TCC Press Review 19 Sept 2020

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

And now water shortages

Water tankers are unable to meet the demand. Water suppliers say they are unable to keep up with the demand for water despite working day and night. One tanker driver said, “I’ve been doing this job for 15 years. I’ve never seen business so busy.” Mayors on the other hand have expressed concerned. Nicosia Mayor Mehmet Harmancı: “The government is unable to provide sufficient water. People are unhappy but we are not to blame.” Mayor of Alsancak (Karavas) Fırat Ataser: “Tankers are shutting across town. People are rightfully outraged.” Mayor of Geçitkale (Lefkoniko) Hasan Öztaş: “We have been declared scapegoats.” Mayor of Serdarlı (Tziaos) Halil Kasım: “We haven’t been able to supply water to some areas for five days.” Yeni Boğaziçi (Agios Sergios) Mayor Mustafa Zurnacılar: “There are hundreds of citizens who don’t have any water left. We are distributing water till the late hours of the night. The situation is bad.” Dikmen (Dikomo) Mayor Yüksel Çelebi: “We are experiencing problems in Boğazköy (Boghaz).” Çatalköy (Agios Epiktitos) Mayor Mehmet Hulusioğlu: “We are supplying residents from private water suppliers.” Değirmenlik (Kythrea) Mayor Ali Karavezirler: “We are operating all our wells.”

  • Greek Cypriot press claims: “Guterres has received approval for the five-party conference”
  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğu: “We have repeatedly said that we will not negotiate a federal settlement anymore.”

Kıbrıs

No mercy for those who haven’t paid their electricity bill

EL-SEN (Turkish Cypriot Electricity Authority Workers’ Union) has started to cut off the power supply of those who owe significant amounts of money to KIBTEK (Turkis Cypriot Electricity Authority) in unpaid bills. In this regard, they have cut off electricity to 30 subscribers in five districts.

  • “We had said we were negotiating a federation for the last time” – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, “It is not possible to resume the negotiations process from it left off” and made an important reminder: “Both President Mustafa Akıncı and myself had said very clearly after the collapse of the Crans Montana process that we had negotiated a federal solution for the last time.” He added, “We will not go into yet another open-ended adventure for federation.” Çavuşoğlu stressed: “We as the Republic of Turkey will strongly advocate for the need to discuss other alternatives mainly the two-state solution and confederation during the five-plus-one informal meeting.”
  • “Mr Akıncı had also said ‘federation is over’” – National Unity Party (UBP) presidential candidate and Prime Minister Ersin Tatar reiterated that the struggle should focus on achieving an agreement on the basis of sovereign equality with the continuation of Turkey’s active and effective guarantees.
  • 21 cases in the north – One more patient admitted to ICU.
  • Only “urgent” shipments to be processed by customs – One person tested positive at the Customs and Excise office in north Nicosia. The personnel will be tested again on September 21.

Havadis

N/A

Diyalog

There is a 67 per cent drop

While the total number of arrivals to the TRNC in the first seven months of 2019 was 943,000, the figure has dropped to 305,000 during in 2020. As passenger numbers dropped, tourism hit rock bottom. Of the 305,000 passengers who arrived in 2020, 224,745 were Turkish nationals. Only 104 people arrived in April and May.

  • ‘Two-state solution’ – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu who said, “We will not negotiate a federation” added that they will evaluate other options in the event a five-party conference is held.
  • No problem – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he could meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Avrupa

The customs office is also infected

One person at the Customs and Excise office, located in the industrial area of north Nicosia tested positive. The department announced it will only process “urgent” shipments until September 22. The personnel at the department will be tested for the second time on September 21 and if all goes well, the personnel will return to their normal working hours.

  • 21 cases in the north – A total of 2088 tests were carried out in the north identifying 21 positive cases. Three of them are local transmission cases. 29 patients have been discharged. Seven new cases identified in the south in 3039 tests carried out yesterday (Friday).
  • Another Covid-19 patient in ICU – The third coronavirus patient in the north has been taken to ICU.
  • “Respect must be shown to both communities” – KTÖS (TC Teachers’ Union) Şener Elcil said.
  • “Those who criticized me for being proactive initially are now saying I had not been active enough.” – Mustafa Akıncı said.

Main News

Turkish MFA statement generates mixed feelings in the north

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

OVERVIEW

The debate surrounding the basis of new talks following the elections in the north rose to a new level on Friday as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said there was no point in embarking on new initiatives in Cyprus which were doomed to fail.

