TRNC News Today 10th December 2015

“A great chance to finally reach a mutually acceptable solution”

Foreign Minister Çolak conveyed information regarding the negotiation process and expressed confidence that there is a clear expression of goodwill on both sides, adding that this constitutes a great chance to finally reach a mutually acceptable and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014.

Çolak attended the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Brussels Office yesterday and expressed that it was an honour to be present on the occasion. Michaela Di Bucci, head of the EU Commission Unit Task Force for the Turkish Cypriots, the permanent representatives of various countries and distinguished guests participated in the event.

Emine Colak - great chance

Pointing to the positive atmosphere on the Island, Minister Çolak stated that the work of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce in Brussels, as well as the Representative Office, are significant contributing factors to the positive developments between the two sides. Minister Çolak added that the Chamber of Commerce is working on bi-communal projects and various events in collaboration with its Greek Cypriot counterparts and that these are valuable contributions to the process of building confidence between the two sides.

Minister Çolak further stated that the Office in Brussels is the bridge that provides us the necessary collaboration with the financial institutions and economic system of the EU, be it transfer of funds or know-how to the Turkish Cypriot economy, which will in turn support our economic growth and contribute to the efforts for the economic convergence of the two economies. Minister Çolak also pointed to the fact that a solution would be most beneficial if both sides are prepared both before and after it, and that the Turkish Cypriot side needs to be prepared for a more sustainable economy for the aftermath of a solution.

Furthermore, Minister Çolak indicated that the Chamber of Commerce has been very persistent in its work on the rightful demand of the Turkish Cypriots to implement the Direct Trade Regulation, advocating the registration of the PDO of our national product Hellim in a way that would benefit all the producers of Cyprus, demanding to expedite the process of harmonization of our economic system with the EU, and working on broadening the scope of the Green Line Regulation to fully serve its purpose.

Minister Çolak also commended the work of the Chamber of Commerce and Representative Office in Brussels for their efforts to advocate and communicate the views and concerns of the Turkish Cypriots in many aspects as well as in mobilizing and improving the economic interactions between the EU and the Turkish Cypriot people.

Minister Çolak also thanked Mr. Fikri Toros, Chairman of the TCCC personally and every member of his team for working ambitiously to support the best interest of the Turkish Cypriot people and for all their valuable contributions to a better future for them.

Anastasiades: “Russian warplanes can use airports”

Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades stated that in times of need, Russian warplanes can use the military bases and take on supplies.

Anastasiades Russian Warplanes

Stating that there is an historical relationship between the Greek Cypriot Administration and Russia, Anastasiades said “We are trying to improve our relations”.

Furthermore, Anastasiades added “We have signed an agreement with Russia. In this context, the Russian vessels and warplanes are allowed to take on supplies in critical conditions. They will be able to use the Andreas Papandreu military base or the other airports”.

Anastasiades: March Cyprus solution ‘overly optimistic’

The notion of a Cyprus solution by March is ‘”overly optimistic” Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades has said, citing no agreement on timeframes either with the Turkish Cypriot side or with foreign leaders.

Anastasiades March solution

Anastasiades was speaking to Greek TV channel ERT in Athens.

There had been progress in the talks but still many obstacles to overcome and distance to be covered.

“There is a possibility of finding solutions but there are still many details… there are obstacles regarding territorial adjustments, the property issue… There is still distance to cover and what is said about March is overly optimistic,” he said.

The Turkish Cypriot side would like to see a solution and referendum by March, or at least before the Greek Cypriot parliamentary elections in May. Anastasiades caused a stir among the political parties at the weekend when he told them during a Greek Cypriot National Council meeting to prepare for a possible postponement of the elections in case there was a Cyprus solution.

Asked about this by the Greek interviewer, Greek Cypriot Leader Anastasiades said “there is reserved optimism that there is political will, particularly for Turkey to contribute, moving from words to action, in solving problems we face and which concern her.”

