TCC Press Review 30 May 2019

Front Page Headlines


‘Free to burn’

Army’s ‘firing practice’ is burning the country. The fire which burnt 120 dunams of land at the Beyköy (Beukeuy) firing range has raised questions as to whether or not adequate safety measures were taken. A total of 515 dunams of land have been scorched in repeated fires in military zones in the past year.

  • EU report: Support for Cyprus and reaction – While the EU report welcomed Turkey’s support for talks aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem, it criticized Turkey’s steps against EU member Cyprus’ hydrocarbon activities.

Kıbrıs Postası

No problems over salary payments for Bayram (Eid) due to the unsigned protocol

Finance Minister Olgun Amcaoğlu refuted allegations of problems in salary payments and confirmed to Kıbrıs Postası that despite unsigned protocol agreement the government will be able to pay the salaries.

  • Özgürgün rejects the new government – Hüseyin Özgürgün announced on his Twitter account he will not be attending vote of confidence for the new government.


Two down at UBP

While the countdown for the UBP (National Unity Party)-HP (Peoples’ Party) coalition vote of confidence continues, UBP MP Hüseyin Özgürgün announced he will not be attending the parliamentary session. It also transpired that Sunat Atun, who is abroad to take part in the Umrah, will not be attending.

  •  Özgürgün’s assets to be examined – The Attorney-general’s office is examining a third corruption file. The corruption files are expected to be sent to Parliament soon. Police officially charged Özgürgün. Resmiye Canaltay, on the other hand, declared her loyalty to the party.


Turkey is breaking away from Europe

The latest progress report for Turkey was published by the European Commission. There are very few positive points in the report. The Commission report emphasizes the dangerous trajectory [for Turkey].

  • My conscious rejects vote of confidence for Kudret Özersay – Hüseyin Özgürgün announced on his Twitter account he will not attend the parliamentary session on the vote of confidence.


28 votes guaranteed

Özgürgün will not be supporting the vote of confidence; (UBP MP Önder) Sennaroğlu will decide how he will vote on the day; the rest of the UBP and HP MPs will say ‘yes’ to the vote of confidence.     

  • No new chapters – Harsh decision on Turkey from the European Commission.
  • UN was not informed – TRNC allowed criminal wanted by the UK to go. He was arrested by Greek Cypriot police at Larnaca Airport.
  • He gave support to the Greek Cypriots Eliot Engel (Head of US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee) visited South Cyprus and discussed ways of enhancing cooperation on security.


Özgürgün on the rack

Police files charges against Hüseyin Özgürgün for “unlawful appropriation of property” and issuing “false statements”. Ersin Tatar who formed the government with Kudret Özersay left former UBP leader Hüseyin Özgürgün out to dry, abandoning him at this difficult time. Police charged Özgürgün with unlawful appropriation of property and issuing false statements. His lawyer was asked to prepare a defence.

Main News

Turkey drifting further away from EU

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
EU Matters, Negotiations Process, Energy, Regional/International Relations


In its report published Wednesday, the EU accused Turkey of distancing itself from the bloc and its values, adding that it sees no reason to unblock the country’s EU membership talks. The report underlined “further serious backsliding” on human rights, judicial independence and stable economic policy.

The EU decided last year that no new chapters in Turkey’s accession talks should be opened or closed while the latest report noted that “the underlying facts leading to this assessment still hold.”

On Cyprus, the report said that although Turkey welcomed the UN’s renewed efforts to consult stakeholders as to a possible resumption of negotiations regarding Cyprus, tensions in the region around the prospect of hydrocarbon exploration off the coast of Cyprus increased, due to Turkey’s actions and statements challenging the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbon resources in its EEZ.

“In May 2019, Turkey sent a drilling platform accompanied by military vessels to the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, escalating tensions further,” the report said.

“The European Commission recalls the European Council statement of March 2018 strongly condemning Turkey’s continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. It also recalled Turkey’s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations and called on Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources in accordance with EU and International Law,” the report added.

In March 2019, it said, the EU called on Turkey to refrain from any such illegal acts, to which it would respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.

“The EU has repeatedly stressed the sovereign rights of EU Member States, which include entering into bilateral agreements and exploring and exploiting their natural resources in accordance with the EU acquis and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” said the report.

The report also delved into deeper aspects of the Cyprus issue saying the process of granting the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) full access to all relevant archives and military areas had seen welcome developments, “but needs to be further expedited”.

The report was met with criticism from Ankara which stated it could not accept “unfair and unbalanced criticisms” by the European Union in its latest report assessing Turkey’s bid to join the bloc.

Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakçı said that although Turkey will take the constructive criticism within the report into consideration, when it comes to the unfair statements, it is not possible for the country to acknowledge them.

Kaymakçı reminded that the relationship between Turkey and EU was based on full membership and that Turkey should be able to be a member when it fulfils the requirements.

“The report contains null and void claims saying that Turkey is moving away from European values. Turkey stands still at its place. Turkey is a part of Europe. Turkey is Europe,” Kaymakçı said.

Pointing out that other countries continue their accession talks without any obstacles, Kaymakçı said that Turkey also wants to be treated as equal to others during this process.

He accused the RoC of setting obstacles in the way of Turkey’s membership to the bloc.

