TCC Press Review 14 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

“We can’t see where we are going on this foggy road”

Head of the Turkish Cypriot Nurses and Midwives Union Ali Özgöçmen spoke to Yenidüzen. “Our biggest concern is that local transmission cases get out of control to a level our health system cannot cope. I believe that we have been abandoned to our fate. The more infections we have the more serious our situation will become.

  • Where have all the Jordanians gone? – The autopsy report of two Jordanian students found dead in Gönyeli (Guenyeli) in June has not been completed yet. It has been reported that the Jordanian government has recalled all its students in the TRNC and banned them from studying there until further notice. The Department of Higher Education has not confirmed the claims.

Kıbrıs

The expected bill in parliament today

Parliament will convene for an extraordinary session to discuss the amendments to the Contagious Diseases Law aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

  • Oruç Reis seismic research vessel returns to Antalya – Oruç Reis seismic research vessel which had been in the Eastern Mediterranean region, returned to Antalya port together with the accompanying navy ships.
  • Hulusi Akar came to the TRNC – Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar made a surprise visit to the north on Sunday to observe the on-going military exercise “Mediterranean Storm 2020.”

Havadis

Leadership, not the leader

Tufan Erhürman, leader and the presidential candidate of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), who was the guest of Havadis newspaper’s traditional lunch meeting said the polls show him qualifying for the second. “It is not right to consider the office of the president as being limited to the negotiations process. He added the president-elect must display leadership for domestic matters while at the same time protect the Turkish Cypriots’ rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean and to sit at the negotiations table for the solution of the Cyprus problem following a good preparation phase. “Leadership is not something that can be done with one person only. We are talking about large teams tackling both domestic and international issues,” Erhürman said.

  • 21-day quarantine is a must – Dr Erden Aşardağ issues a stern warning. He said the infection rate for coronavirus has reached dangerous levels and that 21-day quarantine requirements have become a must. Urging the people to only listen to the TC Doctors’ Association, Dr Aşardağ said if the quarantine requirement is not implemented, there will be a catastrophe in the north.
  • The latest situation: North 593 cases, four deaths; South 1526 cases, 29 deaths; Turkey 291,162 cases, 7,056 deaths.

Diyalog

Historic site weeps

Kyrenia’s historic harbour has become the victim of neglect and Covid-19 measures. After tourism came to a grinding halt as a result of flight restrictions and quarantine requirements for arrivals cafes and restaurants in the old harbour shut shop. While some businesses are for rent others are on sale. Many of the establishments who have lost hope from tourism are seeking ways to sell their businesses to others. Others have been neglecting repairs.

Avrupa

(Turkey) Ordered to withdraw, so it did

When the US got involved, Oruç Reis left the Mediterranean. Within 24 hours of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the island, the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel returned to the Antalya port leaving the Eastern Mediterranean. Pompeo, who met with (Greek Cypriot leader) Nicos Anastasiades the other night (Saturday) said the “Energy resources will be shared between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots.”

  • 20 new cases in the north – 1996 tests were carried out in the north identifying 20 new positive cases. 2810 tests were done in the south, identifying only three cases.
  • Surprise visit – Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar came to the north to observe the “Mediterranean Storm” military exercise.

Main News

TC authorities & parties criticise Pompeo for one-sided steps

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

OVERVIEW

The Turkish Cypriot side on Sunday continued to express its anger over the US Secretary of State’s failure to cross over to the north to meet with Turkish Cypriot officials during his latest visit to the island.

“Everyone must accept the fact there are two states on Cyprus,” Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar told Turkish broadcaster Halk TV on late on Saturday evening.

Evaluating the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the South, Tatar said the increase in the frequency of high-level visits to the island was proof of the importance of the regional developments and how the north was becoming more critical for Turkey.

Tatar recalled that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had visited the south immediately after the US decision to lift the arms embargo on South Cyprus only to be followed shortly by Pompeo.

Tatar said that although the Turkish Cypriot side had no expectations from Pompeo’s visit, stability on the island could only prevail by accepting the fact there are two independent states in Cyprus.