House President Yiannakis Omirou said on Wednesday that Cyprus’ constitution contained no provision for the postponement or cancellation of elections. Referring to the postponement of elections in 1965 due to the earlier intercommunal troubles, Omirou said this was done under the Law of Necessity. “What’s the hurry?” he asked. “Let’s agree on a [Cyprus] solution first.”

Transfer of Cyprus’s natural gas through Greece was discussed at the trilateral summit

The leaders of Greece, Egypt and the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) came together in order to discuss the energy works and terrorism in the Eastern Mediterranean at the trilateral summit which was held in Athens, the capital of Greece.  Greek Prime Minister Tsipras stated that the issues of utilizing Cyprus’s natural gas and passing energy pipelines through Greece were also discussed at the summit.  He also added: “We also discussed the determination of the sea zones of the three countries where possible within the framework of the international law. This cooperation wasn’t conducted with a mentality against the third countries or the exclusion of another country.”

Natural gas

After attending a trilateral meeting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi and the leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Nikos Anastasiades made a joint statement entitled “Athens Declaration”.

In his speech at the joint press conference Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated that the developments in the region’s energy map after the identification of new hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean were discussed at the trilateral summit.

Furthermore Tsipras said that they reached an agreement on the issue of accelerating cooperation between the three countries in all fields and he also said they agreed that the next meeting will be held in Cairo.

“Political will being in favour of a solution is effective in creating a positive atmosphere”

Experts who are evaluating the ongoing negotiations process in Cyprus stated that political will being in favour of a solution in both sides on the island and the acceleration in the relations between the European Union and Turkey are effective in creating a positive atmosphere.

Political will

Istanbul Culture University Lecturer Prof. Dr. Mensur Akgün stated that the harmony between President Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades is extremely good. Stating that both leaders have been the supporters of the solution in the past, Akgün said: “If this problem cannot be solved in such an atmosphere, it can never be solved. It is not possible to postpone it anymore.”

Underlining that the two leaders understand each other very well and continue the peace process sincerely, Akgün pointed out that they have serious problems between the parties. He also emphasized that sacrifice of not only both sides but also third parties would be necessary regarding the property issue.

Akıncı receives Kahraman

President Mustafa Akıncı received the President of the Turkish National Grand Assembly İsmail Kahraman yesterday.

Akinci receives Kahraman

Speaking during his meeting with Kahraman, who paid a one-day official visit to the TRNC as a guest of the Speaker of the Assembly Sibel Siber, Akıncı expressed his wish to reach a positive result with Turkey’s support and also made a wish for Cyprus being an island of peace. Adding that the two communities in Cyprus should take lessons from the past not to experience the same misery, Akıncı expressed that the TRNC’s administrative, financial, democratic and social structure must be very powerful in order to equally take place in the partnership state in the future.

 In his speech, Kahraman said that he paid his first overseas visit to the TRNC and expressed that they consider Cyprus as their own country and share the same feelings with the Turkish Cypriots. Kahraman also expressed his wish to reach a good result in the Cyprus negotiations.

Davutoğlu meets with Eide

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had a meeting with the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide at Çankaya Palace yesterday.

Davutoglu meets with Eide

The meeting was closed to the press but following the meeting, Eide shared his views on the social media and expressed that their meeting was very fruitful and they discussed the issues of region, security and guarantees.

Hasikos reacted to Comptroller General after the report of the Turkish Cypriot immovable property

The Greek Cypriot Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos showed a sharp reaction to the report of the Greek Cypriot Comptroller General Odisseas Mihailidis regarding the possibility of benefit derived by the two officials from the Greek Interior Ministry from some of the sales transactions of the Turkish Cypriot immovable properties in South Cyprus.

Socratis Hasikos

In his report for the year of 2014, the Greek Cypriot Comptroller General Odisseas Mihailidis claimed that two officials of the Greek Interior Ministry might have derived benefits from some of the sales transactions of the Turkish Cypriot immovable properties in South Cyprus and that no investigation was conducted about these parties.

