‘Things must change from now on’
A vision by Dr. Sibel Siber
By Heidi Trautmann….
Margaret Sheard, author of Cyprusscene, the online magazine with daily news and times in Cyprus and member of ‘Foreign Residents in the TRNC have already expressed their delight to have Dr. Sibel Siber in their midst on Friday the 13th of March at the Açmenya Restaurant in Alsançak to learn about the future of Cyprus, a topic all foreign residents take much interest in.
We have listened to the visions the other candidates running for presidency have in mind for an improvement and new views concerning management of the country and we were glad to have the opportunity to listen to the points of programme Dr. Sibel Siber had set up for herself in case of her being elected.
She was kind enough to let me have a copy of her speech:
As you may all know I am running for the Presidency in April 2015 elections.
My main aim with this candidacy is to bring in a whole new understanding of presidency that can relieve all of us from the misconduct of the past.
We are all fed up with the malfunctioning institutions and political manoeuvring becoming a barrier in front of increasing the quality of our lives.
My motto for this election is “things must change from now on”.
Throughout my political past I have served as a member of parliament, as prime minister and as parliamentary spokesperson. I have always been target oriented.
Throughout my days in prime ministry I have taken firm action against corruption and attempts harming democracy and human rights. Furthermore I have always been responsible and took action in implementation of projects related with environmental, social and cultural issues.
As you may also know TRNC constitution does not give executive powers to President. I am aware of that. But this does not mean that President should ignore tangible aspects of life and focus on Cyprus negotiations only.
In 2004 a unique opportunity to break the stalemate on the island finally emerged with the UN comprehensive settlement plan, proposed by the then UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
The Turkish Cypriot people approved the UN plan by 65% while the Greek Cypriot side rejected it by 76%. The referenda proved which side is ready for a solution that encompasses reunification and peace, and which side is not.
Four years after the Referenda in 2008 a new process of negotiations started between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot leaders. Following his election on April 2010 as the new Turkish Cypriot president, current leader stated his commitment to continue the negotiations from where they were left off, however during the past five years we have not seen any real commitment in terms of taking things further.
Following intense discussions and constructive steps taken by the Turkish Cypriot side especially with the efforts of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Özdil Nami, a joint statement was concluded by the two leaders on 11 February 2014.
The two leaders agreed in the joint statement that their goal is to achieve a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality and that this federation will have a single sovereignty which emanates equally from Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The federation will be composed of two constituent states of equal status and neither side will claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.
However, at the eve of an intensified phase of the process, the Greek Cypriot leader abruptly announced his side’s withdrawal from the negotiations on 7 October 2014, citing the disagreements over the hydrocarbon issue.
While the Greek Cypriot side attempts to decouple the issue of natural resources and the comprehensive settlement negotiations, it uses the issue in order to justify its withdrawal from the negotiating table. This is a clear contradiction.
The Turkish Cypriot side had previously called for the joint administration of these resources and had proposed, in 2011 and 2012, the establishment of a joint ad hoc committee to deal with the issue of natural resources around the island. These proposals still stand.
If I am elected as the President ….
…instead of engaging into a blame game for the “other” I will extensively pursue diplomatic contacts and suggest confidence building measures in order to put pressure on my counterpart to restart negotiation.
I am aware of the fact that this is a priority issue for people living on this island. But I am also aware that increasing quality of life in the island is important as well.
To this extent I and my team have developed 5 main areas where we will establish working groups composed of people representing a wide spectrum of the society.
Cyprus Working Group– will be composed of several initiatives. Among them negotiation process and energy initiative are key
Secure Life Working Group– Socially destructive issues like drug use and combat against drug use, traffic will be the subject matter of various initiatives under this working group.
Economic Development Working Group: This working group will have initiatives on Socio-Economic Development, Environment, Culture and Arts.
Youth Working Group
Women Working Group which will have initiatives on gender mainstreaming and women empowerment.
I am well aware that you have concerns regarding increasing prices especially in electricity, environment and residence permits.
On environment as I have previously stated I am very conscious and will take it a primary issue to be dealt with as part of Economic Development Working Group.
As for the rising prices. This is a concern for all of us. Regarding electricity current government has come up with a new modality where discounts have been provided up to 30% depending on the level of electricity use.
In terms of residency permits. I am aware of the fact that you are experiencing problems. But these are the rules applied to every non-citizen living of the island. Under the new white identity card we are hoping to overcome most of these issues in the near future. And if I am elected as President I will be very sensitive in following the completion of the law making process and its implementation.
Thank you very much for listening.
Many of us know Dr. Sibel Siber as a doctor, many foreign residents have received her good advice; we also know and have heard and read in the local press that ‘she has achieved more in the short time as Prime Minister than many others in their term’, so we may rest assured that she would attack the situations that cry for a change and improvement, should she be elected as President in April.
It will now depend on the free will of the people of Cyprus to elect the President of their Choice, to whom they give their trust to lead them into the right direction. All presidential candidates we have listened to so far have made very strong points and their aims sound credible without raising false hopes.