Front Page Headlines
₺1.1m in 90 days
This is the cost of the money borrowed for the community. The Finance Ministry which was granted permission by the Council of Ministers to take out a ₺100m borrowed ₺40m as an internal loan. A new dimension concerning the money borrowed to cover salaries and financial obligations emerged following statements by the Finance Minister Olgun Amcaoğlu. Amcaoğlu said that they took out the loan but did not use it because there wasn’t any need. Well what about the interest rate the taxpayer will pay?” asks Yenidüzen.
Scandal at the LTL
The revelation of the WhatsApp conversations changed the nature of the alleged abuse claims made by a student regarding her teacher at the Nicosia Turkish Lyceum (LTL). The scandalous conversation reveals that the teacher wanted to have a sexual relationship with the other students and wanted to use the girl, who is under the age of 18, as an intermediary for the said arrangements.
- Tuncay: Revenues from the cultural heritage sites should not be transferred to the general budget – Ali Tuncay, co-chair of the bicommunal technical committee on cultural heritage said the “Cultural Heritage Fund” must be brought back to life and the revenues must be collected under that fund.
- Akıncı: “Virus is not the reason to close the crossing points.”
- Erhürman: “We do not have the time or generation to lose.”
- Arıklı: The uncertainty at the Lokmacı (Ledra St.) crossing must be solved without delay.”
- Tatar: “We are acting with Turkey in the region. We are one.”
Unease over CCTV cameras
The location of the poles erected for city surveillance system cameras has drawn negative reactions. Some of the poles have been placed on pavements dangling unto the roads and some inappropriately close to historic monuments.
- Parents are horrified – A teacher at the LTL (Nicosia Turkish Lyceum) suspended from his duty for engaging in a sexual act with a female student and for recording it on his mobile phone.
- “No one can keep the crossings closed” – Mustafa Akıncı during a meeting with the retailers and shopkeepers from Arasta (old town market area) said, “No one is strong enough to keep the crossings closed.”
Imprudence and negligence
Dr Özlem Gürkut, head of TC Doctors’ union, spoke to Havadis regarding the fire at the Dr Burhan Nalbantoğlu Hospital and about the problems in the health sector.
- “The UN must take on a more effective role” – President Mustafa Akıncı invited Spehar to the presidency and shared the problems caused by the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral decision to close four crossings.
EU remains a bystander
The Greek Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nuris said that the crossing points will remain closed for a while longer. Nuris defended the decision to keep the crossing points closed, stating that they had no choice but to introduce tight measures.
- No sales, only tension – Arasta shopkeepers who submitted Mustafa Akıncı with a petition said they were planning to stage a demonstration until the crossings open.
- He wanted effective intervention – UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar was invited to the palace by President Mustafa Akıncı.
- He was caught following a tip-off – A Greek Cypriot man wanted for attempted murder in the south was caught in the north.
CCTV camera disgrace
The poles erected randomly for surveillance cameras and have created visual pollution may be presented as a security measure but in reality, is a political decision. CCTV cameras are accepted as a tool to apply psychological pressure.
- The virus is not the reason to shut the crossing points –Mustafa Akıncı who met with Arasta shopkeepers announced that there was no justifiable reason for the decision to shut the crossing points. “No one has the power to keep the crossing points closed because the decision is against EU policies and UN efforts to bring the two communities closer. Dialogue with the UN, EU and Greek Cypriot side will continue. I will do all that is necessary for the crossing points to be reopened as soon as possible,” Akıncı said.
TC side calls on the UN to take action on crossing pointsYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
President Mustafa Akıncı on Wednesday called on the UN to take on a more active role in resolving the crisis over the Greek Cypriot leadership’s unilateral decision to shut four crossing points citing the coronavirus as an excuse.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Akıncı said he would be sending a letter to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar on the matter.
He also said that he will continue to be in contact with the United Nations (UN), the European Commission (EC) and the Greek Cypriot side.
Akıncı who met with Spehar told the UN representative that the decision to shut down the crossing point which was void of any scientific basis harmed relations between the two communities.
He said the decision was unjustifiable as no cases of the virus had been detected on either side of the divide.
Akıncı also pointed out that the bicommunal technical committee on health which had met three times since the Covid-19 outbreak had detected no reason to shut down the crossing points.
Akıncı said he had informed Spehar of a petition submitted to him earlier in the day by shopkeepers in the area around Lokmacı (Ledra Street).
