TCC Press Review 19 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Coordinator for Theology College

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the TRNC Ministry of National Education and Culture and the Turkish Ministry of Education aimed at raising the quality of education. The details of the memorandum have not been made public. The memorandum signed by the Turkish Cypriot Education Minister Nazım Çavuşoğlu and the Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk a week ago is said to be aimed at the Hala Sultan Theology College (Lycee). It is claimed that a coordinator from Turkey will be appointed to work together with the school administration.

  • Rape in Ayia Napa –Twelve Israeli nationals accused of raping a 19-year-old British tourist appeared before the court in Paralimni.

Kıbrıs Postası

Everything will be in the main budget and will be audited

Sunat Atun, who is the head of the parliamentary sub-committee discussing the Financial Management and Control bill, which aims to implement a new public finance management system, said once enforced, the Financial Management law will be the most important piece of legislation for the state in terms of professional financial management.

  • Ready for a meeting – Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades is pleased with President Mustafa Akıncı’s call to hold a fıve-party meeting.
  • A joint declaration from four political parties in the Turkish parliament – Four political parties in the Turkish Parliament issued a joint declaration on Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Kıbrıs

Traffic rules continue to be violated

Neither fatal traffic accidents nor the traffic fines nor the call from the Transportation Ministry have succeeded in curbing traffic offences. According to the weekly report published by the Police General Directorate, 780 vehicles were issued traffic fines for violations and 63 traffic accidents occurred, with 14 people injured.

  • Any act disregarding Turkish Cypriots is worthless to us – President Mustafa Akıncı said Greek Cypriot administration’s ‘collaborating with Turkey is in the best interest of all’ statement is correct but emphasized the path to collaboration with Turkey can only start with collaborating with Turkish Cypriots.
  • Common ground for Turkish Cypriots is self-governance – Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay emphasized, “if we are going to establish a partnership with the Greek Cypriots, we do not want them to govern us… we also do not want Turkey to govern us either,” on Kıbrıs TV.

Havadis

Some come for treatment, not for education

It is reported many of the African students that come to the North as [university] students are ‘sickle cell anaemia’ patients as well. The exact number is not known because they are not subject to a mandatory test upon arrival on the island. Director of the Thalassaemia Laboratory genetics expert Mustafa Yazman said there are only 150 thalassaemia patients in the country however we frequently see ‘sickle cell anaemia’, which is one type of thalassaemia, among African students.

  • Two million tourists, two billion US dollars – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar who visited the tourism and environment minister said the sector was important for the government. He announced the goal is to attract two million tourists and achieve two billion US dollars in turnover.
  • We will not submit to pressure – Joint declaration by AKP, CHP, MHP and İYİ party in the Turkish Parliament issued against EU’s sanctions on Turkey for its activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Diyalog

There should be a solution

The biggest problem is insufficient and expensive transport. Former ministers and MPs argue that the TRNC’s biggest problem is transport and that urgent measures are required. Speaking to Diyalog they said that not only were alternatives limited, but transportation to and from the island was also too expensive. “This is why tourism levels are not where they should be,” they said.

  • Preparations to be held – Positive response from Greek Cypriot leader to Akıncı’s call for a five-party meeting.
  • He gave a positive message – Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodulides said: “We want a solution in Cyprus and good relations with Turkey.”
  • All of them have been arrested – A 19-year-old British woman was raped by 12 Israeli nationals while on holiday at Ayia Napa.

Afrika

The two sides of 1974

These scenes should never take place again… It’s been 45 years since these black and white pictures were taken. The picture at the top shows Greek Cypriot prisoners stripped of their clothing and lined up to be transported to Turkey. The picture at the bottom shows Turkish Cypriot prisoners in Limassol. July 1974 has been carved in our memories as the most tragic date. Whatever has been experienced in the history of barbarism was experienced in this small island. Even children were slaughtered, young girls and women were raped, hundreds were buried in mass graves or dumped in wells. There are still hundreds of missing persons not found yet. We are thirsty for peace… thirsty for a solution. We yearn to live on this island humanely. However, we have not been able to find our path. We have still not freed ourselves from the fear of war. Our island is still a powder keg. Our seas are full of warships. We go to bed and wake up with the fear of being swallowed by the ring of fire that surrounds us. If the two communities do not learn lessons from the past, reliving those tragedies will be inevitable. We can only succeed in avoiding this by ridding ourselves of our sinister nationalistic ambitions. This is why we are calling on all Cypriots to unite so that we may not relive this tragedy.

Main News

World Bank poll shows Cypriots still desire a settlement

Yenidüzen
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

An EU-financed World Bank survey has revealed that despite the prevailing negative atmosphere, the desire and support for a solution in Cyprus continue in both the Turkish Cypriot community (TCC) and Greek Cypriot community (GCC).

The May 2019 dated survey also demonstrates that a bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF) is still perceived as one of the viable models for a solution.

