TRNC Citizens’ Impoverishment And Future Fears

Erkut Sahali CTP
[Former Minister of Agriculture Erkut Şahali CTP]
Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Former Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources and CTP representative Erkut Şahali, spoke about the current problems facing TRNC citizens and what the solutions might be in an interview with Yeniduzen.

In the interview, he referred to the citizen’s eye view of the current situation and also the Cyprus problem.

Citizens are angry with the politics, but the CTP cannot influence outcomes if they are not in government, Şahali said.

He also said that President Tatar’s attitude towards the Cyprus problem was reckless.

The negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem by federation were agreed by all parties, if this principle is to be abandoned, then it should be done so with the agreement of all parties. Mr Tatar does not have the capacity in this regard, Şahali said.

Economic problems, security and future concerns

Şahali said the following: “The  first is economic problems. The Turkish Cypriot people are struggling with a terrible economic burden. The second is the security problem. Security in traffic, diversity and increase in police incidents. The third is the concern for the future. I would like to divide the future anxiety into two. On the one hand, the uncertainty created by the Cyprus problem. Therefore, not being able to see the future. Another is the fear of becoming a minority in this country. Not only in the context of Greek Cypriots and Turks. Becoming a minority within the borders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the uncontrolled increase in the foreign population both in working life and social life, and the fact that people face a terrible security anxiety in terms of not feeling a secure future in their own homeland.

Şahali went on to say that it was possible for the Turkish Cypriots to be economically self-sufficient. The conditions are already present. However, the economy needs to be managed in a rational manner, and for the benefit of the people, he said. 

We are at a point where we are constantly victimised by the foreign currency exchange due to using Turkish currency and this victimisation is increasing day by day. As a solution formula, we focus on indexing the entire accounting system to foreign currency, especially to the Euro. Due to our limited resources, imports are much higher than exports. We are actually trying to compensate and close this deficit in foreign trade with the services sector. How does that work? We are trying to close the surplus against our imports with the services we produce in education, tourism and the exports of these services.

According to 2021 data, the surplus value we produced in the services sector was a volume of approximately $ 2 billion. When you compare it with our imports, we were actually at a point where we could meet each other and close the foreign trade deficit with the service sector. But since all our incomes are indexed to TL, we are still suffering against foreign currency while spending them”. 

Şahali went on to suggest a new model where all wages are indexed to foreign currency, so that wage earners can improve their standard of living. His party, the CTP has the will to put this into effect, he said.

The current coalition government does not have the courage to even think about this option let alone the will to put it into effect, Şahali stated.


The state is obliged to ensure the safety of the citizens

It is possible to see very clearly in the speeches made at the opening of the judicial year the other day how widespread unregulated life has become in this country. Or we have an attorney general, who is the legal advisor of the government, the lawyer of the government, who says “Your intention is against the law, there is a violation of the constitution in this matter” even in matters where we say, “The government does not hesitate to take steps”. Based on what has been said, the President of the Bar Association says, ‘We are going through a period in which the belief in the state has fallen to the ground’. The state is obliged to ensure the safety of its citizens. This includes obligations such as making traffic safe, keeping the traffic infrastructure fit to ensure the safety of those who use it, and ensuring that school and hospital buildings are equipped to provide the services provided by the state adequately and effectively. 

Moreover, the uncontrolled illegal population structure in this country poses serious public order problems and we understand from the statement of the President of the Supreme Court that there is an increase in the amount of crime as well as an increase in the types of crime. We are going through a peculiar period in which crimes that have traditionally felt very alien to Turkish Cypriots have become ordinary elements of daily life. Overcoming the security issue is also extremely important for us“.

Cyprus Problem and anxiety for the future

We called the other issue future anxiety. One of them is chronic future anxiety. That is the uncertainty arising from the Cyprus problem, the isolation caused by the Cyprus problem and the problem of not feeling worldly within this framework. The uncertainty caused by the Cyprus problem leads to the loss of many opportunities and the consumption of many resources in this country. The Cyprus problem must be solved within the framework accepted by the world. As the CTP, we continue to stand behind what we have said from day one. CTP is extremely consistent on this issue. The Cyprus problem must end with a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution based on the political equality of the communities. There is no other way to do this. Because what we call a federation solution has emerged with the agreement of the parties to the Cyprus problem. But I underline that this consensus emerged with the demand of the Turkish Cypriot side”.

“.…We envisage a partnership with the Greek Cypriots and the sharing of this island in a federal state, not in a unitary Republic of Cyprus, and we can realise this. The Turkish Cypriot side confronted the world with a strange situation, expecting everyone to give up on the federation just because we gave up what we had made everyone accept. The Republic of Turkey is saying the same thing. Because this means an effort to convince the Greek Cypriots, who have to share Cyprus with us, to give up a part of Cyprus when they have not been able to convince them how this sharing will be”.

The uncertainty created by the Cyprus problem can only end with an internationally recognised federation solution. This is also possible. As long as a certain timetable is envisaged in the negotiations on this issue and the positions of the parties regarding the different outcomes to be encountered as a result of this timetable are clarified in advance“.

Identity of the Turkish Cypriots

Today’s government does not consist of those who are in those positions as a result of their political efforts”.

There is now also an identity problem in the country created by this uncertainty. Turkish Cypriots have become prisoners of certain opportunities created by the Cyprus problem for foreigners. For example, there is a relative ease in the entry of finance of dubious origin into Northern Cyprus, which is a geography that is outside the international community and is not internationally recognised, and with the entry of this finance, a serious speculative market has been formed in this country, especially in real estate.

“ While this enables some people to earn money beyond their dreams, it actually causes our own people to worry about the future in this country. On the one hand, dispossession On the other hand, the emergence of a certain concern about continuing to exist in this country in the future, including the housing problem, causes Turkish Cypriots to face serious problems. 

“The way to overcome this is to solve the Cyprus political problem on the one hand, and on the other hand, to ensure that this country becomes a country governed by rules and a state in the time until the solution. Reconstructing a state authority that will ensure that what is written in the law is carried out in the fight against illegal population regarding property and population; None of what we say is possible with today’s government. Today’s government does not consist of those who are in those positions as a result of their political efforts. It consists of people who were politically valued much more than they deserved and who were placed there as a gift”.

“...The latest thing that happened in the UBP, which has not been able to govern itself for the last 10 years, was that the chairman, who won the congress, was unable to form a government and left both the prime ministership and the party chairmanship. It is impossible for such a government structure to develop the will to solve the problems of this country. Because what matters to them is the one extra day they will spend in the positions they currently occupy”.

For full interview click here Yeniduzen

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