Front Page Headlines
£3bn needed for compensation for Maraş (Varosha)
There are 337 applications filed by legal property owners in Maraş (Varosha). The amount that needs to be paid in compensation for these applications is at least £3bn.
- 337 applications for Maraş (Varosha) – The process to lift the military status of an area of 5km2 that constitutes 3.5 per cent of the fenced-off town as part of the second phase of the Maraş (Varosha) initiative has begun. There are 496 parcels of property in the 3.5 per cent area.
Respect for ECHR rules in Maraş (Varosha)
Prime Minister Ersan Saner, together with a large delegation, visited the area in Maraş (Varosha) that was demilitarized on July 12. Saner said there are a total of 337 applications pending at the Immovable Property Commission for the entire fenced-off town, added that 36 of the properties in question are located within the 3.5 per cent area freed from military status.
- “The Turkish Cypriot state appears on the horizon” – The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said the views expressed by the US and the UN Security Council (UNSC) rejecting a two-state solution (on Cyprus) are null and void for the Turkish nation.
- “If Maraş (Varosha) was not foundation property, why did you pay rent then?” – İbrahim Benter, Director-General of the Evkaf Administration of Cyprus during a programme on Kıbrıs TV said that property in Maraş (Varosha) leased as foundation property for 300 years. He also said the fact that rent had been paid for the properties prove the ownership of the town.
- Measures relaxed, movement at borders picked up – The number of passengers arriving on the island and those crossing through the checkpoints increased after the restrictions imposed on the flights and the crossing points since April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic were relaxed. 21,715 passengers arrived in April and May 2021 compared to 67 during the same period in 2020 and 200,550 people have used the crossings since their reopening.
An unprecedented giveaway
The repairs for the Famagusta sewage network gained a new dimension with the ceremony held on July 1. The repair work, which was estimated to cost €1.5m initially, was given to a Turkish company through a tender worth €20.5m. Residents of Famagusta will have to suffer for more than two years while the repairs are underway, but the sewage problem will not be solved.
- Harsh criticisms from the TDP – Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Özyiğit said the developments in Maraş (Varosha) and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ attitude only serves to strengthen division.
- Challenging the UNSC on Maraş (Varosha) – Prime Minister Ersan Saner, after criticizing the UNSC statement on Maraş (Varosha), displayed a show of force by visiting the recently opened section of the fenced-off town.
‘He’s behaving shamefully’
People have reacted to Nicos Anastasiades’ initiative to strip some Turkish Cypriots of their Republic of Cyprus (RoC) passports. Citizens speaking to Diyalog said that Anastasiades was behaving shamefully and that the EU should intervene. Some have even said they will not remain silent if Anastasiades goes ahead with his plan. “We too will return our passports if he does such a thing,” they were quoted as saying.
The opposition protected the secessionists
The Turkish Cypriot opposition harshly reacted to Nicos Anastasiades who said the (Republic of) Cyprus passports of Turkish Cypriot politicians supporting secessionist, racist and partitionist policies will be revoked. Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman evaluated Anastasiades’ remarks as lacking logic and Cemal Özyiğit, leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) accused Anastasiades of creating tensions People’s Party (HP) leader Kudret Özersay said the threats on revoking passports was a populist move.
- They want properties in Maraş (Varosha) with points – Ersin Tatar gave hopes to those who abandoned property in the south but did not get anything in the north in lieu through the points for equivalent value scheme. Those who had emigrated from the south and have their points in their hands went to Tatar for Maraş (Varosha).
TC officials continue to defend Maraş (Varosha) initiative, insisting it’s legalYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Negotiations Process, Property, Territory
The Turkish Cypriot authorities on Monday continued to defend the decision announced on July 20 to demilitarize 3.5 per cent of the fenced-off town of Maraş (Varosha) and to reopen a 5km2 residential area for resettlement despite ongoing international condemnation.
Turkish Cypriot officials have been attempting to garner public support for the Maraş (Varosha) Initiative since the UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement calling on Turkish Cypriot officials and Turkey to reverse its decision to open sections of the town.
“Let’s protect our unity and solidarity,” Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said on Monday in his address to the nation, claiming that the Maraş (Varosha) Initiative was in line with international law and human rights.
