Front Page Headlines
‘First health then hunger’
The decisions adopted without taking into consideration the economy or job security of individuals has led to tensions within the community. Workers who work in the south marched in protest. A group of Turkish Cypriot workers, unable to cross over to the south for work due to the quarantine rule introduced by the Higher Committee of Infectious Diseases even for daily crossings, staged a protest. They said they will starve if they don’t work and gave the government until Wednesday morning to revise its decision.
- How many cases from workers? – No figures have been released as to how many who work in the south have tested for Covid-19 or how many have come into contact with Covid cases. Health Minister Ali Pilli said: “We have detected 11 cases in the Karpaz (Karpas) area all believed to be connected to the south. Nine cases in the Maronite community have also been detected.”
We are fighting for our livelihood
Turkish Cypriot workers who were not allowed to cross to the south due to decisions adopted by the Higher Committee of Infectious Diseases, staged a protest in north Nicosia yesterday (Tuesday). They want the decision prohibiting their crossing to the south to be revised.
- Ersan Saner is the only candidate – The National Unity Party (UBP) extraordinary congress will be held on December 20.
- Sanctions imposed by the US on Turkey – The US decided to impose sanctions on Turkey for purchasing S-400 defence systems from Russia. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said: “We reject and condemn the unilateral sanctions imposed against Turkey by the US. Turkey will not refrain from taking measures deemed necessary for its national security.”
Saner is the only candidate
The UBP party assembly has decided to complete its extraordinary congress, the first round of which was held on October 31. Faiz Sucuoğlu and Hasan Taçoy had advanced to the second round only to be asked to withdraw from the race. According to the party assembly decision, the extraordinary party congress will be held on December 20.
- Fight for their livelihood – Turkish Cypriot workers who could not go to their work in South Cyprus as a result of the decisions taken by the Higher Committee of Infectious Diseases, staged a protest in north Nicosia.
- “We will continue despite Turkey” – Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades talked about the Greek Cypriot side’s energy policies during a symposium organized by the South-East European Energy Institute and Financial Media Way.
The first bomb dropped
(Rebirth Party-YDP leader) Erhan Arıklı launched an investigation into operations at KIB-TEK (Turkish Cypriot Electricity Authority) and spoke of a $300m-$350m profiteering scam. Arıklı’s first action after assuming office as Minister of Economy and Energy was to look into KIB-TEK’s management. He vowed to put an end to the irregularities at the authority after appointing a new board of directors. Arıklı also invited El-Sen (Turkish Cypriot Electricity Authority Workers Union) to exercise common sense. He added that several austerity measures will be implemented.
- Their only concern is bringing bread to their homes – Workers who couldn’t cross over to the south first marched to the Metehan (Agios Dhometios) crossing point and then to the Prime Minister’s office where they staged a protest.
We are workers and we are right
Workers employed in the south outraged… Turkish Cypriots working in South Cyprus staged a protest at the Metehan (Agios Dhometios) crossing first and then outside the prime ministry and the health ministry. Chanting the slogan, “We are workers, we are right, and we will win,” the workers also had heated debates with the police and people driving by. During the protest, in which nearly 100 workers participated, the Higher Committee of Infectious Diseases’ decisions were criticised.
- 23rd anniversary – From Avrupa (Europe) to Afrika (Africa); then from Afrika to Avrupa. Finally, five years later, both the presidency and the prime ministry have sent congratulatory messages to our newspaper. Ersin Tatar and Ersan Saner congratulated us for our 23rd anniversary.
- 339 positive cases of coronavirus and two deaths in the south, eight local and 17 total cases in the north.
TCs workers stage protest against new Covid measuresYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Internal Security, Economy
Turkish Cypriots working in the south carried out a protest on Tuesday against the new measures announced by the Higher Committee of Infectious Diseases prohibiting them from crossing to the south daily without entering quarantine on their return.
The group of protesting workers demanded that the committee revise its decision which is valid as of Wednesday and until December 25.
On Monday, the Turkish Cypriot authorities announced stricter measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including temporarily banning people from crossing between the two sides for work.
The group first gathered at the Metehan (Agios Dhometios) crossing point on Tuesday morning before marching to the Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry located nearby where they demanded to meet with the authorities.
They asked for explanations as to why the latest restrictions did not apply to certain categories of people such as students but did apply to workers.
It has also been reported that some of the workers have remained in the south to be able to continue going to work.
