TCC Press Review 9 Oct 2019

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Proposal for a quota on citizenship

Citizenship, residency permits and white ID cards were discussed in parliament. Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars said that a new citizenship law was on the government’s agenda. Republican Turkish Party (CTP) MP Doğuş Derya proposed the introduction of a quota for citizenship and for the authority to grant exceptional citizenships to be transferred from the Council of Ministers to parliament.

Kıbrıs Postası

₺53 million payment postponed, ₺40 million to be paid next week

Emrullah Turanlı, who is the bigger shareholder of T&T which currently runs Ercan (Tymbou) airport, has succeeded in postponing the payment of ₺53 million in overdue taxes of six months after the company’s revenues were sequestrated with a court order. Nonetheless, the deadline for separate payment of ₺40 million is due on 15 October. Kıbrıs Postası found out that the Finance Ministry has conditionally suspended the sequestration order for T&T’s revenues.

  • Evkaf Administration: Abdullah Paşa Foundation cannot be shut down!

Kıbrıs

Who’s the Cyprus connection for the ₺10 million con?

All eyes are on the TRNC police and the Attorney-general’s office regarding the Izmir-based operation on the fraud gang. Turkish media have been reporting on the police raids carried out in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir to seize members of the gang responsible for conning people with promises of bank loans. Turkish media report that the money obtained by the gang was transferred to a company in the north.

  • “252,497 citizens, 117,291 residing with permits” – Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars gave the numbers of citizens as of 26 March 2019 and those living in the north with various residency permits as of 24 April 2019.

Havadis

Those who arrive do not go back

894 people found living in the north illegally. Police carried out controls and inspections from 1 January to 30 September. 356 of the illegal residents were found in Famagusta; 192 in Nicosia; 211 in Kyrenia; 100 in İskele (Trikomo) and 35 in Morphou.

  • Two months in prison for two grams – Greek Cypriot Costantinos Loizos Koursoumba was sentenced to two months in prison for possession of drugs after his arrest at Lokmacı (Ledra St.) crossing.

Diyalog

Encouragement rather than taking measures

The state suffers losses worth millions of lira following two political manoeuvres concerning taxes of vehicles waiting in storage facilities for the past two years. It was revealed that the previous four-party coalition government had applied a special exchange rate for 500 vehicles waiting in storage but which had not had their customs taxes paid. This ‘political’ decision gave the car dealers an unfair advantage. The second measure is the latest one introduced by the government. The 15 per cent discount in VAT applied to new cars is only set to make current conditions in the country worse due to the excessive number of cars.

Afrika

The state can’t collect tax revenues from vehicle registration! ₺82 million

Following the latest traffic accident which claimed the lives of three people, the issue of traffic is in the spotlight again. [Public Works and Communication] Minister Tolga Atakan came under strong criticism from the Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) after complaining earlier that the ₺14 million collected from speed cameras was not spent on traffic projects because the money was used to pay salaries of public sector employees and state pensioners. KTÖS General Secretary Şener Elcil said that minister Atakan was scared to openly admit that more people were being transferred to the north of the island and that ₺680 million was spent on defence.

Main News

Debate on citizenship & residency in the North

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

OVERVIEW

The issue of granting TRNC citizenship and residency permits to foreigners as well as the problems experienced in the education and health sectors as a result of the north’s population boom topped discussions in parliament on Tuesday.

While Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars highlighted the importance of well-planned population policies to address the north’s growing economic and social problems, opposition MP from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Doğuş Derya said that the authority to grant exceptional citizenship should be with parliament and not the Council of Ministers.

Addressing parliament on Tuesday, Baybars defended the newly introduced regulation on residency and visa permits for foreigners.

According to the regulation, acquiring residency permits and visas has become much harder compared to the past, Baybars claimed.

She said that there were currently 252,497 TRNC citizens and 117,291 foreigners residing in the country with different permits and under different statuses.

She said that a new law was necessary to address the growing population and the problems in the health sector and social welfare arising as a result of this growth.

