in Cyprus Today – 25/5/2011

Denktaș ‘stable’ after brain haemorrhage – Rauf Denktaș the founding President of the TRNC, has suffered a brain haemorrhage. The 87 year old fell ill with high blood pressure yesterday evening and was initially taken to Lefkoșa State Hospital. Within minutes of seeking medical help he was transferred to Near East University Hospital. He was said to be critically ill at one stage. Tests are continuing to establish whether he needs an operation.

In a short statement his son Serdar said “My father’s condition has stabilised and he has been taken to intensive care”. Later he told reporters “He has had a brain haemorrhage – all we can do is wait and hope”.

The $500K cost of citizenship – The only way an expat will be likely to win TRNC citizenship, if the government gets its way, is to work for at least 15 years or put $500,000 in the bank. Alternative ways to become a TRNC national will include marrying one – and staying married to them for more than three years – or being born in North Cyprus and living here for a minimum of 15. Even then there would be no guarantee of gaining citizenship without the agreement of the Council of Ministers. The measures are included in a draft law being put together by the ruling National Unity Party. Expats can apply for a white identification card, a residency permit, which the government is also working to introduce. The government are still working on the draft law and it might change before coming to Parliament.

Parliament halted by stand-up protest – Opposition deputies have staged a 5 minute protest in Parliament to express their concern over the government’s proposed citizenship law. Democrat Party leader Serdar Denktaș took the stand, despite warnings from House Speaker, while MPs stood for 5 minutes. Mr Denktaș, whose stand was supported by deputies from the Republican Turkish Party and the Social Democratic Party, said he had acted because of the “continuing chaos” in the country. It led to Parliament being stopped for half an hour and on its resumption a fresh protest was staged by the opposition parties, with a further 5 minute stand. It came as former CTA workers and disgruntled members of the Construction Contractors Union piled into Parliament to witness proceedings. They pledged to attend every session of Parliament to increase pressure on the National Unity Party. Mehmet Cakıcı, leader of the TDP, claimed that 200,000 citizenships would be created in North Cyprus and said if this were to happen there would be uproar including stark calls for an early election. Editor: not sure how that last bit would happen unless they are saying that 200,000 Mainland Turks would get citizenship/a vote for the UBP because of birthrights/15 years residency?
Fire drama at $220m Cratos Hotel – The $220 million Cratos Premium Hotel is counting the cost of a major fire. The blaze began during a power cut on Saturday when the 5 star complexes generator malfunctioned at about 4.30pm. It was brought under control by 6.00pm and people were allowed back inside by 9.00pm. Scuffles broke out between staff and journalists covering the fire. Three people have been arrested in connection with assaults on members of the media. This saw criticisms of the owners in Parliament and the TRNC Press Council. Ismail Zeynel Abidin, a member of the Cratos Premium’s board of directors moved to  quash claims in some quarters that the hotel had an electricity debt or that the fire was part of an insurance scam. No one was hurt in the fire.

New date set for two leader’s talks – A new date – the third in a week – has been set for the two Cyprus leaders meeting with United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon in July. It will take place in Geneva on July 7, according to the UN.

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