Call for a Demilitarized Nicosia

askersiz lefkoşa afiş 2016 wSince February 2006 we have been putting forward the demand “in the process leading to the solution: Demilitarized Nicosia” through various actions and demonstrations. Today this is an issue which is discussed extensively and has come to an important point of being accepted by the society.
We are going on the streets for the eleventh time with the demand of “Demilitarized Nicosia” saying:
As Assembly for a Demilitarized Nicosia, we are bringing once again to the streets our demand for a Demilitarized Nicosia, a Demilitarized Cyprus. We are meeting at 14:30 on Saturday 27th February 2016 in the buffer zone in front of Ledra Palace / Home for Cooperation and we will walk together, parallel to the ceasefire line passing from Sarayönü square at 15:00 and giving a press conference at 15:30 at Ledra (Lokmacı) buffer zone. Then we will walk pass Eleftheria Square at 16:00 to reach Home for Cooperation again at 16:30… We are hoping to see amongst us all political parties and organizations supporting the antimilitarist struggle…
For this purpose, we are meeting at 18:30 on Monday 22nd February at Home for Cooperation in the buffer zone to discuss what we will be doing on Saturday and we are inviting all antimilitarist organizations and activists from both sides…
While preparing to go on the streets for the eleventh time we are saying:

Why is there a border dividing this city?
Do we really want to harm each other?
Were we ever as different as they taught us to be?

This city wasn’t divided because of the different languages we spoke; it was a power struggle between competing elites.

For a few it was more preferable to have all the power in half an island than share the power in the whole island. They chose to separate people into greeks and turks, into christians and muslims. They then made minorities such as Maronites, Armenians and Latins choose a camp. And they have marginalised and excluded the Roma and later on the recently arrived communities of migrants and refugees.

Our daily lives is not their playground. Nobody should be forced to live under constant threat, to live in a city with 5 different armies pointing their guns at us, supposedly protecting us from each other.

Somehow they find space for all their armies in a single strip, but when we try to meet, they dare tell us we block the street.

We are against all nationalist and imperialist armies, post-colonial military forces and alliances, as well as states’ repressing mechanisms and authoritarian institutions. Nobody should be a soldier of power elites, never and nowhere.

Time to reclaim what the armies took from us; Our city, our neighbourhoods and our lives.

This year, one year further away from the events that created these borders and one year closer to their dissolution, we decided to march together throughout the city of Nicosia, from the north to the south of this border that enters our lives and determines them.

On the 27th of February we are marching the solution!

We call upon everyone to join us!


YKP’s view on recent developments in the Cyprus problem

ykplogo_yThe New Cyprus Party (YKP) organised a press conference at their Headquarters on Monday 15 February 2016, entitled “hidden facts of the negotiation process”, where the recent developments in the Cyprus problem were evaluated. Executive board member Murat Kanatlı, Party Council members Alpay Durduran, Rasıh Keskiner, Hamit Aygün and Nicosia District Board member Mehmet Özyücekök attended the press conference.

At the start of the press conference, Murat Kanatlı stressed the importance of the settlement of the Cyprus problem for YKP, which is why this press conference was necessary.   He then gave the floor to Alpay Durduran. Mr Durduran presented the views of the party on the negotiation process and answered questions. The statement follows:

The response from the Turkish Cypriot leadership to the leaked information from the Greek Cypriot leader’s briefing, was “things are going well, there is progress”.  This revealed the game being played. Eide, who contributed to the atmosphere of “things are going well”, intervened and stated that the way that federal Cyprus will be established is given in the 11 February 2014 Leaders’ Common Statement.  He felt it is meaningless to bring this issue back onto the agenda. However, the Leaders circumvented the negotiation without any statement, declaring that “we are putting efforts for the solution”.  They are doing it for propaganda to deceive the world.

This gave them the chance to continue without engaging in the blame game and therefore looking good.

The people of Cyprus that want an agreement should consider this behaviour.

Those who are without any doubt in favour of peace should not forget that the devil is in the detail. Peace is possible by remembering that it can be realised by stopping micro-nationalism and it must be based on realities. It might be ensured by military power or soft power as the political power balance is defined, however it can be destroyed with the first change in the balance of power.

Eide also stated that the Leaders agreed on the establishment of the Cyprus federal state and this is included in the 11 February common statement. If we read this document again, we can see that there is no sign or intention of “the federal state will be established by the dissolution of the two existing states”. At the same time, it does not include any necessity for the existing ones to stay as they are and the federal ones to be set up later. In the 11 February Common Statement it is sufficiently stated what will be done for a federal Cyprus to be established. There is no need for anything else. Eide also confirmed this because Eide is not someone who writes something in the document but means something else.

