By Fikri Toros…….
Daily News of Life and times in North Cyprus goes around the world
In reply to the article we published in which Fikri Toros stated that “cooperation between mobile phone operators was rejected by Anastasiades“, we received a comment by Honorary President of the TRNC Hoteliers Association, John Aziz Kent in which he said the following.
The Deputy of the Republican Turkish Party and previous President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Fikri Toros, has revealed that proposed cooperation between mobile phone operators on the two sides of the island was refused by the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades in 2015.
By Margaret Sheard …
The Royal British Legion, Kyrenia Branch, had been endeavouring to arrange a Band Concert in North Cyprus for some 6 months and had succeeded with a concert at Bellapais Abbey on the 14th May when a large audience enjoyed the music of the Band of the Security Forces Command.
By Heidi Trautmann …
Education in music or generally… ‘education in art’ … is preparation for life; it is to sharpen and develop senses; to be responsible for your acts; to cooperate and share; become self-confident and proud; to move properly in society, and to appreciate different cultures and people, it enriches and widens one’s horizon.
On behalf of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, it is indeed an honour for me to address such a distinguished audience. I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to The Economist for the excellent organization and to John Georgoulas for giving me and President Pilides the opportunity to take part on this second consecutive year.
“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.” These words of Robert Schuman in his declaration made whilst laying the foundation of today’s European Union have never been more valid than now; not only for the EU itself; but also for the settlement process of the long standing Cyprus conflict.
Indeed, Europe has never faced so many serious challenges simultaneously. Slowing economies, financial inequality and unemployment, along with an unprecedented refugee crisis, not to mention the global security threat of terror, led to deep anxieties and fear amongst the citizens of Europe. This resulted in the rise of nationalism, which has been successfully capitalizing on divisive concepts of nativism, virulent nationalism, xenophobia and protectionism…
Increasingly, we are witnessing the growing support for calls to close the borders, ban immigration and revolts against economic openness. These are developments leading to a serious cause for concern as they are presenting an existential threat to the hard-earned post war liberal European values.
What should be done about it?
The discontented citizens do have legitimate concerns about the consequences of globalization such as immigration and security threat; and these concerns must be addressed. However, much of the criticism on the EU is misguided by deliberately downplaying its benefits and by overseeing the genuine causes.
The solution is not to dismantle the Union, nor is it to stop free trade; but to undertake the necessary reforms to make the EU more operational. Viable and sustainable solutions to these multi dimensional challenges can only be found by increasing the bond and cooperation amongst the member states.
In regards to free trade, which enables broad opportunities and prosperity across the world ; the right approach is to tackle the concerns of those losing out from it by adopting the appropriate policies.
Ever since the founding of the EU, member states have been benefiting enormously from the fundamental freedoms. Peace, democracy, prosperity and the world’s largest single market created should not be allowed to be taken for granted and must be promoted to the European citizens. The EU together with its values and principles must be protected irrespective of any cost. This is indispensable not only for the prosperity and security of Europe but for those of the world too.
Much is at stake also, if the ongoing efforts to end the Cyprus Conflict fail once again, continuation of the status quo will deprive our Island and the entire vicinity of its full economic potential, defying the fundamental motives of globalisation; not to mention those of the EU. It will lead to the rise of nationalism and populism on the Island and exacerbate instability by letting the energy reserves aggravate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The two Leaders have been engaged in intensive negotiations for the last 18 months and have made significant progress. Whilst encouraging convergences on the majority of issues have been reached, there are still divergences on some others which are highly sensitive to both Communities. Nevertheless, the current momentum must be sustained and the remaining time must be utilized to find a common ground along our shared commitment.
Whilst the main onus of reaching a comprehensive settlement lies upon the two leaders, in the end it will be the two Communities who will make peace and hopefully make it last. Countries have an average 40% risk of return to conflict within the immediate decade after a peace agreement is reached. Therefore, this very challenging task cannot be left to be shouldered by politicians alone. The involvement and support of the civil society is absolutely imperative too.
Furthermore considering that the driving force of this process is predominantly economic prospects, the intersection of business and politics needs to become more increasingly developed under the direction of the two Chambers.
