Turkish Cypriot 
Chamber of Commerce

Brussels Representation Newsletter

Issue 27, September 29, 2017

Toros: "The EU needs to be unfaltering in its commitments towards its citizens in North Cyprus and does everything legally possible to keep the European path open for them"

Following the unfortunate collapse of the Cyprus settlement talks in Crans Montana, the Greek Cypriot leadership has asked to suspend the work of the EU bi-communal adhoc committee on Cyprus. The Committee was established with a view to determine the technical and financial support that the Turkish Cypriot Community would need in preparation for a settled Cyprus in the EU.

“This is regrettable indeed. Since the establishment of the Committee, we have been witnessing a similar attitude by the Greek Cypriot side limiting the Committee’s work to be carried out at a desirable speed and efficiency asserting that this should be done in parallel to the settlement talks.” said Fikri Toros, KTTO President. “Actually, this has been their approach all the way for each and every EU technical and financial assistance provided or envisaged to be provided to prepare our Community and economy for the forthcoming environment. This is an ill constructed approach which unfairly cripples the efforts for the already long delayed preparation of the Turkish Cypriot Community’s integration into the EU, and confines us to live in an economic limbo” he added.
 “Turkish Cypriot leadership’s constructive stance during the settlement process was witnessed by all parties involved and we cannot be held responsible for its failure. Thus, we urge the European Commission and the EU member states not to stay indifferent towards the matter and use its leverage to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of the Committee’s work” Toros stated.
“It benefits no one when North Cyprus remains substandard. So the work to close the gap in standards and regulations between the two sides on the island should be enhanced. We urge the EU to take all the legally possible measures aiming to close the gaps in standards and contribute to our economic development” he stated.
“Removing the obstacles to maximize the potential of the Green Line trade, as well as adopting the trade regulation proposed by the EU Commission to enable the Turkish Cypriot Community benefit from the EU preferential trade regime, would serve to this purpose and by definition improve the economic competitiveness in North Cyprus” he concluded. READ MORE

After 13 years, the intra-island trade remains far away from realizing its full potential

The European Commission published its thirteenth report on the implementation of the Green Line Regulation on 7 July 2017, covering the period from 1 January until 31 December 2016.

According to the report, the value of trade across the Line increased to EUR 4,374,968.06 in 2016. Plastic products were the most- traded item, followed by fresh fish, building materials and potatoes.

“Despite a slight increase from 2015, trade remains far away from realizing its full potential and contributing to create economic interdependence between the two Communities on the island” said Fikri Toros, President of the KTTO. “We welcome the slight increase in trade volume from last year, which is mainly due to the potato trade.  However, we can not turn a blind eye to the overall low levels of intra-island trade volume due to the persisting obstacles to trade” he stated. Toros urged the Greek Cypriot authorities to cooperate for the resolution of the long-standing issues such as crossing of commercial vehicles and processed food across the Green Line without any further delay and respond positively to the efforts put forward by the European Commission for that purpose.

“Circumstances following the unfortunate collapse of the settlement talks, necessitate more than ever to take every step that would contribute to strengthen the contact between Cypriot economic operators thus contributing in an important manner to enhance trust between the two Communities” he stated. “Allowing the commercial vehicles to cross as well as expanding the scope of the Green Line  Regulation to include any product that meets EU rules and standards would definitely contribute to this goal.” he added. READ MORE


