Fikri Toros*, a member of the CTP, was interviewed by Yeniduzen about the current state of the TRNC and solutions to ongoing problems.
He pointed to inflation as being the main driver of a failing economy. He also spoke about corruption in high places. Toros also referred to the fact that because the TRNC was not internationally recognised, the country had become a magnet for criminals engaged who engaged money laundering and people trafficking. He said, inter alia, the following:
“Financing costs caused by the extreme inflationary environment and the snowballing interest rates…has caused huge economic destruction for both fixed income earners and businesses. This is the first issue on the agenda. The main duty of state administrations is to find solutions to such problems. It is obvious that the current government is corrupt and therefore only engages in corruption. Their attitude of changing the laws to serve these purposes, not refraining from violating them in line with their political and personal interests, and ignoring the Constitution constitutes an obstacle to finding solutions to the economic problems that are the biggest problem of the country. Those in office are incapable of producing solutions. This administration, which has turned its back on contemporary universal values that have proven successful and are suitable for the country’s conditions, has neither the ability nor the intention to produce any solution.
“ The extreme corruption in the country, the increase in crime, and the identification of politicians with great abuses have made the people tired. Turkish Cypriots, whose numbers are increasing, find the solution in emigration and young people are looking for their future in other countries. This weakens our struggle for social existence and leads us to extinction”.
Money Laundering and the Black Economy
“The fact that the Cyprus problem, one of the biggest problems of the people, has been left unresolved and we have been isolated from international law, has turned the north of the island into a haven of crime. This situation causes Turkish Cypriots to experience a very serious security problem in their own country. Not only corruption, personal and party abuses in the country, but also international crimes such as drugs, human trafficking and money laundering see this place as a paradise, increasing concerns about our security. The government’s inability to face economic problems also reveals itself in the increase in these crimes. It is unacceptable that illegal economic activities in the country provide opportunities for money laundering and other crimes. This problem is a priority on CTP ‘s agenda.
“In order to make this a safe country, we have visionary policies, especially the population policy, such as resolving the property issue in the Immovable Property Commission, which is a domestic legal remedy, and eliminating its negative reflections on the public until a comprehensive solution”.
Solution to Cyprus Issue
“The underlying cause of both economic and security-related problems is that the Cyprus problem has been left unresolved. The ongoing deadlock in comprehensive solution negotiations cannot be overcome due to the Turkish Cypriot leader’s position of “sovereign equality and equal international status”. The so-called new politics in Cyprus , which prefers deadlock as a solution model, is a policy that prevents official negotiations, which are essential for a comprehensive solution”.
“For economic growth, it is essential that we expand production and foreign trade. It means production, investment, employment and fair income distribution. It means increasing the gross national product. This means that welfare increases with the average income per capita. In order to do this, we need to develop competitive products and an ecosystem suitable for them. Why are the citrus fruits and potatoes we export turned away from Turkish ports? Because Turkey, as a country in the European Union candidacy process, is a country that, like all other member countries, demands compliance with EU standards as a condition for imports. The administration here has a position that only internalises the standards set by the Ministry of Agriculture and a political mentality that does not care about the relevant EU standards. As long as we exclude EU standards and do not have the relevant standard certificates, access to foreign markets, including Turkey, will be limited. Being limited to the domestic market scale is not enough to develop or grow”.
[*Fikri Toros is a CTP member of the TRNC Assembly. He was formerly a director at M.Toros Trading LTD and was President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. Toros studied Business Operation and Control at University of Salford in the UK. Ed.]