AktüelMedya OdasıTCC Press Review: Maraş (Varosha) is being used as an election ploy

Mustafa Akıncı answered questions on the joint TV programme. Regarding the roundtable meeting in the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) Akıncı said, “Things are said two months before an election. There is no one who doesn’t know what that meeting meant.” He also said that he did not find the excuse that he wasn’t invited to the meeting because the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wasn’t invited either, convincing.
Gazedda Kıbrıs Gazedda KıbrısŞubat 21, 2020
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Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

Never-ending plunder

The fields and house in Dipkarpaz (Rizokarpaso) in which Greek Cypriot Nikola Lithragkomitou Kasapi lived in from 1974 to 1988 has been given to someone else. Kasapi who also has a TRNC title deed for the properties has applied to the Ombudsperson regarding her case. Kasapi’s properties do not fall under the legal category of abandoned properties. The ombudsperson Emine Dizdarlı accessed Kasapi’s title deed records. The properties in question were assigned by authorities to a person of Turkish origin from 1995-1998 before being sold to a foreigner by the same individual. Both properties, however, are still registered under Kasapi’s names, it has emerged.

Kıbrıs Postası

“If it’s not going to be opened under UN control, it should remain as it is”

Simos Ioannou, Greek Cypriot “mayor of Famagusta” from AKEL, said, “If Maraş (Varosha) is not going to be opened under the authority of the United Nations (UN), the town should remain as it is until a solution is reached.” He added if the fenced-off town is opened under the Turkish Cypriot administration, it will show that the Turkish Cypriot side does not want a solution and the Greek Cypriot residents of Maraş (Varosha) will not be able to return. Ioannou spoke to Kıbrıs Postası about the opening of Maraş (Varosha).

  • Erhürman: “A new vision needed at the Office of the President.”
  • Özersay: “A leadership that will unify the community is the way forward for us.”
  • Tatar: “The price hike on medicine in Turkey reflected in the TRNC.”

Kıbrıs

Deterring penalties needed for workplace accidents

The Larnaca District Court ordered a company to pay a €32.000 fine due to a workplace accident. The highest fine that can be issued for a workplace accident in the north is ₺43.200 (€6.857 approx.) Güvenç Yüksel, head of the Union for Health and Safety Experts said the fines in the north are not deterring enough. “Both the worker and the employer must feel the weight of the sanctions,” he stressed.

  • Maraş (Varosha) should be opened in line with the international law – Turkish Union of Bar Associations issued the final communiqué from the roundtable meeting held in the fenced-off town.

Havadis

A blow to EMU

The flagship of the TRNC higher education, the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) is in a mess. EMU Rector Prof Dr Necdet Osam accused the senior coalition partner in the government and resigned with his team during a press conference he called on Thursday.

Diyalog

Turkey will be asked to send him over

The Supreme Court rejected an application to revoke the decision to lift Hüseyin Özgürgün’s political immunity. Lawyers say that the way to pursue legal action has now opened.

  • Military efforts draw attention – While South Cyprus and Jordon signed an agreement to hold joint military exercises, Greek Cypriot commandoes conducted an exercise in Troodos using live ammunition.

Afrika

Maraş (Varosha) is being used as an election ploy

Mustafa Akıncı answered questions on the joint TV programme. Regarding the roundtable meeting in the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) Akıncı said, “Things are said two months before an election. There is no one who doesn’t know what that meeting meant.” He also said that he did not find the excuse that he wasn’t invited to the meeting because the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wasn’t invited either, convincing.

Main News

Özersay highlights importance of collaboration

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Negotiations Process, Property, Territory, Governance & Power Sharing, Energy

OVERVIEW

“Collaboration for a solution before a solution is needed,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister and independent presidential candidate Kudret Özersay said on Thursday summarizing his views on the Cyprus issue.

Speaking on a live programme on Bayrak, Özersay added despite claims by some that collaboration would replace the goal for a comprehensive settlement; he argued that was possible to build trust between the two communities through collaboration.