On the issue of hydrocarbons, Kaymakçı said that the report reflected the views and positions of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration.

“The EU does not have the authority to determine boundaries with third countries. Turkey is acting in line with international law. It has to protect both its own interests and those of the TRNC,” he said.

Kaymakçı repeated Ankara’s view that the EU had made a big mistake by allowing South Cyprus to join the bloc before a settlement was reached.

“Europe accepts this mistake today,” he said.

European Commission
Turkey distancing itself from the EU and its values. No reason to unblock the country’s EU membership talks.
>> Further serious backsliding on human rights, judicial independence and stable economic policy in Turkey.
>> Turkey’s efforts for the resumption of negotiations regarding Cyprus welcomed.
>> Tensions in the East Med have increased due to Turkey’s actions and statements challenging RoC’s right to exploit hydrocarbon resources in its EEZ.
>> Turkey must cease illegal actions in the East Med and Aegean. It must respect international law & sovereign rights of Cyprus.
>> Process of granting CMP full access to all relevant archives and military areas welcoming but needs to be further expedited.

Kaymakçı (Turkish MFA)
>> Ankara cannot accept “unfair and unbalanced criticisms” in the EU report.
>> Relationship between Turkey & EU based on full membership. Turkey should be able to become a member when it fulfils the requirements.
>> Report’s claims that Turkey is moving away from European values is null & void. Turkey is a part of Europe.
>> Turkey wants to be treated the same as other candidates during membership process.
>> RoC setting obstacles in the way of Turkey’s membership.
>> Report reflects positions of Greece & GC administration on hydrocarbons.
>> EU does not have authority to determine boundaries with third countries.
>> Turkey acting in line with international law on hydrocarbons. It has to protect both its own interests and those of the TRNC.
>> EU made the big mistake of allowing South Cyprus to join the bloc before a settlement. This is acknowledged by the EU today.

Federal solution model no longer realistic

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Negotiations Process, Energy


Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said on Wednesday that the federal solution model is no longer a realistic option. Speaking on a BRT TV programme, Özersay said that the new government was in a better position regarding foreign policy because both parties of the coalition were on the same page regarding the Cyprus problem. He argued that Anastasiades has actually done a favour to the Turkish Cypriot community when he announced he will not be accepting political equality.

“The first observation in the government programme is that the Greek Cypriot political leadership is not ready to enter into a partnership with the Turkish Cypriot side. The second observation is that there is a serious problem of confidence between the two communities,” Özersay said.

He noted that the government programme looks at what is possible in the Cyprus problem on the basis of these two observations.

One alternative would be establishing a partnership based on collaboration, in addition to areas where cooperation already exists between the two sides, said Özersay. An increase in collaboration would lead to developing trust between the two communities, he argued.

“Another alternative is the two-state option under the EU umbrella,” said Özersay, providing the example of how the EU was initially established out of the cooperation of coal and steel industries. He noted there are effectively two states on the island – one being in the EU.

“There is a collaboration between the two sides and this is the required basis for an evolutionary partnership which might one day lead to a federal partnership, Özersay said. He underlined that the benefits of such a model have not been shown to the Greek Cypriot side at all.

Özersay further argued that the Greek Cypriot side is already discussing alternative models but that whenever they raised the subject in the North they were subjected to criticism and accusations.

“I believe that we too should be open to the idea of discussing alternative ideas,” Özersay added.

He noted that he will also be explaining the reasons why a federal solution model is not realistic during his international contacts.

Regarding the hydrocarbons issue, Özersay said the Turkish Cypriot side was only doing what it had said it would be doing.

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side, which is an actor in the Eastern Mediterranean region, will not allow anyone to usurp Turkish Cypriots’ rights.

Furthermore, as a result of the Turkish Cypriot side’s efforts, UNFICYP’s mandate is being questioned on the island, said Özersay. Debates on the issue will intensify in the coming period, he said, expressing belief that UNFICYP’s status will gradually change in the near future.

He reminded of his request to the UN to relocate the UN camp (Camp Stefanik) in Famagusta, noting that he expects the UN to submit their decision in writing soon. “If not, as a camp located within the TRNC, and not in the buffer zone, we will take the necessary measures because it is not an issue we need to reconcile with the Greek Cypriot side,” Özersay concluded.

Özersay (HP)
Federal solution no longer realistic because GC political leadership is not ready to share governance.
>> New coalition at an advantage regarding foreign policy due to consensus of parties in power on the Cyprus problem.
>> Anastasiades did a favour to the TC community when he refused political equality of the TCs.
>> GCs already discussing alternative models. TCs too should be allowed to debate alternative models.
>> Can build on existing collaboration between two sides to develop collaborative partnership model, which will build trust between communities. This evolutionary partnership could lead to federal partnership in future.
>> GCs not aware of advantages of this model.   
>> Two states under EU umbrella also an option. Already have two states, but only one is in EU.
>> TC side is only doing what it said it will do regarding hydrocarbons.
>> UNFICYP’s mandate is being questioned at the international level, thanks to TC efforts. This debate will intensify soon. UNFICYP status will gradually change in near future.
>> UN to submit decision on relocation of UN camp in Famagusta soon. If not, TCs will take necessary measures because camp is not located within buffer zone, therefore not an issue that requires TCs to reconcile with GCs on.

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