TCC Press Review 31 July 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Most patients from İskele (Trikomo) and Famagusta

Test results of six patients suspected of having the West Nile virus pending from Turkey. While one patient receiving treatment at the state hospital in Nicosia is said to be doing well, another patient receiving treatment at the Near East University hospital in Nicosia was discharged on Tuesday. Two others, one of them a ten-year-old boy, are still receiving treatment at the Near East hospital. Speaking to Yenidüzen, Health Minister Ali Pilli said that most of the patients were from the İskele (Trikomo) and Famagusta areas. He added that no new cases of the virus have been reported.

  • ‘Cooperation is necessary for a settlement’ – Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis met with a group from the Bicommunal Peace Initiative.

Kıbrıs Postası

Process did not proceed as promised, our proposals disregarded

Mayors spoke on the Famagusta-İskele (Trikomo)-Yenibğaziçi (Agios Sergios) development masterplan. Despite the Interior Minister’s emphasis on a participatory process, mayors from the three towns complain their proposals and recommendations were disregarded.

  • The most realistic way is to raise the velvet divorce option – Former president Derviş Eroğlu sees a two-state solution as the only option.
  • Lack of inspections results in failing to identify human traffickers – Seven NGOs issue a joint statement.
  • Science diplomacy – Prof. Mehmet Hasgüler, vice-president of TC Higher Education Board (YÖDAK) proposed “science diplomacy” for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Kıbrıs

State support for public transportation is a must

Public transport is not popular among the public because it fails to provide comfort; there is no proper system and the prices are high. As a result, people tend to purchase cars. Parallel to the increase in the number of cars, the number of traffic accidents also increases. On the other hand, public transport companies cannot reduce ticket prices nor do they have the capital to invest in new buses.

  • It will be paid back but when? – Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that the planned two per cent cost-of-living allowance deductions were unlawful, all eyes have turned to the government to see when it will pay back the sum already deducted from pensioners. It had taken the government seven years to pay back a similar deduction from pensioners’ salaries following a decision by the Supreme Court.
  • Guerini bastion collapsed because of accumulated humidity – Historic Nicosia walls are on the top of the list of monuments to be restored by the bicommunal technical committee as a result of President Mustafa Akıncı’s insistence. TC presidency issued a statement on the matter.

Havadis

Barred from the profession

Cyprus Turkish Building Contractors Association called for a meeting to discuss whether or not to bar Mehmet Eminoğlu, Director of M. Eminoğlu Investment Construction, from the profession after he was arrested for forging documents and fraud.

  • Enosis in electricity Phileleftheros reports that EuroAsia Interconnector has approved South Cyprus’ inclusion in the European interconnectivity system.
  • To be implemented by the end of the year – Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars said the Famagusta-İskele (Trikomo)-Yenibğaziçi (Agios Sergios) development masterplan will be opened for public consultation phase in the next ten days.

Diyalog

Warning of tension

Akıncı warned that all sides in the Eastern Mediterranean were heading towards a point where everyone will lose. Speaking during a visit paid to him by the Cyprus Turkish Journalists’ Society, Akıncı said that his proposal on natural gas was welcomed and supported by foreign diplomats. He will raise this issue with the Greek Cypriot leader on August 9, he added.

  • He responded to Mitsotakis – PM Tatar said that Turkey’s status as a guarantor country was not outdated, claiming that no blood has been spilt in Cyprus to this day as a result of Turkey’s presence as a guarantor.
  • Positive step Greek PM Mitsotakis expressed his support to the meeting to be held between Akıncı and Anastasiades on August 9.

Afrika

Before Akıncı goes

The Bicommunal Peace Initiative stressed the need to solve the Cyprus Problem while Akıncı was still in office, and asked the Greek Prime Minister to do his best, suggesting that he hold consultations with the UN Secretary-General on the issue of security and guarantees.

  • Bicommunal Health Committee takes action – The bicommunal committee will exchange information on cases regarding the West Nile virus. 
  • The press will be allowed into Maraş (Varosha) – FM Kudret Özersay promised to allow the press into Maraş (Varosha). The Journalists’ Association said that they will be persistent on the issue.
  • The wall collapsed due to humidity – The President’s office issued a statement on the collapsed section of the Venetian walls. It said the cause was humidity.

Main News

Akıncı seeking clarifications from Anastasiades

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

OVERVIEW

President Mustafa Akıncı expressed his disappointment once again with the Greek Cypriot side’s rejection of his proposal to set up a joint committee for co-managing the island’s hydrocarbon reserves.

“If only the Greek Cypriot side could have seriously evaluated my hydrocarbons proposal and responded positively,” Akıncı told members of the newly elected board members of the Turkish Cypriot Journalists’ Society on Tuesday.

