GCC Press Review | 15 Mar 2019 |

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Deep state blocking a solution

Famagusta mayor turns against the establishment in Limassol and Nicosia. Six mayors of occupied municipalities declare they feel like displaced second-class citizens, and seek loss of use and TC properties. “If Cyprus is lost they have money in Switzerland and the Seychelles,” said (Famagusta mayor) Alexis Galanos about those who benefit from a non-solution.

  • HERMES: Puzzling compensations for Tymbou airport
  • EU-Turkey: Association Council with stern messages

Phileleftheros

New bomb threatens GESY (National Health Scheme)

State doctors seek legal action against their secondment to OKYPY (state health services organisation). They obtained a legal opinion that secondment constitutes “unacceptable external intervention in their employment rights”.

  • Strong reaction by Turkey – Seven-day French aeronautical exercises south of Cyprus.
  • ExxonMobil: In Israel via Cyprus – Moves to seal trilateral cooperation with the US.
  • Greek Foreign Minister in Cyprus on Monday, before his trip to Antalya
  • Hard line of Turkey at the Association Council

Haravgi

They don’t know what political responsibility means

The DISY government is irresponsible and unreliable. They insist on the resignation of the finance minister. Probe into sale of the Co-op’s real estate.

  • DISY’s friends… did not back us –The European People’s Party did not support an amendment to the European Parliament on ending the Treaty of Guarantee, unilateral intervention rights and the speedy departure of Turkish occupying troops.
  • Arsenal found in the house of a well-known EOKA B fighter
  • Akinci: Census and then changes to the ‘citizenship law’

Cyprus Mail

‘Public’s mistrust constantly growing’

Anastasiades weighs in on revelation that some officials failed to pay loans.

  • Drogba to attend first bicommunal match in 14 years in Pyla

Alithia

Everyone is without sin

Politically exposed persons give explanations about ‘red loans’ and speak of intentional and selective leaks. President Anastasiades: “Public mistrust constantly growing due to actions of the country’s political officers.”

  • Occupied areas: They murdered a businessman outside his home
  • Ankara scorns Europe
  • Impressive exercise by OYK (Underwater Demolition Teams) in Mari
  • Famagusta Municipality: “The exploitation of the suffering of Famagustians for the creation of political careers and vote snatching is no longer tolerated”

Main News

‘GC deep state sabotages efforts for solution’

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, Territory, Property, Economy

OVERVIEW

Six local authorities of occupied areas announced on Thursday they would launch a campaign in all districts and in Athens to promote their demand for the recognition of the right concerning loss of property use.

In a press conference, the mayors of Famagusta, Morphou, Lysi, Lefkoniko, Akanthou and Kythrea vowed to fight for the rights of refugees and called for transparency as regards the use of TC properties in the south. The group appointed Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos as their representative.

Galanos said that there is a deep state within the Republic that does not want a solution and has been influencing decision making during the talks, Politis reported.

The mayor said the establishment in Limassol and Nicosia, just like the deep state in the occupied areas, is boycotting every effort for a solution.

If Cyprus is lost it is of little importance to those who have money in the Seychelles and Switzerland, he was quoted saying by Politis.

During statements later in the day on Politis radio, Galanos said that some hit the jackpot with the Turkish invasion, adding that new interests are being shaped such as those of land developers who are against efforts for a solution.

The group put forth a number of demands including transparency in the use of TC properties and fair contribution of benefits to refugees for the loss of use of property based on a property registry recently completed by the interior ministry.

They also said that the return of refugees to Varosha should not be treated as a confidence-building measure but based on the Kyprianou-Denktash High Level Agreements of 1979 and UN resolutions 550 and 789.

In an announcement, the group said that the charade of the return of Varosha through a solution must stop, adding that several opportunities for the return of the town have been missed for various reasons and to serve interests, Politis reported.

They also said that they will no longer tolerate the exploitation of the drama of refugees for the creation of political careers and for votes or being treated as second-class citizens.

Galanos criticised Anastasiades for breaking his election campaign promise of equal burden distribution through recognition of the loss of property use. At the time, Galanos said, Anastasiades had said €100 million would be earmarked for this but during their meeting this week, he went back on this pledge, Politis said.

The Famagusta municipality also expressed discontent that its residents were not deemed worthy by the current administration for appointments in government posts as ministers or other officials so that they can have a say in policy decision making.

