TCC Press Review 18 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

“Now is when it really starts”

Economic organisations are concerned and pessimistic. Head of the North Cyprus Hoteliers’ Association Dimağ Çağıner: “We do not expect anything until April. The hotel or tourism sector has halted.” The head of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Shopkeepers and Artisans Mahmur Keser: “The loss of revenue for shopkeepers has reached 70 per cent.” The head of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Turgay Deniz: “People are afraid to do shopping.” The head fo the Tourism and Travel Agencies Association Orhun Tolun: “Our economy is slowly hitting rock bottom.” The head of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry Candan Avunduk: “We need to take urgent measures to revive the economy.”

  • Erhürman: “A federal settlement remains on the table” – Presidential candidate and Republican Turkish Party leader (CTP) Tufan Erhürman said that a federation remained the solution formula at the negotiating table. He argued that other alternative options raised by others did not suit the international conjuncture.
  • Turkish Foreign Ministry’s call for ‘political equality’
  • “The maritime areas of a united Cyprus and Turkey should be determined as well” – Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Eastern Mediterranean University Prof Dr Ahmet Sözen spoke to Yenidüzen about the developments on the Cyprus Issue.

Kıbrıs

There is nothing left to talk about a federation

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said every detail regarding a federal solution has been discussed in the negotiations processes for more than 50 years. “It is time to negotiate for a solution based on sovereign equality in light of the realities on the island,” Aksoy added. He also noted that the Greek Cypriot side must accept the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality first and the new negotiations process must proceed on that basis.

  • We need to agree on what we are going to negotiate first – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said it is necessary to convene the five-party conference after the elections in the north to identify the framework of the new process.
  • “We have to work towards an agreement based on sovereign equality” – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said.

Havadis

Ooo…so there is a Cyprus problem after all

The UN Secretary-General’s (UNSG) plan to resume the political process with the participation of the guarantor powers and the two sides following the elections in the north has become the focal point of the presidential candidates. (Independent candidate) Mustafa Akıncı said: “The process will continue on the basis that was agreed upon in Berlin. We will either walk towards a federal solution or the partition on the island will become deeper.” (Independent candidate) Kudret Özersay: “Unless the Greek Cypriot side is ready to share governance and wealth with the Turkish Cypriot side, resumption of talks based on a federal partnership would only mean imprisoning the Turkish Cypriots to the negotiating table.” CTP leader Tufan Erhürman: “We will be ready with our team to resume results-oriented negotiations that will not be open-ended by mid-October.” Serdar Denktaş: “I will be willing to participate in the new negotiations process to reach a bicommunal, bizonal federal solution (BBF), which will ensure political equality, and with strong constituent states and weak central government.” Rebirth Party (YDP) leader Erhan Arıklı: “Guterres should understand that the federation talks will not yield any results in Cyprus.” National Unity Party (UBP) leader Ersin Tatar: “The Turkish Cypriot people will not agree to waste another five years with negotiations because the Greek Cypriot side refuses to accept the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots.”

Diyalog

No strength left to hang on

As is the situation in Nicosia, Famagusta’s Maraş (Varosha) area is also suffering from severe water shortages. Water tanks are empty and the washing has piled up. Many residents in Famagusta are complaining that their taps have not been running for a week. Speaking to Diyalog citizens complained that they have been unable to do their washing or shower due to the water shortages. Those who can afford it, buy water from water tankers but even they are unable to cope with the situation. A ton of water brought by tankers cost somewhere between ₺20-60 (€2.30 or €6.70) a ton.

  • This was the last word at Crans Montana – Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said that a federation will not be discussed in any new negotiations.

Avrupa

Turkey: Federation is dead!

The UNSG’s call for the five-party conference after the elections in the north sparked a new debate. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said, “There’s nothing to talk about a federation,” and officially declared Turkey will not negotiate federation in the new negotiations process. “It is necessary to table other options in the new process,” Aksoy added.