Stating that some of the officials’ wives who work in the Interior Ministry had relations with some of the companies which provided huge gains in the sales transactions of the Turkish Cypriot immovable properties, Mihailidis said that he asked Hasikos to launch an investigation about this issue, but his request was rejected.

Talks will be held under the title “A United Cyprus is possible”

The European Commission Representation in Cyprus and the Association of Social Reform – OPEK will hold talks under the title “A United Cyprus is possible”

Talks - United Cyprus

The talks will be held with the participation of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political leaders on 15 December 2015 and 14 January, 2016 at the European Union Home.

The leader of the Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally Party (DİSİ) Averof Neophytou and the leader of the Republican Turkish Party Mehmet Ali Talat will make speeches at the meeting on 15 December at 18:30.

Secretary-General of AKEL Andros Kyprianou and the leader of the TDP Cemal Özyiğit will make speeches at the other talks on 14 January, 2016 at 18:30.

Racism is a big problem in South Cyprus

According to the report of the Greek Anti-Discrimination Unit, discrimination exists in South Cyprus and it is being spread to the important areas of communal life.

Racism in South Cyprus

Greek Cypriot daily Simerini reported the 2014 year report of the Head of the Unit Aristos Çartas regarding discrimination in South Cyprus.

According to the report, some activities are being conducted at the Greek Cypriot schools to struggle for racism and discrimination, and initiatives have been made with the authorities.

In the report, institutionalizing the bairam holiday at the English School and the racist and discriminative activities towards the Turkish Cypriots took place.

Stratfor: “Cyprus reunification unlikely in 2016”

Stratfor Intelligence forecasts that though Greek and Turkish Cypriots are getting closer to an agreement on reunifying the island, lingering obstacles will likely delay any deal for at least a year.

It also said the ongoing reunification negotiations will make Cyprus less likely to use its veto power to impede progress in Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union, and that a reunification deal would enable Cyprus to proceed with plans for exploiting offshore natural gas reserves and would make it easier for it to export natural gas to Egypt and Europe.

Stratfor

Stratfor is a geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world by placing global events in a geopolitical framework.

The agency said that even if a Cyprus agreement were reached, Cypriots would have to approve it in a referendum, adding that the main challenge for the current negotiators was to reach an agreement acceptable to the sides, and the two populations.

“At this point, the suggested May [2016] date for a referendum is not realistic,” Stratfor said. Northern and southern Cypriots will continue to negotiate, but reunification is unlikely in 2016.”

Before an agreement is reached, it said, there will likely be compromises over reparations for displaced Cypriots and over the presence of foreign armies on the island. The two sides will also have to agree on what the new federation would look like and how the two communities would be represented. After that, a referendum would have to take place, and a constitution written.

“So while the stars may be close to aligning for Cyprus’ reunification, the island’s status is unlikely to change in the near term,” it said.

According to Stratfor, during the early stages of reunification, the island would be under external supervision from entities like the European Union and the United Nations.

It said the two sides are also interested in the economic benefits of reunification and that a recent study by the Cyprus Centre of the Peace Research Institute Oslo stated that reunification would increase Cyprus’ per capita income by about 1,700 euros in the first five years alone.

“Reunification would also benefit the island’s tourism sector and create new jobs, allowing it to put economic crisis behind it,” the report said.

The desire to exploit energy reserves was another factor behind the push for reunification, Stratfor said. “Cyprus has significant natural gas resources, but political frictions have hampered their development. Resolving the Cypriot standoff would make exports to North Africa easier, and also open the door for Cypriot natural gas to reach Europe.

“Despite domestic and foreign interest in the reunification of Cyprus, significant problems remain. The most complicated issue is how to compensate people on both sides of the island” said the Stratfor report.

The Report also warned that the immigration crisis in Greece could harden the position of the Independent Greeks, a nationalist party that is currently a junior member of the Greek government coalition. “A more nationalistic Greece could well oppose an agreement with Turkey over the reunification of Cyprus,” it added.

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