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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 13-08-02

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 CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No.145/13 2/08/2013

[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

  • [01] Tomorrow is the night of al-Qadr
  • [02] Problems emerge within the CTP-BG; Yorgancioglu: Siber's continuing as "prime minister" is contrary to the party's traditions
  • [03] Tumerkan wants a mosque for the "BRT" employees
  • [04] "Security forces command" most trusted institution in the occupied area of Cyprus
  • [05] Eyes on new force commanders as Supreme Military Council convenes
  • [06] AK Party official: "Gezi protesters should be sentenced to life in prison"
  • [07] How will Erdoan fall from power?
  • [08] Columnists on Ocalan's plan to transform BDP movement into a party
  • [09] Draft bill to toughen sexual abuse penalties in Turkey

  • [A] TURKISH CYPRIOT / TURKISH PRESS

    [01] Tomorrow is the night of al-Qadr

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.08.13) reports that the night of al-Qadr [or Kadir in the Turkish language], one of the most sacred of the Islamic religion, will be celebrated on the night between Saturday and Sunday 2 and 3 August.

    The head of the so-called religious affairs department, Talip Atalay has stated that some mosques will remain open until the morning for praying. In his message issued on the occasion, Atalay said that celebrations in all mosques will begin at 21.00 hours.

    According to Atalay, celebrations will be held at Hala Sultan Mosque in Larnaca as well. He said that those who want to attend the celebrations in Larnaca should go there by their own means and have food with them because no iftar dinner will be offered [Translator's note: iftar is the evening meal for breaking the fast in Ramadan]. The celebrations program will end at 21.50 hours.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Problems emerge within the CTP-BG; Yorgancioglu: Siber's continuing as "prime minister" is contrary to the party's traditions

    Under the title "Quarrel in the CTP", Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (02.08.13) reports that even though the Republican Turkish Party ? United Forces (CTP-BG) came first in the early "parliamentary elections" last Sunday, personal quarrels between "candidates" in the party resulted in the establishment of a committee with the duty of investigating the problems. The six-member committee will have to submit a report to the "Central Administrative Council" of the party within 20 days.

    CTP-BG's general secretary, Asim Akansoy said that after a "serious interrogation process" they will do whatever is necessary and that if they are prevented from doing so, they will inform their members. He admitted that they had experienced some problems during the "election" process and said that his duty as general secretary is to establish these problems and preserve the unity of the party, staying committed to its rules and regulations.

    Moreover, Huseyin Ekmekci, columnist of Havadis (02.08.13), reports that the personal quarrels in the CTP ? GB have cost at least three "seats" in the "parliament" for the party. According to the columnist, CTP's "MP" in occupied Famagusta, Ferdi Sabit Soyer called him yesterday and told him that the so-called mayor of Famagusta, Oktay Kayalp is in feud with him and that he would oppose to Kayalp within the framework of the principles of the party and without harming the party. Ekmekci notes that Kayalp interfered in the "election" process in Famagusta, but in spite of this, three "MPs" known for their "not good relations" with Kayalp, won the "elections" in Famagusta with the CTP. Ekmekci writes that in parallel to Teberruken Ulucay and Erkut Sahali, Asim Akansoy, Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Dr. Arif Albayrak were "elected" with the CTP in occupied Famagusta. Sonay Adem could not be "elected" only for a few "votes", points out Ekmekci.

    Meanwhile, under the title "Cauldron is boiling in the CTP", Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (02.08.13) reports that except of the problems that exist in the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Social Democracy Party (TDP), there is also a quarrel in the CTP. A group in the party that named itself "Correct View" criticized through the social media the so-called mayors of occupied Famagusta and Keryneia, Oktay Kayalp and Sumer Aygin respectively. These "mayors", who had been "elected" with the CTP, are accused of cooperating with other parties in the "elections" as if they were "a sixth party" [Translator's note: five parties participated in the early "elections" held on 28 July, 2013] and of directing the "mixed votes" towards other parties. It is said that because of this behavior, the CTP "elected" five "MPs" in Famagusta instead of six.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (02.08.13) reports that former "MPs" of the CTP-BG who could not be "elected" during the recent "elections" are furious with the administration of the party, while some other "MPs" and administrators of the party want Sibel Siber to continue at the post of the self-styled prime minister of the regime in the next "coalition government" until the congress of the CTP - BG. It is said that the council of the party might be convened to discuss the issue of Siber's staying as "prime minister".