The primary means of global peace-promotion by business leaders is through economic development and community building. Mindful of this, we have been striving to promote economic cooperation under the prevailing state of affairs, aiming to erode the negative effects of the status quo by improving everyday living conditions and by making the economic benefits of partnership visible…
Three specific areas where I believe the two Chambers can and should deliver more;
Persistent cooperation with the Leaders towards the realization of the pending confidence building measures, such as the interoperability of mobile phone operators, the crossing of Turkish Cypriot commercial vehicles to the South, broadening of intra-island trade and the finalisation of the PDO registration of Hellim/Halloumi.
The Chambers should open a more effective channel of communication with the two Leaders and their negotiating teams. The aim of this would be to influence the required legal and regulatory framework, to become in sufficient command of the agreement to objectively prepare the business communities, and to be in a position to encourage our leaders to find a common ground on the divergences.
The Turkish Cypriot Community will not go through the typical accession negotiation process, thus the task of preparing the Turkish Cypriot economy will necessitate a tailor made procedure. In addition to the European financial aid and technical tools , KEBE’s support and assistance in the preparation of the private sector to the Acquis, will no doubt be instrumental.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All stakeholders concerned need to demonstrate their visionary and constructive leadership to empathize, compromise and take courageous steps forward to a just and viable settlement. This is a historic responsibility that we owe to our country, our people and younger generations.
As late Shimon Perez said in 2013, there are two things that cannot be made without closing your eyes,: “love and peace. If you try to make them with open eyes, you won’t get anywhere.”
Thank you for your attention; I look forward to listening to your comments and taking your questions.
This speech was made at the Hilton Park Nicosia Hotel, Nicosia, Cyprus on 1st November 2016 by Fikri Toros the President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.
By Margaret Sheard…….
We were delighted to learn of a forthcoming piano recital at Bellapais Abbey by our dear friend Gűlseren Sadak who will be joined by Fikri Toros to play Schubert’s Marche Militaire for 4 hands. The concert will be on Friday 7th October starting at 8.30pm and with a further 5 solo pieces by Gűlseren it will be a wonderful concert under the theme Love and Music for Peace which will also include the music of Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninov and Ravel. The concert is part of the 14th International North Cyprus Music Festival 27th September to 31st October 2016.
We have known Gűlseren, who we call Rosa, for many years and always try to attend her annual recitals at Bellapais. Music has been her passion for almost all of her life and she has enthralled audiences worldwide with her wonderful gift.
We are also pleased that Fikri Toros will be joining Gűlseren. Fikri is also a very accomplished pianist and has performed many recitals himself as well as having a very busy schedule as a local businessman and President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.
To see the review of Gűlseren’s concert in October 2015 please click here
For those lovers of classical music this is definitely a date for your diary and tickets, which are 20TL, can be obtained from Deniz Plaza in Lefkoşa and Girne, Bellapais Ticket Office, Bellapais Gardens Hotel, Dome Hotel, Kybele Restaurant and at the door on the night.
By Margaret Sheard……
We were invited to a screening of the documentary film “Ghost Airport of the Divided Capital City” at Chateau Status in the buffer zone and having written a few articles in conjunction with Captain Emre Unel, under the heading Cyprus Aviation History, one of which covered the now abandoned Nicosia International Airport, we were delighted to accept and attend the event. Having been in communication with Emre for some time by email and telephone, we were also very pleased to at last meet him in person.
The documentary film was made in 2015 by Sami Özuslu of Kanal Sim and there are Turkish and Greek language versions, it has been shown in South Cyprus and in September 2015 it was also shown at the EU Parliament in Brussels and has been very well received. The project “Leading by Example” is co-funded by the European Union under the “Cypriot Civil Society in Action IV” programme and is jointly implemented by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).
There was an audience of both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots as well as other nationalities which was very significant with the still divided communities and the event was also attended by the Austrian Ambassador to Cyprus – Dr Karl Mueller, and Fikri Toros – President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Phidias Pilides, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The evening commenced with speeches from both Fikri Toros and Phidias Pilides, who both expressed their wish for a settlement to the Cyprus problem to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for this and future generations of Cypriots. Sami Özuslu also spoke about the making of the documentary film and there was also a speech by a representative of the EU Cyprus office.
