TCC Press Review 13 Feb 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Bar (Association) rejects Maraş (Varosha) meeting

The ‘Ghost Town’ which has been kept fenced-off under the control of the Turkish Armed Forces since 1974 is being opened to the Turkish Union of Bar Associations. The President of the Turkish Cypriot Bar Association Hasan Esendağlı told Yenidüzen that they did not deem it appropriate to take part in such a meeting during the election process. The meeting will be attended by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül. The Office of the President said they have no information about the organisation and that the president has not been invited.

  • CTP leader Erhürman’s comments on Maraş: “It’s not right or acceptable in terms of democratic practices.”

Kıbrıs Postası

Steps on Maraş (Varosha) will be taken after the elections

A roundtable meeting will be held on Saturday to discuss the legal, political and economic aspects of the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha). Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay will attend the meeting. Speaking to Kıbrıs Postası, Özersay said the meeting will be a brainstorming session. “To avoid the issue from being exploited, the steps agreed upon will be implemented after the elections,” Özersay said, adding that work on the fenced-off city will continue.

  • Erdoğan goes soft on Akıncı – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Akıncı’s remarks are very unfortunate and disregarded the past struggle waged by Rauf Denktaş and Fazıl Küçük.
  • “Boris Johnson has given instructions on direct flights” – Tatar spoke in England.
  • “It has harmed ties” – Derviş Eroğlu criticized Akıncı’s remarks.

Kıbrıs

Outraged over illegal taxis

Taxi drivers in Famagusta are losing business due to a growing number of illegal taxis. The city’s one hundred or so taxi drivers urged the authorities to take measures to prevent unregistered taxis operating with rental or private vehicles. The taxi drivers point to the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) campus as the base for illegal taxis and they say they have evidence.

Havadis

New pay rise only buys two extra kilos of meat

The 5.9 per cent increase in the minimum wage falls short in meeting the price hikes in basic consumables. Hopes of minimum wage earners for a more comfortable life have been dashed. Following the ₺174 increase in the minimum wage, a family of four with two minimum wage earners have a net income of ₺6264 (approx. €950). The average rent in the north is £300 (₺ 2340), which is 40 per cent of the total income.

  • Open support for Akıncı – United Cyprus Party (BKP) announced its decision to openly support Mustafa Akıncı in the presidential elections.
  • YKP’s priority is a joint struggle for a swift solution – New Cyprus Party (YKP) announced its decision for the elections in the north and said the party will support candidates that do not advocate for a two-state solution. 

Diyalog

Good business but low profit

Shops and businesses which are offering sales up to 50 per cent are waiting for customers to shop for Valentine’s Day.

  • The number of candidates becomes eight – MDP’s (Nationalist Democracy Party) candidate is Dr Fuat Türkoz Çiner.
  • Important names to attend – (FM) Kudret Özersay says that policy on Maraş (Varosha) to be shaped at meeting on the weekend.

Afrika

Reaction to Akıncı backfired

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also reacted to Mustafa Akıncı’s remarks but this time he refrained using insulting language or from declaring him a target. Erdoğan said that Akıncı’s remarks were ‘unfortunate’.

  • Bar Association rejects Maraş (Varosha) meeting – The Turkish Cypriot Bar Association says it refuses to attend roundtable meeting titled “The fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) with its Legal, Political and Economic Aspects”.
  • Anastasiades’ net annual salary is €90,257 – Ministers earn €61,594 net while MPs receive €51,557 net.
  • Trade Unions Platform: Neither a minority under Greek Cypriots or a colony of Turkey – Turkey’s political leadership not respecting Turkish Cypriots.

Main News

Maraş (Varosha) to be discussed at roundtable meeting

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

OVERVIEW

The initiative concerning the reopening of the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) is set to be discussed at a roundtable meeting on Saturday in the fenced-off area in the presence of Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay, reports said on Wednesday.

According media reports, Oktay, who is in charge of Turkish Cypriot-related affairs within the Turkish government, along with Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül will attend a round table discussion on Saturday in Maraş (Varosha) where legal, political and financial aspects on the opening of the fenced-off town will be discussed.

The government had announced last year they will open Maraş (Varosha) following an inventory of all movable and immovable properties in the fenced-off city.

The decision was opposed by President Mustafa Akıncı and other politicians who argue that any move on the closed-off town ought to be within UN parameters and after the international community was convinced.

The round table discussion is being organised by the Turkish Bar Association. Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay are to also participate as well as law professors, former ambassadors and representatives of tourism organisations.

President Mustafa Akıncı has not been invited.

The decisions will be announced, reports said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot Bar Association announced on Wednesday that it will not be participating in the roundtable meeting.

The President of the Association Hasan Esendağlı told Yenidüzen that they decided it would be inappropriate to attend such a meeting before the elections. 