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (02.08.13) reports that when asked to comment on the issue, Ozkan Yorgancioglu, chairman of the CTP-BG, said that he does not feel uncomfortable with the fact that Siber secured more "votes" than himself in the "elections" and that Siber's continuing at the post of the "prime minister" in the new "government" would be contrary to the traditions of the party.

    Yorgancioglu made a call on the party members, who are thinking of running for candidates in the CTP's congress that was postponed because of the "elections". Recalling of the UBP's congress, he said that they should have only one candidate for the presidency.

    Referring to the efforts for establishing a "coalition government", Yorgancioglu noted that if the CTP-BG does not find a partner that agrees with its program, it could remain outside the "government".

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Tumerkan wants a mosque for the "BRT" employees

    According to "A letter from 'Africa'" column in the Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (02.08.13), during the signing ceremony of the cooperation protocol between TRT and "BRT", the director of the illegal Bayrak television Mete Tumerkan asked from Besir Atalay - Turkish deputy Prime Minister ? to build a small mosque near "BRT" building, so the employees to be able to pray whenever they want.

    According to the paper's column, Atalay looked at them smiling and said that if they want a mosque, they should ask it from their "prime minister".

    The column concludes as follows:

    "Our BRT director Mete Tumerkan is too close to AKP?

    That's why he did not have any difficulties when he was appointed?

    He is a director, who thinks his religious employees?"

    [04] "Security forces command" most trusted institution in the occupied area of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (02.08.13) publishes the result of a research on the reliability of Turkish Cypriot politics and the recognition of Turkish Cypriot politicians carried out by Ali Uncu, from the academic staff of the illegal Girne American University ("GAU"). The survey was conducted through the method of face-to-face questionnaires with 200 random respondents.

    According to the research, 71% of the respondents said that they trust "little" or "very little" Turkish Cypriot politics.

    Of the respondents 47% said that they do not trust any institution in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus, while 30.5% said that the most trusted institution is the so-called security forces command (GKK), 10.5% said the police and only 4% said the self-styled assembly.

    In the question "how possible is peaceful settlement in Cyprus during the next 3 years?", 50% of the respondents stated that the possibility of peaceful settlement in Cyprus for the next 3 years is "very low". Those who also stated that the possibility is "low" were 16.5 %. Only 9% of the respondents said "very high" and 6% said "high".

    [05] Eyes on new force commanders as Supreme Military Council convenes

    Turkish daily Zaman (01.08.13) reported that a reshuffle of Turkey's top military brass is in the works as the Supreme Military Council (YA^) convened on Thursday under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the General Staff's headquarters in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

    The meetings will last four days. The members of the council visited An1tkabir -- the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal AtaTurk.

    Chief of the General Staff Necdet Ozel, Defense Minister 0smet Yilmaz, Land Forces Commander Gen. Hayri K1vr1kolu, Navy Forces Commander Adm. Murat Bilgel, Air Forces Commander Mehmet Erten, Gendarmerie Commander Bekir Kalyoncu, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, Head of the Education and Doctrine Command (EDOK) Servet Y?r?k, 1st Army Commander Yal?1n Ataman, 2nd Army Commander Galip Mendi, 3rd Army Commander Ahmet Turmu and Aegean Army Corps Commander Abdullah Atay attended the meeting along with the prime minister.

    Thursday marked the first time a fleet commander attended a YA^ meeting. Vice Adm. Bulent Bostanolu attended the meeting as interim fleet commander after Adm. Nusret G?ner resigned from the military in January in what was regarded as a show of protest against several court cases that have sent a large number of high-ranking military officers to jail.

