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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-01-07

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. 4/08 05-07.01.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Chief of the General Staff to visit London and occupied Cyprus
  • [02] AFRIKA reports on Turkeys New Cyprus Plan
  • [03] Talat to meet with the Turkish Cypriot party leaders in order to brief them on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem
  • [04] United Cyprus party leader calls on Talat to clarify his statements on equal status of two states
  • [05] Paper claims that Turkish Cypriots living in London sell their property in the government controlled areas of Cyprus to Greek Cypriots
  • [06] Turkish newspaper: The fight to resolve foreign property woes in northern Cyprus
  • [07] Former director of the Vakif Administration on the Dome Hotel issue
  • [08] Erdogan´s adviser on the Cyprus problem in 2008
  • [09] The Turkish Cypriot parties on the CTP proposal for holding early so-called elections in occupied Cyprus
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [10] The A and B plans of Ankara

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Chief of the General Staff to visit London and occupied Cyprus

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (07.01.08) reports under the title He is going to London that Turkish Chief of General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit will visit London on January 20 to meet his British counterpart General Sir Richard Dannatt, high representatives from the Defence Ministry and the Minister of Foreign Affairs David Miliband. The main issue of his contacts will be the cross-border operation in N. Iraq, the paper writes.

    Moreover, under the title Talat´s visit thaws strained relations with military Turkish Daily News newspaper (05.01.08) reports, inter alia, the following: The top general is expected to go to Cyprus in the coming weeks. Let me say this. Turkish Cypriots face injustice, he told reporters Thursday. Buyukanit will inspect Turkish troops on the island and will hold talks with Talat and other high-level Turkish Cypriot officials.

    [02] Afrika reports on Turkeys New Cyprus Plan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.01.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talats recent visit to Turkey and his talks held with the Turkish Government officials there had focused on the Cyprus problem, especially on the results of the forthcoming presidential elections in the government controlled areas of Cyprus.

    Afrika reports under the title: Here it is the new Cyprus Plan and says that the Turkish side has decided the policy that it will follow in case the elections are won by Mr. Papadopoulos or by Mr. Christofias. If Mr. Papadopoulos wins the elections Turkey will put on the negotiation table the Czechoslovakia model.

    The paper further adds that earlier Turkey was against the involvement of the EU in the solution of the Cyprus problem. This time, however, it adds, Turkey will try to safeguard the European Unions cooperation with the UN.

    In the Czechoslovakia model that Turkey will submit, adds the paper, Turkey will demand separation of the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot Administration as the case was in Czech Republic and Slovakia and then it will ask to make the TRNC an EU member.

    In case the TRNCs membership to the EU and the opening of the Ercan (occupied Tymvou airport) and Famagusta to outside world are realized then as a reciprocal action Turkey will open its ports to the Greek Cypriot administration

    In case Mr. Christofias wins the elections, says Afrika, then Turkey will ask the UN to start an initiative on the basis of the Annan Plan. This is the atmosphere prevailing in Ankara, the paper notes.

    (MHY)

    [03] Talat to meet with the Turkish Cypriot party leaders in order to brief them on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem

    In an exclusive statement to Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (07.01.08) the self-styled presidential spokesman Hasan Ercakica stated that Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat this week will meet with the party leaders and will brief them on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and his recent contacts in Ankara. He said that Mr.Talat will not engage in mediation efforts among the parties regarding domestic political problems.

    (MHY)

    [04] United Cyprus party leader calls on Talat to clarify his statements on equal status of two states

    Illegal Bayrak television (06.01.08) broadcast the following:

    Secretary General of the United Cyprus Party Izzet Izcan has called on President Mehmet Ali Talat to clarify exactly what he meant by saying that the Cyprus problem can only be solved based on the equal status of two states.

    Noting that the United Cyprus Party was against a two separate states solution, Mr. Izcan said it is the beginning of the end for Cyprus if we step away from a bicommunal, bizonal, federal solution based on political equality.

    In a written statement, Mr. Izcan referred to the so-called contradictory statements made by the President during his visit to Turkey this week, and called on the President to bring clarity to his statement.