“I asked Ms Sephar to convey to the UN-Secretary General Antonio Guterres the concerns and reactions of the Turkish Cypriot community,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Akıncı met with business owners from the Arasta shopping area who submitted a petition demanding the reopening of the crossing points.
Bünyamin Yüksekbaş, speaking on behalf of the shopkeepers, said they were considering closing shop until the crossing points reopened.
Submitting the petition of 300 signatures, he said that no one was convinced that the virus was the reason for the decision to close the crossing points.
Akıncı for his part said that it was obvious that the coronavirus was not the reason for the move.
“No one has the power to keep these crossing points closed anymore. The two communities have grown accustomed to contact. The Greek Cypriot authorities even failed to convince their community for the reasons. It is obvious they have other intentions or thoughts,” Akıncı said.
He added that he had repeatedly told Anastasiades that the decision was a mistake.
“Mr Anastasiades informed me of the Greek Cypriot cabinet’s decision over the telephone on Friday. He told me they would be reassessing the situation this coming Monday and that in fact, the Greek Cypriot ministers had supported the idea of shutting all the crossing points,” he said.
He added that the Greek Cypriot leader had cited the 3000 or so Iranian students studying in the north as a possible threat for the spread of the virus.
“I told him that a virus had come between the two communities while attempting to prevent the virus,” he said.
Akıncı added that the Greek Cypriot leader had called him again on Wednesday, this time to complain about the flow of migrants from north to south.
“He insinuated that we were deliberately helping migrants to cross the dividing line “as if we are guiding them,” Akıncı said.
He said migrants were arriving in the south of the island either by boat or by crossing from the north “through illegal channels”.
He said Anastasiades spoke as if the Turkish Cypriot side was sending the immigrants to the south in an organised manner.
“This is a mistake, we don’t do that,” he said. He also said this was a humanitarian issue and that the Turkish Cypriot authorities would never exhibit this type of behaviour,” he added.
Akıncı said that the decision not only contradicted EU policies but UN efforts to bring the two communities closer.
“There is no justifiable reason for this move. This is an important point. Even if cases of the virus are detected on either side this is not the way to address the issue. The way to fight this virus is to increase measures at entry points to the island. I am not convinced by these moves,” he added.
The leader of the Rebirth Party Erhan Arıklı said on Wednesday that the uncertainty over the Lokmacı (Ledra Street) crossing point needed to end as soon as possible.
Arıklı who toured the area around the crossing listened to the local shopkeepers.
According to a statement issued by the YDP’s press bureau, Arıklı said that local businesses were unhappy and disturbed by the closure of the crossing.
“I hope that this mistake will be corrected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Akel MEPs Niyazi Kızılyurek and Giorgos Georgiou on Wednesday submitted a question to the European Commission asking whether it was notified by the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) about the decision to temporarily close four crossings to the north and what was its response.
Kızılyurek and Georgiou said in a written statement that they submitted an urgent question to the European Commission on the closure of the four crossing points: Lokmacı (Ledra Street), Bostancı (Astromeritis), Derinya (Dherynia), and Aplıç (Apliki)
They said that the RoC unilaterally decided last Friday to temporarily close four crossing points as a measure against the spread of Covid-19, “which makes crossing very difficult and upsets the people, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”
Citing the EU’s 2004 Green Line Regulation’s terms under which persons and goods can cross between the two sides, the MEPs asked the Commission whether it had been notified about this decision, and if it examined “the compatibility of the decision to the letter and the spirit of the Regulation.”
In a related development, the Turkish Cypriot foreign ministry on Wednesday announced that TRNC citizens in Iran who wanted to return to the island could do so via Turkey but not by air travel.
TRNC citizens who wish to travel to Turkey via bus are urged to apply to the Turkish embassy in Tehran or consulates in Urumiye, Tabriz or Meshed.
The announcement comes after Turkey suspended all flights to Iran.
>> UN needs to take on a more active role to help resolve the current situation on four crossing points.
>> Coronavirus not the reason for the decision to shut crossings.
>> No one has the power to keep these crossing points closed anymore.
>> The two communities have grown accustomed to contact.
>> The move contradicts EU policies & UN efforts to bring two communities closer.
>> Insinuation that TC side is sending migrants to the south is false.
>> Migrants area humanitarian issue & the TC side would never exhibit that type of behaviour.
>> Shutting crossing points, not the way to deal with the issue. Even if cases are detected on either side, measures need to be taken at entry points to the island, not crossings.
