Front Page Headlines
Flights to increase, all eyes on the quarantine
As the arrival of foreign university students to the island has begun, all eyes are now on the quarantine process. 3,000 students have already arrived in the past 21 days. Efforts have been launched to bring back 17,000 students by April. The Finance Ministry has announced it will cover the quarantine costs of the students but everyone is curious to learn where and how thousands of students will be accommodated.
Protocol agreement to be signed
Work on the “2021 Financial and Economic Collaboration agreement” to be signed between Turkey and the TRNC is nearing completion. Prime Minister Ersan Saner, who will be going to Ankara on Friday to sign the protocol, said: “This agreement will help us overcome the economic problems we are facing due to the pandemic and improve our infrastructure.”
- 3,000 students have arrived, 10,000 more to come – The process to bring back university students who will be graduating this semester and those with applied classes, has been sped up with the lifting of flight restrictions to the TRNC. It is reported that 4,000 of the 17,500 students who will start face-to-face education are already in the TRNC.
- Students studying abroad in a deadlock – Universities in other countries, just like the ones in the TRNC, are calling back students for in-class education. However, the uncertainty over a vaccination plan for students studying abroad has caused yet more chaos.
Operation costs ₺76,160,000 (€9m)
The cost of the government’s operation to bring back 17,500 students, who will be graduating this semester, will be high. A new hospital could be constructed with the money which will be spent on keeping the students in isolation for two weeks. The government also lifted flight restrictions to the TRNC. The state will cover the daily cost of individuals staying at an isolation facility, which is ₺322 (€38) per head. Head of KTAMS (Turkish Cypriot Public Servants’ Union) Güven Bengihan reacted to the government’s decision to cover the costs and instead asked the government to give the funds allocated to the private sector workers and those unemployed.
- We will limit flights if capacity fills up – Public Works and Communications Minister Resmiye Canaltay said the NOTAM (notice to airmen) was issued to bring the students back to the island.
- UN rolls up its sleeves for the five-party (conference) – UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar held online meetings with the Social Democratic Party (TDP) and Democratic Party (DP).
- (Averof) Neofytou quake in the south – Averof Neofytou, leader of DISY which is Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ party, said: “Turkish Cypriots’ political equality must be recognized, and the decentralized federation is the best model,” triggering a new debate.
There is no money
Shops in Nicosia reopened after three weeks but there was no business to make shopkeepers smile. Shopkeepers in Nicosia’s old pedestrian shopping street, Arasta spoke to Diyalog saying: “We reopened our shops with little hope waiting for customers but no one is coming or going. The reason for this is that no one has any money to spend.”
- A clear message to Greek Cypriots – Head of DISY Neofytou: “We need to give Turkish Cypriots political equality to get what we want.”
- An interesting method – He wanted to burn the car of Georgios Vasiliou, a Greek Cypriot resident of Dipkarpaz (Rizkarpaso), using foam and candles.
Kiss your father’s hand
Ersan Saner will be travelling to Ankara to sign the 2021 Turkey-TRNC Economic and Financial Cooperation protocol. Saner said the efforts to finalise the agreement have reached the end, adding: “We will be able to see the horizon better.” Prime Ministry Undersecretary Ömer Köseoğlu and Finance Ministry Undersecretary Cengiz Çoli, who are already in Ankara, will accompany Saner during his meetings.
- Turkish Cypriots are included in the vaccination drive – KTÖS (Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union) General Secretary Şener Elcil said Turkish Cypriot EU citizens are also included in the vaccination programme as a result of the EU acquis.
- No one will enter without undergoing quarantine – Public Works and Communication Minister Resmiye Canaltay issued a clarification after the public panicked, reassuring everyone that no one will be allowed to enter the country without undergoing mandatory quarantine.
- 176 positive cases of coronavirus in the south, 16 cases in the north…
‘New position’ will further alienate TCs from international communityYenidüzen
Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Kyrenia MP Fikri Toros on Tuesday argued that Ankara’s and the Turkish Cypriot leadership’s new position in favour of a “two-state solution” will only serve to further alienate the Turkish Cypriots from the international community.