The workers gave the committee a day to revise its restrictions on workers crossing to the south, threatening to resume their protest actions on Wednesday morning.
In the meantime, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman criticized the committee for adopting decisions without consulting the relevant sectors.
“The committee regularly changes the measures thus failing to win the confidence of the public. This is not how to manage a crisis,” Erhürman stressed in a social media post on Tuesday.
“If there is a need to implement certain measures to protect the public’s health, then these must be introduced but if some groups are asked or forced to forego their livelihood, then these people must be supported with public funds,” Erhürman stressed.
He also criticized the authorities’ way of handling the latest crisis.
“Whenever we criticize the authorities’ crisis management skills, they talk about their successes but it must not be forgotten that the price of your success is paid by these people who are made to suffer,” Erhürman concluded.
CTP MP Armağan Candan also criticized the committee’s decision and stated that punishing Turkish Cypriots working in the south was unacceptable.
Candan, via social media, urged the authorities to offer financial schemes that would assist Turkish Cypriots who could not go to work.
He also pointed out that the number of positive coronavirus cases among the passengers arriving from Turkey was much higher than the Turkish Cypriots working in the south.
Also commenting on the issue, Mayor of Nicosia Turkish Municipality (LTB) Mehmet Harmancı said the committee’s decisions needed to be amended to become fair.
“There is chaos and uncertainty especially regarding the committee’s decisions concerning restaurants and bars,” he said, calling for the decision-makers to adopt a “fairer approach.”
Harmancı noted that he was continuing his meetings with the authorities to allow restaurants and bars to remain open during the New Year period on the condition they would not provide any form of entertainment.
Fuat Topaloğlu, head of the Association for Public Transport Operators (Kar-İş), also slammed the committee, arguing that the decisions were adopted without consulting the sector representatives.
In a written statement issued on Tuesday, Topaloğlu argued that the committee demanded public transport companies to install separators between the passengers and drivers in less than 24 hours.
“This is an impossible task,” Topaloğlu argued, demanding that the committee revise its decision or to grant the companies more time to install the necessary protective partitions.
Meanwhile, Dr Şükrü Onbaşı, a member of the Turkish Cypriot Doctor’s union, lauded the measures implemented by the committee.
Speaking on Bayrak, Onbaşı highlighted the importance of placing all arriving individuals in the north under a 10-day mandatory quarantine and to temporarily ban people from crossing over the divide for daily visits.
“I believe that the number of locally transmitted cases will fall as a result of the measures and the Turkish Cypriots employed in the south will be able to return to their work, even though they would have to face unemployment for ten days,” Onbaşı said.
He concluded by expressing his hope that the authorities will compensate the workers for their losses.
Turkish & TC authorities condemn US sanctions on TurkeyYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Energy, Regional/International Relations, External Security
Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar and Prime Minister Ersan Saner on Tuesday condemned the US sanctions imposed on Turkey for the purchase of S-400 defence systems.
“The decision to impose sanctions on Turkey, which is one of the most important members of NATO, is against the spirit of being allies,” Tatar said on Tuesday.
Tatar, in a written statement, condemned the US decision while reminding that Washington had recently lifted an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot side.
“It should be remembered that the US, not so long ago had adopted yet another unfortunate decision to lift the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot side encouraging them to invest in arms,” Tatar said.
He argued that the US must respect Turkey’s decisions taken in the name of strengthening its defence.
“The decisions adopted against Turkey will not deter Turkey from taking the necessary measures for its national security… The Turkish Cypriot side will continue to support Turkey, which is the Turkish Cypriots’ sole assurance for their security, and Turkey’s position to overcome disputes through diplomacy and dialogue,” Tatar concluded.
Echoing the same message, Prime Minister Ersan Saner described the sanctions imposed on Turkey by the US as an ‘extremely wrong’ move.
In a written statement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ersan Saner pointed out that Turkey was the sole assurance for the Turkish Cypriot people’s existence on the island and the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot state.
He added that Turkey’s power and the just policies it pursued were the most important components of peace and stability in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“It is extremely wrong to impose sanctions on Turkey just because it purchased S-400 missiles for its and the region’s security,” Saner said.
He also argued that Washington’s decision to lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots who were not NATO members was in contradiction with its refusal to sell NATO member Turkey Patriot Defence Missiles or its failure to fulfil its promises to Ankara on the F-35 jet fighter project.
