GCC Press Review | 14 Mar 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Politis

MPs with red loans were legislating

Zacharias Koulias and Costas Constantinou on the list of MPs with non-performing loans (NPLs). The revelation of names of MPs with NPLs has started. Restructured NPLs to the tune of €2.5 million for DISY’s Constantinou. Koulias has around €300,000 in arrears.

  • Varosha refugees: To the President for loss of use (of their property)
  • He set sail for the European Parliament: (Sener) Levent’s Jasmin was presented yesterday – He differentiated his stance from that of (Niyazi) Kizilyurek.  
  • European Parliament said ‘stop’ to Turkey

Phileleftheros

Political red loans

Popular demand for transparency. Which politically exposed persons took the loans amounting to €153 million? Parties and MPs demand, along with citizens, for the names to be made public.

  • Zero duty on halloumi in the UK – In the case of a messy Brexit. Not known if the EU trademark will be turned into a British one. The risk of halloumi from other countries entering the British market remains.
  • Sener (is running in EU elections) with an anti-occupation agenda having the jasmine as his emblem
  • European Parliament report: ‘Formal suspension’ of Turkey’s accession 
  • The energy port in Vassiliko set to be ready in 2023

Haravgi

Files are being prepared for police investigations

Parties insist on responsibilities and resignation of Harris (Georgiades). Possible criminal offences for three persons. Investigation on loan write-offs amounting to €1.1 billion.

  • Uncertainty over form of Brexit
  • Suspension of accession negotiations

Cyprus Mail

MPs vote to reject a ‘no-deal’ Brexit

Vote planned for today on delaying Brexit, but EU will insist on a clear reason

  • MEPs call for freeze on Turkey’s membership talks with EU bloc
  • Group of Turkish Cypriots in Euro Elections

Alithia

Brexit: Anguish…

British MPs expressed their opposition to a no-deal Brexit. New defeat for Prime Minister May. Cyprus’ plans to limit risks.

  • European Parliament: ‘Put a break on Turkey’s accession process’
  • Jasmin Movement: ‘Settlers outnumber Cypriots by five to one’

Main News

Anti-occupation Jasmin Movement to expose Turkey in EU

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The Jasmin Movement presented on Wednesday its six candidates who will run for a seat in May’s European Parliament elections.

The candidates, Sener Levent, Ibrahim Aziz, Oz Karahan, Leyla Hussein Kiralp, Zeki Besiktepeli and Faize Ozdemirciler, said their aim was an anti-occupation struggle and to expose to Europe Turkey’s policies concerning the north.

Afrika publisher and journalist, Levent, said that they are not running as TCs but as Cypriots, citizens of the Republic of Cyprus who condemn the Turkish occupation.

He said that the Jasmin Movement’s candidates are running in the elections to reveal what is truly going on in the north. He also mentioned the attacks against his newspaper and the attempts against his life.

Levent said that the island has been under Turkish military occupation since 1974 which has now become a political occupation as well because the systematic population transfers from Turkey have made TCs a minority.

He said that settlers from Turkey outnumber TCs by five to one, adding that there is a risk of settlers becoming locals and the locals being left without a country.

As regards the Cyprus problem, he said that leaders and political parties failed so far to take serious steps toward a solution and peace. Some examples, he said, is the perpetuation of the issue of missing persons, the fact that the two leaders never visited together a mass burial site, that Varosha had not opened and that war criminals were never tried.

Levent also referred to AKEL candidate Niyazi Kizilyurek, saying that while he himself speaks of a Turkish occupation, Kizilyurek does not. If Kizilyurek is elected, he would promote Turkey’s interests in the EU, Levent said, according to the dailies.

Levent said that Kizilyurek never refers to the fascism of Turkey exercised on TCs and the occupied areas, adding that the AKEL EP candidate is in favour of Turkey’s EU membership despite that the latter has been trespassing on the rights of Cypriots since 1974, Politis reported.

KEY ACTORS
Levent (Jasmin Movement)
>>
Candidatesnot running as TCs but as Cypriots, citizens of the Republic of Cyprus who condemn the Turkish occupation.
>> Turkish military occupation since 1974 has now become a political occupation due to systematic population transfers from Turkey, which have made TCs a minority, at a 5:1 ratio.
>> Leaders & parties failed to take serious steps towards solution. E.g. perpetuation of missing persons issue, failure of leaders to jointly visit mass burial site, failure to open Varosha, failure to prosecute war criminals.
>> Kizilyurek does not refer to Turkish ‘occupation’ and ‘facscism’ in the north, but supports Turkey’s EU membership.


