TCC Press Review 24 July 2019

Front Page Headlines


Ten per cent savings, tender for telecommunication and dividing KIBTEK’s operations

The National Unity Party (UBP)-Peoples’ Party (HP) coalition government has vowed to save ten per cent on public expenditure, salaries excluded, in the protocol signed with Turkey. The protocol also includes launching a tender for a public-private cooperation model for the telecommunications department. A total of ₺1,215 million will be received as assistance and debt from Turkey for defence spending, support for reforms and infrastructure projects.

  • Church waiting for repairs and permit for Mass –The 131-year-old Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) in Akdoğan (Lysi) is waiting for repairs. The former Greek Cypriot villagers want to hold a mass at the church.

Kıbrıs Postası

Government’s war with trade unions is beginning

The radical action plan the government committed itself to by signing the economic protocol with Turkey is very likely to result in bringing the trade unions face to face with the government. The economic protocol foresees pruning numerous rights of public sector employees.

  • “Conjoining the municipalities is the right move” – Kyrenia Mayor Nidai Güngödü says.
  • The UK continuing with pro-Brexit Johnson


Five-month goals

The details of the signed economic protocol, which could not have been completed during the four-party coalition, were announced on Tuesday. The protocol agreement covers the period from August to December 2019. Ten per cent to be saved on public expenditure through the implementation of fiscal measures.

  • ₺750 million grant will create momentum in the economy – PM Ersin Tatar said the funds from Turkey released as a result of the signing of the economic protocol, will be used to pay debts, to support ongoing projects, for new investments and defence purposes. Tatar held a press conference on Tuesday.
  • Bloodstains belong to the murder victim – The forensic report on the bloodstains found as part of the murder investigation for Nigerian Obasanje Adeola Owoyale came from Turkey. Owoyale was killed at the apartment, the report concludes.


Reactions pour in against the protocol

Trade union and NGO representatives criticized the economic and financial cooperation agreement signed between the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. KTAMS (TC Public Servants’ Union) president Güven Bengihan said the protocol agreement will push Turkish Cypriots into becoming a minority on the island and will result in destroying Turkish Cypriot identity. KTÖS (TC Teachers’ Union) General Secretary Şener Elcil claimed that the economic protocol stripped the Turkish Cypriots’ of their economic and political freedom.

  • Prime Minister’s excitement over ₺750 million – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar welcomed the “reform action plan” and the economic protocol, which the trade unions and chambers are outraged with. Tatar said that none of the ₺750 million grants will be used for public sector expenditures.


Searching for seven million Euros

Mayor of Kyrenia Nidai Güngördü said the city’s waste treatment facility was unable to cope with the rise in the population and asked for the government’s help. The current facility is pumping untreated water in the sea at a depth of 33 meters. He said that there was a need for six to seven million Euros to increase the capacity of the treatment facility and that the municipality did not have the budget to make this happen.

  • Rents are cheaper – It is claimed that foreign students studying in universities in the south are renting flats in the north.
  • Hostile attitude – A Turkish Airlines plane on route to Amman was denied permission to land after carrying out an emergency landing earlier at Ercan (Tymbou) for a sick passenger.  


And sold!

We are selling whatever we have left after signing the protocol with Turkey. Prime Minister Ersin Tatar announced the contents of the agreement he signed on 20 July. The “2019 Reform Action Plan” which was handed out at the press conference held on Tuesday morning aims to achieve a number of goals by the end of the year in the public, education, finance, tourism, higher education, industry, commerce, agriculture, science, energy and communication sectors.

Main News

Burcu says Anastasiades’ response not convincing

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Negotiations Process, Energy


The Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ letter in response to President Mustafa Akıncı’s proposal on the issue of hydrocarbons was received late Monday, Akıncı’s spokesman Baris Burcu said on Tuesday.

The response was handed over through the UN, he said, adding that Akıncı would raise the issue again when the leaders meet on August 9.

Burcu said Anastasiades’ arguments against Akıncı’s proposal to set up a joint committee to handle the hydrocarbons issue, were unconvincing.

He cited the reminder from Anastasiades that a convergence existed between the two sides that hydrocarbon activities would be a federal competence after a comprehensive solution and would then be handled jointly and also that the Turkish Cypriots’ rights to hydrocarbons and joint management had been accepted by the Greek Cypriots as a given post-solution.