He stressed the reasons cited by the Greek Cypriot side for rejecting the proposal were not plausible.

Akıncı said that the Turkish Cypriot side did not negate the fact that the issue of hydrocarbons was a federal competency and that the issue would be jointly managed in the event of a settlement.

He questioned, however, how it was possible for the Greek Cypriot side to carry on with its hydrocarbon activities unilaterally in the absence of a settlement on the island.

Akıncı also emphasized the importance of collaboration in areas where there are no agreements while working towards a solution.

He pointed to the existing collaborations on mobile interoperability and electricity.

“Tension in the Eastern Mediterranean is something no one wants to see. In this regard, the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal would have been a win-win situation for all interested parties,” Akıncı said.

He noted one of the important points to be discussed at the 9 August meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades will be on how to de-escalate the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

“I would like to hear from Anastasiades himself what kind of a future he envisions for Cyprus; how can we contribute to Greco-Turkish friendship; and how we can build a structure based on political equality,” Akıncı added.

Akıncı said the Turkish Cypriot community was seeking to safeguard its security, freedom and equality with a solution and would never accept a minority status on the island.

“We do not want freedom and security only for the Turkish Cypriots but for everyone,” Akıncı added.

Referring to the Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis’ latest statements, Akıncı expressed his disappointment, stating he had wished for more peaceful messages from the Greek premier.

“Instead, we saw nationalist rhetoric aimed at satisfying the Greek Cypriot community,” Akıncı stressed. He underlined the role of the guarantor states and said: “We expect to see rhetoric that will contribute to the relationship between the two communities on the island.” 

Akıncı also said that the status quo on the island was no longer sustainable.

Speaking on the possibility of a five-party conference, Akıncı said the latest UN resolution had emphasized the importance of political equality and effective participation in decision-making processes, whereas the Greek Cypriot side is outside of the known parameters.

“The question that needs to be answered is whether the Greek Cypriot side will return to the framework drawn by the UN parameters or not,” Akıncı said.

He added that it will all become clearer at the 9 August meeting.

KEY ACTORS
Akıncı
>> Reasons cited by the GC side for rejecting hydrocarbon proposal not plausible.
>> TC side accepts fact hydrocarbons are a federal competency but questions how GC side resumes activities unilaterally in the absence of a solution.
>> Collaboration in areas where no agreements exist while working towards a solution is important. Electricity and mobile phones examples of successful collaboration.
>> No one wants tensions in East Med. TC side’s proposal would have been a win-win for all interested parties.
>> Wants to hear from Anastasiades himself on 9 August what kind of a future he envisions for Cyprus; how two leaders can contribute to Greco-Turkish friendship; and how they can build a structure based on political equality.
>> Status quo on the island no longer sustainable.


UBP continues Mitsotakis criticism

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

OVERVIEW

The two-day visit to Cyprus by Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis and his statements continued to draw strong reactions from National Unity Party (UBP) officials. Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Zorlu Töre and former President Derviş Eroğlu issued statements on Tuesday criticizing the Greek premier.

In a written statement on Tuesday, Tatar said Mitsotakis’ statements proved that nothing had changed in Greece’s policy on the Cyprus Issue.

He accused Mitsotakis of distorting the historical facts on the island.

“No matter how hard the Greek premier attempts to deny the historical facts, it was Turkey which prevented Cyprus from falling to the fascist Greek junta; and which prevented Turkish Cypriots from total annihilation,” Tatar said.

He also said that the Greek Cypriot side had no intention of reaching an agreement with Turkish Cypriots and that the Greek Cypriot leadership had distanced itself from the realities on the island by rejecting the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal on hydrocarbons while offering to form one on Maraş (Varosha).

“Anastasiades proved once more how right we are when we say that a federal solution is not possible in Cyprus,” Tatar added.

Töre said Mitsotakis’ statements were unacceptable. He said the Greek Cypriots, who have occupied the Republic of Cyprus since 1963, were also responsible for destroying Turkish Cypriot villages, massacring hundreds of Turkish Cypriots and isolating them from the rest of the world.

Eroğlu also said Mitsotakis’ statements were in no way acceptable. He suggested Akıncı should not meet with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades following the statements made by Anastasiades and Mitsotakis.

“It is time to raise the velvet divorce option for a two-state solution,” Eroğlu stressed. He added that Akıncı, the parliament and government must draw a path forward in close cooperation with Turkey.

Eroğlu said the only occupiers on the island were Greek Cypriots who had forced the Turkish Cypriots out of the 1960 Republic of Cyprus (RoC) by force of arms in 1963. He argued that Turkey saved the Turkish Cypriots from Greek and Greek Cypriot atrocities.