According to “The pulse of reunification: Insights from Cyprus” survey conducted among a total of 1,000 individuals on both sides of the island in May 2019, a majority of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots desire a solution.

Responding to the question: “How are you most likely to vote in a possible referendum for a solution plan agreed between the leadership of the two communities?” 58 per cent of Turkish Cypriots and 46 per cent of Greek Cypriots said “yes”; 31 per cent of Greek Cypriots and 19 per cent of Turkish Cypriots said “no”; 23 per cent of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots said they were undecided or refused to answer.

According to the survey, a BBF remains the most viable solution model for both communities. While a BBF remains the most acceptable model within the Turkish Cypriot community, it is the second most acceptable model within the Greek Cypriot community.

While clarity on autonomy and citizenship concerns are two factors which matter the most for a “yes” vote within the TCC, in the GCC clarity on land and property issues are at the top of the list. However, the survey reveals that more clarity is needed across a broad range of issues, indicating that different groups across the GCC have different priorities concerning a solution.

The survey also verified the transformative effect of contact between the two communities. The survey showed that Turkish Cypriots who engaged in recent contact with the other community are 39 per cent more likely to vote yes in a referendum relative to those without recent contact. The same applied to 32 per cent of Greek Cypriots.

Meanwhile, the Bicommunal Peace Initiative pledged to do all it can to re-establish peace and peaceful coexistence of the two communities and all residents of Cyprus.

The statement was read out at a press conference held at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia on Thursday.

The press conference was attended by representatives of 75 different organizations and political parties.

The statement drew attention to the current impasse in the talks as well as the risks associated with the rising tensions in the island’s exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

It said that other negative developments such as the reopening of the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) for settlement were on the agenda.

“Nationalist rhetoric from both sides is on the rise particularly at this period of the year. We, the common people of this island from all walks of life, people who have suffered all these years, whether through the loss of lives of loved ones, through suffering at times of conflict and war, through forced displacement or loss of property, share one common vision: that of a reunited, peaceful common homeland,” the statement read.

We stand together to remember the innocent victims from both sides and to pledge that we shall do everything possible to re-establish peace and peaceful coexistence of the two communities and all its inhabitants on this island.

The initiative called upon the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to immediately reconvene the International conference on Cyprus in parallel with intercommunal talks based on the framework he had proposed at Crans Montana without preconditions from any side.

Following the reading out of the joint statement, Hüseyin Akansoy and Takis Hadjidimitreou gave messages on behalf of the families of missing Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

KEY ACTORS
Bicommunal Peace Initiative
>> All efforts will be made to re-establish peace & peaceful coexistence of all residents of Cyprus.
>> Impasse in the talks, the risks associated with the rising tensions in the island’s EEZ, reopening of Maraş (Varosha) are all negative developments.
>> Nationalist rhetoric from both sides is on the rise particularly at this period of the year.
>> All members of the Initiative share one common vision: that of a reunited, peaceful common homeland.
>> UNSG to immediately reconvene the International conference on Cyprus in parallel with intercommunal talks based on the Guterres framework.


Turkish Parliament condemns EU suspending talks

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
EU Matters, Energy

OVERVIEW

Four major parties in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly on Thursday issued a joint declaration condemning this week’s EU decision to suspend high-level talks with Ankara.

The declaration was jointly signed by the group deputy chairpersons of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Good Party (IP).

“We, as the political parties represented at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, hereby underscore our objection to any fait accompli policy regarding the share of hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the statement read.

“It should be known that Turkey and Turkish Cypriots are capable of protecting their rights based on international law without bowing to any pressure,” it added.

The declaration calls on the EU “to exhibit a fair and impartial attitude and abide by international law.”

The declaration followed a conclusion on Monday by the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The council also decided to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being.

The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) did not put its signature on the parliament’s declaration.

In a statement on Thursday, the HDP’s group deputy chairman Saruhan Oluş said that his party supported the halting of all hydrocarbon drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The resources around the island of Cyprus belong to both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots and these resources should be exploited jointly and simultaneously by the two communities,” he said.

Oluş added that any attempt carried out without the consent and will of both sides brought with it a debate on legitimacy.

“That is why no third actor including the guarantors should adopt a stance which will ruin chances for a solution in Cyprus. The island’s natural resources can be used for regional prosperity, stability and cooperation through a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem,” he added.

Oluş also expressed his party’s support to President Akıncı’s latest proposal to set up a joint committee for hydrocarbons.

He added that both communities will suffer the most from tensions in the region.

“Steps for cooperation and dialogue need to be taken,” he added.

On Thursday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had a phone call with his German counterpart, according to the former’s diplomatic source.

Çavuşoğlu and German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass discussed issues concerning hydrocarbon drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean and Syria, said the source, asking not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

In a post on social media on Thursday, President Mustafa Akıncı said the Greek Cypriot foreign minister’s latest statement highlighting the benefits of all actors collaborating with Turkey was positive but partly correct.