But Burcu said the convergence itself was incompatible with Akıncı’s current proposal.

“There is still no agreement on a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, nor a federal structure or a joint federal administration so there is no mechanism for centrally managing hydrocarbons and other natural resources,” he said.

Burcu also referred to Anastasiades’ reference that legislation has already been passed by parliament for the creation of the hydrocarbons’ fund that takes into account the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.

“This is not convincing,” said Burcu.

“We want it to be understood that Turkish Cypriots should participate in all phases of hydrocarbons’ operations and have a say in the procedures. If a fund is created, this is something that should be decided together,” he added.

Akıncı, he said, would discuss all of this at the informal meeting of the two leaders on August 9.

“We believe that it is a priority for all to eliminate the climate of tension that exists and open the door to actions that will benefit all sides in Cyprus,” Burcu said.

Meanwhile, Akıncı spoke with the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute on the phone on Tuesday.

According to sources close to Akıncı’s office, Lute briefed the Turkish Cypriot leader on her latest contacts with the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other actors.

She also expressed the hope that his upcoming meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader will be held in a positive light. Lute is not expected to visit the island at this stage, it has been reported.

>> Anastasiades’ argument concerning hydrocarbon proposal is unconvincing.
>> Convergence that hydrocarbons would be a federal competence & handled together with TCs post solution incompatible with the proposal.
>> There is still no agreement on Cyprob, no federal structure or joint federal administration to centrally manage hydrocarbons.
>> TCs should participate in all phases of hydrocarbon activities and have a say in the procedures.
>> If a fund is created this is something that needs to be decided together.
>> Eliminating the climate of tension and opening door to actions that will benefit all sides in Cyprus is a priority.

Hasipoğlu claims GCs ‘cornered’ on hydrocarbons

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Energy, Regional/International Relations, Property, Territory


National Unity Party MP Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu claimed on Tuesday that the Greek Cypriots were cornered on the issue of hydrocarbons.

He argued that the Greek Cypriots will not be able to benefit from the island’s resources without reaching an agreement with Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

Speaking to Güneş TV, Hasipoğlu said that Turkish Cypriots and Turkey were determined not to back down from their activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He said that drilling activities carried out by Turkey were in accordance with the Law of the Sea which was why UN reports clearly stated that the island’s resources belonged to both communities.

“What Turkey is doing is what international law dictates. We proposed on numerous occasions to create a joint committee to discuss how to proceed on the issue of hydrocarbons but this offer was rejected by both Anastasiades and his predecessor Christofias for the same reason. That it was a violation of South Cyprus’ sovereignty. We are the constructive side, they are the rejectionists,” said Hasipoğlu, claiming that the Turkish side’s actions were backed by international law.

Hasipoğlu also said that Turkey would not bow to pressure from the EU or any other international actor.

On the issue of Maraş (Varosha), Hasipoğlu reminded that there were over 200 pending Greek Cypriot applications at the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) concerning properties in the fenced-off city.

He said that the Turkish Cypriot side was able to develop legal arguments against these applications by making the Evkaf Administration a party to the issue in 2012.

“We presented the title deeds of Evkaf properties in Maraş (Varosha) first to the IPC and later to the Supreme Court. It emerged that the title deeds of Evkaf properties were unlawfully transferred to Greek Cypriot individuals without any payment. There is no record of any payment made which points to unlawful practices. In such cases, the transaction is declared null and void and the property is returned to its former owner. Of course, this will not be an easy process,” Hasipoğlu said.

He argued that Maraş (Varosha) for years was linked to a political solution and legal rights were not pursued.

“This is not what the Greek Cypriot side did. On the one hand, they delayed us with false hopes of a federal settlement but continued to file lawsuits against Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. When the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) could no longer cope they pointed to the IPC as a domestic legal remedy,” he added.

Hasipoğlu said that not only was the Greek Cypriot side responsible for the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem by rejecting all solution plans; it was also responsible for keeping Maraş (Varosha) closed.

In a separate development on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay held inspections in the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha).

The two were accompanied by the Commander of the Turkish Cypriot forces Brigadier General Tevfik Algan and his deputy Brigadier General Cemal Volkan.

It was reported that the tour was part of ongoing efforts to conduct an inventory of immovable properties in the fenced-off area.

