AktüelMedya OdasıPress reviewTurkish Cypriot press review: Police followed Akacan for a year

Turkish Cypriot press review
Gazedda Kıbrıs Gazedda KıbrısEylül 3, 2019
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GazeddaKibris is an independent and non profit news portal promoting fundemental values like human rights, social justice and peace. As GazeddaKibris we are happy to promote Cyprus Dialogue Forum’s efforts to enhance the level of understanding of the communities in Cyprus. The content of the media reviews are prepared by Cyprus Dialogue Forum and GazeddaKibris shares their original content to reach wider audience.

Front Page Headlines

Yenidüzen

‘We’ve been observing for a year’

The police investigation launched last week into the illegal online betting scheme discovered during a police operation has been expanded. Ten suspects, including businessman Bulut Akacan appeared before the Nicosia district court on Monday. The judge ordered all ten suspects to be remanded in police custody for a further eight days. The police officer who testified in court said they had been following the suspects for a year. 

  • She’s working for the terms of reference – UN special envoy Lute to meet with Akıncı for the third time.
  • “We need to have a predictable process in Cyprus which is not open-ended” – Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Tufan Erhürman speaks to Anadolu News Agency.
  • “Crossing points should operate faster” –TC Chamber of Commerce urges the government to take measures at crossing points. 

Kıbrıs Postası

Famagusta retailers waiting for university students 

Kıbrıs Postası speaks to retailers in Famagusta who complain of slow business during the summer break. They say they are looking forward to the return of the university students to the town. 

  • Lute’s visit transforms into shuttle diplomacy 
  • Erhürman: “Greek Cypriot side wants to keep both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots out of the [energy] equation. 

Kıbrıs

Police followed Akacan for a year 

Businessman Bulut Akacan, together with nine of his employees appeared before court on charges of online betting and illegal gambling. The judge ordered them to be remanded in custody for a further eight days. 

  • Murder suspect seriously injured after falling from the third floor – Greek Cypriot police arrested the suspected leader of the group responsible for the murder of Gökhan Naim. Murder suspect Zahid Masood attempted to flee by jumping from the third floor. He is now in intensive care. 
  • KIBTEK (TC Electricity authority) to hold a warning strike on Thursday

Havadis

“Occupation” with iron rods

Cafer Gürcafer, head of Cyprus Turkish Building Contractors Association, spoke to Havadis as to why the construction of 41 new buildings for mukhtars has yet to be completed. The buildings were initially planned to be completed in 180 days but remain incomplete 240 days on. 

  • Like the arms of an octopus – The extent of the illegal online betting network is far bigger than initially thought according to the information given by the police during the court hearing held for Bulut Akacan and his employees. The court ordered Akacan and the nine other suspects to remain in police custody for eight more days while seizing 18 computers, 17 mobile phones, seven external hard drives, one USB drive, 405 SIM cards and 255 ATM cards. 

Diyalog

Police searching for a hundred more

While a second site was discovered as part of the investigation into the illegal online betting scheme, the court ordered Bulut Akacan and nine other suspects to be remanded in police custody for eight more days. 

  • Ledra Palace crossing should be opened – The TC Chamber of Commerce pointed out that number of Greek Cypriots and foreigners that crossed over to the North in 2017 was 2.5 million and that this figure grew to 3.5 million in 2018. The chamber made a new proposal for vehicle crossings.
  • First action – TC Businessmen’s Association (İŞAD) is holding a demonstration at the Metehan (Agios Dometios) crossing point to draw attention to the difficulties experienced at the crossing point.
  • Conditions have become tougher –Greek Cypriot administration not to issue passports to those who served prison sentences, those under investigation or those involved in bribery or tax evasion. 
  • Big difference –Bed capacity of South Cyprus 87,000, 25,000 in the North.

Afrika

Search underway for a hundred persons

Police deepen its investigation into the online betting operation. Police officer testifying in court says seven of the nine suspects arrested in connection with illegal online betting do not have work permits. The officer in charge of the investigation Yahya Suiçmez said that phone records will be examined. He added a further inquiry will be made regarding 100 employees. 