Asked to compare his previous candidacy in 2015 and now, Özersay said that not only had the conjuncture changes but that swift and significant changes had taken place in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The Turkish Cypriot side has managed to establish the balance in the field with its collaboration with Turkey and the Turkish Petroleum (TPAO),” he said.

Özersay drew attention to the failure of the Crans Montana process.

“The biggest difference between the two elections is that following the Cyprus conference, the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades revealed that he was open to discussing other solution alternatives,” Özersay said.

He added the Greek Cypriot leader’s move could have been yet another delaying tactic but his stance resulted in questioning the possibility of discussing new ideas outside known United Nations (UN) parameters.

“The international community is now questioning whether it is possible to discuss something new and different,” Özersay argued.

Asked whether the Turkish Cypriot side’s hydrocarbon activities would motivate the Greek Cypriot side to worth forth for an agreement, Özersay argued that there are instruments that the international community and the Turkish Cypriot side can use to bring the Greek Cypriot side closer to a solution.

“In this regard, the Turkish Cypriot side’s agreements with Turkey, granting licenses to TPAO and conducting seismic research in the eastern Mediterranean are the instruments the Turkish Cypriot side is utilising. These are called ‘leverage’ manoeuvres in diplomacy,” Özersay said.

He noted that there are prominent European Union (EU) member states, who are already working between the two sides as an intermediary on the issue of hydrocarbons.

“The UN Secretary-General’s report also gave the message that the two sides can discuss certain issues and be in dialogue before a comprehensive settlement without the fear of recognition of the north. The EU rapporteur also said it is possible to collaborate on hydrocarbons before a solution,” Özersay said.

He also reminded that collaboration between the two sides already exists in a number of areas.

“The two sides were cooperating on electricity since the explosion at the naval base in the south in 2011. Recently has become institutionalized with the permanent connection of electricity grids. There is also institutionalised collaboration on missing persons through the Committee of Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP). There is now an agreement for the simultaneous exchange of third-national suspects between the north and the south through the UN,” Özersay pointed out

He argued that institutionalised collaboration was important not only because it helped develop trust among the two communities but also would have economic benefits for the two sides,” he noted.

Asked to comment on Maraş (Varosha) and the recent developments, Özersay said he had first proposed the idea of returning the fenced-off town to former inhabitants and opening it under the Turkish Cypriot control, in 2012.

He recalled that he then made the same proposal in his 2015 election campaign. “When I became the foreign minister and at the first given opportunity, I presented the Council of Ministers with the idea and has now been adopted as the government’s policy,” Özersay said.

Referring to the roundtable meeting held in Maraş (Varosha), Özersay said the government had not taken any new decisions on the fenced-off city.

“As I said before that the inventory study is continuing and is not completed,” he added.

Özersay also stressed any new decision to be adopted on Maraş (Varosha) can only be done after the elections in the north.

“The Maraş (Varosha) decision has forced the Greek Cypriot side out of its comfort zone,” Özersay argued, adding that the south has now seen how serious the Turkish Cypriot side is on re-opening of the fenced-off town.

He recalled that the Greek Cypriot side had appealed to the UN Security Council (UNSC) to adopt a new resolution but had failed.

“It is because we presented convincing counter-arguments when we were in New York. We explained that our motives were aimed at bringing the situation closer to international law and human rights,” Özersay stressed.

“The opening of Maraş (Varosha) will end a 40-year-long predicament; will transform a military zone into a civilian area and allow former inhabitants to access or be compensated for their properties through the Immovable Property Commission (IPC). These are steps will bring us closer and more in line with international law,” Özersay argued.

Asked to clarify what Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay meant by saying Maraş (Varosha) was TRNC land, Özersay said: “It is an area within the Republic however like any other military zones, there is restricted access just like any other military zone elsewhere.”