He said that they were informed of the meeting two months ago and had been invited by the Turkish Union of Bar Associations to co-organise the event.

“The entire programme of the event has been prepared by the Turkish Union of Bar Associations which is why we do not find it right to attend,” he added.

“Excluding Mr Akıncı and the other political parties from the Maraş (Varosha) meeting is not right or acceptable,” Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader and presidential candidate Tufan Erhürman said.

In a social media post on Wednesday, Erhürman stressed that none of the participants of the meeting can ignore the president’s authority over the fenced-off city.

“Not only was the president not invited but leaving representatives of the opposition out of the meeting while the ruling party members are set to deliver statements, is undemocratic,” Erhürman said.

In the meantime, speaking to Kıbrıs Postası and Diyalog TV about the roundtable meeting scheduled to be held on Saturday, Özersay said the meeting will be a brainstorming session.

“To avoid the issue from being exploited for election purposes, the steps agreed at the meeting will be implemented after the elections,” Özersay said, adding that work on the fenced-off city will continue. Özersay also said that the results of the inventory study conducted within the fenced-off city will be shared at the roundtable meeting.

“A roadmap for the government is expected to emerge following the brainstorming session,” he added.

Özersay also expressed the view that the inclusion of Turkish officials in the meeting would be beneficial.

Touching upon the inventory study, Özersay said the study was almost complete except for the section on condition of the building’s infrastructure.

Özersay said architects and civil engineers from the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) were assisting with the inventory study.

He also recalled that President Mustafa Akıncı had promised to take steps regarding Maraş (Varosha) during his previous election campaign however he did not. “If I am elected president, I will implement the vision I put forward five years ago,” Özersay said, adding that the efforts to return the properties to former residents and to open the fenced-off city under the Turkish Cypriot administration will continue.

KEY ACTORS
Erhürman (CTP)
>> Exclusion of Akıncı & opposition parties from roundtable meeting, unacceptable & undemocratic.
>> Not possible to ignore president’s authority on Maraş (Varosha).

Özersay (HP)
>> Decisions taken at roundtable meeting will act as a road map for government’s policies on Maraş (Varosha).
>> Decisions will be announced after the election as to prevent them from being exploited for election purposes.
>> Participation of high-ranking Turkish officials will be beneficial.
>> Efforts to return the properties to former residents & open the fenced-off city under the TC administration will continue.


YKP warns voters against Ankara sponsored candidates

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis
Negotiations Process, Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

The New Cyprus Party (YKP) said on Wednesday that the communal existence of Turkish Cypriots was under threat from Turkey.

The YKP party assembly which convened on Wednesday said that Turkey was trying to impose an Islamic regime in the North.

An eight-point declaration was issued at the end of the meeting, outlining the YKP’s position in the upcoming elections.

While the party did not declare support for any one candidate, it drew attention to candidates which voters should avoid or vote for.

The YKP said it supported a bizonal federal settlement on the island which will not be based on ethnic origins but a common Cypriot identity and political equality.

It also expressed support to an agreement based on the Guterres Framework as well as the introduction and implementation of new confidence-building measures (CBMs) which will ease the lives of Cypriots until a solution is reached.

The YKP pointed out that the two-state solution model which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was advocating was in no way on the agenda of the United Nations (UN).

“Candidates who support a two-state solution model which Ankara insists on, serve nothing more than the partition of the island and its annexation by Turkey. This is why the YKP calls on the people not to vote for these candidates,” it said.

The party furthermore drew attention to the dangers of candidates supported by political parties which are sponsored by the Turkish government which pursues racist, discriminatory and fascist policies.

On the issue of hydrocarbons, the YKP said it opposed attempts to use natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean to blame the other side for the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem and to raise tensions in the region.

“The YKP supports a fair settlement of the issue in line with international law and through respect of the rights of neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the resources in the region should be extracted and shared sustainably without causing any harm to the environment,” the declaration read.

The party also said it opposed what it said was Ankara’s Islamification policies as well as its attempts efforts to colonize the north by changing its demographic structure.

“A solution in Cyprus is only possible through the collective struggle and solidarity to be displayed by all Cypriots. The people cannot be convinced on the viability of an agreement which excludes them, which is not transparent and which they do not embrace. The YKP believes that a solution process derives its strength and authority from the people and that the leaders need to prepare for a settlement with the people,” the declaration said.

İzzet İzcan, leader of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) announced on Wednesday that the party will support President Mustafa Akıncı in the upcoming elections.

İzcan, speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters, said the party had reached a consensus over Akıncı because of his commitment and determination to a federal united Cyprus in line with UN resolutions.

“The presidential elections will identify who will represent the Turkish Cypriot side in the five-party conference likely to be called following the elections,” İzcan stressed.