>> Uncertainty over crossing points needs to be solved as soon as possible.
The hydrocarbons can bring the two sides to the tableHavadis
Energy, Regional/International Relations, Negotiations Process, Property, Territory
“The hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean can be transformed into a good opportunity to bring the two sides to the table even before a solution,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said on Wednesday.
In an interview with Turkish news channel NTV, Özersay noted that the entire world recognized that Turkish Cypriots were co-owners of the island’s offshore natural resources but that there were differing views on the right to utilise them.
“While the international community acknowledges the Greek Cypriot side’s right to utilise these resources, they claim that the Turkish Cypriots must wait until a comprehensive settlement is found,” Özersay said.
He argued the natural gas issue presented a similar opportunity for the island as did the 2004 Annan solution plan.
“A shift in the Greek Cypriot side’s position could only be triggered if the international community were to tell them that the consent of the Turkish Cypriots is required for the exploitation of the island’s offshore resources before a solution,” he said.
Özersay stressed the international community must do this for the conditions on the island to change.
He added that the Greek Cypriot side was happy with the status quo as it had been allowed to join the EU before a solution and enjoyed international recognition.
“If the Greek Cypriot side is allowed to utilise and transfer the natural gas, there will be no incentive for them to work towards a solution” he argued.
Özersay explained further that the Turkish Cypriot side together with Turkey has decided to take reciprocal steps instead of opting for use of force.
He said the Turkish side; in reciprocal moves to Greek Cypriot side has not reached a point where it is conducting its own drilling activities.
“Therefore, it is my expectation now that the two sides will be able to sit at the table to discuss the natural gas issue without having to wait for the solution,” Özersay said.
Asked to comment on the Maraş (Varosha) Initiative, Özersay said it was a project he had submitted six years ago; he is responsible for the execution of the project now and if elected, he will be in a position to prepare the ground for the reopening of the fenced-off town.
“If elected to the office, it will be possible to reopen the town through diplomatic initiatives and proactive diplomacy, by informing the international community and the UN correctly and in advance,” Özersay said.
Responding to a question on the Cyprus talks process, Özersay noted that the Greek Cypriot side was not ready to share the governance or wealth with the Turkish Cypriot side even though federation was a model based on sharing and partnership.
He also argued that there were serious trust issues between the leaderships on both sides of the divide as well as a lack of federal experience or culture.
“It is not realistic to reach an agreement within the framework of a federal model today,” Özersay said, suggesting that the two sides should focus on collaboration based on partnership rather than a partnership based on sharing.
“It is possible for the two sides to start collaborating on a few issues to build trust between the communities. And once that trust is built, the existing collaboration could then be transformed in time into a partnership,” Özersay said.
Giving the example of the EU, he said the two sides on the island could collaborate on areas such as energy, natural gas, the exchange of criminals, fires in the buffer zone, and the restoration of cultural heritage.
“As this is an approach based on the two states on the island, it also points to the TRNC as the authority exercising its power in the north,” Özersay argued.
Özersay, responding to another question, said it was important for Turkish Cypriots to adopt a position which will not make them dependent on a settlement or which will imprison them into endless negotiations.
“The Turkish Cypriots can also become a regional actor before the solution but we need a foreign policy outside of the Cyprus problem for it,” Özersay stressed.
He added a head of state is needed that will take the Turkish Cypriot community to the future with proactive policy.
“It is possible to enter a new era for the Turkish Cypriots, in which the Turkish Cypriots will define their future and will ensure their existence on the island,” Özersay concluded.
In the meantime, National Unity Party (UBP) leader and presidential candidate Prime Minister Ersin Tatar on Wednesday said both Turkey and the TRNC have thwarted “big games” in the Eastern Mediterranean with the bilateral agreements signed with Turkey.
Speaking at a conference at the Kayseri University’s 15 July campus titled, “The role of the TRNC in the Blue Homeland,” Tatar drew attention to the collaborative efforts displayed by both countries.
“We are acting together in this region and we are one,” he said.
Tatar pointed out that all activities carried out by Turkey and the TRNC in the Blue Homeland were in accordance with international law and the law of the sea.
He added that it was important to protect the TRNC’s waters and the fair distribution of offshore natural resources.
Tatar, on the Cyprus issue, reiterated his stance and said that they supported a solution based on sovereign equality.