He gave the UN camp in Famagusta as an example and said it is not possible to enter the camp as it is a military base but it still is within the TRNC.  

Moreover, he highlighted that the opening of the fenced-off town will also generate economic development for the north in the form of new employment, property taxes, and other activities.

Özersay, responding to a question as to why the government did not open the fenced-off town right away, said, “This is exactly what I am asking and advocating for,” and argued that the circles who urge to allow access to former inhabitants should see that this is what the Maraş (Varosha) initiative is all about.

Özersay asked to comment on the reasons for not inviting the president to the roundtable meeting, said this was a meeting organised by an NGO and not the state. It would have been a problem if it was an official meeting and the president would have not been invited.

“I strongly believe that the issue was being exploited for election purposes.

He also claimed that the tension-based politics was also another election manoeuvre.

Özersay accused Akıncı of creating an artificial agenda following the collapse of the talks in Crans Montana claiming that Ankara had set out to swallow Turkish Cypriots.

“Turkey is our biggest ally. It is possible to stand proud without causing any fights with the officials in Turkey but one can only do so with knowledge, experience and with the power of diplomacy,” Özersay argued.

He highlighted the importance of direct communication rather than entering a blame game through the media.

“We have been enjoying island-wide mobile phone interoperability between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides but it has not been possible for the president of the TRNC to pick up the phone to call the president of Turkey for a while. Relations are at a level now that requires confidence-building measures with Turkey,” Özersay stressed.

Özersay added “Creating tension might result in an election victory but it threatens communal peace. At a time when we talk about making peace with the Greek Cypriot side, we must establish communal peace first.” 

Özersay, in response to a question on the possibility of a five-party conference following the elections, said the five-party conference can only be meaningful if there is the possibility of discussing new ideas.

“Otherwise, if it is going to be the continuation of the talks from the point where things left of and would only mean imprisoning the Turkish Cypriots in the endless negotiations process,” Özersay concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Özersay (HP)
>> Collaboration for a solution before a solution is needed.
>> Collaboration will not replace the comprehensive settlement but will build trust between the two communities.
>> The TC side has balanced the playing field with its collaboration with Turkey & TPAO in the East Med.
>> The TC side’s agreements with Turkey, granting licenses to TPAO & conducting seismic surveying in the East Med. are leverage instruments which will bring the GC side to the table.
>> Both UNSG and EU rapporteur said it is possible to collaborate on hydrocarbons before a solution.
>> Institutionalised collaboration is important because it could help develop trust between the two sides & have economic benefits.
>> The proposal on reopening of Maraş (Varosha) and returning properties to former inhabitants is now accepted as a government policy.
>> Any new decision can only be adopted on Maraş (Varosha) after the elections in the north.
>> The Maraş (Varosha) decision has forced the GC side out of its comfort zone.
>> The opening of Maraş (Varosha) will end a 40-year plus predicament; will transform a military zone to a civilian area allow former residents to return or be compensated through the IPC.
>> Maraş (Varosha) is an area within the TRNC however like any other military zones, there is restricted access.
>> The opening of the fenced-off town will also generate economic development for the north in the form of new employment, property taxes & other activities.
>> The Maraş (Varosha) initiative is about reopening the town to its former inhabitants.
>> It would have been a problem if the roundtable meeting was official meeting & the president was not invited.
>> Turkey is our biggest ally. It is possible to stand proud without causing any fights with the officials in Turkey.
>> Creating tension might result in an election victory but it threatens communal peace.
>> The five-party conference can only be meaningful if there is the possibility of discussing new ideas.


Bicommunal committee proposal justifies Maraş (Varosha) policy, says Hasipoğlu

Kıbrıs Postası
Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

National Unity Party MP Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu on Thursday said that the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ proposal for the establishment of a bicommunal committee on Maraş (Varosha) as a confidence-building measure (CBM) proved just how right the government’s policy on the fenced-off city was.