He warned that efforts to promote a two-state model will deepen partition on the island and harm Turkish Cypriots’ already limited international relations. Toros urged the Turkish Cypriot leadership to remain within the parameters of international law and abandon its quest for a two-state solution, which has been rejected by the international community, he added.
In an interview with Yenidüzen, the CTP MP argued that the position of two states not only violated the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions but also placed the Turkish Cypriots at risk of losing their rights.
Toros, furthermore, said insisting on such a settlement model will only result in a continuation of the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem, which in the long run worked against the interests of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Responding to a question on Turkey’s position, Toros said Ankara is free to adopt any strategy it likes to improve its relations with the US or with the EU but that, in the case of Cyprus, its strategy was working against the Turkish Cypriots.
Asked to elaborate on growing polarization within Turkish Cypriot society, he said that the Turkish Cypriot community was deeply divided between those in favour of a bizonal, bicommunal federal (BBF) model and those who opposed it.
He said those who supported a federal settlement were being branded as traitors by the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Ankara. “This is not something to be tolerated any longer,” Toros stressed, adding that he supports a BBF solution because it is the internationally accepted model which ensures that Turkish Cypriots are accepted as a politically equal entity on the island and as EU members.
Toros also emphasized the vitality of reflecting the Turkish Cypriot community’s political will at the negotiating table and urged Ersin Tatar to return to UN parameters and advocate for a BBF solution based on the political equality of the two communities.
>> TC side’s two-state position will only further alienate TCs from the international community & deepen partition.
>> Two-state model violates UNSC resolutions, placing TCs at risk of losing their rights.
>> Ankara’s strategy on Cyprus is working against the interest of TCs.
>> Pressure on those supporting BBF cannot be tolerated any longer.
TDP & DP hold online meetings with SpeharYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Representatives from the Democratic Party (DP) and the Social Democratic Party (TDP) held separate online meetings with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Elizabeth Spehar on Tuesday.
The upcoming 5+1 informal meeting on the Cyprus problem, the proposed solution model for the Cyprus problem, the Maraş (Varosha) initiative and EU allocated vaccines for the Turkish Cypriot community were the main topics of discussion at both meetings.
TDP leader Cemal Özyiğit and Kyrenia MP Zeki Çeler reiterated during the meeting with Spehar TDP’s position in support of a BBF and the view that a federal settlement is the only realistic solution model on Cyprus.
Özyiğit also stressed that the federal solution must ensure political equality, Turkish Cypriots’ effective participation in decision-making processes, rotational presidency and should be based on the February 11, 2014, Joint Declaration and the Guterres framework of June 30, 2017.
On the issue of Maraş (Varosha), TDP argued that the reopening of the fenced-off town should be handled in a way that will contribute to the peace efforts on the island and must be in compliance with international law.
The TDP delegation also emphasized the importance of confidence-building measures (CBMs) and asked Spehar to launch efforts to increase contact between the two communities.
Özyiğit also raised the issue of the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines earmarked for the Turkish Cypriot community. He complained that the number of doses delivered so far was much lower than expected.
During his meeting with Spehar, DP leader Fikri Ataoğlu said that the two sides in Cyprus should attend the informal 5+1 meeting with equal status.
He gave assurances that DP will constructively support any new process, should the sides agree to launch new talks at the end of the summit. Ataoğlu said that should the meeting fail to pave the way for new talks, Turkish Cypriots will go their own way.
On the issue of Maraş (Varosha), the DP leader said his party believes the process to reopen the fenced-off town must be carried out in line with the relevant UN resolutions and through the Immovable Property Commission (IPC).
On the issue of Covid-19 vaccines, Ataoğlu asked Spehar to take on the initiative to speed up the delivery of vaccines to the north via the bicommunal technical committee. Ataoğlu also argued that the Greek Cypriot side’s decision to ban non-EU citizens to cross from the north must be changed immediately.
>> BBF only realistic option for a solution to Cyprob.
>> Solution must ensure TCs’ political equality, effective participation in decision-making processes, rotational presidency & should be based on UN framework agreements.