“The Greek Cypriot side, which is trying to downgrade the Turkish Cypriot community into a minority under the pretext of a federal settlement and end Turkey’s guarantees, has resorted to lies and black propaganda in an attempt to prevent a two-state solution and the reopening of the fenced-off town,” Tatar said.
He also criticized various groups within the Turkish Cypriot community that expressed support to the UNSC statement and the Greek Cypriot side’s positions. Repeating his argument that the efforts for a federal settlement have been exhausted, Tatar said the Turkish Cypriot side’s two-state proposal is based on the realities in Cyprus dating back to the start of the intercommunal clashes in 1963.
Tatar said the Turkish Cypriots should be at ease and should not feel despair on the Turkish Cypriot side’s positions vis-à-vis the Cyprus problem and the Maraş (Varosha) Initiative as Turkey fully supported the Turkish Cypriot side.
Earlier on Monday, Tatar said that Turkish Cypriots who abandoned their properties in the south had the right to receive an equivalent property in the north.
The statements came following a meeting between Tatar and Taner Derviş, the former chairman of Evkaf. Tatar further stated that the laws and constitution of the north granted such a right, saying: “It is the responsibility of the state because some Turkish Cypriots who left properties behind in the south were not compensated.”
Tatar referenced the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) saying that it is recognised in international law and includes foreign judges – adding that it has the important purpose of examining applications. He added that the work will continue to meet the expectations of Turkish Cypriots who cannot be compensated for their properties in the south.
Also on Monday, Turkish Cypriot Prime minister Ersan Saner accompanied by members of his cabinet and a group of officials visited the area that has already been demilitarized. The area is adjacent to the open part of Maraş (Varosha).
Saner said 496 properties within the quarter will open as part of the second phase of the initiative on the fenced-off town. He said the moves were according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decisions. According to Saner 337 applications were pending before the IPC for Maraş (Varosha), 36 of which concern the 3.5 per cent that was demilitarized.
He said the area which will be reopened for settlement spans over around five square kilometres and that a committee would be set up, following the survey carried out by the Eastern Mediterranean University in the north, to assess the dilapidated buildings that are about to collapse or that cannot be restored.
The General Secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP) Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu on Monday told Bayrak that the Turkish Cypriot side had the authority to make decisions concerning Maraş (Varosha). Hasipoğlu also said that UNSC resolution 550 was outdated and needs to be revised.
Explaining that the decision concerning Maraş (Varosha) had not been taken overnight, Hasipoğlu said the initiative was of a well-planned project being carried out as part of the Turkish Cypriot side’s new two-state policy. He added that everyone needed to accept the fact that Maraş (Varosha) fell under the territorial jurisdiction of the north.
“We are bringing back to life an area referred to as a ghost town,” Hasipoğlu said, adding that the area will be reopened phase by phase as many of the buildings posed safety hazards and required new infrastructures such as power lines, roads, sidewalks and sewage. The UBP General Secretary also expressed the view that more applications will be filed with the IPC once a few applications are processed and implemented by the commission.
Hasipoğlu also claimed that the Greek Cypriot authorities were blind-sighted by the Turkish Cypriot side’s moves and were at loss over the issue which they previously thought was for the taking. He said that conditions on the island had changed significantly since the resolution was adopted 37 years ago.
Hasipoğlu also said that the statement was not binding. He added that even though the fenced-off town will be reopened phase by phase, in the end, the Maraş (Varosha) initiative will become a comprehensive reopening process.
“There will be people who will want to return to their properties or sell them. We may see people not do anything at all. We as the state do not have the luxury to leave several houses, hotels or crumbling buildings to their fate. That is why the area must be utilized through investment projects,” he said, adding that the investments will be made by Turkish Cypriots.
Hasipoğlu also said that the Turkish Cypriot side will not abandon its policy in favour of a two-state solution based on sovereign equality.
Meanwhile, Yenidüzen Editor-in-Chief Cenk Mutluyakalı wrote in his column on Tuesday that the total amount of compensation the IPC would have to pay for Greek Cypriot property owners in Maraş (Varosha) would amount to at least £3bn.
>> Maraş (Varosha) Initiative is in line with international law & human rights.
>> TC side’s two-state proposal is based on the realities in Cyprus.
>> TCs should be at ease & not despair as the TC side’s positions are fully supported by Turkey.