Baybars also said that clarity was required on the status of foreigners to be able to plan for economic and social services. 

“One of the problems we are experiencing is the fact there is no separate regulations or arrangements for people with different status. What we need is a proper law to regulate the population in the country. The statute will remain in place until a properly functioning system is brought into place,” Baybars said.

She added out that population growth in the country was 1.5 per cent which was above the EU average.

Also addressing parliament on Tuesday, Derya said that no country in the world granted citizenship without fulfilling certain criteria.

“Obviously each country has its criteria but what we need is a quota based on objective criteria,” she said.

Derya also underlined the need to hold a population census in the country as well as introduce a programme to help foreigners integrate.

She argued that the conditions and criteria of stripping citizenship needed to be determined from the beginning.

The CTP MP proposed that the regulation on residency and visa permits be passed as a law.

She also pointed out that there were people from many different nationalities residing in the north and that the issue should not be perceived as one between Turkish Cypriots and Turks.

Derya complained that the issue of exceptional citizenship was exploited at certain periods and that the authority to grant such citizenships should be with parliament and not the cabinet.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament and National Unity Party MP Zorlu Töre claimed on Tuesday the “Cyprus problem was based on population and territory.” He criticized other MPs who spoke against the rise in the country’s population through the granting of TRNC citizenship.

He urged the authorities to grant citizenship to individuals who marry TRNC citizens, who have adopted the Turkish Cypriot culture and who have a clean criminal record.

“The Greek Cypriot policies are based on the perception that Turkish Cypriots are a minority and should be granted rights accordingly,” Töre said.

He accused the Turkish Cypriot parliament of discriminating against foreigners, particularly those who have invested in the north.

KEY ACTORS
Baybars (HP)
>> Well-planned population policies are needed to address the north’s growing economic & social problems.
>> Acquiring residency permits and visas have become much harder compared to the past.
>> Population growth in the north was 1.5 per cent which was above the EU average.

Derya (CTP)
>> Need to hold a population census & introduce an integration programme for foreigners.

Töre (UBP)
>> Cyprob is based on population and territory issues.
>> Authorities should grant citizenship to individuals who marry TRNC citizens, who have adopted TC culture & who have a clean criminal record.
>> GC policies based on perception that TCs are a minority & should be granted rights accordingly.


UBP: Efforts to obstruct direct trade in bad faith

Kıbrıs Postası
Economy, Negotiations Process, Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

“Obstructing the direct trade regulation contradicts a mindset in favour of a solution with the Turkish Cypriots,” National Unity Party (UBP) MP Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu said on Monday.

In a written statement, Hasipoğlu harshly criticized the Greek Cypriot side for its efforts to prevent the direct trade regulation from being discussed at the European Parliament (EP).

“There is not a single day that passes by where we do not see new evidence proving the Greek Cypriot side’s ill intentions against Turkish Cypriots,” Hasipoğlu said.

He pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side, which claimed it was ready for talks with the Turkish Cypriot side in a tripartite or a five-party meeting, was at the same time trying to prevent discussions on the direct trade regulation, promised to the Turkish Cypriots in exchange for their yes vote to the Annan Plan in 2004.

Hasipoğlu noted that a delegation from the Turkish Cypriot parliament will be travelling to Brussels to lobby in favour of the regulation.

“It will not be an easy task because there are Greek Cypriots occupying seats allocated to the Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament,” Hasipoğlu stressed.

“When the Turkish Cypriot side wants to co-manage the natural resources, the Greek Cypriot side claims to be a ‘sovereign state’ and complains to the European Union about Turkey,” Hasipoğlu said.

He also accused the Greek Cypriot side of being insincere by filing property lawsuits despite the Turkish Cypriot side’s calls to solve the property dispute.

“The Greek Cypriot side has rejected all plans to date including the Annan plan, but now the moment we say we will reopen Maraş (Varosha), they panic and complain about us to the EU,” Hasipoğlu said, drawing attention to the inconsistencies in the Greek Cypriot side’s policies.

