Front Page Headlines
‘Cyprus is not Turkey.’ The answer to remarks made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip who said that different steps will be taken unless the Supreme Court rectifies its mistake came from the lawyers. Head of the Supreme Court Narin Ferdi Sefik supported the protest, saluting the lawyers from her office balcony.
- On the trail of a ‘missing’ library in Maraş (Varosha) – A library that was burned, sold and ‘missing’. Mitsos Marangoz’s ‘missing’ library.
- They’re running away from early elections – The government failed to convene parliament. The opposition is angry.
Parliament stops due to coronavirus
All work at the parliament came to a stop after it emerged that personnel at the parliament came into contact with a positive coronavirus patient. The plenary to debate the two proposed early election days could not convene. Speaker of the parliament Önder Sennaroğlu said the parliament will reconvene on April 29. The opposition parties Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the People’s Party (HP) and the Social Democratic Party (TDP) accused the government of refraining from calling for an early election.
- The lawyers staged a protest – the Turkish Cypriot Bars Association said: “The judiciary is the assurance of democracy.”
The judiciary gave its response
The judiciary stopped work for a day. The lawyers, in a demonstration organised by the bar associations, staged a protest against the remarks that targeted the supreme court made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Turkish officials.
- Using Covid as an excuse to dodge early elections – The Covid-19 pandemic prevented the work at the parliament. Even though the Speaker of Parliament Önder Sennaroğlu announced the plenary could not take place because some of the staff had come into contact with positive coronavirus patients, the opposition pointed to the government.
- The Greek Cypriots are happy despite all – South Cyprus ranked 39th in the world happiness index.
356 persons arrived
The rules were fully implemented in the first week of the ‘closed-circuit’ tourism model in place. Tourism and Environment Minister Fikri Ataoğlu said that four hotels in Kyrenia and two in Bafra (Vokolida) received a total of 356 tourists last week. He said that two guests had tested positive for Covid-19 and were currently being treated. Ataoğlu also said that staff that had come into contact with the guests was isolated.
- ‘Corona’ panic in HP – Kudret Özersay and Jale Refik Rogers isolated themselves after HP’s Girne MP Erek Çağatay tested positive for Covid-19.
- Protest in robes – North Cyprus’s lawyers gave the message they will defend the independence of the judiciary.
Take your hands off the judiciary
The bar associations respond to (Turkish President) Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkish Cypriot bar associations staged a protest with a banner reading: “We are protecting judicial independence.” Participants applauded Narin Ferdi Şefik, President of the Supreme Court and other judges who gave their support to the lawyers’ protest.
- 67 positive cases of coronavirus in the north, 822 cases and three deaths in the south…
UCN to organize a march in support of a federal settlementYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
A bicommunal march on both sides of the divide is being organised on Saturday in support of a federal solution to the Cyprus problem and against the partition of the island, the pro-solution group UniteCyprusNow (UCN) announced on Monday.
The march will also coincide with the anniversary of the referendum held on the UN-sponsored Annan Plan in 2004. “It is time Cypriots shows that, despite our troubled past, we want to build a common future,” the UCN said, inviting all Cypriots on both sides to join the event which will take place at 5:30 pm.
The bicommunal march is scheduled to take place a few days before the informal five-party where the island’s two community leaders and guarantors Greece, Turkey and the UK will discuss how to move ahead with Cyprus negotiations. “The stark reality that the status quo is no longer sustainable is seen every passing day with every new development,” the UCN said, adding that the choice for Cypriots is simple.
“The choice is between having a federal country run by Cypriots or a divided country where Cypriots will have no say in their country. The choice is between a federal solution and no solution,” the UCN stressed.
In the meantime, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, reminiscent of his cold war era politics, on Monday claimed that “certain groups are deliberately trying to escalate tensions on the island ahead of the Geneva conference.”
Ertuğruloğlu talking to Bayrak, indirectly pointed the blame at UCN, stating that efforts were directed at cutting off Turkish Cypriots’ ties with Turkey. “There is an attempt to create a perception of Cypriotness but we are aware of the ploys being played,” Ertuğruloğlu concluded.
On the other hand, New Cyprus Party (YKP) member Murat Kanatlı said on Monday that the Evkaf Administration of Cyprus did not allow the “This Country is Ours” Platform to hold a press conference at the Büyük Han in old town Nicosia.
In a social media post, Kanatlı argued the Evkaf Administration was acting upon orders from Ankara. Kanatlı urged everyone to join the march to be held on April 24, to “raise their voice” against such acts.
