TCC Press Review 10 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Changes from night till morning

The National Unity Party (UBP)-Peoples’ Party (HP) coalition government changed its decisions once again. The pandemic process got out of control and the country has been dragged into chaos, creating an environment of mistrust. Education and learning centres shut down just like schools until October 1. No inbound commercial flights until September 13 for the exception of military and medical flights. Turkish Covid-19 patients in TRNC are being transferred to medical centres in Turkey.

  • Passengers could not be transferred to a quarantine hotel. Tourists were left on the street. Flights halted.

Kıbrıs

Covid-19 patients being transferred to Turkey

The coronavirus measures have been increased. Given the increase in the number of cases, the second pandemic centre has become operational and Turkey has dispatched ambulance planes to the north. 12 patients will be transferred in three flights. Moreover, according to information obtained from sources close to the government, Ankara will send 450 boxes of medicine used in coronavirus treatment today (Thursday).

  • Turkey’s approach to the TRNC has never been a product of its desire to gain benefits – Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay stressed Turkey’s relations with the north is beyond commercial and economic activities. “It means a lot more than that,” Oktay stressed.
  • 19 new cases in the north – Out of the 19 cases, ten of them are local cases, six are contacts of previously identified positive cases.
  • Faked her PCR test – Elena Shchegoleva, who attempted to enter the north with a forged PCR test at the Metehan (Agios Dometios) crossing point, arrested.

Havadis

“I will definitely win”

Presidential candidate Serdar Denktaş was the guest at the traditional lunch meeting of Havadis. He said he will start celebrations when he gets into the second round because there is significant support for him.

  • Online interference in elections – Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay addressed the Economic organisations’ platform meeting through video link and praised the government in managing the pandemic and the economy.
  • Imported patients being sent back – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar announced the Turkish Covid-19 patients will be transferred to Turkish hospitals.
  • Cabinet divided into two – Turkish Cypriot health minister suggested a 21-day long curfew, Prime Minister welcomed the idea however some of the ministers objected to the idea claiming it would lead to economic collapse.

Diyalog

Flight hours and other measures have changed three times in the last 24 hours. The health ministry issued three different statements in a single day. Confusion was experienced at Ercan (Tymbou) Airport. The first statement made in the morning said that the number of flights had been reduced to one. Then it was announced that all flights had been cancelled. The third statement was that there will be two flights per day. While the ministry made confusing statements, hundreds of passengers were kept waiting in the open to be transferred to quarantine centres. The passengers reacted strongly to the situation.

  • He gave the good news – Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said that work to repair the pipeline carrying water to the Geçitköy (Panagra) Dam was near completion.
  • She was arrested at Metehan (Agios Dhometios) – Elena Shchegoleva was arrested by police as she tried to enter the north with a forged PCR test.

Avrupa

The government is more dangerous than the coronavirus

Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) said they will not hold back from efforts get rid of Ankara’s puppets, the National Unity Party (UBP) and the People’s Party (HP). KTÖS General Secretary Şener Elcil said the main reason behind the coalition government’s stance is the lack of opposition in the north.

  • Flights halted until September 13 – The government decided to halt inbound flights to the north as there is no more room available at quarantine facilities.
  • Covid-19 patients being transferred to Turkey – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar announced transferring of patients has started on midnight on Wednesday. Transferring patients to Turkey, which is one of the riskiest countries, has caused concerns.

Main News

Authorities in the north scramble to keep Covid-19 cases under control

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

OVERVIEW

The north has temporarily halt inbound flights to the north citing inadequate quarantine space for arriving passengers.

The temporary arrangement came in effect from midnight Wednesday until September 13.

The announcement follows news reports earlier in the day that people arriving in the north were stuck at the airport because the quarantine hotels were full and could not be accommodated.

Late on Wednesday night, 19 new coronavirus cases – as a result of 1,214 tests – were announced by the Turkish Cypriot Health Minister Ali Pilli.

