TRNC News Today – 29th April 2013 

EROGLU: ‘SOLUTION OF CYPRUS PROBLEM SHOULD BE PRIORITY OF ANASTASIADIS’

President Dervis Eroğlu said that the Greek Cypriot leader, Nikos Anastasiadis, should take into consideration the Cyprus problem as a priority,  at the opening of the 5th Mormenekse Artichoke Festival which was attended by President Dervis Eroğlu. The Minister of Public Works and Transportation Hamza Ersan Saner, The Minister of Finance Ersin Tatar, and some parliament members and mayors also participated in the ceremony. In his speech, stating that festivals are very important to Erogludisplay the Turkish Cypriot culture, President Eroğlu said  ‘Mormenekse Festival is very important to introduce artichokes to the external world and foreign markets’.

Moreover, expressing that he is making  big efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem with his authority given by people, Eroğlu said ‘Only the Turkish Cypriot side’s efforts are not enough to reach a fair and permanent solution in Cyprus.  The Greek Cypriot side should also be willing to reach a solution in Cyprus’.

Stressing that two solution plans were previously prepared, President Eroğlu said that the Turkish Cypriot side accepted both of these plans but the Greek Cypriot side refused them. Adding that the Greek Cypriot side is experiencing economic problems at the moment, Eroğlu said ‘We know their problem but negotiations should start as soon as possible and the Cyprus problem should be a priority for Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis. We are continuing our efforts to start the negotiations in the following months’.

PM KUCUK MET DOWNER

Prime Minister Irsen Küçük received the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer. The meeting was held  at the Prime Ministry and the Head of the Prime Ministry’s EU Co-ordination Centre, Erhan Erçin, was present during the visit which continued for about half an hour.

Expressing that negotiations have been interrupted as a reIrsen Küçüksult of elections in South Cyprus, PM Küçük said that Downer is meeting with the leaders in order to restart the negotiations.

‘We are continuing to put forward all our best in order to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. I once again told Mr. Downer that we will always be the supporter of a solution which will be found within the framework of UN parameters’ Mr. Küçük said.

As an answer to a question regarding negotiations, PM Küçük said that the date to restart the negotiations is not certain yet but he hoped a framework agreement is prepared by the end of this year which is also expected by Downer. Prime Minister İrsen Küçük also said that 2013 will be the most appropriate year for the solution of the Cyprus Problem.

KÜCUK: ‘TRNC ECONOMY IS DEVELOPING’

Prime Minister Irsen Küçük said that South Cyprus and many European countries have been experiencing economic crisis in recent years and the TRNC economy is developing continuously thanks to the decisions taken at the right time by our Government.

Speaking during the General Meeting of Limasol Türk Kooperatif Bank, PM Küçük said that a co-operative which was established in Limasol opening 14 branches in various points of the country and employing more than 200 personnel means a big contribution to the whole country, not only to the co-operative system.

Küçük also added that our country’s economy was developed 2.5 % in 2012 and this is proof of following a good route.

Moreover, stressing that their aim is to move our country to a better position, Küçük said that the 2013-2015 Program for Transition to Sustainable Economy which was signed with Turkey includes supporting the banking sector and decreasing interest rates. Küçük underlined that they hope interest rates decrease with the steps taken within the framework of the program.

DOWNER MET MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OZGURGUN

The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser Alexander Downer met the Minister of Foreign Affairs Huseyin Özgürgün.  Özgürgün said that he had a positive meeting with Downer and added that this was Downer’s second visit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Stating that in the past he discussed  the Yesilirmak border with Downer, Özgürgün said that this time they talked about the steps which will be taken regarding the Cyprus issue and expressed his opinion to Downer regarding the beginning of the Cyprus negotiations as soon as Alexander Downerpossible.

Downer said to Özgürgün that the crisis that the Greek Cypriot Administration has been going through is an important obstacle in terms of the beginning of the negotiations and added that a priority should be given to these economic problems and he does not believe the negotiations will  start soon.

Reminding that Downer is making efforts to restart the negotiations Özgürgün said that Downer is also having contacts with Turkey and Greece, the Guarantor States and he is taking their opinions.

Stating that the negotiations have been continuing for a long time and they do not want to go beyond the UN parameters Özgürgün reminded Downer once more that the EU cannot be accepted as a side and a road map has to come out.

As a response to a question, Özgürgün said that the starting date of the negotiations can be the end of the year. Repeating that the negotiations should reach a result Özgürgün stated that the Greek Cypriot Leader Anastasiadis is an advantage as he had said ‘yes’ to the Annan Plan.

