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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-05-25

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.97/05 25.05.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Greek Cypriots are angry: USA Delegation will land in `Ercan´ airport.
  • [02] The occupation regime gives work permits to persons from Turkey within half an hour.
  • [03] Serdar Denktas is visiting Gambia in the framework of his tour in various African countries which are members of the ICO.
  • [04] Talat to meet Erdogan before the latters visit to the USA.
  • [05] An example of how land developers who usurp Greek Cypriot property in occupied Cyprus cheat foreign buyers.
  • [06] Samuel H. Huntington: Turkey cannot enter the EU.
  • [07] Turkey speed up efforts to become non permanent UN Security Council member by setting up diplomatic relations with small island countries.
  • [08] Dutch EU Envoy Kretschmer commented on the assignment of Ali Babacan as Turkeys chief negotiator with the EU.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Greek Cypriots are angry: USA Delegation will land in `Ercan´ airport

    Turkish daily SABAH newspaper (25.05.05), reports under the above title that the USA Congress which imposed embargo on Turkey, following Turkey´s `Peace Operation in 1974´, first time is sending official delegation to the `TRNC´. Following US businessmen, now the US Senators, will take a historic step by directly landing in Ercan airport (occupied Tymbou).

    The US delegation which includes co-chairmen of the Turkish-American Friendship Group, Robert Wexler and Ed Whitfield, will meet with Mehmet Ali Talat.

    The delegation which will arrive in Istanbul on Sunday, and will be `briefed on Turkey´ by the US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman and then will tour Istanbul´s Modern Museum. The EU representative in Turkey will accompany the group.

    The use of titles `TRNC President´, for Talat, `TRNC Prime Minister´ for Ferdi Sabit Soyer and `TRNC Foreign Minister´ for Serdar Denktas on the program of the delegation, which will leave Istanbul for Ercan airport (occupied Tymbou), was welcomed in Ankara. The US delegation, with whom, Greek Cypriot officials refused to meet, will be meeting with the UNFICYP chief Zbigniew Wlosowicz.

    On 2nd June the delegation will meet with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, Chief Rabbi, Ishak Haleva and head of the Jewish Community, Silvyo Ovadya over breakfast.

    [02] The occupation regime gives work permits to persons from Turkey within half an hour

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (25.05.05), reports that the illegal protocol for granting work permits signed between Turkey and the pseudostate is in force. The aim of the protocol is to register the illegal workers in the occupied areas of Cyprus and speed up the procedures for issuing work permits.

    According to a statement issued yesterday by the so-called Ministry of Labour and Social Insurances, all the departments concerned will be gathered under one roof within the framework of the protocol. Therefore, employees of the Labour Department, the Social Insurances Department, the Provident Fund and the Aliens Department will be offering their services at place to be created in the occupied part of Nicosia and help those who want to employ workers from Turkey to complete the necessary procedure when they file an application.

    The so-called Minister of Labour and Social Insurances of the occupation regime, Sonay Adem said that all procedures, except the issuing of a health certificate, will be taking place at the above-mentioned centre in Nicosia and they could be completed within half an hour.

    AFRIKA covers the issue under the banner headline Fast working permissions to illegal workers.

    [03] Serdar Denktas is visiting Gambia in the framework of his tour in various African countries which are members of the ICO

    Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (25.05.05), reports that Mr Serdar Denktas, the so-called deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the occupation regime, arrived on Monday in Gambia.

    As the paper writes, Mr Denktas arrived on Monday in Gambia where he was welcomed by the Gambian Head of State Yahya Jammeh. Yesterday he was received by Mr Yahya Jammeh; and also met with the Gambian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Musa Balage.

    Mr Serdar is visiting this country in the framework of a tour he is conducting in various African countries as part of an initiative aimed at improving the relations between the pseudostate with the member states of the Islamic Conference Organisation.

    [04] Talat to meet Erdogan before the latters visit to the USA

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (25.05.05), reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat will meet with the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Tayyip Erdogan, before the latter conducts a visit to the USA.