Speaking on a programme on Kıbrıs Postası Web TV, Hasipoğlu said that the idea of establishing a bicommunal committee on Maraş (Varosha) had first emerged during the former US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the island.

“The fact that the Greek Cypriot side has rehashed this idea shows just how much it has been disturbed by the Maraş (Varosha) roundtable,” he said.

Oğuzhan recalled that the Turkish Cypriot side had proposed several times to open the fenced-off city in exchange for direct flights to Ercan (Tymbou) or the old Nicosia airport for joint use.

“The Greek Cypriots had rejected all these proposals outright. It seems now they have assessed the situation from their perspective and now fear that their citizens may accept returning to the city under Turkish Cypriot control as a result of steps taken through the Immovable Property Commission (IPC),” he said.

Hasipoğlu said that the Turkish Cypriot side should continue to take steps that will shake Greek Cypriots out of their comfort zone.

“I believe that we can’t open the way for Turkish Cypriots by insisting that the only alternative is a federal solution,” he added.

The UBP MP said that they will examine the proposal made to the UN Secretary-General for the joint committee, adding that the stance to be adopted by the president would be important.

Hasipoğlu reminded that there were 281 applications filed with the IPC concerning Maraş (Varosha).

“193 of the applicants want the return of their properties while 87 are demanding that they are compensated,” he said.


Maraş (Vaorsha) should remain closed unless opened under UN

Kıbrıs Postası
Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

“If Maraş (Varosha) is not going to be opened under the authority of the United Nations (UN), the town should remain as it is until the solution,” Simos Ioannou, Greek Cypriot “mayor of Famagusta,” said.

Expressing support for the bicommunal, bizonal federal solution (BBF), Ioannou added that the town should be opened under the authority of the UN until the solution is found and both Turkish and Greek Cypriots can work there together. “Any other option is out of the question,” Ioannou stressed.

Speaking to Kıbrıs Postası about the opening of Maraş (Varosha), Ioannou questioned the reasons for wanting to open the fenced-off town under the Turkish Cypriot administration. “If Maraş (Varosha) is opened in such a way, it will show that they do not want a solution,” Ioannou stressed.

He noted that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Maraş (Varosha) are clear.

Ioannou also argued that the Greek Cypriot residents of Maraş (Varosha) will not return to the town if it is opened under Turkish Cypriot administration.

“Both Turkish and Greek Cypriots will lose if there is no solution on the island,” Ioannou concluded. 


Final communiqué issued for Maraş (Varosha) roundtable

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Property, Territory

OVERVIEW

The Turkish Union of Bar Associations on Thursday issued a final communiqué for the recently held roundtable on the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha).

The communiqué, for “The Legal, Political and Economic Aspects of the Maraş (Varosha) Initiative” roundtable said that the participants which included senior officials, academics, legal experts and representatives of civil society organisations had reached a consensus on various aspects concerning the fenced-off city.

It pointed out that the European Union (EU), in violation of international law, had made a huge strategic mistake on May 1, 2004, by allowing South Cyprus to join the bloc before a solution was reached on the island.

“It has emerged that it is not possible to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus that envisages sharing power and wealth based on political and sovereign equality due to the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigent stance,” the communiqué read.

Highlighting the need to change the status of Maraş (Varosha) which has been closed since 1974, the final communiqué pointed out that the fenced-off city was an extension of Famagusta.

“The sovereignty and land belong to the TRNC but the properties built on this land might have different owners,” it read.

The communiqué also stated that the TRNC had made historic moves by including a two-state solution and the Maraş (Varosha) initiative in its government programme.

It pointed out that the most effective tool to proceed with the reopening of Maraş (Varosha) was the TRNC Immovable Property Commission (IPC).

“The IPC which is recognized by the European Court of Human Rights as an effective domestic remedy is the most suitable tool for this initiative. Within this context, the fenced-off city should be opened in a manner that will bring no detriment to the interests of its pre-1974 residents and rightful owners in accordance with international law and just practices,” the communiqué read.

