TCC Press Review 27 Sept 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Signs of a referendum on lifting [political] immunity

The special committee decided in favour of lifting the political immunity of National Unity Party (UBP) MP Hüseyin Özgürgün. The committee also gave the green light for a new process to lift the political immunity of all MPs.

  • The approach that needs to be adopted in Maraş (Varosha) needs to be similar to that adopted with the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) –Republican Turkish Party leader Tufan Erhürman spoke in Morphou.
  • A request for £3m compensation from the British government –Maraş (Varosha) case with documents.

Kıbrıs Postası

“I believe he is not guilty”

National Unity Party (UBP) MP Yasemin Öztürk who is also head of the parliamentary special sub-committee tasked to evaluate lifting of Hüseyin Özgürgün’s political immunity, said she believed he was not guilty. She added the committee voted for the lifting of Özgürgün’s immunity to enable him to clear his name in court.

  • Benter: “Claims on receiving £1.5 million in exchange for Maraş (Varosha) properties not true.”
  • Akıncı: “We have not come to New York to engage in a blame-game.”
  • Özersay met with the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Kıbrıs

The first blow to immunity from the committee

The parliamentary sub-committee tasked to evaluate National Unity Party (UBP) and former Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün’s political immunity announced its decision on Thursday. The committee approved a recommendation towards lifting Özgürgün’s immunity following an eight-hour-long meeting.

  • Earthquake in Istanbul paralyzed life – An earthquake of 5.8 on the Richter scale caused panic in Istanbul. Eight people were injured. 60 aftershocks were recorded.

Havadis

Advertising a federal settlement to the UN

The Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, who has been raising different ideas for the solution of the Cyprus problem since Crans Montana such as a two-state solution, confederation, loose federation, decentralised federation and parliamentary system, kept talking about a federation in his address at the UN General Assembly. President Mustafa Akıncı, in a written statement on Thursday, asked the UN to address this problem and to protect UN parameters.

  • Anastasiades cannot come to terms with political equality and effective participation in decision-making processes – President Mustafa Akıncı told the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Frederica Mogherini about the difficulties created by the Greek Cypriot side on the terms of reference.

Diyalog

This committee will go down in history

The parliamentary committee unanimously approved the lifting of political immunity of former prime minister, former UBP leader and MP Hüseyin Özgürgün.

Afrika

Committee ruled in favour of removing his political immunity

The committee’s unanimously adopted decision to lift Özgürgün’s political immunity will now be presented to parliament for the final decision. The head of the committee UBP Deputy Yasemin Öztürk said that it was not the committee which will lift the immunity but parliament. She said their job was only to vote on the report and that the final decision will be made by parliament. 

Main News

Akıncı: I’m not in NY to engage in a blame game

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

OVERVIEW

President Mustafa Akıncı said on Thursday that he was not in New York to engage in a blame game but to discuss with the UN Secretary-General which steps could be taken to pave the way for a new negotiations process.

Akıncı’s words came in a written response to the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ address at the UN General Assembly.

“Mr Anastasiades has reminded us that all efforts to settle the Cyprus Problem for the past 45 years have failed. However, everyone must know that the Greek Cypriot leadership has yet to show the same desire for a settlement as the Turkish Cypriot people have shown to this date” he said.

He gave the examples of the 2004 Annan Plan referendum and the failure of the Cyprus Conference in Crans Montana in 2017.

Akıncı pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot side has since 2017 been underlining the importance of the three points which Anastasiades mentioned in his address regarding the efforts to prepare the Terms of Reference (ToR) document.

“These are the 11 February 2014 Joint Declaration, past convergences and the Guterres framework dated June 30, 2017,” Akıncı said, claiming that Anastasiades had invented the July 4 dated document to obstruct the UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute’s efforts to finalize the terms of reference.

Akıncı added that Anastasiades’ failure to mention in his address the issue of a 2:1 rotational presidency, which is an integral part of the Guterres Framework, proved that he was still finding it difficult to accept the contents of the framework document.

He pointed out that both a rotating presidency and effective participation in decision-making processes were important principles of political equality which were recorded in past convergences and had since become UN parameters.

“It is a great contradiction on Mr Anastasiades’ part to claim to be accepting the past convergences but at the same time rejecting these principles,” Akıncı stressed, urging the UN Secretary-General to take a stance to protect UN parameters.

On the issue of the hydrocarbons, Akıncı pointed out that his proposal for the co-management of the island’s natural resources is still on the table.

“The most rational and peaceful approach on this issue would be managing the resources jointly since the energy policies in the Eastern Mediterranean concern both communities,” Akıncı said.

He also expressed the view that a constructive approach on the issue would contribute to regional peace and stability as well as increase the prosperity of all relevant sides.

“It will also assist in the positive development of Turkish-Greek relations,” Akıncı noted.

