Even the Turkish population of Northern Cyprus does not want Gulen or AKP influence on Island!
UNIONS, media outlets and opposition political parties in the north are accusing ‘the government’ of pandering to the Islamist interests of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) after it gave the green light for the building of “theology complex” on the outskirts of Nicosia.
The wave of accusations came after the ‘council of ministers’ rushed through an agreement in which EVKAF, an umbrella organisation for religious foundations, would rent a 200-donum site to the religion-based Cyprus Science, Honour and Aid Foundation (KISAV) on a 30-year contract for a rent of just 100 Turkish Lira per year. (around €50).
One of the first to condemn the move was Teachers Union (KTOS) boss Sener Elcil who said the deal was the work of the AKP, whose aim it was “to fill the north with Sheikhs”.
“They [the government] are taking orders from the AKP and the Turkish Embassy,” he said, adding: “New religious foundations are being formed by the day and we have no idea by whom”.
According to reports in the Turkish Cypriot press, KISAV was formed a mere two months ago by a small group of mainland Turks from Kahramanmaras and Konya, Turkey’s religious capital. Attempts by the Cyprus Mail to contact KISAV resulted in failure. The NGO has no website and is not registered with directory enquiries.
Criticism of the deal also came from the owners of the nearby International Cyprus University (UKU) whose administrators said they had been struggling for 20 years to obtain the land into which they hope to expand their campus. Another company, Turkmall, said it offered the authorities 417,000 pounds sterling and a promise to invest €15 million in a shopping and leisure centre on the site – a proposal which the company said had been looked favourably upon by EVKAF. KISAV’s proposal foresees an €8.5 million investment on a project that will include a theology school, a mosque, accommodation and a swimming pool.
Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Ersin Kucuk sought to play down the accusations by saying, “It is wrong to think only of the economy and trade” and promised the complex would “bring benefits the people”. He added that once the 30-year lease expired, the complex would again become “public property”.
However, his words did not prevent further protest from political parties wary of mainland Turkish investment in the north. Indeed, last week the north was brought to a virtual collapse when electricity and telecommunications workers stopped work angry at plans to sell of currently ‘state-owned’ corporations to mainland Turkish companies.
“The socio-economic invasion of north Cyprus is gaining speed and no one can keep up with it,” head of the left-wing New Cyprus Party (YKP) Murat Kanatli said . In a press statement Kanatli recalled how the previous year ‘state-owned’ Eastern Mediterranean College in Famagusta had, without consultation, been sold off to the Turkish-owned Doga Group, believed by many to be the property of Fetullah Gulen, an influential but moderate religious figure currently in self-imposed exile from Turkey in the US Gulen runs thousands of educational institutions both in Turkey and throughout world.