The Turkish Foreign Minister reiterated remarks made late on Thursday by his spokesman Hami Aksoy who made it clear Turkey opposed the idea of resuming negotiations for a federal settlement in Cyprus.

Aksoy had said Ankara believed that any new talks should focus on a two-state solution if the Greek Cypriot side refused to recognize the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots.

“We can’t start again where we left off. It is not possible for us to start negotiations from the point that the Crans-Montana talks were launched. We have said over and over again that we will no longer negotiate for a federation on the Cyprus issue,” Çavuşoğlu said.

He reminded that both he and President Mustafa Akıncı had said very clearly after the collapse of the Crans Montana process that they had negotiated a federal solution for the last time

“We will not go into yet another open-ended adventure for federation. “We as the Republic of Turkey will strongly advocate for the need to discuss other alternatives mainly the two-state solution and confederation during the five-plus-one informal meeting,” he said.

Çavuşoğlu stated that after his meeting with Anastasiadis on July 7, 2017, at Crans-Montana, he said that negotiating for a federation on the island would no longer be beneficial and that a two-state solution should be negotiated.

According to Çavuşoğlu. Anastasiades then reportedly referred to the presidential elections in February 2018, which he expected to win, and if he did, he would negotiate a two-state solution “under the umbrella of the EU”.

At a later informal meeting during the UN General Assembly in New York, Anastasiadis said he could not find the necessary support from the international community for a two-state solution and shared his ideas that a confederation of two states would be healthier, Çavuşoğlu said.

He stated that Turkey recommended informal meetings between the two sides – Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the three guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece and the UK — and with the UN after the upcoming presidential elections in the north.

Earlier on Friday, the pro-federation camp in the north expressed dissatisfaction with Ankara’s statement, stating that a federal settlement was the only way forward.

On the other hand, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, known for his opposition to a federal settlement, expressed support to Ankara’s statement.

“A bicommunal, bizonal federal (BBF) republic based on the equality of the two communities and past convergences, is the only way forward to solve the Cyprus problem,” the bicommunal peace initiative UniteCyprusNow (UCN) said on Friday.

In a statement issued, the UCN welcomed the statement of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres where he expressed his intention to resume efforts to solve the Cyprus problem after the Turkish Cypriot elections as agreed during the meeting in Berlin last November.

The UCN noted that the Secretary-General’s statement is a reminder of Turkey’s proposal to hold a meeting with the relevant parties.

“In that sense, recent conflicting statements by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs ranging from accepting talks based on political equality to signalling that federal solution based on political equality is no longer a ground for talks not only create more confusion but also constitute an intervention into the affairs of the Turkish Cypriots right before the elections in October,” the UCN stressed.

The UCN noted the 11 February 2014 joint declaration, past convergences and UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions point to a federal solution of the Cyprus problem.

“The Turkish Cypriot community has the right to determine their own future as well as their own leader, who will represent the community in the Cyprus talks process. Therefore, we call on all relevant parties, outside stakeholders and players to help create a conducive environment for the process instead of intervening in it,” the UCN statement read.  

“The solution of the Cyprus problem is to the benefit of all Cypriots, but also, an inevitable step to bring stability, security and cooperation for all players in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the UCN concluded.

Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat also expressed support for a federal settlement in Cyprus.

“The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement will erode the gains of the Turkish Cypriots side achieved over 50 years of negotiations,” Talat warned.

In a social media post, he argued that a lack of coordination and harmony with Turkey will lead to more chaos.

“The latest statements by Ankara’s spokesman correcting their foreign minister will hinder the gains achieved in the negotiations process,” Talat said, adding that introducing vague terms will only result in unproductive debates.

“Attempts to replace the definition of the BBF solution based on the political equality of the two communities with vague terms such as ‘sovereign equality’ would only result in keeping the Cyprus problem unsolved for many more years to come,” Talat said.

He highlighted that the United Nations (UN) parameters for the Cyprus solution are very clear.

“Forcing those who do not comply with these parameters is easier than trying to venture into new adventures,” Talat concluded.

Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Özyiğit also criticized Ankara for its comments on the Cyprus talks.

Speaking on Kanal Sim TV programme, Özyiğit said: “a two-state solution is nothing but a fairy tale for grown-ups.”

“The only possible solution model on the island is the federal one. Its parameters are well known and clear. I invite everyone to common sense,” Özyiğit concluded.