Famagusta’s DISY municipal councillor Nicos Karoullas said that refugees’ properties are held as hostage so that some can hold on to the Republic of Cyprus, according to Politis.

Without refugees, he said, there is no Republic. He warned that unless something changes soon, solutions like the return of refugees to their properties under TC administration are imminent, the daily reported.

According to Politis, some refugees who attended the event called for an action plan to create problems for those in power and those who do not wish for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

KEY ACTORS
Galanos
>>
Deep state exists within the Republic that does not want a solution and has been influencing decision making during the talks.
>> Limassol and Nicosia establishments boycott every effort for a solution.
>> Those who have money in the Seychelles and Switzerland don’t care if Cyprus is lost.
>> Turkish invasion has benefited some people and helps shape new interests.
>> Land developers are against efforts for a solution.
>> Anastasiades broke his election campaign promise of equal burden distribution through recognition of the loss of property use.

Karoullas (DISY)
>>
Refugees’ properties are held hostage so that some can hold on to the RoC.
>> Unless there is progress on the Cyprus problem soon, the possibility of refugees returning to their properties under TC administration could be fast approaching.

Famagusta municipality
>> Several opportunities for the return of the town have been missed for various reasons and to serve interests.
>> The return of refugees to Varosha should not be treated as a CBM but based on the Kyprianou-Denktash High-Level Agreements of 1979 and UN resolutions 550 and 789.
>> Refugees are treated as second class citizens.
>> The exploitation of the drama of refugees for the creation of political careers and for votes will no longer be tolerated.
>> Want to see transparency in the use of TC properties.


Calls for review of state-Hermes agreement on Tymbou airport

Cyprus Mail, Politis
Economy

OVERVIEW

MPs on Thursday called once more for a review of a deal whereby the state compensates Hermes – the operator of the two international airports in the south – for revenues lost to Tymbou airport in the north.

During a closed-door session of the House watchdog committee, MPs heard that year in year out the state compensates Hermes anywhere between €5m to €8m, the Cyprus Mail reported.

EDEK said the agreement signed by the state was slanted in favour of Hermes, and that it needed to be revised. The party said that taxpayers end up footing the bill due to the operation of Tymbou airport, over which the authorities of the Republic have no control.

This compensation continues to be paid to Hermes at a time when the two airports it is running – Larnaca and Paphos – are registering record passenger traffic, the party said, according to the Cyprus Mail.

The compensation to Hermes against lost revenues from the operation of Tymbou in the north is calculated by a complex formula, which takes into account that airport’s passenger traffic as well as that of Larnaca and Paphos. Data for Tymbou is provided by the secret service, the daily reported.

The overall deal provides that Hermes would build and manage the airports for 25 years, or until 2031 when they will return to the state, while the latter receives 33 per cent of the company’s revenues each year. In 2002, when the state issued the conditions of the tender for a strategic investor to take over the two airports, it had pledged that it would not create a third airport, but things changed after the opening of the crossing points in 2003. 

The agreement also includes certain forecasts and when the actual traffic in the two airports in the south exceeds them, then the state would stop compensating Hermes, the daily said.

According to Politis, the state paid Hermes around €70m between 2004 and 2015.

Greens’ MP, Giorgos Perdikis said that the legitimacy of the agreement raises questions and ought to be terminated, Politis reported.


Old weapons discovered in late EOKA B member’s home

Haravgi
Internal Security

OVERVIEW

An arsenal dating back to the time of EOKA B was accidentally discovered some 15 days ago in the house of a well-known fighter of the organisation who is now deceased, Haravgi reports.

The daily, that did not name the man in question, reported that two pistols, an automatic gun and a large quantity of bullets and explosives were located in a house in Parekklisia in Limassol, by a man who now rents the house during renovation works.

The weapons and ammunition were found in a safe that was leading to a crypt.

The tenant notified the police, who told Haravgi they are still investigating.

The daily said the police are trying to conceal the event, as they did not issue an announcement like they usually do when weapons are discovered.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides claimed that investigations are ongoing and that the police do not make any announcements if they feel that this would negatively affect investigations.

The police statements raise the question as to whether there have been other such cases which have not been announced, while there might be more EOKA B ammunition that was never handed over to the authorities, the daily said.


Turkey not happy with French exercises off Cyprus

Phileleftheros
External Security, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Turkey seems to be unhappy with the French aeronautical exercises south and southwest of Cyprus, in two large sea areas totalling around 150,000 square kilometres.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) issued relevant Navtex messages to reserve these sea areas, while the Civil Aviation Authority issued a Notam for the aircraft.