Two cases were from the airport, one at the port, six from contacts and the rest from community spread.

The total number of cases in the north stands at 494 along with four deaths.

Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said that as of midnight on Wednesday Turkish nationals, diagnosed with coronavirus will be transported to Turkey for treatment.

The first eight patients, all Turkish nationals, were transferred via flights which arrived at Ercan (Tymbou) airport.

Meanwhile, President Mustafa Akıncı was set to meet representatives from the health organisations for a meeting at his office on Thursday morning.

“The health board, which has its legal basis, should be free of any political influence when adopting and implementing its decisions,” President Mustafa Akıncı said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Akıncı pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot community is faced with a dire situation due to the rise in the number of coronavirus cases today.

Refraining from criticizing the government, Akıncı said the cabinet failed to adopt the decisions taken by the health experts at various levels

“The government had been extremely delayed in adopting the decision to impose a mandatory quarantine for new arrivals even though many had voiced their concerns and many had urged the authorities to do so,” Akıncı noted.

He also argued that the health professionals at the initial phase of the pandemic had given authorities adequate time to improve the health infrastructure and ensure that the north remained Covid-19 free for months.

“However, the government’s lack of desire to improve the health infrastructure and launching the reopening process on July 1 without any quarantine requirement, naturally resulted in people losing their trust in the authorities,” Akıncı said.

“What matters now is to save the community from the coronavirus pandemic in light of scientific decisions adopted by legitimate boards,” he stressed.

He urged the government to act in line with the recommendations and decisions adopted by such organisations and boards.

Akıncı concluded by noting that he has invited the representatives of the health organisations and the members of his health advisory board members to discuss the grave developments in the coronavirus pandemic for a meeting at 10 am on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the Turkish Cypriot health ministry announced a new set of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in line with the recommendations made by the Higher Committee of Contagious Diseases.

In this regard, the Higher Committee for Contagious Diseases adopted a series of new decisions on Tuesday following earlier decisions adopted by the cabinet.  

According to the new decisions, casinos, night clubs, discos, cinemas, theatres funfairs and other music, dancing places, parks and indoor playing areas will remain closed until October 1.

All schools, private teaching institutes, study centres for the exception of day-care centres or nurseries will also remain closed until October 1.

New arrangements will be made for barbers, hair salons and beauty parlours as well as bars and restaurants including restrictions on the number of customers.

Tighter inspections will be carried out.

It has also been decided to ban all weddings, crowded birthday parties, mass celebratory events.

The new measures also concern the cancellation of all sports training exercises, events, indoor court sporting activities and camps until October 1.

There is no ban for individual sports carried out indoors or outdoors but certain restrictions have been introduced.

Meanwhile, both flights and ferry services have been suspended until September 13.

It has been announced civilians will not be admitted on board ferries but conscripts continue to be deployed to the north.

Departures from the Ercan (Tymbou) airport will be permitted.

The decision also concerns allowing students studying in TRNC universities to return as of September 20.

University students arriving in the north will be required to remain in seven-day mandatory quarantine at dormitories or hotels to be approved and inspected by the Turkish Cypriot Health Ministry.

Election rallies and mass meetings are cancelled until after that date.

Limitations will be introduced for candidates appearing on TV programmes.

Moreover, the Turkish Cypriot health ministry announced the second pandemic centre with 22-bed capacity has become operational as of Wednesday.

While the pandemic hospital construction is underway, it is noted that the third pandemic centre with 15-bed capacity will be ready in a month.

In another development, following the three positive coronavirus cases identified at the Turkish Cypriot finance ministry, all personnel at the ministry were tested and necessary measures were adopted.

The ministry personnel has no started to work on shifts.

The positive cases were identified at the Treasury Department.

The parliamentary sub-committee has approved the amendments to the Contagious Diseases Law and sent the bill to the parliamentary assembly.