We settled down to watch the documentary which was very well made, informative and yet very sad and touching. Those people who remember the airport when it was operational or have had the opportunity to visit in its present state, will understand the poignancy of the film. We were pleased to see that our friend Captain Unel took part in the film as an interview and there was also video footage included in the film which was taken by his father many years ago with a cine camera.
On 20th July 1974, Turkey intervened to protect the Turkish Cypriots from the conflict which was ravaging the island and part of the film showed a visit to the now abandoned airport by the Greek Cypriot pilot – Captain Adamos Marneros, who landed the last aircraft on the tarmac which was subsequently destroyed by Turkish air strikes. I had previously written an article in conjunction with Captain Unel about this event and at the time found it such a sad story. So I was so pleased to see Captain Marneros arrive and I did manage to speak to him after the film had finished. To see the article written about this event click here
At the end of the film, Captain Marneros gave his account of his experience which was highlighted in the film and went over the sequence of events which started on the 19th July 1974 until he actually left his aircraft after he landed at Nicosia International Airport on 20th July 1974. Captain Marneros told us that there were two families on the aircraft, one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot, he is pleased to say that he has found the Greek Cypriot family but is still searching for the Turkish Cypriot family, various leads have not found them but he said he will keep on searching.
I understand that in the future there may probably be a DVD of the documentary for sale and I would very much like to obtain it and enjoy seeing it again to be able to study it in more depth.
We were both pleased to have the opportunity to see this film documentary and thank everyone who had a part in this project and making of the film.
President Mustafa Akıncı stated that the Greek Cypriot side’s reaction to his meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in İstanbul was excessive and unmeasured.
President Akıncı added “I hope they review their position again. Abandonment of the negotiation table is absolutely unacceptable.”
In his interview with Ahmed Mansour from Al Jazeera, President Akıncı evaluated the negotiation process, the latest developments in the process and the referendum target.
President Akıncı said, “It should be known very well that the Turkish Cypriots cannot be confined to the buffer zone in Nicosia. Our talks with the UN officials cannot be confined to the buffer zone only.”
Reminding that they met with Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon in New York and Davos previously, President Akıncı said, “In our meeting with the Secretary-General in Istanbul, we discussed what can be done to find a solution to the Cyprus problem up to the end of this year.”
Upon a question whether there is a possibility for the Greek Cypriot side to have left the negotiation table, Akıncı said, “The Cyprus problem can only be solved by mutual understanding and political determination. Both sides and also the region will gain profit from a solution and the solution is only possible through dialogue.
Indicating that primarily they want political equality, President Akıncı said that the Turkish Cypriot people want to live in security as a free society without being under threat of another society.
Speaking at an event President Akıncı stated that the negotiation process is a process with ups and downs, and said that he hopes this crisis period will be temporary.
Akıncı said, “Turkish Cypriots deserved to take part in the Summit. Although the Turkish Cypriots are one of the equal partners of the Cyprus Republic, they have been excluded for 53 years and could not obtain the position they deserve in the Summit.”
Stating that it is not right for only one community leader to represent the whole island in the Summit, Akıncı said not only the UN member countries and states were represented at the Summit, there were also other participators apart from the UN. Akıncı also added “Even if it is not recognized, the TRNC should also participate in the Summit but this situation is always ignored”.
Following his meeting with President Mustafa Akıncı, the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said that the current situation should not be exaggerated or underestimated. He expressed his belief that both leaders will not allow it to overshadow the developments on the Cyprus problem.
Eide also noted that the current situation in the Cyprus talks is not desired and there is a problem that should be worked on. Referring to the joint statement of the two leaders towards reaching a settlement by the end of 2016, Eide said that he believes the leaders will return to the negotiation table.
Stating that the international community has full support for the process, Eide reminded that the US Vice President Joe Biden had a telephone conversation with both leaders and called on them to continue the negotiations for the benefit of the whole Cyprus.
Speaking at the General Assembly of the Parliament, Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu referred to the Greek Cypriots’ visits to the religious places in the TRNC and said, “There is a perception that every request was accepted previously, but Ertuğruloğlu has come on duty and he refused these requests .I disagree with such perceptions.”