    YA^ is expected to retire 16 generals and admirals who are suspects or have been convicted in trials over the Sledgehammer plot -- the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup -- and the Ergenekon coup plot. All 16 would have completed their four-year term as generals by Aug. 1. Their retirements would be in line with YA^ decisions last year that forced 40 other generals and admirals under suspicion to retire from the military.

    In previous YA^ decisions, the military extended the terms of generals suspected of involvement in coup plots for a year despite the fact that their four-year term had expired. At the time, the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) practice of extending the terms of office of generals in custody sparked a bitter row between the government, President Abdullah Gul and the military. The year 2011 witnessed the resignation of then-Chief of the General Staff Gen. I1k Koaner as well as three service commanders in protest of the Sledgehammer coup trial.

    Analysts expect Kalyoncu to be appointed as the new Turkish Land Forces commander, replacing K1vr1kolu, and Akar is expected to replace Kalyoncu as head of the Gendarmerie General Command. Ozel, who is known for respecting civilian supremacy, will remain in his post until his retirement in 2015.

    According to TSK tradition, if Kalyoncu is appointed as the new head of the Land Forces Command at this year's YA^ meeting, he will be appointed the new chief of the general staff in 2015, replacing Ozel. However, there is some speculation that Gen. Kalyoncu will be forced to retire due to some critical remarks he made about Turkey's settlement process with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), launched by the Turkish government in October 2012.

    The results of the YA^ meeting will be made public after the results are presented to Gul.

    YA^ meets twice a year, in August and December, under the chairmanship of the prime minister, whose presence was symbolic until 2010, when the civilian government began, to a certain extent, exerting its legal powers over YA^ decisions concerning the promotion and retirement of generals.

    During the August meetings, YA^ decides on promotions and retirements of generals and service commanders as well as the promotion of colonels to the rank of general. In December, the council makes decisions about 10-year arms-procurement plans, which are revised every two years. In both meetings, YA^ also discusses the general security situation in and around Turkey.

    Meanwhile, the TSK released a written statement on Thursday regarding the retirement of Air Forces commander Lt. Gen. Nezih Damc1 ahead of the YA^ meeting. The TSK said that Damc1 decided to retire of his own volition and that his request had been accepted, and denied that Damc1's retirement had anything to do with media allegations of a connection to a deadly airstrike that killed 34 civilians in 2011, known as the Uludere incident. Media reports said the TSK asked Damc1 to resign due to perceptions that he was linked to the Uludere incident. Damc1 was promoted to lieutenant general in 2011, and was in line to be promoted to full general in 2015. Media reports also said that Air Training commander Lt. Gen. Ak1n ?zTurk also asked to be allowed to retire. However, the TSK says no other generals besides Damc1 have recently applied for retirement.

    [06] AK Party official: "Gezi protesters should be sentenced to life in prison"

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (01.08.13) reported that Mehmet Ali Sahin, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said the "Gezi Park protests should be deemed a crime against the government and punished with life imprisonment," in a controversial speech during a program on the TRT News channel on Wednesday.

    Sahin, referring to the Gezi Park protests said: "In my opinion, the protesters aimed to oust the government. Therefore the protests must be assessed within the context of Turkish Penal Code [TCK] Article 312."

    The mentioned article, under the title "Crimes against government," stipulates aggravated life imprisonment for people who attempt to overthrow or prevent the government from performing its duties.

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman and spokesman Haluk Ko?, commenting on Sahin's statement in a press conference on Thursday, said, "Will you put half of Turkey in prison, Mr. Sahin?"

    In the southern province of Mersin, police staged simultaneous operations at 20 addresses linked to the Gezi Park protests early on Thursday, detaining five people. The suspects are charged with "attending an illegal protest, attacking the police with stones and bats, blocking the roadways and damaging public property" during a demonstration in support of Gezi Park protests on June 1 in Mersin. Some of the detainees are reported to be members of the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP), while six other suspects are still being sought after they could not be found at their addresses.

