TCC Press Review 26 Aug 2020

Front Page Headlines


It should set an example

Tourism scheme in the South. The state is covering 25 per cent of the costs. An important step is being taken in the South to support domestic tourism. The scheme will see the Cyprus government subsidize 25 per cent of the accommodation costs of guests staying at participating hotels. Children will not be charged either. The offer will only be valid for permanent residents on the island. The maximum price of a night’s stay will be 80 euros in September, €70 in October, and €60 for a double room with breakfast in November.

  • Chairman of the Central Bank Rifat Güney: “We don’t have a monetary policy. Therefore we can’t react to crises” – Public sector should be downsized and streamlined. Banks have no liquidity problems but savings are not being transferred into loans. 40 per cent of savings are in Turkish Lira while the rest in foreign currency.


The crises are steadily growing. Restructuring is a must

Chairman of the Central Bank Rifat Günay: The TRNC does not have a monetary policy which is why a strong budget is necessary. He listed all that needs to be done.


Harbour of shame

One of the country’s most popular tourism hotspots, the historic Kyrenia Harbour is covered in rubbish and filth. The pier and lighthouse are falling apart. While the municipality is in charge of collecting the harbour’s rubbish it has no other authority. The Agriculture Ministry is in charge of the fishing boats while the Public Works and Tourism Ministeries are in charge of the pier and lighthouse. A shipyard at the historic port to repair the boats is also a big source of pollution. There has been difficulty in finding another location for the shipyard. The Tourism Ministry had launched a tender in January for repairs by the Central Tender Committee had rejected the offers made because they were too high. After that nothing was done to carry out repairs.

  • Restructuring a must – Chairman of the Central Bank Rifat Günay gave a stern warning about the country’s banking sector and the TRNC economy.


His experience could be made into a movie

Barber Salih Sarıcaoğlu from İskele (Trikomo) who was placed in quarantine for a week after one of his customers tested positive for Covid-19 is now unable to do business. His experience proves how one’s life can be turned upside down. Sarıcaoğlu was released from quarantine a week later after repeatedly testing negative for Covid-19. But the nightmare started when he returned to work. He says none of the customers has returned to the shop for a haircut or shaves. Sarıcaoğlu also said that his family has been shut out by friends and family. Even his daughter who attended a summer sports course was told not to return.


Rejection of quarantine proposal

Another rift among the coalition partners over a proposal to reintroduce the quarantine requirement for arrivals. Kudret Özersay’s proposal to place all arriving passengers in quarantine for a limited period was rejected. Özersay said that his proposal to place individuals in quarantine for five to six days must be considered if the current system is not working effectively. It was reported that Özersay tabled this proposal at yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) Council of Ministers meeting but that the coalition partners rejected it.

  • €31,6m for Turkish Cypriots – EU Commission approves second action programme for Turkish Cypriot community

Main News

Akıncı says France should adopt an impartial stance in Cyprus

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Energy, EU Matters, Regional/International Relations


President Mustafa Akıncı said on Tuesday it would be more correct for France to contribute towards establishing a dialogue between the two sides instead of taking sides in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Akıncı, speaking during a visit paid to him by the outgoing French ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) pointed out that France was both a leading European Union (EU) member state and a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

He said it was of paramount importance that France adopted a balanced and impartial stance in relations with the two communities in Cyprus.

France should contribute to establishing a dialogue between two sides in Cyprus rather than taking sides in the East Med.
>> France, as an EU member & member of the P5, should adopt a balanced & impartial stance in relations between two communities.

Ankara says it wants no preconditions, ‘honest’ EU mediation for talks with Greece

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Energy, External Security, EU Matters, Regional/International Relations


Germany’s top diplomat said after whirlwind meetings in Turkey and Greece on Tuesday the two were ready for dialogue to defuse a worsening dispute over energy resources in the Mediterranean, even as the NATO allies traded new barbs.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey both said they wanted to solve the issue through dialogue following talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, but each warned that they would continue to defend their rights in the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu late on Tuesday said that Greece must abandon its “maximalist approach” and pre-conditions for dialogue to begin over disputed offshore Mediterranean resources, adding Ankara expects the EU to act as an “honest and objective” mediator.

