| POLITICS |Yenidüzen



The fatwa given by the head of the Department of Religious Affairs Ahmet Ünsal that, A woman must accept a husbands request to lay with him as his needs must be met sparked widespread reaction within society.

Following the reactions, the Prime Minister’s office announced that it would launch an investigation into the matter and would assign an official to carry out the inquiry.

Not a word has been heard since… nothing about the investigation!
A member of the cabinet, Agriculture Minister Dursun Oğuz said, The Council of Ministers has taken no decision regarding an inquiry on the head of the Department of Religious Affairs, there is no such thing.
Whereas, a minister, following a cabinet meeting, had told Yenidüzen, we have taken a decision to launch an investigation.

I called and asked the head of the Prime Ministry Supervisory Council Halil Talaykurt.
Is there an investigation?
No, he told me.
An investigation can be launched if we receive written instructions from the Prime Minister. We have yet to receive such instructions. Legally he is not obligated to assign me the task of carrying out such an inquiry.

Who else can carry out such an inquiry?

According to the law, a higher level civil servant needs to be tasked to investigate someone working in the public service. For example, İbrahim Benter, the General Director of the Evkaf Administration could be given such a task.

I called the General Director of the Evkaf Administration İbrahim Benter, who responded, Im not in charge of the head of the Department of Religious Affairs. We are two separate institutions that operate under the Board of Directors of the Evkaf Administration. The authority [to conduct such an inquiry] belongs to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Evkaf Administration.

I got hold of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Evkaf Administration Selahattin Baykıran who told me he had guests from Turkey and that he had no information on the matter, that it would be better if I asked the Secretariat of the Evkaf Administration for more information.


There are two possibilities.
Either, they have deceived the public saying that an inquiry will be launched.
It wouldn’t be the first time…
Or Üstel had his ears pinned back.
And I think, that too would not be the first time…

A social housing project was not on the governments agenda

Most of the TRNC good news projects announced in Ankara seem to be aimed at the elections in Turkey.
For example, they’re talking about the presence of more than 3,500 TRNC citizens eligible to vote in Turkish elections in Deryneia where the Social Housing project is planned.

The granting of the right for Turkish nationals on the island to benefit from the health system in Turkey also gives us the impression that this is a deliberate move designed to win over voters.
Because this “good news” offers nothing to Turkish Cypriots.

What the Electricity Cable Project entails is not known yet…

The Social Housing Project was ready

The most interesting project is the “Social Housing Project.”
Because this project had first been brought to the agenda during the term of the Four-party government.
The Interior Minister of the time Ayşegül Baybars, raised the question in parliament both last year and just a few months ago: What happened to the Social Housing project?
The response she received was We have no such project planned for the moment
The members of the “government” who were called to Ankara suddenly found themselves announcing the good news on social housing.
With only one difference…
The project this time has been handed over to TOKİ” [Translators note: Turkey’s government-backed housing agency]

Baybars: The entire project was ready

I spoke with the former Interior Minister, independent MP Ayşegül Baybars on the social housing project in Deryneia

Is the social housing project announced during your term in office and the one announced in Ankara the same project?
I don’t know if the two projects are the same. I have the impression that the current Interior Minister has no information about the project. For example, the [Turkish] ambassador is talking about it but the Interior Minister is not able to give any information about the details. In fact, it is interesting. I asked in parliament about what happened to this project and they had no idea. I asked both during the debate on the 2022 budget and several months ago, and they told me, “we have no plans at the moment”. The UBP [National Unity Party]-DP [Democratic Party]-YDP [Rebirth Party] Government Programme did not include a social housing project.

What was your project?
Such a need was detected, particularly in Famagusta’s Maraş [Varosha] area during the household survey. We had planned an urban transformation project after researching the living habits of the public living in the area. And we made a presentation on the project… We had worked on its architecture, its static plans and the electricity infrastructure. The project was ready and drafted here in Cyprus. I asked the architect with whom we worked whether they had called him, but he told us he wasn’t contacted in any way. All the details of the project had been planned; in fact, commercial areas were included in the plans so as to be able to generate financing for the project. The plans envisaged the construction of 376 flats, which would provide housing for 1200 people. It was a disability-friendly project. Azmi Öğe together with engineers from the Town Planning Department had prepared the project. Even the tender specifications were ready.

What was the reason for preferring the Deryneia area? Was this part of a strategic plan for Maraş [Varosha]?
Deryneia was chosen for two reasons. The first was because there was no big public land left in the city centres. Secondly, a survey revealed such a need in Famagusta and Maraş [Varosha]. There was definitely no strategic advice from the Embassy or Ankara. In fact, we had invited the ambassador to the project’s presentation but he did not attend.

Is the [current] project located in the same area? Do these properties belong to Greek Cypriots?
I believe it’s the same area. I heard it was in the same location. I think the properties belong to Greek Cypriots. It’s pleasing to see that the project has been revived. But the technical knowledge, capacity, and human resources to build this project exist in our country and the planning has already been made. Of course, we don’t know if the project will actually be brought to life. It could just be an election promise. We had initially planned 376 flats; the Interior Ministry hasn’t said anything but the ambassador spoke of 276 flats. Even a model of the project exists, that was how far the planning had gone…


Born in 1971 in the town of Limassol, Cyprus, Cenk Mutluyakalı migrated to Kyrenia together with his family after the war. He began journalism at KIBRIS newspaper in 1989. He took part in establishing the United Media Group. He was the Editor-in-Chief of YENİDÜZEN newspaper for 20 years between 2001-2021. He continues to write daily essays, news reports and interviews for Yenidüzen newspaper. He served as the President of the Turkish Cypriot Press Card Commission and Turkish Cypriot Journalists Association. He was awarded with various prizes throughout his career, the most recent being the “Peace Journalism Prize” by the bicommunal New Cyprus Association. Mutluyakalı is an author of published books of essays and interviews. He is also the author of a novel titled “Salıncak” (Swing) published by Kor Kitap and translated into Greek by Heterotopia Publications with the title «Η κούνια».

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