    In Hatay, another southern province, eight protesters were referred to the Adana Courthouse on Thursday on charges of attending protests on behalf of terrorist organizations and provoking people, after being detained on Tuesday. Seventeen detainees from Hatay were recently brought to the Adana Courthouse and 13 of them were arrested while four were released pending trial.

    In a related development, the Ankara Police Department's counterterrorism unit detained nine protesters in five provinces, including Ankara, on Thursday. Seven of them were referred to the Ankara Courthouse for arrest on the same day.

    Meanwhile, S?leyman ?elebi, an Istanbul deputy from the CHP, submitted a parliamentary question to Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, asking, "How many people have been arrested over the last three months just for exercising a constitutional right to attend meetings and demonstrations?" ?elebi, speaking to the media about his question, said that squares and parks belong to the public and therefore closing them is a violation of fundamental rights and liberties.

    [07] How will Erdoan fall from power?

    Under the above title, Orhan Kemal Cengiz writes the following article in Zaman newspaper (02.08.13):

    "We have to find new concepts for all these: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan became angry with one of the biggest business companies for its alleged role in the Gezi park protests. He expressed his anger with them during public meetings and these companies are now being investigated by tax officers.

    Prime Minister Erdoan was quite angry with Ko? Holding because Divan Hotel, which is owned by this group, opened its doors to protesters during the Gezi unrest and provided medical aid to people in need. It is said that this group is being investigated by the tax office because of a letter by an informant. Everyone knows, though, what the real reason behind this intimidation campaign was. As soon as news started to circulate about this "inspection," the company's shares on the stock exchange lost millions in value.

    I guess this kind of intimidation cannot be imagined in any open society, in any democracy in which free entrepreneurship is encouraged and protected. Day in and day out we write about how the media is surrounded by the government. As can be seen from this recent show of power, Erdoan does not only want the media surrender to his absolute will, but everyone else should also act within the confines of the limits he sets forth. Ko? Holding has close to a 10-percent share in the Turkish economy. When it became the target of this kind of unmistakable intimidation campaign conducted before the eyes of the public, it is not difficult to imagine the kind of shockwaves this sent across business circles across the country.

    In spite of all these, there is still no strong opposition to Erdoan within his party. This is somehow interesting because I do not think that everyone within the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) or every one of the supporters of this party is happy with all the things Erdoan has been doing in the post-Gezi era in Turkey. All these and other moves have the serious potential to damage the Turkish economy. Foreign investment may start to leave the country -- some economists talk of a "sudden stop" syndrome and other things which may be quite worrying for business circles that support the AK Party and Prime Minister Erdoan. Yet we can't hear any criticism from these circles.

    I believe, however, that one single move can create an avalanche effect in unleashing all the anger and frustration with Erdoan which has been accumulating for quite some time steadily but quietly. If, for example, a candidate from the opposition is elected as mayor of 0stanbul, then a chain reaction would start. A stroke of this magnitude would give a green light to an open expression of frustration with Erdoan. In spite of all the mistakes Erdoan has been increasingly making recently, AK Party circles see him as the one single figure who can guarantee that they will win elections one after another.

    If the opposition could manage to unite behind an electable candidate for 0stanbul in municipality elections, then they would pave the way for a quick fall for Erdoan. Erdoan, with all his sharp instincts in politics, may have seen this possibility himself. Therefore, it would not be a surprise to see the AK Party merging local and general elections. However, whatever is done, if the AK Party cannot retain the Ankara or 0stanbul mayor ship in the coming elections or if it loses a significant portion of its votes, Erdoan may face an unprecedented opposition within his party and we may all see that appearances may be really deceiving."