Hasipoğlu noted the Turkish Cypriot delegation will also hold a series of meetings with political groups in the EP on other developments in the Cyprus problem, on the Maraş (Varosha) issue, in addition to discussing the direct trade regulation.

“If the EP were to remove the direct trade regulation from its agenda, Turkish Cypriots will distance themselves from the EU,” Hasipoğlu warned.

On Tuesday, Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Cypriot parliament Zorlu Töre argued that the reality of two separate states on the island must be seen and accepted by the entire world.

Addressing MPs in parliament, Töre claimed that it was the Turkish Cypriot Security Forces and not the United Nations which was maintaining the peace on the island.

He urged everyone to protect the Turkish Cypriot state and the guarantees.

In the meantime, former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on Tuesday argued against the Terms of Reference (ToR) that were being drafted by the UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute.

Speaking on Bayrak, Talat said that the ToR exercise was meaningless and unnecessary.

“The Cyprus negotiations have been going on for 50 years and all aspects have been discussed. Both sides know the position of the other side by heart. It is not possible to introduce anything new with the ToR. The exercise is unnecessary,” Talat argued.

He said that several former UN officials had also asked him what the ToR exercise was about. “The principles on which they are working to agree on have already been agreed upon in the past. There is no point in discussing these from the beginning,” he said.

KEY ACTORS
Hasipoğlu (UBP)
>> Obstructing direct trade regulation cannot be in line with the mindset that wants a solution with TCs.
>> TC side wants to co-manage the natural resources, but the GC side complains to EU claiming they are a sovereign state.
>> GC side is insincere on the property issue. Despite TC side’s calls to solve the property dispute GC side has rejected all plans to date and is complaining to the EU about Maraş (Varosha) initiative.
>> If the EP were to remove the direct trade regulation from its agenda, TCs will distance themselves from the EU.

Töre (UBP)
>> The reality of two separate states on the island must be seen and accepted by the entire world.
>> The key to peace is the TC Security Forces and not the UN.
>> Need to protect TC state & guarantees.

Talat (CTP)
>> ToR exercise meaningless & unnecessary. All aspects of Cyprob discussed over the past 50 years.
>> Agreement already exists on principles aimed at in ToR.


Evkaf refutes claim Abdullah Paşa Foundation was shut down

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

OVERVIEW

The Evkaf Administration said on Tuesday that the Abdullah Paşa Foundation, which is said to own the entirety of the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha), could not be shut down.

In a written statement, the Evkaf Administration said that past attempts to shut down the foundation by the British colonial administration were unlawful. 

“Legally it is not possible to shut down such foundations nor can ownership of immovable properties belonging to such foundations be transferred to individuals. The British colonial administration tried to shut down the Abdullah Paşa Foundation and its properties were unlawfully seized. We are battling this issue at international courts. Evidence proving these unlawful and irregular transactions can be found in our archives,” the statement read.

The Evkaf said that recent reports in the media citing a book published by the Evkaf Foundation as its source distorted the truth and were aimed at deliberately altering the facts.

It pointed out that the documents provided in the book were poorly drafted and false letters were written by Evkaf delegates appointed by the British colonial administration to mislead Evkaf officials in Turkey pursuing rights concerning the Abdullah Paşa Foundation.

“Unfortunately, the illegal practices of the British colonial administration were not questioned by the Evkaf Administration which was transferred to Turkish Cypriot control in 1956. Perhaps the Turkish Cypriot administrators at the time had a false impression, which various circles share today, that they could not object because payment of £1.5 million had been made by the British colonial administration,” the Evkaf said.

It concluded by stating that the Abdullah Paşa Foundation owned large amounts of property and land in Famagusta and the Karpaz (Karpas) peninsula.


YDP aiming to win or determine result of next election

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Governance & Power sharing

OVERVIEW

“The Re-birth Party (YDP) will either win the presidential race or will determine who the next president will be,” YDP leader Erhan Arıklı said on Tuesday.

