Press conference given on Kyrenia harbour debacle

The Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Unal Ustel alongside Finance Minister Ersin Tatar, gave a press conference on Thursday about the problems plaguing Kyrenia old harbour.

Kyrenia District Governor, the Undersecretary of the Ministry, the Director of the Department of Environment, some members of the Kyrenia Council and representatives of non-governmental organizations attended the meeting.

Tourism Minister Ustel, said that Kyrenia council was undermining the work his ministry had done to improve the harbour. He said that the old Customs House had been restored, the breakwater had been repaired. Lights, docks and piers, renewed and cleaned up; new electronic meters had been installed in the marina. He accused the council of not co-operating with Kib-Tek to pay the outstanding electricity bill. Kib-Tek had agreed to receive payments by instalment.

Ustal, said that his ministry had taken over responsibility for the old harbour last year, but did not expect to pay off the outstanding debt to Kib-Tek. He added that his ministry was operating on a shoestring budget and that although they had offered to pay a certain portion of the electricity bill they could not afford and nor was it the ministry’s responsibility to pay the whole debt.

Finance Minister, Ersin Tatar said that Kyrenia council had deducted TL 17 million worth of health and social security contributions from council workers’ salaries but had not forwarded that money on to the government. In addition, all councils receive monthly payments from the government with Kyrenia council getting TL 1 million more per month than the other councils.

If nothing was done by the council to settle its debts with Kib-Tek, the government would have no other alternative but to keep that extra payment to pay off the outstanding electricity bill, Tatar said.

Finally, it was implied that Kyrenia’s Mayor, who is a member of CTP, was undermining the government’s efforts to improve Kyrenia harbour for political reasons.

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