TCC Press Review 21 May 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

And now a water crisis

Minister gives July as the target for completion of repairs. The damaged water pipeline from Turkey to Cyprus has now raised the risk of water shortages. Some municipalities have started using their own resources. Mayors who spoke to Yenidüzen have said the issue needs to be solved urgently and warned of the possibility of water shortages.  

  • Tatar instructs Pilli to work on reopening crossing points – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said that they were ready to work for the reopening of crossing points.
  • Mustafa Akıncı: The leaders are recognized as interlocutors, not ministers – President Akıncı pointed out that world leaders and foreign ministers recognized the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriot community as their interlocutors because of the conditions unique to Cyprus, and that the same applied to the Greek Cypriot side.

Kıbrıs Postası

Ceased Print/Online Only

Kıbrıs

We had missed it

As coronavirus measures are gradually lifted, the return to normal life resumes. Beaches and cafes were full of people and the hairdressers and the barbers could not keep up with the flow of customers. As of yesterday (Wednesday), the beaches, restaurants, cafes, patisseries, bars, village coffee shops and internet cafes reopened. People rushed to the sea with the opening of the beaches. Famagusta Mayor İsmail Arter said they have been working to prevent risks at the beaches due to the large turnout. Lefke (Lefka) Mayor Aziz Kaya said the municipality had made arrangements to ease access for physically disabled people to the beaches.

  • 11,000 dönüms (dunams) burned to ashes – The area destroyed by the Tepebaşı (Diorios) – Kalkanlı (Kalochorio) and Koruçam (Kormakitis) forest fire calculated.
  • Started in the south, moved to the buffer zone – A bushfire that started on the Greek Cypriot side spread to the buffer zone where the old Nicosia International Airport is located.
  • Cancer medicines on the way – New cancer medicines, which had run out in the north after flights had been suspended due to coronavirus measures, will be delivered by ship.
  • Initiative to be launched for the opening of the crossing points – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar tasked his health minister Ali Pilli to work on the opening of the crossing points. Pilli announced he is ready to initiate contact with the Greek Cypriot health minister. President Mustafa Akıncı said it is good news to see the health ministry is being tasked but said that this was not possible in practice. “The Greek Cypriot side’s interlocutor is the TRNC presidency,” Akıncı said.

Havadis

The “mouse” scandal

The state negligence that resulted in the destruction of thousands of dönüms (dunams) of the forest was documented by Genç TV. It emerged that the fire detecting cameras, which were installed at 13 different locations and which could record at a 360˚degree angle, were disabled after the forestry department could not find a single person who knew how to use a ‘mouse’. As a result, the fires were not detected and thousands of dönüms (dunams) of forestry land burned to ashes. The early detection system which was installed in 2009 within the framework of the ‘Natura 2000’ project and which cost €950,000 camera system was funded by the European Union (EU). The system had not been working since 2012. The state did not appoint personnel for the early detection system.

  • Not a day goes by without a fire – The fire that started in the Mammari area, which is located south of the old Nicosia airport quickly spread to the buffer zone, south of Alayköy (Gerolakkos). The Greek Cypriot and the United Nations (UN) fire-brigades had difficulties in putting out the fire. The Turkish Cypriot fire-brigade was on standby.
  • Annual inflation decreased by three per thousand – The European Statistics office published the inflation rate for the month of April for the European Union (EU) and the EURO Zone. The inflation rate in the EURO zone was striking. The annual inflation in the EURO Zone dropped by 0.7 per cent in March and 0.3 in April.
  • The latest situation: North 108 cases, four deaths; South 922 cases, 24 deaths; Turkey 152,587 cases, 4,222 deaths.
  • “Not possible” – President Mustafa Akıncı commented on the instructions the Prime Minister gave to Turkish Cypriot health minister to launch an initiative with the Greek Cypriot health minister regarding the opening of the crossing points.