Celebrating the third anniversary of the party at Vuni Palace Hotel in Kyrenia, Arıklı said that his party will solve the country’s chronic problems.

“We have earned the trust of our people,” Arıklı stressed, noting that the party now has nearly 8,000 members. He also claimed that YDP is the most effective opposition party in parliament despite only having two MPs.

Also speaking during the event, Nicosia MP Bertan Zaroğlu said YDP has become the party of the people in the north.

“The number of people believing in YDP is growing by the day because we do not discriminate against anyone,” Zaroğlu stressed. YDP general secretary Turan Büyükyılmaz said in a speech during the event that they are walking towards becoming the ruling party with determined and confident steps.


AKEL congratulates Erhürman on re-election

Yenidüzen
Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

AKEL General Secretary Andros Kyprianou congratulated Tufan Erhürman on Tuesday for his re-election as leader of the Republican Turkish Party.

In a letter sent to Erhürman expressing the AKEL Central Committee’s heartfelt congratulations, Kyprianou pointed to the historical relationship between the two parties which was built on the joint goal of reaching a federal solution based on UN resolutions and the High-Level Agreements. 

Kyprianou also drew attention to the historical responsibility the two parties had in overcoming the current challenges and hurdles regarding a settlement to the Cyprus Problem.


United by colours across the divide

Yenidüzen, Havadis
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Bicommunal LGBTI festival “United by Colours” brought together LGBTI groups from both sides of the divide, Yenidüzen and Havadis reported on Wednesday.

Organized by Accept LGBTI and the Turkish Cypriot Queer Cyprus Association in the north, the festival not only served to cement the close cooperation of the two associations but also designed to unite the ongoing struggle to protect the LGBTI community’s rights and their social equality on the island, a joint statement from the two organizations read.

The two associations also signed a joint declaration for sustainable advocacy, in which they have identified trust, justice, equality, understanding, intersectionality and friendship as their shared values.

“Accept LGBTI hopes to set an example and to prove that mutual understanding and collaboration of the two communities for co-existence on the island is possible,” the association said.

The festival is a part of the Open Door Civil Society Festival that is implemented by Civic Space, financed by the European Union.


Sir Stelios: Awards aimed at contributing to lasting peace

Yenidüzen, Havadis
CBMs

OVERVIEW

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou said he aims at contributing to lasting peace on the island, during a press conference held on Tuesday before handing out 50 cash awards of €10,000 as part of the annual Stelios Cyprus Bi-Communal Awards 2019.

Despite the particularly negative political climate in Cyprus, the number of applicants this year fell only by 15 per cent, Sir Stelios said, adding that more than 600 Greek and Turkish Cypriots had applied this year.

“One-third of these applications are new applicants,” he stressed.

“The awards aim to strengthen socio-economic ties between the two communities in Cyprus, to encourage cooperation and trust between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, thus contributing towards lasting peace on the island,” Sir Stelios emphasized.

The winners have been selected from the fields of business, science, arts and sports, as well as partnerships of non-profit organisations. The winning category this year is Art, with a total of 12 awards. It is a category that verifies a shared love for the culture that is growing each year, proving that theatre and music can bring people together.


Drugs destined for the south  

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

The trial of Russian national Igor Yusin, who was caught at Ercan (Tymbou) airport in possession of 20kg of marijuana, is continuing, several dailies reported on Wednesday.

According to the police officer in charge of conducting the investigation, the suspect did not know about the drugs in his suitcase.

“The suitcase was supposed to be given to another person in the North who would then take it to the South,” the officer said during the court hearing on Tuesday.

He said that police were looking for the other person whom the suitcase was to be delivered to.

The judge ordered the Russian suspect to be remanded in police custody for eight more days until the police completed its investigation.

The papers also reported that Greek Cypriot Costantinos Loizos Koursoumba, who was arrested at Lokmacı (Ledra St.) crossing in possession of drugs, was sentenced to two months in prison on Tuesday.

The Nicosia Criminal Court gave a lighter sentence in light of the suspect’s confession and cooperation.