Front Page Headlines
‘Don’t torture the people’
Tense day in parliament. The dismissal of Ali Pilli as health minister and the appointment of Ünal Üstel, accused of being involved in the ‘private jet’ scandal, as his replacement occupied parliament’s agenda yesterday. Interesting discussions were witnessed. The opposition called on the government to resign. The Prime Minister who tried to respond to the opposition’s criticism lost his temper. Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman accused the government of wasting the public’s time. “This government is over. You’ve lost the public’s confidence,” he said, calling for early elections.
- “We won’t be able to pay salaries if funds are not channelled from Turkey” – Speaking to Yenidüzen, the Minister of Economy and Energy Erhan Arıklı said that the government did not have the instrument to borrow money as banks have run out of cash reserves. He also claimed that the funds in the central bank have been used up completely.
A 20 per cent rise in medicine prices
A price hike implemented in Turkey over the weekend for medicines has been reflected in our country as well. The Pharmacists’ Association which criticized the decision said the price hike would hurt the public. The head of the Pharmacists’ Association Umut Öksüz said the price increase in Turkey was automatically reflected because the Turkish online pricing system was being used in the TRNC. He said the authorities have failed to create a separate automation system or implement the general health insurance system. As a result, people will continue to be negatively affected by the price increases. In her comments to Kıbrıs, Ayşe Gökyiğit, head of the Department of Medicine and Pharmaceuticals, explained the difficulties they faced when importing medicine during the pandemic process. She said they made all efforts not to leave the people without medication.
- Movement in the marketplace starts – The ‘full lockdown’ implemented throughout the country was lifted yesterday. The people could go out on the streets weeks later, shops were reopened and there was even traffic on the roads.
- The government is going to Turkey for the financial protocol – Prime Minister Ersan Saner said the delegations continue their work on the economic protocol agreement to be signed between Turkey and the TRNC.
- The daily flight restriction on the TRNC lifted – Transportation and Public Works Ministry issued a Notam (Notice to airmen) lifting the restrictions on daily flights to the TRNC. Mustafa Sofi, head of the Civil Aviation Department said the decision was taken following the arrival of university students to our country.
The parliament convened after 23 days. The opposition slammed the government over its cabinet reshuffle, the pandemic and management of the economy. The opposition demanded the government’s resignation due to what it said was its failure in managing the crisis. Prime Minister Ersan Saner attempted to deflect criticism by raising the road construction projects Turkey will complete for the TRNC. National Unity Party (UBP) Ali Pilli, who learned of his dismissal as health minister from the media, asked Saner who had said he had dismissed him because he was tired: “Did I sleep during the cabinet meeting?” Pilli asked Saner, who did not respond.
- Lost 20 of the 60 patients – Dr Şükrü Onbaşı, who is head of the ICU ward at the Dr Burhan Nalbantoğlu Hospital, talked to Havadis web TV on their efforts in fighting the virus. He said they had lost 22 of the 60 Covid-19 patients that have been admitted to the ICU. One died of aortic rupture and the other one from a cerebral haemorrhage.
- Medicine turns into bitter poison – Turkey increased the prices of medication by 20 per cent and the price hike was implemented in the TRNC immediately. Pharmacists’ Association said those managing the health and medication policies in the country are responsible.
We will receive support
The new health minister Ünal Üstel spoke to TV2020 saying that daily Covid-19 testing capacity will be increased to 7,000 and that seniors will be given priority for vaccinations. Üstel took over the post from Ali Pilli yesterday and said that business people would be supporting his efforts to increase testing capacity. He also said they were expecting large quantities of vaccines from Turkey.
- Another blow – The Greek Cypriot administration announced that UK citizens will not be allowed to cross over to the north as of March and those who do cross will not be allowed to return.
- It covers students – Flight restrictions to the TRNC lifted.
Yet another relaxation of measures: hunting is permitted
While travel between districts is currently only possible with permission, all areas have been opened for hunters. In line with the decision adopted by the Council of Ministers, hunting will be permitted on February 24 and 25. The Hunting Federation, in a statement, said the hunters will be allowed to hunt in any district they wish without experiencing any restrictions.
- 20 per cent increase in the price of medicine – The price increase implemented in Turkey over the weekend was also reflected in our country.
- Flight restrictions also lifted – Transportation and Public Works ministry lifted the restrictions on the number of flights allowed per day. While most other restrictions remain, Maraş (Varosha) is also reopened for visitors.
