North Cyprus News | Cyprus Today – 16/5/2012

North Cyprus News Update | Cyprus TodayPetrol Strike: Union talks – The Petrol Station Owners’ Union and the Government were in talks last night following a lightning strike yesterday which the union has threatened will go on indefinitely. Monday’s 8pm announcement of a shut down, which came on a day when fuel prices were reduced, saw drivers queuing at petrol stations to fill up. The Chairman of the Union said they had seen no positive response from the Government to their demand for legislation forbidding new petrol stations opening up within 7km of each other. “The government wants to give permission for new petrol stations and the legislation is in their way so they changed it 3 weeks ago”. The head of the Union also added that the union had handed ministers its own Bill to change the regulation and it had been ignored. (NB Still closed 8.30 this morning )

LTB strikers and police clash as government announces 60 day ban on stoppage – There were angry clashes between Lefkoşa Municipality and police yesterday after the government announced a 60 day ban on a stoppage by workers which has seen rubbish pile up in the streets of the capital. Tyres and rubbish were set ablaze outside the Municipality headquarters and riot police cordoned off the area to allow firemen to put out the flames. The workers have not been paid for 74 days in spite of promises from Prime Minister Irsen Küçük. The Republican Turkish Party leader also called on the government to go, after he claimed that the Prime Minister had not been able to keep his promises to pay the workers’ salaries. “They are not capable of resolving problems. They should resign immediately because they can’t run the country.”

Christofias: I won’t stand again – Mr Christofias said he would be sticking to his previous pledge not to stand again if he had been unable to win reunification. He singled out TRNC President Derviş Eroğlu for blame saying, “Our conscience is clear that we did whatever possible to lead to the much desired solution and shake off the occupation and partition.” But Dr Eroğlu hit back saying the Greek Cypriots did not want a peace deal, preferring the status quo which continued to hurt the Turkish Cypriot nation. He claimed that privately the United Nations had admitted this.

Actor in flag prank – A Turkish Cypriot has sparked a major controversy in Albert Square before his on-screen character gets the chance to. Aykut Hilmi who made his Eastenders debut last month, has upset Greek and Turkish communities by having a Turkish flag pinned to the wall of the kebab shop he runs. Aykut is the son of a Turkish Cypriot father and an Italian mother and plays Nico Papadopoulos in the series. He put the post card of the Turkish flag on the wall as a prank. Complaints have been received blaming the set designers for their “offensive errors”.

Meaningless manifesto or made to change tack?– Three years ago this month, the dominant force in Turkish Cypriot politics for four decades outlined the mess the TRNC was in. The UBP, then led by Derviş Eroğlu, had stormed to victory in the April elections on the back of a series of manifesto pledges. The UBP talked of change itself, protecting the rights and freedoms of civil servants, being a major opponent of reforming the state sector. Its manifesto talked of decreasing prices, stopping partisan recruitment to the civil service, cracking down on illegal workers and the black economy and setting up transparent tax system.

Our ruling party has hit rock bottom – Prominent Economist Unal Akifler believes the ruling party”has hit rock bottom due to its failure to fulfil any of its election promises. He blames Turkish Cypriots for the political failures in the country, “They lack a world view, they think of their own interests… they do not have any habits for questioning the political accountability of ruling parties. Unless this mentality changes, the ruling party might win the elections again.”

‘All sectors have been protesting’ – Ahmet Kaptan, head of the civil service union and a leader of the Trades Union Platform said people are so fed up with the UBP that they are planning a general strike. UBP’s latest reign has seen unprecedented demonstrations against the austreity measures and a string of strikes. Mr Kaptan accused them of taking “arbitrary decisions not in line with their election promises. ” These he said included overshadowing the rights and benefits of workers, something UBP maintained they would protect. They suspended the sliding system for civil servants, passed the Immigration Law they were against when they were in opposition and caused a 40% decrease in worker’s salaries. They put taxes on pensions, collapsed Cyprus Turkish Airlines and left staff with no jobs. The government is now trying to privatise many main assets of Turkish Cypriots. While the government has increased the price of everything, including the smallest items, there has been no increase in the minimum wage. Nothing goes well.”

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