In a statement to the press after being briefed on the package, Denktash said that it is a positive development that the ``government'' finally expressed its will to solve the problems. He said that after reading the package he will have it studied by experts. He noted that the ministers and experts who will arrive from Turkey at the end of the month will also have their say on the issue.
Denktash called on all the sectors to study the package with calm and goodwill. He said: ``Even though things should have been done long ago to prevent the current crisis, I hope the steps that will be taken now will help eliminate the accumulated problems.''
KIBRIS (23.5.00) reports that the 12-point package is geared for structural changes as well as economic and social measures.
The 12 points are:
1) Central Bank and monetary policy.
2) Stimulating/encouraging investments and exports.
3) Public Finance.
a) transfer expenditure b) Taxes
4) Increasing activity and efficiency in the public administration 5) Education and Culture 6) Agriculture 7) Electricity 8) Unregistered labour issue 9) Speeding up of work for democratization, related to amendment of the ``constitution'' and within this framework, work will be carried out to attach police force and fire department to ``interior ministry''.
10) Harmonization to EU Norms.
11) Creation of follow up and coordination committee.
The eight - page ``package'' has been submitted to public debate for concensus.
He said ``Greece speaks as if Cyprus is not its problem and claims that if EU laws are implemented on the island, the problem will be solved''.
Denktash stressed that the Turkish Cypriots will be going to Geneva in order to solve the Cyprus problem, not in order to join the EU. He stated that by ignoring the Cyprus ``realities'' and claiming that the only goal is to join the EU, the Greek Cypriots show they do not want the problem solved. Denktash reiterated that membership in the EU should come only after an agreement is reached in Cyprus. He claimed that Papandreou/s remarks undermine the Geneva talks.
Denktash alleged that the confederation will be an agreement that foresees lasting peace, that protects Turkey/s rights, and that will not harm these rights in any way. He called on the Greek Cypriots to accept the confederation proposal. Denktash also said that the Turkish Cypriots will never give up Turkey/s guarantees.
Denktash/s advisors Ergun Olgun, Mustafa Evran, Necati Munir Ertekun, Taner Etkin and the Second Secretary Responsible for Turkish Affairs at the British High Commission Peter Boxer, were also present at the meeting. Denktash said that he explained to Buck the meaning of the International Ataturk Peace Award that he received and the importance Turkey gives to the peace after the so-called Liberation War.
The Dean of Incarnate, Prof. Dr. Louis Agnese, met with the ``EMU/s'' Dean Prof. Dr. Ozay Oral, and signed an agreement which foresees a joint research project and the exchange of academicians and information in related fields.
Immediately, the so-called antiquities department went to the place and determined that there is an ancient cemetery in the area.
During the excavation various kinds of amphorae were found, estimated to be 2,7000 years old.
The economic measures package covers main topics such as the "Central Bank", monetary policy, encouragement of investments and exports, restructuring of the public financial sector, increasing effectiveness and productivity in public administration, measures in the fields of education, culture, and agriculture, arrangements for electricity, the illegal worker problem, constitutional amendments, and work toward harmonization with EU norms. Accordingly, a monitoring and coordination committee will be established to follow up and supervise the implementation of the measures included in the package.
With regard to the "Central Bank" and monetary policy, the package aims at drafting a law on the "Central Bank" within two months with a view to rendering the "Central Bank" autonomous, at establishing cooperation with the Turkish Central Bank in order to adopt joint monetary policies within six months, and at solving the guarantee problems to enable "TRNC" to benefit from the international funds, in which Turkey is a member.
According to the package, the regulations concerning the "law" on the encouragement of investments and exports will be legislated within one month, the Development Bank amendment bill will be enacted, the transportation and freight fees will be lowered, and the shares structure of the "Turkish Cypriot Airlines" will be amended in favor of the "TRNC" within one year.
The section on public financing allows six months for the implementation of a single social security law and three months for a health insurance. Diminishing oversees medical treatment expenditures, revising the criteria for social assistance and educational scholarships, and decreasing transportation expenditure in the educational field are also included under this topic.
As for taxes, the package aims to inform the public, to give VAT refunds twice yearly, expand the scope of VAT, decrease refund rates, lower income tax rates as of the new year, gradually decrease rates for taxing at source, increase the levies on cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, and tax diesel oil that falls under the category of luxury consumption.
Under the heading of bolstering effectiveness and productivity in public administration, the privileges granted to political public employees will be lifted within three months, the right granted to personnel employed in public institutions to pay vehicle import taxes in installments will be revoked, the 13th-month salary will still be paid, and the system of cash salary payments will be abolished. Also included in this section are the measures to limit the implementation of the summer-time office hours to June, July, and August, and effect the "public service committee law" within three months.