Akıncı meets UN Secretary General Guterres

The Turkish Cypriot leader H.E Mustafa Akıncı met H.E Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General on 23 September 2017, for the first time after the collapse of the Cyprus settlement talks in Crans Montana.
“When a problem exists, you can not overlook, you can not pretend that it does not exist. Cyprus problem exists and we need to find ways and means to solve it” said Akıncı, at the press briefing following his meeting with UNSG Guterres. However, he said that how, when and by employing which methodologies were the questions that had to be tackled. “It is obvious that the upcoming period is not conducive to reactivate the negotiation process due to the upcoming Greek Cypriot Presidential elections” he said and he urged all parties to utilize this time “to try to think why processes and methodologies employed so far did not bring about a settlement in Cyprus and what can be done differently”. 
Underlining that the negotiations which had been taking place since 1968 could not continue as an open ended process, he said that the negotiations had to be result oriented, time bound and well structured. In his response to a question, he said that in his view the Greek Cypriot Community was not ready for a new state of affairs which would give the Turkish Cypriot Community a political equality, and he believed this constituted the main obstacle in the resolution of the Cyprus problem. “Unless we agree on power sharing and digest the idea of existence of two politically equally entities, we will not be able to move ahead (in settling the Cyprus problem)” he emphasized.
Stating that the constructive attitude of the Turkish Cypriot side was witnessed by all parties involved during the settlement process, he said that he expected the constructive approach adopted by the Turkish Cypriot side and what happened in Crans Montana to be objectively reflected in the report. The report on the settlement process is expected to be submitted by the UNSG Guterres to the UN Security Council by the end of September.
“We conveyed to the Secretary General that we wanted to see an end to the unwarranted isolation of the Turkish Cypriots” said Akıncı, also drawing attention to the important role of confidence building measures on the island in enhancing cooperation and trust across the divide. One of these confidence measures is the interconnectivity of the mobile phone operators in Cyprus, a project which was initiated and advocated by the two Chambers of Commerce in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) and Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEBE).
“If we have achieve more cooperation and build more confidence among the sides, we will eventually need less soldiers and less guarantees for a settlement. You can not create the conditions of security that will be acceptible to all parties overnight” he said in a response to a question on securities and guarantees.  He stated that the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot side made significant openings on the security and guarantees chapter at the Cyprus Conference, however progress could not be made due to the Greek Cypriot leader’s insistence on his maximalist position of zero soldiers and zero guarantees.
Click here for the press briefing.


 Toros participates in IKV-TOBB Joint Conference on Cyprus

The Economic Development Foundation (IKV) and The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges for Turkey (TOBB) co-organised a conference entitled “The Future of Cyprus Talks and Implications for Turkey in Light of Current Developments” on 14 September 2017 in Istanbul, Turkey. The latest developments in the UN-sponsored Cyprus reunification talks, along with possible scenarios for the future of the process, as well as the bilateral economic relations were among the issues discussed.

In his keynote speech, the Turkish Cypriot leader H.E. Mustafa Akıncı addressed to the business community and shared his views with regard to the recent developments on the Cyprus settlement process and the way forward.

In his opening speech at the conference, KTTO President Fikri Toros emphasized that a political settlement to the Cyprus question was urgently needed not only for ensuring the security, stability and prosperity of the two communities on the island but also for overcoming regional problems.

Indicating that what needs to be done in case of a solution and non-solution largely overlap, Toros underlined the importance of creating a sustainable economic structure that is private sector focused, competitive and harmonious with the EU norms and standards. He stated that contributing to the achievement of this goal will be the Chamber’s priority and believed it will play a decisive role in the development of commercial relations with Turkey and the neighbouring countries. READ MORE



KTTO releases a press statement following the failure of Cyprus settlement talks

Following the collapse of the Cyprus settlement talks in Crans Montana, KTTO released a press statement emphasizing the Chamber’s continued commitment to a comprehensive political settlement on the island. The Chamber also underlined its determination to work towards improving the socio-economic development of the Turkish Cypriot Community.

“Despite the disappointing outcome of the Cyprus Conference and the difficulties ahead, the political vision of the Turkish Cypriot leadership should always be in accordance with the international law and help the Turkish Cypriot Community to take its rightful place in the international community” said the statement. Underlining that this was vital for ensuring the Turkish Community’s societal existence as well as achieving sustainable economic prosperity, the Chamber urged the Turkish Cypriot authorities to take the necessary steps for developing sustainable economic and social policies without further delay. Emphasizing that the European Union standards and practices were an important resource in this regard, the Chamber stated that compliance with the EU acquis would be instrumental in achieving these goals. READ MORE.

About Us

Established in 1958, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) is an internationally-recognized organization, representing the Turkish Cypriot business community at home and abroad.  READ MORE


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