“We desire to solve the Cyprus problem, which started in 1963 and not in 1974 as claimed, in a way that will be in the best interest of all sides. This is a bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF) based on the political equality of the two constituent states. We are ready to work constructively with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in goodwill to establish such a future on the island,” Akıncı concluded.    

Earlier Akıncı warned that a failure to reach a bizonal, bicommunal federal settlement based on the political equality of two constituent states will result in the permanent division on the island.

Addressing a meeting of the Socialist International in New York on Wednesday, Akıncı accused Anastasiades of creating confusion by voicing different solution models.

Akıncı said Anastasiades over the past two years had talked about different models ranging from a two-state solution to a decentralized federation and even a rotating prime ministry.

He pointed to the need for clarity on the issue and said that any new negotiations needed to be results-oriented, had to be well defined and well structured as stated in the UNSG resolutions.

On Wednesday, Akıncı also met with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Frederica Mogherini.

Akıncı briefed Mogherini on the efforts made by the Turkish Cypriot side to finalize the Terms of Reference (ToR) and the difficulties caused by the Greek Cypriot side on political equality and effective participation in decision-making processes.

He also drew attention to the problems being experienced as a result of the halt in the Turkish Cypriots’ EU harmonisation process for the past two years.

KEY ACTORS
Akıncı
>> Contacts in NY not aimed at engaging in a blame game but to discuss a way forward with UNSG.
>> TC’s demand for a solution yet to find a reciprocal response from the GC leadership.
>> Failure to mention rotational presidency in his speech proves GC leader still finding it difficult to accept the contents of Guterres framework.
>> Rotating presidency & effective participation in decision-making processes are important principles of political equality recorded in past convergences and have since become UN parameters.
>> GC leadership in contradiction by accepting past convergences but rejecting these principles.
>> Proposal for the co-management of the island’s natural resources is still on the table.
>> Co-managing hydrocarbon resources most rational & peaceful approach.
>> Constructive approach on hydrocarbons will contribute to regional peace & stability, increase the prosperity of all relevant sides & assist Turkish-Greek relations.
>> TC side desires a BBF solution to the Cyprob & is working with goodwill in that direction.
>> Failure to reach a BBF will result in permanent division on the island.
>> GC side needs to clarify its position on what kind of a solution it wants.


Benter: £1.5 million not paid in exchange for Maraş (Varosha) properties

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

The General Director of the Vakıflar (Evkaf) Administration İbrahim Benter said on Thursday that claims that the Evkaf had received £1.5 million in 1960 in exchange for properties in Maraş (Varosha) were not true.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Benter said that the argument that the British government had paid compensation in exchange for Evkaf properties when the 1960 Cyprus Republic had been established did not reflect the truth.

He said that the sum paid was for repairs of Evkaf properties which had been neglected during the British colonial administration.

“This is clearly stated in the 1960 constitution,” he added.

Benter said that the Greek Cypriot side also acknowledged that Maraş (Varosha) was Evkaf property but made the additional claim that the Evkaf had received payment in exchange for the properties in question.

“They are claiming that £1.5 million was paid in exchange for these properties and that the money was received by former Turkish Cypriots leaders Dr Küçük and Rauf Denktaş. Firstly this claim is false, secondly those spreading these claims are ill-motivated,” he said.

Benter also defended the public relations campaign launched by the Evkaf to inform the public on the facts on Maraş (Varosha), stating the campaign was not politically motivated.

“These properties were donated to be used for charitable purposes but were later unlawfully transferred to individuals. Under which moral and legal pretext can we accept this? Hell would break loose if I were to do the same today with Evkaf properties,” he said.

National Unity Party (UBP) MP Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu on Thursday commented on the most recent claim that the Abdullah Paşa Foundation, which owned Maraş (Varosha), had been shut down in 1933 after receiving significant compensation.

In a written statement on Thursday, Hasipoğlu pointed out that the Ahkam’ul Evkaf (Rules governing foundations) clearly stated that foundations could only be established and shut down by court orders and through administrative instructions as claimed.

“A letter sent from a former director of the Evkaf would not suffice for the closure,” Hasipoğlu stressed.

“If payment had been made to a trustee or a board of trustees, it is obvious the payment is made in lieu of the lease,” Hasipoğlu added, claiming there were hundreds of title deeds dating back to early 1900s showing the unlawful transfer of the proprietorship to Maraş (Varosha) properties to Greek Cypriots.

“There is however no payment records at the time of the transfers. Therefore, these transfers are completely unlawful and invalid,” he stressed.

He also questioned why the British colonial administration continued to pay rent until 1960.

Hasipoğlu also recalled that 23 individuals had registered themselves as heirs to the Abdullah Paşa Foundation with a civil court in Ankara in 2007, thus disproving all claims that the foundation was discontinued.