    [08] Columnists on Ocalan's plan to transform BDP movement into a party

    Turkish press reports about information that the imprisoned Kurdistan People's Congress, KGK, formerly PKK, leader Abdullah Ocalan is planning to transform Peace and Democracy Party (BDP movement) into a party:

    Under the title: "Ocalan Is Finishing Off the BDP Prior to the Elections", Eyup Can writes the following in Radikal (01.08.13)

    "According to Ocalan, the Kurdish political movement will, thanks to this effort, turn into a party that is not ethnically based, but rather encompasses all of Turkey. The above might seem over-ambitious... Indeed, there might be those who would object, saying "now what?", but Ocalan has evidently decided to finish off the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party].

    From whence am I drawing this conclusion? From the meeting with an "extraordinary" agenda that was held the day before yesterday in the BDP's General Headquarters.

    Because in this meeting, based on the proposal of Ocalan, the issue of the BDP parliamentary deputies' joining the HDP [Peoples' Democratic Party] was reportedly discussed.

    According to the report by the seasoned reported from Radikal, Rifat Basaran, rather passionate debates reportedly took place. The suggestion evidently had an explosive impact on the BDP leadership.

    Actually, in one aspect, this proposal is not new. Ocalan has been saying for quite some time that, instead of the BDP, which has long been identified with the PKK and the Kurdish constituency, he longs for a broader political platform in which leftist circles would also be represented.

    Indeed, the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Congress [and later] Party) was established for just this reason. It was indeed established, as far as that goes, but the HDP was unable to show any presence in the sense that Ocalan had been expecting.

    And so it is for this reason that Ocalan has evidently decided to take a much more radical step, prior to the local elections, that would virtually finish off the BDP.

    He reportedly said this to [BDP Co-Chairman] Selahattin Demirtas and [BDP Igdir Parliamentary Deputy] Pervin Buldan, who most recently visited him on 21 July.

    [?]

    According to Ocalan, the Kurdish political movement, thanks to this, would not be only an ethnically based party, but would turn into a party that encompassed all of Turkey, and would engage in politics for Turkey as a whole.

    Is this possible? For it to happen would be to the benefit of everyone in terms of democracy, but it will not be at all easy. In the end, whatever you call it, whether the BDP or the HDP, this movement, with its entire organizational structure and political philosophy, is still ethnically based.

    Even though it brought in leftist names like Ertugrul Kurkcu, Levent Tuzel, and Sirri Sureyya Onder in the most recent elections, it is still ethnically based. Moreover, the names that Ocalan suggested to chair the HDP were, on the one hand, Ertugrul Kurkcu, and on the other Sebahat Tuncel.

    In other words, the party's name will be different, but the players will still be the same.

    [?]"

    Under the title: "BDP discusses becoming Turkey's party", Aydin Albayrak wrote the following in Turkish daily Zaman (01.08.13):

    "As the settlement process is slowly progressing to put an end to Turkey's decades-old Kurdish issue, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is discussing a proposal by Abdullah ?calan, jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which would transform it into a party addressing a comparatively larger segment of Turkish society.

    Should the BDP deputies reach an agreement on Ocalan's proposal that the BDP participate in local elections next year under the banner of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), a left-wing party that was founded about a year ago, the step would most probably greatly help the party to be perceived by the public as "Turkey's party" instead of being labeled as one based on ethnic identity.

    Deputies from the BDP have confirmed that discussions have been ongoing within the party about whether to enter local elections to be held in March under the HDP or the BDP banner, while underlining the need for the BDP to get in touch with a wider segment of electors in the future. "We continue to weigh the pros and cons of coming together under a party that would appeal to the masses," Hasip Kaplan, a deputy from the BDP has told Today's Zaman.

    Ocalan once again suggested, as reported by the Radikal daily on Thursday, to the BDP deputies who visited him on July 21 at Imrali Island that they should discuss coming together under a left-wing party in an effort to appeal to voters all over Turkey, thereby getting rid of the criticism directed at the BDP of being an ethnic party, with implications that the BDP is a separatist party. Various members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have, in the past, called on the BDP to become "Turkey's party," to come up with proposals not only appealing to those Kurdish voters who have sympathy for the PKK, but also to voters all over the country.