“There are two separate peoples that are equal in Cyprus,” Tatar said and the stronger the Turkish Cypriot state is, the more beneficial it is for the Turkish nation, he noted.
Also noting that there was peace in Cyprus since 1974, Tatar pointed to the importance of Turkey’s effective guarantees on the island.
“No matter what kind of a solution is reached in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriots must have unconditional control of property, population and governance in the north. This is only possible with Turkey’s guarantees. It is essential that Turkey’s unilateral right to intervention and rights stemming from the Treaty of Guarantees and Alliance are preserved,” Tatar concluded.
Speaking in Kyrenia on Wednesday, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and presidential candidate Tufan Erhürman said the president-elect must adopt a proactive foreign policy to overcome the obstacles on the Maraş (Varosha) issue, trade and tourism.
Erhürman noted that if all efforts to reach the desired solution fail due to reasons not attributed to the Turkish Cypriot side, the president-elect must tell the entire world to lift the obstacles.
“The president-elect will tell the world that the Turkish Cypriot side did everything possible to reach a solution but it failed…Therefore, the obstacles and isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriot community must be lifted as there is no legitimate basis for them,” Erhürman said.
He added that the president-elect must carry out initiatives on broadening the scope of the Green Line Trade regulation, implementing the direct trade regulation, ensuring international representation of Turkish Cypriot athletes and direct flights.
Erhürman also touched on the confidence-building measures (CBMs) and urged for the sides to discuss the Maraş (Varosha) initiative together with the opening of the Nicosia international airport and the hydrocarbons issue.
He warned that disregarding the United Nations (UN) and its resolutions on the Maraş (Varosha) will distance the Turkish Cypriot community further away from the international law.
>> The hydrocarbon resources in the East. Med. can be transformed into a good opportunity to bring the two sides together before the solution.
>> A shift in GC side’s position can only be triggered if the int’l community tells GCs the consent of the TCs is required to exploit the resources before a solution.
>> If the GC side is allowed to utilise and transfer the natural gas, there will be no incentive to work for a solution.
>> TC side together with Turkey has decided to take reciprocal steps instead of opting for use of force.
>> The two sides could be able to sit at the table to discuss the natural gas issue without having to wait for a solution.
>> Possible to re-open Maraş (Varosha) if int’l community is informed about the details correctly.
>> There is a serious problem of trust between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot political leaderships.
>> It is not realistic to reach an agreement within the framework of a federal model today.
>> The sides, instead of talking about a partnership based on sharing, should be talking about a partnership based on collaboration.
>> The two sides could start collaborating on a few issues to build trust between the communities.
>> This is an approach based on the two states on the island, it also points to the TRNC as the authority exercising its power in the north.
>> The TC side needs an approach that will not make it dependent on a settlement or which will imprison TCs to endless talks.
>> The TCs can become a regional actor before a solution but they need a foreign policy outside of the Cyprob.
>> Possible to enter a new era for the TCs, in which they will define their future & will ensure their existence on the island.
>> The TRNC have thwarted “big games” in the East Med. with the bilateral agreements signed with Turkey.
>> TC side and Turkey acting in the region as one.
>> All activities carried out by Turkey & TRNC are in accordance with int’l law & law of the sea.
>> Protection of the TRNC’s waters & the fair distribution of offshore natural resources is important.
>> A solution based on sovereign equality is what the UBP supports.
>> Peace prevails in Cyprus since 1974 as a result of Turkey’s guarantees.
>> No matter what kind of a solution is reached in Cyprus, the TCs must have unconditional control of property, population & governance in the north.
>> It is essential that Turkey’s unilateral right to intervention & rights stemming from the Treaty of Guarantees and Alliance are preserved.
>> President-elect must adopt a proactive foreign policy to overcome the obstacles on the Maraş (Varosha) issue, trade & tourism.
>> If all efforts to reach the desired solution fail due to reasons not attributed to the TC side, the president-elect must tell the entire world to lift the obstacles.
>> Isolations imposed on the TC community must be lifted as there is no legitimate basis for them when the efforts for a solution fail.
>> The sides should discuss the Maraş (Varosha) initiative together with the opening of the Nicosia international airport & hydrocarbons issue.
>> Disregarding the UN and its resolutions on the Maraş (Varosha) will distance the TC community further away from the int’l law.
Wanted GC caught in the northKıbrıs, Diyalog
A Greek Cypriot man wanted in the south for attempted murder and other crimes was caught by Turkish Cypriot police in a hotel room in Famagusta.