>> TCs who abandoned their properties in the south have the right to receive an equivalent property in the north.
>> TC side has the authority to make decisions concerning Maraş (Varosha).
>> UNSC resolution 550 is outdated and needs to be revised.
>> Maraş Initiative (Varosha) is part of a well-planned project as part of TC side’s two-state policy.
>> Area will be opened phase by phase due to safety hazards & and lack of infrastructure.
>> Investments will be carried out by TCs.
Opposition slams Anastasiades over proposal to revoke RoC passportsYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa
Negotiations Process, Property, Territory
The opposition in the north expressed its disapproval on Monday of a suggestion made by the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to revoke the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) citizenship of Turkish Cypriot politicians or officials who support a two-state solution in Cyprus.
The leader of the People’s Party (HP) leader Kudret Özersay described the issue as a publicity stunt. Speaking at a TV programme on Monday, Özersay accused the Greek Cypriot side of fanning nationalism on the island.
“These are local and banal policies that will achieve nothing but only result in reciprocal moves,” Özersay argued, adding that “Anastasiades must answer first for how the Greek Cypriots illegally usurped and occupied the Republic of Cyprus.”
Özersay, recalling that he was the brainchild of the Maraş (Varosha) Initiative, repeated his warnings to the Turkish Cypriot leadership. He added that HP will continue to support the initiative as long as it is done correctly.
Cemal Özyiğit, leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) also criticized Anastasiades for his latest remarks on RoC citizenship made in response to the Turkish Cypriot side’s moves on the fenced-off town. “The latest remarks by the Greek Cypriot leader are archaic, chauvinistic and against basic human rights as well as the European Declaration of Human Rights (EDHR),” Özyiğit said.
Also criticising the Turkish Cypriot side’s latest decision on Maraş (Varosha), Özyiğit said the decisions which did not have the support of the international community was doomed to fail. “The decisions to be taken on Maraş (Varosha) should contribute to the efforts for a comprehensive settlement and not strengthen the perception that the north is a sub-administration of Turkey,” the TDP leader said.
He argued that the fenced-off town could have been dealt with as a confidence-building measure (CBM) in exchange for direct flights to Ercan (Tymbou) airport and direct trade through Famagusta port.
Moreover, Tufan Erhürman, the leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) also slammed Anastasiades for his remarks on revoking RoC citizenships. Erhürman reminded the Greek Cypriot leader that Turkish Cypriots were granted citizenship rights by the 1960 Republic and accused him of making statements devoid of reason or logic.
>> Anastasiades’ remarks a publicity stunt aimed at raising nationalist sentiment on the island.
>> Anastasiades’ remarks a publicity stunt aimed at raising nationalist sentiment on the island.
>> HP will continue to support Maraş (Varosha) initiative as long as it is carried out correctly.
>> Proposal to revoke RoC citizenship archaic, chauvinistic & against basic human rights as well as the EDHR.
>> Maraş (Varosha) initiative which does not have the support of the international community is doomed to fail.
>> Moves on Maraş (Varosha) should contribute to a solution & not strengthen the perception that the north is a sub-administration of Turkey.
>> Maraş (Varosha) could have been taken up as a CBM in exchange for direct flights & direct trade.
>> RoC citizenship is a right granted to TCs by the 1960 Republic.
Kutlay Erk: The US wants natural gas but cannot give up on TurkeyYenidüzen
Energy, Regional/International Relations
Former Foreign Minister Kutlay Erk on Monday said Turkey is carrying out a well-thought strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean and both Greece and the Greek Cypriot side are fully aware that the US, even though it wants to benefit from the natural gas in the region, cannot give up on Turkey.
Speaking on SIM TV, Erk argued that the global powers are only giving solidarity messages with the Greek Cypriot side and Greece to be able to tap into the region’s natural reserves.
“When the day comes, these countries will claim they stood by the Greek Cypriot side, asking for the natural gas in return,” Erk argued, adding that the Greek Cypriot side is fully aware of their strategy but has to go along with it due to domestic issues in the south.
He also pointed out that Turkey is also to blame in the region for not maintaining good neighbourly relations with the country in the region.
“The balance in the Eastern Mediterranean is very fragile,” Erk said, adding that the US cannot let go of Turkey due to their interests in the region.