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Front Page Headlines
Calling Nicosia from Nicosia will be like calling Switzerland
Mobile phone interoperability will be possible but with ‘roaming’ rates. A trial period for mobile phone interoperability is expected to start at the end of this month. Calling someone from one side of Nicosia to the other will be possible via a hub in Switzerland. GSM companies will determine the call rates but roaming charges will most probably apply.
- Investigation within the police and prison – Yenidüzen’s headline on Wednesday made the agenda. Police visited the newspaper, got statements and launched an investigation following a claim by an escaped convict that he had bribed a police officer to help him flee.
- KIBTEK (Cyprus Turkish Electricity Authority) embezzlement figure could grow – Two KIBTEK employees who were arrested for pocketing money from the authority were brought before the court in Famagusta on Wednesday.
The state takes action at Geçitkale (Lefkonoiko): Flights to commence without Nadir
The state has given up on Asil Nadir, who has not delivered on any of his commitments to open the airport to flights. Kıbrıs Postası finds out from credible sources that the Civil Aviation Department under the Transportation Ministry has started to overhaul the systems in place in order to open the airport to at least helicopter and private jet landings and takeoffs, and for training flights.
- Greek Cypriots are not the sole owners of the island – PM Ersin Tatar underlined there are two equal peoples on the island and added Turkey is one of the strongest countries in the Eastern Mediterranean with a population of 80 million.
Those in the sluggish and bloated public sector who steal from the state are being awarded. Rather than being fired from the public sector and punished, they are being awarded either by being allowed to return to their jobs or by receiving their salaries from home.
- Six-year sentence for lorry driver – Driver of the lorry loaded with gravel, Ramazan Tomruk sentenced to six years in jail for the deaths of Kaleil and Emine Bdwan at the Ercan (Tymbou) – İskele (Trikomo) road last year.
- The fate of the public tendering bill unknown – The public tendering bill, which was prepared by the previous finance minister Serdar Denktaş, was rejected by the Economy, Finance, Budget and Planning Parliamentary Subcommittee.
All eyes on Ankara
Prime Minister Ersin Tatar was the guest at Havadis’ traditional lunch interview. Tatar made important statements regarding the economic protocol. He said the 2019-21 protocol had lost its purpose. Therefore, a separate and new protocol will be signed for 2019 within a month’s time.
- He signed it and received his money – The Immovable Property Commission has paid £428,360 to Ioannis Kyriakides to conclude one of the three pilot cases that will define the future of the IPC at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Kyriakides went to the IPC on Wednesday to sign the (title deed) transfer form for his property located near a military area close to the Değirmenlik (Kythrea) – Kyrenia road.
Greek Cypriots worse off than we are
Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars shared crime statistics in the north and the south of Cyprus with Diyalog readers.
- Warnings were effective – It has been informed arrest warrant issued for the crew of Fatih was not put into effect.
- Crisis turned into an opportunity – Spending of Greek Cypriots in the North exceed spending of Turkish Cypriots in the South.
- ‘It then evaporated’ – (Jean-Claude) Juncker who said they were very close to a solution in Cyprus expressed regret of not concluding a deal on the Cyprus Issue.
Who is the police officer who helped the drug dealer escape from prison for £20,000?
No trust left in the police. The latest incident cast a shadow on the police force’s credibility. The claim by an Iranian drug dealer that he escaped prison in North Cyprus by bribing a police officer has raised questions regarding other cases where the culprits managed to escape or are still at large.
Mobile phone interoperability will not be cheap
Yenidüzen reported on Thursday that mobile phone interoperability may not be a cheap deal after it emerged that mobile phone users will most probably be subject to roaming charges when using their phones outside the coverage area of their primary network providers.
The paper says that such calls might cost the same as making a call to Switzerland.
Turkish Cypriot GSM operators Telsim Vodafone and North Cyprus Turkcell entered into separate agreements with Comfone, a Switzerland-based international telecommunications company that provides mobile roaming, inter-carrier, and hub-based services to telecom operators worldwide in May.
