TCC Press Review 15 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

“You committed a crime against the public”

Parliament convened six months after the pandemic broke out to discuss the amendments on the Law on Infectious Diseases. The government was bombarded with criticism. Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman: “You ruined both the public’s health and the economy. There is no need for second lock-down as most places have already gone bankrupt.” Democratic Party (DP) leader Fikri Ataoğlu: “Are you going to adopt policies according to reactions on social media? You’re all incompetent.” CTP MP Sıla Usar İncirli: “You’ve committed a crime against the public. You should resign.”

  • Local transmission is scary. Cases have been rising in the north and dropping in the south over the past week.

Kıbrıs

Election campaigns to be held under the shadow of the pandemic

The final list of the 11 candidates to compete in presidential elections was announced and the order of which the candidates will appear on the ballot papers has been determined. During the campaigning period, which commences today (Tuesday), the candidates are prohibited from distributing brochures and from holding mass meetings or rallies until October 1.

  • Spent ₺100m (€11.3m) for health – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said the government’s top priority was the public’s health during his address of the parliament, which held its second deliberations on the amendments to the infectious diseases law.
  • 100 new nurses needed – Turkish Cypriot Health Minister Ali Pilli said health workers needed to work in the quarantine centres.
  • The wheels of the economy cannot come to a halt again – Turgay Deniz, head of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce said the Turkish Cypriot economy cannot survive yet another lock-down.

Havadis

Not possible to protect it with signboards

The Tatlısu (Akanthou) Specially Protected Area, which is one of the most important environmentally protected areas along the island’s northern coastline, has turned into a dumpsite. It is polluted with rubbish dumped by people. There are plenty of signboards identifying the area as a protection site but no one cares.

  • “The north deserves much better” – Independent candidate Alpan Uz visited Havadis to talk about what he will do if he wins the October 11 elections.
  • Tatar listed as the first candidate – The Higher Electorate Board has identified the order of the candidates for the billboard advertisements.
  • Special treatment for Arıklı caused tension among doctors – Dr Özlem Gürkut, head of the Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Association, pointed out that the Health Ministry was giving preferential treatment to some coronavirus patients. The Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı is being treated at a private hospital in Kyrenia.

Diyalog

8000 people have been left unemployed

The head of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers’ Association Dimağ Çağıner said that 57 hotels had shut down and that the remaining 41 hotels which were currently open were facing the risk of shutting down at the start of October. He added that 13 hotels were currently being used to accommodate quarantined individuals.

  • Gezici’s last opinion poll shows Tatar in the lead. There will be a second round.

Avrupa

Running amid the coronavirus (pandemic)

Here is the line up in the ballot box. The campaigning period for the October 11 elections to officially commence today (Tuesday). Handing out any brochures including sample ballot papers prohibited due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Higher Electorate Board also prohibits any rallies or mass meetings until October 1. Moreover, the candidates are also prohibited from using Turkish and the TRNC flag in their posters and are not allowed to use Arabic script either.

  • Protest staged against the coronavirus measures at the Eleftheria Square in the south – Hundreds of people gathered in Nicosia last Saturday to protest the government’s coronavirus measures. A similar protest had been staged outside the presidential palace not long ago.
  • Two students at the Çatalköy (Agios Epiktitos) primary school test positive – KTÖS (Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union) staged a protest.

Main News

TC officials & Turkey slams deal between US, GCs

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

OVERVIEW

“The Turkish Cypriot and the Turkish sides will continue to pursue a solution to the hydrocarbons issue through diplomacy while rejecting the Greek Cypriot side’s maximalist and provocative attitude,” Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said on Monday.

Özersay, evaluating the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the US and the Greek Cypriot side with a written statement said that the agreement will harm efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue and will disrupt regional stability.

“Both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side are determined to protect their rights and interests,” he noted.

“The MoU for the establishment of a ‘Land, High Seas and Port Security Centre’, which was signed by ostracising the Turkish Cypriots, has given the Greek Cypriot side yet another political material to exploit,” Özersay said.

He warned that any step taken without the consent of the Turkish Cypriot side would only be binding for the Greek Cypriots.

