GCC Press Review 27 Mar 2019

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Measures also in place for no-deal Brexit

What will change for businesses and households. The degree of sterling devaluation is key for Cyprus. Significant preparation has been done at technical level.

  • Through Ercan (airport): Divisive legality
  • (GC negotiator) Andreas Mavroyiannis goes to New York in April: Staff changes at the foreign ministry – Mavroyiannis’ transfer signifies stagnation on the Cyprus problem.

Phileleftheros

(Giorgos) Aresti against all responsible

The chairman of the investigation committee (on the demise of the Co-op bank) did not mince his words and found widespread support. “What happened was complete contempt and unfortunate on behalf of the Presidential Palace.”

  • The Turkish lira brings chaos: New economic shock in the occupied areas
  • Foreign Minister: “They see Cyprus as the safest country”

Haravgi

They discredit the (Co-op) finding a la carte

Not a hint of responsibility by the DISY government. Aresti’s resignation an act of dignity. Prodromou: “He quit, we will appoint someone else…”

  • “You can’t build unity with PR stunts,” AKEL General Secretary tells President
  • The illegal recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian Golan heights must be revoked
  • Dignified honorary allowance to be revised and delinked from the size of pension
  • Remains of missing persons were found in Gerani and Templos: Excavations in Mia Milia

Cyprus Mail

Inquiry head quits to save his ‘dignity’

Chairman of panel that probed co-op collapse resigns other posts over government doubts

  • FM discusses meeting of Cyprus, US presidents

Alithia

Foul attack on the government until the Euro-elections using the Co-op as weapon

The opposition’s strategy to attract votes. Having as their main weapon the findings of the investigation committee on the Co-op, opposition parties carry on daily attacks against the government and the finance minister in hopes of voting benefits ahead of the Euro-elections. Based on the same strategy they are calling an extraordinary parliament meeting, carry out picket protests, send the Co-op findings to the EU, intensify pressure for the resignation of (Finance Minister) Harris Georgiades, having even CyTA in the background.

  • For deportation to Germany: Cerkez Korkmaz’s fate in the hands of justice
  • Takis Hadjidemetriou: “Works begin in the occupied areas”
  • Arrived from the US: The first results on the identification of 27 remains
  • Health: Turkish Cypriots working in the Republic will also pay (and enjoy benefits of) GESY (National Health Scheme)   

Main News

Christodoulides on regional security and possible Trump meeting

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Regional/International Relations, Energy, External Security

OVERVIEW

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, who is in Washington for contacts, discussed with senators and state officials the arrangement of a meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and US President Donald Trump, the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus and bilateral relations.

He also participated in a panel discussion at the AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) Policy Conference, where he presented his idea on the establishment of a regional organisation for security and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Christodoulides said during the panel discussion that Cyprus is working on two levels; first at a bilateral level with all neighbouring countries; second at a trilateral level, with the trilateral mechanisms Cyprus has started with Greece, “because we believe that if we work together we can better manage the common challenges of the region and be more effective.”

He added that cooperation started from energy, which was initially the main issue at the trilaterals, but now they were also discussing security, defence, research and development, and health.

The minister said no one was excluded from this regional cooperation, not even Turkey and everyone is welcome to join. He reiterated that Turkey with its behaviour excluded itself from these discussions and it is up to Turkey to join if it has good neighbourly relations and respects the sovereign rights of the countries in the region.

Unfortunately, he said, no one can change geography; Turkey will always be there as a neighbour of Cyprus, Greece and Israel.

According to the Cyprus Mail, Christodoulides also met with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and discussed bilateral relations, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Cyprus problem.

Christodoulides described as important the role that Cyprus plays in the Eastern Mediterranean and noted that it positively affects its bilateral relations with the US. He said they discussed double taxation avoidance, and the abolition of visas for Cypriots who visit the US, the need to arrange a meeting between Anastasiades and Trump, the lifting of the US arms embargo on Cyprus and the trilateral agreements which Cyprus and Greece have established with countries of the region.

He also presented to Hale his idea of establishing a regional cooperation and security organisation. Speaking about energy, Christodoulides underlined the importance of constructing the EastMed pipeline, and averting any Turkish actions that can disturb energy plans in the region.

Christodoulides told Phileleftheros the US sees Cyprus as the safest country in the region and believes that this cooperation ought to be solidified.

