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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-11-15

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Friday, November 15, 2002

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Uproar in the north over land return proposals
  • [02] Market mirrors concerns over solution plan
  • [03] Deep uncertainty on the street over impact of solution plan
  • [04] Competition warning for state run industries

  • [01] Uproar in the north over land return proposals

    Jean Christou

    THE U.N.'s plan for territorial adjustments have caused uproar on the Turkish Cypriot side, with newspapers yesterday outraged over the proposal to hand back between eight and nine per cent of the island to the Greek Cypriots.

    In its comprehensive settlement proposal, the UN included two maps, one reducing Turkish Cypriot controlled territory to 28.5 per cent, and returning Famagusta, Morphou, the enclaved Maronite village of Kormkitis and 30 other villages to the Greek Cypriots.

    The second map reduces the Turkish Cypriot share to 28.6, giving back, in addition to Famagusta, Morphou and Kormakitis, the 500-strong Greek Cypriot enclave of Karpass, the island's easternmost point. This map also returns around 25 other villages.

    Both maps are designed to return around 85,000 Greek Cypriot refugees, but involve relocating around 42,000 people from Turkish-controlled areas. The maps, based on mathematical formulae, seek to minimise the dislocation of Turkish Cypriots and maximise the return of Greek Cypriots to their rightful homes.

    However, the Turkish Cypriot side has balked at the proposed adjustment from the outset and yesterday the issue was the main focus in the Turkish Cypriot newspapers. Vatan carried the headline; "This is a scandal, this cannot be accepted". Kibrisli said: "Would it not have been better to compensate the Greek Cypriots and let everyone carry on living where they are?"

    Outgoing Turkish Prime Minster Bulent Ecevit, who ordered the 1974 invasion, had already said that the territorial adjustment was not something the Turkish side could stomach.

    Ankara's outgoing Foreign Minister Sina Sukru Gurel also said it was unacceptable, while another former Turkish foreign minister, Isamil Cem, said the issues of territory and return of refugees would create serious problems. The acceptance of elements of the document was close to "impossible" he said and the problems that would arise from a humanitarian standpoint alone would "wreck the island". Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash also made it clear on Thursday: "A map has been put forward even though they know we do not want to discuss maps before recognition that our land, our people will be sovereign," he said.

    A non-Cypriot political observer on the island said he had noticed that the Turkish Cypriot side had not commented much on any other aspect of the plan. "It's starting to become clear that the issue of territory is concerning them," he said. "To be blunt, the thing I find distasteful about all this is that they are talking about a reduction to 28.6 per cent. That's not a bad deal for the Turkish Cypriots. They keep referring to Turkish Cypriot villages but before 1974 these were Greek Cypriot villages and 30 years ago they weren't so worried about shifting those people out of their homes."

    He said the difference was that now the relocation would take place over a three-year period and that the plan stipulated that no one would be moved until they had been found an alternative.

    "It's not a case of 'here's a solution pack your bags'. It's not gong to be an uprooting process like 1974. I think they are making a fuss but they must have known it was on the cards."

    The analyst said that if Morphou and other villages were not ceded to the Greek Cypriots, the whole deal would be "a pointless agreement" for them.

    "It's important to the Turkish Cypriots that political equality has been recognised in the plan so there's got to be something territory-wise that's handed back," he said. "What would be the point of the Greek Cypriot side signing an agreement that forces them to share decision making with Turkish Cypriots without some people getting the chance to go home."

    He added that handing back Varosha could not be counted as a concession because the ghost town was always going to be given back under any settlement.

    "Famagusta was a bargaining chip. Morphou did need to be included in any viable agreement. By giving back Famagusta they are only giving back a bargaining chip. Morphou means they are entering this in good faith and it would be read as such," the analyst said.

    According to a column in Turkish Cypriot opposition newspaper Afrika yesterday, some settlers allocated Greek Cypriot properties rent free "do not even whitewash the houses they are living in".

