken against them.
>> RoC threatened by large Turkish naval presence around the island. This issue cannot be solved through military threats.
>> Problems between two sides not limited to hydrocarbons. Disagreements exist on property, territory, security & guarantees and other issues.
>> There is still time before natural gas will be extracted and turned in revenue. Cyprob could be solved during this time.
>> Özersay’s proposal for energy companies to hold talks not logical as it would exclude Cypriots from the table.
>> No link between Maraş (Varosha) and hydrocarbons issue. Conditions to open Maraş (Varosha) clearly stated in the 1979 High-Level Agreement.


TC government takes decision to send 50 Syrian asylum seekers to Turkey

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Migration & Citizenship, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Turkish Cypriot authorities on Tuesday announced a decision to send 50 Syrian asylum seekers currently detained at Ercan (Tymbou) airport to Turkey in line with an agreement reached with the Turkish Department for Migration.

Announcing the decision, Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said that the agreement had been reached after asylum seekers were being held in overcrowded and unsustainable conditions at an old building at the airport.

He reminded that a new visa requirement had been introduced for Syrian nationals but that the 50 asylum seekers had arrived in the north before the practice had come into force.

Özersay added that the asylum seekers had arrived in the north with the hope for applying for asylum in South Cyprus but that this had not been possible.

“These asylum seekers were not sent here officially by the Republic of Turkey. Turkey had no obligation to take them in but will do so as a result of cooperation that exists between our two countries,” Özersay said.

A number of civil society organisations dealing with human rights and refugees criticized the government’s decision on Tuesday to send the 50 Syrian asylum seekers to Turkey.

The Universal Children’s Rights Society claimed on Tuesday that the asylum seekers were being sent to Turkey because the Turkish Cypriot authorities couldn’t negotiate the issue with Greek Cypriot authorities.

It said that the plight of the asylum seekers will be made worse when they are shipped off to Turkey.

The society also drew attention to the inhumane conditions in which the asylum seekers were accommodated and vowed to continue working to ensure that conditions for asylum seekers will improve in the future.

The Refugee Rights Association said that condemning people who were forced to flee their country to survive to live in inhumane conditions was a direct violation of universal human rights and international law. It said that immediate measures were needed to address the humanitarian plight of the men, women and children held at Ercan (Tymbou) airport in appalling conditions.

KEY ACTORS
Universal Children’s Rights Society
>> Plight of asylum seekers will be made worse when they are shipped off to Turkey.
>> Society will continue its work to ensure conditions for asylum seekers will improve.

Refugees Rights Association
>> Condeming asylum seekers to live in inhumane conditions direct violation of universal human rights and international law.
>> Measures need to address the humanitarian plight of asylum seekers detained at Ercan (Tymbou).


TC bus operators say GCs don’t want them to expand

Diyalog
Internal Security, Economy

OVERVIEW

The Society for Public Transport Operators (KAR-İŞ) claimed on Tuesday the reason behind the recent increase in incidents concerning Turkish Cypriot bus operators in the south was the growing number of interests of tourists in the north.

Speaking to Diyalog, the Co-Director of Göçmen Bus Enterprises Hasan Kırmızı said that more and more bus operators were being harassed by Greek Cypriots operators because of the increase in the number of tourists staying in hotels in the north.

“They don’t want us to grow or expand,” he said.

Co-Director of Göçmen Bus Enterprises Tahir Çapkıner said that they had not experienced any problems in the past but that there has been a sudden increase in such incidents.

“All our paperwork is in order. I even have a professional driving license I obtained from the South. We have to apply for seven different documents in order to operate in the South but they [Greek Cypriots] are able to cross and operate in the North by just paying for insurance. The same procedure should apply to Greek Cypriots when they cross over to the north,” he said.

KAR-İŞ president Bekir Berkan made the same argument, stating that the Greek Cypriots were unhappy with the growing interest in the north.

He said that the Turkish Cypriot authorities should treat the Greek Cypriot buses crossing over to the north the same way Greek Cypriots treated them.

Berkan also said that bus operators were frequently subjected to various forms of harassment.

“We are informed regularly that parking spaces are deliberately blocked by Greek Cypriot bus operators in an attempt to make our bus drivers feel unwelcome,” he said. Berkan also said that they expected President Mustafa Akıncı to take action on this issue.


100 new police officers to be hired

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

A hundred new police officers will be hired, Foreign Minister and government spokesman Kudret Özersay announced on Tuesday.

Announcing the decision following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Özersay said that in addition to the 100 new police officers, 40 civil service officers will also be hired. Existing civil service officers working at crossing points will also be receiving an extra 15 per cent rise in overtime payments.

The moves are aimed at addressing the increasing number of road fatalities as well as easing conditions of immigration officers at crossing points, Özersay added.

A decision was also produced regarding VAT and the Special Communication Tax imposed on GSM operators.

Özersay said the decisions were related to linking the telephony networks of the two sides but refrained from giving out any more details.