  • Federal solution – Mustafa Akıncı said“The window of opportunity will arise again and the process will continue on the basis that was agreed upon in Berlin. We will either walk towards a federal solution or the partition on the island will become deeper.”
  • Çavuşoğlu lays out conditions – Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says “We have to identify what we are going to negotiate for. Principles such as political equality must be tabled from the beginning…” He also added that there needs to be a timeline. “If we can finalise the results-oriented process in a reasonable timeline, then it would be meaningful to resume the negotiations process,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Main News

Guterres’ statement unveils Cyprob divisions between candidates

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Negotiations Process, Goverance and Power Sharing, Internal Security, Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Both Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities on Thursday expressed their viewpoints on the UN Secretary-General’s (UNSG) statement regarding the resumption of talks starting with the informal meeting of the five-party conference.

The statements which followed UNSG Antonio Guterres’ remarks on Wednesday sparked a new debate revealing the split in views between those candidates who support a federal settlement and those who don’t.

Ankara was also quick to express its opposition to resuming talks based on a federal settlement.

Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister and the National Unity Party’s (UBP) presidential candidate Ersin Tatar said the UNSG’s statement came as no surprise.

Tatar, in a statement issued from his press bureau, said that the October 11 elections in the north were very important in giving out the “right message to the world.”

“The federal solution model should no longer be discussed at the negotiating table,” Tatar argued.

“Two principles must be safeguarded in any solution model. The first one being the solution must be based on sovereign equality and secondly, it must ensure the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees,” Tatar stressed.

Speaking on another web TV programme on Thursday, Tatar took a swipe at his strongest rival, incumbent Mustafa Akıncı.

He accused Akinci of failing to keep his promise to the Turkish Cypriot community to solve the Cyprus Problem in three months as well as giving too many concessions such as the return of Güzelyurt (Morphou) to the Greek Cypriot side while opening for discussion the future of Turkey’s presence on the island.

“He was unsuccessful in getting anything in return. We were not able to convince the Greek Cypriot side on the issue of a rotational presidency or effective participation in decision-making processes,” Tatar added.

He also said that his coalition partner Kudret Özersay must support him if he makes it to the second round.

“If a different situation arises that will be the end of our wedding and partnership. This is how clear it is and I’ve made this clear to him. It would affect the continuation of the coalition government,” Tatar concluded.

“As long as the current conditions on the island do not change and as long as the Greek Cypriot side is not ready to share governance, power and wealth on the island, the resumption of talks based on a federal partnership would only mean imprisoning the Turkish Cypriot community at the negotiating table,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister and independent presidential candidate Kudret Özersay said on Thursday. 

In a written statement, Özersay said the process should resume with negotiations on sharing the natural gas in order not to be imprisoned in an unfruitful process and to test the Greek Cypriot side’s sincerity regarding a comprehensive solution.

Özersay stressed it is not possible to resume the process from where it left off at Crans Montana in 2017.

“Instead a new framework must be identified for the way forward first,” he argued.

“Disregarding the developments on and off the island since the collapse of the process in 2017, and creating the perception of continuing with the talks through informal processes, will only serve the continuation of the status quo and conceal the Greek Cypriot side’s policies based on creating tension,” Özersay said.

Recalling the developments on the island and in the hydrocarbons issue since 2017, Özersay said: “The international community and the UN did not say anything to the Greek Cypriot side despite their provocative and unilateral actions thus making the Greek Cypriot side more irreconcilable and intransigent.”

He gave the example of the Greek Cypriot side placing 187 pillboxes along the buffer zone and near the crossing points.

“It is obvious that the reason for not being able to find a solution to the Cyprus problem for 52 years is the Greek Cypriot side’s refusal to share governance and wealth with the Turkish Cypriot side,” he reiterated.

“The international community without further delay must convince the Greek Cypriot side to be forthcoming to collaborate with the Turkish Cypriot side on every issue that has an impact on the daily lives of the communities on the island,” Özersay concluded.