The paper reports that a trial period for the mobile phone interoperability is expected to begin later this month and that call rates will be determined by the GSM companies themselves.
Meltem Onurkan Samani, General Coordinator of Technical Committees confirmed that roaming rates will be applied but said that GSM operators in the North were continuing to discuss the matter with the Swiss-based company.
Samani said the rates to be charged must be reasonable and should not be so high that it would discourage people from using their mobile phones when crossing over from one side to the other.
Speaking to Yenidüzen, Samani said that the process of determining the rates was still continuing.
Samani also said the fact that this confidence-building measure was being implemented after four years revealed the difficulties and excuses created by the Greek Cypriot side for cooperation in the absence of a comprehensive settlement.
Senior officials from Telsim Vodafone and North Cyprus Turkcell said that the President’s office will be announcing any new developments on the issue.
>> Roaming rates will apply for interoperability.
>> Rates charged must be reasonable and not too high.
>> Process of determining rates still continuing.
>> Late implementation of CBM reveals difficulties experienced in cooperating with GC side in absence of a comprehensive settlement
IPC pays £428,360 compensation due to GC property owner
The Immovable Property Commission (IPC) paid £428,360 to Ioannis Kyriakides to conclude one of the three pilot cases which are expected to define the future of the IPC at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Kyriakides went to IPC on Wednesday to sign the (title deed) transfer form for his property located near a military zone close to the Değirmenlik (Kythrea) – Kyrenia road. Kyriakides had filed a lawsuit at the ECHR complaining that the IPC had not paid him his due for two years.
The ECHR had set an 18 June deadline to the IPC to pay the money and had stated that it would start debating the legal future of the property commission if there would be no developments in favour of the plaintiff.
Six days before the deadline set by the ECHR for an amicable settlement, the Interior Ministry invited the Greek Cypriot property owner to collect the agreed amount in exchange for signing the title-deed transfer form for the property he was forced to leave.
Ioannis Kyriakides had applied to the IPC in 2011 and his case was concluded in 2017 with an agreement on the amount. However, the IPC failed to pay him for the past two years and as a result, Kyriakides had applied to ECHR, which then gave a deadline to IPC to make the payment. In addition to suffering from lack of financial resources to conclude property cases, the IPC is also legally restricted due to a unilateral decision taken by the Famagusta District Court stating Varosha, in its entirety belongs to the Abdullah Pasha Foundation. As a result, when Greek Cypriots apply to the IPC for their properties in Varosha, their applications are rejected on the basis of the decision taken in 2005.
There are currently 65 such cases pending at the ECHR. Some of these cases are rejected applications while others are filed on grounds that the IPC has failed to pay them the money agreed. The ECHR in this respect had identified three pilot cases and asked Turkey to prepare its defence until 18 June. On the other hand, a Greek Cypriot formerly from Varosha, whose application was rejected by the IPC, had challenged the Famagusta District Court’s decision by taking it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court hearings were concluded in February 2019 awaiting a verdict. It is not yet known whether the Supreme Court will announce its verdict before the deadline set by ECHR or not.
Baybars: Crime rate in South is worse than North
Turkish Cypriot Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars on Wednesday claimed that the crime rate in the South of the island was worse than the North.
She said that despite the growing complaints within the Turkish Cypriot community that crime has gone up, North Cyprus did not rank high above the global average.
Baybars shared in detail with Diyalog, the latest crime statistics report prepared by the TRNC Police Department which covers the period between 2015 and 2018.
The report compared crime figures in North Cyprus, Malta and South Cyprus which are of similar size and population. The number of cases of manslaughter, physical assault and battery, rape, drugs, robbery, burglary and fraud in the three countries was compared. In the past four years, the crimes under the eight categories were committed a total of 6597 times in the TRNC. This figure was 7988 in South Cyprus and 16,585 in Malta.