He argued that there was almost no hope for a federal settlement on the island.

“No matter what the solution model on the island will be, it has to be on the basis of sovereign equality and must ensure the continuation of Turkey’s effective and active guarantees,” Tatar stressed.

He argued that Turkish Cypriots’ presence on the island is of vital importance for Turkey in light of the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Another reaction to Pompeo’s visit came from Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay.

“The Greek Cypriot leadership and the US officials are almost laying the initial foundations of a military base agreement and this is not something that can be disregarded,” Özersay said in a written statement on Sunday.

He said the US’s approach, which excludes one of the two sides of the conflict from the picture will not serve regional peace or stability.

Özersay also argued that the resurfaced American interest in the Greek Cypriot side will neither break Russia’s influence on the island nor will it help improve America’s national interests in the area.

Referring to the remarks made by Pompeo during his meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Özersay said that it was understood that the US had welcomed the idea of negotiating for natural gas and maritime jurisdiction delineation agreements prior to a comprehensive settlement.

He added that the US also stated clearly the natural gas should be fairly shared between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots.

“We call on the US to do what they say because their actions and what they say are completely contradictory,” Özersay stressed.

“First and foremost, the US must establish a dialogue at the same level with the two sides of the Cyprus issue and accept both sides as the interlocutor on the issue,” he said

Özersay also drew attention to the disadvantages of accepting only one side as the interlocutor on the issue.

“If the US officials accept the Greek Cypriot side as the only interlocutor on the island, it is not possible to expect the Greek Cypriot side to be forthcoming in the solution of any problem,” Özersay said.

“The US officials must stop helping the Greek Cypriot side to remain in its comfort zone so that the Greek Cypriots may adopt a reconciliatory attitude towards the solution efforts and towards the natural gas issue,” Özersay concluded.

The opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Social Democratic Party (TDP) also expressed their anger over Pompeo’s failure to meet with Akıncı face to face or to cross over to the north during his latest visit.

“It is unacceptable for Pompeo not to meet with President Mustafa Akıncı,” main opposition CTP  leader Tufan Erhürman said on Sunday.

Speaking on Turkish broadcaster FoxTV, Erhürman emphasized the Turkish Cypriots are equal owners of the island of Cyprus.

“The Republic of Cyprus (RoC) is now a member of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), but the RoC is a member of these international organisations as a result of the 1960 Constitution and the London-Zurich agreements. The same agreements also establish the Turkish Cypriots as equal owners and one of the two founding members of the island,” Erhürman said.

Noting that the Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the hydrocarbon issue had been disregarded to date, Erhürman said the Turkish Cypriots have rights in everything on and around the island.

Touching on Pompeo’s visit, Erhürman said if Pompeo or (Russian Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov were to form relations on the island due to the geopolitical developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is also necessary to acknowledge the presence of the Turkish Cypriot community on the island.

“Foreign officials must establish a dialogue with the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriot community. This is not related to political recognition for the TRNC. We talk about the two community leaders when we talk about the Cyprus talks process. If Nicos Anastasiades is the Greek Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı is the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community,” Erhürman concluded.

Echoing the same message, TDP leader Cemal Özyiğit also criticized US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not making any effort to meet with Akıncı.

In a statement issued from the TDP, Özyiğit said: “one-sided and discriminatory steps do not serve peace or solution on the island.”

He urged all relevant sides, who claim to want a fair solution in Cyprus and in the Eastern Mediterranean, to design their actions on the basis that there are two equal partners on the island.

“It is not possible to de-escalate tension in the Eastern Mediterranean region with one-sided steps. On the contrary, the natural wealth must be utilised to establish a dialogue to develop collaboration,” Özyiğit concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Tatar (UBP)
>> Everyone must accept the fact there are two states on Cyprus.
>> The increase in the frequency of high-level visits prove the importance of the regional developments & how the north is becoming more critical for Turkey.
>> Stability on the island can only prevail by accepting the fact there are two independent states on the island.
>> There are almost no hopes for a federal settlement on the island.
>> Any settlement to be reached has to be on the basis of sovereign equality & must ensure the continuation of Turkey’s effective & active guarantees.
>> TCs’ presence on the island is of vital importance to Turkey in light of the developments in the East Med.