“Everyone knows that the federal solution model will be the only option at the table during the five-party conference,” Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman said on Thursday.

He pointed out that the previous Turkish Cypriot leaders had all discussed the federal solution model, which he added was originally the Turkish side’s proposal.

Evaluating the developments during a Diyalog TV2020 programme, Erhürman argued that the so-called ‘alternative solutions’ were not feasible or applicable in today’s conjecture.

Expressing the strong belief that a federal solution will open the way for the Turkish Cypriot community, he noted that the proposed alternative models such as a two-state solution, confederal solution, or a unitary state option were not possible.

Independent presidential candidate Serdar Denktaş, on the other hand, welcomed the UNSG’s statement on his plans to revive the negotiations process with an informal five-party conference.

“This shows how important the October 11 elections are for the future of the Turkish Cypriot community,” Denktaş said, adding that it was expected of the UNSG to launch the necessary initiative.

Referring to the UNSG’s statement, Denktaş noted that the Secretary-General has also asked the sides to refrain from unilateral steps that might harm the negotiations process.

“We salute the UNSG’s call,” Denktaş said but added the meeting could only convene with the consensus of all relevant sides.

“I wish to share with the public that once I am elected president, I will participate in the negotiations process to reach a federal solution in line with UN parameters and based on political equality. The partnership I envisage will have two strong constituent states with a weaker federal state,” Denktaş concluded.

“A federal structure within the UN parameters is what’s going to be discussed at the informal five-party meeting,” Akıncı said on Thursday.

Evaluating the developments on HaberKıbrıs web TV, Akıncı added that the UNSG’s statement was the result of the Berlin trilateral meeting held on 25 November 2019.

He also rejected the allegations that the UNSG had issued his statement in support of him.

“Guterres expressed support for the solution of the Cyprus problem and not Akıncı as claimed by some circles,” he stressed.

Noting that the five-party meeting was a proposal put forward by the Turkish side, Akıncı said: “No one wants any failures in the Cyprus negotiations process anymore.”

He added that holding a preparatory meeting is only logical.

“I can only hope that the Greek Cypriot leadership will come to the negotiating table with the required political will,” Akıncı said.

Reminding the Greek Cypriot leader’s reference to the Cyprus conference in Crans Montana, Akıncı said Ankara is objecting to continuing with the process from the point it had been left off in Crans Montana.

“Yes, it is a fact that there had been significant progress in Crans Montana but the agreement reached in Berlin is equally important. The way forward in the process will start from Berlin onwards,” Akıncı stressed.

“All the parties will discuss every issue during the five-party meeting and then we will all see the way forward for Cyprus,” Akıncı concluded.

The statement came after Guterres said Wednesday that he is considering launching new talks on the island with the two sides and guarantor countries after the elections in the North.

Çavuşoğlu had also said that it was necessary to hold the informal meeting after the elections to determine the basis of any new talks.

Ankara, however, was quick to clarify remarks made by Çavuşoğlu during his interview with CNN Türk.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said Thursday that Çavuşoğlu’s announcement did not mean that the process will be automatically restarting or that the talks in Crans Montana, which ended in July 2017 will resume from where they left off.

He said that previous negotiation processes in Cyprus between the two sides had failed due to the Greek Cypriot side’s refusal to accept political equality, adding that no new talks would be launched without recognition of this fundamental principle.

“There is no common ground for a solution between the two sides on the island. The reason is that the Greek Cypriot side does not want to equally share power and natural resources with the Turkish Cypriot side,” Aksoy said in a written statement.

Aksoy added that if a partnership is still desired on the island, political equality, as a principle requirement with its entire elements, should be recognized in advance by the Greek Cypriot side.

“If this cannot be done, then the two sides should start a new negotiation process over a two-state solution on the basis of sovereign equality. The idea of holding an informal 5+UN meeting, which was proposed by Turkey last year, aims at clarifying these issues,” he said.