Hasipoğlu (UBP)
>> GCs will not be able to benefit from the island’s resources without reaching an agreement with TCs & Turkey.
>> Drilling activities carried out by Turkey are in accordance with the Law of the Sea which is why UN reports state the island’s resources belong to both communities.
>> GCs rejected offers to create joint committee. They are rejectionists. TCs & Turkey are the constructive side.
>> TC side developed legal arguments against pending applications at the IPC on Maraş (Varosha) by making Evkaf a party to the issue in 2012.
>> Title deeds of Evkaf properties were unlawfully transferred to GC individuals without any payment.
>> In such cases the transaction is declared null & void and the property is returned to its former owner.
>> Maraş (Varosha) for years was linked to a political solution and legal rights were not pursued.
>> GC delayed us with false hopes of a federal settlement but continued to file lawsuits against Turkey and the TCs.

Show of strength from Turkish Defence Ministry

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs
Regional/International Relations, External Security


On Tuesday, the Turkish National Defence Ministry shared pictures on its twitter account of the Turkish navy providing aerial and naval (including submarine) support to Turkish drilling vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean

“Despite pressures, Turkey maintains its clear position in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the Ministry said and shared a video showing UAVs, frigates, and assault boats providing support to drilling vessels.

BAYRAKTAR TB-2 UAV, a maritime reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters from the air; frigates, corvettes, and assault boats on the sea; and submarines provide continuous and uninterrupted protection, the Defence Ministry statement read.

Ercan (Tymbou) airport provided service to more than four million passengers in 2018

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika


Turkish Cypriot Transportation and Public Works Minister Tolga Atakan said on Tuesday that Ercan (Tymbou) airport hosted more than four million passengers in 2018 during an interview with Anatolian News Agency (AA). However, he noted the airport had not reached the desired capacity as yet for a country which is economically driven by tourism and higher education.

Noting the economy in the north is based on the services sector, Atakan highlighted there have been problems experienced attracting investors due to bureaucratic obstacles and difficulties.

He also said they were expecting a six to seven months delay in the completion of the new airport terminal and new landing strips.

“Turkish Airlines (THY) is a great opportunity for the north,” Atakan said, announcing the government’s intention to arrange new flights to Ercan (Tymbou) airport from Turkey and regional countries via various airports in Turkey.

He also added that Turkish Cypriot businessmen abroad were planning to create a new airline company.

“Once all these are in place, Ercan (Tymbou) airport will become a hotspot,” Atakan highlighted. He said the new airport is designed to serve ten million passengers as and when it operates at full capacity.

Speaking on the issue of telecommunication tariffs, Atakan noted the net prices are in line with global standards but that prices go up once VAT and other special taxes are added on. “Efforts are underway to reduce the prices with the finance ministry and on improving the infrastructure for communication,” Atakan noted. He said the goal is to launch the independent frequency tender and 4G and 5G operations by the second half of 2020. “Both the quality of the service will improve and the end-user prices will go down,” Atakan stressed.

Atakan said there are two maritime ports in the north. The Kyrenia port serves mainly passengers and the Famagusta port is used for freight. He added only 250,000 passengers arrived on the island through the ports in 2018. Atakan said a “transformation project” will be launched for the two ports through public-private partnerships. The terms of reference for the tendering process will be finalized by November 2019 and there will be two modern ports by the beginning of 2022.

Church in Akdoğan (Lysi) waiting to be restored

Human Rights


Yenidüzen continued to focus on the 131-year-old Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) in Akdoğan (Lysi) which was recently abandoned to its fate.

The church building had been converted into a mosque in 1975 and was in use until earlier this year.

The Mayor of Akdoğan (Lysi) Ahmet Latif told Yenidüzen that the former Greek Cypriot residents of Akdoğan (Lysi) launched an initiative after the issue was brought to the spotlight by the paper on Saturday.

Latif said that the church was of great significant value as a historical monument and was in urgent need of restoration.

The former Greek Cypriot residents are requesting to hold a religious mass at the church in September.

Yenidüzen reported the former Greek Cypriot villagers have filed a request with the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry and have even raised a budget for cleaning up the church building.

Commenting on the matter, the Director of the Department of Antiquities and Museums Fuat Azimli reminded that all monasteries and churches in the north were under the responsibility of the Evkaf Administration. He said that restoration projects were only prepared when there was approval for restoration.

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