Ertuğruloğlu said, “We do not intend to prevent religious ceremonies.”There are a lot of requests for religious ceremonies and the decision has been taken in order to discipline these ceremonies.”
Stating that ceremonies can be held in three churches without any restriction, and other churches will be able to have religious ceremonies once a year, Ertuğruloğlu said that the UN and the other authorities have been informed about the decision.
Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu emphasized that they will not allow the issue to be reflected as if they are trying to take away the Greek Cypriots’ rights to their religious ceremonies.
Speaking at a program on the Greek Cypriot Alpha TV, Archbishop Hrisostomos expressed his satisfaction that far right group ELAM has succeeded to get into the parliament.
Archbishop Hrisostomos said, “Sometimes existence of extremists is essential for the others to be more careful. I do not believe that we will reach a reasonable agreement on the Cyprus problem.”
Cyprus could become a commercial hub in the Eastern Mediterranean and achieve its full economic potential following the reunification of the island, Kenneth Hyatt US Deputy Undersecretary for International Trade at the Department of Trade told a gathering of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot businesspeople.
Hyatt addressed an event organised by the US Embassy to Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, the leaders of which noted that a Cyprus settlement would create growth opportunities both to Cyprus and the region.
“The United States is committed to seeing Cyprus prosper and achieve its full economic potential. But in order to achieve that important goal, this fundamentally requires a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue. This is our longstanding policy,” Hyatt said in his speech.
Praising the role of the two Chambers Hyatt, said “through their continuous support Cyprus can realize a bi-zonal bi-communal federation that would create the conditions necessary for attracting foreign investment, increase employment and increase jobs.”
The US Undersecretary said that Cyprus at this point is a small market to the US “but we do think there is a foundation here on which to build and on which to grow.”
He said, bilateral trade amounted to $130 million in 2015, with US investment at approximately 2 billion, an increase sevenfold over the last three years largely due to opportunities in energy and banking. “But there are a number of companies that see opportunities in IT, medical equipment, agricultural products. Cyprus is becoming an increasingly attractive destination in an increasingly complex region,” he said.
The US official also referred to the belief shared by businesspeople about how attractive the companies see Cyprus to be a commercial hub for the eastern Mediterranean. “And I think that`s a strategic opportunity here.” “And in an increasingly unstable region, Cyprus is a more appealing commercial venue than it has ever been. That is why the United States strongly believes that this is Cyprus’s moment to develop into an even broader commercial hub in the Eastern Mediterranean, linking economies throughout the region,” he went on to say.
Hyatt highlighted that one of the key factors behind any company’s decision to do business in a country is stability. “Simply put, reunification would unleash Cyprus’s economic potential by creating the stability and predictability that is necessary for increased bi-lateral trade and investment,” he said.
He referenced four sectors that would emerge as growth drivers for a post-settlement Cyprus.
Particularly, he said tourism which counts for about one quarter of Cyprus’s GDP, stands to benefit greatly as a post-settlement tourist industry would be a boon in terms in creating jobs and modernising infrastructure development, whereas the shipping industry “offers much potential for U.S. companies seeking to export shipping-related goods and services, including shipping insurance services, and marine support services for Cyprus’s budding offshore energy sectors.”
“A settlement,” he added, “will accelerate trade and shipping between Cyprus and Turkey, significantly expanding the sector’s contribution to the island’s economy.”
He also referred to science and innovation, but added that the energy sector holds perhaps the most potential.
Recalling that one US Company has already invested heavily in Cyprus and expressing hope that future discoveries will emerge, Hyatt noted however that “under the current arrangement, Cyprus’s hydrocarbons sector does not have access to its closest commercial market –Turkey – which also happens to be one of the fastest growing markets in the G20 and certainly the region.
The US official also pointed out that post-settlement, Cyprus will present many opportunities, including modernization of the transportation system, upgrade of the ICT sector, and a central location that will allow foreign businesses to be able to properly serve customers throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
Concluding Hyatt, said the United States is committed to its relationship with Cyprus, and we’re in it for the long-term.