The measures in the education and culture fields envisage the introduction of the necessary arrangements for the speedy conclusion of infrastructure development and for improving the quality in the educational field as well as the amendment and implementation of the military service law within three months with a view to preventing the brain drain from the "TRNC".
The section pertaining to the agricultural field draws attention to the water problem, calling for the adoption of the necessary measures in this regard, the implementation of the Limnitis dam project within one year, the legislation of the law on cooperatives, and the transfer of the "Cooperative Central Bank" to its real owners within one year.
On the subject of electrical energy, the package stipulates that measures be increased to bring about savings in electricity consumption, that alternative energy types be encouraged, that the work started by the "National Productivity Center" in conjunction with employers and labor unions be concluded, and that the proposals for additional electricity investments be evaluated.
Referring to the unregistered workers problem, the package announces that administrative and legal measures will be adopted in this regard.
The ninth article of the package aims at accelerating the democratization work regarding constitutional amendments and attaching the police and fire departments to the "Interior Ministry" within this framework.
The package also states that the "Council of Ministers" decision regarding bicommunal contacts will be reviewed.
Ensuring that all the amendments and arrangements to be implemented comply with EU norms is stipulated under the 11th article of the package.
The establishment of a monitoring and coordination council is also envisaged for the implementation of the package.
Pointing out that together with his colleagues he studied the package article-by-article, Serdar Denktash said that what was submitted to the DP consists of what was included in the ``coalition government/s'' program and what the DP criticized 16 months ago. He charged that the ``government'' work does not include even one word that will solve the current economic crisis.
We were told that serious work was being conducted, Serdar Denktash noted, and asked: ``If this is what they call serious, what else can they do? It is not even clear what decision they will adopt tomorrow to save the economy. The best thing for them to do is tender the government/s resignation to the president tomorrow''.
Let no one expect the resolving of the problems by these kinds of ``punitive'' measures. If fresh resources are not infused into this country, and if financial contributions are not made - regardless of whether these contributions are in the form of credits or aid - we can neither float back the sinking banks and return the money owed to depositors nor save the country from the present impasse.
Two views are being expressed regarding all these developments. The first is that Turkey was making a mistake from the outset; it must not have infused so much money into the TRNC. The second is that despite promising ever since 1974 to raise the standard of living of Turkish Cypriot people to that of the Greek Cypriots, Turkey simply stood by and watched the TRNC economy sink.
We must blame ourselves for all these adversities! We must blame ourselves because while we have been resisting the political deadlock, enduring the economic embargo, tolerating the inflow from Turkey of people equal in number of the whole population of the TRNC, and buying every type of goods from Turkey in the past 25 years, we have been unable to sell anything to Turkey.
While we cannot even dream of having the standard of our living to that of the Greek Cypriots, we are trying to obliterate the existence of our state by encountering a deadlock created by our usage of the inflation-ridden Turkish lira.
Meanwhile, were our officials the only ones who cheered the setting up of banks with a capital of merely 50 billion (Turkish) lira for each bank? Were our governments the only parties that allowed the creation of a fraudulent system by creating the miracle of a free market economy? Were our officials the only ones who turned a blind eye to the flow of money from the TRNC into Turkey?
Are we responsible for all the mistakes when the 1994 economic crisis in Turkey hit the TRNC economy so hard, investments began to be made in the infrastructure of the TRNC only 20 years after 1974, the water problem was raised on the agenda 25 years after the aforementioned date, the produced electricity does not meet all the needs of the country, and our products cannot pass from the Mersin customs house?.
Should the TRNC be blamed for the scores of illegal workers who have found employment here, the scores of vagabonds who are roaming in our streets, and the deadlock in the tourism sector resulting from the poor state of the airlines, which constitute the only hope for achieving progress in the country?
Go ahead and set up a new government after bringing down the present one! Let as many banks go down the drain as possible! Stop the flow of money and cancel the social security rights! Will you be able to save the TRNC by doing so?
Do not reduce Cyprus and the TRNC to such a mean position. You cannot explain the adversities that are taking place here as the reflection of the economic difficulties that Turkey is encountering as a result of its obligations toward the IMF. Nor can you adapt the TRNC into Turkey/s ``socio-economic vision''.
We have said immediately after 1974 and we are saying it now: The ``standard of measure'' for the TRNC are the Greek Cypriots in south Cyprus. What I am trying to say is that if the TRNC goes bankrupt, it means that all the policies developed until today will also go down the drain!''