Diyalog

Oh Osman

The young man who was detained by police on allegations that he started the fires in Serdarlı (Tziaos) and Gönendere (Knodara) the same day of the big fire in Tepebaşı (Diorios) said, “They poisoned my dog. I started the fire because I was angry.”

  • It should set an example for the South – Drones and satellite technology to be used in the South to battle fires.
  • The goal is 2023 – A French firm has applied to set up a solar farm in South Cyprus.

Afrika

Normalisation

Is the nightmare over? Many sectors resumed their work after a break of more than two months. Beaches, snack bars, restaurants, cafes, patisseries, bars, village coffee shops and internet cafes reopened. Hairdressers, barbers and beauty parlours also started serving their customers. While children’s playgrounds will be opened on Saturday, Gyms will be allowed to open on May 27 after the Eid al-Fitr (Bayram). The prohibition on the mass prayers will also be lifted on Sunday with the Bayram prayers.

  • Is it very difficult to get hold of Anastasiades? – Presidential Spokesman Barış Burcu said President Mustafa Akıncı had to call Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades numerous times however failed to reach him. “Akıncı then tasked his special representative Erhan Erçin to initiate communication,” Burcu said.
  • Fire in the buffer zone – The fire that started in an area near the old Nicosia Airport, was put out by the Greek Cypriot and the UN firefighters.
  • “There was no person who could use a ‘mouse’ to operate the forest-fire detection system”

Main News

Tatar says his government ready to work with GCs to reopen crossings

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar on Wednesday said his government was ready to work with the Greek Cypriot side to reopen the crossing points

According to a statement issued by his office, Tatar said he had instructed his health minister Ali Pilli to get the ball rolling so that the crossings could reopen as soon as possible given the positive scientific data on both sides.

“For the reopening of the crossings, the ball is in the hands of our epidemiologists,” Tatar said.

“We have zero cases but because the danger persists, so do the measures for now,” he added.

The health ministry would first make the necessary contacts and the government would approve the moving forward for reopening, Tatar said.

He described the statements made by the Greek Cypriot side as positive as was the sharing of information by both sides.

“I hope that the necessary cooperation will be demonstrated in an issue that is of deep interest to both sides while health will remain a priority,” Tatar added.

President Mustafa Akıncı, however, was quick to shoot down Tatar for his remarks, stating it was not possible in practice for the Turkish Cypriot health minister to be in direct contact with Greek Cypriot authorities.

He reminded it was his office and not Tatar’s which the international community and the Greek Cypriot side recognized as their interlocutor due to the unique political situation on the island.

Akıncı, speaking while receiving the Turkish Cypriot members of the Bicommunal Technical Committee for Culture on Wednesday, said that there was room for optimism given that no new cases were confirmed in the north for more than a month.

He, however, said that scientific advisers would be the ones leading the way when it comes to the reopening of the crossing points.

“This is not likely to happen. There is no practical way,” Akıncı said as he referred to the statement made by Tatar that he had instructed Pilli to establish contact with the Greek Cypriot Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.

“If only we could be at that level… that is the respective health ministers could establish direct contact with each other. This will be how relations will be in the event of a solution. Health ministers of both communities will be able to communicate, cooperate and discuss issues directly as counterparts,” he added

But for the moment, such contacts could only be carried out through the bicommunal technical committee on health, he said where “priority should be given to health and not to politics”, and between the two leaders, and this came under the purview of the Turkish Cypriot Presidency, Akıncı said, not the health ministry or the government.

He himself had spoken on the phone several times during the crisis with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, he said, adding that there was an understanding that there needed to be a joint decision on reopening.

“I am happy that the prime minister has realised that the time has come but we need to be restrained and cautious,” said Akıncı.

Earlier on Wednesday Pilli said he was willing to meet with Ioannou to discuss the situation.

Also on Wednesday, Tatar received a group representing the 1,500 or so Turkish Cypriots working in the south.

He said it was important to be in dialogue and to reopen the crossing points when the time was right so that the workers could return to their jobs.