- 11 locally transmitted 16 total coronavirus cases in the north, 131 cases and one death in the south…
Olgun says equal international status required for a solutionYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s Special Representative Ergün Olgun announced on Monday that the informal 5+1 will most likely take part in the second half of April. He said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was expected to invite the parties to the meeting in the coming days.
In a written statement issued by Tatar’s office, Olgun reiterated the Turkish Cypriot side’s position for a two-state solution, stating that the conditions of equal international status must be created for stability and collaboration on the island.
He argued that the root cause of the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem was the unequal status of the two sides on Cyprus, in which one side enjoyed international recognition while the other was only recognised as a community.
Olgun argued that a peaceful future on the island can only be achieved through the recognition of the political and sovereign equality of the two sides. He also said that decades of inconclusive talks proved that a federal settlement in Cyprus is not attainable.
Olgun recalled that the UN’s role in the process is limited to assisting the two sides to reach a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution.
In a separate interview with the Anadolu News Agency, Tatar’s International Relations and Diplomacy Special Advisor Professor Dr Hüseyin Işıksal accused Greece and the Greek Cypriot side of seeking to win concessions from Turkey rather than reach a settlement to the Cyprus Problem.
He said that Ankara’s decision to withdraw its seismic research vessel, Oruç Reis, from contentious waters was a turning point in the region, adding that by doing so Turkey had opened a path to solving problems in the Eastern Mediterranean through dialogue.
“However, both Greece and South Cyprus through their expansionist policies, are trying to raise tensions, not only in the Aegean but the Eastern Mediterranean as well,” he said. Işıksal claimed that the intention was to pressure Ankara into making more concessions, while adopting as a strategy, through various alliances in the region with neighbouring countries, to create an energy equation that excludes Turkey.
He also accused the two of trying to use their EU membership for their interests but warned that sooner or later this policy will backfire.
>> Conditions of equal international status needed for stability & collaboration in Cyprus.
>> Peaceful future in Cyprus can only be achieved through recognition of political & sovereign equality of the two sides.
>> Decades of inconclusive talks proved that a federation is not attainable.
>> The UN’s role in the process is limited to assisting the two sides to reach a negotiated and mutually acceptable solution.
Another blow to the TC economyDiyalog
Turkish Cypriot Tourism Minister Fikri Ataoğlu on Monday said the Greek Cypriot side’s decision to ban non-EU citizens to cross to the north was a blatant violation of the freedom of travel.
The debate resurfaced this week following reports in several social media news outlets that authorities in the south have issued a notice warning non-EU citizens that they cannot cross over to the north through the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Areas (SBA).
According to the reports, the notice specifically mentions British, Israeli and Russian citizens and warns that anyone who does cross to the north will not be allowed to return to the south. The rule does not apply to individuals who have a permanent residency permit in the Republic of Cyprus (RoC).
Non-EU citizens have been barred from crossing over to the north since the pandemic first started in March 2020. Turkish Cypriot authorities have been arguing that the issue is politically motivated and aimed at hurting the north’s economy as well as pressuring Turkey on the Cyprus Issue.
Speaking on the issue on TV2020, Ataoğlu said that tour operators from countries such as Israel had contacted Turkish Cypriot tourism authorities following the signing of a protocol agreement with the south.
He said that according to the protocol, Israeli tourists can easily cross to the north after arriving at Larnaca airport. “Nonetheless, since there is a ban imposed by the Greek Cypriot side now, the Israeli tourists can still easily visit the north through the Ercan (Tymbou) airport,” Ataoğlu stressed.
Also commenting on the issue, Famagusta Initiative activist Okan Dağlı, urged Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar to intervene and raise the matter with the UN swiftly.
Turkey’s ‘Blue Homeland’ naval exercise scheduled to begin Feb 25Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
The Blue Homeland 2021 naval exercise, which will be held in the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas, is scheduled to begin on February 25 and end on March 7.
In a statement issued, the Turkish Defence Ministry stated the exercise is aimed at assessing the operational capabilities and readiness of the Turkish Naval Forces with the Air Force and the Land Forces.
KTTO launches ‘Women Entrepreneurs’ committee
Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) announced on Monday that it was creating a “Women’s Entrepreneurs’ committee aimed at upgrading and promoting women’s status within the business community as well as to safeguard their contribution to the north’s economy.
According to a statement issued by KTTO, the committee, chaired by Meryem Çerkez Gürtunç, will also work on improving women’s role in politics, the economy and social status within the community.
“The committee will also lead in developing state policies on women and gender equality,” the statement read, adding that the committee’s application also advanced to the second stage of the EU financed grant scheme titled ‘Cypriot Civil Society in Action VII’.