“The land, seas or ports are not solely controlled by the Greek Cypriot side. It is clear that there are two separate administrative structures on the island and this reality had been confirmed by the United Nations (UN), which refers to two sides and the political will of the two sides,” Özersay stressed.

He noted that the Turkish Cypriot side had always expressed willingness to collaborate on counter-terrorism and other global issues.

Referring to the recent decision by the US to lift the arms embargo against the Greek Cypriot side, Özersay argued that the recent developments overshadowed America’s impartial stance in the Cyprus issue.

“It is our expectation from Washington that the US returns to its traditional position on the Cyprus issue and maintains impartiality,” Özersay concluded.

Echoing the same concerns, the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday said the MoU will harm efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue instead of contributing to peace and stability.

 “The MoU signed between the US and the Greek Cypriot administration on Sept. 12, 2020, and envisaging the establishment of a ‘Land, High Seas and Port Security Center’ in the Greek Cypriot administration ignores the Turkish Cypriot side,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

The steps taken by the US to lift the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots and the inclusion of the Greek Cypriot side in its International Military Education and Training (IMET) program has disrupted the balance between the two peoples on the island and increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aksoy said.

In this respect, it is striking that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not meet with the north during his latest visit to the island, he added.

“We call on the US to return to its traditional policy of neutrality regarding the island and to contribute to the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue,” he underlined.

In the meantime, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.

In a statement issued from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, it is reported that the two spoke about the developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus issue.

KEY ACTORS
Özersay (HP)
>> The TC & the Turkish sides will continue to pursue a solution of the hydrocarbons issue through diplomacy while rejecting the GC side’s maximalist & provocative attitude.
>> The signing the MoU will harm the efforts to resolve the Cyprob & will disrupt the regional stability.
>> Turkey & the TC side are determined to protect their rights & interests.
>> The MoU, which was signed by ostracising the TCs, has given the GC side yet another political material to exploit.
>> Any step taken without the consent of the TC side will only be binding for the GCs.
>> The land, seas or ports are not solely controlled by the GC side.
>> There are two separate administrative structures on the island & this reality had been confirmed by the UN which refers to two sides & the political will of the two sides.
>> The TC side had always expressed willingness to collaborate counter-terrorism & other global issues.
>> The recent developments overshadow America’s impartial stance on the Cyprus issue.
>> It is TC side’s expectation from Washington that the US returns to its traditional position on the Cyprus issue & maintain impartiality.

Aksoy (Turkey)
>> The MoU signed between the US & the GC administration will harm efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue instead of contributing to peace & stability.
>> The lifting of the arms embargo on the GCs & including them in its IMET program disrupt the balance between the two sides on the island & increases tensions in the East Med.
>> It is striking that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not meet with TC officials during his visit to the island.
>> Calling on the US to return to its traditional policy of neutrality regarding the island & to contribute to the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.


Çavuşoğlu: Not stepping back from the East Med. mission

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

OVERVIEW

Turkey has not stepped back from its Eastern Mediterranean mission and its seismic exploration vessel Oruç Reis is anchored off the coast of Antalya for routine maintenance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday.

Speaking on a live broadcast on Turkish news channel NTV, Çavuşoğlu said Yavuz and Fatih drillships continue to carry out their mission in the area while Oruç Reis goes under maintenance.

Çavuşoğlu also said Turkey does not expect the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on it over the Eastern Mediterranean dispute with Greece, but he noted that the bloc would choose to support Greece and the Greek Cypriot side rather than Turkey on the issue.

The Turkish Foreign Minister also criticized Greece for its position, as he urged Athens to change its stance.

“Greece needs to back down from its maximalist position in the Eastern Mediterranean while Greek Cypriots need to recognize the Turkish Cypriot side’s rights,” Çavuşoğlu said, adding that tensions will not ease as long as Greece continues its insistence on the “Seville Plan.”

Greece’s claims are based on the so-called Seville map, which was commissioned by the EU in the early 2000s and gives maximal maritime boundaries to every Greek island in the region, no matter how close to Turkey’s borders.                                                                      

Cavuşoğlu repeated Turkey was open to talks with Greece but added that he did not expect EU leaders, who have already agreed on modest sanctions against Turkey, to take further steps next week but such measures could not be ruled out.