TC lawyers demonstrate against Erdogan’s threatsYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Turkish Cypriot lawyers staged a demonstration on Monday morning to protest Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s threats after a court in the north declared that the Department of Religious Affairs was unauthorized to organise Quran courses.
Erdoğan, speaking on Friday, said that there would be repercussions for Turkish Cypriots if the Supreme Court did not overturn its ruling. People from all sides of the political spectrum in the north expressed anger at the statements made by Turkish officials undermining the independence of the judiciary and the core principles of rule of law.
Wielding photographs of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, protesters expressed their support for justice in the north and its independence. The event organised by the various bar associations along with non-governmental organisations, trade unions, opposition parties received widespread support as well as coverage in the media.
Head of the Supreme Court Narin Ferdi Sefik supported the protest, saluting the lawyers from her office balcony.
Speaking at the event, Hasan Esendağlı, President of the Turkish Cypriot Bar Associations, said the Turkish officials, including the Turkish President himself, had either spoken without knowing the details of the supreme court verdict or had deliberately distorted the facts.
“Provocative statements are intended to incite enmity and a culture of lynching,” Esendağlı said, highlighting the importance of a unified struggle to protect the country’s justice system. He also stressed that an independent judiciary is vital for the rule of law, noting that the judiciary’s responsibility is to ensure legal equality.
“It is also vital for the courts to make decisions without being pressured or force to act under the influence of any political authority,” Esendağlı said, adding that the targeting of a country’s judiciary but the ruling elite of another country was not acceptable. He also slammed the government for not defending the independence of the country’s judiciary.
The opposition accuses the coalition of dodging early electionsYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Governance and Power Sharing
The opposition parties Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the Peoples’ Party (HP) and the Social Democratic Party (TDP) protested the government on Monday for what they said was the coalition’s deliberate and continued absence in parliament.
The leaders of the opposition parties accused the National Unity Party (UBP)-the Democratic Party (DP)-the Rebirth Party (YDP) coalition of resorting to petty excuses in an attempt to dodge early elections.
Under normal circumstances, the government needs to hold a mid-term election by June the latest to fill the seat vacated by Ersin Tatar following his election as the new Turkish Cypriot leader. The initial consensus reached by all parties in parliament was to hold early elections in October rather than hold a mid-term election for just one MP.
Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersan Saner, however proposed to hold the elections in April next year. Despite the support from the coalition partners, the opposition has opposed this date, arguing that the current minority government was formed for the sole purpose of early elections.
Speaking during the joint press conference in front of parliament after Monday’s plenary was cancelled due to the absence of government MPs, the TDP leader Cemal Özyiğit argued that the minority government was trying to dodge an early election by refusing to turn up at the parliament.
Also speaking, HP MP Gülşah Manavoğlu said the government is disrespecting the people by not turning up at the parliament.
She stressed the importance of identifying a date for an early election as soon as possible. CTP leader Tufan Erhürman also accused the government of trying to prolong their time in power. “We will not allow such irresponsible behaviour,” Erhürman said, adding that the opposition parties will discuss their next course of actions to push the minority government to identify a date for an early election.
Later on Monday, Saner, who is also the leader of the UBP, responded to the opposition’s criticisms claiming that the government was preoccupied with managing the pandemic. He said that claims that the government was trying to prolong its term in office or dodging the early elections were far from the truth.
Saner also said 27 MPs in the 50-seat parliament agreed to hold early elections, as proposed by the UBP on April 3, 2022. “It is not possible for the opposition to impose the date they want for the early elections despite the consensus among the majority,” he stressed.
Saner for his part accused the opposition parties of rejecting all proposals made by the government in good faith. He repeated that the current government’s only concern was the public’s health and reviving the north’s economy.
Meanwhile, the speaker of the Turkish Cypriot parliament Önder Sennaroğlu announced the parliament will remain closed until April 29 after an MP tested positive for Covid-19. He said that there were a large number of parliament staff who had come into contact with the MP and who were currently in isolation.
Neighbours agree to hold confidence-building talks
Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Turkish Ministry of Defence announced Turkish and Greece agreed on Monday to continue to work towards implementing confidence-building measures (CBMs).
Defence Ministry tweeted the defence ministers of the two countries have agreed to hold the fourth round of technical meetings, however, the date and the other details of the meeting will be announced later.
The main goal of the technical meetings is to come up with a “code of conduct in the Aegean Sea.”