    Mr Talat stated that the meeting will be arranged according to the programmes of Mr Erdogan and Sir Kieran Prendergast the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who is going to pay a visit in Cyprus in the coming days. The visit will take place before Mr Erdogans visit to the USA, however, there is nothing final as regards this issue, said Mr Talat.

    [05] An example of how land developers who usurp Greek Cypriot property in occupied Cyprus cheat foreign buyers

    Under the title Buyers seek guarantee!, Turkish Cypriot daily CYPRUS TIMES newspaper (25.05.05) reports, inter alia, the following:

    Dissatisfied homebuyers struggling for over a year to have their homes completed and waiting to receive their title deeds of ownership, are in despair. People in one housing development claim that the builder mortgaged their land to a local bank and handed over their title deeds before defaulting on the loan. They say he left the site unfinished without roads, pavements, street lights or mains electricity, and defaulted on payments to subcontractors and suppliers. The builder did not gain permission to build before constructing the houses, and furthermore, the land parcellation and plot numbers are incorrect.

    The builder is unavailable, and householders are being told their homes don't exist and that the development is purportedly under the control of a money lender who is asking for money or threatening eviction. Government officials told them that no laws have broken and nothing can be done to alleviate their situation except to file a civil suit.

    A couple we will call Mr and Mrs 'Smith', first viewed their bare land in May 2002, when it was still an old olive grove. The estate agent told the couple that the land had pre-1974 Turkish title deeds, which turned out to be untrue. They were entranced with the promise of building a house in the middle of a lovely olive grove and were promised only a small number of houses would be built, saving as many trees as possible. (They were deceived. A closer inspection of the site plan shows that the edges of the paper were used to hide the rest of the planned development site before it was photocopied.)

    So they selected their plot and dreamed of a peaceful retirement on a beautiful Mediterranean island. They hired the solicitor recommended by the estate agent, and paid £1,000 for a title deed and land registry search, permission to buy, and to draw up the contract of sale. They provided the solicitor with power of attorney to oversee the planning permission process and other legal details of conveyancing. They were told that the laws in Cyprus were the same as in the UK and were told that the builder was also the landowner, making the purchase procedure easier. Then they returned to the UK.

    Seven months later on Christmas Eve at 8:30pm, their solicitor telephoned them in the UK to say that the land and parcellation was approved by the government. Although disappointed about the long delay, the Smiths were satisfied that permission to buy was granted so building could begin. But during visits to North Cyprus they became annoyed at the slow developments, and by the beginning of 2003, they began to realize the discrepancy between what they were told and what they were seeing. We realized it was a huge deception, they said. Construction delays were also causing problems at home, because they couldn't put their UK house on the market, the mortgage was extended another six months costing an additional £5,000.

    After shipping their household goods from England, they set out by car to return to the Island in November 2003. Whilst caught in a snowstorm in the mountains of Albania, the estate agent rang from TRNC to confirm that the house was, ready and waiting for you.

    But they arrived to find no water, electricity, no kitchen sink and a house full of building rubble. It was unliveable. They booked into hotels for the next three weeks whilst each day they struggled to complete the house.

    They moved into the unfinished house surrounded by a sea of mud. Water had to be fetched from a well 100 yards away in knee-deep mud. Still, they remained philosophical, although as the weather worsened, 'camping out' in a house with few amenities, became a misery. At first there were builders all over the place, Mrs Smith recounts, but their numbers steadily decreased and work began slowing down even further. In the end, it was only two guys taking a wheelbarrow for a walk.

    They said they became suspicious, tense and angry, no longer believing the lies and excuses of the builder until finally, he simply stopped communicating with them. They discovered that all the other residents of the new housing development were in the same situation. The problems simmered along for a long time whilst people hoped something could be done.

    But by April 2004, they knew the builder was about to disappear because during the middle of the night, all the building materials previously strewn all over had disappeared. That told us all we needed to know, they said. Some time after the builder disappeared and all work halted; a money lender began knocking on doors, saying that the builder owned him money giving him the right over their houses. Pay me £20,000 or I will evict you, he told them.