“It could be against our ship, our company, individuals. They took such decisions in the past. Have we given up on our determination? No, our determination increased,” he added.

Turkey’s Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalin tweeted on Monday that a peaceful solution could be found. “Greece and EU countries must not waste the chance given for diplomacy and must take reciprocal steps,” he said, without elaborating.

KEY ACTORS
Çavuşoğlu
>> Turkey has not stepped back from its East Med. mission.
>> Oruç Reis seismic exploration vessel has only departed for routine maintenance.
>> Yavuz & Fatih drillships continue to carry out their mission in the area while Oruç Reis goes under maintenance.
>> Turkey does not expect the EU to impose sanctions on it over the East Med. dispute with Greece.
>> The bloc would choose to support Greece & GC side rather than Turkey on the issue.
>> Greece needs to back down from its maximalist position in the East Med while GCs need to recognize the TC side’s rights.
>> Tensions will not ease as long as Greece continues its insistence on the “Seville Plan.”
>> Turkey is open to talks with Greece.


Tatar’s voice not heard as opposition expresses anger at government

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

14 new coronavirus cases were reported in the north in 2149 tests carried out on Monday, whilst the Turkish Cypriot parties discussed the amendments to the law on contagious diseases, primarily focusing on stricter decrees and heavier penalties for those who violating coronavirus measures.

The Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, speaking during the extraordinary session of parliament, which convened to hold a second round of talks on the proposed amendments, urged everyone to adhere to the rules to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“The goal of the amendments is not to issue monetary fines to people. On the contrary, the aim is to enforce the provisions of the law for the public to adhere to the measures,” he said.

Tatar concluded by noting that the measures in place will be revised in view of the developments in the efforts to contain the pandemic.

Turkish Cypriot Health Minister Ali Pilli defended the government’s measures, arguing that conditions in the north were much better than most countries.

He said that many people abroad were kept waiting in their homes.

Nonetheless, Tatar could not convince the opposition MPs.

“You have ruined both the economy and the health,” Tufan Erhürman, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) said on Monday.

He argued there was no need for a second lock-down as most businesses had already gone bankrupt.

Pointing out that the government had changed its decisions overnight on many of the issues, Erhürman questioned as to why it has taken the government such a long time to build a pandemic hospital despite widespread calls from the public.

“The government obviously does not care about the people. The only way out for the people is to establish a new interim government formed by representatives of all political parties in the parliament,” Erhürman concluded.

Democratic Party (DP) leader Fikri Ataoğlu also accused the government of failing to manage the pandemic crisis.

“What is the government’s strategy on the pandemic hospital? Because the plan implemented following the re-opening process from July 1 onwards had been catastrophic,” Ataoğlu said as he addressed MPs at the extraordinary session.

Ataoğlu also noted that the Health Ministry was so incompetent that it had is asked for doctors and nurses to volunteer for duty.

“The economy has collapsed, the schools have not been able to open, the higher-education sector has no students…Do you think anyone cares about the upcoming elections or their health?” Ataoğlu asked.

The DP leader also questioned the government as to whether or not it was going to act according to reactions on social media.

He said that his party’s suggestion was to postpone the elections set to take place on October 11 for another year.

“The people are outraged by the government because no one knows the real number of positive cases or whether the health infrastructure is adequate or not,” Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Özyiğit said.

Blasting the government, Özyiğit urged the authorities to make decisions in light of recommendations from health experts and scientists.

Touching on the domestic matters, Özyiğit underlined that the economy is on the brink of collapse.

“The education minister did not do anything about the schools for six months. The higher-education sector is unable to convince students from returning from abroad. Unemployment is on the rise and the government cannot find any solutions to any one of these problems,” Özyiğit argued and urged the government to fulfil the people’s expectations without delay and to resign.

Meanwhile, the Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı and Famagusta MP Bertan Zaroğlu could not address the plenary on Monday as they have both tested positive for coronavirus and are being treated.

In the meantime, the deputy leader of the YDP Enver Öztürk, speaking during a programme on Genç TV, rejected the claims that Arıklı will withdraw his candidacy from the October 11 elections.

“The YDP is well-prepared for the elections and Arıklı will return to his campaign activities once he recovers. The allegation that he will withdraw is not true,”  Öztürk concluded.