Özersay (HP)
>> The GC leadership & the US officials are almost laying the initial foundations of a military base agreement.
>> Leaving one of the two sides of the conflict out of the picture will not serve regional peace or stability.
>> The resurfaced US interest in the GC side will neither break Russia’s influence on the island nor will it help improve US national interests in the area.
>> US has welcomed the idea of negotiating for natural gas & maritime jurisdiction delineation agreements prior to a comprehensive settlement.
>> The US should do what they say because their actions & words don’t match. 
>> Washington must establish a balanced and equal dialogue with both sides in Cyprus & accept them as interlocutors on the issue.
>> GC side cannot be expected to work for a solution if US officials accept the GC side as the only interlocutor on the island.
>> The US officials must stop emboldening GC side to convince them to adopt a reconciliatory attitude towards the solution efforts & towards the natural gas issue.

Erhürman (CTP)
>> Pompeo’s refusal to meet with Akıncı face-to-face unacceptable.
>> TCs are equal owners of the island of Cyprus.
>> The RoC is members of the UN and the EU through the 1960 constitution & the London-Zurich agreement.
>> The same agreements also establish the TCs as equal owners and one of the two founding members of the island.
>> The TCs’ rights in the hydrocarbon issue had been disregarded to date.
>> It is necessary for foreign officials to acknowledge the presence of the TC community & establish a dialogue with the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Özyiğit (TDP)
>> One-sided & discriminatory steps do not serve peace or solution on the island.
>> All relevant sides, who claim to want a fair solution in Cyprus & in the East Med., must design their actions on the basis that there are two equal partners on the island.
>> Not possible to de-escalate tension in the East Med with one-sided steps.
>> The natural wealth must be utilised to establish a dialogue to develop collaboration.


Akar slams Greek president for visiting Kastellorizo amid tensions

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

OVERVIEW

Greece’s violation of international treaties by arming 18 Aegean islands serves only to escalate tensions and sabotage dialogue, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday.

Greece should put aside “provocative behaviour” that raises tensions in the region, Akar said in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

Underlining the importance of diplomacy in resolving disputes, Akar said Turkey is always on the side of dialogue and negotiation. 

“According to our understanding, tensions, provocations do not help anyone, especially Greece,” he said, adding that the country would continue to defend its rights in the region.

Criticizing the Greek president’s visit to Meis for independence celebrations, the Turkish defence minister said: “As if there is no other island left for celebration, they come to these. These [acts], of course, disturb us.” 

Akar also criticized French President Emmanuel Macron’s attitude towards the dispute in the region, calling on Greeks not to fall for initiatives he is leading to “save himself.”

“It is clear that Mr Macron’s policies have failed. He is trying to take some roles to cover this up,” he said.                           

Speaking about activities of Turkey’s Oruc Reis ship in the Mediterranean, he underlined that there will be back and forth movements as per the plan, stressing, “It is not possible to abandon Turkey’s rights there.”

Reminding of technical talks at NATO, he said that Turkey is in favour of finding a political solution to the problems through dialogue and negotiations and support all kinds of initiatives within this framework.

“We are ready to host the [NATO’s] fourth meeting. Let them come. We are right, we do not hesitate to meet,” he added.

He also criticized the U.S.’ partial lifting of the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots stressing that it will lead parties to deadlock and not to peace and solution.

“It does not suit the spirit of alliance,” he added.

Turkey’s seismic research vessel Oruç Reis returned to waters near the southern province of Antalya on Sunday.

Turkish media reported that Oruç Reis, along with two accompanying vessels, had returned to a location just off the coast of Antalya.

The ship returned to Antalya after its Navtex, or international maritime safety advisory expired.

Earlier, Turkey had announced that its Oruç Reis will now carry out seismic surveys in the disputed areas of the Eastern Mediterranean until September 12.

Ankara on August 31 issued a Navtex announcing an extension of the Oruç Reis’s research activities accompanied by the Cengiz Han and Ataman vessels.