    The HDP, which is presently composed of some marginal left parties, civil society groups and various ethnic and religious minority groups, is to hold its first congress on Aug. 17-18. Ertugrul K?rk??, a left-wing independent deputy who collaborates with the BDP and Sebahat Tuncel, a BDP deputy, are expected to get elected as co-chairs of the HDP at the congress, according to the Radikal daily.

    The party hopes to come together under the new party not only with people from the left, but also with those who describe themselves as "democrats," a description encompassing people in the liberal and conservative camps as well. "This is to be a political structure that would bring together people with different views, with the boundaries [of the party] to expand," Kaplan said.

    No definite result on the issue has come out of the brainstorming within the party so far, as some think that as the BDP is already politically on the rise with voter support to the party having allegedly increased to 10 percent from a little over 6 percent in the past, it would be wrong to take part in local elections under a new party banner. The BDP isn't expected to announce a decision on the issue before October when Parliament reconvenes after summer recess.

    [?]

    It's usually taken for granted for the BDP to cooperate, in the case of an expansion of the party, with left-wing groups that some would consider in Turkey as extreme left, as the BDP has already some deputies from the left within its ranks who had run, supported by the BDP voters, as independent candidates in the last general elections. But Tan believes the BDP should get into cooperation not with left-wing groups, but rather with those Kurds and Turks who describe themselves as democrats or liberals. "[Cooperation with] the marginal left would harm the party rather than strengthen it, because the [members of] the marginal left can tolerate neither liberals nor religious democrats," he said.

    Kaplan's solution for the "marginal left-liberal-and-conservative" dilemma is different: "The party would just continue its way with those who would agree to coexistence," he commented."

    [09] Draft bill to toughen sexual abuse penalties in Turkey

    Turkish daily H?rriyet Daily News (02.08.13) reports that the Turkish government has completed its work on legal regulations that will increase the penalty for sex-related crimes, paving the way for the chemical castration for suspects convicted of child abuse.

    Parents who force their children into marriage will face between one and three years in prison with the new regulations, which will also increase the penalties for sexual abuse committed via the cyber environment or mobile phones.

    The regulations are being prepared by the Justice Ministry, the Family and Social Policies Ministry and the European Union Ministry under the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozda upon instructions from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan.

    If sexual abuse is committed by mail, email, the Internet or mobile phone, then the penalty will be increased by half.

    As part of the new regulations, the term "incest" has entered the Turkish Penal Code for the first time; people found guilty of the crime could face between five years and 12 years in prison.

    The courts will also no longer seek a forensic medicine report on whether the sexual assault victim's psychological and physical well-being has been damaged in a move designed to prevent intrusive questioning of those subjected to such abuse.

    If a sexual assault is committed at a place where crowds gather for reasons such as a concert, rally, or New Year's celebrations, then the penalty will be increased by half. Under the present law, people convicted of such crimes face between four and 10 years in prison under the Turkish Penal Code's 102nd Article.

    Suspects convicted of sexually assaulting minors could also be subjected to medical treatment, in a move that some analysts say could open the way to chemical castration in the Turkish Penal Code. Individuals convicted of sexually abusing children will also be able to enter a program for their treatment; after release, meanwhile, they could be banned from residing near their victim or being at a place close to the victim.

    Such suspects might also be prohibited from working at places that will bring them into contact with children. Suspects convicted of sexual assault will serve three-fourths of their sentence as part of the new regulation, up from two-thirds under the present law. Those found guilty of basic sexual assaults will face between 4.5 months and three years in prison, up from three months to two years under the present law.

    The penalty for more serious sexual assaults will increase from two-to-seven years to four-to-10 years. When the sexual assault victim is a minor, the punishment will rise from three-to-eight years to six-to-10 years. Suspects convicted of aggravated sexual assault, meanwhile, will face between 10 and 20 years in jail, rather than the current seven to 12 years. When the victim of an aggravated sexual assault is a minor, then penalty will increase from eight-to-15 years to 12-to-20 years.

    TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

    http://www.moi.gov.cy/pio

    YH


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