“It seems from the thousands of tests we have carried out that we have no new cases. As a result, the process for normalisation is progressing swiftly,” he added.

Tatar reminded that he had instructed his health minister to try to establish contact with his counterpart in the south.

“Our foreign minister can do the same with the UN,” he added.


Catalogues from Art Exhibition “In Culture We Trust” distributed

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

OVERVIEW

The Bicommunal Technical Committee for Culture on Wednesday announced that it has initiated the distribution of catalogues of the art exhibition “In Culture We Trust” which was held at Ledra Palace Hotel on February 3, 2020, hosted by the Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar.

Turkish Cypriot members of the committee presented the catalogue to Akıncı during a visit on Wednesday.

The co-chair of the committee Kani Kanol expressed the hope that the 320-page catalogue will provide morale during these difficult times.

Akıncı, for his part, said the committee had produced an important piece of work which would be passed onto future generations.

He recalled that the exchange of artworks had been carried out following an agreement with both sides.

“The exchange was not only about paintings but we received in exchange audiovisual recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists from the joint era which is extremely valuable for us. Cultural exchange between the two communities is one of the most important principles of co-existence on this island,” Akıncı added

The catalogues, published with the support of the UNDP and the European Commission, contain images and information about the paintings and audiovisual recordings by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot artists shown during the exhibition, as well as others which were exchanged between the sides.


The Maraş (Varosha) inventory to be carried out by the EMU

Yenidüzen
Internal Security, Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

The inventory study on the fenced-off town of Maraş (Varosha) will be carried out by the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), the dailies reported on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the university, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay signed an agreement with the acting rector of the Famagusta-based EMU, Hasan Demirel, on the studies the university’s engineering faculty will be carrying out for the inventory prepared by a team of experts last year on the buildings of Maraş (Varosha).

The agreement concerns the measurement of the earthquake resistance status of all buildings in Maraş (Varosha) but also the preparation of reports for each building.

The report will include an assessment on the condition of each building ranging from inhabitable to very good but also the number of floors, level of corrosion, topographic condition and similar factors.

The details such as corrosion level, of all the buildings, will also be recorded.

In the end, there will be a detailed report for each building. The Faculty of Engineering will be responsible to carry out the scientific study. 


2,500 people still waiting to receive salary support payments

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security, Economy

OVERVIEW

“2,500 people are still waiting to receive their ₺1500 (€200) salary support payments,” Labour Minister Faiz Sucuoğlu said on Wednesday.

Speaking during a programme on Kıbrıs Postası web TV, Sucuoğlu said the payments are issued following thorough checks on each application.

He said the ministry personnel will look through the remaining 2,500 applications one by one to check where the applicants are truly eligible for the payments.

Sucuoğlu also noted the Provident Fund payments of ₺2000 (€267) have started. He called on the people, who wish to apply to receive the amount from their deposits at the Provident Fund to apply through the fund’s website.


Turkey is the assurance of peace in the East Med

Kıbrıs Postası
External Security, Regional/International Relations, Energy

OVERVIEW

“Turkey is the assurance of security and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, Fahrettin Altun, Head of the Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Turkish daily Daily Sabah, Altun said Turkey, which came into focus with its role of assuring peace, its strength and influence in the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Balkans, was writing the most striking success story of the 21st century.

He argued that Turkey will play a crucial role in international politics and in the economy in the post-COVID-19 era.

“Turkey will emerge as a leading country in the post-COVID-19 era, already promoting international cooperation and peace,” Altun stressed.

Altun added that Turkey continued to focus on the solution of the regional problems while the other countries have ignored them.

“Turkey will continue to be an assurance for safety and peace in international conflicts and crises, Altun concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Altun (Turkey)
>> Turkey is the assurance of security and peace in the East Med.
>> Turkey is writing the most striking success story of the 21st century.
>> Turkey will play a crucial role in int’l politics and in the economy in the post-COVID-19 era promoting cooperation and peace.
>> Turkey continues to focus on the solution of the regional problems while the other countries have ignored them.