Aksoy warned that Turkey, otherwise, will not enter into a new negotiation process with dubious grounds and methods that failed in the past.

In a second statement later in the evening, Aksoy said that there was nothing left to discuss for a federal solution.

Speaking to the Turkish Cypriot press, he said that both the Turkey and Akıncı had made that clear after the talks had collapsed in Crans Montana.

Aksoy added that Çavuşoğlu’s latest remarks to CNN Türk should be evaluated within this context.

He went on to say that it was the Greek Cypriot side which was responsible for the failure of the Conference on Cyprus in 2017 and that the time had come to table other options at the negotiating table.

He added that all aspects of a federal settlement had been discussed in Cyprus for the past 50 years.

“There is nothing left to discuss based on a federation. All claims that political equality has been accepted are vague. They are empty and hollow,” Aksoy said.

“It is time to negotiate for a solution based on sovereign equality in light of the realities on the island,” he added.

Aksoy also noted that the Greek Cypriot side must accept the Turkish Cypriots’ political equality first and the new negotiations process must proceed on that basis.

KEY ACTORS
Tatar (UBP)
>> The Oct 11 elections in the north are very important to give out the “right message to the world.” 
>> The TC side should not table the federal solution model.
>> Two principles need to be safeguarded in any solution model-Sovereign equality & the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees.

Özersay (HP)
>> As long as the current conditions on the island do not change & as long as the GC side is not ready to share governance, power & wealth on the island, resumption of talks based on a federal partnership will trap TCs in fruitless negotiations.
>> The process should resume with negotiations on sharing the natural to test the GC side’s sincerity in the process.
>> It is not possible to resume talks from where they left off at Crans Montana.
>> Instead a new framework must be identified for the way forward.
>> Disregarding the developments on & off the island & creating the perception of continuing with the talks through informal processes, will only serve the continuation of the status quo & allow GC side to conceal its policies based on creating tension.
>> The int’l community’s & UN’s silence over the GC side’s provocative & unilateral actions have made it more irreconcilable & intransigent.
>> Reason for being unable to find a solution to the Cyprob for 52 years is GC side’s refusal to share governance & wealth with the TC side.
>> The int’l community without further delay must convince the GC side to be forthcoming to collaborate with the TC side on every issue that has an impact on the daily lives of the two communities.

Erhürman (CTP)
>> All candidates know that the federal solution model will be the only option at the table during the 5+1 conference.
>> The so-called ‘alternative solutions’ are not applicable in today’s conjecture.
>> A federal solution will open the way for the TC community.

Denktaş (DP)
>> The UNSG’s statement reveals how important the Oct 11 elections are for the future of the TC community.
>> The 5+1 meeting can only convene with the consensus of all relevant sides.
>> I will participate in the negotiations process to reach a federal solution in line with the UN parameters & based on political equality.
>> The partnership will have two strong constituent states with a weaker federal state.

Akıncı
>> A federal structure within the UN parameters is what’s going to be discussed at the informal 5+1 meeting.
>> The UNSG statement is the result of the Berlin trilateral meeting held on 25 November 2019.
>> Guterres’s statement expressed in support for the solution of the Cyprob & not for the elections in the north.
>> No one wants any failures in the Cyprus negotiations process anymore.
>> Holding a preparatory meeting like the five-party conference is only logical.
>> Hope that the GC leadership will come to the meeting with the required political will.
>> Ankara is objecting to resuming talks from where they left off in Crans Montana.
>> There had been significant progress in Crans Montana but the agreement reached in Berlin is equally important.
>> The way forward in the process will start from Berlin onwards.
>> All the parties will discuss every issue during 5-1 meeting.