Main News

Lute pushes to complete terms of reference 

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute will meet with President Mustafa Akıncı on Tuesday afternoon for a third consecutive day within the framework of her efforts to formulate the terms of reference which will pave the way for the resumption of Cyprus talks, all six dailies reported on Tuesday.

In a statement after Monday’s meeting, Akıncı’s spokesman Barış Burcu announced Tuesday’s meeting, stating that the UN envoy was continuing her efforts to complete the terms of reference. 

Meanwhile, the Deputy leader of the Rebirth Party Enver Öztürk on Monday criticized the ongoing efforts of the UN special envoy.

Öztürk said that Lute needed to explain to the Turkish Cypriot side which aspects of the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality regarding a settlement had changed.

In a written statement, Öztürk pointed to the accusations made by the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades towards the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey regarding the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem as well as the hydrocarbon issue. 

He recalled that Akıncı had repeatedly stated after Crans Montana that the Greek Cypriot side’s mentality had not changed and that resuming talks under such circumstances was meaningless. 

“We are asking the president. Is there any change in Mr Anastasiades’ mentality? If so what are these changes? If there is no change, are all these contacts political manoeuvres aimed towards the upcoming presidential elections?” Öztürk said.

Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Cypriot parliament Zorlu Töre joined the chorus of criticisms against Akıncı and his latest contacts with the UN special envoy. 

“Instead of hanging on to unrealistic solution models, we would have been saving ourselves of uncertainty should we have protected our state,” Töre said. 

He added that some state officials continued to utter false dreams of a united federal Cyprus, abandoning TRNC like an orphan. 

Noting that it is not possible to speak of an agreement, Töre argued that UN Lute’s visit will not change anything. He went on to claim that the Greek Cypriot and Greek mindset remain the same making it impossible to reach a positive result even if the talks were to resume.  

“It is time for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It’s time to strengthen our national stance,” Töre said.

KEY ACTORS
Töre
>> TCs should abandon unrealistic solution models and focus on strengthening the TRNC.


Erhürman says political equality essential for a federal settlement

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis 
Negotiations Process, Energy

OVERVIEW

The leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman on Monday said the Greek Cypriot side was trying to exclude both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey from the energy equation in the eastern Mediterranean. 

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, the CTP leader reminded that several convergences existed between the two leaders on the issue of hydrocarbons.

He said that should a federal settlement be reached on the island; the issue of maritime borders or jurisdiction would be a federal competency. 

“The absence of a federal settlement does not give the Greek Cypriot side the right to act unilaterally on the issue. Political equality is essential for a federal settlement and in the event, a federal settlement is reached Turkish Cypriots will also have a right to say over the island’s resources. As long as there isn’t a federal settlement, there are two communities under the umbrella of the UN,” he added. 

Erhürman also said that the counter-proposal brought to the table by Anastasiades in response to the Turkish Cypriot side’s proposal for a joint committee to manage hydrocarbons was a violation of the 1960 constitution. 

“To propose the establishment of a committee that will only brief the Turkish Cypriots of developments is unacceptable,” he said. 

The message given by the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey must be understood well by the Greek Cypriot side, Erhürman added. 

“Both the Greek Cypriot side and the international community must see that this attitude on the hydrocarbons issue is not serving efforts to achieve peace on the island,” he said.

Responding to a question as to whether or not he believed the issue could ignite a conflict in the region, Erhürman said he did not believe the situation could spiral into a heated conflict.

He expressed the view that stability and peace could be achieved through economic interdependence between the two sides. 

On the negotiations process, Erhürman argued that the UN reports failed to reflect the Turkish Cypriot side’s positive stance mainly due to the UN’s attempt not to offend the Greek Cypriot side and to adopt a balanced approach between the two sides. 

He said the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades had created debate on two main issues following the collapse of talks in Crans Montana. 