One of the areas reserved for the French aeronautical exercises covers the one that was illegally ‘reserved’ by Turkey for her own naval exercises with successive irregular Navtex messages in February and March and covers most of block 8 and part of block 7, the daily said.

The French exercise started on Wednesday and will be completed on March 20.

It is worth recalling, the daily said, that negotiations are underway for the licensing for block 7 between the government and energy companies ENI-Total, while procedures are underway for the inclusion of French Total in block 8 that is licensed to ENI.

A second area where the ​​French aeronautical exercise is taking place overlaps with part of the area where illegal seismic surveys are being carried out by Turkey’s Barbaros vessel, which often reaches up to 25km from the southern coasts of Cyprus near Akrotiri, the daily said.


Photo exhibition also highlights TC contribution to Cyprus’ diplomacy

Cyprus Mail
Governance & Power Sharing

A photo exhibition showing the operations of the foreign ministry through the years including the contribution of TCs, will open later this month following an idea by Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, according to the Cyprus Mail.

The ministry’s head of communications, Demetris Samuel, told the daily that the aim is to explain to the public the ministry’s role. He said that TCs played an important part in the beginning, and the ministry hopes they will soon be part of the collection again.

The first photo of the timeline depicts TC Ismet Guney, who designed both the modern Cypriot flag and the emblem of the newly founded Republic in 1960. In 1961, the ministry sent the first seven diplomats abroad, two of whom were TCs.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to see more than 500 photos that have accompanying text in English, Greek and Turkish. The photo timeline covers the years from 1960 until 2017.

Pupils from the north will be invited to see how the country’s history has been shaped by both GCs and TCs, the daily reported.

The exhibition at the foreign ministry will be open to the public every Wednesday (except public holidays) between March 20 and June 19.


‘National Guard constantly adjusting to new demands’

Alithia, Phileleftheros
External Security

OVERVIEW

Defence Minister Savvas Angelides congratulated on Thursday 13 new marine commandos on the completion of their training at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari.

He said that efforts continue for the upgrade of training and quality of life of those serving in the National Guard. The aim, he said, is to make military service a constructive one for the benefit of conscripts and the National Guard.

The minister said that the National Guard is constantly being upgraded and adjusting to new demands.

The new OYK (Underwater Demolition Teams) marine commandos participated in an exercise with a scenario concerning freeing hostages held on a drill rig.


Greek FM in Nicosia next week ahead of Antalya meeting

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Negotiations Process, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos arrives on the island on Monday for contacts ahead of his trip to Antalya later in the week where he is to discuss the Cyprus problem with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Katrougalos will meet with his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Christodoulides and President Nicos Anastasiades in Cyprus. He is expected to brief them on his meeting this week with Cavusoglu in Brussels and also discuss issues concerning the Cyprus problem and energy ahead of his meeting in Antalya next Thursday with Cavusoglu.

The Greek and Turkish FMs are to discuss the role of guarantor powers in the effort to draft the terms of reference for the resumption of talks, Alithia reports.

According to Phileleftheros, the two FMs are expected to start a preliminary discussion on the issue of security in Cyprus. Even though Turkey is not interested in making this discussion, since the meeting has been set, it is believed that all issues on the agenda will be discussed, the daily said.


Football legend supports Cyprus peace process

Cyprus Mail
CBMs

OVERVIEW

Former Chelsea superstar Didier Drogba will be among those attending the bicommunal ‘Friendly Football Day’ on Tuesday in Pyla, organised by the organisation Peace and Sport and the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, the Cyprus Mail reports.

The event is to be attended by TC leader Mustafa Akinci and President Nicos Anastasiades who will watch a friendly football match between Nea Salamina and Magusa Turk Gucu FC.

The game will be only the second of its kind in 64 years since the last such match was in March 2005 when Nea Salamina and Yenicami teams played together in Famagusta, the daily reports.

Citing an announcement by Monaco-based Peace and Sport, the daily said the event is part of the organisation’s ongoing efforts to use sport as a tool for diplomacy and dialogue around the world.  Peace and Sport founder Joel Bouzou and Drogba, deputy head of the organisation, will be attending the game along with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the British-Cypriot easyJet founder, entrepreneur and staunch supporter of bicommunal efforts.