    [05] Paper claims that Turkish Cypriots living in London sell their property in the government controlled areas of Cyprus to Greek Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (07.01.08) reports in its front page under banner headlines: Turkish Cypriot Properties are being sold and writes that the newspapers which are the organs of the Republican Turkish party (CTP) in London are promoting the sale of the Turkish Cypriot property to the Greeks.

    The paper produces advertisements in these papers where real estate agents look for Turkish Cypriot property in the free areas of the Republic whose owners were living in the UK before the 1974 Turkish invasion. The paper criticizes the CTP of keeping silent before these activities. It gives the TOPLUM POSTASI and LONDRA GAZETE as being the two newspapers which promote these sales.

    (MHY)

    [06] Turkish newspaper: The fight to resolve foreign property woes in northern Cyprus

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (TDN) newspaper (05.01.08) reports the following from occupied Keryneia by Yusuf Kanli:

    What appeared to be a real estate boom in both the run up to the 2004 twin referenda on the island turned into a nightmare for many foreigners with the sector plunging into a serious financial crisis and many land developers and real estate agents beginning to fail to meet obligations that were paid for in advance.

    While Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and members of his government continue asserting that there is no problem and the boom continues in the real estate sector of the Turkish Cypriot state, adversaries underline that while some serious progress has been made toward resolution of the problems of the sector, a decline is obvious.

    The prime minister has been stressing that according to statistics, more property was sold to foreigners in 2007 compared to 2003 and 2004, and that is indicative of a revival in the sector.

    However, there are almost no new sales. The increase in the statistics of foreign property sales is a product of resolution of some problems of the sector and the government issuing title deed permissions for foreigners who have been waiting for the past 5-6 years.

    There are almost no new sales, said Zeki Gunduz, defense lawyer of one of the biggest collapsed real estate agents.

    Indeed, as Marion Stuart one of those Britons who have made northern Cyprus a second home and a writer at the weekly Cyprus Observer puts it, bad publicity has deterred some folk from buying their home in paradise, but there is now a team of people doing their best to ensure that all wrongs are put right and that everyone out there can be assured that putting money into property in northern Cyprus dubbed as a little piece of earth touched by heaven could well become the best thing they have ever done.

    Subtitle: Outlining the problems

    The most important of a plethora of problems regarding real estate in northern Cyprus is the sudden expansion of the market, and the insufficiency of the legal framework to oversee the construction sector as well as the protection of consumer rights.

    Unlike the traditional build and sell practice in the real estate business, the northern Cyprus market was based on a sell and build concept. When demand was high and new sales could finance construction of the old sales, the system worked perfectly. However, collapse of one of the leading land developers had a domino effect on the entire sector.

    Gultekin Ben, a prominent real estate agent, stressed that sharp increase in demand for construction, infrastructure deficiency, unqualified people becoming contractors, real estate agents and even land developers and the legal system failing to regulate the system effectively were the main reasons of the sector plunging into a crisis.

    Ezcan Ozsunay, an architect, agreed that unqualified people becoming contractors and land developers and the state failing to regulate the real estate business effectively were the main reasons behind what was considered a construction boom turning into a very serious headache starting from 2005. But, he underlined that the Republican Turks' Party (CTP) government was not as enthusiastic as the preceding center-right governments in issuing permits for property sales to foreigners.

    In a way, the CTP-led government continued to believe that even though the U.N. peace plan faltered because of Greek Cypriot rejection, sooner or later a federal settlement will be achieved and the property mostly constructed on land left by Greek Cypriots in the north sold to foreigners will be an added burden on peacemaking. Thus, it appeared that with suggestions like introducing leasing, they might have wanted to discourage foreigners from buying property there.

    Soyer flatly rejected such claims and stressed in comments to the Turkish Daily News that he was indeed personally involved in trying to solve the property woes of foreigners while his government was working on introducing new legislation which he believed would not only settle the existing problems, but help enhance the sector.

    Subtitle: New laws in the pipeline

    Soyer said the government will soon dispatch two new drafts to the Republican Assembly (parliament) with which it will become possible for foreigners to purchase property in northern Cyprus on a long-term lease. People buying property on a long-term lease, he said will be able to resell the property or to leave it to his/her inheritors. Leased property can be mortgaged to obtain bank credits as well. The lease period he said can vary between 10 and 99 years.

