| POLITICS |Diyalog



On the meat issue, we have all “drowned in a spoonful of water”. Most recently, in an attempt to defend his policy, Prime Minister Mr. Ünal Üstel said, “We will save our people from the meat coming from the South that is ‘neither fish, nor fowl’.” He said this at a time when tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots are visiting the North and shopping, thanks to the Green Line Regulation. In other words, he repeated the same discourse that the zealots of the South uttered back in the day. They, too, were clinging to the rhetoric that the goods and services in the North were “neither fish, nor fowl” in order to prevent people from making good use of the Green Line Regulation. However, this rhetoric collapsed, on the one hand with the quality of our businesses, and on the other with the practical experience of the people. Now the Prime Minister, in order to defend his wrongful policy, has clung to this outdated argument of the Bigots of the South. This is like shooting ourselves in the foot. People living in the South are as honourable as we are. So when you tell these people, “you produce and eat meat that is ‘neither fish, nor fowl’,” you do not even realise the negative impact you have. However, there is a good proverb of tradesmen in Turkish: “The customer is king.” If you insult the people who buy from you, regardless of whether they are Turkish or Greek, why would they come again to shop? The Council of Ministers chaired by the Prime Minister, who had expressed himself in this way, convened and hastily changed the Food Regulation overnight. According to that Regulation, if the meat is kept frozen for longer than 8 months after it is slaughtered, it would not be allowed to enter the country. Yet, it was only after they tied up the deal that they realised the slaughter date of the meat they were going to import was March 2023. According to the Regulation, this meat could not be imported. Therefore, they sat down, immediately changed the Regulation and had this rule removed. Moreover, you did this in order to advance the wrong step you took by saying, “we will feed meat to the poor”. This is because the purchase price of the meat you import is determined by the slaughter date. So, Mr. Prime Minister, do the low-income people of this country deserve to consume meat whose slaughter date exceeds 15 months? How sincere would those who deem this appropriate for their own people be when they tell others that their meat is “neither fish, nor fowl”?

It is necessary to support production. Look, even the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce has expressed this view. They said that the solution is not to import meat, but to support production. Moreover, they also mentioned what we often write and say. Why is meat cheaper in the South where the population is many times bigger, and more than 3 million tourists come to visit? Moreover, they also import meat. The producer did not go bankrupt and the rate of increase in production is steady. It is because they implement policies that support production and producers, and channel assistance and incentives to the right places. In other words, it is not the meat that is “neither fish, nor fowl”, but the policies pursued. In short, this is how far we can get with the wrong policies.


I was born in 1952 in the Agios Andreas neighbourhood of Nicosia. I was a founding member and President of İKÖK (Cypriot Students and Culture Association), President of KÖGEF (Cypriot Students and Youth Federation). I took part in the management of the Revolutionary Labour Union and the Federation of Revolutionary Workers’ Trade Unions (DEV-İŞ). I also served as a member of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Sub-District Organisation, District Executive Committee, Party Council, Central Executive Committee and Secretariat. I served as the General Secretary and the President of the party. I served as CTP Famagusta MP for 7 terms; I served as the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy and Prime Minister. I was a columnist for Yeni Düzen and currently I write columns for Diyalog Newspaper.

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