North Cyprus – TRNC News Today – 9.6.2016


TRNC News Today

Akıncı: “We will establish a united federal Cyprus”

President Mustafa Akıncı stated “Our proposals should not be associated with a co-federal state. We have not such an intention. We are aware of the fact that it is not possible but the Greek Cypriot side should also stay away from the approach of a unitary state. We will not establish a unitary state in Cyprus but establish a united federal Cyprus”.

Mustafa Akinci

In his speech following the leaders meeting held yesterday, President Akıncı said that all of their works towards reaching a settlement are on the basis of the Joint Statement dated on 11 February 2014, compatible with the spirit of a federal state. We are aware of the fact that a federal state based on bi-zonality, bi-communality and political equality is possible in Cyprus.

Furthermore, Akıncı expressed that they will intensify their works and meet twice a week, adding that they will discuss different chapters at each meeting and these chapters will be especially uncompromised issues. Akıncı said “I believe that we will gain a more fruitful working system with this tempo”…… 

Anastasiades:  “Given that there is a will, then there is hope for a solution to the Cyprus problem in 2016”

Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades said “If the negotiations gain speed, convergences increase and there is will, solution of the Cyprus problem may be possible”.

Anastasiades

In his statement following the leaders meeting held yesterday, Anastasiades said that the meeting was very constructive and they decided to intensify the negotiations, to note the differences. Asked about his proposal to the UNSG Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide to put down on paper the convergences and mutual understandings achieved so far and the differences which remain, Anastasiades said that it has been agreed that there is no need to record the convergences in a column, but rather to register the divergences.

He said that the focus is on this issue in order to have a separate discussion on outstanding differences for a specific aspect of the Cyprus problem in each of the meetings to follow. This, he added, “will enable us to have a more creative and productive discussion, in order to indicate whether, at last, we can achieve a comprehensive solution as soon as possible.”

Leaders to meet twice a week for Cyprus talks starting June 17

The leaders of Cyprus` two communities, President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades, issued a joint statement through UNFICYP on their meeting on Wednesday, announcing that they have agreed to intensify their negotiations and start meeting twice a week beginning June 17.

Leaders to meet twice a week

“Akıncı and Anastasiades, met under the auspices of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General (SASG) Mr. Espen Barth Eide, on 8th June 2016,” the joint statement says.

“Building on their joint statement of 15th May 2016, they had a very constructive exchange of views on the methodology of the talks and agreed to intensify their negotiations,” it adds.

The two leaders decided to start meeting twice a week, beginning 17th June 2016, working to resolve the remaining outstanding issues in an agreed structured manner, the statement notes.

They also used this opportunity to thank the Deputy SASG Lisa Buttenheim, for her services in support of the process, during her almost six years in Cyprus, as this was the last time she participated in a leaders’ meeting, the press release concludes.

On Wednesday the leaders met in the framework of the peace talks under the aegis of the UN and in statements to the press following the meeting, they said that they will be meeting twice a week, with a concrete agenda, to intensify consultations.

The first meeting has been scheduled for June 17.

Akıncı hosts a reception in honour of Buttenheim

President Mustafa Akıncı hosted a reception at the Presidency in honour of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Cyprus Lisa M. Buttenheim whose term of office has ended in Cyprus. II. President Mehmet Ali Talat, III. President Derviş Eroğlu and UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide and other guests attended the reception.

Lisa Buttenheim dinner

In his speech at the reception, Akıncı said that they conducted good works with Buttenheim who is known as a best friend of both sides in Cyprus and wished her success in her new mission in New York.

Furthermore, Buttenheim wished the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide to be last special advisor in Cyprus, adding that the United Nations in Cyprus is working hard with both leaders to find a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem.

Noticing that compared to the problems of the Middle East, a solution of the Cyprus problem is easier, Buttenheim said that the Cyprus problem has a long past but looking at the future is more important than the past.

Zeybekci to arrive in Cyprus

The Minister of Economy of Turkey Mr. Nihat Zeybekci will arrive in Cyprus on 10 June 2016 at 16:00 by private aircraft.

Nehat Zeybekci

Within the framework of his one day official visit, Minister Zeybekci will attend the opening ceremony of the 40th TRNC International Fair.

Biden and Yildirim discuss Cyprus issue in a telephone conversation

The USA Vice President Joe Biden and the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim have reaffirmed their strong support for efforts in Cyprus to reach an agreement that reunifies the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

Joe Biden call to Yildirim

According to a written statement issued by the spokesperson of the White House, Biden and Yildirim had a telephone conversation yesterday, during which the US Vice President expressed condolences for the terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Midyat.

“The Vice President strongly condemned these senseless acts of violence, and the leaders pledged to continue the robust cooperation between the two countries on combating terrorism”, it is stated.