Aksoy (Turkey)
>> Holding informal meeting does not mean talks will start automatically or resume from where they left off in Crans Montana.
>> Failure of past negotiations due to the GC side’s refusal to recognize political equality.
>> No new talks can be launched with recognition of the fundamental principle of political equality.
>> No common ground for a solution between the two sides in Cyprus.
>> Political equality, as a principle requirement with its entire elements, should be recognized in advance by the GC side if a partnership is still desired on the Island.
>> If this cannot be done, then the two sides should start a new negotiation process over a two-state solution on the basis of sovereign equality.
>> Turkey will not enter into a new negotiation process with dubious grounds and methods that failed in the past.
>> Nothing left to discuss regarding a federal settlement.
>> New options need to be tabled at the negotiating table.
>> It is time to negotiate for a solution based on sovereign equality in light of the realities on the island.
>> GC side must accept the TCs’ political equality first & new negotiations process must proceed on that basis.


EP does not have any jurisdiction to dictate anything to Turkey

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

OVERVIEW

The Turkish Foreign Ministry decried on Thursday the European Parliament’s (EP) condemnation of Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, calling it “unacceptable.”

Stating that the condemnation is based solely on “EU solidarity” and serves the interests of some member states rather than being based on facts, the Turkish foreign ministry statement expressed that this “unfair recommendation decision” does not comply with the EP’s so-called objective stance.

The statement also reminded that the EP does not have a say in maritime law and its persistence in commenting on the issue only causes it to be “discredited.”

“Neither the EP nor the EU nor any EU states have the right to determine any third party state’s borders or jurisdiction areas,” the statement highlighted.

“If the EP and other EU institutions are sincere in their intention to come up with reconciliation on the crisis, they should only act as a facilitator or mediator. They should approach Turkey without any prejudices,” the statement further added, calling on the EP and EU to be impartial.

Highlighting that Turkey has proven its positive intentions over the issue multiple times, the statement expressed that the country has only acted prudently despite various provocations.

It emphasized that Turkey will continue to protect both its and the Turkish Cypriot community’s rights in the region.

On Thursday, the EP stated that it “condemns Turkey’s actions” and “express full solidarity with the two member states,” referring to Greece and Greek Cypriots.

It also called on Turkey to immediately put an end to its activities in the region, claiming that they are illegal.

KEY ACTORS
Turkish MFA
>> EP’s condemnation of Turkey’s actions “unacceptable”.
>> Condemnation is based solely on “EU solidarity” & serves the interests of some member states rather than being based on facts.
>> “Unfair recommendation decision” does not comply with EP’s so-called objective stance.
>>The EP does not have a say in the maritime law & its persistence in commenting on the issue only causes it to be “discredited.”
>> Neither the EP nor the EU nor any EU states have the right to determine any third party state’s borders or jurisdiction areas.
>> If the EP and other EU institutions are sincere in their intention to come up with reconciliation on the crisis, they should only act as a facilitator or mediator.
>> EP should approach Turkey without any prejudices and should be impartial.


New penalities are in force for those flouting Covid-19 measures

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

Twelve new cases were confirmed in the north on Thursday following 2291 tests, the dailies report on Friday.

Turkish Cypriot Health Minister Ali Pilli also noted that seven patients had been discharged.

In the meantime, the Turkish Cypriot parliament approved the proposed amendments to the law on infectious diseases allowing for stricter measures and more serious penalties against those flouting the rules and regulations in place.

In this regard, those who do not comply with the rule on wearing face-masks can be fined up to the amount equal to one gross minimum wage.

Those who do not comply with the self-isolation and/or the quarantine rules can be fined up to five times the amount of the minimum wage and/or one year of imprisonment.

In the case of businesses not complying with the rules, the business owner can be fined up to five times the amount of the minimum wage and/or one year of imprisonment.

According to the new provisions in the law, the inspections will be carried out together with the health ministry personnel and the municipality workers.

In another development, the Turkish Cypriot Health Ministry issued a statement authorising private laboratories to carry out antibody tests and ‘Elisa’ tests.