Also commenting on the issue, the leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman on Thursday night said re-opening the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) could only take place as part of a confidence-building measure.

Addressing party members in Morphou at an event to promote candidates for the upcoming CTP general congress, Erhürman said that his party’s three-pronged road map includes implementing confidence-building measures (CBMs) as a way to bring the island step-by-step closer to the solution, at a time when there are no short-term prospects for the solution.

He added implementing CBMs have been part of CTP’s policies since the 1990s and it is the only party that fully supported the Ghali Set of Ideas.

Erhürman said CBMs could only be implemented through dialogue with the international community and by ensuring compliance with international law.

“The National Unity Party (UBP) and People’s Party (HP) coalition, however, claim that relevant UN resolutions are not binding and insisted on reopening Maraş (Varosha) under Turkish Cypriot administration,” Erhürman said, adding that this was not possible.

Erhürman also argued it could be possible for the Turkish Cypriot side to convince the international community on its arguments to reopen the fenced-off city if it adopted a similar method to the process followed with the Immovable Property Commission (IPC).

KEY ACTORS
Benter (Evkaf)
>> Claims that Evkaf received £1.5 million in exchange for Maraş (Varosha) properties false.
>> Money paid was for repairs of neglected Evkaf properties during British colonial rule.
>> GC side acknowledges Maraş (Varosha) to be Evkaf owned but claims it was compensated for properties.
>> Claims are false & those spreading them are “ill-motivated”.
>> Evkaf PR campaign aimed at informing the public on facts. Not politically motivated.

Hasipoğlu (UBP)
>> Ahkam’ul Evkaf states foundations can only be established or closed with court orders.
>> A letter sent from a former director of the Evkaf would not suffice for the closure.
>> Hundreds of title deeds dating back to early 1900’s show unlawful transfer of the proprietorship to GCs.

Erhürman (CTP)
>> Re-opening of Maraş (Varosha) can only be carried out as a CBM.
>> CTP’s three-pronged road map includes implementing CBMs as a way to bring the island step-by-step closer to the solution.
>> Implementing CBMs has been part of CTP’s policies since the 1990s.
>> CBMs can only be implemented through dialogue with the international community & ensuring compliance with international law.
>> It is possible to convince the international community on the TC side’s argument by applying the same approach used for IPC.


Elcil criticizes Ankara for advocating a two-state solution

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

OVERVIEW

“Cyprus is too small to be divided and large enough for the two communities to live together,” Şener Elcil, General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) said in a written statement issued on Thursday.

Elcil criticized the latest remarks by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu advocating a two-state solution in Cyprus.

He claimed that Turkey’s position in Cyprus had changed from a guarantor state to that of a conquering power.

“We handed over the Republic of Cyprus to Greek Cypriots and prepared the ground for their EU membership by bringing unacceptable proposals to the table under the pretext of a federal settlement,” he said.

Elcil also criticized Ankara of contradicting itself by advocating a two-state solution in Cyprus while strongly opposing partition within its borders. 

KEY ACTORS
Elcil (KTÖS)
>> Cyprus is too small to be divided but is large enough for the two communities to live together.
>> Turkey’s position in Cyprus has changed from guarantor to conquering power.
>> Ankara contradicting itself by advocating two-state solution in Cyprus while opposing partition within its border.


Denktaş: “There is a 65 per cent chance I’ll run”

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Goverance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

Democratic Party MP Serdar Denktaş on Thursday said he will be most likely running for president in the forthcoming elections.

Speaking on a TV programme, Denktaş said that chances he will be running for president are 65 per cent. 

“I’ve still got to decide if I’m going to run or not. It will become clear within a few weeks but if I decide to run it will be as an independent. Should I be elected, the Turkish Cypriot people will be witnessing a different process. I’m not going to say the Cyprus Problem will end but it will be finalized,” he said.

Rumours of Denktaş’s intention to run had become rife after he stepped down as leader of the Democratic Party last month.


Rally will reunite Nicosia

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
CBMs

OVERVIEW

The Cyprus Rally, which is part of the European Rally Championship, is returning to Nicosia with the “Bicommunal Nicosia Special stage” scheduled for this Saturday, September 28.

At a press conference organized for the Cyprus Rally on Thursday, Tigin Kişmir, President of the North Cyprus Touring and Automobile Association (KKTOK), said the Association is working very hard to finalize preparations to represent the TRNC in the international arena.

He reminded than more than 60,000 spectators enjoyed the special stage in 2014.

The President of the Cyprus Automobile Association, Antonis Michaelides announced FIA is considering giving Cyprus the “Peace for People” award and noted that high level FIA officials have already arrived in Cyprus to watch the Nicosia Special stage.

The cars will drive over hurdles and through splashes at the Taksim football field located in the UN buffer zone before crossing to the northern part of Nicosia at around 5pm on 28 September.