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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-02-13

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: 31/02 13.2.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Reference to Cyprus by Spanish Foreign Minister during a Press Conference in Istanbul.
  • [02] Statements by Cyprus Foreign Minister Mr Kasoulides in Istanbul.
  • [03] Turkish Cypriot Foundation Head on Turkish Cypriot property in Cyprus.
  • [04] Denktas calls on the Greek Cypriots to forget their properties in the northern and the Turkish Cypriots to forget their properties in the southern part of Cyprus.
  • [05] Talat says that Cyprus has two alternatives: the solution of the Cyprus problem or chaos.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Reference to Cyprus by Spanish Foreign Minister during a Press Conference in Istanbul

    Ankara Anatolia (12.2.02) reported that Josep Pique, the Foreign Minister of EU Term President Spain on Tuesday held a news conference at Ciragan Palace, in Istanbul.

    Responding to a question about the candidacy of Cyprus and Turkey to the EU, Pique said: ``Cyprus is among the candidate countries to the EU which started the negotiations and which fulfilled many criteria. Our negotiations with Cyprus will continue within the scope of criteria determined for all the candidate countries. Turkey is also a candidate state which will start the negotiations. The EU said in the Laeken summit that it regarded positive the developments in Turkey and the negotiations would start soon. These two issues are totally independent from each other and the EU wishes both candidates to complete their process with success.``

    When asked if the preparation of Cyprus to purchase attack helicopters would affect the dialogue between the two sides in Cyprus, Pique said that EU fully supported the negotiations in Cyprus. He added that it would be better if the two sides would refrain from all sorts of activities that would damage the warm atmosphere between the two sides.

    [02] Statements by Cyprus Foreign Minister Mr Kasoulides in Istanbul

    Ankara Anatolia (12.2.02) reported that Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has denied the reports published in Turkish newspapers that Cyprus is planning to purchase 40 attack helicopters from Russia.

    In a statement to journalists during the OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference]-EU Joint Forum in Istanbul, Kasoulides said: "I have no information regarding any helicopter purchase. These are rumours." Refraining from any comment on the content of the talks between Rauf Denktas and President Glafcos Clerides, Kasoulides criticized Denktas for insisting on "conditions such as establishing two states in Cyprus."

    Kasoulides said that the Cyprus talks are expected to last a few months, and only in June it will become clear if any progress has been registered.

    Pointing out that he wants to meet with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Kasoulides said: "I asked to meet with Mr. Cem and discuss with him face-to-face a series of issues in order to eliminate the misunderstandings between us. I am afraid, however, that Mr. Cem is not accepting to hold such a meeting."

    Foreign Ministry officials, in turn, declared that Kasoulides did not request to hold such a meeting.

    [03] Turkish Cypriot Foundation Head on Turkish Cypriot property in Cyprus

    CUMHURIYET (10.2.02) publishes an interview with Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration General Director, Taner Dervis, by Leyla Tavsanoglu in occupied Nicosia.

    The full text of the interview is as follows: Question: Can you explain to us the legal status of the Turkish Cypriot foundations in Cyprus?

    Answer: Various sovereignties have reigned on this island since 1571, the establishment date of the foundations on the island. However, the Law on Foundations and, consequently, the foundation status has been recognized at the Constitutional level at every era.

    According to the Law on Foundations recognized at the Constitutional level, land belonging to a foundation "cannot be seized, sold, or transferred." Within this framework, these lands constitute the guarantee of the existence of the Turkish Cypriot people's lands.

    these foundations, which possess vast property resources and which draw their legal status from the Law on Foundations, have constituted an important power center for the Turkish Cypriot people during the Ottoman administration era with the help of the organizational activities that they have performed and the social, economic, and cultural services that they have extended to the Turkish Cypriot people.

    This organized power center did not escape the attention of the colonizers. As a matter of fact, thanks to its control over the island, the colonization Administration recognized sovereignty to the Greek Cypriot Church in 1978 [date as published]. However, the foundations became affiliated with the Colonization Administration Governor, thus reducing the foundations to a state department status.

    Question: What type of other activities contrary to the Law on Foundations were carried out during the colonization administration?

    Answer: The Turkish Cypriot population and the lands owned by the Turkish Cypriots diminished dramatically during the Colonization Administration era. Attempts were made to illegally reduce the amount of lands owned by the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration in a manner that is contrary to the Law on Foundations. A significant portion of property owned by the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration was illegally allocated to the Greek Cypriot Church, the Greek Cypriot people, the central government, and the local governments during the Colonization Administration era.

    The British Colonization Administration changed all the Ottoman laws. The Colonization Administration announced that it recognizes only the Law on Foundations, which is recognized by the Constitution today. This law, which was last compiled by Omer Lutfu, is the only [Ottoman] law that the Colonization Administration did not tamper with.