It also pointed out that Maraş(Varosha), in light of the slim chance of a partnership based on political and sovereign equality, should no longer be held as a captive of the Cyprus Problem.

“The issue should be solved in a manner which will be beneficial to the rightful owners, the island and the TRNC,” the communiqué concluded.


Turkey will send third drillship if needed, threatens Çavuşoğlu

Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Ankara will “not hesitate” to dispatch a third drillship to the eastern Mediterranean if needed, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

told Turkish state television, TRT Haber.

Asked about where the third drillship, just acquired by Ankara, might be deployed, Çavuşoğlu said it was not clear yet.

It would depend on which gas targets are identified by the two seismic survey vessels – the Oruç Reis and the Barbaros – currently operating in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The third drillship could be dispatched to either the Aegean, the Black Sea, or the eastern Mediterranean,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“This will be a decision taken by our ministry of energy. But the third drillship is on its way and if necessary…we shall not hesitate to send it to the eastern Mediterranean and the area around Cyprus.”

He said that Greece, in particular, had been disturbed by the deal signed between Ankara and Tripoli and went on to urge Athens to “compromise” and to sign a maritime agreement with Turkey similar to that recently signed between Ankara and Tripoli.

“Do not play games behind our back. Learn how to share the eastern Mediterranean,” he said.


Ombudsperson report reveals Kasapi’s rights violated

Yenidüzen
Property

OVERVIEW

Yenidüzen on Friday brought back to the limelight a 2018 dated report published by the Turkish Cypriot ombudsperson Emine Dizdarlı concerning properties belonging to former Greek Cypriot resident of Dipkarpaz (Rizokarpaso) Niki Nikola Lithragkomitou Kasapi.

A field and house belonging to Kasapi who lived in the village from 1974 to 1988 and who is a blue TRNC ID holder (given to Maronites and Greek Cypriots living in the north) were given to someone else in 1995 after he moved to the south. The properties, which have TRNC title deeds had then been sold by the individual, a person of Turkish origin, to a foreigner in 1998. However an investigation by the ombudsperson revealed that the title deeds were still registered under Kasapi’s name, the transfer and sale of the properties were not legal and that he should be compensated for his loss.

The report said that the properties in question did not fall under the legal category of ‘abandoned properties’ which would allow the state to appropriate and reassign such properties to other individuals.

Speaking on the issue, Kasapi said that she had been forced to move to Limassol after she was threatened years ago.

“It was then that my home and property was given to someone else,” she said.

Kasapi pointed out that she had filed a petition with the Turkish Cypriot Interior Ministry in 2016 and later to the land registry department but has received no response since.

The ombudsperson’s report states that Kasapi’s search for justice had been deliberately ignored by Turkish Cypriot authorities.

It also pointed out that Kasapi had been denied access to her properties during all this time.


Turkish Cypriots have become poorer, says World Bank report

Yenidüzen
Economy

OVERVIEW

Turkish Cypriots are now on average €2,000 poorer than in 2011 in nominal terms, a recent report prepared by the World Bank has revealed.

The report titled “the Turkish Cypriot Macroeconomic Monitoring Note: Looking ahead to steer the economy toward a higher growth path that Is more resilient to shocks” includes important findings and recommendations.

It states that the depreciation of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies in 2018 had widespread implications on the Turkish Cypriot economy, reducing its growth by half.

The report also states the negative growth over the past two years the result of the shrinking of the service and construction sector.

A noticeable drop in financial assistance from Turkey has also led to serious financial consolidation, the report says.

The report also offers a series of recommendations for the ailing Turkish Cypriot economy such as focusing on creating flexibility in labour markets and private sector conditions, as well as protecting low incomes, with improved trust in institutions.

It also recommends focusing on alternative energy production to reduce the dependence on fuel which is effected by fluctuating currencies as well as introducing social reforms.

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