Ersin Tatar on Friday, in no surprising fashion, echoed Ankara’s message on the Cyprus talks process.

“It is obvious that there is not a common basis or joint vision between the two communities for a solution on the island,” Tatar said.

He argued that the Greek Cypriot side rejected the Turkish Cypriots’ sovereign equality and the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees.

“In this regard, it is not right of the UN Secretary-General to claim that the Cyprus conference could convene following the elections,” Tatar stressed.

He argued that the Greek Cypriot side needs to come to terms with the Turkish Cypriots on the natural gas issue; needs to stop asking for territorial concessions from the Turkish Cypriots and needs to agree to the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees on the island.

Urging the Secretary-General to be realistic in his approach to Cyprus, Tatar said if it is not possible to change the Greek Cypriots’ mindset, it is time to focus on a two-state solution based on the sovereign equality of the two sides.

“In order to reach a conclusion in the Cyprus issue, the Secretary-General must create the opportunity for alternative solution models to be discussed at the negotiations table,” Tatar concluded.

Also on Friday, deputy speaker of the Turkish Cypriot Parliament Zorlu Töre argued that the Turkish Cypriots knew it was not possible to form a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots.

In support of the statements from Ankara, Töre argued the efforts to unite Cyprus through a federal model has only resulted in wasting time for the Turkish Cypriots.

“Not only federation means the end of the Turkish Cypriots on the island, but it also means Turkey losing its superiority in the Eastern Mediterranean as well,” Töre concluded.

Also on Friday, the leader of the Rebirth Party (YDP) Erhan Arıklı said that the UN Secretary-General’s plans on holding a five-party conference after the elections in the north had been invalidated by the statement made the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

“Ankara made it very clear that all discussions for a federal settlement have been exhausted on the island and that it is time to table other alternatives,” Arıklı said.

“The era of talks for federation was over,” he concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Çavuşoğlu (Turkey)
>> No point in embarking on new initiatives in Cyprus which were doomed to fail.
>> Not possible for Turkey to start negotiations from the point that the Crans-Montana talks were launched.
>> We have said over and over again that we will no longer negotiate for a federation on the Cyprus issue.
>> Turkey will strongly advocate for the need to discuss other alternatives mainly the two-state solution or a confederation during the 5+1 informal meeting.

UniteCyprusNow (UCN)
>> A BBF republic based on the equality of the two communities & past convergences is the only way forward to solve the Cyprob.
>> The SG’s statement is a reminder of Turkey’s proposal to hold a meeting with the relevant parties.
>> The recent conflicting statements by the Turkish MFA will not only create more confusion but also constitute an intervention into the affairs of the TCs right before the elections in Oct.
>> February 11, 2014, joint declaration, past convergences & UNSC resolutions point to a federal solution of the Cyprob.
>> The TC community has the right to determine their own future as well as their own leader.
>> Therefore all relevant parties should help create a conducive environment for the process instead of intervening in it.
>> The solution of the Cyprob is to the benefit of all Cypriots, but also, an inevitable step to bring stability, security and cooperation for all players in the East. Med.

Talat (CTP)
>> The Turkish MFA statement will erode TCs’ gains achieve in talks over the past 50 years.
>> Lack of coordination & lack of harmony will lead to more chaos.
>> Introducing vague terms will only result in unproductive discussions.
>> Attempts to replace the definition of the BFF solution based on the political equality of the two communities with vague terms such as ‘sovereign equality’ will only result in keeping the Cyprob unsolved for many more years to come.
>> UN parameters for the Cyprus solution are very clear.
>> Forcing those who do not comply with these parameters is easier than trying to venture into a new adventure.

Özyiğit (TDP)
>> A two-state solution is nothing but a fairy tale for the grown-ups.
>> The only possible solution model on the island is the federal one. Its parameters are well known and clear.

Tatar (UBP)
>> It is obvious that there is not a common basis or joint vision between the two communities for a solution on the island.
>> The GC side rejects accepting TCs’ sovereign equality & the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees.
>> It is not right of the UNSG to claim that the Cyprus conference could convene following the elections.
>> The GC side needs to come to terms with the TCs on the natural gas issue; needs to stop asking for territorial concessions from the TCs & needs to agree to the continuation of Turkey’s guarantees on the island.
>> The SG needs to be realistic in his approach to Cyprus.
>> If it is not possible to change the GCs’ mindset, it is time to focus on a two-state solution based on the sovereign equality of the two sides.
>> In order to reach a conclusion in the Cyprus issue, the SG must create the opportunity for alternative solution models to be discussed at the negotiations table.