“We are open to talks without pre-conditions,” Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference alongside his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Ankara.

He was referring to statements made earlier in the day by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who said Athens would not engage in “any discussions” with Ankara as long as Turkey continued to maintain “military pressure” in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

“But, when one side starts imposing pre-conditions, then there are many things we will put forth too. Before anything, Greece needs to abandon its maximalist approach,” Çavuşoğlu added.

He also warned Greece against taking missteps in the eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkey is ready to do “whatever is necessary” to protect its legitimate interests in the region.

He also urged Greece to not to “put itself at risk” by rising to the bait of “some countries” in the eastern Mediterranean.

Çavuşoğlu stressed that the recent escalation in tensions in the eastern Mediterranean is due to the approach of Greece and Greek Cypriot side, not Turkey’s.

During the news conference, Maas also underlined that escalation in the eastern Mediterranean helps neither the EU, nor Turkey, nor Greece.

He said that Germany and Turkey told him that they did not want to settle their dispute over the eastern Mediterranean with military means.

“In both meetings in Athens as well as in Ankara I kept hearing that the only way to reach an understanding was to start a dialogue in which both differing standpoints were put on the table,” Maas said as he stood besides Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

“No one wants to settle this conflict militarily, which would be absolute madness,” he said.

Maas likened the dispute to “playing with fire” and warned that “every little spark can lead to catastrophe”.           

Meanwhile, Turkey’s natural resources and energy Minister Fatih Dönmez on Tuesday said that Turkey’s exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean were continuing according to schedule even though Greece had issued a Navtex in the same area.

Speaking on a TV programme, Dönmez accused Greece of stirring trouble in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying that the country’s actions were provocative.

Referring to the recent incident during which Greek and Turkish warships suffered a minor collision in the Eastern Mediterranean, Dönmez said, “Our president gave the appropriate response to the recent incident. Our navy will be on standby should a similar incident occur. We will do what is necessary.”

He expressed the hope that Greece will refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions further.

The incident happened earlier this month when a Greek warship, the Limnos, which was shadowing the Oruç Reis survey vessel, came into the path of one of the Turkish naval escorts, the Kemal Reis.

Dönmez added that the Oruç Reis, Barbaros and Yavuz were continuing their operations which based on strong arguments according to international law.

Regarding operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Dönmez said that they had found pockets of gas in some of the drilling locations in the Mediterranean.

However, we haven’t shared the results with the public because the findings were not as conclusive as to the discovery in the Black Sea.

Dönmez said that drilling would continue in new locations.

Çavuşoğlu (Turkey)
Greece must abandon its “maximalist approach” & pre-conditions for dialogue to begin over disputed offshore Mediterranean resources.
>> Ankara expects the EU to act as an “honest & objective” mediator.
>> Ankara is open to talks without pre-conditions.
>> Turkey is ready to do “whatever is necessary” to protect its legitimate interests in the region.
>> Greece should not “put itself at risk” by rising to the bait of “some countries” in the East Med.
>> Recent escalation in tensions in the East Med is due to the approach of Greece & GC side, not Turkey’s.

Maas (Germany)
Greece & Turkey should turn to dialogue.
>> Neither side wants to settle the conflict militarily, which would be absolute madness.
>> The dispute is like “playing with fire” & warned that “every little spark can lead to catastrophe”.

Dönmez (Turkey)
Turkey’s exploration & drilling activities in the East Med are continuing according to schedule despite Greece having issued a Navtex in the same area.
>> Greece is stirring trouble in the East Med and its actions are provocative.
>> Greece should refrain from any actions that could escalate tensions further.

Akıncı expresses support to the opening of Luricina (Lourijina) crossing

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
CBMs, Internal security, Negotiations Process


The opening of a crossing point in the Pyrio/Lymbia area near Luricina (Lourijina) is both necessary and would be useful, said Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı during a visit to the village on Monday.

Akıncı, who met with villagers as part of his election campaign, acknowledged that people living in the area were experiencing great difficulties due to the isolation of the village.

He vowed to work for the opening of a crossing point if elected for a second term.