    Omer Lutfu, one of the most famous scholars who have conducted studies on the regulations on foundations, conducted a revision in 1839. Presently we are using this study conducted by Omer Lutfu. This study is valid and is recognized. Following the seizing of the Turkish Cypriot Foundation Administration by the Colonization Administration, the lands belonging to the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration were subjected to the harshest pillaging by camouflaging the structure of these properties. In this way, a significant area of property was transferred [from the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration to the Greek Cypriots]. However, the transfer of these lands is not legal.

    Question: Is there the possibility today of proving that these lands were transferred illegally?

    Answer: Of course there is. For the Colonization Administration recognized the Law on Foundations in those days. Then a joint republic was established in 1960. A Constitution was drawn up in the Republic. One of the Articles of this Constitution deals with foundations. This Article says that the "Constitution recognizes the Law on Foundations."

    The assaults against the Turkish Cypriot foundations also continued during the joint republic era. We thereby arrived at 1974. Thereafter the Turkish Cypriot Federal State was established and a new Constitution was drawn up. This Constitution also recognized the Law on Foundations. However, for us the important thing is that the foundations were recognized as having a Constitutional status both during the colonization era and the Republic's era.

    This is why we have a very strong legal argument in our hands at the international platform. We are at the stage where we can win the foundation lawsuits at the Greek Cypriot courts. However, let me tell you the sad part of the issue: It could be that we might lose these lawsuits at the Turkish Cypriot courts.

    Question: That is, are the Greek Cypriot courts more independent than the Turkish Cypriot courts?

    Answer: Let me give you an example. I will leave the judgment to you. Greek Cypriot villagers in Tersefan, Larnaca, sought to transfer the ownership of Turkish Cypriot Foundation Administration lands that they used for 50-100 years to their names. These villagers referred to the title deeds department in those days. These villagers then referred to the government when they failed to obtain any results from the title deeds department.

    The case was thereafter referred to the courts. The hearing was held at the district court in Larnaca. This court was made up of five Greek Cypriot judges. The court referred to the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration for evidence as third party. The hearing lasted for a long time. The court finally issued its verdict. Here is an excerpt from the verdict: "The Law on Foundations is so deep that it is beyond us".

    The [Greek Cypriot judges] have then decided to refer to the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration with regard to the issue. After examining the title deeds, they have found out that the title deeds do not show any owner and that the plots of land do not have any borders. Despite all this, relying on the word of the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration, they have decided that these lands belong to the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration.

    However, the Greek Cypriots have said that the statute of limitations must be applied in this regard because they have used these properties for 100 years. In response, the Greek Cypriot judges have referred to the studies conducted by Lutfu Omer regarding the Law on Foundations. The judges have then issued a verdict to the effect that the statute of limitations cannot be applied in this case.

    In this way, the Greek Cypriot villagers have lost their lawsuit. The case was then referred to the High Court. This time there were British judges at the court. The case was finalized in favour of the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration at this court as well.

    I read about other incidents involving Turkish Cypriot foundations property from other sources. According to these sources, a number of properties have existed at a place called "vakufiye" near Tersefan. The Greek Cypriot Church has sold these properties to Greek Cypriot villagers for one-fifth of the prevailing prices. According to our opinion, these properties also belonged to the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration. Question: Is not the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration the institution that owns the vastest properties in Cyprus?

    Answer: Yes, that is absolutely true.

    Question: What percent of land does the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration own on the island?

    Answer: We are still conducting studies to determine this percentage. However, I can say that a major part of this study has already been completed. These types of studies were conducted neither in 1878 nor in 1956. For this reason, we are trying to determine this percentage correctly.

    I would like to give you another example regarding this issue. Today the existence of the Turkish Cypriot community's properties is being questioned. According to Greek Cypriot sources, there is a serious drop in the area of lands owned by the Turkish Cypriots. The volume of lands owned by the Turkish Cypriots has dropped to 12-14 percent. However, the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration is the only legal institution that can determine the area of lands owned by the Turkish Cypriots. This is where the importance of foundations lies.

    We have approximately 1,000 foundations. The properties owned in north Cyprus by Abdullah Pasa Foundation and Lala Mustafa Pasa Foundation, two of our largest foundations, is double the amount of properties owned by the Greek Cypriot Church in north Cyprus. The whole of closed Maras [Varosha] has an area of 4,500 donums. However, the aforementioned two foundations possess 90,000 donums of land in the Magosa [Famagusta] area alone. The Turkish Cypriot foundations have a total area of 36,000 donums of lands in the settlement regions of Yeni Magosa [New Famagusta] that the Greek Cypriots have developed before 1974. Therefore, we are feeling defeat when we talk about Maras.

    Question: Why?

    Answer: Because we are thinking that Maras is only the closed part of Maras. However, there is also an open Maras adjacent to the closed Maras. A total area of 70,000 donums is one percent of the whole island.

    Question: Did not the Turkish Cypriot Foundations Administration begin studies on determining the lands owned by the foundations in 1996?