“The US must revert from this mistake immediately and should develop healthy relations with Turkey,” Saner stressed.
Washington imposed on late Monday sanctions on Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries and its chief İsmail Demir, the US Treasury website confirmed.
Sanctions were placed over the country’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system.
Several other Turkish defence officials, namely Mustafa Alper Deniz, Serhat Gençoğlu and Faruk Yiğit were also sanctioned for their role in the S-400 purchase.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, in its immediate response, condemned the decision while reminding the US of its unfair stance throughout the S-400 purchase process.
“The circumstances that led Turkey to purchase the S-400 missiles are known very well to everyone. In this respect, President Trump has also expressed Turkey’s rightfulness multiple times,” the foreign ministry statement said, rejecting the sanctions.
Underlining the invalidity of US claims that the S-400 missiles are not suitable with NATO systems, the statement added that Turkey has repeatedly offered to form a technical work group with NATO to handle the issue objectively and yet no steps have been taken on the matter.
“We reject and condemn the unilateral sanctions imposed against Turkey by the US. Turkey will not refrain from taking measures deemed necessary for its national security,” the statement read.
>> US decision to lift arms embargo on GC side encourages them to invest in arms.
>> TC side will continue to support Turkey & its position to overcome disputes through diplomacy & dialogue.
>> Turkey is TCs’ sole assurance for their security.
>> Turkey is sole assurance for TCs’ existence on island & the sovereignty of the TC state.
>> Turkey’s power & just policies pursued are most important components for peace & stability in Cyprus & East Med.
>> US decision to lift arms embargo on GCs who were not NATO members in contradiction with US refusal to sell NATO member Turkey defence weapons.
>> Rejects & condemns unilateral sanctions imposed against Turkey by the US.
>> Turkey will not refrain from taking measures deemed necessary for its national security.
EU sanctions do not affect Turkey’s East Med plansYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Energy, Regional/International Relations, External Security
“The EU sanctions will have no effect on Turkey’s stance and determination to protect its and Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday.
Addressing the Turkish parliament during the 2021 budget debates, Çavuşoğlu reiterated that Turkey always supported negotiations and dialogue to overcome disputes and disagreements in the region.
“We have worked to protect our country’s interests, but also we have always provided peace and justice on the ground,” the minister noted.
“The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey have always said that everyone should win in the region. Instead, we were met with one-sided policies. We supported our calls for dialogue and the fair sharing of wealth with the steps we have taken in the field. We will continue to protect our rights and those of the Turkish Cypriot people till the very end,” Çavuşoğlu said, criticizing the bloc for implementing double standards on Turkey.
“Ankara will not give up on its stance in the Eastern Mediterranean just because of sanctions or criticisms from the EU,” Çavuşoğlu concluded.
>> EU sanctions will not affect Turkey’s determination to protect its & TCs’ rights in East Med.
>> Turkey a staunch supporter of dialogue to overcome disputes & disagreements in region.
>> Ankara works to protect its interests, but also provides peace & justice on the ground.
>> TC side & Turkey always emphasize win-win for region but met with one-sided policies.
>> Calls for dialogue & fair sharing of wealth supported with steps taken in the field.
Saner to run as only candidate in Sunday’s UBP congress
Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Governance and Power Sharing
Ersan Saner will be running as the only candidate at the National Unity Party’s (UBP) extraordinary party congress this Sunday, December 20, it was announced on Tuesday.
The announcement made by Saner after Tuesday’s party assembly meeting brought a temporary fix to the ongoing contest for power within the UBP.
The congress was scheduled to take place in late October/early November after the former UBP leader Ersin Tatar was elected as president, leaving his party leadership and premier seat empty.
UBP MPs Faiz Sucuoğlu and Hasan Taçoy were among the five candidates competing for the party’s leadership and had advanced to the second round at the UBP congress in early November.
A second round was scheduled for November 7, in which an absolute majority of the votes would determine the new leader.
However, both candidates withdrew from the race amid speculation that Ankara opposed Sucuoğlu who was poised to win the second round.
Sucuoğlu later commented that he had been left with no choice but to approve the cancellation of the congress to maintain the party’s unity and not to harm the intra-party peace.
The leadership race and congress were consequently postponed for 45 days, while Saner, who formed a minority coalition last week was appointed as acting leader.
There have also been rumours that Sucuoğlu had been pressured into withdrawing by Ankara following efforts by his rival who has close contacts with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s close inner circle.