TCC Press Review 9 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Dr Emine Kamiloğlu: “You can’t prevent local transmission with these decisions”

New decisions from the Council of Ministers until October 1. Casinos, night clubs, discos and other music and dancing places will too close until October 1. Primary education pupils in first and second grade who went back to school on Monday will be the only ones to continue going to classes. Private teaching institutes, study centres and nurseries will also remain open. People who need to quarantine will bear the cost themselves, expect for university students and people who travel abroad for health reasons.

Kıbrıs

Additional measures imposed

The cabinet adopted new decisions following an increase in the number of cases. The cabinet announced measures implemented to control the local transmission cases.

  • 38 new cases in the TRNC – Two passengers who arrived by plane, two by ferry tested positive. 19 of the cases are those that had been in contact with previously identified positive cases. 15 new local cases.
  • “I believe we will overcome the problem with measures and with the support of the citizens” – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar urged the people to comply with the measures adopted and adhere to personal hygiene and social distancing rules.

Havadis

No one is happy

The cabinet adopted some of the decisions recommended by the Higher Committee of Contagious Diseases with political concerns and given the upcoming elections. No one is pleased with the decisions adopted.

  • “The people will pay the price with their lives” – Pulmonologist Dr Emine Kamiloğlu, who is also a member of the Higher Committee of Contagious Diseases, said it is wrong for the cabinet to change the decisions adopted by the committee. “It is not possible to prevent local transmission cases with these decisions,” Dr Kamiloğlu warned.
  • Zaroğlu is also positive – Rebirth Party (YDP) General Secretary Bertan Zaroğlu tested positive.

Diyalog

There is panic

The government decided to shut down many workplaces and schools again. It gave no assurance over losses the restrictions will cause. Casinos, night clubs, discos and other music and dancing places will too be closed until October 1. It did not provide any assurance to such establishments or how the salaries to be paid to those who might become unemployed. First and second-grade primary school pupils will continue to go to school. Universities are to remain closed until October 1. The trade unions reacted strongly to these decisions. Numerous people who called Diyalog said they will not send their children to school.

  • €200m more to come – The European Investment Bank approves €500m package for South Cyprus.
  • Under quarantine – Rebirth Party (YDP) General Secretary Bertan Zaroğlu announces he has tested positive for coronavirus.

Avrupa

Bertan: Kiss Ersin

Rebirth Party (YDP) General Secretary Bertan Zaroğlu has tested positive for Covid-19. The latest decisions adopted by the government, which did not comply with the recommendations from the Higher Committee of Contagious Diseases, drew harsh reactions from health organisations, doctors, and from different circles within the community.

  • KTÖS to take the decisions to court – Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) General Secretary Şener Elcil said the government preferred to help casino and private school owners, using the children and teachers as guinea pigs. 
  • New record: 38 cases – Despite one case in the south, 38 new cases identified in the north yesterday (Tuesday) and 34 of them are local. 1561 tests were carried out whereas 2797 tests were done in the south. 
  • “The cabinet decisions are not valid” – Ombudsperson Emine Dizdarlı said.

Main News

North adopts new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Internal Security, Governance and Power Sharing

OVERVIEW

The north on Tuesday announced 38 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily number so far, as it postponed the opening of schools until October 1 and said they were closing casinos and night clubs until the same date.

Of the 38 new cases, 15 are local, 19 are contacts of people who already tested positive and are in quarantine, and the rest are people who arrived from abroad.

This brings the total of cases to 475.

The Turkish Cypriot cabinet convened on Tuesday to evaluate the latest situation in the coronavirus pandemic and to implement stricter measures in an effort to keep the pandemic under control.

The speaker of the cabinet, Kudret Özersay said given the increase in the number of positive cases recently, the cabinet adopted decisions in line with the recommendations made by the Contagious Diseases high Committee.

Özersay recalled that the cabinet had recently introduced a seven mandatory-quarantine requirement for all those arriving in the north in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

He added that the contact-tracing team at the health ministry will be able to bring local transmission cases under control within two weeks.

Özersay also said the Turkish Cypriot health ministry will grant the exemption from mandatory quarantine on a case by case applications provided that there is travel to or back from Turkey within 72 hours on official business.