    The prime minister said in the new laws when a property is sold to foreigners a note will be placed on the title deed at the registrar's office and thus the rights of consumers will be safeguarded and sale of the same plot or house to some other people will also be prevented.

    Turkish Cypriot Estate Agents Union chairman, Hasan Sungur, as well as Cafer Gurcafer, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Contractors Union, agreed that when these two laws are legislated and enter into force it could help overcome the existing problems and invigorate the sector.

    Sungur said that Soyer is the only government official who supports them. He set up a Complaint Bureau.' The others don't care that much, he said. The bureau which is now renamed as Property Information Office (PIO) does not have a legal basis, but it works well, according to Sungur. The problems with foreigners are not as big as they claim. There are not even 200 complaints yet, he said.

    On the Greek Cypriot side, there are 2,600 foreigners who were swindled. There is another difference between the two sides. Here in northern Cyprus we do not try to resolve problems by beating anyone, but in the Greek Cypriot side there were at least 16 beating incidents over the past year, he said. These claims could not be verified by the TDN.

    Sungur claimed that just as the northern Cyprus economy was about to stand on its feet thanks to the construction sector, a chain reaction began to wear the thriving sector down. The first step was on the suggestion to introduce a 125-year-old leasing law. Then, a 15 percent Value Added Tax was a second step that created distrust. Somebody tried to destroy the Turkish Cypriot construction sector.

    He said in the new leasing draft he expected the government to incorporate in the old text which the government withdrew after strong reactions to the document by the sector suggestions of contractors, land developers and real estate agents as well as NGOs established by foreigners who bought property in northern Cyprus, such as The Homebuyers Pressure Group.

    Sungur was supportive of the government but at the same time was arguing that the government has become hostage to the parliament that does not pass appropriate laws. Only recently, 142 people received diplomas, qualifying them to launch real estate agencies. Among these you can find criminal convicts, he said. He said a new law that would require higher qualities from real estate agents would help the sector but under the current political climate that appeared a difficult objective to achieve.

    Subtitle: The security obsession'

    Meanwhile, according to a senior Turkish Cypriot official, a key reason behind the government's incapability to issue permission for property sales to foreigners was the security obsession of the military.

    The official complained that there was a serious difference of opinion on the issue between the two-way coalition government headed by Soyer and military intelligence, which he claimed considered foreigners as potential spies.

    Military sees every portion of land sold to foreigners as land sold to the enemy. They require a security clearance to procrastinate, he said. In one case, the official said, a British retired school teacher wanted to buy a basement floor in Keryneia where he has been living for the past few years. After holding the security clearance for more than three years, he said, the military intelligence reported to the government that an officer was living a few blocks away and the sale of the basement to a foreigner would pose a security threat. By the time the military replied on that case the man had been living at that basement for the past eight years nearly. Him staying there as a tenant was not a security threat, but buying the house was. This is a severe problem, the official said.

    Military's security concern backfires according to the official. Papadopoulos was furious over property sales to foreigners in northern Cyprus, the military too! he underlined. Military's harsh posture against property purchases was damaging the economy as well, argued the official. The capital inflow from these foreigners is what keeps this county running, he said.

    Marian Stokes, the chairperson of The Homebuyers Pressure Group talked to the TDN in appreciation of the efforts of Soyer and the Property Information Office at the Prime Ministry which is headed by Tugce Volkan for the betterment of the property situation and to expedite solutions to outstanding cases of complaint, much of which has been damaging the reputation of northern Cyprus as an idyllic Mediterranean island.

    Stokes said since the establishment of the Property Information Office in July, the situation has improved a lot and she has started channelling all complaints to the PIO. She said about 160 cases have been filed to date, all consisting of people who initially sought help from her group on various aspects of their property purchases in the Republic of northern Cyprus and the number is increasing daily.