He said his suggestion for the establishment of a regional organisation for security and cooperation based in Cyprus with the participation of all countries sharing the same values as Cyprus, was widely welcomed, he said.

Cyprus’ priority is the creation of an LNG terminal, depending on natural gas reserves, he said, while it is very interested in the EastMed pipeline.

Christodoulides also said that the US is concerned over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s actions, especially that he is putting distance between Turkey and the US.

Because of this situation and Erdogan’s attitude in general, reservations are observed on the Cyprus problem, Christodoulides told Phileleftheros.

The daily also reported that the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Endy Zemenides announced that this week Senator Bob Menendez and Representative Ted Deutch will present “a very aggressive bill” on the Eastern Mediterranean in favour of Israel, Greece and Cyprus.  

KEY ACTORS
Christodoulides
>>
Proposes the establishment of regional organisation for security & cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean based in Cyprus with the participation of all countries sharing the same values.
>>
Turkey is also free to join in regional cooperation as long as she respects the sovereign rights of the countries in the region and maintains good neighbourly relations.
>> Cyprus’ priority is the creation of an LNG terminal. It is also very interested in the EastMed pipeline.


Kyprianou: Anastasiades’ call for unity a joke

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

OVERVIEW

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said on Tuesday that President Nicos Anastasiades’ appeal for unity on the domestic front was a joke.

On a visit to Dhali, Kyprianou commented on Anastasiades’ speech a day earlier to mark Greek Independence Day where the president said that no struggle could succeed without unity. Kyprianou noted that it is the president himself who has the responsibility to create conditions of unity, which he does not.

Over the past years, Anastasiades has done whatever he wanted on the Cyprus problem without taking the views of anyone else into consideration while flirting with the idea of two states, said Kyprianou.

He said that Anastasiades told hundreds of people about this latter idea while he also promoted his proposal for a decentralised federation, something which he has not explained and then suddenly, he remembered the word ‘unity’.

Kyprianou said unity could only be built on the basis of a specific framework of positions on the Cyprus issue based on the decisions of the National Council and a minimum of mutual respect and understanding.

As regards the tripartite alliances Kyprianou said they are PR stunts of no substance.

These partnerships should have specific goals which each time would bring Cyprus not only a step closer to the solution of the Cyprus problem, but also to transform the country into a bridge of cooperation in the wider region, he said. The tripartite in Israel a week ago, as well as the previous ones do not serve either of these two important objectives, but rather cause more friction, he added.

The AKEL leader also said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had gone to Israel as a show of support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that the comment in the joint declaration about defending against external actors was not aimed at Turkey.

It is regrettable that the government is trying to use everything as a PR tool to mislead public opinion and make believe that all this is work of substance, he said.

In an another article, Haravgi also reported that AKEL called on the government to condemn the recent recognition by the US of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights which is against international law.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus, being itself a victim of occupation by a foreign country, ought to report and act against this decision and declare respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, the party said, according to Haravgi.

KEY ACTORS
Kyprianou (AKEL)
>>
Anastasiades’ appeal for unity is a joke since he does what he wants on the Cyprob without taking other views into consideration while flirting with the idea of two states.
>> Unity can only be built based on the decisions of the National Council on the Cyprob and with the minimum of mutual respect and understanding.
>> The tripartite alliances are PR stunts of no substance; they ought to help achieve progress on the Cyprob and transform the country into a bridge of cooperation in the wider region but so far have caused more friction.

AKEL

>> Cyprus, as a victim of occupation by a foreign country, ought to protest against US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and declare respect for Syria’s territorial integrity.


Vacant GC negotiator’s post a sign of stagnation on Cyprob

Politis
Negotiations Process

OVERVIEW

The transfer of GC negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis to the post of Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN raises questions as to whether there will be any developments on the Cyprus problem within the next few months as the negotiator’s post will remain vacant, Politis reported.

Mavroyiannis, according to the daily, will move to New York in April to assume his new duties after his transfer was approved last month by the Cabinet. Legal and practical difficulties do not allow for him to remain a negotiator as, based on the law, the negotiator, who is appointed by the President cannot carry out any other duties. Mavroyiannis had to take unpaid leave from the foreign ministry to carry out his negotiator duties, but now that he is being transferred to New York, he cannot act both as negotiator and permanent representative to the UN.