On his part, Phidias Pelides, President of the Greek Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry said our Chambers are convinced that a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem will bring considerable benefits not only to Cyprus and enhancing the welfare and prosperity of all Cypriots but also to the entire region and geographical area that encompasses Cyprus, Greece and Turkey within an enlarged EU where democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms will be respected.
Pelides added that a solution will increase the stability and security in the region and will create huge opportunities of cooperation and economic exchanges between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey focusing not only on their own markets but also with other European and Middle Eastern markets in the area.
A settlement, he added, will create additional opportunities that would consolidated the role of Cyprus as the leading business and services centre in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, he said, adding that US companies could use Cyprus as their base for the operations in the region.
On his part, Fikri Toros, referred to recent academic studies which “have shown that the island`s total GDP is expected to rise from just over €20 billion to approximately €45 billion by 2035, meaning a total dividend of approximately €25 billion during the initial twenty years, adding this means a GDP per capita of €12,000 and an average economic growth rate of 4.5%.”
He said that specific sectors like tourism will generate additional income of approximately €550 million euros per annum coupled with €725 per annum in the construction sector, whereas the financial and insurance services expect to generate a total dividend of €380 million and professional services sector as whole is expected to generate over €1 billion. Finally he said the shipping sector is estimated to generate an annual average dividend of €760 million and higher education is estimated to yield an additional income of €270 per annum.
On natural gas resources located in Cyprus EEZ, Toros said a regional cooperation between Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus and Turkey is crucial to exploit these resources in the most commercially viable way. “This has been proven to be through a pipeline to Turkey with a view to be marketed to Turkey and ultimately in the European markets,” he said.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was represented at the 9th Meeting of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC).
The meeting was held in İstanbul between 23-25 May with participation of 64 countries to increase the awareness of the member states and to provide continuance of cooperation on the metrology and standards issues.
Financial Times published an article about Cyprus on 26th May. According to the article by Tony Barber “Mr Anastasiades will have his work cut out to reach a peace deal by December 31. In his favour is the fact that he has a good working relationship with Mr Akinci. Working against him is the fact that the political winds in South Cyprus may now be blowing in the opposite direction to a deal.”
Financial Times continued “The abrupt cancellation of the latest round of negotiations aimed at ending the Cyprus dispute is the latest indication that the prospects for a comprehensive peace settlement, seemingly bright at the start of the year, may be dimming again. Who now would be brave enough to put money on a Cyprus deal by the end of 2016, the target date everyone was talking about in January?”
The writer of the article continues: “I wonder whether his rebuke to the Turkish Cypriot leader had something to do with the outcome of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in South Cyprus. The ruling conservative party of Mr Anastasiades came out on top, but overall the results favoured small, anti-establishment parties that take a hard line against the indubitably sincere efforts of Mr Anastasiades to reach a peace deal.”
The article indicates that in the light of the elections Mr. Anastasiades “May have calculated that it would do him no harm back home if he took a strong stand against eating a five-course meal in Istanbul in Mr Akinci’s company. It would show his compatriots that he is no patsy when it comes to handling the Turkish Cypriots.”
To read more news and information from the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here
Pictures shown are courtesy of the TRNC Public Information Office Facebook page.
By Andy King…….
Chairman of the Friends of Karaman Church……
We are holding a concert in memory of Vic Lundie at Karaman Church on Sunday 8th May at 7pm which will be a wonderful evening of Classical, Jazz and Turkish Cypriot Folk music and would like to invite local readers to join us for this very special occasion.
All the performers are giving their services as their personal tribute to Vic and in the first part of the concert you will be entertained by Fikri Toros and Katie Economidou who will be playing and singing some of Vic’s favourite classical and Turkish Cypriot Folk music.
In the second part of the concert a number of prestigious Cypriot jazz musicians, with whom Vic performed over the years, will be playing a medley of jazz music. A glass of wine or a soft drink will be served during the interval.
Entry to the concert is free and we hope that you will show your appreciation both of Vic and the generous gift of their time by all the musicians by making a donation at the end of the concert, All proceeds will go to the Karaman Church Fund.
Due to limited seating, booking is essential and will be on a first come first served basis. To book your seats please email email@example.com and you will receive a reply email confirming your seat number(s).
Please print off the confirmation email and bring it along on the night as proof of your seat reservation.