    "They live in houses which have been turned into ruins," the paper said yesterday referring to Morphou. "Have you ever gone around the villages where those from Turkey have been brought and settled? It's as if they have no affection for this place and they do not consider it as their home." The paper added that the Turkish embassy representatives in the north only remembered the settlers "during the elections".

    "The villagers from Turkey have always been treated as if they will go someday. For years they have only been used for political reasons. Now bargaining is taking place regarding who will stay and who will go. However no one has asked them or us. Only lies are said to the people on the Turkish side. This country does not belong to us but to others. This land is Turkish territory. They are the owners and we are the refugees."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Market mirrors concerns over solution plan

    By Jean Christou

    INVESTORS did not appear too excited yesterday at the growing prospects for a Cyprus solution and the all-share index appeared to mirror the uncertainty being felt by the population at large.

    Share prices rose only 0.59 per cent on a volume of 1.5 million, a far cry from the 10 million reached during one of the five consecutive gaining sessions earlier this month when less detail on a settlement was available.

    The market has often been fuelled in the past by rumours and reports of "good prospects for a settlement", and investors could make a buck or two in an "ignorance is bliss" atmosphere.

    However, now as the reality of a possible settlement draws closer and the details have been set out in black and white, people are having to look at what it might involve and are generally not sure what to expect, which has been reflected in trading patterns this week.

    "Since Monday I would say it has been moving in a horizontal direction with market turnover shrinking again, not to previous low levels but to a level of 1.5 million from a high of 10 million," said stockbroker Stavros Agrotis.

    "I think we have the classical phenomenon of the rumours creating a euphoric feeling but in the last few days we only see more and more messages of uncertainty as regards this plan and concerns about the day after a solution or a collapse of the process," Agrotis said.

    "This has created some nervousness in the market and you have the pessimists selling and the optimists buying, but even they are a lot more conservative in their decisions."

    Agrotis said what had been revealed so far of the UN plan was making people less secure, because they now saw the negative side of a solution and not only the positive.

    "My personal view is that one has to view the whole thing along the lines of what President Clerides has said that have to look at the forest and not just the tree," Agrotis said.

    He said it was too early to determine what sectors, if any, might see a dramatic upswing as a result of a solution, such as the construction sector.

    "The market is not that forecast sophisticated to show any such patterns," he said.

    Agrotis said people were saying that property prices would go up. However, he believes there could also be a glut of new properties on the market if and when people returned to their former villages under a solution. It was all difficult to predict, he said.

    "Uncertainty is the biggest enemy of any economy and especially of any stock market and during the last few days we have been at the optimum of uncertainty concerning this county for last three decades," he added. "So one would expect the volume to shrink and it has been shrinking and market is very nervous and volatile."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] Deep uncertainty on the street over impact of solution plan

    By Stefanos Evripidou

    A STRAW poll taken on the streets of Nicosia yesterday revealed an overwhelming sense of uncertainty over the UN settlement plan for the Cyprus problem. The number of Greek Cypriots that would vote 'yes' in a referendum today more or less equalled those that would vote 'no' while a similar number said they would abstain.

    Those who responded negatively admitted to knowing very little about the proposal and those that abstained wanted to find out more before giving an answer. What united all respondents was the lack of understanding of the practicalities of such a solution.

    Theodora Kakouri, 38, from Kyrenia said she would vote for the UN proposal because she wanted to see her town again and felt this might be her last chance. "You can't turn back time, so one way or another, we need to find a solution. We want peace and now is the time for reconciliation."

    George Paschalides, 39, from Nicosia was cautiously optimistic in his answer. "I need to see more of the solution first, but my first impression is that it's going to be a difficult 'yes'. This is one of our last chances and it's not going to be easy, especially the hereafter, but a solution must be found."

    Paschalides felt the religious differences between the two communities might be the downfall of the settlement, pointing out that "The Belgian and Swiss models do not take into consideration the difference of religion."