Citing sources, Politis reported that so far, there has been no move by the government to amend the relevant law which means Mavroyiannis’ unpaid leave is expected to be terminated so that he can officially perform his new duties. The new post is very important with regards to developments on the Cyprus problem, the daily said.

Mavroyiannis was also GC head of the technical committees. That post will also now remain vacant as there are no thoughts at the moment of appointing another person, government sources told Politis.

Mavroyiannis is replacing Kornelios Korneliou, who is returning to Cyprus to most probably assume duties as head of one of the two secretariats that will be created at the foreign ministry, for European affairs and trilateral cooperation.

Ambassador Tasos Tzionis will as of April 1 return from his post in Rome and assume duties as the new permanent secretary of the foreign ministry to replace Alexandros Zenon who retired in 2018, the daily reported.


CMP locates bone fragments in two sites in north

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Crews of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) found bone fragments in two villages in the north, Gerani and Templos, while searching for the remains of three GCs missing since 1974 in those villages.

In Templos, bone fragments were located in a well by the CMP last week, while more are still being found as the crews continue to dig.

At the moment, six CMP crews are operational on the island, five in the north and one in Strovolos in the government-controlled areas. The Strovolos crew is  looking for the remains of TCs missing since 1964.

According to the CMP there have also been findings in one of the Lapithos locations, where the excavation began in mid-February. A site in Mia Milia is also expected to be opened in the coming days.

Alithia reports that the first results of DNA tests sent to the US for the identification of 27 remains located in 2017 by the CMP have arrived. The remains, that were located in a cemetery in occupied Morphou, appear to belong in their majority to people killed during the invasion while some of them are persons listed as missing.

Among the remains identified are those of Lieutenant Colonel Christos Foti from Assia.

Alithia, Haravgi and Politis report that Foti was killed on July 20, 1974, and buried two days later in the cemetery in Morphou. His remains were collected by the CMP in 2017 and were among those identified by the US lab. His family was notified to collect his remains. His funeral will take place on May 11. He will be buried at the Makedonitissa Tomb military cemetery.  


Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in need of monetary support

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
CBMs

OVERVIEW

The Cabinet is to approve €500,000 as aid to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage which is to be used for the restoration of seven monuments in the north and one in the south, the House refugee committee heard on Tuesday.

The GC head of the technical committee, Takis Hadjidemetriou, briefed the House refugee committee on the work done so far, and on future plans. He said that the half million euros to be given by the government will go to the restoration of the churches of Ayios Georgios in Youfes, Ayios Georgios in Yenagra, Ayios Georgios in Avlona, Ayios Georgios in Spathariko, Panayia Acheritou, Ayios Ioannis of the Maronites in Fludi, Panayia in Sysclipos, and the Ottoman hammam in Larnaca.

He also said the committee will this year carry out emergency support works on eight crumbling monuments; in Ayia Anastasia in Lapithos, Ayios Georgios in Vatyli, Ayia Marina in Peristerona in Famagusta, Archangelos Michael in Hartzia, Ayios Vasilios in Karakoumi, Ayios Georgios in Vathylaka, Panayia tou Mnasi in Morphou and Panayia Katokopias.

The committee, he said, is racing against time to rescue monuments within its means, adding that among the problems faced is that many of the monuments in the north remained without any maintenance for 45 years and have collapsed while others are dilapidated.

Head of the House refugee committee, Skevi Koukouma, said after the meeting that the technical committee needed further support in its task, such as office space and administrative staff. She also said that they were informed that some parts of the Kyrenia castle were in need of restoration but that the entire castle was not at risk.

Koukouma said that perhaps some church artefacts currently stored in the castle could be returned as part of confidence-building measures.

According to Phileleftheros, Hadjidemetriou told MPs that the Kyrenia castle faces collapse problems and that intervention is necessary based on a preliminary study. He also said the Archbishopric submitted to the technical committee a list of 90 monuments in need of restoration, the Morphou Bishopric another 50, while 60 local authorities submitted requests for the restoration of churches and other monuments.

Thousands of euros could be spent on the support of these monuments, but it would constitute money squandering since it would be a quick fix solution that would not resolve the problem, he said, according to Phileleftheros.

He also said that local communities raise money for the restoration of monuments in their area but where they thought €3,000 is enough, they realise that more than ten times as much is needed.