The people of Cyprus should not give any opportunity to these kinds of attitudes. The Cyprus problem cannot be solved if the Leaders are not honest with each other. The things they say and what they mean must be same. Regardless of what they are trying to say, it is the obligation of a free press in particularly and the people in general to ensure that they are maintaining their honesty with us.

Akıncı needs to explain his speech where he says a federal Cyprus will be established by shutting down the existing Cyprus Republic. Anastasiades has to explain who is trying to abolish the old state and wishes to delete the registration at the UN and the EU, by saying that the federal state will be the continuation of the old one, and he needs to be careful not to create suspicions when answering rumours created by those who were irritated by these statements.

We need to learn who encourages Erdoğan or Davutoğlu who say Morphou cannot be returned and those who say “every TRNC citizen will become a citizen of Cyprus and the EU”.

Akıncı draws a new red line by saying “bi-zonality is not limited to a political majority. We will not make our people vote in favour of an agreement which will not make us the clear majority in terms of population and property in north.”

These statements prove that we are still far from peace or the solution. It is so clear that somebody tries to make people wanting peace to see these as real efforts for peace or a settlement.

In the 11 February Common Statement it is stated that “7. Parties will seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed”. This is being implemented and the positive environment is protected.  The article continues: “The parties commit to avoiding blame games or other negative public comments on the negotiations”. Can we say that? Even Eide felt the need to tell them to keep quiet. In the Common Statement it is stated that (the parties): “They also commit to efforts to implement confidence building measures that will provide a dynamic impetus to the prospect for a united Cyprus”. But promises are not being kept. Steps are not being taken to provide a dynamic speed.

Dear members of the press, as YKP we have always supported the negotiations. We have even voted for the agreement between the leaders saying: “So be it, we will have chance to fix it”. We have voted for the Annan plan despite our disagreement, like in the ways achieved with bridges and proposals for crossings and we never hesitated to express our criticism. We supported AKEL’s position which said: “we need to postpone the 2004 referendums for the Annan plan and in this way we could have time to inform the people, otherwise we would get a NO vote since it is going to be rejected”, but our voice was not heard. This time we are showing the same thoroughness but the situation is not going well.

Anastasiades says: “how will this be if the security of one side is a threat for the other side?”: Akıncı says: “Our people will not vote for an agreement which will not include the guarantee of Turkey.” How will the Leaders reach an agreement?

If there are people who believe and propose: “Let Turkey guarantee the Turkish Cypriots and Greece the Greek Cypriots” as a positive proposal, much worse than the existing guarantee system, then there will be no solution.

And Erdoğan says: “do not trust the promises given by the EU” meaning he rejects the EU’s guarantee.

Since 1964, at every opportunity Turkey explained as a first principle “first, the rights and obligations of Turkey, second the security of the Turkish Cypriots”. And frequently they made an official statement such as: “if there was no treaty of guarantee and we intervened, in such situation which state wouldn’t intervene”.

Is there anybody who does not know that the guarantors disagree about the treaty of guarantee? Each has a different opinion. Only Turkey declares that an armed intervention is not subjected to the permission of the UN. Turkey also says: “we cannot ignore the incidents that will happen in an island 60 miles away”. Now surely making the issue of guarantees an obstacle to the solution is equivalent to being against a solution?

How can it be considered as supporting peace if the need for compensation is considered as the most serious problem? Don’t they always say when making the calculations that it will bring peace, prosperity and opportunities? Eide stated that this might be a problem in the beginning, then the solution will cover the cost and eventually the whole island will benefit greatly from this. This was anyway discussed during the Annan plan period.

Some people at certain times try to create reactions against the developments as if it was agreed to show an uncompromising attitude and the Leaders follow this attitude. Therefore, although the Leaders support the progress, they prefer to provoke instead of defending the progress.

Akıncı says that “If Greek Cypriots cannot get over the idea of a Turkish Cypriot being in the presidency of the common federal state for fair periods of time, then there will not be an agreement” and draws a red line.

They say that rotating presidency is a red line! What has changed; until recently the president would have been from the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot leadership was in agreement with this, but now the Greek Cypriot leader has become a racist? While saying: “we are fewer in number but we are not a minority” why has the election for the president by a general ballot become destructive of the federal state? In the past, the president would have been elected by the weighted votes of the Turkish Cypriots without belonging to a community, is this impossible now? There are ways to solve the issue of elections either with cross voting or together with the election of vice president but those proposals were rejected.