According to the measures all schools will open on October 1. Primary education pupils in first and second grade who went back to school on Monday will be the only ones to continue going to classes.

Private teaching institutes, study centres and nurseries will also remain open.

Casinos, night clubs, discos and other music and dancing places will too close until October 1.

Weddings are being postponed until after October 1, and election rallies and mass meetings are cancelled until after that date.

The new measures also concern the closure of playgrounds. Sports events will be held without spectators until October 1 but there no restrictions for individual sports.

It was also announced that people who need to quarantine will bear the cost themselves, expect for university students and people who travel abroad for health reasons.

Private sector employees who belong to vulnerable groups and need to stay at home will receive an allowance just as people working in the public sector.

Özersay noted that the police commissioner, who had attended the cabinet meeting, had agreed to establish a “covid-19 task force” to carry out inspections on compliance with measures in place.

Recalling an earlier decision adopted for the universities, he said the cabinet has asked the education, transportation and health ministries to coordinate and plan the arrival of university students and their quarantine requirements.

Özersay also announced that the cabinet has decided to remove value-added-tax (VAT) and customs duty on the sale of computers, laptops and tablets to facilitate online education and ensure every student has a tool to attend online education courses.

He concluded by stressing that the cabinet is determined to implement every necessary measure should the pandemic worsens. He added that the new measures will be in force from Wednesday onwards.

In the meantime, parents of children going to the first and second grades have been reluctant to send them to school.

According to the dailies, several schools saw only up to half of the expected numbers of pupils arriving for classes.

Also on Tuesday, Ombudsperson Emine Dizdarlı pointed out that the cabinet does not have the right to adopt any measures or make any decisions on top of the High Committee of Contagious Diseases.

Speaking to Yenidüzen, Dizdarlı also pointed out that the cabinet does not have the right to “cherry-pick” among the many decisions made by the said Committee. 

“The higher committee’s decisions are final and everyone must comply with the measures agreed. This is how it is stated in the law. The committee’s decisions are valid and in force,” Dizdarlı concluded.

Echoing the Ombudsperson’s viewpoint, head of the Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Association, Dr Özlem Gürkut said the highest authority to make decisions on the pandemic is the Higher Committee of Contagious Diseases.

“The committee convened on September 7 and has adopted a series of decisions. Then these decisions were recorded in the registrar.

According to the law in place, these decisions are final and must be adopted,” Gürkut stressed and added that the Committee only relays the decisions to the cabinet for the relevant departments to start implementing the decisions. 

In another development, the General Secretary of the Rebirth Party (YDP) Bertan Zaroğlu announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Zaroğlu is the third party member to test positive for coronavirus.

The YDP had announced on Monday that it was suspending all its activities for ten days after a number of its members had either tested positive or were being kept in isolation after contact tracing.

In the meantime, head of Tıp- İş (TC Doctors’ Union) Dr Ahmet Varış announced that the union has suspended its protests after the government has agreed to implement the decisions adopted by the Higher Committee of Contagious Diseases.

Writing on social media, Varış said the government has agreed to also prohibit all sports activities including practices, closure of all schools, and limiting the daily number of passengers arriving in the north with 75.

Varış underlined that the decision regarding closure of schools will be adopted by the relevant ministry on Wednesday.


Cyprus does not only consist of GCs, says Akıncı

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Negotiations Process, Human Rights, Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

“A joint and rational policy to be pursued on the issue of hydrocarbons by all stakeholders will be for the benefit of everyone,” President Mustafa Akıncı said in an interview with Euronews.

In the interview aired on Tuesday, Akıncı said that there was much speculation as to how much natural gas surrounded the island of Cyprus but added that common sense dictated that the island’s natural resources be used for the benefit of everyone.

He pointed out that Cyprus did not only consist of Greek Cypriots and that Turkish Cypriots could not be excluded.

“It is inevitable for Turkey and North Cyprus to part of any energy equation in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Akıncı, pointing out that Turkey has one of the longest coastlines in the region.

“Those who do not wish to see us within this equation have been forming alliances with others in an attempt to exclude us,” Akıncı said.

He added that it was Greece and the Greek Cypriot side which was doing this by forming alliances with Egypt and Israel.

“The most interesting development is how relations with both these countries and Turkey have weakened,” he said.