Diyalog reported that the absence of statistical information regarding physical battery and assault in South Cyprus does not allow a healthy assessment of the situation. According to the report, physical assault and battery is the most common crime committed both in North Cyprus and Malta. A total of 3071 cases of physical assault have been reported in North Cyprus and 3546 cases in Malta. The high number of incidents of household burglaries and robberies provides a picture of the situation in the South, the daily claims.
Among the three countries, household burglaries and robbery incidents are the lowest in North Cyprus. Drug-related offences are the most common type of crime committed in South Cyprus. According to the report, there were 3834 incidents of drug-related offences in South Cyprus in the last four years. This figure is 1346 in North Cyprus and 1032 in Malta.
Most of the drug-related offences in the North are linked to the South, the paper reports. It says that drug trafficking across the border from South to North is frequently reported by the police. South Cyprus also leads in cases of manslaughter or murder. A total of 34 murders were committed in South Cyprus followed by North Cyprus with 24 and Malta with 23.
The report also says that there has been a drop in the crime rate in 2018 compared to the previous year. The only cases which are on the increase are physical assault and battery.
Commenting on the report to Diyalog, Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars said that the general perception was that law and order were better in the South but that the report revealed that this was not the case.
“The report shows us there is more crime committed in South Cyprus and Malta. When we look at population changes and movements we see a general spike in crime rates all around the world. When comparing the crime rate with the population in the TRNC, we see that we are not at the top of the list,” she said.
Baybars also said that the argument that Cyprus was so safe in the past that people could sleep with their doors unlocked was no longer valid in today’s conditions. She said that efforts were being made to restructure and strengthen law enforcement in the country in an attempt to tackle the growing crime rate.
>> Crime rate lower in North compared to South. Figures back up this assessment.
>> North Cyprus not above the global average in crime rate when compared to the population.
>> Efforts being made to restructure and strengthen law enforcement in North Cyprus.
Juncker said not concluding a deal on Cyprus Issue among his biggest regrets
Negotiations Process, EU Matters
The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday expressed regret over the failure to solve the Cyprus Problem during his term in office.
Juncker mentioned the non-resolution of the Cyprus issue as “one of his regrets” concerning his tenure on the helm of the executive branch of the EU.
Juncker said in a televised interview with Politico Brussels, that he regrets not concluding a deal between the Republic of Cyprus (RoC) and the Turkish Cypriot community.
He was asked, “what is your biggest regret of the past five years?”.
Juncker answered: “There are many. You should ask what my successes are, then I would be unstoppable. I have some regrets, smaller but important ones. I am sad, although I was spending a lot of efforts in that direction, that I was not able to bring the Cypriot question to a good end. I started there, I visited Cyprus different times, the RoC also the Turkish community. We were very close and then it evaporated.”
Tatar: “Greek Cypriots not sole owners of Cyprus”
Kıbrıs Postası, Diyalog
Energy, Regional/International Relations
Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said on Wednesday that Greek Cypriots were not the sole owners of Cyprus and that there were two politically equal peoples living on the island.
Receiving a delegation from Turkey, Tatar said that Turkey has protected the rights of Turkish Cypriots to this day.
“We set up a state with the support of Turkey and we are trying to keep this state going by maintaining the prosperity of our people,” he said.
Tatar also said that the activities carried out by the Fatih within the framework of agreements signed with Turkey were extremely important for the Turkish Cypriot people.
He said that there were attempts being made to sow discord between the two countries which they will not allow.
>> GCs not sole owners of Cyprus. There are two equal peoples on the island.
>> Turkey’s activities in EastMed extremely important for TCs.
“CDF Press Review Disclaimer”
The articles in the CDF Press Review are translated or reproduced as they were reported by the media in each community, including the terminology adopted. Their inclusion in the review does not mean that CDF endorses the views they reflect or confirms the information they contain.