Akıncı pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side’s demand and priority were to achieve the opening of a crossing point at Kiracıköy (Athienou) connecting with the village with Eylence (Aglandjia) in Nicosia.

He added that there will be a need for talks with the Greek Cypriot side as well as a coordinated effort between military and civilian authorities domestically for a crossing point to be opened up in Akıncılar (Lourijina).

Akıncı expressed the view that any crossing point to be opened until a settlement is reached in Cyprus will be for the benefit of developing contact and communication between the two communities.

He recalled that the Derinya (Dhrenyia) and Aplıç (Apliki) crossing points had been opened during his term in office.

“Opening new crossing points are always on the agenda. Such moves will not only contribute to solution efforts but will benefit the areas through which the crossings take place. I would not set any obstacles but would support such initiatives,” he said.

Akıncı also highlighted the importance of achieving a just and lasting solution in Cyprus to end the uncertainty on the island.

“A solution will not only bring peace to Cyprus but to the Eastern Mediterranean as well. Neither the uncertainty that plagues this island will end nor peace in the Eastern Mediterranean will be achieved as along the Cyprus Problem continues,” Akıncı stressed.

Opening a crossing point in Lymbia area both necessary & useful.
>> Opening crossing point will require talks with GC side as well as a coordinated effort between TC military & civilian authorities.
>> Any crossing point to be opened until a settlement is reached will help develop contact & communication between the two communities as well as a solution of the Cyprob.
>> Achieving a lasting & just solution to Cyprob important in ending the island’s uncertainty.
>> A solution will bring peace not only to Cyprus but East Med as well.

North’s central bank warns of a growing economic crisis, calls for reforms

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa


Head of the Turkish Cypriot Central Bank Rifat Güney on Tuesday said that the economic crisis in the country was steadily growing, which was why economic restructuring, downsizing the public sector and streamlining public institutions was important.

“The TRNC does not have a monetary policy which is why it is unable to exercise any instrument at times of such economic crisis. We need a strong budget to respond to crises but this is impossible with the current budget. The money we need is coming from Turkey and 85 per cent is being used to pay salaries of public servants,” Güney said during a meeting on the north’s banking sector and economy.

He said it was also vital to introduce production planning and to introduce a system based on incentives.

New arrangements also need to be made for the country’s locomotive sectors such as tourism and higher education, he added.

Explaining that there are currently 21 banks with 232 branches operating in the north, Güney said the banks employed 3,193 personnel.

He added that private banks were more active in the country and that the liquidity levels of the banks were good.

Güney, however, pointed out that the banks were experiencing problems in collecting loan payments and that it took an average of five years for court cases on unpaid loans to be completed.

“This is unacceptable,” he said, adding that the money collected was not transformed into loans which were necessary to bring life to the economy.

Günay also said that the majority of savings at banks were in foreign currency with 40 per cent of the savings in Turkish Lira.

EU Commission adopts the second Action Programme for TC community

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
EU Matters, CBMs, Human Rights


The European Commission (EC) adopted on Tuesday the second Annual Action Programme for aid to the Turkish Cypriot community.

The second Action Programme is worth a total amount of €31.6m to support new projects that facilitate the reunification of Cyprus.

It comes in addition to the €5m that was approved earlier this year.

The EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira in a statement said: “Projects under the Aid Programme aim to improve infrastructure, support economic development, foster reconciliation, and bring Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU. I am confident that they will contribute to efforts for reunification of Cyprus, which is one of the main goals of our assistance.”

The priorities of the programme include support for the preparation and financing of key infrastructure projects and environmental protection.

Further measures planned include the improvement of the electricity grid used by the Turkish Cypriot community and an economic stimulus package with short and longer-term support, focusing on a sustainable and resilient greener economy in response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Support will also be provided for improving food safety, the provision of statistical data, special needs education and lifelong learning. 

With a view to building confidence between the two communities in Cyprus, the programme will continue to provide substantial financing for the Committee on Missing Persons and the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.

Also, continuous support for civil society will help to enhance island-wide cooperation between NGOs and inspire further bi-communal activities, thereby contributing to the process of reunification. Finally, a bi-communal scholarship programme will provide for increased interactions and shared learning experiences between the youth from both communities.

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