    A group of 'homeowners' called a meeting to take their complaints up with a solicitor. The solicitor representing the money lender, who also represented the builder, told the group: You've got a problem and here's how I am going to help you out. You have to pay the builder's debt of £15,000 each. (But they decided to pay nothing.) Why must we pay the builder's debts, they asked. "You don't have a choice," they were told. The only way you can get the land is to pay the debts. Everyone thought it was a shakedown. The builder's debts came to £255,000, and they were told and that he owed the money lender a further £300,000. But by then all sorts of figures were flying about, so they didn't know who or what to believe.

    That June, the, Smiths decided to dig in their heels. It is a scam from beginning to end, they said of the project. Money was sucked dry to fund other business ventures and personal pleasures.

    It turns out that the mortgage on the land was held by the bank. Then the bank holding the mortgage offered to help householders complete on their houses if each would pay the bank £12,000. This didn't seem right, so on 25 May 2004, a group, accompanied by their solicitor registered a complaint at Girne police station, stating that: We believe that money has been fraudulently diverted from our project to other sites and projects. We also believe that the mortgage from the bank was obtained by dubious means and with negligence on the bank's part. As soon as the bank heard about the complaint, they withdrew their offer and refused all subsequent contact. The police interviewed aII the people involved but later received information from the Secretary of the Interior that no crime had been committed. The police said they could press civil charges. We found that hard to accept, said the Smiths.

    Next they discovered that planning permission for the housing development project fees were unpaid by the builder, so no planning permission was never given for the building project for all the houses that had been built.

    That June, their solicitor advised them that £22,000 was needed from each householder to complete their projects. (They decided not to pay.) And at that point, the coalition of householders fell apart. Some had put all their money into their home and couldn't come up with huge sums being demanded by various agents.

    Mrs Sue McLeod in the British High Commission, contacted Hasan Findik, Ministry of Interior Under Secretary, and told them: The secretary is expecting your call and he wants to try to help. But after several interviews, although Findik said he agreed it was a scandal for TRNC, no action was ever taken. They kept sending letters to government ministers seeking assistance, but to no avail. All went quiet as people tried to save themselves. Some paid the money lender and others paid up to £17,000 to complete, but still received no title deeds. One couple lost £90,000 and returned to the UK empty-handed. At one point the government froze the land so no injunctions, claims or transactions could take place, but later the freeze was lifted without the families being notified. They want to pay the title transfer taxes but the government due to the backlog, cannot comply, so a year later they are still waiting for permission to buy as step-one in the purchase procedure.

    The money lender is again knocking on doors asking for money, but he is now demanding £40,000 per household. People don't know how to proceed and don't have the thousands of pounds necessary to fight a legal battle to get their title deeds. They say they've been trapped in this uncertainty for a year. Some are so disgusted they want to return to the UK, but can't afford to abandon their investment. In a whole year, nothing has changed a bit, says Mr. Smith, except that the financial demands have doubled.

    The Smiths are being told that they live in a house that doesn't exist. Without ever having received permission to build or buy the mythological, house, they cannot sell or transfer it to anyone else. But we paid in full for this 'myth' and more so, they declare. We love the people and the life here, but we are disillusioned by the malpractice of a few 'adventurers' who are blighting our dream and the reputation of TRNC, and that is a shame.

    This is not the only example of unscrupulous builders, developers or estate agents taking advantage of loopholes in TRNC laws. It's an emotional roller

    coaster and we can't get off. But we are not alone, she says. There are reportedly many other foreign residents embroiled in similar ownership quagmires, Mrs Smith added, citing locations in Karakum, Upper Karakum and Catalkoy.