 “The way of cooperation with Turkey will be established primarily through cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots. Every act that ignores or disregards the Turkish Cypriot people is in itself worthless and invalid,” Akıncı said.

KEY ACTORS
Turkish Parliament
>> Any fait accompli policy regarding the sharing of hydrocarbon resources in the East Med by the EU is unacceptable.
>> Turkey and TCs are capable of protecting their rights based on international law without bowing to any power.
>> EU should exhibit a fair & impartial attitude and should abide by international law.

Oluş (HDP)
>> HDP supports halting of all drilling activities in the East Med.
>> Cyprus’s natural resources belong to both communities.
>> Resources should be exploited jointly and simultaneously by both communities.
>> Any attempt on hydrocarbons without consent & will of communities raises the issue of legitimacy.
>> No third actor, including guarantor countries, should adopt a stance which will ruin chances of a settlement.
>> Island’s natural resources can be used for regional prosperity, stability and cooperation through a comprehensive solution to Cyprob.
>> HDP supports Akıncı’s proposal on a joint committee on hydrocarbons.
>> The communities will suffer the most from tensions in the region.

Akıncı
>> Every act that ignores the TCs is worthless.
>> GC side’s statement on the benefits of collaborating with Turkey is correct but incomplete.
>> The way of cooperation with Turkey will be established primarily through the cooperation with TCs.


Özersay says TCs’ common denominator is to govern ourselves

Kıbrıs
Governance & Power Sharing, Energy, Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process, Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said on Thursday that the common denominator for Turkish Cypriots was to be able to govern themselves, independent of Greek Cypriots and Turkey.

Speaking on a program on Kıbrıs TV, Özersay said that Turkish Cypriots were more than capable of administering themselves.

“For example, if we are to establish a partnership, we don’t want the Greek Cypriots to govern over us. This is a common denominator for Turkish Cypriots. And this also goes for Turkey. We don’t want Turkey to govern us. We want to be able to govern ourselves,” he added.

Özersay highlighted the importance of acting in line with international law and to be a community that operates within the boundaries and framework of international law.

Also touching upon the rising tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Özersay said that the Turkish Cypriots played an important role as of 2011 in shaping Turkey’s policy in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We as Turkish Cypriots seriously influenced Turkey’s policies in the Mediterranean,” he added.

Özersay also refuted reports in the media that the North was switching to a Monaco model or that foreign affairs will be handed over to Turkey.

“This will not happen. We are in government to run this country. We shall continue to make our voice heard even if we are not recognised. We do not find it right to be represented by someone else,” he added.

On efforts to reach a solution, Özersay said: “Let me remind everyone that we have been arguing in favour of developing cooperation with the other side for a very long time.

He said that he was unfairly criticized for voicing the need to discuss alternatives.

“I believe that Turkish Cypriots also have a right to discuss other issues just as the Greek Cypriots have the same right,” he said.

On the issue of Maraş (Varosha), Özersay said that he refrained from using terms as ‘former residents’ or ‘former property owners’ when referring to property owners in the fenced-off city.

“Our position on the property issue in the North is clear. Before 1974 much of the property in the north belonged to Greek Cypriots. We didn’t ignore their property rights. Later people who were given TRNC title deeds developed emotional attachments with the homes or property they were living in. We’re saying that current users should be given priority and former owners should be compensated. Restitution should not be a primary option. The Greek Cypriots are arguing the opposite,” he said.

Özersay pointed out that the Evkaf administration also has rights in the fenced-off city and that the rights over everyone in Maraş (Varosha) will be taken into consideration in any future steps.

“If we tell the Greek Cypriots who left Maraş (Varosha) in 1974 that they will not receive their property back, that they will be compensated but we, in the end, decide to return the property to the Evkaf then how are we to defend our position on the property issue. This would be conflicting with our official position,” said Özersay.

That is why before making any statements, I have to consider the interest of the whole country and the general public rather than just the rights and interests of a people from a small area, Özersay added. Özersay said that the government will be taking steps on Maraş (Varosha) once an inventory of immovable properties will be completed.

KEY ACTORS
Özersay (HP)
>> Common denominator for TCs is to be able to govern themselves, independent of GCs & Turkey.
>> Important for TC community to act within boundaries of international law.
>> TCs have been playing an important role since 2011 in the shaping of Turkey’s East Med policy.
>> Rumours or reports that North was adopting Monaco model or handing over foreign affairs to Turkey not true.
>> TCs will continue to speak for themselves even if non-recognition continues.
>> Government has been arguing in favour of cooperating with GCs.
>> TC side’s position on the property issue is clear. GCs should be compensated and restitution should not be a primary option.
>> Rights of both Evkaf & GCs will be taken into consideration in any steps on Maraş (Varosha).
>> If offer to give GCs who left Maraş (Varosha) compensation & then return land to Evkaf will make TC general position on property difficult.
>> Decision on Maraş (Varosha) will ultimately be based on the interest of the country and the general public.
>> Government will be taking steps on Maraş (Varosha) following completion of the inventory.