The amendments are aimed at strengthening the law’s power to inspect premises for compliance to measures and its articles related to sanctions.

Also on Wednesday, the Social Democratic Party (TDP) launched a petition in parliament for a motion of no confidence against the government.

Speaking on Wednesday, TDP MP Zeki Çeler said the TDP is determined to remove the government from power due to its mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.


Denktaş says he will work for a decentralized federation

Havadis
Governance and Power Sharing, Negotiations Process, Property, Territory, Economy

OVERVIEW

“We will adopt a three-pronged approach in the Cyprus negotiations process. The first step will be to consider past convergences and to look into areas of possible collaboration. The second step will be to utilize international law in our favour and third to take unilateral steps,” independent presidential candidate Serdar Denktaş said on Wednesday.

Speaking as the guest at the Havadis’ traditional “lunch meeting,” Denktaş added that the Turkish Cypriot side does not have any intentions of meeting the demands made by the Greek Cypriot side and vice-versa.

“It would have been my ultimate goal to seek political recognition for the TRNC but I know the five-year term is not enough for that. Therefore, our goal would be to put the decentralised federation proposal, which had been raised initially by the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades in the first place, before him,” Denktaş said.

He explained that he will first work on obtaining a communal consensus towards a joint goal in the Cyprus talks.

“We have to be the ones identifying our joint goal and act towards achieving it because it is us living on the island,” Denktaş noted.

He argued that the Turkish Cypriot leadership did not have a goal for a long time now.

Denktaş, responding to a question on the way ahead for Turkish Cypriots’ sporting activities, said he will take the issue of the participation of Turkish Cypriots in international sporting events to international courts.

“I will raise the rights of Turkish Cypriot sports people participating in international events or competitions at the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” Denktaş said, noıting that he has already had a meeting with a law firm based in the Hague, Netherlands.

Responding to a question on the Maraş (Varosha) issue, Denktaş said he had been advocating for the reopening of the fenced-off town since the rejection of the Annan Plan referendum.

“The last proposal I had given on the issue was in 2017, following the collapse of the process in Crans Montana. I gave my proposal to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, President Mustafa Akıncı and the heads of the Turkish Cypriot political parties,” Denktaş said.

He pointed out that Akıncı was in favour of the idea provided that it would not result in a conflict between the Turkish Cypriot side and the United Nations (UN).

“It is possible to reopen Maraş (Varosha) under the Turkish Cypriot administration and without violating the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and in fact with the UN’s support,” Denktaş argued.

He added that it is possible to utilise the area as a platform of collaboration for Turkish and Greek Cypriot business people with a special status.

“Collaboration between the business people will increase the trust between the communities and will also increase the desire for the solution of the Cyprus problem,” Denktaş concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Denktaş (DP)
>> A three-pronged approach will be pursued in the Cyprus negotiations process.
>> The TC side does not have any intentions of meeting the demands made by the GC side & vice-versa.
>> It would have been my ultimate goal to seek political recognition for the TRNC but I know the five-year term is not enough for that.
>> Our goal will be to put the decentralised federation proposal for discussion at the negotiating table.
>> I will first work on obtaining a communal consensus towards a joint goal in the Cyprus talks.
>> The TC leadership has been without a goal for a long time now.
>> Will raise the right for TC sports people participating in int’l events or competitions at the ICJ.
>> I have been advocating for the reopening of the Maraş (Varosha) since the rejection of the Annan Plan referendum.
>> Possible to reopen Maraş (Varosha) under the TC administration & without violating the UNSC resolutions & in fact with UN’s support.
>> Possible to utilise the area as a platform of collaboration for TC & GC business people with a special status.
>> Collaboration between the business people will increase the trust between the communities & will also increase the desire for the solution of the Cyprob.


Any initiative excluding Turkey in the East Med. doomed to fail

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Energy, Regional/International Relations, Property, Territory, Economy

OVERVIEW

“Any initiative in the Eastern Mediterranean that excludes Turkey is doomed to fail,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Wednesday.