The parties repeatedly keep mentioning an agreement or a solution is in the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots or the Greek Cypriots. Whereas, we are arguing that it is necessary to work for an agreement and a solution for the benefit of all Cypriots. Currently, in America is there a discussion about electing the president in turn according to their skin colour? Is there a discussion about electing in turn Christian, Muslim or Jewish presidents? No. It is sufficient to be an American citizen. If we are going to establish a state with the rule of law, then being a Cypriot citizen should be sufficient.

Those concerned should accept to act by considering the interests of Cyprus and the Cyprus identity must earn respect accordingly. The safeguarding of the interests of the foreigners should be abandoned. We call upon political parties, non-governmental organisations and individuals who support the reunification of Cyprus to speak up against those who say something regarding the negotiation process, but mean something else.

YKP: We haven’t said our last words on privatisation of water yet!

ykplogo_yWe have reached a very critical point regarding the privatisation of water in the northern part of Cyprus…

YKP is against the privatisation of water and it has been since December 2010 when it was first declared that the water would be privatised.

The agreed upon text infiltrated the press and when it is examined we can see that it includes very heavy provisions.

The text states that “drinking and running water, waste water, rain water and the right to manage the agricultural irrigation facilities” will be transferred to compaines, a process similar to the privatisation of Ercan Airport.”

From now on, the decisions regarding agriculture cannot be made by the administration in the north. According to the agreement, “The lands that will be watered with the supplied water will be agreed upon by both sides of this agreement.”

Usage of local water resources is strictly limited and in some cases banned. Current underground water resources will also be transferred to private companies as the agreement states “This agreement is binding regarding the work and processes regarding the supplied water as well as the management of local water resources, financial and administrative liabilities, rights and responsibilities of the Signatories and the private companies”. Moreover, the agreement states that “Where there are drinking-running water networks, new permits/licenses cannot be granted for the usage of water.” With this statement, it is obvious that the local governments will be pushed to be part of the system. This imposition is also evident with regards to pricing. The agreement states that “All the municipalities who do not partake in the agreement will be provided with water by the Administration from local resources with the price determined by the build-operate-transfer tender” aiming at provoking the public against the administration through the quality of water and the controlled prices of water.

The possibility of transfer of the water management to the local governments, in case that the proposed system does not work, is already prevented by the agreement: “The private company is the franchise owner during its management tenure and during this period, neither another private company nor a public institution have transferred to them the right or the permit to manage the water” With this agreement, water is strictly managed as a commodity by a private company.

Obviously, the lessons are not learned from the problem of electricity; privatization of water comes with a guarantee of purchase. It is stated in the agreement that “If the Guarantee of Purchase is below the given amount, the difference is paid by the TRNC Finance Ministry to the Company in accordance with the price determined by the tender.” Like the case of AKSA, this process will bring heavy financial responsibilities.

On top of all these, expropriation of lands needed by the Company will take place and according to the agreement “No costs can be demanded from the Company regarding expropriation and allotments.”

The Company will also be provided electricity with discounts! KIB-TEK is being left out of this process and of course the difference between the normal pricing and reduced pricing will be taken from the public!

The agreement continues by stating “The Company cannot be made responsible of additional costs or taxation after the agreement is signed, however, taxes or financial liabilities of the Company can be subject to discounts with new regulations”. So if the new governments come up with new taxation rules, the Company will be immune to increases but will benefit from any possible decreases!

The agreement also highlights that the investments made in Cyprus by Turkey are not formulated as public services but as investments made to any other province of Turkey, and when there is a need one day, the conditions of usage of the said infrastructures will be regulated by the funders of the infrastructures, mainly the Republic of Turkey. Another proof to disprove the ones who still think that we have an independent state!

Besides, the agreement does not have an end date.

It will result in an ecological disaster as it sees water as a commodity.

It will also have detrimental effects on agriculture and husbandry in the country.

It includes serious implications regarding the autonomy and financial circumstances of local governments.

As was privatisation of Ercan airport, this agreement includes hidden clauses and it does not guarantee cheaper water or water with higher quality.

YKP urges the local governments not to join this system, groups engaged in agriculture and husbandry to put forward a serious reaction and ecology and environment organisations to struggle against this plan that will result in ecological disasters. YKP will support such struggles and actions.

Water is life, it cannot be sold.