At the same time, Biden congratulated the Turkish Prime Minister on assuming his leadership role and underscored the importance of the U.S. -Turkey partnership.

“Greek Cypriots selling EU Passports”

UK Justice Minister Dominic Raab blamed Greek Cypriots for selling EU passports.

Raab gave a speech at the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign headquarters in Westminster on June 8, 2016 in London, England. Mr Raab was joined by Justice Secretary Michael Gove as they made a case for Britain leaving the European Union on the basis of increased border control and security. Britain will go to the polls in a referendum on the 23rd of June on whether or not to leave the European Union.

Raab

Justice Minister Dominic Raab claimed that EU passports are being offered for sale online, giving buyers the right to come to the UK.  He brandished an advert from a Greek Cypriot estate agent apparently offering a Greek Cypriot passport in three months for just under 4,000 euros.

Mr Raab said: “This shows open, flagrant selling of EU passports. Once people buy these EU passports and with it citizenship of an EU member state, they have the automatic right to come to the UK because of ‘free movement’.

“Given this is already happening at scale, imagine how much worse this problem will be after the next wave of EU accessions.”

It’s true that Greek Cypriot passports are on sale on the internet. The processing fee offered by the company in question – Buysell – is 3,975 euros. That’s just over £3,100.  There is nothing illegal about this. The citizenship scheme is endorsed by the Greek Cypriot government and offered by a number of different companies.

Obtaining the passport isn’t as simple as handing over a small amount of cash – there is also the small matter of the 2.5m euro investment you need to make in the Greek Cypriot side of Cyprus.

The investment can be in the form of property, shares, bonds or other assets.  You have to submit your application as part of a group of people, but this appears to be a technicality – you don’t need to know the others.  The stake each person invests can be reduced from 2.5m euros to 500,000 euros after three years.

It’s true that once you have the passport, you get the right to live and work anywhere in the EU, including Britain, under free movement rules.

How many people are likely to go down this road? It’s hard to say, although the size of the initial investment ought to exclude most people.

Channel 4 News reporter Ciaran Jenkins got in touch with BuySell and asked them how popular the scheme is.  Sales manager Chris Hadjikyriacou said: “It’s not like that many people are buying passports. They have to have 2.5m euros to invest here – you might get what 100 people a year”.

“It’s not like a large amount of people are going to come getting this. These 100 people are not going to affect you guys there. You get truckloads of people trying to cross the channel, thousands of people every day cheating. So somebody coming to buy in the Greek part of Cyprus, they are staying in the South part of Cyprus.”

“If the ministers are going around with our brochure they are using it as propaganda to scare them to leave the EU, it is nonsense.”  On the potential security risk, he said: “We’re not getting Iranians and Iraqis and Muslims. The people who are buying are oriental: they’re Chinese, Asian, Korean, not Muslims. They’re not extremists.  “These are very wealthy people, they’ve got nothing to do with jihad and all this stuff.   The government of (South part) of Cyprus does a full search on them. They don’t get a passport that easy. There’s no risk involved they don’t get in that easy, they have to have a lot of money.”

Brokers who offer Greek Cypriot citizenship stress that applicants’ names must not appear on lists of people whose property assets have been frozen by the EU.  The number of times this detail is mentioned on various websites gives us a clue as to who might be interested in using this service: Russians, as Mr Raab acknowledged in his speech.

Greek Cypriot side has long been a favourite offshore banking centre for rich Russians, and the country relaxed its citizenship rules to appease angry Russians who lost savings after the EU and IMF bailed the South part of Cyprus out in 2013.

Perhaps Mr Raab thinks there is something inherently wrong about offering routes to citizenship to foreign nationals in return for investment.  But it’s something many other countries in the world do, including Great Britain.  In this country you can get a Tier 1 (investor) visa if you invest “in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies”.

Funnily enough, the minimum investment is almost exactly the same as in South Cyprus: £2m, which is just over 2.5m euros as of today.  But unlike in the South part of Cyprus, you don’t get full citizenship straight away. After investing £2m, you would have to live in this country for six years before applying.

If you want to settle in Britain, you can only spend 180 days a year abroad, but there is no residence requirement in the South part of Cyprus.

In fact, the Greek part of Cyprus currently offers one of the easiest, cheapest and speediest routes to an EU passport on the market (and it is a market).

Spain, Malta, Bulgaria, Portugal, Greece, Austria and others all offer citizenship to wealthy investors, but in most cases the stake is higher and the wait much longer than three months.

It is fair to say that the Greek part of Cyprus offers an easier route to full citizenship for rich investors than most countries. As far as we know, no one else will give you a passport in three months.

PIO logoSource: TRNC Public Information Office –

To read more news and information from the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here

Pictures shown are courtesy of the TRNC Public Information Office Facebook page.

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