>> Reopening Maraş (Varosha) should be done in a way to contribute to peace efforts & within the framework of international law.
>> CBMs should be increased & contact between the two communities should be encouraged.
>> Two sides should attend informal meeting with equal status.
>> DP will support any new process agreed upon at the informal meeting.
>> Maraş should be opened within the framework of UNSC resolutions & IPC.
>> GC side’s decision to ban non-EU citizens from crossing must be changed.
KTÖS head accuses Tatar of preventing delivery of Covid-19 vaccinesYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
The General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS) Şener Elcil on Tuesday accused Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar of creating obstacles for the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines earmarked for the the Turkish Cypriot community by the EU.
Citing Greek Cypriot media reports, Elcil claimed that even though the Turkish Cypriots were included in the EU-wide vaccination plan, Tatar was preventing the vaccines from being delivered to the north by hampering the work carried out by the bicommunal technical committee on health.
Elcil claimed that the Turkish Cypriot health authorities had presented their counterparts with an incomplete vaccination plan that contains incorrect information.
KTÖS also questioned Tatar’s motive for preventing representatives from Pfizer to cross to the north to present briefings on its vaccines whilst rejecting the equipment and other medical goods sent from the EU.
Elcil said the Turkish Cypriot leader’s actions were part of Ankara’s (Justice and Development Party) policies in Cyprus. “Putting the public’s health at risk by embracing nationalist rhetoric is a crime against humanity,” Elcil stressed, urging him to put an end to the blame game against the EU and Greek Cypriot side.
Also touching on the abrupt dismissal of Ali Pilli as health minister, Elcil said the move once again proved that the northern part of the island is being ruled by interest groups with links to Ankara.
APPG congratulates Tatar for his election victory
Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
The UK based All-Party Parliamentary Group for North Cyprus (APPG) has sent a letter congratulating Ersin Tatar for his election as the new Turkish Cypriot leader.
According to a press statement from Tatar’s office, the letter signed by Lord Northbrook (a Conservative Excepted Hereditary peer who has sat under this title in the House of Lords since 1991) stated that the parliamentary group for the north will “monitor the developments on the two-state solution model for Cyprus.”
Tatar, in his response letter, thanked the parliamentary group for their support against the unfair and inhumane embargoes the Turkish Cypriots have been subjected to for years. He added that the two-state solution based on the sovereign equality of the two sides is the only sustainable and lasting option for Cyprus.
Tatar also reiterated that the federal talks have been exhausted due to the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigence and their refusal to share governance or wealth with the Turkish Cypriots. He expressed his interest in continuing lobbying efforts in the UK and to explore direct trade with the UK in the post-Brexit process and direct flights.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Houses of Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside parliament in their administration and activities.
Tatar receives Maronite religious leaders
Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar Tuesday received Selim Sfeir, who has been appointed temporarily to the Maronite Archbishopric of Cyprus, together with Antonis Hadjiyiannadjis, and Josep Tartak from the St. George Church in Kormacit (Kormakitis).
During the meeting, Tatar underlined the Turkish Cypriot community’s respect for the Maronite faith as well as all other religions in the north.
He also emphasized the importance of members of different faiths living together in peace on the island. “Diversity in faith is a sign of wealth on the island,” Tatar concluded.
For his part, Sfeir thanked Tatar for his efforts to improve and strengthen the good relations between the Maronite community and the Turkish Cypriots.
Arson attempt on GC vehicle in Dipkarpaz (Risokarpaso)
Diyalog newspaper reported on Tuesday that a man, E.Z, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to set fire to a pick-up truck belonging to Georgios Vasiliou, a Greek Cypriot resident of Dipkarpaz (Risokarpaso)
Vasiliou filed a complaint with police after finding proof of the attempted arson at the back of his vehicle. According to his testimony, he found “pieces of burnt sponge and candles” at the back of his pick-up.
As a result of the investigation, police found pieces of the same sponge used in the attack at the suspect’s home, located next to Vasiliou’s house. Even though the suspect has rejected all charges, the court ordered him to be remanded for two more days until the police conclude their investigation on the case.