“One of these issues was a two-state solution or confederation which he voiced behind closed doors. These were leaked to the Greek Cypriot press. In public, he talked about a decentralized federation. Anastasiades has been playing for time ever since Crans Montana because there is this wrong perception that time will work to their advantage,” he said. 

Erhürman added that the Greek Cypriot side tried to delay the process to reverse the psychological superiority Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side achieved in Crans Montana in the eyes of the international community. 

He reminded that the UN Security Council in its latest resolution once again underlined that political equality and effective participation in decision-making were both important parameters of a federal settlement. 

Erhürman recalled that the UNSC resolution also pointed out that any new negotiations process could not be open-ended.

“There is nothing which has not been discussed on the Cyprus Problem. The areas were disagreements or divergences exist is clear. As a result, any new process to be launched must be the final process. This process should not be open-ended and we must achieve a result. This is the kind of process the UN needs to launch. The Cyprus Problem in a way is a problem of predictability for both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots,” he added.

The CTP leader also warned that a possible tripartite or five-party meeting in New York will bear negative consequences for the Cyprus Problem if the Greek Cypriot side resumes its current position on political equality. 

Asked to comment on the upcoming presidential elections in the north, Erhürman said that the decision of nominating the party’s candidate will be up to the new party assembly which will be elected at the upcoming party congress. 

He said that it would not be right to start a debate on this issue in light of the upcoming meetings in New York.

KEY ACTORS
Erhürman (CTP)
>> Absence of a federal settlement does not give GC side the right to act unilaterally on hydrocarbons. 
>> Political equality is essential for a federal settlement. TCs will have a say on the island’s resources following a federal settlement.
>> GC side’s counter-proposal to brief TCs of developments a violation of 1960 constitution. 
>> GC side & Int. community should see that GC’s attitude on hydrocarbons is not serving peace.  
>> Stability & peace can be achieved through economic interdependence. 
>> GC’s perception that time will work in their favour is wrong.
>> Any new process must not be open-ended & must be results-oriented. 
>> Tripartite or five-party meeting in NY will have negative consequences on Cyprob if GC side resumes is current position on political equality.  


HP reiterates support to the opening of Maraş (Varosha)

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

OVERVIEW

“We believe that the opening of the fenced-off city of Maraş (Varosha) will contribute greatly to Famagusta’s economy and the island,” head of the Peoples’ Party’s Famagusta District Office Süleyman Canatan said.

In a written statement on Monday, Canatan argued that the move to open Maraş (Varosha) will not only remove a standing symbol of the status quo on the island but will also reintegrate the ghost town with the rest of Famagusta. 

“No doubt it will not be an easy feat to achieve. The detailed inventory needs to be completed as soon as possible to determine a road map on how to proceed,” he said. 

Canatan added it was important to respect and preserve the rights of the town’s former residents. 

He argued that the initial reactions to the news that work on the inventory had started was positive and supportive.

The HP district head also argued that the recent visit to the fenced-off city by a group of journalists had shifted the mood in a positive direction. 

“We believe that support for the move will grow once the inventory is completed and decisions on the next steps will be announced. The area had been sealed off for the past 45 years. It was a popular tourist hotspot before it was abandoned and I do not believe there is another place with the same status as Maraş (Varosha),” he concluded.

KEY ACTORS
Canatan (HP)
>>
 Opening Maraş (Varosha) will have a positive impact on the TC economy. 
>> Opening Maraş (Varosha) will not only remove standing symbol of status quo but will integrate town with rest of Famagusta. 
>> Important to preserve rights of town’s former residents. 
>> Support for Maraş (Varosha) move will grow once inventory is completed and next steps are announced. 


Business community calls for more crossing points 

Yenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Kıbrıs Postası, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika 
Economy, CBMs

OVERVIEW

The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) has presented Prime Minister Ersin Tatar with a report proposing a series of measures to speed up on easing of crossing procedures into the north, particularly at the Metehan (Agios Dometios) crossing point, all six dailies reported on Tuesday. 

