North Cyprus News Summary | 17/2/2013

North Cyprus News Summary | 17/2/2013North Cyprus News Summary | 17/2/2013

These are a few snippets of local news regarding the north specifically.

Alsancak Church Burgled

Thieves have stolen religious paintings and statues from the church in Alsancak. The building has been dilapidated for many years however, recently there has been a concerted effort by Russians living in the area to restore and clean it. Alsancak church has, since then, remained open to the public and has been used for religious services, the most recent one being held on Sunday 10th February. Police are now examining the church and have also taken testimony from locals.

Government not to blame for KIB-TEK problems: Says Tatar

Yesterday, the head of EL-SEN (the electricity workers union) Caglayan Cesurer, announced that the TRNC could have no electricity within 20 days.  Mr Cesurer said that KIB-TEK would run out of fuel oil required to run the Teknecik power plant by then.

Today Finance Minister, Ersin Tatar, issued a counter statement. He warns EL-SEN not to get into “a duel” with his Ministry and calls on KIB-TEK management to put an end to this issue. Mr Tatar says that the Ministry of Finance has fulfilled all its obligations and that it is not responsible for the problems at KIB-TEK. He continues that the demand for electricity is growing daily in the TRNC and that different sources of energy should be created so as to reduce costs. He specifically mentioned solar power and wind power.

Mr Tatar points out that in Turkey, electricity is produced from coal, hydro-electric power and solar energy. He maintains that once the electricity supply is transmitted from Turkey to the TRNC along the pipeline being built, then prices here will drop.  While acknowledging that KIB-TEK has serious problems, Mr Tatar says that these are not the fault of his Ministry.

Turkey and Israel in gas pipeline deal?

On Thursday, ‘Kibris Postasi’ cited a story from the Israeli press, stating that there were discussions between Turkey and Israel to pipe a projected 8 -10 billion cubic meters of natural gas via undersea pipelines from the Leviathan field to Turkey. Allegedly, Turkish conglomerate Zorlu Group wants to lay an undersea pipeline from the Leviathan field, the biggest in Israel, to southern Turkey.  This method of transporting the new gas finds, would be the most cheap and effective way of delivering the gas to Israel’s European clients. However, because of the tense political situation between the two countries, sealing the deal would be difficult at best. In response to the press claims, the Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs issued a statement denying the story.

Yesterday, according to Turkish daily newspaper ‘Hurriyet’, a Turkish energy ministry official told the newspaper that Israel has approached Turkey, offering to lay an undersea natural gas pipeline to Turkey’s south coast in order to sell energy to Europe, but the Turkish government is yet to give an answer due to the political tension between two countries.

“Israel has made a bid to build a pipeline to Turkey within last two weeks,” the official said. “But we have a policy regarding Israel and the claims that Turkey leans towards this idea is not true.”

Today, ‘Hurriyet’ reports that according to Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Turkey will not agree to an energy project with Israel without the approval of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

“We can’t act like nothing ever happened. We won’t operate a project with Israel without seeing that the conditions put by the prime minister are met [first],”

Turkey has long demanded that Israel apologize for the 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla, pay compensation to the families of nine Turks who were killed in the attack, as well as lift a blockade on Gaza.

Ercan Flight Costs to increase

Since the privatisation of Ercan, the company which won the tender has been raising the fees for companies that provide services at the airport. Now the Government has added a price hike to the exit tax charged to leaving passengers. The Council of Ministers has agreed that this will go up by around 125% and this decision has been published in its Official Gazette of February 12th.

The Director of Pegasus for the TRNC, Zeki Ziya said that both the increase in the cost of services at Ercan as well as this new tax increase will have to be borne by passengers. An application with Pegasus in Turkey to increase ticket prices to cover the higher airport charges, has already been filed he added.

One section of the population that will be hard hit by these price increases will be university students. A large proportion of them come from Turkey and their exit taxes will go up from TL 14 to TL 42 per trip. They do not have the option that others have of using Larnaca airport for their flights.  This latest event does not seem to combine well with the government’s policy of making the TRNC a ‘university island’.  However, army personnel will be offered discounts.

Source: LGCNews

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