    Answer: Yes, it did. The studies that we have been conducting ever since that date allowed us to raise the area of the properties owned by the Turkish Cypriot foundations fivefold. This process is continuing.

    Question: However, south Cyprus is a separate sovereign region. How can you claim ownership over lands in south Cyprus?

    Answer: Even though sovereignty in south Cyprus is outside of our jurisdiction, the inviolability of our foundations are valid in that region as well, because Article 110 of the Greek Cypriot Constitution recognizes the basic regulations of foundations and the sovereignty of these foundations. It is true that this recognition has been ignored. However, this is another issue. Yet, we may have the lands owned by these foundations registered under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus through legal means after proving that these lands are owned by the Turkish Cypriot foundations. This has earlier happened in Tersefan.

    Answer: Laws regarding individuals are different from laws regarding foundations. Laws regarding foundations pertain to establishments. At the same time, laws regarding foundations have a legal status under the Constitution. That is, we must not confuse between laws pertaining to individuals and laws pertaining to foundations.

    Let me give you an example. An individual may win a case based on the prevailing laws. However, the Law on Foundations is superior to the prevailing laws when a foundation is involved in the case. We prepared very concrete arguments based on legal grounds and by relying on documents in a way that we can win the case with regard to Maras at international platforms. We thereafter filed lawsuits at Turkish Cypriot courts.

    These lawsuits were filed in 1996, but they have not been finalized yet. Look, there are legal means [for recovering these lands]. As a matter of fact, we can recover these lands by referring to legal means. There is no doubt about the issue. Why should we refer to political means if the superiority of laws exists?

    Officials from the US and British Embassies discussed the issue with me. These officials finally realized our sincerity regarding our struggle [for recovering these lands]. Let me point out the following: The laws that we apply within the country cannot be different from the laws that we apply toward the outside world. The citizens here are losing their peace of mind because of this. They are telling the citizens that the properties of these citizens will be seized from their hands.

    No, this cannot be done. We can solve the issue through the swapping process. The public benefits must be respected here. Property must be swapped by taking the public benefits into consideration. Otherwise, double standards will be implemented. Consequently, we filed these lawsuits in this way. Our legal arguments are very strong. We will obtain the results of these arguments in the coming days. We will raise our voices strongly if we obtain contrary results.

    [04] Denktas calls on the Greek Cypriots to forget their properties in the northern and the Turkish Cypriots to forget their properties in the southern part of Cyprus

    KIBRIS (13.2.02) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas has called on the Greek Cypriots to forget their properties in the occupied by Turkey northern part of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots to forget their properties in the southern part of the island.

    Mr Denktas met yesterday with a delegation of the Platform for Struggle for the National Target (PSNT). Mr Koyuncuoglu, chairman of PSNT, said among other things: "The Greek Cypriots are dreaming of raising their flag in Kyrenia, Lefkoniko and Trikomo, whereas we are saying one day undoubtedly in Muttallos (Translator's note: Mr Koyuncuoglu means that they are dreaming of raising their flag in Muttallos area of Paphos). And we believe that if we do not achieve this ideal the following generations are going to do it.".

    Answering to this statement Mr Denktas said: "Let the Greek Cypriots give up the idea of coming to Kyrenia and you give up the idea of going to Muttallos. Let us make a fine balanced agreement.".

    Referring to accusations against him and the demand for his resignation from the duty of the negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot side, Mr Denktas noted that he could go to a referendum and if people do not trust him he will resign.

    Meanwhile talking before his meeting with the Spanish ambassador to Nicosia, Andrika Mora, Mr Denktas was asked whether they would discuss an invitation addressed to him to visit Spain, as the Greek Cypriot Press had reported. "From where did this come up? I am not going to answer the allegations of the Greek Cypriot Press".

    Furthermore, Mr Denktas claimed that the European Union rejects the law applied in Cyprus as a result of international agreements and threatened that the Union will be responsible for the consequences of accepting the Republic of Cyprus as its full member.

    Asked to comment on Turkey's deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's statement that it is not a secret that Cyprus constitutes an obstacle in the road of Turkey towards the EU, Mr Denktas claimed that Cyprus was not an obstacle but it has been turned into such by Greece and the other EU member states.

    [05] Talat says that Cyprus has two alternatives: the solution of the Cyprus problem or chaos

    "Yeniduzen" (13.2.02) reports that Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP) has said that Cyprus has two alternatives either to solve its political problem or to come face to face with chaos.

    Talking yesterday at a Press conference, Mr Talat pointed out that in case a solution is not found, Cyprus, Turkey and the whole region would enter into a very complicated situation.

    Referring to some advisors of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Talat noted that those who have the historical responsibility for the Cyprus problem being dragged into this deadlock are still far from behaving in a responsible manner.

    Mr Talat demanded from Mr Denktas to remove from their office his advisors and the so-called "Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister", Tahsin Ertugruloglu because their views are sabotaging the negotiations procedure towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    KV/SK


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