In a written statement, KTTO pointed out there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals who crossed over to north in the past year. 

Comparing the numbers, the report pointed out that 2,592.114 people (non-Turkish Cypriots) had crossed over to the north in 2017 while this figure had reached 3.5 million the following year.

“In the first six months of 2019, the number of crossings has exceeded two million,” the statement added. 

It also said that Greek Cypriots’ credit card spending was also increasing at the same ratio as the number of crossings. 

The KTTO report suggests increasing the number of crossing points; the number of staff at the crossing points and opening the Ledra Palace crossing point to civilian vehicles.

The opening of an alternative crossing point to the west of Nicosia is also among the recommendations made by the report. 

Another recommendation was to establish a committee on the matter without delay and to seriously evaluate proposals. 

“Easing the crossings will increase the number of people crossing to the north. It will not only help the Turkish Cypriot economy grow and become more competitive but also will contribute to developing the relationship between the two communities,” the chamber concluded. 

In a similar move on Monday, the Turkish Cypriot Turkish Businessperson’s Association (İŞAD) asked the government to increase the number of immigration officials at the Metehan (Agios Dometios) crossing point to speed up the crossings.

“The long queues forming at the crossing point mainly due to the increase in the number of Greek Cypriots who to do more shopping in the north as a result of the weakening Turkish Lira has become torture,” İŞAD Board Director Enver Mamülcü said in a written statement issued on Monday. 

Noting that the association has carried out on-site inspections, Mamülcü stressed the number of personnel on duty at crossing points needs to be increased swiftly, the shift periods need to be shortened, the lanes at the crossing point must be doubled while more advanced technology such as a swipe-and-go system should be introduced. İŞAD also urged the authorities to work on opening new crossings point at Kaymaklı (Kaimakli) and Çağlayan (Omorfita) areas in Nicosia; in Beyarmudu (Pergamos) and Famagusta.

“It must be the government’s top priority to provide swift and secure crossing to all visitors, who also contribute to the country’s economy,” Mamülcü concluded. 

KEY ACTORS
KTTO 
>> Number of crossing points; the number of booths & personnel must be increased. 
>> Alternative crossing point to the west of Nicosia needed. 
>> Easing process of crossings will help TC economy to grow stronger & become more competitive. 
>> More crossings will also contribute to developing relations between two communities. 

İŞAD
>> Government must increase the number of staff at Metehan (Ayios Domethios) crossing point.
>> The shiftsneed to be shortened; more lanes added & more advanced tech such as swipe-and-go systems must be installed.  
>> New crossings point at Kaymaklı (Kaimakli) & Çağlayan (Omorfita) in Nicosia; in Beyarmudu (Pergamos) and Famagusta needed.  
>> Top priority of authorities must be to provide swift & secure crossing to all visitors, who also contribute to the country’s economy. 


GC police arrest suspect involved in Gökhan Naim’s murder 

Kıbrıs
Internal Security 

OVERVIEW

Zahid Masood, the suspected leader of the group of Pakistani nationals responsible for the murder of Gökhan Naim, was arrested by Greek Cypriot police, Kıbrıs reported on Tuesday.

Citing credible sources, the paper reported that Masood had attempted to flee the apartment in which he was hiding following a raid by Greek Cypriot police. Masood was severely injured in the process after falling from the third floor; his arms and legs were broken and is now in intensive care. 

Göknan Naim, owner of Gesfi exchange office was gunned down outside his home in Nicosia on 13 March 2019. The suspects had fled to the south with the stolen money. 

Earlier in August, murder suspects Azmad Ali Virk and Imran Arshan were returned to the Turkish Cypriot authorities via the United Nations. Following police questioning, it was determined that Arshan was not involved in Naim’s murder but will still serve a prison sentence for entering the north through unlawful means. 

Other key suspects Tanveer Ahmad and Ali Hassan together with Zahid Masood are also expected to be handed over to Turkish Cypriot authorities, Kıbrıs reported.

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