He argued that a conference might not even convene in the event a candidate who does not believe in the federal solution is elected.

“The Turkish Cypriot community will be left on its own eventually to be wiped out,” İzcan claimed.

İzcan noted that Akıncı throughout his term has kept the Turkish Cypriot identity and its will in the foreground. He claimed that the smearing campaign launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in Turkey aims at annexing the north.

“This is not the first nor will be the last attack on the Turkish Cypriot community and its political will,” İzcan stressed, adding that the BKP holds Turkish Cypriot identity and its will above all.

“We have adopted peace as our core policy and the future of our community is what matters to us the most,” he noted and said the BKP will always reject any foreign interference in the domestic affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community.

“The struggle waged in North Cyprus is for peace, democracy and freedom,” İzcan concluded and said the BKP will be actively working in support of Akıncı.

KEY ACTORS
YKP
>> TCs’ communal existence under threat from Turkey.
>> Turkey is trying to impose an Islamic regime in the north.
>> YKP supports a bizonal federal solution in Cyprus not based on ethnic origins but a common Cypriot identity & political equality.
>> YKP supports an agreement based on the Guterres Framework & introduction/ implementation of new CBMs.
>> YKP calls on TCs not to vote for candidates who advocate a two-state solution as they will only serve Ankara’s plans to partition & annex Cyprus.
>> YKP opposes Ankara’s Islamification policies as well as attempts to colonize the north by changing its demographic structure.
>> A solution in Cyprus is only possible through the collective struggle & solidarity to be displayed by all Cypriots.
>> The solution process derives its strength & authority from the people & that the leaders need to prepare for a settlement with the people.

İzcan (BKP)
>> BKP to support Akıncı in upcoming elections because of his commitment & dedication to federal solution based on UN resolutions.
>> Five-party conference might not even convene in the event a candidate who does not believe in the federal solution is elected.
>> The Turkish Cypriot community will be left on its own eventually to be wiped out.
>> BKP will always reject foreign interference in the domestic affairs of TC community.
>>The struggle waged in the north is for peace, democracy & freedom.


Erdoğan joins attacks on Akıncı over Turkey comments

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Governance & Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

The war of words between President Mustafa Akıncı and the Turkish government continued on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan describing comments made by Mustafa Akıncı last week as ‘very unfortunate’.

Erdoğan, surprisingly had kept his silence over the matter, until Wednesday.

“It’s very unfortunate, this move is an insult to the struggle of the previous presidents Rauf Denktaş and Fazıl Küçük,” the Turkish press quoted Erdoğan as saying.

In a Guardian interview last week, Akıncı said that differences between the two sides were deepening, pushing back any hope for reunification, but that the north did not embrace annexation by Turkey.

Senior Turkish officials slammed Akıncı for his remarks that annexation with Turkey would have horrible consequences for both Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

Ankara was also offended by Akıncı’s words that he would not be a second Tayfur Sökmen, who was president of the State of Hatay which merged with Turkey following a referendum in 1939.

Former Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu also slammed Akıncı on Wednesday for his remarks.

Speaking to Demirören News Agency (DHA) Eroğlu accused Akıncı for harming relations with Turkey in an attempt to win votes in the upcoming elections.

“I have been in politics since 1976 and I have never seen or heard of any plans by Turkey to annex the TRNC,” Eroğlu stressed.

Eroğlu recalled that the possibility of annexation with Turkey had been raised in the past by members of the founding Turkish Cypriot parliament but that the issue had been rejected by Turkish proposals.

“If Turkey had any intentions of annexing the north, it would have done so in 1974 but it did not. Akıncı’s attempts to inject fear in the Turkish Cypriot community are only about gaining votes for his campaign,” Eroğlu concluded.

Meanwhile, the Trade Unions Platform has expressed support to Akıncı.

The General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) Şener Elcil who issued a statement on behalf of the platform on Wednesday criticized Ankara’s policies on the north.

He claimed that politicians in Ankara, particularly the Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration, did not respect Turkish Cypriots.

Elcil said that not only was Ankara pursuing aggressive policies in the eastern Mediterranean under the pretext of protecting Turkish Cypriots’ rights but was also interfering in the domestic politics of the north.

“Ankara is constantly trying to change the north’s demography and property structure as well as using every opportunity to insult its elected leaders,” he said.

Elcil said that the Trade Union Platform will continue to work for peace in Cyprus.

He concluded by stating that Turkish Cypriots will neither be a minority in a Greek island nor will they be a colony of Turkey.

KEY ACTORS
Elcil (KTÖS)
>> Turkish politicians, particularly AKP does not respect TCs.
>> Trade Union Platform will continue to work for peace in Cyprus.
>> TCs will neither be a minority in a Greek island nor will they be a colony of Turkey.