    All these cases take time, said Stokes, people are asked to be patient many people have waited two years for something to happen, and up to four months ago there seemed no hope, so please allow the government to do its job. It takes time as they need to investigate each case and find a solution, which might be a compromise, which is of course, far better than nothing.

    She continued: the government has agreed to sort out the problems and will do, in whatever time it takes.

    Now we have light at the end of the tunnel, we need to be positive and stop complaining, and when these matters are rectified people can decide whether to stay or sell. If people continue to complain and keep trying to damage the economy by criticism and suggesting others avoid buying here, it will do irreparable damage. We will continue to fight on people's behalf, concluded Stokes.

    Scores of real estate agents, land developers and foreign home buyers in northern Cyprus who were interviewed by the TDN over the span of two weeks were all hopeful that the nightmare is over though it would require immense energy and effort to push toward solving all of the complaints and return the sector to those good old days once again.

    Subtitle: Tasks of the Property Information Office

    The tasks of the PIO include receiving the initial complaint, creating a file, collating relevant documentation, preparing a summary in Turkish and then forwarding the file to the PIO Committee who then discusses each individual case to see what solution may be found. This information is then relayed to the applicant. Future action may involve the help of other government departments, and Tugce Volkan acknowledged that any request then done in the name of the prime minister has to be treated with respect.

    The committee itself consists of three managers from the Interior Ministry, the Construction Contractors Union, Builders Union and Turkish Cypriot Bar (the law society), together with the president of the Estate Agents Union, Hasan Sungur, working in an advisory capacity to the PIO.

    It is a high level committee with much expertise, and together they discuss the finding of a solution to each individual case, as well as investigating how the problem came into being and testing the current laws and procedures currently in place to see if they are robust. Should any procedure or law be proved to be lacking or contributing to the problems that are evident then the Committee will look at ways of preventing this.

    [07] Former director of the Vakif Administration on the Dome Hotel issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (07.01.08) publishes a statement by Soner Cuvalcioglu, a former director of the Vakif Administration, regarding selling or leasing of the occupied Dome Hotel.

    Mr. Cuvalcioglu in his statement suggests that the hotels management system should be changed and with a well prepared contract and list of conditions tenders should be invited for joint operations or for leasing.

    (MHY)

    [08] Erdogans adviser on the Cyprus problem in 2008

    Istanbul CNN Turk Television (02.01.08) broadcast a debate entitled Turkish Foreign Policy in 2007 hosted by Gurkan Zengin. Ambassador Prof Dr Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister Erdogan´s chief foreign affairs adviser, assessed Turkey´s foreign policy in 2007 and explained the governments goals for 2008.

    Following is Mr Davutoglus statement on Cyprus:

    Assessing the Cyprus issue, Mr Davutoglu says: "We will see what will happen in the elections that will be held in Cyprus in February. If an outside factor -- and this may be the EU, the United Nations, or the United States -- does not posit a proposal, a comprehensive solution will not be found in Cyprus in the near future. Given that the Cypriots are aware of this, they are trying to make use of the EU for strengthening their current position. Turkey's growing strategic influence is unfortunately the only thing that may convince the EU where this issue is concerned. After all, we have tried all the routes for proving that we are right. Secondly, it is necessary to increase the effectiveness of Cyprus in the eyes of the other actors. The truth is that 2007 was a very good year for north Cyprus. We see that north Cyprus has made progress in four fields. First there has been a move in the Council of Europe and in the representation in Europe; secondly, north Cyprus has opened offices in Gulf countries such as Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar; thirdly, ships have begun to sail from north Cyprus to Laskiya in Syria; the honorable Talat has visited many countries; the OIC [organization of the Islamic conference] secretary general and an OIC delegation have visited north Cyprus. All this shows that progress is being made step by step. And most important the economic gap between south and north Cyprus has dropped. Currently it will be necessary to persuade the Turkish Cypriots to agree to the unity of the island. We should work patiently en route to a two-state solution."

    [09] The Turkish Cypriot parties on the CTP proposal for holding early so-called elections in occupied Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.01.08) broadcast the following:

    The Democrat Party, the National Unity Party and the Republic Turkish Party (CTP) continued their discussions on work carried out by three ad-hoc committees at another meeting yesterday morning.