Meanwhile, Mitsotakis met with members of the Bicommunal Peace Initiative-United Cyprus on the sidelines of his official visit to the island. Nicos Dendias, the Greek Foreign Minister, was also present during the meeting held on Tuesday.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Initiative stressed the importance of the resumption of the negotiations within the Guterres framework.

The initiative pointed out that politicians on both sides of the divide have started to undermine the basis of the solution.

In addition to voicing the non-sustainability of the status quo, the Initiative also underscored political equality as one of the main parameters of the solution.

It underlined the importance of reaching a settlement in Cyprus while Akıncı was still in office.

The Initiative pointed to imminent dangers in Turkey’s hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the possibility of reopening Maraş (Varosha) and asked the Greek Premier as the head of a guarantor state, to assist in reconvening the international conference on Cyprus as soon as possible.

KEY ACTORS
Tatar (UBP)
>> GCs have no intention of reaching agreement with TCs.
>> GC leadership has distanced itself from the realities by rejecting the TC side’s proposal on hydrocarbons while offering to form one on Maraş (Varosha).

Eroğlu (UBP)
>> It is time to raise velvet divorce option for a two-state solution.
>> Akıncı, parliament & government must draw its path forward in close cooperation with Turkey.

Bicommunal Peace Initiative (BPI)
>> Important to resume talks based on Guterres Framework.
>> Politicians on both sides of the divide have started to undermine the basis of the solution.
>> Status quo not sustainable.
>> Political equality one of the main parameters of a solution.
>> Important to reach Cyprob settlement while Akıncı still in office


TC Journalists’ Association insists on entry to Maraş (Varosha)

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis
Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

Head of the Turkish Cypriot Journalists’ Association Sami Özuslu questioned on Tuesday how journalists would obstruct the ongoing inventory study in Maraş (Varosha) should they be allowed to enter the fenced-off city for reporting.

Özuslu’s question came following the response given by Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay to a request by the association to report from inside Maraş (Varosha).

The association had submitted a request to the foreign ministry to allow Turkish Cypriot journalists into the fenced-off city on June 28. The request had been turned down in writing on July 23. The ministry said the media would be allowed in once the inventory study reached a certain point of maturity.

“What does the inventory study have to do with journalists reporting or covering stories on Maraş (Varosha)?” Özuslu asked in his evaluation of the foreign ministry’s response.

Özuslu said the public had the right to be informed on Maraş (Varosha). He reiterated that the news reporting on Maraş (Varosha) had nothing to do with the ongoing inventory study.

“The Turkish Cypriot journalists’ association will insist on entering Maraş (Varosha),” Özuslu concluded.


First phase of Venetian Walls restoration by November

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

OVERVIEW

The restoration of the northern half of the Venetian walls circling the old town of Nicosia will be completed within a year, President Akıncı’s office said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

It said that the cause for the collapse of a section of Cephane (Guerini) Bastion were not overgrown shrubs on the walls or the roots of surrounding trees as claimed but humidity and water that accumulated over the years.

The statement also added that other ongoing restoration projects which were not urgent were halted and all resources were being redirected to the restoration of Nicosia’s Venetian walls.

The first phase of the restoration project is expected to be completed by November 2019 and the second phase by April 2020, the statement announced.

It recalled that two sections along the Venetian walls had collapsed earlier in the year in the Arabahmet quarter and another section on the Cephane (Guerini) bastion had collapsed on the evening of July 26.

“The conservation of the historic Venetian walls, whose construction had commenced in the 1500s, can no longer be postponed. Work will commence ensuring that the walls are passed onto future generations,” the statement read.

The first phase of the project will cover the section between Çetinkaya (Mulla) bastion to Kyrenia Gate. The second phase will cover the area from Kyrenia Gate to Zeytinli (Flatro) bastion.

“As a result of President Mustafa Akıncı’s insistence, the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage has placed the Venetian walls located in the northern part of Nicosia in their priority list of monuments that require restoration,” the statement noted.

The tender process for the restoration has been completed and the walls will be cleared of any vegetation and repairs will be carried out, the statement read.

The statement also rejected claims that Akıncı’s office had neglected the maintenance of the walls located immediately next to its premises. “Contrary to these accusations, the President’s office has neither increased the weight on the walls, nor has it neglected to clear the immediate vicinity of vegetation. The experts highlight the collapse is caused by accumulated humidity in the structure over the years,” the statement concluded.


Health Technical Committee to convene over West Nile virus

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

OVERVIEW

The General Coordinator for the Technical Committees, Meltem Onurkan Samani announced on Tuesday that the Infectious diseases sub-committee of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Health will convene on Wednesday to discuss cases of the West Nile virus. The meeting has been called for the two sides to exchange information on the issue.

Samani noted that the technical committee has continued to meet since its establishment in 2008 to deal with issues of health concerning both communities.