Book-related arrest in north yet more proof of Turkey’s encroachment ’

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi
Internal Security, Human Rights, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

UniteCyprusNow (UCN) said on Wednesday it was deeply concerned about the arrest of senior member of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Bengul Garginsu and the dangerous precedent to link book ownership with terrorism.

“We fear that this is yet another attempt by Turkey to interfere in the democratic life of the Turkish Cypriots,” the group said in a written statement.

This incident, the group said, “serves to remind all of us that the status quo is not secure. The period in which Turkish Cypriots will have any agency about their future is disappearing before our eyes.”

The group stressed that as “talks about talks” drag on, and “new models” are openly or covertly put forward, “we are slipping quietly, but inexorably, into a de facto hard border with Turkey on Ledra Street. This means a more insecure future for all of us, and especially for our children.”

The group said that the time to unite Cyprus is now and that it is not enough to leave it to the politicians who have failed the people for decades but up to the people.

TC leader Mustafa Akinci said also on Wednesday that there is no list of banned books in the north following the public debate on the arrest and calls by many to see the list of banned books if such a thing existed.

Alithia reports that Akinci made bold statements.  Akinci said in a written statement that all debates should be governed by the universal rules of law and human rights in a rational manner.

TCs have chosen to live their lives on the basis of democracy, freedom and human rights, but they also remain committed to the battle against the growth and spread of terrorism and violence, he said.

In this context, he said, it is necessary not to damage the values ​​of freedom and democracy in the fight against non-democratic approaches that threaten freedoms.

According to the daily, Akinci expressed concerns that freedoms were being restricted and that ‘legislators’ and those working with the law ought to take that into consideration adding that there ought to be a clear distinction between violence and terrorism on the one hand, and democracy and freedom on the other.

KEY ACTORS
UCN
>>
Garginsu’s arrest isyet another attempt by Turkey to interfere in the democratic life of the Turkish Cypriots.
>> Thestatus quo is not secure. TCs are gradually losing the freedom to decide about their future.
>>
Lack of progress in talks will eventually make Ledra street a de facto hard border with Turkey.
>> It is up to the people to unite Cyprus.


Cypriot MEPs did not vote for EU Turkey report

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
EU Matters, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Cypriots MEPs did not give a positive vote to the 2018 Report on Turkey that calls for a formal suspension of its accession negotiations, due to provisions deemed as negative concerning Cyprus, Phileleftheros reports.

All dailies report on the European Parliament’s approval on Wednesday of the report calling for an official freeze of Turkey’s accession process. Lawmakers voted 370 in favour and 109 against, with 143 abstentions.

According to Phileleftheros, despite the fact this is not legally binding, it does send out political messages.

DISY, DIKO, AKEL and EDEK MEPs abstained from voting on the report as a whole due to significant negative provisions with regard to Cyprus-related issues, while Eleni Theocharous voted against the report, Phileleftheros said.

On the issues concerning accession negotiations, DISY’s Lefteris Christophorou and EDEK’s Demetris Papadakis voted in favour of a formal suspension, while AKEL’s Neoclis Sylikiotis and Takis Hadjigeorgiou voted in favour of an amendment tabled by the Party of the European Left on freezing the procedure.

DIKO’s Costas Mavrides and Theocharous voted in favour of the termination of Turkey’s accession negotiations, the daily reported.

According to Phileleftheros, the most conspicuous part of the report is a clear tendency to replace Turkey’s inactive accession course with the upgrading of the EU-Turkey Customs Union, which Nicosia rejects.

Nicosia also disagrees with the call for the continuation of the work of the ad hoc bi-communal Committee for the familiarization / harmonisation of the TCs with the  acquis. Among the positive points for Cyprus are the usual calls on Turkey for the withdrawal of its troops and handing over of Varosha, the daily said.

Phileleftheros and Haravgi reported that EP Rapporteur Kati Piri criticised the declaration of the Varna Summit saying that it was sad that the text contained only bilateral issues of Greece and Cyprus. Peri admitted that while they are important, they do not show a European strategy on how to keep Turkey in the West.


Famagustians call for progress on Varosha issue

Haravgi, Politis
Property, Territory, Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The Mayor of Famagusta, Alexis Galanos, and municipal councilors expressed their concerns on Wednesday during a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on the lack of progress as regards the settlement talks.

Haravgi reports that Anastasiades said that among the confidence-building measures (CBMs) he proposed during his latest meeting with TC leader Mustafa Akinci was setting up a technical committee of experts to carry out studies on the condition of the buildings in Varosha in view of the redevelopment of the town.