    A shopkeeper on Ledra Street, Eleni Zeniou, 56, said that she would not decide until she knew more about the plan. "I haven't heard all the points yet but certain points do concern me, like disbanding the National Guard and having a rotating presidency. Zeniou also expressed concern over religious differences, adding "I believe this will make reconciliation harder. The European models to unite the two communities were based on communities that generally follow the same religion." But she too agreed it was a last chance for Cyprus.

    Haridini Kyriakou, 23, from Nicosia said she didn't follow political events closely, but felt certain she would vote against making Cyprus one state, maintaining the two communities should live apart.

    Dina Kyriakou, 17, also from Nicosia, said she too preferred to maintain the status quo. "I don't think we can live together because we got used to this way of life. A big change would be very scary for us now and things might end up being worse."

    Andreas Alloupas, 70, from Nicosia, who has property in Kyrenia said he wanted to know what would happen to the refugees first. "If they are all going to lose their land then it's better to keep it the way it is," he said.

    Georgios Eftychiou, 35, from Nicosia said he would vote against any settlement that would leave out Kyrenia, and added, "They should let all our refugees and all of theirs return to their homes." Eftychiou said he only knew about the plan from what he seen on television, but admitted this was the last chance for a peaceful settlement.

    Petros Shaknazanian, 75, who lost land in Kyrenia, maintained there was nothing to vote on yet because it was all unclear. "I don't know how to answer until the reality of the situation is clarified to us," he said.

    One Greek Cypriot who lived through the Turkish invasion of 1974 was more certain of the direction that had to be taken. Christina Violari, 39, from Nicosia said she would vote 'yes' in a referendum to save her children from having to live through a war like she had. "It's a way for Cyprus to move forward and get on with EU accession. The other option is a federation but I don't think people would accept that. For me, the major factor here is that the Turkish army is going to leave because I lived the invasion and spent many years living in fear of a new war. I think people should consider that in their deliberations."

    Violari admitted she had concerns like anyone else, "I am also cautious and have fears because you never know what the reality of something is going to be. But I think people will react positively because the new generation don't hold the same hatred as those who lived through the troubles".

    Finally, one woman who did not wish to be named showed more positivism saying, "It's a good plan, much better than the 1992 Boutros Boutros-Ghali one. We always knew it was going to be a trade-off between territory and power." She felt the rotating president was just a figure-head and the real power lay with the presidential council which would be represented on 4:2 ratio for Greek Cypriots. "This is acceptable," she said, expressing concerns, however, about Turkish settlers moving into Cyprus.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [04] Competition warning for state run industries

    By Soteris Charalambous

    GEORGIOS Mytides, Director of Commerce and Industry, has sent out a warning to state run industries that enforcement of competition laws would necessitate change within their organisations and a more dynamic marketplace.

    Speaking at a seminar entitled 'EU competition policy: the application in Cyprus and the UK experience', Mytides focused on the impending change of environment facing organisations that have been working within the safety zone of a monopoly, listing numerous bodies including telecommunications provider CyTA

    "Competition is an abstract notion, with tangible benefits," said Mytides. Describing how both the economy and business benefit when subject to competition forces, he added that the greatest beneficiary would be the consumer, who would receive a better product and better services at the best prices.

    Quoting the comments of a leading economist from the London School of Economics, Mytides said, "Liberalisation of markets would lead to 90 per cent of economic problems being solved."

    "If big firms are allowed to abuse their dominant market position, prices increase and smaller firms are forced to close, making the emergence of new competitors impossible," resulting in long-term detriment to the consumer.

    "A substantial proportion of the Cypriot economy is not subject to competition rules," added Mytides, warning that these enterprises would be "forced to move," and that those who abused their dominant position were "breaking the law".

    The three-day seminar, that ends today, is being hosted by the British High Commission at Nicosia's Holiday Inn and co-hosted by the British Council, the Commission for the Protection of Competition, and Highway. It will cover all aspects of competition including the legal implications, merger control, liberalisation and state aid and will draw on experts from both Cyprus and Europe.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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