Hadjidemetriou expressed hope that the committee would be allowed partial intervention also in the ancient Salamina site, the daily reported.

According to Haravgi, the GC members of the committee meet in Hadjidemetriou’s house since they don’t have their own space, whereas the TC members of the technical committees have their offices and staff.

KEY ACTORS
Hadjidemetriou (Technical Committee)
>> The technical committee is racing against time to rescue monuments within its means.
>> Intervention on the Kyrenia castle is necessary based on a preliminary study.
>> Hopes the committee would be allowed partial intervention in the ancient Salamina site.

Koukouma (AKEL)
>>
The technical committee needs further support such as office space and administrative staff.
>> Church artefacts currently stored in the castle could be returned as part of CBMs.


Republic under fire over refusal to allow entry to Japanese professor visiting north

Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Politis
Migration & Citizenship

OVERVIEW

The refusal by authorities to allow a Japanese academician Professor Kitamura, who had travelled to Cyprus from Dubai to attend a conference at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), to enter the country through Larnaca airport caused reactions in the north, the papers report.

Professor Tomotako Kitamura, who had travelled to Cyprus from Dubai to attend a conference at the EMU, was forbidden entry at Larnaca and was sent back to Dubai after a nine-hour wait at the airport. Kitamura reportedly said that Larnaca airport immigration officials had initially stamped her passport, but she was then taken in for questioning when they realised she was headed for the north. She told TC news agency, TAK, she was questioned on the Cyprus problem, to which she replied that her interests lie in physics and not in politics.

Haravgi reported that the TC ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Ozersay said on Tuesday after the incident that actions by the GC leadership contradict ongoing efforts to build confidence between the two communities. Such actions only serve the lack of trust on the island, he said.

The Cyprus News Agency cited government sources on Tuesday who said that those affected in such cases can lodge a complaint, question the decision of the authorities and ask for further explanations or even resort to justice, noting that they are informed about their rights through a document handed to them, Cyprus Mail reported.

Politis said that the decision not to allow the professor enter the country backfired against the Republic as her photo was everywhere in the TC press highlighting the contradictions in its policies.

The Japanese national, the daily said, ended up having two stamps on her passport, one of the Republic of Cyprus, the other of the illegal state of the TCs and of their airport.

Citing sources, Politis said that beyond regulations at entry points, each visitor wishing to cross to the north, is assessed individually. Obviously, the visit of the Japanese academic was deemed as one recognising the illegal regime and was therefore not allowed entry, the daily said.

Politis also reported that this was not the only relevant incident, as on Tuesday, the Limassol district court fined a Syrian ship captain €1,800 for docking last January at the occupied Famagusta port. The cargo ship the man is a captain of, which flies a Belize flag, was spotted through the marine traffic system going to the Famagusta port on January 14 and leaving two days later.

When the same vessel arrived earlier in the week at the Limassol port, its captain was arrested and taken to court, the daily reported.

KEY ACTORS
Ozersay
>>
Such actions by the GC leadership contradict ongoing efforts to build confidence between the two communities and only serve the lack of trust.


North in dire economic situation

Phileleftheros, Politis
Economy

OVERVIEW

Both dailies report on the economic situation in the north. Phileleftheros, giving a review of Tuesday’s front pages, said that the economic dependence of the TCs on Turkey will lead to even worse days for those living in the north.

The expected change in the value of the lira against the dollar, causes terror in the occupied areas while at the same time, the situation is expected to be much worse due to the non-agreement between Turkey and the pseudostate on the economic protocol.

Politis said there is turmoil in the north and that there was tension in ‘parliament’ over the state of the economy.

Citing an article in Yeni Duzen , the daily reports that the Turkish lira is in shock due to the currency exchange crisis of recent months, with analysts calling for immediate steps towards strengthening the economy to avoid further suffering from the impact. They proposed mechanisms and tools to prevent banks in the occupied areas from being greatly affected.

‘Finance Minister’ Serdar Denktash, responding to criticism on the delay in the drafting of an economic protocol with Turkey, said there is no delay on their part, as they are ready to sign the protocol. Denktash said this would take place around 10 days after the elections in Turkey, with developments showing that the whole process will be completed before June, Politis reported.

He rejected rumours that the ‘government’ will not be able to pay salaries.

‘Prime Minister’ Tufan Erhurman said the ‘government’ is willing to do whatever it takes for economic recovery, Politis reported.