    During the meeting, the senior partner of the coalition Republican Turkish Party proposed the 28th June 2009 as a date for a referendum on constitutional amendments and early elections.

    The National Unity Party and Democrat Party which have been insisting that a referendum and early elections should be held within the year, are not too pleased with the offer.

    The Democrat Partys Board of Directors evaluated the proposal and said that it was unacceptable.

    In a statement he made after the meeting, the leader of the Democrat Party Serdar Denktas invited President Mehmet Ali Talat to urgently mediate between the parties on the issue.

    After its partys assembly meeting, the National Unity Party decided that the Republican Turkish Partys proposal wasnt realistic or sincere.

    The leader of the National Unity Party Tahsin Ertugruloglu said the partys final decision on the issue will be announced on Monday.

    On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (06.01.08) reports the following:

    Leader of the junior coalition partner-the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) and Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said that early elections could not be held just because the opposition had lost seats in the parliament.

    The ORP leader-Deputy Prime Minister touched upon the latest debate on early elections during a party gathering in Esentepe (occupied Ayios Amvrosios).

    Speaking during the meeting, Mr. Avci said that the Freedom and Reform Party was ready to take place in any snap elections but added that early elections could not just be held because two opposition leaders had lost their seats in parliament.

    Stating that the ORPs goal was to serve everyone and not just a specific group of people, Avci said that the main focus of his partys efforts was to develop all parts of the TRNC.

    Criticizing the previous governments, the ORP leader said that it was not easy to change the pervious system which had run the country for the last 30 years.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [10] The A and B plans of Ankara

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (07.01.08) publishes the following article at the daily Afrikadan Mektup (Letter from Afrika) column of the paper:

    The backstage of the contacts that Mehmet Ali Talat had in Ankara started to become clear

    These contacts were centered around the elections to be held in South Cyprus on the 17th of February.

    Who is going to win it was discussed

    Papadopoulos or Christofias?

    It seems that Turkey is chartering a separate plan for the two of them

    That is, there is one plan if Papadopoulos wins and another plan if Christofias wins.

    It is understood that Ankaras preference lines with Papadopoulos

    It is thought that Papadopoulos is an advantage for Turkish politics because Papadopoulos was promoted to the world as uncompromising and former EOKAs member, and Akritas (plan) supporter.

    However, if Christofias wins, it will not be considered as a surprise and this will put quite pressure on Ankara in the new period

    It will force Ankara to follow a new policy.

    Because Christofiass image in the world is not as tarnished as Papadopoulos image.

    He is known as favouring solution and peace as well as a democratic person.

    He is using words of peace. He supports continuous contacts with the Turkish Cypriots.

    He says that Cyprus is the common homeland for the two communities.

    In case someone like this wins the elections, Ankara will not be able to be as comfortable as it was during the Papadopoulos period on the Cyprus issue.

    The Turkish side, which continuously prays for Christofias not to win the elections, is building up its real plan upon Papadopoulos victory.

    But the plan of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is different.

    In case Papadopoulos wins, Moon does not think to start a new initiative or to present a new plan

    Turkey, which knows this very well, has prepared its own plan and explained this matter to Talat in Ankara.

    According to the new plan, Turkey, unlike in the past, this time wants the EU and the UN to be included together in the process.

    The model to be put on the table will be the Czechoslovakian model.

    Turkey will demand separation of the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot Administration as the case was in Czech Republic and Slovakia and then it will ask to make the TRNC an EU member.

    In this way all the problems regarding the direct flights from the Ercan (occupied Tymvou) airport and the direct trade from the Famagusta port will be solved.

    Turkey as a reciprocal action will open its ports and airports to the Greek Cypriot aircraft and ships.

    If that is so, what if Christofias wins?

    Then this is what Turkey will do: It will request the undertaking of an initiative from the UN for a solution based on the Anan Plan.

    This is the atmosphere prevailing in Ankara

    Snowy

    What about our weather?

    Dry

    There is nothing but parroting simple sentence..

    We are in full agreement with Ankara

    Say if you have any other opinion

    Let the mountains to echo it

    EG/


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