Expressing that Anastasiadis was not quite sure and he might say ‘yes’ to the Plan to show an opponent view Özgürgün said that: “If we take Anatasiadis’s ‘yes’ as an acceptance, we go in the wrong direction”.

Describing Anastasiadis as “The party leader of EOKA”, Özgürgün added that EOKA is one of the main reasons of the continuation of the Cyprus problem  today.

REACTION OF FOREIGN MINISTER OZGURGUN TO GREEK SIDE

TRNC Foreign Minister Huseyin Özgürgün has evaluated the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Yoannis  Kasuilidis’ recent foreign visits aiming to express the Greek Cypriot thesis on the Cyprus issue as interesting. Minister Özgürgün said that this attitude Huseyin Özgürgünof the Greek Cypriot Leadership shows their insincerity and unwillingness towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Issuing a written statement,

Foreign Minister Özgürgün called on the countries which are closely watching the developments on the Cyprus issue to urge the Greek Cypriot Side to contribute to the negotiations process. Özgürgün stressed that: “The Turkish Side is determined to be the side contributing to the efforts aimed at finding a just and lasting solution on the island”.

CYPRUS LETTER FROM MEMBERS OF USA CONGRESS TO BAN

 Members of USA Congress, Ed Whitfield and Steve Cohen, opened a letter for signature at the Congress to be sent to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that brings together the two leaders of Cyprus about the Cyprus Problem and to call for action to find an urgent solution.

In the letter written up by Kentucky Parliamentarian of the Republican Party Ed Whitfield who is also the co-chair of Turkey Friendship Group at the USA House of Representatives and Tennessee Parliamentarian of the Democrat Party it was stated that: “As the members of the USA Congress under the auspices of the UN Secretary General office’s mission of good intentions we support the negotiations and efforts Ban ki Moonwith regard to finding a comprehensive solution in Cyprus and reuniting  the island as two-zones and a bi-communal federation.

It was pointed out in the letter that the economic crisis in South Cyprus makes the solution of the destabilizing problems that have been continuing for a long time vital. These problems can only be solved by the creation of a mutual consensus and co-operation atmosphere between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

In the letter, Whitfield and Cohen called the South Cyprus Leader Nikos Anastasiadis and the TRNC President Dervis Eroğlu to come together to restart the negotiations.

The two Parliamentarians stressed in the text they had sent to the members of the Congress in order that they give signature support to the letter that the opportunity of finding a solution for the Cyprus problem and reuniting of the island has never been made so obligatory.

In the letter it was mentioned that the comprehensive solution that has been agreed on not only will  provide benefits  to the inhabitants of Cyprus in terms of humanistic, political and economic issues, but also the solution will  bring benefits to Israel, Greece and the whole region including Turkey.

The written letter aimed to be sent to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will also be sent to the TRNC President Dervis Eroğlu, the Greek Cypriot Administration Leader Anastasiadis, TR Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu, Greece Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Avramopulos, the USA Minister of Foreign Affairs John Kerry, the UK Minister of Foreign Affairs William Hague, President of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and other EU officials.  

THE ECONOMIST: “DIVIDED THEY FALL”

The Economist magazine pointed to the financial crisis in South Cyprus, natural gas reserves in the island and the EU negotiation process of Turkey and defended that the island should be reunified.

In its last issue the weekly news and trade magazine Economist said in the article under the title: “Divided they fall” that the developments in the economy of South Cyprus were bad and it was time to rethink the reunification of the island.

In the first paragraph Economist wrote: “Cyprus, it is said, never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. After its euro bail-out, that needs to change, not least for the sake of its battered economy. Cypriots face the grim reality that, thanks mainly to the collapse of much of their financial-services industry, GDP will shrink by 15% this year, another 15% in 2014, and perhaps 5% more in 2015.”

It is also defended in the article that : “It will take years of hardship and painful structural reforms before Cyprus’s GDP returns to anywhere near its level before the bail-out. Unlike the rest of the euro zone’s beleaguered Gas exploration rigperiphery, however, Cyprus has two promising sources of growth waiting to be tapped. One is the recently discovered Aphrodite gas field in the eastern Mediterranean. The other is its tourism industry, which is underdeveloped and has plenty of scope for foreign investment. The best way for Cyprus to exploit both as fast as possible would be to patch up its 40-year-old division.”

The article also pointed out that the obvious and cheapest way of exporting the gas would be through a new pipeline to Turkey itself and added: “In short, the gas field has created a big new incentive for unifying the island.” It was also recorded in the article that most of the large majority of Greek-Cypriots who voted heavily against the last big attempt at unification, the UN’s Annan plan, in 2004 did so because they were about to join the European Union and felt their future bargaining position would be stronger.