Police arrested the man following a tip-off.
Two grams of cocaine were found in the man’s possession.
The suspect which appeared before the court confessed that the drugs found in his possession belonged to him.
He said that he had purchased three grams for €100 before crossing over to the north.
The judge ordered the man to be remanded in police custody for two more days pending an investigation.
Young Cypriots promoting cultural heritageYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası
The Bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage has concluded its selection of “youth ambassadors” among 200 applications, Yenidüzen reported on Thursday.
In a written statement issued, the technical committee completed its recruitment of young volunteers from both communities to support the work of the technical committee as well as to help raise awareness of monuments that form the island’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot volunteers are uniting in an initiative to protect and promote their shared cultural heritage and to be the “youth voice” of the technical committee.
They will be mandated by the committee to reach out to and engage with other young people of Cyprus by promoting cultural heritage sites and monuments to their networks and act as unofficial guardians of the selected monuments by undertaking regular visits.
The bicommunal technical committee on cultural heritage had launched its initiative in May 2019 and called on young people to post videos and photographs of cultural heritage in Cyprus with a given hashtag. More than 200 people from all over the island applied and 40 of them have been selected as Heritage Youth Ambassadors, which an EU funded initiative.
In the meantime, Ali Tuncay, co-chair of the bicommunal technical committee on cultural heritage, asked the Turkish Cypriot authorities to revive the “Cultural Heritage Fund” for the revenues obtained to be collected and be used for restorations.
Speaking to Kıbrıs Postası, Tuncay said the lack of resources is the biggest reason for not being able to maintain or restore the cultural heritage monuments.
He added that the main financier behind the bicommunal technical committee is the European Union (EU).
“The EU has given the committee €20m to date but this is not enough on its own,” Tuncay stressed.
Tuncay noted that in the current system the revenues, which consist of ticket sales for entry into sites or monuments are collected in the general budget pool.
“We are like slaying the chicken laying golden eggs because the revenues must be utilized in maintaining and restoring those monuments,” he added.
Asked to provide an update on the restoration of the old Venetian walls of Nicosia, Tuncay said even though delayed by a few months due to harsh winter conditions, the restoration works will commence with the arrival of spring.
Appreciative of the people’s awareness on the protection of cultural heritage sites, Tuncay also noted that the state institutions are weak.
“Even though we are advertising the north as a tourism destination, we do not give the necessary importance to the committee that protects the cultural heritage sites,” Tuncay concluded.
>> TC authorities should revive the “Cultural Heritage Fund.”
>> Revenues collected to be used for restorations.
>> The lack of resources is the biggest reason for not being able to maintain or restore the cultural heritage monuments.
>> The EU has given the committee €20m to date but this is not enough on its own.
>> The state does not give the necessary importance to the committee that protects the cultural heritage sites.
Joint event for the International Women’s DayYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
The women branches of WFTU member trade unions in Cyprus are organizing bicommunal events to mark the 8 March International Women’s Day, Yenidüzen reports on Thursday.
Representatives of the women branches of DEV-İŞ (Federation of trade unions for revolutionary workers), PEO (Pancyprian Federation of Labour), KTAMS (TC Public servants’ union), KTÖS (TC Teachers’ Union), KTOEÖS (TC Secondary school teachers’ union), BES (Municipal workers’ union), KOOP-SEN (TC Cooperative company worker’s union) and DAÜ-SEN (Eastern Mediterranean University academicians’ union), which are all members of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), met with the female teachers at the Dikmen (Dikomo) Primary School.
Addressing the teachers at the school, Marina Kuku, head of PEO’s women branch, said they are marking the International Women’s Day with several different events for the solution of joint problems and lasting peace on the island.
“The struggle for peace will continue for the future generations,” Kuku stressed and added that many years have passed without a solution.
She noted that the current generation should be the one to reach the desired solution.
Noting that 40 per cent of PEO members are women, Kuku added that they wish to see peace in Cyprus instead of soldiers and armies.
Emel Tel, president of KTÖS emphasised the importance of working together in the solution process. She added that they are meeting with at every given opportunity to discuss these issues.
“The solidarity displayed by the trade unions keep the hopes for future, peace, reunification and federation alive,” Tel said.
Speaking on behalf of DEV-İŞ, Sevgül Uludağ noted that following the school visit, the representatives will visit the Dikmen (Dikomo) Municipality and Larnaca Municipality on Thursday.