    When asked to comment about the complaints, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said: The state is the guarantee for every single person who buys property or invests in this country. In the rapidly developing construction sector in our country, I have been made aware that some people who have bought properties are having problems with the developers. TRNC is a state of law, and we will not allow anybody foreign or local to lose out because of something that is not their fault. In this special case, our government is working to make sure that this problem will be solved shortly, and we are also working to make sure that these problems will never occur again. He repeated that every single investor and property buyers' guarantor is the state itself

    [06] Samuel H. Huntington: Turkey cannot enter the EU

    Turkish daily SABAH newspaper (25.05.05), reports that the author of the famous book The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel H. Huntington who is currently in Turkey to take part in a conference organized by Akbank Institutional Banking on Current Dynamics of the World Politics has said that among the peoples of Europe there is a widespread view that Turkey, is a nation that `is not European with its history and culture. And as long as this view is `shared by the European community Turkey cannot be an EU member.

    Prof. Huntington who is a professor of Political Sciences in Harvard University said that post-cold war political developments, gave more room to religious elements and secular inclination, continued since the French Revolution, has started to decline. Parallel to this inclination in the world, political parties, which stress Islam in Turkey, such as the Justice and Development Party (JDP) scored political success.

    Referring to Turkey´s EU membership, Huntington claimed that Turkey´s membership was postponed and 12 countries which applied for membership after Turkey, were admitted to the EU. He went on and said:

    Very few European leaders will tell this basic reason, however, there is a widespread view among the peoples of Europe: Despite the fact that Turkey wants to be included in Europe, it is a nation that is not with its culture and history European. As long as this view is shared in the European community, Turkey will not be an EU member. Therefore, the Europeans, since they are unable to say `no´, they cannot say `yes´ as well, they are following a policy of postpone and make Turkey to wait.

    He then said that Turkey has three choices in the new global politics. The first one is full EU membership, the second choice is Turkey to unite the Islamic World. Turkey could very well play this role, because it is an important country for the Islam. But this entails the danger of Turkey´s losing its mission of becoming a western country; a legacy left by Ataturk. The third choice for Turkey, is nationalist way. In this choice, Turkey will neither enter the EU, nor play for Islamic world leadership, it will focus itself to its national development.

    [07] Turkey speed up efforts to become non permanent UN Security Council member by setting up diplomatic relations with small island countries

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.05.05) reports from New York that Turkey which has speeded up efforts to get support to its target of becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2009-2020 period, has started to set up diplomatic relations with small island countries.

    The first island country with which Turkey set up diplomatic relations in this regard has been Saint Lucia.

    Baki Ilkin, Turkey's permanent representative to the UN, and Julian Robert Hunte, Saint Lucia's permanent representative to the UN, and also the President of the fifty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly signed the document on foundation of diplomatic relations between the two countries on Wednesday.

    According to diplomatic sources, Turkey would also start to have diplomatic relations with other small island states like Dominica and Palau which also have a vote in the UN General Assembly like other countries.

    [08] Dutch EU Envoy Kretschmer commented on the assignment of Ali Babacan as Turkeys chief negotiator with the EU

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.05.05) reported from Ankara that Mr Hansjoerg Kretschmer, head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey, said regarding the assignment of the Turkish State Minister Ali Babacan as Turkey´s chief negotiator for its accession talks with the EU that they '' were all expecting such an important decision.

    Hosting a reception in Ankara on Tuesday, Mr Kretschmer said that besides assigning a chief negotiator, Turkey should also take a decision about its institutional structure. I think a decision about it will be taken as well. he stated.

    ''Babacan was successful in the relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and I am sure that he will be successful in the EU talks as well. Chief negotiator will not only have a role in Brussels and the capitals of EU countries, but also should make issues go well in Turkey,'' said and added that Mr Babacan needs the support of the Turkish Premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and coordination of all Turkish ministers.

    ''Babacan needs a strong position. There is not much to negotiate in the relations with the EU, but everything should go well in Turkey. It is a hard mission'', Kretschmer said.

    In addition, the Dutch Ambassador in Ankara, Sjoerd Gosses said they were pleased with the decision, noting that Babacan is a perfect and qualified person. When asked about his recommendations to Babacan, Gosses said: ''Babacan should hold many talks on procedure during the accession talks.''

    /SK


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