Töre (UBP)
>> The TCs know it is not possible to form a new partnership with the GCs.
>> The efforts to unite Cyprus through a federal model has only resulted in wasting time for the TCs.
>> Federation not only means the end of the TCs on the island, but it also means Turkey losing its superiority in the East Med.

Arıklı (YDP)
>> UNSG remarks on the five-party conference had been invalidated by the statement made the Turkish MFA.
>> Ankara made it very clear that all discussions for a federal settlement have been exhausted on the island & that it is time to table other alternatives.
>> The era of talks for federation was over.


Erdoğan asks Greece to allow diplomacy

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

OVERVIEW

“Let’s give diplomacy a chance. We will take a reciprocal step once Greece displays a positive approach,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Erdoğan noted the withdrawal of the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel for maintenance should be perceived by Greece as a positive step.

Erdoğan also indicated Ankara is ready for meetings with Greece “if there is goodwill on Greece’s end.”

He noted Turkey’s seismic research activities have not stopped and the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel will return to its mission once its maintenance and resupply is done.

“We have no trouble meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, but what is essential is what to discuss and on what grounds to meet,” the Turkish president said.

Answering a question whether a maritime boundaries deal is possible with Egypt, Erdoğan said there is no obstacle for Turkey-Egypt intelligence talks, but also said Cairo’s agreement with Athens has “upset” Turkey.

In another development, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar accused France of making it harder to solve problems in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“French President Emmanuel Macron is adding fuel to the fire in the Eastern Mediterranean”, Akar said in an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News.

Akar argued that Macron is trying to conceal his domestic problems with his aggressive stance in the region. 

“He is trying to play a role in the Eastern Mediterranean by coming from thousands of kilometres away, which is not right”, Akar said.

He stressed that Turkey defends its rights and interests, reminding that it has approximately 2,000 kilometres (around 1,242 miles) of coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Touching on the escalation of tensions with Greece and the NATO de-escalation initiative, Akar underlined Ankara has been in favour of talks however Greece is imposing preconditions to delay solving the issues between the two countries.

Akar also noted Greece has armed some islands, especially Meis, or Kastellorizo, in the Aegean and region in violation of international law.

“This is a violation of international law and agreements between countries. This is a threat to Turkey. This has a negative impact on good neighbourly relations,” Akar stressed.

He argued that Greece ignores Turkey’s rights in all circumstances.

“The Greek attitude is not acceptable for us. Turkey only expects respect to its rights from all parties,” Akar said.

Akar also touched on Turkey’s hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, and said Turkey, within its continental shelf carrying out its activities within the framework of its rights.

In another development, Turkish forces carried out surface and air defence fire drills in the Eastern Mediterranean on Thursday, the Ministry of Defence announced.

“The Gediz Frigate successfully performed its surface and air defence fire exercise under the activities of operational readiness in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on 17 September 2020,” the ministry said in a Friday tweet.

KEY ACTORS
Erdoğan (Turkey)
>> Let’s give diplomacy a chance.
>> We will take a reciprocal step once Greece displays a positive approach.
>> The withdrawal of the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel for maintenance should be perceived by Greece as a positive step.
>> Ankara is ready for meetings with Greece if there is goodwill on Greece’s end.
>> Turkey’s seismic research activities have not stopped.
>> The Oruç Reis seismic research vessel will return to its mission once its maintenance & resupply is done.
>> We have no trouble meeting with the Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, but what is essential is what to discuss and on what grounds to meet.
>> There is no obstacle for Turkey-Egypt intelligence talks but also said Cairo’s agreement with Athens has “upset” Turkey.

Akar (Turkey)
>> France is making it harder to solve problems in the East Med.
>> Macron is adding fuel to the fire in the East Med.
>> Macron is trying to conceal his domestic problems with his aggressive stance in the region. 
>> Turkey will defend its rights & interests.
>> Ankara has been in favour of talks however Greece is imposing preconditions to delay solving the issues between the two countries.
>> Greece has armed some islands, especially Meis, or Kastellorizo, in the Aegean and region in violation of int’l law.
>> This is a threat to Turkey. This has a negative impact on good neighbourly relations.
>> Greece ignores Turkey’s rights in all circumstances.
>> The Greek attitude is not acceptable for Ankara, as Turkey only expects respect to its rights from all parties.