 Attributing to the independent studies the article suggested that the whole island’s GDP might be boosted by three percentage points a year for the five years after a settlement, a gain that translates into around €5,500 ($7,150) for every Cypriot household.

It is also claimed in the article that Turkey still desires EU membership however it is not possible before solving the Cyprus problem and continued : “If Mr. Anastasiadis can show enough negotiating flexibility, Mr. Eroğlu is hardly in a position to reject a new settlement that grows out of the Annan plan.” Finally it is said in the article that a combination of Cyprus’s economic meltdown and the Aphrodite gas field should be enough to justify a new attempt.

PALESTINIANS SEEK ASYLUM IN TRNC

A total of 37 Palestinians who have been living in South Cyprus fled to the TRNC and went to the  Refugee Rights Association in North Cyprus for asylum request. They said that they have been under pressure and treated badly for 7 years in South Cyprus and therefore they have applied for asylum in the TRNC.

They also said that they have been ill treated in South Cyprus because they are Muslims.

Indicating that they will help the Palestinian refugees, the President of the North Cyprus Red Crescent association, Esad Altay  said that they have provided food and accommodation to the refugees and called those who are willing to help to contact with them as soon as possible. 

STATEMENT BY TURKISH FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER ON CYPRUS ISSUE

Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made a statement concerning the visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Special Advisor to Cyprus Alexander Downer to Turkey and said “This is a belated visit. We expected Mr. Downer to launch a new process following the elections in South Cyprus.”

Drawing attention that the economic crisis and internal debates in the Greek Cypriot side delay the contacts in question, and the situation is obvious in Cyprus, Davutoğlu expressed that there is a side which wants the negotiations to Ahmet Davutoğlustart as soon as possible and reach a solution and on the other hand there is another side which extends the problem over time and produces pretence.

Davutoğlu pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side has halted the negotiations by pretending the elections held in South Cyprus last year and she hopes she could impose some things upon Turkey during her EU term-presidency, and said:

Pointing out that he discussed the subject with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in the last weeks and he would forward what has been discussed to Mr. Downer, Davutoğlu added:

“Now, it is necessary to start the process somehow and to put forth an attitude concerning this problem, if the pretence continues, my proposal with three alternatives will be on the negotiation table at that moment. We can arrive at a solution or we can come to an agreement around a limited solution. If they cannot arrive at a comprehensive solution or if they say “these sources belong to us and the sources in the North part belong to Turkish Cypriots”, then it is time to think about a two-state solution”.

Underlining that he expect an obvious attitude from the international community, UN and all related parties, Davutoğlu added:

“We can solve the Cyprus problem as immediately as possible instead of creating problems. We should go into a solution by negotiation and without leaving it to time”.  

TURKISH PRIME MINISTER ATALAY IS IN TRNC

Turkish Prime Minister Beşir Atalay is in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for a one day official visit at the invitation of TRNC Prime Minister İrsen Küçük.

Atalay has been welcomed by the Turkish Ambassador to Lefkoşa Halil İ. Akça, Internal Affairs and Local Administrations Minister Nazım Çavuşoğlu, Economy and Energy Minister Sunat Atun, Minister of Finance Ersin Tatar and other authorities at the airport. Atalay has attended activities organized for Holy Birth Week in the Eastern Mediterranean University. 

FOREIGN BANKS IN SOUTH CYPRUS ARE GOING TO LEAVE SOUTH CYPRUS

Greek Cypriot daily Fileleftheros stated that the foreign banks operating in South Cyprus are leaving South Cyprus by terminating their activities, the first statement in this respect was made by a Russian Bank.

According to the news, the foreign banks in South Cyprus are terminating their activities in South Cyprus because of the restrictions imposed upon capital market following the decisions of the Euro Group and the first decision in this respect has been taken by the Russian VTB Company.

The newspaper added that the CEO of the Russian VTB company, Herbert Moos, made a statement to the Russian media and said that the “Russian Commercial Bank” in South Cyprus which belongs to the company will terminate its activities in phases, because they do not believe that the Greek Cypriot economy will recover.

On the other hand, the Deputy Manager of the Russian Commercial Bank’s South Cyprus Branch, Vladimir Popov, also made a statement and said that the bank is having no economic problem yet to experience problems due to the restrictions imposed upon capital markets.

Popov emphasized that the restrictions for the banks that have no economic problems should be lifted.

In the news, the memorandum releasing the activities of foreign banks under some conditions was reminded and it was stated that the memorandum has not been considered sufficiently and its implementation will be determined during the week.

Source TRNC Public Information Office