The delegation asked Anastasiades to handle the issue of Famagusta separately as per the UN resolutions and not address it as a CBM, Politis reported.

According to Politis, Anastasiades told them that the CBM aspect of the Famagusta issue lies in that technical committees will need to be involved to carry out studies for preparations for the return of the town of Varosha.

The municipal council also expressed concerns over reports in the north that some parts of the closed off town would be opened and refugees would be allowed to use their property, just as in the case of Nicolas Skourides, who was allowed to use his property in Larnakas tis Lapithou.

They told Anastasiades they did not eye positively returning to Varosha while still under occupation, Politis reported.

The group also called on Anastasiades to keep his election campaign promise of an allowance to refugees for the loss of the use of their property which is now in the occupied areas, the daily said.

According to Politis, Anastasiades told them there are no funds for such a thing but that he was contemplating other ways of compensating refugees without elaborating.


Cyprus speeds up procedures to tackle possible no-deal Brexit impact

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
EU Matters, Economy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The foreign ministry on Wednesday said that Cyprus is intensifying preparations to cope with the potential fallout of a no-deal Brexit.

Ministry spokesman Demetris Samuel said Cyprus fully respected Tuesday’s decision by the UK parliament, which was disappointing, however, because it is obvious it is not leading any closer to an orderly and coordinated Brexit.

Samuel expressed hope that in the days until March 29, the official Brexit date, there will be positive developments, adding that Cyprus will continue to work towards a positive outcome even though the necessary decisions must be taken by London.

At the same time, he said, Cyprus will continue and step up the preparations that have been ongoing since last summer, to be as ready as possible in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The foreign minister and the Attorney-general are to attend next week an extraordinary meeting of the House foreign affairs committee which is to discuss the possible impact of Brexit and the government’s policy on the matter.

According to Alithia, the House education committee has already prepared legal amendments to make sure that all agreements between Cypriot and British universities will be valid post-Brexit. The amendments are to be tabled to the House plenum for a vote.

Phileleftheros reports that halloumi is among the dairy products on which no import duty will be imposed in the case of a no-deal Brexit, but it remains to be seen whether halloumi produced in other countries will flood the British market.

Trade Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis told the daily that in the case no provision is put in place for the conversion of EU collective trademarks into British ones, halloumi produced in other countries could infiltrate the British market.

According to Phileleftheros, despite cancellation of the halloumi trademark in the UK market, the EU collective trademark is still valid throughout the EU, including the UK, therefore Cyprus retains the right to the protection of halloumi in Britain and to take legal action against offenders on the basis of the EU trademark. If there is no change in regulations after Brexit, the Republic of Cyprus will lose the same right to protect halloumi in the British market.

Cypriots authorities will try to clarify this during contacts with the British government, the daily said.


US State Department report finds both sides breaching ethnic minority rights

Cyprus Mail, Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The latest report of the US State Department on Human Rights Practices in Cyprus found that members of ethnic and racial minorities were more likely to be subjected to abusive and degrading treatment in prison.

According to the Cyprus Mail, the 2018 Country Report, that included the government-controlled area and the area administered by the TCs, said that human rights issues in the government-controlled area included crimes involving violence against members of minority ethnic and national groups.

It said that many holding cells did not have toilets and prisoners lacked reliable access to toilets at night. Prison authorities held juvenile pretrial detainees in cells separate from convicted juveniles, but the two groups shared the same grounds in their daily activities.

As regards the north, the report included trafficking in persons and crimes involving violence against ethnic minority groups, the daily said.

It said that according to the report, authorities took steps to investigate police officials following press allegations of human rights abuses but there was evidence of impunity. Prison and detention centre conditions did not meet international standards in a number of areas, in particular for sanitary conditions, medical care and food. Lack of security cameras allowed police officers to abuse detainees with impunity.

The report also mentions that police officials reportedly failed to intervene effectively when a protest against the Afrika newspaper turned violent.

It also said that GC and Maronite enclave communities in the north directly elected municipal officials, but TC authorities did not recognise them. GCs and Maronites, it said, could take possession of some of their properties in the north but were unable to leave their properties to heirs residing in the government-controlled area, Cyprus Mail reports.

Phileleftheros said that the US State Department , once again this year, treats equally the Republic of Cyprus and the occupation regime since it mentions that the Cyprus report is divided into two parts, ‘Republic of Cyprus’ and ‘Area administrated by Turkish Cypriots’.