Addressing the Turkish Cypriot economic organisations platform meeting through video conference, Oktay added Ankara is trying to solve the disputes with a constructive manner through diplomacy.

“Our hydrocarbon activities are underway as planned in Turkey’s continental shelf and these activities are in line with international law,” Oktay said and noted that the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel is currently in the region.

Referring to the navigational telex (NAVTEX) issued by Greece for a military exercise in areas between 25-27 August, where Oruç Reis seismic research vessel is carrying out its activities, Oktay said: “no one will gain anything from provocative actions.” 

“We have not laid eyes on anyone’s rights but we will not allow anyone to usurp our rights either,” Oktay stressed. He argued that the Greek Cypriot side in its comfort zone is pretending to work for the solution of the Cyprus problem but in reality, they do not want to share anything with the Turkish Cypriots. 

“It is, therefore, we, in full collaboration with the Turkish Cypriot government, continue to disturb the Greek Cypriot side in their comfort zone. Maraş (Varosha) is one of these projects,” Oktay said.

“The steps to be taken on the fenced-off town will prove to the entire world that the TRNC is not going to be enslaved by the status quo,” he concluded.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to highlight Turkey’s stance and determination in the Eastern Mediterranean during his General Assembly speech, as the United Nations (UN) prepares to convene in an online summit for the first time later this month, according to Turkish daily Türkiye.

He will reiterate Turkey’s determination to protect its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, and touch upon Greece’s provocative actions in the region, as he will highlight Athens’ violations of international law and U.N. resolutions while noting that Turkey is in favour of dialogue to resolve the matter.

Erdoğan is scheduled to deliver his address on the first day of the summit on September 22.

KEY ACTORS
Oktay (Turkey)
>> Any initiative in the East Med. that excludes Turkey is doomed to fail.
>> Ankara is trying to solve the disputes with a constructive manner through diplomacy.
>> Our hydrocarbon activities are underway as planned in Turkey’s continental shelf & in line with the int’l law.
>> Greece will not gain anything from provocative actions.
>> Ankara has not laid eyes on anyone’s rights but will not allow anyone to usurp Turkey’s rights either.
>> The GC side in its comfort zone is pretending to work for the solution of the Cyprob but in reality, they do not want to share anything with the TCs.
>> It is, therefore, we, in full collaboration with the TC government, continue to disturb the GC side in their comfort zone.
>> Maraş (Varosha) is one of these projects.
>> The steps to be taken on the fenced-off town will prove to the entire world that the TRNC is not going to be enslaved by the status quo.


Conservation works at the church of Agios Sergios & Vakchos completed

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
CBMs

OVERVIEW

The conservation work at the church of Agios Sergios and Vakchos in Yeniboğaziçi (Agios Sergios), which is funded by the European Union (EU), has been completed, the dailies report on Thursday.

Announcing the completion of the project on social media on Wednesday, Turkish Cypriot chair of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage Ali Tuncay expressed his gratitude to the hard work of the people involved in the project.

Echoing the same message of hard work and strong collaboration, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Cyprus also thanked the bicommunal team of architects, engineers, conservators and archaeologists, who worked under difficult circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic to complete conservation works.

The conservation project under the overarching UNDP campaign of #OurSharedHeritage was made possible with financing from the EU and the cooperation of the European Commission (EC), and the UNDP.


Woman arrested for trying to enter north with fake PCR test result

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

A 38-year-old woman, Elena Shchegoleva was arrested by Turkish Cypriot police at the Metehan (Agios Dometios) crossing point on Wednesday after she attempted to enter the north with a forged PCR test result.

In a police statement, it is reported that the perpetrator attempted to alter the date on the PCR certificate before presenting it to the immigration officer at the crossing point.

The 38-year-old woman has been detained by the police.