Akıncı noted that it would have been more beneficial if Greece and the Greek Cypriots had not attempted to forge such alliances in pursuit of economically unfeasible projects.

“Better projects could have been produced,” he said, arguing that the EastMed pipeline project which aimed to transport the region’s natural gas via Crete to Greece and Italy would be far costlier and time-consuming than an alternative project of transferring the gas to Europe via Turkey. 

“Instead we are seeing confrontation and tension,” he said.

Akıncı also pointed out that Turkey had not fulfilled its obligations in terms of recognizing the north or the south all these years.

“We need to be realistic. We don’t even have a single football team from Turkey playing friendlies with us. Would you not send a team to a country you recognize? But they are forced to end up sending teams to play matches in the South which they do not recognize,” he said.

Akıncı said his goal was not to offend or hurt Turkey but to point out that this was what the conjuncture and international conditions dictated.

“They would be faced with penalties from UEFA or FIFA if they disobeyed the rules,” he added.

Akıncı also expressed his support for achieving peace in Cyprus through diplomacy and understanding.

“The only reason why I want peace so much is that I have personally witnessed war. I was 27 years old during the 1974 war and I lost eight of my friends. Many of those who don’t know me accuse me of being a traitor, an enemy of Turkey and a pro-Greek Cypriot person,” he concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Akıncı
>> A joint and rational policy to be pursued on the issue of hydrocarbons by all stakeholders will be for the benefit of everyone.
>> Common sense dictates that the island’s natural resources be used for the benefit of everyone.
>> Cyprus does not only consist of GCs & TCs could not be excluded.
>> Inevitable for Turkey & North Cyprus to part of any energy equation in the East Med.
>> Those who do not wish to see the TCs within this equation have been forming alliances with others in an attempt to exclude the TCs.
>> It would have been more beneficial if Greece & the GCs had not attempted to forge such alliances in pursuit of economically unfeasible projects.
>> EastMed pipeline project which aims to transport the region’s natural gas via Crete to Greece & Italy will be far costlier and time-consuming than an alternative project of transferring the gas to Europe via Turkey.
>> Turkey has not fulfilled its obligations in terms of recognizing the north or the south all these years.


Çavuşoğlu: Athen’s rejection of reconciliation efforts reveals true intentions

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

“Greece has made it clear that it is not in favour of dialogue by saying ‘no’ to the recent reconciliation initiatives,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Congolese counterpart Jean-Claude Gakosso, Çavuşoğlu explained the various initiatives undertaken by the European Union (EU) and the NATO.

He also responded to the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ statements on Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Çavuşoğlu recalled that Dendias had claimed Turkey is carrying out its military exercises with live ammunition and denied his allegations.

“All the Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean are in line with NATO regulations,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Urging Greece to “display a principled stance and be honest,” Çavuşoğlu asked Greece to come to the negotiations table without further delay.

“Dialogue for sharing the natural resources equitably will be a win-win for all sides,” Çavuşoğlu concluded.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister and Director for EU affairs, Faruk Kaymakcı on Tuesday argued that the hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean can become the main ingredient for a solution in Cyprus.

Writing on Twitter, Kaymakcı added that hydrocarbon resources could very well play a critical role for a solution in Cyprus just like how coal and steel had become the grout for the EU integration in the past.

“The natural resources will not only bring the solution in Cyprus but will also contribute to stability and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean region and will pave the way for a stronger EU with Turkey,” Kaymakcı concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Çavuşoğlu (Turkey)
>> Greece has made it clear that it is not in favour of dialogue by saying ‘no’ to the recent reconciliation initiatives.
>> All the Turkish activities in the East Med. are in line with NATO regulations.
>> Greece should display a principled stance and be honest.
>> Greece should come to the negotiations table without further delay.
>> Dialogue for sharing the natural resources equitably will be a win-win for all sides.

Kaymakcı (Turkey)
>> The hydrocarbon resources in the East Med can become the main ingredient for a solution in Cyprus.
>> The hydrocarbon resources could very well play a critical role for a solution in Cyprus just like how coal & steel had become the grout for the EU integration in the past.
>> The natural resources will not only bring the solution in Cyprus but will also contribute to stability & cooperation in the East Med & will pave the way for a stronger EU with Turkey.